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Speaking of which…

Speaking of which…
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“Welcome to the first day of the NFL’s college draft for 2017!”

 

Hurry up, Rog.  We’re all dying of curiosity.  The annual hyper-analysis and (slightly) informed mock drafts, sometimes even fourth or fifth versions, are making their dutiful online rounds.  Teams and fans are breaking down rookie combine numbers, game film, positional projections, and injury reports.  There are ever-changing odds being generated in Vegas concerning team needs and draft order, all in an effort to determine who will be drafted and when, and whether it will improve a team’s 2017 chances at respectability.  Speaking of which…

 

According to most draftniks, the Browns are virtually guaranteed of selecting Texas A&M all-world defensive end Myles Garrett with the first overall pick.  Considered by many to be the best player in this draft, Garrett is projected to bolster an already-improving defensive line for years to come.  The fact that Garrett bettered his initial 40 time for no apparent reason speaks to his pride and willingness to be the best at his craft.  Speaking of which…

 

Last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa defied the expectations of many, including me, by posting 10.5 sacks in only 12 games after a hamstring injury.  Many had Bosa earmarked as a bust, as his skill set and “tweener” size have sometimes led to problems for similar players.   Garrett can only hope to do as well; given his frame and ferocious workout habits, he’ll probably also have an extra four injury-free games to work with than Bosa did.  Speaking of which…

 

Here’s a list of the injury and suspension status, such as it is this time of year, of each team’s players.  Obviously, these reports are nebulous; projections of rehab time based on undisclosed injuries are pretty amusing.  Check it out and see where your team currently sits.  Speaking of which…

 

Should we expect any change in the final standings in the AFC North in 2017?  According to ESPN’s infamous NFL analyst corps, the Ravens improved themselves the most through free agency, although this guarantees little and is subject to scrutiny.  The Browns are clearly poised to make the biggest jump in the standings after the improvements they’ve made to their offensive line and with the draft ammunition they’ve corralled in picks (11 at last count, including four in the first two rounds).  I would expect the Browns to move around on Draft Day if there are workable players available in trade.  Speaking of which…

 

Draft trades were rampant last season, with 11 picks changing hands in the first round alone.  Of those 11 deals, the Browns were involved in three, and they enter this draft with three fewer picks than they were armed with in 2016, but also with fewer roster holes to fill.  The Sashi Brown/Hue Jackson tandem needs to be shrewd and careful, as this draft – possibly more than in 2016 –  will most likely establish the core of the team.  Speaking of which…

 

The Steelers’ offensive roster seems to be largely set, even this far in advance of training camp.  Expect the Steelers to hold their draft position and concentrate on defensive needs, particularly at linebacker, where their depth is currently suspect.  Even the venerable James Harrison can’t be expected to play every down in 2017.   Speaking of which…

 

For all the talk of the age of a team determining success or failure, here’s a list of the collective ages of each NFL roster after the 2016 53-man roster cutdown.  A couple of interesting things stick out: the difference between the oldest and youngest rosters is a scant 2.08 years, and the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots sit squarely in the middle of the pack (note that the Super Bowl-losing Falcons were the oldest team in the NFL).  In short, age concerns appear to be bunk, at least in this youth-conscious (read: cheap) era.

 

It’s Friday, folks.  Enjoy.

AFCE

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