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Pi Network

Draft King Analysis
February 19, 2016
Lou Pickney,

Reader feedback is always welcomed here on Draft King. Sound off with your thoughts on Twitter (@LouPickney) or via email at

With the NFL Combine taking place next week in Indianapolis, you can expect to see fluctuations in draft projections as top pro football prospects go through the poking, prodding, piss testing, and interviewing that is associated with the process.

It will be interesting to see what the top quarterback prospects end up doing. You often see the top QBs hold off on throwing in Indy, instead opting to work with familiar receivers and friendly confines at their school's pro day.

But things may be changing in that respect. Last year, both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota (the top two QB prospects for 2015) threw at the combine. And while plans are always subject to change, Cal QB Jared Goff reportedly is expected to do everything at the combine, as are North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz Memphis QB Paxton Lynch and .

With considerable back-and-forth on the evaluations of Wentz and Goff relative to the top of the draft board, it should be helpful to make as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible of the two in the same setting. It's also a strong opportunity for Lynch and the rest of the QB prospects to show how they match up with the perceived top of the crop.

I've been harsh at times in my evaluation of Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg, particularly when so many were pushing him as a first round prospect going into 2015. I just didn't see it that way, not with his poor completion percentage. But he showed improvement as far as decreasing his interception volume, which was a key development. And while his anemic 53.5% completion percentage is entirely unacceptable, he didn't exactly have the best offensive line or wide receivers to work with during his time in Happy Valley.

It has pleased me to see Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott move up on certain draft boards. It's unlikely that he will be a first-round pick, not with his accuracy trouble on intermediate-to-long passes. The invariable comparisons with Tim Tebow won't help either, though highly-respected voices in the industry like Gil Brandt have long noted that Prescott is a notably superior NFL prospect compared with Tebow coming out of the University of Florida.

One think helping both Hackenberg and Prescott's cause is the growing importance of backup quarterback in the NFL. As the league has become more and more tilted in favor of passing attacks, not only has it been important to have high quality at starting QB, but also at the backup position. One only has to look at the troubles Dallas faced in 2015 when Tony Romo was injured to see the perils of weakness at the backup QB spot.

It's noteworthy that some teams are starting to make roster cuts, attempting to purge salaries and move into position for the upcoming beginning of free agency. That was especially true for the Los Angeles Rams, which today cut a trio of talented players: TE Jared Cook, DE Chris Long, and LB James Laurinaitis.

Here's some fun reading, with varying degrees of relevance to the 2016 NFL Draft:

Who do experts think each team will pick in the 2016 NFL Draft? by Adam Stites
This page provides a very interesting visual presentation, with pie charts of pick-by-pick projections for the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft from noted draft pundits. It's about as good of a pie chart demonstration as I can remember seeing for anything. Highly recommended and worthy of bookmarking.

Top 10 red-flag players heading into NFL scouting combine by Charles Robinson
This is an on-point evaluation of several high-level players with question marks surrounding them going into the combine. It's a great quick read about many of the storylines/issues, from drugs to injuries, you can expect to hear plenty about between now and late April.

RSP Boiler Room: Memphis QB Paxton Lynch by Matt Waldman
This has some great evaluation of Lynch's gameplay, with specific examples (and accompanying video) demonstrating both strengths and areas in which he needs to improve. If you've wondered why Lynch is seen as a strong NFL prospect, but perhaps not the top of the class, this is helpful to explain why.

I Interviewed to Rebuild the Titans, and Here's What I Would Have Done by Ted Sundquist
If you've ever wondered what the process is like for interviewing for an NFL general manager job, check out this article.


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