Many of the moves in this week’s NFL draft won’t work out. We’ll laugh at them in hindsight.
But there are moves that don’t make sense right now, and we can see them coming. There’s still time before the draft starts to talk these teams out of five dumb moves that could go down:
The Giants passing on a quarterback
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said it was “hogwash” to insist he has to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick, and that’s true if one of these is true:
• The Giants love Davis Webb, a 2017 third-round pick who didn’t play a snap last season.
• They hate all the quarterback prospects near the top of this year’s draft (spoiler: if you’re waiting to draft a quarterback until there’s a perfect prospect, you’ll be waiting a while).
• They plan to draft in the top two again next year.
Otherwise? It seems crazy. Gettleman said it’s a five-year mistake to take the wrong quarterback, but it can easily turn into a worse five-year mistake to have no quarterback at all. Eli Manning’s benching last year wasn’t handled very well, but what’s been lost in that story is that Manning was playing so poorly that a benching itself wasn’t crazy. Manning is 37 years old, and that’s not an age in which a decline often reverses itself. At most, Manning might have two seasons left as a serviceable starter. At worst, he’s already done as a good starting quarterback. Either way, passing on drafting Manning’s successor with the second pick seems reckless. Teams without a quarterback spend a ton of money and draft picks chasing one. This group of quarterbacks isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot of talent there and the Giants presumably won’t be in this draft position very often. The Giants could look back on this draft as a missed opportunity, if they pass.
The Browns selecting Josh Allen first overall
There are good reasons to like Josh Allen. Considering the physical skills and the upside, it’s understandable why teams are interested. But he’s risky. Allen wasn’t even first- or second-team all-Mountain West last season. Quarterbacks with his accuracy issues and lack of college production very rarely become NFL stars. His flaws have been well documented by now. And of all the teams in the draft, the Browns are the last one that should be taking a huge gamble at quarterback. And that’s what Allen is.
The closer we get to the draft, the more likely it seems the Browns will take Allen (let’s not even spend much time on the “maybe they draft quarterbacks Nos. 1 and 4” thing, because that would be the dumbest moment in NFL history).
The other three top quarterback prospects are much safer, and all have potential to be very good. Allen could be very good, but in the right situation in which he can develop slowly, not in Cleveland where he’d be expected to save a terrible franchise. It’s just so easy to see Allen going to the Browns, and that ending up exactly how we think it will end up.
The Patriots trading way up for a quarterback
When it comes to trading up to draft a quarterback, no price is too high and teams blindly pay it. The New York Jets traded a ton to move up to No. 3 to draft a quarterback, without even knowing for sure which quarterback they might get.
It’s not the best way to do business, but paying exorbitant prices to trade up for a quarterback has become an accepted strategy. The Patriots have never worried about doing things the way everyone else does, but there is speculation they might trade up to draft a quarterback. Even if someone like UCLA’s Josh Rosen slips a bit, consider that the Kansas City Chiefs gave up the 25th and 91st picks last year and a 2018 first-round pick to move to No. 10 and draft Patrick Mahomes. The Patriots have Nos. 23 and 31 in this draft, and that’s probably not enough to move to 10th … that’s also assuming one of the top four quarterbacks in this draft slips that far. Moving up into the top five will give anyone sticker shock.
Yes, Tom Brady will retire soon (though it seems like the brief mania about that possibly happening this year won’t come to fruition). But the Patriots are still a team that should be building to win a Super Bowl while Brady is still at a high level, and he was the league’s MVP last year. Teams need to plan for the future at quarterback, but the Patriots aren’t in a position where they need to pay a silly price to do so. Trading a ton of picks for Brady’s replacement would be very un-Patriots-like.
The Cowboys reaching on a receiver in the first round
Dallas needs a receiver. That’s clear after the release of Dez Bryant. The Cowboys have one of the worst receiver groups in the NFL, and that’s bad for Dak Prescott’s development. Therefore, it’s not surprising that almost every mock draft has them taking a receiver at No. 19.
And if the Cowboys love Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, SMU’s Courtland Sutton or another receiver, that’s fine. But reaching on a player to fill a need is rarely a good idea, and it wouldn’t be for Dallas either.
This receiver class is interesting, but not top heavy. Perhaps someone will become a bona-fide No. 1 receiver, but there’s no prospect who projects as such. Perhaps the Cowboys believe someone like Ridley can be the next Bryant. But they’re probably better off waiting for the second round (or maybe even trading down). The receiver class is set up so the fifth or sixth one off the board could end up being the best of the group. They’re all bunched together. The Cowboys shouldn’t reach for one in the first.
The Bills, Cardinals, or anyone else who needs a QB talking themselves out of Lamar Jackson
Jackson is perhaps the most interesting player in the draft. He has been debated plenty already, is clearly not considered on the same plane as the top four quarterback prospects but was one of the most productive college players ever.
He shouldn’t be a debate for teams in the middle of the first round who need a quarterback. Jackson is worth the pick.
Jackson comes from a college offense that ran a lot of NFL concepts. He could play very soon for an NFL team, and if he lands with a franchise that knows what it’s doing, it will devise an offense to get Jackson comfortable in the league right away and take advantage of his immense athletic gifts as well. He can be a productive quarterback in the NFL and do so early on.
The Buffalo Bills traded Tyrod Taylor, a serviceable quarterback, and didn’t do much to replace him (unless you’re a big AJ McCarron fan). The Arizona Cardinals didn’t plan for life after Carson Palmer, and that’s how they ended up paying Sam Bradford $20 million for this season. Both might be tempted to trade up and take a quarterback, but that will be expensive. But those teams and others like the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers who have to consider taking a quarterback will be in play for Jackson later in the first round. And Jackson has just as much potential as the quarterbacks who will likely go much higher in the draft.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Jeff Passan: The remarkable plague that has hit nearly all of MLB
• Charles Robinson: Even Cleveland can’t make this big of a draft mistake
• Shams Charania: Sorry, Indiana, LeBron is still the NBA’s great equalizer
• Batter’s 21-pitch at bat could upset MLB commish
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