Cole’s Corner: top five NFL draft picks

Enjoy Jacksonville and New York, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, because that won’t last long


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The 2016 NFL draft kicks off in Chicago on Thursday.

Tanner Cole, Sports Editor

Cole’s Corner is a regular sports column by senior Sports Editor Tanner Cole. 

The most important day has passed for fans of bad NFL teams like the Jets and Jaguars (you are correct, the NFL draft; the only day where the Jets and Jaguars are top five in some ranking). Worst record = highest draft pick. I could spiel about how the draft is and what it means, but I’d rather write about each draft pick of the top five teams, so that is what I am going to do.

To start off this year, and what has felt like so many years, the Jacksonville Jaguars had the first pick. Not so surprisingly, they selected Trevor Lawrence as they are in dire need of a quarterback and some direction (exactly what they’re hoping from Lawrence). I am not too big of a fan of Lawrence, particularly after finding out that he threatened to stay in college knowing that if he entered the NFL, he would be selected to the New York Jets. Jokes on him because he is now a part of a team that is probably in deeper you-know-the-word than the Jets. It is a struggle for many NFL first pick teams to expect to turn their team around with their draft pick, but that is the lie they are always told. Jaguar fans may think Lawrence is going to exceed expectations, but like many first picks, Lawrence is going to be mediocre, and that is okay.

The next pick, earned faithfully by the Jets, was Brigham Young University’s Zach Wilson, also a quarterback. Wilson is nearly a repeat of the Jets’ pick of Sam Darnold a few years back. With Darnold’s career shot by the Jets, Wilson hopes to fill the spot. Likely not being able to change the team does not mean he will not try. I do like this guy better than Trevor Lawrence because at least he didn’t complain about having to go to the Jets.

The San Francisco Forty-Niners, with the third pick, selected quarterback Trey Lance out of North Dakota State University. I, along with many other Philadelphia Eagles fans, know who North Dakota State University is associated with: Carson Wentz. Trey Lance may be a good draft pick, but if history does repeat itself (which I think it will) then Lance will not be prepared for the NFL and end up being traded.

The fourth worst team, who blew every lead they had in nearly every game, is the Atlanta Falcons. They selected the 6’6” 240-pound Kyle Pitts, a tight end out of the University of Florida, who had not even played football until fairly recently. It is a cool story, but it is not what the Falcons need. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Cavin Ridley all absolutely balled out and ran up the score using every opportunity they could, but their achilles heel was the team’s defense. A common theme became the Falcons taking a two touchdown lead and before we know it, they are losing. Pitts will not fix that, but a good anything for defense would benefit your defensive team overall. Sure, Pitts had the physique of the perfect man, but that does not mean he is the perfect pick.

The Bengals. Last year, they took LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who tore an ACL mid-season last year, putting the team basically back to square one. This year, they took Ja’Marr Chase out of Louisiana State University, the same college as last year’s pick. On LSU’s pro day, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, a notable time for all scouts to keep an eye on. In the eyes of the Bengals, Chase’s 20-touchdown season with LSU will transfer over to the NFL and NFL-caliber cornerbacks, as he is the face of the wide receiver draft class of 2021.

So how did the Birds do? With our boys Carson Wentz and Dougie Fresh Pederson gone, Howie Roseman, the beloved mastermind behind the 2017 Super Bowl season, remains. This year Howie became less hated, but do not get me wrong, we collectively do not like Mr. Roseman and his stupid actions. Instead of picking the no-name wide receiver out of Texas Christian University, Roseman picked the best wide receiver available, Heisman winner DeVonta Smith. No Eagles fan can be upset with this pick, as he is accepted as the best player at the college level. To put more Eagles fans at ease, the Eagles actually traded up from the 12th pick to the 10th, skipping over the Giants for Smith. Funny enough, this was actually a smart move by Roseman and the Eagles front office; the Giants actually were looking at drafting Smith, and after learning about our pick, they quickly traded down all the way to the 20th pick. I know Roseman felt good and smart about himself after doing that, so pat yourself on the back Howie, you (finally) earned it.

I hope the future is bright for DeVonta Smith, but the inevitable is creeping back into the Eagles narrative. The recent muddy history of the front office would not make me excited to join the squad, but then again, Smith is not playing for the Jets or Jaguars. I hope having him as a threat can actually win us a few more games, as our offense struggles horribly this last season. Stay healthy Devonta; we’ll need it.