Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Village Elliot's Predictions for the 2017 NFL Draft


Nobody believes that Emmanuel Ogbah is as good a prospect as Myles Garrett.  Does that mean the Browns will pull the plug on him as a Right Defensive End, in order to play Garrett? 

The Village Elliot knows nothing about NFL Football, but nevertheless I feel compelled every year to make predictions about how the draft will play out, especially for our Cleveland Browns.  Here goes: 

 1.  I think the Browns have been interested to trade out of the Number One position, though it appears that there are no takers willing to pay the price for Myles Garrett.  There are several reasons why they tried. First of all, r
emember that the draft is being run by analytical statisticians rather than old jocks.  The stat guys seem to believe that the NFL over-values early picks, (and I tend to agree based on my more primitive but still analytics-based study).  They traded out last year even though there was a pretty good quarterback available in Carson Wentz. I think the same though processs is at work this year.  Another reason is that from last year's draft the best results were achieved at defensive end and quarterback.  Despite having a 3-4 defense last year, the Browns took two 4-3 defensive ends in  Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib.  Neither of them are anywhere near Myles Garrett, but nevertheless they presumably believe in their 2016 draftees to a certain extent. They don't really want to move Ogbah to the left side, and they don't really want to bench Nassib.   If they can get huge value from a team like Chicago, Jacksonville or New York, I think they might still do it.    But if it hasn't happened yet, it's doubtful that it will happen at the last minute.    If they can't get that kind of a deal,  they will be delighted to draft Myles Garrett.  Nobody is perfect or zero risk, but Garrett is the closest we have to a sure-fire starter. 

2.  The Browns will draft playmakers at strong safety and defensive tackle, and they also will look for help early at right tackle on offense.    

3.  The Browns will continue to build their stash of draft picks. They will trade a few 2017 picks to move up in the 2018 draft. They may also deal away Brock Osweiler as part of this process. 
4.  The Browns are not going to go nuts for a quarterback.  I believe they have done the risk benefit analysis, and my amateur guess is that they believe that the rest of the league over-values first round quarterbacks, and undervalues them in Rounds 2-4.  That is the primary place to find a quarterback. The full rationale is contained elsewhere in this blog, but basically the idea is that the investment cost is lower in the middle rounds, but the quarterback level of success doesn't drop off that much in the middle rounds. So I think the analytics probably say to take one every year, until such time as they are three deep in winning quarterbacks. But the best strategy is usually not to take them early in the first round.  Cody Kessler was very good last year on a bad team, and is at least the quarterback of the present. Who knows, he may improve in his second and third year.  I can't imagine pulling the plug on him after one year, which wasn't a bad one.  

Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown understand  how to trade up and trade down better than anyone else, in my opinion.  However, the Browns scouting has been below average. 

5.  I think MItchell Trubisky will be gone by 6th overall if not sooner, and Pat Mahomes will be right behind him.  The Browns will get a guy like Joshua Dobbs or Jerod Evans in the second or third round. Yeah, Mitchell is a little better, but not enough of an upgrade to justify (say) fifth overall versus second or third round.   The Browns may also take a serious look at  Chad Kelly if he survives till Round 6, on the grounds that they can probably hide him on the Reserve Squad without another team plucking him away.  Teams will shy away from him due to his possibly still-healing knee injury and growth issues off the field.   Kelly has a cannon but needs to mature as a player and also learn to avoid the temper flare-ups that have cost him as a college player. That's a big risk, and it's also the reason he is not a first round pick.  

6.  Deshaun Watson is going to slide all the way out of the first round. He was a great quarterback in college, but he had the best receiving corps in the nation last year, and still lead major qbs in interceptions. Not good. Then at the combine, he threw only 49 mph, which is horrifically slow.  No NFL quarterback has ever been successful with a 49 mph unless you want to count Mike Glennon or Matt Flynn.  I compare Watson to Tim Tebow who was a star college player who was a good runner but not good enough in the pocket.   I think Deshaun might win if he is in a running oriented offense, such that he can make plays a la Tyrod Taylor.  In fact I think Buffalo is the best place for him, or maybe Seattle or Carolina.  

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