Vol 3: Day Two of the NFL Draft (Rounds 2 & 3)
Per yesterday, we established the importance of our lines (OL/DL) and secondary (CB/S). Going forward, if there's a tie between prospects I would probably break it by going with whichever prospect played one of those positions.
So we've got our Day One guys, and our extra Day Two picks that we got from trading down on Day One and our extra picks from being an expansion team. Now, what are we looking for?
Running backs: I know, I know smh. I'm opposed to PAYING running backs but I don't have any issue with drafting them. Hopefully, I can convince them to work for credit in the team gift store. The second and third rounds have consistently proven to be a sweet spot of guys with first-round talent that slide down the draft board:
2019 NFL Draft: Miles Sanders (Round 2- Pick 53), David Montgomery (3-73), Devin Singletary (3-74)
2018: Nick Chubb (2-35), Ronald Jones (2-38)
2017: Joe Mixon (2-38), Dalvin Cook (2-41), Alvin Kamara (3-67), Kareem Hunt (3-86)
2016: Derrick Henry (2-45), Kenyan Drake (3-73)
By that token this year, there should be some great talent available in rounds 2 & 3. One of D'Andre Swift, JK Dobbins, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss, Cam Akers, or Antonio Gibson will be available here. The beauty is, you can take multiple cracks at it here. My running back committee would be:
-a day two guy I can give 20 carries. Think Henry, Chubb or Cook.
-a pass catcher that you can find later (Kamara, Tarik Cohen/James White-4th round, Aaron Jones-5th round, Austin Ekeler/Jalen Richard-undrafted)
-a scrap heap guy to eat carries. Think of this as your number five starter in a pitching rotation. You just need a guy to eat 180-200 innings over the course of a 162 game season. I just need a guy to eat 500-700 total yards over the course of a 16 game season. Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy all had at least 600 total yards this season. Innings eaters. You can usually find a castoff guy here to fit the bill. Carlos Hyde had a 1k yard season after being available in free agency. Jordan Howard pitched in 600 yards this season and he was traded for a sixth-rounder. Gus Edwards, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida were undrafted.
Cobble together three of those guys and get the same combined production Zeke Elliot gives the Cowboys but for pennies on the dollar, relatively.
Wide Receivers: Day two receivers may provide even better value than running backs.
2019: Deebo Samuel (2-36), AJ Brown (2-51), Mecole Hardman (2-56) DK Metcalf (2-64), Dionte Johnson (3-66), Terry McLaurin (3-76)
2018: Courtland Sutton (2-40), Christian Kirk (2-47), Anthony Miller (2-51) DJ Chark (2-61), Michael Gallup (3-81)
2017: Juju Smith-Schuster (2-62), Cooper Kupp (3-69), Chris Godwin (3-84), Kenny Golladay (3-96)
2016: Sterling Shepherd (2-40), Michael Thomas (2-47), Tyler Boyd (2-55)
A collection of All-Pro guys, Pro Bowlers, slot receivers, and everything in between. And again, this year should be no different with at least one of Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, Laviska Chenault, Jalen Reagor, Denzel Mims, Tyler Johnson, and Michael Pittman Jr. to be available on day two.
Tight End: Day two has been a goldmine for great tight ends recently. For whatever reason, the day two guys are churning out great production for their teams: Zac Ertz (2-35), Hunter Henry (2-35), Rob Gronkowski (2-42), Kyle Rudolph (2-43), Dallas Goedert (2-49), Travis Kelce (3-63), Jason Witten (3-69), Austin Hooper (3-81), Mark Andrew (3-86), Jared Cook (3-89).
Linebackers: The 2019 All-Pro team is littered with off-ball linebackers that slipped to day two: Darius Leonard (2-36) Eric Kendricks (2-45), Bobby Wagner (2-47), Demario Davis (3-77).
They can't all be All-Pro players though. And that's fine too. You can still get solid contributors at linebacker on day two: Jaylon Smith (2-34), Deion Jones (2-52), Zach Cunningham (2-57), Lavonte David (2-58), Fred Warner (3-70), Jordan Hicks (3-84).
I don't want to seem like I'm oversimplifying this into "the key is to just draft good players". It's much tougher than that. Even the best organizations all have their hits and misses. Some of these guys fall to day two for legitimate reasons, but slipping in the draft puts a chip on their shoulder (Bobby Wagner/Darius Leonard) to outperform their draft slot. Some of these guys fell to day two because of durability concerns (Gronk/Jaylon Smith/Hunter Henry) and still produce but battle injuries at the NFL level as well. Even more of them never shake out at all. That's part of the mixed bag of day two. What I'm trying to do is maximize my chances and minimize my risks.
Again, duh it sounds obvious. But I maximize my chances by trading down on day one for as many day two selections as I can acquire. I want as many lottery tickets on day two as possible because every year bad teams mess up the top of the draft and it pushes elite talent down the board. I want as many chances as possible to draft that elite talent. I minimize my risks by staying away from the prospects that aren't likely to provide my team value on day two:
- Kickers/punters. No Roberto Aguayo or Mike Nugents here, folks.
- Guys that saw their stock rise dramatically after football stopped being played. I want the guys that slide down in the draft because the workout warriors are moving up
Have you taken a look at the recent day two quarterback history? It's.....not great! 2019 is too soon to call so let's start with 2018.
2018: Mason Rudolph (3-76)
2017: Deshone Kizer (2-52), Davis Webb (3-87), CJ Beathard (3-104)
2016: Christian Hackenberg (2-51), Jacoby Brissett (3-91), Cody Kessler (3-93)
2015: Garrett Grayson (3-75), Sean Mannion (3-89)
2014: Derek Carr (2-36), Jimmy Garoppolo (2-62)
2013: Geno Smith (2-39), Mike Glennon (3-73)
2012: Brock Osweiler (2-57), Russell Wilson (3-75), Nick Foles (3-88)
2011: Andy Dalton (2-35), Colin Kaepernick (2-36), Ryan Mallett (3-74)
2010: Jimmy Clausen (2-48), Colt McCoy (3-85)
2009: Pat White (2-44)
That's ten years of NFL Drafts. Russell Wilson. A handful of solid seasons from Kaepernick and Dalton. One good Derek Carr season. Like six good games of Nick Foles and maybe less from Garoppolo. Brissett is fine. That's what we have to show for a decade of quarterbacks drafted on day two. That tells me that there is either something wrong with the quarterbacks themselves or the scouting process. A decade is a long time for that shoddy of a run so I can't blame the quarterbacks...entirely. Whatever evaluation process that has these guys as QBs pegged as worthy of high selection, has also deemed them not quite worthy of a day one talent grade. Until we get that part of scouting figured out, I'm staying away from day two quarterbacks. If I love a guy, I'll draft him first round. If I think there's a prospect there that needs refining, I'll get him on day three. Day two appears to be no man's land. Again, maximizing my chances by minimizing my risks. And day two quarterbacks are looking like a risk.
Tomorrow, we take a look at day 3 of the Draft. Tonight? We enjoy the En Eff El Draft show!