Everyone in the NFL woke up excited this morning (if they slept at all)! Like expectant fathers hundreds of coaches, scouts, assistants, general managers and current NFL players began the day in anticipation.
Only one team know exactly what will happen today and that is the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams. Some of the other 31 teams may have a good guess. Philadelphia knows at least one of the top two quarterbacks will be available. San Diego can count on getting a player they really wanted since they were never in the market for a quarterback. After those selections everyone else is hoping to get a player that five or ten years from now will be considered the steal of the draft. Someone like Dan Marino, the 27th pick for the Miami Dolphins in 1983. Or maybe Tom Brady, the 199th overall pick in the 6th round of 2000.
The wild speculation and ever-changing mock drafts are done and for the next three days teams will try to fill needs, add depth, or simply take a chance on a quality athlete from a small school who could become the next Jerry Rice (Miss. Valley State) or JJ Watt (Central Michigan).
How well a team does won’t be determined for a year or two, unless every pick is a bust. Some players are a known project. If the Saints take Paxton Lynch (QB/Memphis) as is predicted by some draft analysts, he would spend at least one year, and possibly several, learning behind Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for several years and that turned out okay! But the Saints finished last year 7-9 and with Brees nearing the end of his career the Saints need to get an immediate impact from this draft.
Here’s hoping they follow conventional wisdom and draft for their glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball. Over a month ago I suggested they take Sheldon Rankins, the most versatile defensive lineman in the draft, who can play both inside and out. I would be happy with an edge rusher, any upgrade in the secondary or even an outside linebacker.
Will they finally decided to take a player with Louisiana ties? Deion Jones (LB/LSU), Vernon Butler (DT/Louisiana Tech), Jalen Mills (S/LSU) and Vadal Alexander (OG/LSU) all play positions where the Saints need upgrades. After passing on local players like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, both of whom ended up with the Arizona Cardinals, and Eric Reid, of the 49ers, the Saints could use some home grown magic.
Today is the day that each team welcomes their newest addition and for a few brief moments all is well. That’s the beauty of the draft. For the next three months everyone will think that their “baby” is the most beautiful in the nursery. However, only a few of these selections will turn out to be football “prodigies”. Let’s hope the Saints bring home a winner!