By Drew Zuhosky
Later tonight at just past 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the newly-relocated Los Angeles Rams will go on the clock with the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
In all, 31 of last year’s top college football players will hear their names announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in this evening’s first round.
The draft shakeup for this year’s order began a few weeks after last year’s draft ended when the New England Patriots were stripped of their first round pick, which would prove to have been 29th overall, as a result of “Deflategate.”
Two weeks ago this morning, the Tennessee Titans, who clinched the first pick in the draft with a 3-13 record last year, traded the pick to the Rams for Los Angeles’ 15th overall pick.
Last Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles joined the fracas of pre-draft trades. Not long after I wrote the initial draft of this column, the Browns and Eagles swapped picks in tonight’s first round, Cleveland holding #8, Philadelphia holding #2.
The obvious question is “who won this trade?” With it being a pre-draft trade, nobody knows who they’ll use the picks on. It’s way too early for an answer.
In addition, the Browns now hold a third round draft pick (#77 overall) tomorrow night and a fourth round draft pick on Saturday (#100 overall), along with a first round draft pick in 2017 and a fourth round draft pick in 2018. The Eagles will hold a fourth round draft pick next year after this trade.
The big drama surrounding tonight’s opening round is the quarterback competition between Jared Goff out of The University of California and Carson Wentz out of the defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State University. Who goes where?
If you follow the NFL Network closely like I do, chances are you’ve already read what Mike Silver thinks the Rams will do with the first pick. Silver has sided with the Rams going for Goff.
I agree with Silver’s opinion here. The Rams need a quarterback who’d be able to play a game this weekend if they had to. After having watched footage of Goff’s pro day, I can say that Goff is that guy. He has the proper skill set needed to be a pro quarterback.
Goff is a Cal prospect. The fan base out there in L.A. should already be familiar with what he’s able to do. If the Rams draft Goff with the #1 pick, it’ll be a smart move.
With the Browns now all but out of the running for Wentz, the Dallas Cowboys seem to be a probable fit for him. If you search the keyword “Carson Wentz Dallas Cowboys” into Google, the first result that pops up is an SBNation mock draft article outlining reasons as to why Dallas should take him.
As you’ll recall, the Cowboys’ coaching staff oversaw the North team at the Senior Bowl back in January, a team featuring Wentz. With Cleveland picking later in the first round, this is a gift-wrapped opportunity for the Cowboys to draft Wentz.
Still, there’s a chance that the Cowboys won’t draft Wentz at #4 later on tonight. He may be drafted #2 by Philadelphia. The Eagles have some good options at #2, like running back Ezekiel Elliott out of The Ohio State University.
Elliot ran for just over 1,800 yards last fall. scoring 23 touchdowns en route to a Fiesta Bowl win for the Buckeyes. He was really phenomenal in 2014, especially in his team’s postseason run.
In the three postseason games OSU played in the 2014 season, Elliott gained 696 rushing yards, scoring eight touchdowns over that span.
Even still, the Eagles could pass both Wentz and Elliott up in favor of Jalen Ramsey, defensive back out of Florida State University. Last year, Ramsey made 52 tackles and one sack. Two years back, Ramsey notched 75 tackles and three sacks.
As fans of the NFL, we have the easiest pick of the entire draft to make, a choice between watching the coverage on ESPN or the coverage on NFL Network.
This is the final Press Box Perspective of the semester. Good luck on your final exams and congratulations to all graduating students. Enjoy the summer, one that has some great sporting events coming up.
Thanks for reading this column, everybody