It happens after the first day, it happens after the second day, and it most certainly happens after the third day: We question and debate which teams got better in the NFL Draft.
But that may be an exercise in futility.
“You can’t evaluate a draft (right now),” NFL Network analyst and Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You got to look back for a two- or three-year perspective. This was a unique draft – not particularly exciting or sexy, but it was a draft where everybody could get healthy at whatever position they wanted. (It was hard to differentiate) the fifth player in the draft . . . in terms of skill and (determine) how much better they are than the 25th, the 55th (and) the 125th (picks). Everybody (said), ‘Boy, we can’t believe this guy’s available. He’s the highest-rated guy on our board, and everybody filled a need.’ That’s kind of what this draft was about.”
It was also about drafting prospects who can play right away, especially at wide receiver. Heck, six wideouts were taken in the first round alone. Billick believes that was a direct byproduct of the success of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and other young receivers a season ago.
“All those receivers came in and (played well) because (of) – as much as anything – a change of the rules,” Billick said. “One of the hardest positions to transition into the NFL (was) wide receiver because of the caliber of the athlete you’re playing against (and) getting off bumps that they don’t have to worry about in the college game because of the difference in athletic ability. Well, the new rules have now made wide receivers (more valuable), and I think you saw that by way of the draft. People reaching down and taking wide receivers because they’re going to have more of an impact in today’s NFL than maybe they had (in the past).”
While wide receivers are becoming some of the sexiest, most coveted draft picks in the NFL, it’s nice to know that the running back position isn’t entirely dead. A pair of running backs – Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon – went in the top 15 to the Rams and Chargers, respectively, while T.J. Yeldon went 36th overall to Jacksonville.
“It was good to see two backs (drafted) with Gurley going at 10 and Melvin Gordon going at 15,” Billick said. “That position has been so devalued. To see those guys go that early in the draft, it was just good to see that people do still hold that as a commodity.”
The Rams, in particular, could be an intriguing team heading into next season. They went 6-10 last year with Austin Davis and Shaun Hill. Nick Foles is certainly an upgrade, and Gurley could be the best offensive player in the draft.
“This is a team that’s right on the edge of stepping into that next level of being a playoff team,” Billick said. “We’ve seen Nick Foles have solid quarterback play, and if Gurley can stay healthy and they don’t have to push him into early duty (and can let his knee heal), it could be a great pick.”