Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 40 Overall – Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU – One could easily argue Blacklock should have gone in the first round, so always good to see a team without a first-round pick get first round value. Blacklock will not be a run-stuffing plugger like they once had in Vince Wilfork, instead he will more often line up over a guard and work to get after the QB, and interior pass rush is becoming more and more important in today’s NFL.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 90 Overall – Jonathan Greenard, Edge, Florida – The value here isn’t poor and there really wasn’t a better edge rusher available at the time, but seeing guys like Bradlee Anae, Curtis Weaver, and Khalid Kareem fall to round five, the Texans would have been off going corner in this spot as I feel there was better value there at the time.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 126 Overall – Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina – A Heck of a pick here (see what I did there?) The Texans have had plenty of trouble keeping Deshaun Watson upright in recent years, so adding depth to the O-line was definitely a need. Heck will likely never be a starter, but he can fill in at either tackle as a backup and be serviceable in the role.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Scottie Phillips, RB, Ole Miss – David Johnson is not the RB he once was, and Duke Johnson is purely a third down back and the RB depth chart is pretty barren after that for the Texans. This should open up a real opportunity for Phillips to earn a spot on the roster, and potentially as the primary backup to David Johnson. He was not a main target in the passing game in Oxford, but he has good enough hands to catch the ball and he is a big play back if he can get the edge.
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 34 Overall – Michael Pittman, WR, USC – Watching the draft I immediately gained a soft spot for Pittman as they flashed him in his youth football jersey for the SCVAA Warriors, which happened to be the same organization I played for when I was a kid. After that, I looked at the player and the Colts may finally have a valid option opposite T.Y. Hilton. He was incredibly productive at USC, a Biletnikoff Award finalist, and the bloodlines that come from his father having played 11 seasons in the NFL. Another receiver who would garner first round consideration in another draft, but the depth this year assured he fell to round two.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 41 Overall – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin – Looking at the highlights and numbers there is little doubt Taylor would be a favorite pick for the Colts, but the fumbles are too big a concern. He touched the ball more than 300 times in three consecutive seasons and averaged 5 fumbles a season. This means he is a turnover risk every time he touches the ball and he has as much wear and tear as any RB to enter the draft in recent memory, a recipe for disaster.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 122 Overall – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington – With the addition of Eason, the Colts may have the deepest QB room in all of the NFL as they now have Philip Rivers as the starter and Jacoby Brissett as the backup. I fully expected Eason to go on day two of the draft and was shocked to see him still on the board here for the Colts. He is big, potentially too big given recent history at the position, standing 6’6” and with a massive arm. His big problems are inconsistency, but the Colts should have a well above average backup QB and potentially someone who develops in to a quality starter.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Georgia – The Colts had trouble at kicker a season ago as Adam Vinatieri finally started to look his age. Enter the goggle wearing star from Georgia, Rodrigo Blankenship. He may be remembered mostly for his miss against South Carolina, and he had three kicks blocked, but he was 6/9 from 50+ and made 92.7% of his kicks inside 40.
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 42 Overall – Lavishka Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado – I really liked the first three selections by the Jaguars, as C.J. Henderson could become a lock down corner, and K’Lavon Chaisson will slide in as an immediate starter as an edge backer opposite Myles Jack. With Shenault though, the Jags get a multi-faceted playmaker who can score anytime he touches the ball and get do just that via a deep route, bubble screen, or even carrying the ball. He is my early favorite to be my top rookie in fantasy leagues this season.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 73 Overall – DaVon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State – As big a body as there is at DT in the draft, there was little doubt a team would fall in love with Hamilton, but not sure he is worth a third rounder. He only started for Ohio State one season and is athletic for a guy weighing in at 320 lbs., but he isn’t really a run stuffer, and he isn’t really a pass rusher. Overall, he is a guy that is good at a lot, but great at nothing, so the upside is rather limited.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 137 Overall – Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State – I nearly went with fifth round selection Collin Johnson here, but I feel Scott has the quicker path to impact. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine and came away with seven picks in 30 college games, including more than a pass defended a game. If he was a 6’ corner, he would have been day two pick if he had more prototypical size but being just 5’9” he is likely best suited as a slot corner in the NFL.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: J.R. Reed, S, Georgia – The Jaguars have actually had a very good UDFA class, but none are expected to shine brighter than Reed. Many had him as an early day three selection, instead he goes undrafted and the Jags were quick to sign him up. He is a smart safety and has the ball skills you expect as the son of former NFL receiver Jake Reed. He can go get the ball in the air and will be able to cover tight ends one-on-one.
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 61 Overall – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU – I had Fulton as a first-round pick, but he goes near the end of round two. He has the perfect size at 6’ and 195 lbs. while running a 4.46 40-yard dash. There is some concern about the makeup as he was suspended all of 2017 after falsifying a specimen for a drug test, otherwise he would have more tape and likely been a sure fire round one selection.
Least Favorite Pick: None – The Titans didn’t have a phenomenal draft, but I don’t feel they missed with any pick. Darrynton Evans is going to be a really good change of pace option for Derrick Henry, and their first-round pick of Isaiah Wilson should slide right in at right tackle.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 7, Pick 224 Overall – Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii – Good athleticism, quality touch, looks off defenders well equals a seventh round pick that should be able to earn a spot as a long term backup in the league. His deep ball needs plenty of work, but an athletic game manager isn’t the worst thing to have as QB depth.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Kobe Smith, DT, South Carolina – Often overshadowed by teammate Javon Kinlaw, Smith was the less sexy run stuffer to Kinlaw’s pass rushing acumen. Smith won’t be a guy who gets after the passer but is a guy who can play on early down to help stuff the run. He will never be a stand out star, but he is just the kind of ancillary piece a team needs to stay competitive.