top of page
  • Writer's pictureNicholas Vichinsky

NFL Draft Takeaways

Updated: May 7, 2023




Last weekend was the NFL draft. If you didn't see it, it was an interesting one. For the first time in a long time the possibilities of order and NFL team moves were unpredictable. Because of this, it was a good time to try to understand the trends in the NFL. A lot of the following points build off of each other, but to a degree have a more individualized aspects.


1. The Media's Job is Story, Not Evaluation.

It's natural to all of us. We get intrigued by stories. We want our team to pick the long shot Quarter Back that has an opportunity to make it to the next level. The difference is that this story line does not align with evaluation. Teams have "their" guy - I'll talk about this next - that they salivate over. This does not align with fan and media predictions, often, because it doesn't speak to the talent of the player. I will say that this is mostly the case for QBs. This year it was Will Levis. While I think Colts could have went any QB that was available at that position, they chose a high upside player. In reality, Levis' tape, production, and success in college was that of a second round player. The media predicted him in the first because of the perceived value of a solid QB. However, when a NFL GM watches the tape, takes into account the success, he's a second round pick (Side Note #1).


This is also seen, for example, with Gibbs and Robinson - the opposite way. NFL Media, and contracts, tell us there is little value in picking a RB high. Most projections had Robinson in the mid-to-late first and Gibbs dropping to the second - mostly because of these stories. Talent evaluation, on the other hand, makes it hard to pass up someone that can change the tone of the game. These prospects got picked where they did, not because of perceived value but because of true talent and evaluation.


2. Potential > Security

This point is an elaboration on point number one - but the model of drafting has changed. No longer is day one and day two about filling pieces. To a degree, it's about hitting a "boom" player. Take, for example, Anthony Richardson. No Quarter Back that has been drafted that high has ever had less passing attempts in college. What got him drafted that high? His athleticism and his ceiling - GMs saw that he is nowhere close to his maximum potential and that thought had them drawing hearts in their notebooks after school. Now, this just so happens that the "boom" aligns with needs here, but this is also seen by teams aforementioned: Lions, Falcons, Washington (Emmaunel Forbes), Chargers (Quinten Johnston), Buccaneers (Calijah Kancey).


This mentality, has a degree of credibility. If you pick "that guy" you have years of potential success, if not success then a potential piece to add and build around. If "that guy" turns into a bust, then you have another high pick to get it right the following year. Bijan and Jahmyr are testaments to that - or the Lions history of RB picks. People argue the Bijan was a terrible pick for the rebuild process. The counter to this is that, maybe he gives the Falcons the identity to build around. Another case study of this new approach was the Wide Receiver class. Common Mock Drafts had JSN the first receiver off of the board followed by Addison. What happened instead was Quinten Johnston and Zay Flowers jumping in front of Addison. A conclusion could be made that both of these players had not hit their capped potential yet, while Addison had. This is a similar argument made for Hooker. The draft has turned just as much about finding pieces to mold as it is finding security pieces.


3. The Big One

Here is the truth most fans, management, coaches don't care unless you are competing for a championship. Really, this is what the other two points amount to. If you're not continually putting yourself in the position - aggressively - to make those changes then you aren't serving that goal correctly. People may have disagreed with the Lions offensive heavy draft by they are graded number one in Next Gen Stats. The Texans traded up for a franchise player (potentially) on both sides of the ball. Eagles took the best guy available and added depth and leverage to an already scary defense. In honor of this, let's consider some winners and losers in the draft.

Winners

Detroit Lions: Although I don't like all of their draft moves, I certainly like their talent they brought on board. If I'm considering some of the trends I brought to consideration then they hit the new mold on its head. Brad Holmes said "we don't draft scared" - I think that was epitomized.


Tennessee Titans: Titans took a mix of players that they needed and a players that could be game changers. Will Levis is well highlighted in this article, but they also added, arguably, the best tackle in the draft. They added an electric Running Back that will work to split some reps with an aging but indestructible Henry. He has a different build but can be compared to the likes of Tony Pollard.


New York Giants: New York takes a potential Boom or bust Deonte Banks as their number one pick. While he has some flaws in his tech game, he has that potential to be a number one corner. Not only this, but he scored near perfectly on the athleticism score (9.99/10). This is a type of player that is being highlighted in this article. They take another great piece at Center - John Michael Shmitz - a player that was projected in the first but dropped to them in the second. Many argue is undersized but plays with leverage has has potential to grow. This trend goes well, too with their third round pick Jalin Hyatt. He had lots of flaws in his game but again has huge potential to grow considering his athletic build.


HM: Pittsburg Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles (Honestly have the best draft in my opinion), Seattle Seahawks.


Losers


Conclusion

Overall, this may be a paradoxical article. One that points to story lines as an enemy of true talent and evaluation, yet is building a story line about draft and its outcome. The truth of the matter is that we don't know how draft strategies work out. However, I think that this draft epitomizes the burden of the Franchise player. Teams are looking for that next step to success. The draft is not meant for fill in players, it is for the next generation players.






Side Note Section

  1. I think Will Levis dropping is the best thing for him. The expectations of being a first round, top 5, pick compared to being an early second are way different. He has a lot of arm talent and athleticism. If I were him there would be a bit of relief. He's going to a team with a smart HC and a town that is kind of calling for the head of Tannehill, there will be a breath of fresh air whenever he does get a chance to prove his talent.

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page