Draft King Analysis|
October 2, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
Reader feedback is always welcomed here on Draft King. Sound off with your thoughts on Twitter (@LouPickney) or via email at LouPickney@gmail.com.
A shake-up of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft has seen Cal QB Jared Goff ascend to the top position and the disappearance of the player I initially had slated as a top two pick: Auburn WR Duke Williams.
Goff, as I've noted on here before, came into the season as a top QB prospect and has (thus far) lived up to the billing. And I'm not alone in this observation -- plenty of scouts and NFL team executives are aware of his pro potential.
As for 2015, Goff's accuracy remains strong, he has Cal unbeaten as of this writing, and he appears more and more likely to overcome the doubters who question if he has the frame to handle the beating that NFL quarterbacks take. He's in a good spot at this point.
With Duke Williams, he hasn't lived up to expectations for the Auburn Tigers this year, though that could be in large part due to his team's mostly shoddy quarterback play. He could still work his way into the first round, but the notion of him being near the top of the draft board in 2016 appears unlikely.
The first of several players in the latest projection from Ole Miss is elite offensive tackle prospect Laremy Tunsil, which might seem like a curious move considering his broken leg in the Rebels' bowl game loss last season and his eligibility issues which have kept him off the field thus far in 2015. But he remains an elite prospect with a remarkable track record: one sack allowed in 2013 and one sack allowed in 2014.
Speaking of statistical anomalies, Tennessee Vols CB Cameron Sutton made his debut in the latest mock. He has played well for a Tennessee team that has tormented its fan base with a heartbreaking home loss to Oklahoma and then last weekend's heartbreaking road loss to division rival Florida.
But Sutton has the amazing distinction of going all of last season without drawing a penalty flag, which is really remarkable. He's not an incredible athlete, nor is he an interception machine. But Sutton can play solid defense without drawing penalties, which is an appealing trait for any would-be NFL defensive back.
There are several offensive linemen in the top ten of the latest mock along with the aforementioned Tunsil, with Notre Dame's Ronnie Staley, Michigan State's Jack Conklin, and Ohio State's Taylor Decker all in contention. No surprises in that group, nor is there any clear separation among them in the top-tier. But the sheer volume at the top indicates both the strength at the position and high demand to go with it.
Decker's teammate in Columbus, QB Cardale Jones, remains in the latest mock, albeit below both Goff and Michigan State's Connor Cook. Jones, much like the rest of the Ohio State offense, has struggled out of the gate, perhaps in part due to former offensive coordinator (and QB coach) Tom Herman leaving after last season to take the helm at Houston.
We'll find out soon enough if Jones can return to the form he showed during the Buckeyes' remarkable run to win the national championship last season. If so, demand for his services at the pro level will be strong.
A noteworthy newcomer to the mock is LSU CB Tre'Davious White. He's a very talented kick returner, which could earn him the nod over other similarly-rated cornerback prospects. In addition, White has shown consistency going back to earning a starting spot in his third game as a freshman, and he's an excellent tackler to boot.
One of the most frustrating things to me in putting together the new mock was in determining which knee UCLA LB/RB Myles Jack injured in practice. I read dozens of articles, some of which explained in great detail about his anterior meniscus surgery, how they were able to operate on him that day because he hadn't eaten yet (which is odd on a number of levels), etc. But there was nothing about which knee he had hurt.
I realize that the important part is Jack being out for the rest of the season, but the way seemingly every article was written made it sound like he only had one knee. That is one of my pet peeves in sports articles, which usually happens because the writer was lazy or careless or both. Though, in this case, the writers involved might simply not have known.
But unless you're writing about Zach Gowen, it's relevant information on which knee was hurt. Even now I don't have independent confirmation on which one Jack injured, but I've been told it was his right knee. Whatever the case, I expect him to recover and have a strong NFL career.
One saving grace for Jack is that he reportedly has a $5 million insurance policy payable if Jack isn't a first-round pick. Shouldn't every school provide something like that for bona fide NFL prospects?
It's unconscionable that players are forced to stay out of the NFL until three years after their high school graduation. But then to not provide them with financial protection while fat cat athletic directors and bully coaches reap millions from the physical risks those players take... I mean, how can anyone justify that?
The answer, of course, is that it can't be justified. And I've heard some ridiculous arguments in the past week since I wrote about the clear restraint of trade that LSU RB Leonard Fournette faces. But to parrot the status quo and the NCAA's twisted narrative simply reveals, at best, a lack of critical thinking skills.