Cooler Talk: NFL Draft Values and The QB

I was asked a question in the comments and I realized that my response would likely be so long that I’d rather just make an entire post to respond to it. Thus, Cooler Talk has been born! If you have a question that you’d like to ask feel free to leave a comment, find us on Facebook/Twitter or e-mail us at TheWooderCooler@gmail.com

This comment was from Ryan MacWilliams in regards to my article about the Seattle Seahawks changing the NFL culture.

My question is, do you think this change immediately impacts the 2014 NFL Draft? Last year it seemed like this year’s draft was going to be the YEAR OF THE QUARTERBACK but now it seems like the Texans are going to take Clowney with the first pick.

Are more teams going to draft defense (or lineman to protect against great defenses) and sit on the QB-WR-RB position until later rounds?

First off, thanks for the question and going through the article. Much appreciated.

Now to answer you, I do think it will have an immediate impact on the draft though it will be more subtle for now. The main change for this year will be related to buzzwords surrounding defensive backs.

I’m expecting that we’ll hear a ton about length, physicality, and ability to press cover compared to what has previously been valued. Primarily the past emphasis has been on ball skills, recovery speed, and fluidity. While in part it has to do with Seattle’s secondary as whole, it’s also related to the passing torch from Darrelle Revis to Richard Sherman.

Now you bring up Bill O’Brien and the Texans leaning towards Jadaveon Clowney, which is what really got me geared up to do this as a separate post. Because an obvious case in history here is just a few years back in time–2006 specifically–when the Texans had a debate between drafting Mario Williams or Reggie Bush.

mario williams

It was about competition. The Texans drafted Williams because he was considered a direct counter to divison rival Peyton Manning. Now it will be a career’s worth of Andrew Luck. So if the Texans pair Jadaveon Clowney with JJ Watt, dear god. That could be incredibly productive.

But it brings me back to my main point here: I think that the changes in the draft will be more directly seen in the NFC because of the conference’s structure. If you’re going to win a Super Bowl you need to beat Seattle and/or San Francisco…two bruising clubs that have proven an ability to shut down elite offenses. Therefore, you need to counter accordingly.

Oddly enough, think of the Eagles (This is a Philly site and all). Sure, the offense is the story of the year with the numbers and the records and kids with their rock music, but this team is desperate to be physical on defense. They’ve done a complete 180 from the team that was undeniably soft with the signings of guys like Cary Williams and Connor Barwin. “Big people beat up little people” has been a favorite quote from Chip’s short tenure here and a mantra for the organization. This team wants to be tough because tough defense is becoming increasingly necessary to win the big one.

As a result, all of those buzzwords could lead into some over-drafting of defensive players that fit the mold. I have my eye on two corners specifically in Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6’3″ 215 lbs) and Keith McGill (6’3″ 214 lbs). They’re graded as third round talents and if they have a solid combine I imagine their stock could skyrocket.

Now the second half of your question in regards to quarterbacks…will teams sit back on a QB in 2014? There’s a number of teams that I think should hold off, but frankly there’s a lot of bad franchises out there. I think Jacksonville is a real lock this year to draft a QB third overall as will Cleveland, who’s 4th. Then, if one of the major three prospects falls, I’d guarantee he won’t get past Tennessee at #11. Again, these are bad teams with a track record of being bad. It’s like how Lil Wayne only does rap albums…oh wait.

robert-quinn-st-louis-ramsThe team in particular to watch here is the Saint Louis Rams. The Rams, who will pick second (from the RGIII deal) and 13th had a very good year for a young team. Their defense led the league in forced fumbles (21) and recoveries (15) third in the league in sacks (53), Zac Stacy emerged as a reliable horse in the backfield, and their quarterback position is unsettled. Pair all of that with a defensive minded-coach in Jeff Fisher and I think the Rams could be a team to buck the trend. I don’t think the Rams try for a quarterback until the 13th pick at the earliest (if available) instead of forcing the issue at #2.

Like I said before, direct competition matters. Saint Louis needs to beat Seattle and San Fran at their own game twice a year. If they really want to take it to the next level then they should continue to follow the complete team model. I say continue because when you look at their history of first round picks, they’re not a very sexy team. They have a bright future ahead.

Thanks again for your question, Ryan! You’re now a co-founder of Cooler Talk!

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Follow Vince on Twitter @VQuinn_TWC

Posted on February 11, 2014, in Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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