A Look into the NFL Draft

Aiden Jones, Contributing Writer for Spokesman

The world of professional football has three exciting events in an otherwise mundane and lengthy offseason: the rookie combine where college players wishing to enter the draft can demonstrate their abilities, the first week of the trade window when all blockbuster trades go down, and most importantly, the NFL draft.

For those who do not follow sports religiously, during the draft, teams take turns choosing prospective players to add to their rosters. Although team general managers each have their own strategies, the biggest factor in determining whom a team drafts is what number pick the team has. The order that the teams pick is determined by a team’s record in the previous season.Forexample,theteamwith the worst record last season, the 2-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will pick first, and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will pick last. This same order is followed for all seven rounds of the draft. Teams can also use their picks to trade for players or other picks.

As predicted, the Buccaneers selected the highly controversial but incredibly talented signal caller from Florida State University, Jameis Winston, with their first overall pick. The FSU quarterback, measuring in at 6’4”, 227 lbs, is a physical specimen with a powerful arm and an incredible football IQ. Already having played a Pro style offense under Jimbo Fisher, he is experienced with the drop back passing technique which dominates the NFL. Winston has an incredibly high ceiling and potential to succeed in the NFL. However, it is all contingent on his off-the-field behavior. He has been reprimanded while in college for stealing from a grocery store, and yelling obscenities in school buildings, and he continues to deal with rape allegations. If he can get his act together, though, Winston could end up being the best prospect since Andrew Luck.

The other highly touted quarterback in the draft is causing just as much media speculation. Many fans suspected that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will be the target of previous Oregon coach Chip Kelly and his Philadelphia Eagles. However, the Eagles have the 20th pick in the draft, and were not high enough to grab Mariota. who ended up going to the Tennessee Titans. Many Eagles fans believed the recent trade for Sam Bradford with the St. Louis Rams was indicative of a move for a higher pick and Mariota.

A sleeper pick for the draft is Byron Jones. As projected, the cornerback from Connecticut went in the late first round to the Dallas Cowboys. He has raw athleticism, demonstrated by 44.5” vert and 147” broad jumps, that will allow him to be a physical monster and thrive in the NFL.

The beginning day of the draft is always a long awaited day for all football fans and is the final piece of the NFL offseason.