1) D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I actually really like Metcalf. Yes, he has his negatives, but I think Metcalf’s the best wide receiver in this class. However, wide receivers need to be next to flawless for me to consider them a top player in a certain class. In a draft dominated by defensive linemen, Metcalf isn’t that.
Given what we know about Jon Gruden’s desire in a player from the broadcast booth and the history of the Raiders organization making big splashes, I am still convinced, and will be until the pick is made, that Metcalf is going to be the fourth overall selection. I think that’s where Ian Rapoport was headed when he said Oakland’s pick would be a “surprise” the other day.
Even should I be wrong, Metcalf’s profile leads me to believe that he is going to be selected higher than he should. Not only is he the “physical freak” some evaluators fall in love with, but he’s also the well-known entity that is easily marketable. Again, he’s going to be a good wide receiver in the league with the potential to be elite. But I’m not taking him anywhere near the top-10, given this class’s depth on defense, but that’s what I’m thinking will happen.
2) Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
There has only been one running back worthy of anything near a top-ten pick in the past couple years, and it certainly isn’t Jacobs. That guy was picked last year and was still picked too high in the first.
Only dumb organizations spend a high first-round pick, generally your biggest asset in years, on a running back. Quite frankly: running backs don’t matter. C.J. Anderson’s sudden emergence with the NFC Champions, just weeks after being cut by Oakland of all teams, should have ended that debate instantly.
I have nothing against Josh Jacobs the prospect. However, I do absolutely have everything against spending a top-ten pick, where Jacobs is almost certainly going to be taken, on a running back. Saquon Barkley was one of the two best running back prospects of the millennium. I could live with Christian McCaffrey, albeit reluctantly, because of his dual-threat presence.
Josh Jacobs isn’t Christian McCaffrey, and he certainly isn’t Saquon Barkley. Sure, he may be Offensive Rookie Of The Year, but that will come as a result of the system he’s dropped into rather than the prospect himself. Just be smart, NFL teams.
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3) Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
I mentioned that only dumb organizations spend a second overall pick on a running back. It’s also dumb organizations that choose to believe that Daniel Jones is the second-best quarterback in this class. Needless to say, Dave Gettleman isn’t very good at his job.
Sure, this could all be a smokescreen to get Washington to trade up for Jones, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s looking like Jones’s floor is at six. I think there is an argument, albeit one that’s a pretty big stretch, that can be made that Jones shouldn’t be sixth overall in an all-quarterback draft.
There’s no argument to be made that he is better than Kyler. I wouldn’t take him over Drew Lock or over Dwayne Haskins. Jones starts creeping into that conversation at four, but QB4 in an insanely weak offensive draft isn’t a selling point. If Daniel Jones came out last year, he wouldn’t be close to a first round pick. Now, for some reason, he’s going in the top-six. It makes zero sense to me.
But I guess that’s what you get when the Redskins and the Giants are battling for something.
4) Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
I don’t know precisely what I don’t get with Rashan Gary, but I don’t understand the hype. Sure, maybe it’s because we were all spoiled by the fact that there are ten better defensive linemen in the class, but I don’t think Gary’s a first-round talent. Especially not in the top half of the first.
Gary is an athletic freak, I will give him that. I don’t think there’s much to fall in love with despite that. He’s limited as a pass rusher, and he hasn’t really shown the makings of a brilliant run-stuffer in college. He’s the picture-perfect definition of a project, and given the numerous guys in this class who are going to be high impact stars instantly, I’m not drafting a defensive project very high.
Picking Gary high is the epitome of faith in your defensive coaching staff, and quite frankly, I’m not sure there is a coaching staff in the 10-20 range (where he likely goes) I trust enough to like a Rashan Gary selection. Normally I’m down with teams selecting the boom-or-bust guys relatively high, but as I’ve mentioned over and over again, the talent on the defensive line this year is too good to be risking that much.
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