2016 NFL Draft: Rounds 1-3 Observations

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The first two days of the 2016 NFL Draft have come and gone and there’s only rounds 4-7 before we officially hit the dead period of the offseason. So far, the draft has brought us fans a lot of entertainment. From Laremy Tunsil’s shocking draft day fall to two injured linebackers being taken at the top of round two, the 2016 Draft is one of the most exciting drafts to happen in recent memory.

Florida State has had two players drafted so far and two more are expected to go on day three. With that being said, here are some general observations from the first two days of the draft.

  • I’m really surprised Jalen Ramsey fell to the Jaguars. Most analysts had him as the top player available in this draft and several teams did as well. In the end, the Chargers pulled a fast one over us all by taking Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, a pick that no one expected them to make. And with the Cowboys valuing short-team success by taking Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, it means Ramsey was right there for the Jaguars. Honestly, I’m more surprised that the Jaguars even spent any time considering their pick. They took a good couple of minutes off of the clock and I was sure they’d have an intern sprint that card up to the podium right away.
  • All in all, I expect Ramsey to be a star in Jacksonville. He’s obviously the guy they wanted all along and will be the perfect piece for a Gus Bradley defense that has been missing an enforcer in the secondary. It is likely that he starts day one at cornerback for the Jaguars opposite of Prince Amukamara. They signed talented safety Tashaun Gibson in free agency and need more help at cornerback in a division with Andrew Luck, Brock Osweiler and Marcus Mariota. Ramsey might not be the most NFL-ready cornerback and will likely not have as good a rookie season as Ronald Darby did last year for the Buffalo Bills, but he arguably has a higher ceiling than anyone else at the position. He might struggle his rookie year, but he will be a superstar for the Jaguars down the road.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, are they building FSU East over there? They pair up Ramsey with LB Telvin Smith, who is one of the team’s leaders in the locker room. I expect Telvin to take Ramsey under his wing as he teaches him the ropes of transitioning to the pro level. Oh, and Ramsey will also be going up against WR Rashad Greene every day in practice as well. That’s a great connection to have between two football programs that are only two hours apart on I-10.
  • One last thought on the Jaguars. They are absolutely killing this draft. They snag Myles Jack in the second round to pair with Jalen Ramsey, which is an absolute steal. There was only five or six “elite” level players in this class, and the Jaguars got two of them. Props to that organization. If you’re a Jaguars fan, be happy. They are building something special over there.
  • It seems like Jameis Winston might be the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I mean, how else do you justify taking Roberto Aguayo in the second round? We spoke to Aguayo earlier this week and he said that Winston has been in the ears of the Bucs front office, trying to get them to take Aguayo. I even predicted that the best case scenario for Aguayo was a third round selection. I never believed in the second round talk. Either way, the Bucs just landed their kicker of the future. It didn’t make a lot of people happy in the media, but I think their tones will change when he makes Pro Bowls on a consistent basis for the next dozen years in Tampa.
  • Winston also seems to have had a hand in another Tampa draft pick. Earlier this week, he gave Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence some praise and wished that he could play alongside the talented pass rusher. Well what did Tampa do? They took Spence in the second round. It’s not a bad pick, though. In fact, pass rusher was a big need for the Bucs. But it is interesting to see that Winston is already becoming the face of the franchise and perhaps is more of a factor in front office decisions than we think.
  • One former FSU player that has to be happy with the results of this weekend is Chicago Bears DT Eddie Goldman. Last year, he was basically a one man show along that defensive line. In the draft, the Bears spent a first round pick on Georgia LB Leonard Floyd and a third round pick on Florida DT Jonathan Bullard. It is clear that the Bears front office recognizes that they need to give Goldman some help along the defensive line, especially in a division as tough as the NFC North.
  • Coming into the draft, we knew that former FSU and current Oakland DE Mario Edwards is dealing with a possible career-ending neck injury. But so far, we haven’t heard anything major about his recovery. Well, it looks as if the moves the Raiders have made this offseason are very telling. They signed LB/DE Bruce Irvin in free agency and spent two picks on Illinois DE Jihad Ward and Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun. With the Raiders investing in their defensive line so heavily this offseason, I have to wonder if Edwards’ neck injury is more serious than the Raiders want to admit at this time.
  • There were rumors heading into the draft that the Panthers were looking at adding another wide receiver early. They squashed those rumors quickly, going defense with their first three picks. This likely means that WR Kelvin Benjamin is right on track with his recovery and they expect him to be 100% when the regular season rolls around.
  • Despite having one of the worst passing defenses in the league last year, the Saints have not elected to take a cornerback with their first three picks. Reading in between the lines, this likely means that they believe former FSU CB P.J. Williams will play a large role for them next year. Williams missed his entire rookie season due to a hamstring injury but should be fully recovered by September.
  • Baltimore finally lands some edge help for DT Timmy Jernigan. A big problem for the Ravens last year was their inability to get to the quarterback. They addressed that on day two, taking Boise State LB/DE Kamalei Correa and BYU DE Bronson Kaufusi. With more help on the edges, it will make Jernigan’s job easier in the interior.
  • The Bills are building a nasty defense up north. They drafted Clemson DE Shaq Lawson, Alabama LB Reggie Ragland and Ohio State DT Adolphus Washington with their first three picks. Former FSU CB Ronald Darby is firmly entrenched as a starter (and should have made the Pro Bowl last year), so the Bills have focused on their front seven. With all that help up front, Darby’s job should be much easier in 2016.
  • I expect Terrance Smith and Nile Lawrence-Stample to be drafted on day three. Smith will get knocked for his injuries, but he can be a solid special teams player during his rookie year. Meanwhile, NLS will likely contribute from day one as a rotational player. If this defensive tackle class wasn’t so deep, NSL would have probably been a day two pick.

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