Draft Daily: Why we likely won't see many first-round trades
We’re less than a month out from the draft, and it feels like the calm before the storm. In a couple of weeks’ time, the rumor mill will be in full force and every single team will be smoke-screening national reporters. Until then, let’s have some fun.
Why we likely won’t see many first-round trades
In this draft — more than any in recent memory — I anticipate a first round with very few trades. The reason being: I can’t think of too many players I’d fall in love with enough to part with picks. Outside of edge defender Myles Garrett and linebacker Reuben Foster, there’s a legitimate debate for the top player at almost every single position on the field. Now, there is some scarcity at positions, like offensive tackle and maybe wide receiver, where if you don’t get one of the top three there’s a dropoff, but that’s about it.
The loaded nature at the top is only one half of the equation. The other half is that there are guys who’ll go in the second round this year that would have easily been first-rounders a year ago. The 36th player on PFF’s final draft board in 2016 was Noah Spence, who at the time we knew was limited to a pass-rusher-only role in the pros. This season, the 36th player on our 2017 board is Taco Charlton, a complete defensive end who will be able to do it all right away. If Spence was in this class, he’d likely be slotted around 72nd, where we have Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot at the moment. Position-by-position, those same sorts of translations can be made. The fact of the matter is, if you’re forfeiting an early-round pick via trade, chances are you’re passing up an immediate starter.
Big improvement for Jamal Adam’s 40-yard dash at LSU pro day
I gave my take a few weeks back about how pro day 40-yard-dash times were a farce, but LSU seemed to take that to the next level. A year after Deion Jones went from a 4.59-second 40-yard dash to a 4.38 reported time at his pro day, Jamal Adams makes a similar leap. The safety who checks in at No. 4 overall on PFF’s latest draft board allegedly went from 4.56 at the combine to 4.33 at his pro day. Believable? I’ll leave that for you to decide. Schools like LSU, Baylor (where Shawn Oakman went from 4.96 to 4.78 at 289 pounds), and Ohio State (where Beanie Wells went from 4.59 to 4.38 at 235 pounds), just to name a few, are doing their players no favors by pumping out absurd 40 times.
From the PFF ‘My Guys’ list
Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, Interior defender, USC
There are only a select few human beings that possess the body type necessary to a nose tackle in the National Football league. The best nose tackles don’t need to “bulk up” to get to 330 pounds, they were destined to be that size no matter what. Contrary to popular belief, nose tackles aren’t just fat. They have to be thickly built throughout their entire frame and short enough to maintain leverage against constant double-teams.
Tu’ikolovatu checks all those boxes. At 6-foot-1, 331 pounds (give or take 20), the USC nose tackle likely couldn’t tip the scales south of 250 if he tried. Even for a player of his size, his power stands out. His ability to walk centers into the backfield is absurd. Tu’ikolovatu was the only player on USC’s defense to show up against Alabama, as he manhandled one of the better centers in the nation, Bradley Bozeman, all game long.
Tu’ikolovatu’s age is an issue (he’ll be 26 in June). His utter inability to provide anything as a pass-rusher is an issue (13 pressures all season long). But you can’t teach defensive lineman to be 330-plus pounds and still have the coordination that the former Trojan does.