NFL Draft Recap–Values and Reaches

I already live blogged round one Thursday night here, but wanted to circle back around and give some quick thoughts on values and reaches in each round. These are not really about finding perfect fits for needs or drafting someone without a need, but more about overall consensus needs.

Round 1 Best Values

17. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys. The Oklahoma wideout was the #2 wide receiver on the consensus big board, number 9 overall, my personal #1 receiver and Footbball Outsider’s Playmaker champion this year. He was the third WR off the board at pick 17 to a team with a quarterback that already led the league in DYAR last year without a ton of top-end receiving talent. Lamb had 32 percent of Oklahoma’s receiving yards last year and led the Big 12 in touchdowns. His Sparq score wasn’t great, but it was adequate enough to go with the production.

28. Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens. While I personally like Kenneth Murray better, Queen was #19 on the big board, and fell into the Ravens’ lap at 28. This was a typical Ozzie Newsome move, even if Ozzie isn’t there anymore. A solid enough athlete with a 83.8$ Sparq score, he was basically a one-year starter at LSU with high upside and solid instincts, albeit a little undersized. He was one of the youngest players in the draft, which generally bodes well for future development.

Round 1 Reaches

27. Jordyn Brooks, LB, Seattle Seahawks. Brooks was ranked #84 on the big board and went at pick 27 to the Hawks. There were third round linebackers I liked more. Brooks was productive enough at Texas Tech, making 80-plus tackles all four years of college, but then could not do most of the drills at the combine for medical reasons. Seattle is counting on the production (second in FBS in TFL per game), but he probably should be a 3-4 ILB playing downhill. They could have waited on that.

29. Isaiah Wilson, OT, Tennessee Titans. The “other” OT at Georgia, Wilson was #57 on the big board and went #29. Some of this was because of a run at the position. The Titans are hoping this will be similar to when the Texans “overdrafted” Duane Brown after an OT run. That worked out okay then. Wilson was a two-year starter at RT for the Bulldogs, missing time this year year with an ankle injury. Was a top recruit who was then redshirted due to “heat acclimation”. He is a work-in-progress more fitting a mid-to-late second round pick.

30. Noah Igbinoghenee, CB, Miami Dolphins. I can not count the number of different ways I have misspelled his name already. I actually like his athletic profile. He is just 5-10, but has a 40-inch vertical and ran a 4.47 40 (both parents were SEC track athletes). He was ranked #52 on the big board and was another fallout pick after a run on the position. He was the fifth of six first round corners this year.

19. Damon Arnette, CB, Las Vegas Raiders. Speaking of corner…While the previous three selections here were all late-round guys with second-round grades, Arnette was a mid-round pick with a second round grade. Arnette was a three-year starter at Ohio State who played on an island quite a bit. He quit the Buckeyes last year with the intention of going pro, but came back for his senior year. Was praised quite a bit for his improved play and demeanor this year. He has a profile that can make it in the NFL, but he could have probably been had 20 picks later. I try not to be “just trade down” guy, because it is not as easy as it seems, but they could have safely traded down here. He was the fourth corner taken, with five corners ranked higher than him still on the board.

Round 2 Values

54. AJ Epenesa, Edge, Buffalo Bills. Epensa was just a one-year starter as Iowa, but has 26.5 career sacks in three years, including double-digit sacks the last two years. He was Football Outsider’s #2 ranked Edge in SackSEER and was ranked #23 on the big board. A poor combine performance cost him here. Plus, he is an Edwardsville kid who holds the IHSA record for discus, so I’m rooting for the guy anyway. He was the #1 ranked defensive end recruit in the country coming out of high school.

AP Photo/Charlie Niebergall

36. Xavier McKinney, S, New York Giants. I really thought going in McKinney might get overdrafted because of a lack of top safety talent this year, but then the #23 overall player on the big board fell to 36. McKinney is a poor athlete by safety standards (20.3% Sparq), but he is quick to diagnose and tackles well. Led Alabama in tackles this year and was the Bowl MVP two years ago. McKinney was the top player left on the big board after round one.

Round 2 Reaches

62. AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers. I actually like AJ Dillon. He is a size-speed freak athlete. He had the second best Speed Score in the draft this year behind Jonathan Taylor. He had the best Sparq score among running backs, testing better than 96 percent of running back prospects. He was also a 4,000-yard rusher in college, playing for a team that hated their coach this year. He has no wiggle, and he is not going to make you miss, but he can move a pile. His is a shorter Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs was a fourth-round pick in an era where power backs were used more. Dillon was #113 on the big board and went #62.

57. Van Jefferson, WR, LA Rams. Jefferson was ranked #88 on the big board and went #57. He is one of the oldest prospects drafted this year at 23.74 years old, graduating high school in 2015 before redshirting, playing two years at Ole Miss then two years at Florida. He never had more than 657 receiving yards, but did lead Florida this year. He isn’t dynamic and has a right foot injury, but is one of the better route runners in the draft. The Rams have to hope that is enough to get open against superior athletes.

Round 3 Values

72. Joshua Jones, OT, Arizona Cardinals. Some people were surprised when Arizona could not pass up on Isaiah Simmons’ athleticism in the first round, with such a glaring need at the tackle spot. The draft gods bailed them out when Josh Jones fell to the third round. Jones was a borderline first-round talent, ranked #29 on the big board who fell all the way to 72. He did not have a good combine after playing really well Senior Bowl week. There were more coaches paying attention at the combine.

71. Justin Madubuike, DT, Baltimore Ravens. Madubuike, a 3-technique DT out of Texas A&M was #49 on the big board and fell 22 spots to the Ravens for yet another Baltimore value pick. So the Ravens wound up with players #19, #27 and #49 with their picks in the first three rounds. And fourth round pick Ben Bredenson, ranked #114 fell to them at #143. Solid value all around.

Round 3 Reaches

This is where we start getting into territory where I don’t call players reaches. However, some of the lower ranked players drafted in the third were TE Dalton Keene by New England (#184), OT Tyre Phillips by Baltimore (#202), and S Tanner Muse by Las Vegas (#192).

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