Miami Dolphins (Round 1, Pick 13):
Vernon Hargreaves III – Cornerback, Florida
The Dolphins were originally slated to select 8th overall but slid back to pick #13, in exchange for CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Dolphins also brought in new head coach Adam Gase, who went on to name Vance Joseph as his defensive coordinator. While Gase attempts to resuscitate the once promising career of QB Ryan Tannehill, Joseph will be armed with the task of turning around a talented yet lackluster defense. Schematically, Joseph intends to continue running a base 4-3 defense, which requires cornerbacks who can play man-to-man until the pass-rushers can get to the quarterback. As the defensive backs coach under head coach Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati last year, Joseph got a first hand view to the impact a cover corner have on a defense, in this case cornerback Adam Jones. With no true cover corners on the roster, Miami opts to select the best one available in this draft. By keeping Hargreaves III, the former Florida Gator, in state; Miami is able to fill their biggest need and hopes to turnaround a secondary that gave up 31 passing touchdowns last year and ranked near the bottom of the league in most pass defense statistics.
NFL Player Comparison: Joe Haden
Oakland Raiders (Round 1, Pick 14):
Reggie Ragland – Inside Linebacker, Alabama
GM Reggie McKenzie has the Raiders in the unfamiliar position of having NFL-level talent at nearly every position on the roster. Excellent scouting & development of their picks in both the 2014 and 2015 drafts (QB David Carr, WR Amari Cooper, LB/DE Khalil Mack), supplemented by key free-agent signings of LB Bruce Irvin and OL Kelechi Osemele certainly have the silver & black on the up and up. Though I believe the Raiders will be targeting a defensive lineman, given the depth at the position in this year’s draft, it is more likely that McKenzie opts to wait and fill that need with a later selection.
Reggie Ragland is the prototype of an old-school linebacker, a heat-seeking missile that delivers crushing hits to running backs coming up the middle. Some analysts cite his speed as a liability and therefore question his ability to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL. However when you turn on the tape, Ragland shows surprising athleticism for his size and more than adequate underneath coverage skills. Ragland exhibits all of the intangibles that one could hope for in an inside linebacker, which in many schemes is the “quarterback” of the front-seven on defense. Oakland selects Ragland and pencils him in right away next to Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Aldon Smith; this has the makings of a truly spectacular front-seven.
NFL Player Comparison: Lance Briggs
Tennessee Titans Receive: #10 Overall Pick (2016)
New York Giants Receive: #15 & 64 Overall Picks (2016)
New York Giants (Round 1, Pick 15):
Laquon Treadwell – Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
If you are reading this for the first time, you will notice that in yesterday’s article there was a projected trade that netted the NY Giants the #15 selection from the Tennessee Titans. After sending two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Tom Coughlin packing early in the off-season, Big Blue went on to spend $200 million on their defense during the opening days of free-agency. Though there will certainly be temptation to address their linebacker corps, the Giants have not selected a linebacker in the 1st round since selecting Carl Banks with the #3 pick in 1984.
Letting Reuben Randle walk during free agency, paired with the growing frustrations around the return of Victor Cruz signals the need for a playmaker on offense. With no running back or tight end worth taking at this spot, the Giants opt to take the first wide receiver in the draft, Ole Miss standout Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell was the #1 WR recruit during his senior year in high school, before going on to dominate the SEC during his three years at Ole Miss. Over the years the Giants have shown a propensity to select prospects that were highly touted at the high school level (i.e. Reuben Randle, Devon Kennard, Landon Collins).
If it were not for the concerns about Treadwell’s speed, he would almost certainly be a top-5 pick. Though speed is crucial to any receiver’s success, Treadwell has shown over and over again that he has the elite level ball skills to make up for the lack of burst. Every few years we see a prospect at receiver who catches every 50-50 ball and flat-out dominates on tape, only to slide down the draft board because of his 40-yard dash time. Treadwell’s skill-set matches perfectly with all-pro Odell Beckham Jr. and the two together have the potential to become as dynamic of a 1-2 combo as any at the position.
NFL Player Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins, Anquan Boldin
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.