San Francisco 49ers (Round 1, Pick 7):
Myles Jack – Linebacker / Running Back, UCLA
Myles Jack has athleticism you simply cannot teach. In 2013, Jack won the Pac-12 Rookie of the Year Award as both an offensive and defensive player. Much in the same manner as Carolina’s 1st round pick in 2015, Shaq Thompson, Jack excelled both as a running back and linebacker. For as highly regarded as Thompson was, Jack is on an entirely different level.
Back in the mid-90s when Monte Kiffin drew up the Tampa 2 defense, he emphasized the value of having a speedy linebacker who could drop into coverage in the middle of the field. Kiffin was lucky enough to find the prototype Tampa 2 linebacker late in the 1st round of the 1995 draft in Derrick Brooks. The NFL continues to become more of a pass-oriented league and because of this linebackers are asked to drop into coverage more than ever. With the elite athleticism to be able to make plays all over the field paired with the cover skills of a safety, Myles Jack has everything it takes to be great. Let’s hope the knee question marks are behind him.
NFL Player Comparison: Derrick Brooks, Shaq Thompson
Cleveland Browns (Round 1, Pick 8):
Ezekiel Elliott – Quarterback, Ohio State
After trading out of the #2 pick yesterday, the Browns receive this pick from the Eagles. Cleveland probably has the most talent-void roster in the NFL, as they look to start fresh under an entirely new front-office and coaching staff. Ezekiel Elliott is a true 1st round talent at the running back position, with arguably the most polished blocking skills of any running back I’ve ever seen in college. Newly hired head coach Hue Jackson loves to run the ball, which should also help to relieve some of the weight that rests upon QB Robert Griffin III’s shoulders. When Jackson was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, the team took Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill in back-to-back drafts with 2nd round picks; proving how important the run game is in Jackson’s system. At this point in the draft, Elliott is the best player available and is a no-brainer for Cleveland.
NFL Player Comparison: Todd Gurley
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Round 1, Pick 9):
Ronnie Stanley – Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
After snatching up WR Mike Evans & QB Jameis Winston early in the 1st round of the 2014 and 2015 draft, respectively, Tampa Bay appears to finally be headed in the right direction. That being said the Buccaneers’ roster has plenty of holes and; therefore GM Jason Licht can choose to go in multiple directions with this pick. Buccaneers fans have been waiting a long time for a franchise QB to come their way, so it only makes sense that protecting Jameis Winston would be a top priority. After taking offensive guard Ali Marpet in the 2nd round last year, Tampa hopes to solidify their offensive front by taking Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley. Stanley will be an immediate starter who projects as a true NFL left-tackle. Although not the sexiest pick, it will be one Tampa certainly won’t regret.
NFL Player Comparison: Anthony Davis, Ereck Flowers
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please like and comment if you enjoyed the article, and make sure to check back for the rest of Round 1.