Gorney's Takeaways: NFL Draft
The NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday night after three days of storylines throughout the league. Here are five takeaways as another draft is in the books:
MORE NFL DRAFT: First-round report card | Did we hit or miss on first-rounders in high school?
NO NEED, ROSEN
Leading up to the NFL Draft, the book on Josh Rosen was that he was the most natural passer in the draft and arguably the most talented quarterback. Other than some injury history, the only concern around the former five-star and UCLA quarterback was whether he was coachable, a good teammate and wouldn’t run his mouth.
On draft night, Rosen did very little to assuage those fears as he said he was "pissed" that he fell to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 10 and that "nine mistakes were made ahead of me." When cooler heads prevailed the next day, Rosen changed his comments to "three mistakes" ahead of him - meaning Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are not better than him.
That may very well be true but there was no need for Rosen to say it publicly. Keep quiet, be overly thrilled to be a top 10 pick, fly to Arizona and say all the right things.
There had been questions about Rosen’s competitive spirit – with absolutely no reasoning behind those thoughts – and those comments prove any concerns unfounded. The kid is a big-time competitor, wants to be the best and could be special with the Cardinals. His "mistake" comments were wrong, though, and he now needs to stop being a college kid and start being the face of an NFL franchise.
SWEAT COULD BE BIG STEAL
I understand that Josh Sweat had a worrisome knee injury history but those concerns are overdone and the Philadelphia Eagles got an absolute steal in the fourth round. For him to fall that far, especially after blowing away the NFL Scouting Combine, is incredible.
Sweat dislocated his knee in high school and tore a ligament at Florida State, but he’s recovered from those injuries, he’s an athletic freak and he’s versatile as he can play defensive end in a 4-3 system or outside linebacker in a 3-4. He’s a perfect fit for Philadelphia and only adds to an outstanding group of defensive linemen.
The former five-star ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash at the combine and posted other impressive numbers in Indianapolis. Teams might have been scared off because of the knee injury. Philadelphia didn’t and the Super Bowl champs absolutely made the right move.
GUICE FALL IS INTERESTING
Derrius Guice tumbled all the way to the 59th pick (Washington) after talk swirled that his meetings with team executives did not go well and he was being pegged as immature and high maintenance, along with teams learning of "an incident" at LSU that had gone unreported.
All I know is that Guice has first-round ability and that the Redskins took a calculated risk that could really pay off when they picked him in the second round. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, Georgia’s Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, USC’s Ronald Jones and Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson were drafted before Guice. Come on.
There was lots of talk that when Guice took over for Leonard Fournette at LSU there would not be much drop-off and that proved to be true. Fournette, who went fourth overall, had a fantastic rookie season in Jacksonville. Guice could do the same with the Redskins.
At LSU, Fournette carried the ball 616 times for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns. On only 471 carries, Guice totaled 3,074 yards and 29 rushing TDs. Guice averaged nearly a yard more than Fournette per carry.
Unless Guice is an off-the-field problem all the time in Washington, the Redskins made a great pick in the second round.
NON-POWER FIVE STEPS UP
There were more players drafted from non-Power Five schools than from the major conferences - and by a wide margin. Through seven rounds, 74 of 256 selections (Notre Dame is included) – including Mr. Irrelevant wide receiver Trey Quinn from SMU – came from schools not in the Power Five conferences.
To put that number into context, among Power Five schools, the SEC had 53 players drafted on the high side and on the low side was the Big 12 with only 20. And the drafted players from the non-Power Five schools came from all walks, not just Notre Dame, Boise State, UCF and some other talented programs.
Wyoming and UTSA were represented in the first round. UTEP, South Carolina State, South Dakota State and Sam Houston State in the second. Others through the rounds were North Carolina A&T, Fort Hays State, Humboldt State, Weber State, Fordham, Stephen F. Austin, Maine, Central Arkansas, Virginia State, Wagner, Ferris State, Western Carolina and the best of all, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a rugby team.
If you’re good, the NFL will find you. This draft proves it.
BIG 12 ISSUES
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was the first pick in the NFL Draft, a good start for Big 12 schools to get recognition. But for the rest of Thursday night, it was crickets. And it stayed quiet for long portions of the rest of the draft.
Only 20 prospects from that conference were drafted through seven rounds, by far the lowest number among Power Five schools. Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State had four draft picks each. TCU had three, Texas Tech two and then Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia one apiece.
It was not an incredibly strong draft for Big 12 teams but it certainly has not hurt recruiting at the top. The Sooners have the top-rated recruiting class and they’re the only team nationally with two five-stars committed in receivers Theo Wease and Arjei Henderson.