Every NFL Draft column is the same today. Let me guess, dear sportswriter. You are going to choose five teams and call them winners. You'll choose another five and call them losers. You'll apply a school-like grading scale to each team's choice at the end of April. After reading through 30 such articles myself, it seems that some points need to be made not only about last night's first round but also about this entire process.
These thoughts are random and hold no more value than those of anyone else. At the very least, I'm not saying the Colts earned a B+ or calling the Cowboys big winners because they took a guy they never spoke with.
1. What The Tight End Is NOT Going On Here...
They say the NFL is a copycat league. After the New England Patriots made every defense shudder with the thought of having to cover both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez ever again, the prediction was that many teams would grab a tight end as a major offensive priority. The Broncos reportedly need a new Dallas Clark for Peyton Manning. The Giants were supposed to take Coby Fleener at 32.
Instead, the position went untouched just like last year when Kyle Rudolph was taken in the middle of the second round. Two years in a row and every tight end was told to have a seat. In short, it seems not everyone simply mimics what Bill Belichick does as their draft strategy.
2. Passivity Gets You Nowhere
The teams that seemed the happiest on draft night were the ones who knew who they wanted and did what they needed to get him. The Cowboys sacrificed a second rounder to get their corner. The Jags leapfrogged to grab their playmaker. The Browns gave up three extra picks to mosey up one spot. And, of course, the Patriots identified two pass rushers and moved up to get them. The rewards in each case were worth it for the team that knew exactly what they needed.
This also means that the Chiefs graciously declined two opportunities to move down in order to stand their ground and take the best 3-4 defensive tackle on the board. Whether it's a trade or a non-trade, decisive teams walked away happy. Meanwhile, teams like the Ravens were forced to move back because the guys they wanted were gone. Are the Jets happy with Quinton Coples after they failed to move up after reports said they were trying all night? The best teams know what they want and get where they need to be.
3. Instant Grades Are Useless
Here's the bottom line on "grades" at this point: they're good for entertainment only and hold zero merit whatsoever. Think about this: the guys who make the calls here have insider access at all levels, endless game tape, years upon years of training and their very livelihood depends on their ability to make the correct choice. They've researched, interviewed, analyzed, compared and then repeated the process all over again.
Let's take the Chiefs, for example. For Scott Pioli to officially choose Dontari Poe, the Chiefs front office likely had to find some consensus among multiple coaches, scouts and front office personnel. They know the exact schemes they want to run, they know what they already have on hand, and they know the opponents they have to face. It's also what they do 24/7. For fans to moan over any pick is an exercise in futility no matter how much of a stretch it seems.
4. New Faces In Means Old Faces Out
As Morris Claiborne enters, Michael Jenkins must be leaving. As Brandon Weeden is selected, Colt McCoy could be traded. Each new acquisition in the draft means that someone must leave, and that's as much a part of the draft process as knowing the rookies. Some teams are going to want instant draft assets in exchange for veteran parts they no longer need, which means Scott Pioli and company could add a player later in the draft weekend for a draft selection. With some extra cap space to work with, the Chiefs could even take on a larger contract that wiggles free.