As we all know, this is the time to keep tabs on football. All of the trades and free agent signings are passed us. It is time to see how every NFL team completes their offseason. Through the draft.
This year's draft brought excitement, disappointment, and curiosity about every pick. In the end, we don't know whether the #1 pick will be going to Canton, or end up as a huge draft bust. However, it doesn't mean that we can't give our own opinion's about what we have learned from this year's first round.
Like always, a good amount of quarterbacks were selected. This year, 3 of them were selected. They were Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins. What was surprising, was that they were selected at unexpected spots. Murray went 1 to the Cardinals which was expected, but not guaranteed since they had Josh Rosen who had just completed his rookie season. Nonetheless, I think Murray will thrive in Kliff Kingsbury's pass happy offense better than Josh Rosen would, and he'll make a positive impact on the Cardinals. I have a problem with Daniel Jones. I don't think he did enough at a small football program in Duke to be selected at 6. The Giants could've waited on him and select another talented player in the draft with more potential. The Redskins hit a home run in Haskins. In what was a season that showed a lot of dysfunction within the organization, Washington needed to get a quarterback and they got it in Haskins, a guy who threw for 50 touchdown passes and ran for 4 scores while only throwing for 8 interceptions. If there's someone that can turn around this franchise, he'd be the one to do it.
The star unit of players selected in this draft however, were defensive lineman. A total of 11 defensive linemen were selected in this year's draft. Five of them were in the top 10. Most notably, was Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Allen, and Ed Oliver. Those who are most likely to succeed are Bosa, Williams, Allen, and Oliver. Despite putting up decent numbers, Bosa is seen as an impact player for the 49ers with lots of potential for a successful translation to the NFL. Williams, who was selected by the Jets, is seen as the best defensive player in this draft thanks to his size on the interior and his quickness on the edge. Both of those factors will be essential to Gregg Williams' defense in the years to come. Allen, who progressed in his career at Kentucky, will be going to a Jaguars team with a really good defensive line in Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. If he can impact the team's fortunes like Kentucky, he'll have an amazing career. Oliver will be another piece to a young and already effective Bills defense. It'll be a question if Oliver can adapt to the NFL as well as the cold weather, but if he can, Buffalo will have a defense to be reckoned with in the years to come.
The final thing that we learned from this draft, was that there were lots of surprising and statement picks. Some teams reached on players that they could've drafted with their other first round picks. The first surprise was that the Jets, who traded away 2 second round picks to the Colts so they could draft quarterback Sam Darnold, would trade down for more overall draft picks. But New York had other ideas. They decided to use the 3rd pick to get Williams, who has all of the skills for a really good career. Raiders had the 4th pick in the draft and they needed a pass rusher to fill in the void of Khalil Mack. With the Jets' selection of Williams, it appeared likely that Oakland would select Allen, but they instead went with Ferrell. I don't think that Ferrell will be bad, but I don't think he's a top 5 pick in the draft. The Giants raised the most eyebrows with their pick. Needing a quarterback to succeed Eli Manning, they selected Daniel Jones who in my opinion, won't be the savior the Giants think he'll be. The final pick that raised my eyebrows at least, was the Ravens' selection of Marquise Brown. Last year, they made the playoffs because of the improvement from their offense while their defense remained amongst the best in the league. But in the offseason, they lost 4 major contributors in Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, and Za'Darius Smith. So it was expected that they'd select a defender in this draft. But with linebacker Devin Bush taken by the Steelers, the Ravens decided to upgrade their offense with Brown. Since he now gives Lamar Jackson a go to receiver and is the final piece for a potential triplets duo along with the newly acquired running back Mark Ingram, Baltimore's offense will be exciting in the years to come.
There's nothing like a draft in which we can have lots of takeaways based on the selections that happened. There were some surprises such as Jones going before Haskins. Unsurprising were the 11 selections of defensive linemen, proving that it is now one of the most valued positions in today's NFL. The bottom line is that while we never officially know who's going to be good or bad, we can still learn from every draft class, and here's my analysis of this year's draft.
On Wednesday, March 13, former Pittsburg Steelers running back and all pro Le'Veon Bell signed a 4 year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets. It was a surprising amount of money for a guy that sat out for all of 2018, but nevertheless, it was a good contract for the Jets since many people expected a bigger deal. What the Jets also got was a lot more positives out of his contract. Here's why.
One reason this deal should be great for everyone involved, is that Bell is an amazing talent. From 2014-2017, Bell has averaged 1,119 rushing yards, 565 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. He has continuously shown an amazing ability which is to make plays with all of the patience he has. Bell knows when to strategically wait from 3-5 seconds before making a play. Most importantly, Bell's all around skills as a running back have contributed to wins. In 3 out of Bell's 5 seasons in the NFL, he rushed for 1,000 yards. In those 3 seasons, the Steelers won their division. Bell will most likely bring all of those qualities to the Jets.
Bell is the kind of player who will make the other players on the offense around him better. He is someone who, despite being the great player he is individually, can also improve certain areas of the offense, Throughout his career in Pittsburgh, Bell has improved their running game, passing attack, and pass protection. For a Jets offense that already has a young core of talent in quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Elijah McGuire, wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, and tight end Chris Herndon IV, this is a major improvement regarding talent and reliability.
The final reason is because Le'Veon was a polarizing figure in Pittsburgh, he's in need of a fresh start in New York. In his final 2 seasons with the Steelers, everyone knew that besides playing for individual and team success, Bell was also playing for a new contract. After 2016, he rejected a 5 year contract extension which forced the Steelers to place the franchise tag on him to prevent him from entering free agency. After 2017, the Steelers had to tag him again. However, his agent reported that 2018 will be Bell's last season as a Steeler. What Bell also did surprised lots of players, fans, and analysts: he sat out for the entire season. Now that Bell has a fresh start with a team with lots of potential, his team placement won't be as stressful as it was in Pittsburgh.
So not only did the Jets simply get a great player in Le'Veon Bell, but they got a guy who makes others around him better, knows how to win, and will be in a better situation than he was earlier in his career. Jets defensive tackle and Bell's former teammate in Pittsburgh Steve McLendon perfectly summed up Bell's qualities back in December saying, "If you get him in here, I know one thing about him. When he steps foot in this building, you're going to get 100 percent from this guy." He continued by saying that people should, "just know that he's going to bring out the best out of so many people. Just imagine: He'd be the Jamal Adams on offense. Loud. Energetic. Confident. And you know he's going to make plays." As things stand now, we know the fantasy has become a reality and hopefully, that reality will translate into one of greatest moves ever made by the Jets.