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One lesson learned during the first round of the 2016 NFL draft: if you’re a college prospect with NFL aspirations, don’t engage in social media and don’t let anyone take private videos of you.
The story of the first round was the “fall” of Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who went from being the likely No. 1 pick (back when it was held by the Titans) to being drafted No. 13 by the Miami Dolphins. Just prior to the start of the draft, someone released a video of Tunsil that appeared to show him smoking marijuana in a gas mask. Then, after Tunsil was picked, someone posted two photos on Tunsil’s Instagram account that appeared to show him engaging in a text exchange asking Ole Miss coaches for money.
But did these events really cause the draft-day tumble, or was Tunsil not as highly rated as pundits thought? According to three high-level NFL scouts, the social media issues “definitely” contributed to Tunsil going to the Dolphins. There were pre-draft concerns about Tunsil, and the late release of the video tipped the scales for many teams. The consensus is that the Ravens would have taken Tunsil at No. 6 instead of Ronnie Stanley without the video. Seeing Baltimore pass on Tunsil caused other teams to steer clear. As for the leaks, many have speculated that Tunsil’s estranged stepfather was responsible. But at least one team said that a financial advisor who Tunsil fired could also be responsible. We still don’t know exactly what’s happening with Tunsil, but it was certainly a bizarre, dramatic turn of events for a player who was once considered to be at the very top of this draft.
Some more thoughts from the first round on Thursday night:
• Boy, that Super Bowl ring sure buys you a lot of slack. Right now the Broncos will defend their crown with a quarterback depth chart of Mark Sanchez, first-round pick Paxton Lynch (who likely needs a year of development) and Trevor Siemian. (The alternative was paying now-Texans QB Brock Osweiler.) Who knows how this will play out? Maybe John Elway’s hot streak stays intact, or maybe he miscalculated and a possible back-to-back champion team goes .500 behind mediocre quarterback play.
• Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead should be admired for their ability to hold onto their jobs. Four straight years of finishing below .500 and failing to find any quarterback during that time would get a lot of people fired. But not these guys. Now, after moving to Los Angeles and picking quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 pick, they get another three years no matter what their record is. They’re just masters. Much respect.
• If anything, I love what the Eagles have tried to do with two veterans (Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel) on the roster to give their second overall pick, Carson Wentz, some much-needed time to develop by sitting for the first season. Every team should do this. Now, if Bradford would just grow up, report and compete, the Eagles would be all set.
• By taking Joey Bosa at No. 3, the Chargers have to think he’s the next J.J. Watt, in that he can impact the game being a five technique over the tackle. I do, however, think Bosa has the potential to be a very good, on-the-line strongside linebacker in 3–4 if you run a scheme similar to the Ravens, which is the team I had pegged for Bosa. I don’t see why Bosa can’t play in a similar way to Terrell Suggs.
• The 49ers drafted Oregon DE Arik Armstead at No. 15 a year ago. DeForest Buckner is twice the player that his former college teammate is. 49ers fans will now get to see what a real five-technique is in that scheme.
• Love the move by Titans general manager Jon Robinson trading back from No. 1 and then back up to No. 8 (pocketing a bunch of picks in the process) to get a needed tackle, but I’m not crazy about the Titans having two tackles (Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin) who are similar in the sense that neither definitely has the feet to be a good left tackle. One could, but that’s a projection.
• Ezekiel Elliott was my second-graded prospect (behind Ohio State teammate Joey Bosa) but I don’t like this pick for Dallas. If there’s any team that should be able to get by with mediocre running backs, it should be the Cowboys given all the resources they’ve put into a great offensive line. To me, this is way too many resources in one place. I would have gone with Jalen Ramsey to get a franchise cornerstone in the secondary.
• So very happy social media wasn’t around when I was drafted into the workforce. #TunsilsBong
• After getting unmercifully booed for the first six picks, it looked like Roger Goodell sent staff out in search of human shields (anyone and everyone) to stop the carnage. I half-expected him to walk out with someone off the street. “This is Bob. Everyone say, ‘Hi Bob.’ With the 10th pick in the….”
• The New York Giants drafted Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple with the No. 10 pick. Wow. There’s a lesson for you kids: you too can be mediocre in college and be a top 10 draft pick. Look, Apple has a lot of talent, is young and has a high ceiling, but it was a huge surprise he went before Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves. Apple had a lot of penalties and bad film last season.
• The Raiders taking safety Karl Joseph was a bit of a shock. There’s no question that he has the ability (he hits like a Mack truck and has range) but he’s really small, which can be tough at such a collision position. The Raiders just have to hope he’s not a repeat of the D.J. Hayden pick.
• Let the record show that the first pick of expansion Moneyball Browns was Baylor WR Corey Coleman. Personally, I was hoping for Kevin Youkilis, the Greek God of Walks.
• A year after whiffing in the first round by picking WR Phillip Dorsett at position where the Colts needed no help, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson did the smart thing and got Andrew Luck the center for the rest of his career in Ryan Kelly.
• Don’t mind the Bills’ pick of Clemson DE Shaq Lawson (think he’s a bit overrated), but I just don’t understand how general manager Doug Whaley can take the podium and declare him a Day 1 starter. How about you get a guy in the building and make him earn something?
• All the receivers taken together, Will Fuller (Texans), Josh Doctson (Redskins) and Laquan Treadwell (Vikings), will be compared throughout their careers. Houston took a lot of risk trading up a spot for the speedy Fuller, who also has worse hands than the other two. This smells like the Colts’ picking Phillip Dorsett last year.