7 Takeaways from the First Round of the NFL Draft

ToddGurley

Todd Gurley – Run the Ball and Play Defense

Todd Gurley is going to a team that probably wants to run the ball and play defense. From that standpoint his dynasty value could be really high. The only thing that somewhat tempers my expectations is that I see backfield competitions as being like a gauntlet. Gurley is in all likelihood the most talented back in St. Louis. But he also has other talented backs in that backfield. Even if you eliminate Zac Stacy, as the coaches appear to have done, Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham have both shown flashes of being competent running backs. It’s not as plum a situation as Melvin Gordon’s,  where the other backs on the roster have either shown themselves to be specialists, or stiffs. In all likelihood Gurley wins or is given the job and is a star. Maybe there’s some small percent chance that while Gurley is coming back from his injury Mason looks amazing and they end up in a two-back timeshare.

Breshad Perriman – Will Talent Meet Opportunity?

Baltimore had 184 missing targets before the draft, so Breshad Perriman should be given every chance to succeed. He might be this year’s Kelvin Benjamin where it’s really tough to parse out how great he is of a prospect due to mixed signals from his production and athletic profiles, but the situation is so great that you have to target him. Maybe he’s a bust, or maybe those 184 missing targets in Baltimore are like pouring gasoline on his 4.3 forty time.

The Confusing Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon also has some mixed signals between his production and athletic profiles. It’s tough to remember a back who was drafted in the first round, averaged seven yards per carry in his last season of college, but has just okay size and speed. But Gordon’s situation is also going to provide the safety you need to draft him in a dynasty league. But the more interesting question is where you should draft him. After Gurley and Amari Cooper are off the board my perception of this year’s first round skill players is that things are pretty flat.

Chip Kelly? Chip Kelly! Chip Kelly?

Chip Kelly is a riddle wrapped in a paradox wrapped in a drunken sailor. If the reports from last night are true at all, PHI was prepared to make a Godfather offer for the number two pick so they could take Marcus Mariota. The interesting thing is that doing so would have essentially made their Sam Bradford trade irrelevant. Wouldn’t they have been in a better situation to acquire that pick if they’d never traded for Bradford? That’s a serious question. I don’t know what I’m missing here. On one hand you have to extend a lot of deference to Kelly for turning a Nick Foles/Mark Sanchez offense into a top 10 offense in the NFL. Most coaches endlessly blame lack of personnel (read: quarterback) on their inability to score. Kelly takes chickenshit and makes a creme brûlée. But it also seems like his personnel decisions are made via random number generator.

Agholor or Parker?

Even with the Kenny Stills trade and Jordan Cameron signing, MIA is short 186 targets from 2014. Devante Parker should also be in a situation to succeed. This is what I mean when I say things are flat. Who should be taken first in a rookie draft: Parker, or Nelson Agholor? Both are going into offenses that tend to run a lot of plays. Both were selected in roughly the same part of the draft. Both have production profiles where you can find things to like, but also aren’t flawless. In a situation like that I would generally have the cheaper of the options assuming I can get some kind of a discount.

Kevin White – The Stakes are High

Out of all of the first round situations I think I’ll probably spend the most time examining Kevin White. The stakes seem to be the highest in his case. We’ve seen two big receivers succeed in CHI before. But I also sort of think of Michael Floyd a little bit when I think of White. If Floyd had gone to a situation where things were wide open, and he wasn’t competing for targets with an established star, I kind of suspect that his career might have gone differently. Instead Floyd has generated just a handful of startable fantasy games in his career. It’s also worth noting the CHI offense that generated value for two star receivers did that against bottom of the league defenses in games where CHI was also trailing. It was like a 100-year storm. But I suppose if I’m being fair to Floyd, his career might also have turned out differently if he had a QB with just Jay Cutler-level competency.

Note that Alshon Jeffery is an unrestricted free agent after 2015 although the team could could place the franchise tag on him or work out an extension between now and then.

Cutler was trading at a massive discount in MFL10s, so I think he benefits quite a bit from this pick.

A Bar So Low You Could Step Over It

In Amari Cooper’s case I’ll just let OAK’s returning targets do the talking (Michael Crabtree not pictured):

NAME TRGS RECS YDS TDS
JAMES JONES 111 73 650 6
MYCHAL RIVERA 100 58 534 4
ANDRE HOLMES 99 47 693 4
KENBRELL THOMPKINS 48 21 262 0
BRICE BUTLER 35 21 280 2