Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: The Super-Duper Drafty Edition

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterMay 1, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Details inside of the stage at the NFL Draft Town , prior to the start of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)
Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

CHICAGO — I want Moritz Boehringer to succeed. I don't think he will, but I want him to. I want him to succeed because he's the coolest story in the draft. I want him to succeed because I like the idea of a player emerging from outside the homogenized, overhyped, overprocessed, overanalyzed NFL draft system.

I love the idea of a player like that becoming a star. It won't happen, but I am crossing my fingers.

Watch tape of Boehringer, and you see some remarkable athleticism and ability. It's in Germany, yes. And that's the problem. This is the list of great NFL players who made their bones playing in Germany:



Yep, got nothing.

There are good basketball players from Germany. Hockey players, too. There is, of course, gorgeous soccer played there.

But football?

Boehringer played for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League.

The Unicorns. I kinda like it.

I've heard a great deal about Boehringer from NFL scouts. In the personnel community, I'm told, there is a great deal of division about him. It's either love or hate. Nothing in between.

His detractors say the German league is a joke. One scout described it as "not even Division III-level football." Another said the league was actually not bad. The Vikings, who drafted Boehringer in the sixth round Saturday, obviously fall in the latter camp.

He had 59 receptions for 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns in 16 games with the Unicorns last year. When he worked out at Florida Atlantic's pro day, he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and had a 39" vertical leap. Those numbers would have put him right near the top of the receiver class at the combine had he attended.

There is a great deal of professionalism when it comes to the NFL's scouting process. There is also a great deal of elitism. Even as I was writing this, one scout texted me and said it was a joke I was wasting time writing on Boehringer.

Yeah, I want him to make it. Badly.

I'm just not sure he can.

2. "Dumbest pick in the history of the draft"

Apr 11, 2015; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) during the spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers took a kicker, Roberto Aguayo, in the second round. Wait. Check that. They traded up to take a kicker in the second round. The Bucs traded third- and fourth-round selections to move into the second round and get a kicker. A kicker.

The Buccaneers have won 23 games in the past five years. They have been putrid. It seems a kicker is the least of their needs, to be kind. One general manager told me the selection was "the dumbest pick in the history of the draft."

That seems to be the consensus in the league. There are, however, outliers.

One scout told me he considered the move to actually be fairly smart. The reason? The rule changes have made kickers extremely valuable. This scout believes that in the next few years, they could become as valuable as running backs. That seems a little extreme, but I get what he's saying.

Extra points are now far from automatic, and a miss can be catastrophic in a game. 

The Buccaneers aren't an explosive offense. They play a lot of close games (10 last year within 10 points); there's a good chance Aguayo could win a lot of contests for the team.

Yet as good as Aguayo is, and he might be the best kicker in college history, this selection is easily one of the biggest gambles in draft history.

And maybe the dumbest.

3. Panthers take player accused of battery of woman

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

One of the more interesting picks you may not have closely followed was Daryl Worley, who faced a battery charge stemming from a nightclub incident involving a woman in 2014.

The pick in itself would be controversial. But the Panthers made the selection. The Panthers. Who had Greg Hardy.

You remember Greg Hardy.

The Panthers anticipated that drafting someone accused of putting his hands on a woman would raise questions. They were ready for them. One of the main points made by general manager Dave Gettleman to the media was that the team had not only done its due diligence, but Worley also had met with owner Jerry Richardson.

"It was a simple situation where it was wrong place at the wrong time. There were nothing malicious about the incident," Worley said during a conference call with the Charlotte media. "All 32 teams have seen the videotape. They have the official court documents, which I gave to them, where there was nothing malicious about it.

"I did my due diligence as far as the court required me, and honestly, it is just behind me in the past. It is expunged from my record, and I am looking to move forward. Nothing like that is ever going to be a problem heading forward."

The Panthers may be right. Maybe what happened in that bar, on that night, was more misunderstanding that a football player putting his hands on a woman. No, he's not Greg Hardy. That's for certain.

But if Worley gets in that kind of trouble again, the pick will only remind of Hardy. Not a good memory to have.

4. Jaguars and Raiders have best drafts

Jalen Ramsey
Jalen RamseyCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press/Associated Press

The Jaguars are building quite a team. They already have a solid offense. Now they are building an excellent defense. The key picks were from the first two days. They got Jalen Ramsey in the first round, followed by Myles Jack in the second. Then they landed Yannick Ngakoue in the third. Ngakoue had 21 sacks in three years at Maryland.

If Jack is and stays healthy—and that is a big if—the Jaguars defense could be as fun to watch as its offense. This is why I think Jacksonville wins 11 games next year.

The Raiders took a similar approach. Again, the key parts are from Days 1 and 2. They went heavy on defense with safety Karl Joseph out of West Virginia, defensive end Jihad Ward from Illinois and defensive end Shilique Calhoun from Michigan State. Calhoun might actually be the best selection. The Raiders are already stacked with pass-rushers, and I agree with their apparent philosophy: You can't have enough.

Shilique Calhoun
Shilique CalhounAl Goldis/Associated Press

The only pick I question was Oakland drafting quarterback Connor Cook. They don't need him. They need a running back. They can develop him and use him as trade bait, but I'm still not crazy about the pick.

Overall, still a nice draft.

I think the Jaguars and Raiders (especially the Jaguars) are the best options to replace the Patriots as the next great franchise.

Yes, sure, I know. Getting ahead of myself, but I do think we're watching The Revenge of the Dregs. 

5. Biggest draft misstep: Roger Goodell's comment

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

After the drama of Laremy Tunsil unfolded, Goodell went on ESPN's Mike & Mike and said this when asked about Tunsil: "I think it’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting. Clubs make decisions. Sometimes they take risks. Sometimes they do the right things. Sometimes they don’t, and we’ll see. Hopefully he is going to turn out to be a great young player."

Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite. That was the most interesting part of the draft. But if you have a heart, and said heart isn't made of granite, you had to feel bad for Tunsil. You also wouldn't call it "exciting."

It was brutal to watch, and Goodell's comments play into the notion some players have that he doesn't truly care about the players, that he sees them as products to be marketed and to make money.

That's definitely part of being a player in the NFL, but it's far from the only thing. Goodell—whom I like—needs to fully understand this.

6. Scout: Best value pick in draft was Charles Tapper

Joe Skipper/Associated Press

The Cowboys selected Oklahoma's Charles Tapper in the fourth round. One NFC scout told me he believes that pick was one of the best in the draft.

Why? He's 6'3" and 271 pounds and runs a 4.59 40-yard dash.

What scared some teams, this scout explained, was that Tapper has the sickle cell trait. It's considered relatively minor, presenting a problem mostly in conditions such as high altitudes. The Cowboys don't play in Denver this season, and the NFL hasn't placed a franchise on Mount Kilimanjaro, so he'll be just fine.

7. Scout: One of riskier picks was Tyler Higbee

Michael Noble Jr./Associated Press

Our last scout of the day, this one speaking on tight end Tyler Higbee, selected by the Rams in the fourth round: "He is a major partier. That was his big problem, despite the arrests. He has a lot of maturing to do, and I'm not sure he can mature fast enough."

Oh boy.

Higbee has a series of pending charges. So, there's that.

This was a pick better made in the sixth, or possibly not at all.

8. Pats will still go deep into playoffs

Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

One thing I heard constantly—and I mean, over and over—is how many teams believe the four-game suspension of Tom Brady means little for the Patriots.

There's almost a leaguewide resolution that, at worst, the Patriots would go 2-2 during Brady's suspension. Many of the personnel men I spoke with think they will go 3-1, with the loss coming at Arizona in the opener. The next three games are at home against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills.

Then they predict Brady will come back, full of fire and lust for revenge, and wreck the league. (Not wreck the league from the club, like Johnny Manziel, but for real.)

I tend to agree.

9. Draft pick I'm obsessed with

His name is Andrew Billings, and he's a defensive lineman picked by the Bengals. ESPN Stats & Info reported this about him:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

In HS, Billings broke 22-year-old Texas HS weightlifting record w/ 2,010 pounds (805 squat, 500 bench, 705 deadlift) https://t.co/uOgJ0XJQtP

He did...that...in...high school.

10. How did Ohio State not win every game last season 40-0?

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Buckeyes set a record with 10 players drafted in the first three rounds and tied a record with seven in the first two. That's an incredible amount of talent picked.

What NFL teams say they like most about Urban Meyer's players is that they are almost always extremely well-coached.

There is one question: How did the Buckeyes not win a national title last year with all that well-coached talent?

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter at @mikefreemanNFL.


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