NFL Draft: 2016 analysis

Peter Shannon, Contributing Writer

There is always a certain sense of speculation going into the NFL draft. Every team wants to make the right pick, but sometimes taking an offensive lineman in the first round lacks the big headline that fans want. This year’s annual selection meeting was an absolute doozy. From the first pick to the aptly named “Mr. Irrelevant” (the last player taken), it was possible to find a headline in every single round. What this year’s NFL draft gave the fans was suspense and curiosity. After day three, what most analysts do is look back at each team’s pick, diagnose the fit, value, and speculation, and choose winners and losers from the spectacle that is the draft. Here is my assessment of the 2016 NFL draft.

Winner: The Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have been the laughing stock of the league since their last playoff appearance in 2007. However, now it seems that the Jaguars are gaining a bit of an edge in the heretofore marginal AFC South. With the addition of arguably the two best defensive players in the draft, Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, plus the signings of former Bronco Malik Jackson, former Brown Taushaun Gipson, and former Giant Prince Amukamara, the Jaguars’ once weak defense is about to become a force to be reckoned with. A unanimous winner from the draft among experts, the Jaguars will look to improve upon their 5-11 record from last year.

Loser: Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. A prospect who was once considered to be the first overall pick, he had a very turbulent evening in Chicago. Just 13 minutes before the ESPN broadcast started, Tunsil’s twitter account was hacked, posting a video of him smoking marijuana. This video ended up with him losing approximately 13 million dollars in contract value, as he slid from the then projected 6th pick, all the way to the Miami Dolphins at 13.

Winner: The Ohio State University. Ohio State was bound to set records. A total of 15 Buckeyes entered the draft, with 12 being selected, and 3 signing as undrafted free agents. The question surrounding the Buckeyes now is, how did they not win a national championship? 10 of these players went in the first 3 rounds, probably making them one of the greatest draft classes ever to come out of a school.

Loser: Certainty. The tough thing about the NFL draft is that all of this criticism is arbitrary. These young men have not even shown up to an NFL mini-camp, and all the speculation is about how they will do when they finally hit the field on Sunday. The draft is about investment, and teams sometimes put all their cards on the table in order to ensure that they get their guy. Take this year’s number one and two picks for example. The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles both traded a king’s ransom in order to get the first two picks, and it could either work out, or it could crash and burn like Washington’s RGIII experiment. The NFL draft is a spectacle for fans as they watch these young players sitting in a green room, waiting to get that call, walk across the stage, and hug the commissioner. Whether they boo, cheer, or anything in between, the draft gives fans a chance to get excited about the future and what it might entail.