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Some Big Steals Are Available Heading into Round 2 of the NFL Draft

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The first round of the NFL draft is the big-ticket auction at Christie’s, where the cream of the NFL rookie crop, the highly touted picks who lit up college football’s awards season, find out where they’ll begin their professional careers.

The second round, in terms of shopping experience, is more like the big after-Christmas clearance sale. There is some seriously high-quality stuff on those shelves, and it’s a lot cheaper to lock down a second-rounder than if that same player had gone on Thursday night in prime time.

The first round was heavy with defensive linemen (three in the top four picks and an incredible 11 in the top 32), offensive linemen (six) and linebackers (four).

Only three quarterbacks were taken — Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray first overall by Arizona was the big one. Daniel Jones of Duke, ranked sixth among quarterbacks on ESPN’s board and fourth by NFL.com, went No. 6 to the Giants as fans in the Meadowlands bayed for the hide of team president Dave Gettleman. And Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State went 15th overall to Washington.

Left out of the first-round fun was Drew Lock, the third-rated quarterback by ESPN and NFL.com. He’s sitting right there waiting for someone to take him out of the University of Missouri.

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If you believe the Randy Moss Principle, that the further a player drops in the draft, the more he comes into the league wanting to stick it to whoever didn’t believe in him, Lock is — well, a lock to make a lot of noise in the NFL.

NFL.com has Lock 20th on their board, and while yes, 2018 was the Year of the Quarterback in the first round and a lot of teams seem to have quarterbacks of the future to build around, not all 32 do, so it’s inexplicable that Lock fell out of the first round.

A quarterback is only as good as the guys he has around him to whom to throw the ball, and the Cardinals, with the first pick in the second round, are sitting in the catbird seat for a golden opportunity to create their QB-receiver pair of the future.

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D.K. Metcalf, 16th on NFL.com’s board and 40th on ESPN’s out of Ole Miss, might just have “the next Larry Fitzgerald” as his ceiling if the Cardinals draft him. Metcalf is an incredible physical specimen — 6 feet 3, 228 pounds, just 1.9 percent body fat — with breakaway 4.33 speed.

One of the even bigger head-scratchers of Round 1 was Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, 13th on NFL.com’s board and 10th on ESPN’s, not just falling into the playoff team zone but falling out of the first round altogether.

A point at issue seems to be his tweener status; the 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle seems destined to play guard in the pros, and enough questions circled around his ability to transition from one role to the other to scare a half a dozen teams who drafted pure linemen in the first round to stick with guys who wouldn’t have to learn a new position on the fly coming out of college.

Speaking of tackles likely to play guard, if your team can’t get to Taylor before some other team does, there’s a handy consolation prize in Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, whose job it was to keep Murray from becoming fertilizer for stadium grass at the hands of opposing defenders just itching to mulch him.

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Ford, rated 23rd by NFL.com and 25th by ESPN, does, however, suffer the same identity crisis as an athlete that has him sitting in the room with Taylor waiting for his name to be called.

Rounding out the second-round steals is the one with the best name, cornerback Greedy Williams out of LSU.

Williams runs like a gazelle, reminding some of legendary corners Darrell Green and Deion Sanders, and his closing speed on out routes means the race is on for the first announcer to make the corny “Greedy for a pick six” joke.

The problem — and the most likely reason Williams dropped out of the first round despite his projection as a late first — is that like a lot of ball-hawking cornerbacks, his abilities on running plays are questionable at best and nonexistent at worst.

But on press-man coverage in a pass-wacky league, that’s not why you draft the guy whose explosive stat sheet potential is right there in his name.

The draft has become a three-day television extravaganza, and with only one NBA playoff game on TV, there will be plenty of eyes on teams as they officially enter the fray where the stakes for a draft steal get higher with every pick between here and Mr. Irrelevant.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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