The NFL draft is where trends develop in the NFL. In 2010, the Patriots drafted Aaron Hernandez and Robert Gronkowski. The duo’s success led to many other teams drafting tight ends early in the draft.
All of a sudden the tight end went from an afterthought to a featured weapon in most offenses.
The prevailing wisdom in the NFL was always that the Read Option was not a legitimate professional offense. Robert Griffin III was drafted in 2012 and proved that notion false, which will lead to more dual threat quarterbacks being drafted in the future.
This year’s draft will contain players that will not only excel but they will change the way the game is played. The NFL has become a passing league, which has led to smaller faster players being targeted earlier than ever. A smart general manager will see the value in players that don’t fit this archetype and a new trend will develop in the NFL. Due to this I present you with a list of players that will develop trends, a list of the top players coaches will have to alter their game plans for.
Alabama OG Chance Warmack
The NFL is now a pass heavy league. Defenses have gotten quicker and lighter to combat up tempo passing attacks. Chance Warmack is an enormous brawler that will eat smaller defense lineman alive. With him added to an offensive line, teams will be able to dominate in the trenches and bring the return of smash mouth football to the league.
Texas S Kenny Vaccaro
The best way to prevent a passing game is to make sure no receivers get open. Kenny Vaccaro is an elite ball hawking safety that can shut down the deep third of the field. With Vaccaro added to a defensive backfield, teams will have to find other ways to move the ball besides the pass.
Florida State DE Bjoern Werner
There are two factors in stopping a team’s air attack, coverage and pressure. Bjoern Werner will improve any team in the latter area. Werner is a relentless pass rusher, if he is left to rush up field in obvious passing situations Quarterbacks do not stand a chance. With Werner on the outside, teams will need to run more to keep him off balance.
South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore
With the increase in the passing game teams have favored faster pass-catching backs. These backs hang their hat on catching the ball out of the back field and taking it the distance(rather than pounding it between the tackles). Work horse backs that can take the ball 30 times a game are few and far between in the NFL.
Although Lattimore is coming off a serious knee injury, when he is healthy, he is exactly this type of back. At 6’1" and 232 pounds, Lattimore is a load to tackle, especially for the smaller defenders populating the NFL. With running backs like Lattimore coming into the league teams will move back towards a run heavy scheme.