2016 NFL Draft Mailbag

I received many e-mails and tweets about my 2017 NFL Mock Draft and the NFL Draft in general. To share the answers to the questions publicly, I decided to start up a mailbag column. Pass along your NFL draft questions and comments. I’ll put together a mailbag periodically that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

June 16, 2016

From twitter Beardown NYC, @scar_179NY

“So you’re saying the Bears will only win 1 or 2 games this season? Throat-punch yourself!! Hilarious!!! ”

I could be wrong about the Bears, but I can see the recipe for them having a tough season. Let’s look at the previous teams that ended up picking first and see if there are some similarities.

2012: Indianapolis Colts – Veteran quarterback who got injured, bad defense, aging roster. Had playoff hopes entering the season after making the postseason the year before.
2013: Kansas City Chiefs – Veteran quarterback who played poorly. Had playoff hopes entering the season.
2014: Houston Texans – Veteran quarterback who played poorly. Had playoff hopes entering the season after making the postseason the year before.
2015: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Veteran quarterback who played poorly. Leaky defense. Had hopes to turn around and be competitive in Year 1 of new coach.

The Bears could fit the same criteria for the 2016 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be a shock if Cutler has a down year similar to Matt Schaub for the Texans in the 2013 season. It was clear this offseason Chicago wanted to get rid of Cutler but was stuck with him because of his contract. That situation looks like a downward spiral. Plus, the Bears’ offensive line could have problems protecting Cutler and keeping Matt Forte healthy. The defense has holes in it as well, and Chicago is breaking in a new coaching staff with players not having continuity in the new system.

As the teams above prove, veteran teams hoping for a quick turnaround that end up with disappointing play can go in the tank to land the first pick. If you’re a Bears fan it would be better to pick first then in the teens and be stuck in mediocrity.

From Tom Ferrone

“Hey Charlie, Every Year, their is a stronger position in the drag than normal. This Year, it was Running Backs and Edge Rushers. The Year before that, it was receivers, before that, it was Offensive Lineman, and before that, it was quarterbacks. What position looks the strongest this up coming draft? Regards, Tom Ferrone ”

It’s too early to say. Right now, I would say there is the potential for cornerback, safety and linebacker to be strong in the 2016 NFL Draft; maybe on the interior defensive line. Edge rushing looks weak though. Nothing really stands out as looking rather strong or weak on the other side of the ball. It really depends on the juniors and who breaks out.

From Grant Weber

“How could you possibly have Buffalo picking 9th? They won 9 games last year with no QB and an inferior coach. The Bills added Rex Ryan, Greg Roman, McCoy, Harvin, Clay and lost no one of consequence in free agency. The defense ranked 4th in the NFL last year and did that without Kiko Alonso (so that can’t be the reason). Even Walt has them picking 20th. You will look foolish if you keep them at 9th. And the Bills Mafia does not forgive or forget. ”

I appreciate your thoughts and I do think the Bills have had a quality offseason. The reason why I have them picking 9th is the quarterback. I think Buffalo’s quarterback play will be among the worst in the NFL, and this is a quarterback-driven league. I think with the talent on the Bills’ coaching staff, a good defense and the running game will keep the franchise from picking in the top five. Rex Ryan has had a lot of similar teams in New York the past few seasons, and this is the range his teams have been picking in.

On the flip side, I could be wrong. A year ago at this time, I had the Texans, Browns and Dolphins picking in the top 10, and they ended up in the teens.

The funny thing is, I got these same exact emails from Bills fans in 2011 when I had them picking in the top 10, and Bills fans thought the team would break out that season. Buffalo ended up picking in the top 10. Last year, I got these emails from Jets fans. If the Bills had a good quarterback, I think they would be a playoff team.

From twitter @anthonyspanti, Anthony Rambo

“‪@DraftCampbell‪ how do you have the Jets at #4. The team is good this year, smdh‬ ”

Well, I don’t see a huge difference between this year’s team and the Jets over the past few years. The cornerback play will obviously be better than it was last year. The defensive line is loaded, but most importantly, the team still has a glaring weakness at quarterback. I have the Jets picking close to where they selected this year, because they have the same starting quarterback, and I’m not convinced that Geno Smith can turn the corner. I think Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles were good hires who will right the ship in New York, but they may need a year or two to find their own quarterback.

From Steve Trail, Waco, Texas

“Why do you have Shawn Oakman so low in your mock? He looks like a first-rounder all the way.”

Especially after his big bowl game against Michigan State, the media has overhyped Oakman. Last year late in the season, a general manager of a playoff team that is one of the best at drafting and has been picking in the 20s for many years in a row told me that he thought Oakman “sucked” and was the most overrated prospect. He said they had a fourth-round grade on Oakman. No joke.

That criticism surprised me, so I went to a few other teams to see what they thought. One scout said Oakman didn’t suck, but he needed development for the NFL. He was very similar to Margus Hunt coming out of SMU as they are nearly identical in size and how they produced. That scout said they had a 2/3 (borderline second and third round grade) on Oakman. A third team said they had a second-day grade on Oakman.

Teams also said they had some off-the-field question marks dating back to his time at Penn State and his transfer to Baylor.

Oakman made the wise decision to return to school to get better before turning pro. It seems very possible that he can make strides and improve on his grade this fall.

From twitter @Matty_OS, Matt Caraccio,

“I heard prior to the 2015 NFL Draft Stanley would have been the top OLman off the board, do you agree with that?”

That’s hard to say. If I had to make a prediction, I would say Redskins still would have gone with Brandon Scherff. And Stanley would have graded out similar to Ereck Flowers and Andrus Peat as a late top-10/early teens pick.

Once again send questions/comments via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

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