There’s no explaining it, but I’m really excited for this year’s NFL Draft.
Maybe it’s because of the number of potential draftees from West Virginia University.
Karl Joseph has the potential to become the fourth Mountaineer drafted in the first round over the last five years. And the 2016 draft has the potential to be the fifth time in the last six years that at least three WVU players overall, especially after four were selected last year.
Or maybe it’s because this has the chance to be one of the best draft classes in history. Maybe there isn’t a clear-cut franchise QB that’s destined to make a career out of continuously being in the playoffs, but there are a lot of really good players on both sides of the ball with a lot of upside.
With this in mind, and the draft less than 48 hours away, I wanted to take this opportunity to submit my draft “wish list,” kind of like my list for the Santa Claus of the draft world.
Karl Joseph to the Redskins
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s possible that Joseph could be drafted in the first round. And why shouldn’t he be?
He’s a safety who not only knows how to drop back in coverage and pick off passes, but he also knows how to lay the wood on any receiver that tries to make a catch within the confines of whatever stadium he’s playing in.
The knock against Joseph is the knee injury he suffered on a non-contact play in practice early in the College Football season last fall, but given how early in the season the injury occurred, the now former Mountaineer should be ready for the start of the season.
Joseph was recently ranked as the ninth-best player in the draft by ESPN’s Jeff Legwold (article), but the injury will likely force him to fall at least into the later stages of the first round (and potentially into the second).
A team that could use help on the defensive side of the ball, but also just got another experienced defensive back to help show him the ropes, is the Washington Redskins.
Washington won the NFC East a season ago, and with the recent addition of Josh Norman, are poised to have another successful season.
Joseph would certainly improve the Redskins’ chances of repeating as division champs, and (selfishly speaking) will hopefully make the upcoming campaign slightly more bearable for me and Redskin fans everywhere.
Joey Bosa to the Jaguars
It’s no secret that Joey Bosa has star potential in the NFL.
At 6’5” and 270 lbs, he’s got the body and motor that resembles J.J. Watt, and if my wish comes true, he’ll be in the same division as the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s also no secret that the AFC South is a very winnable division, with both the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars getting better with moves over the offseason.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could propel themselves fully into the playoff picture if they get their first-round pick right. And recent history shows they will.
In the 2014 draft, Jacksonville used its first pick on Blake Bortles, who has turned into a franchise quarterback, and used one of its second-round picks on Allen Robinson, who led the team in receiving yards last year.
A year later, in the 2015 draft, the Jags selected T.J. Yeldon in the second round, and the rookie was the team’s leading rusher in his first year in the NFL.
Plus, look at all the other good things Jacksonville has going on on the defensive side of the ball.
Dante Fowler will return from injury this season; Paul Posluszny is a proven veteran; Telvin Smith has recorded 100-plus tackles in each of his first two seasons; and former Bronco defensive end Malik Jackson elected to head to Jacksonville in free agency.
Joey Bosa would put this team over the top.
Cowboys don’t get either Bosa or Ezekiel Elliott
There is another reason I want Bosa to go to the Jaguars – it’s because I badly want him to go anywhere but inside the NFC East.
The same goes for fellow Buckeye, running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott has the skill set to be the next great rusher in the NFL.
But before the Jags can pick Bosa, and before any team will likely pick Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys will likely have a shot at both players with the No. 4 pick,
So, Mr. Jerry Jones, let’s save me and all the other wonderful Redskins fans the worry, and tell you that you should not draft either Bosa or Elliott.
There is no need for you to take Elliott, considering you already have Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. However, that’s exactly why you would draft him, you crazy old man, isn’t it?
Bosa would solve a lot of problems on your end, but hear me out… Literally take any player other than these two.
Heck, I don’t care; waste your No. 4 overall pick on a quarterback. You and I both know Tony Romo’s going to miss a few games this year. You might as well have a serviceable backup, right?
Point being, Jerry Jones – when your team is on the clock Thursday, just remember that OSU defeated your alma mater Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Don’t draft a Buckeye.
No one takes a flyer on Christian Hackenberg
There aren’t any great quarterbacks in this draft.
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz certainly have their upsides, and have emerged as the top two players at the position, but it’s not like a few years ago when the Colts and Redskins had to pick between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, or even last year when the Buccs and Titans had to pick between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.
Paxton Lynch is likely the third-best QB in this year’s class, and a team may trade up into the first round, or early second round, in order to make him a member of their team.
After Lynch, though, there is a noticeable drop off in talent.
One name fans will hear a lot about during Day 2 of the draft, will be Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State.
In three years as a starter in Happy Valley, he threw just seven more touchdowns than interceptions (38:31). Just last year alone, five quarterbacks threw 38 or more touchdowns.
Hackenberg never completed more than 20 touchdown passes in a single season during his college career, and in two of his three years as a starter, threw double-digit interceptions.
People give him a pass, saying “But he had such a bad offensive line…” Stop it people!
There have been plenty of quarterbacks that have had good careers in spite of bad offensive line play.
If I was an NFL executive, and actually valued success of my team in both the near and distant future, I wouldn’t draft Hackenberg.
At least half of the WVU players I think could get drafted actually do get drafted
This was a great senior class at WVU. They will all be missed.
But one way they can show how great of a class they really were is to get drafted.
Looking at the list of players that worked out at West Virginia’s Pro Day on April 4, there are 9 players that I would say have a decent shot of getting drafted. Not all of them will, but there are a good number that could.
With that said, though, there are about four or five players that I think will be drafted.
Karl Joseph is one of them, as I already mentioned.
Punter Nick O’Toole is another. He can kick the you-know-what out of the ball, and is a decent athlete.
Nick Kwiatkoski is definitely going to hear his name called, maybe sooner rather than later. Legwold has Kwit, as he’s referred to in Morgantown, as the 89th best player in the draft.
Wendell Smallwood will also be selected during the draft. The junior running back helped his stock a lot during the NFL Combine, and continued to impress in the limited drills he participated in at Pro Day.
Shaq Petteway deserves to get some attention. He’s a good front seven defender that A) can take up a lot of space and give pass rushers the ability to get to the quarterback, and B) can be a decent pass rusher himself if he springs loose of his blocker.
There are one or two others that I believe eventually could find their way on an NFL roster, but the ones mentioned above have a decent chance of hearing their name called during one of the seven rounds of the draft.
On behalf of Mountaineer Nation, we wish all the former Mountaineers the best, and remind them they are always welcomed back to the Mountain State.