Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers absolutely killed this draft, picking up guys that I think could be high-impact players at every stage of the draft, and that was without a pick on Day 2. Without trading up, LA snared Justin Herbert at pick #6, a QB who many consider to be the most pro-ready. They traded up for a second first-round pick, and they grabbed Kenneth Murray, potentially the best linebacker in the class. Then, they picked up UCLA running back Joshua Kelley, who has good speed and great potential as a pass-catching back, a do-it-all swiss army knife in Virginia receiver Joe Reed, Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman – a gritty defender with great ball skills – and finally a complete and utter steal in KJ Hill out of Ohio State. Every single one of these players, I believe, can make LA’s 53-man roster. Justin Herbert tossing to Keenan Alllen, Mike Williams, and KJ Hill. Joe Reed returning kickoffs – Austin Ekeler working with Josh Kelley at running back, Alohi Gilman eventually slotting into the secondary or a key special teams role, and Murray rushing inside with Joey Bosa coming from the edge? Chargers aren’t going to be picking 6th again for a while
I really didn’t understand Fromm’s decision to go pro this year. He had no foreseeable challenger for his job at Georgia, and he was going to have a chance to be one of the best QBs in the SEC, after playing second fiddle to Tua and Burrow. He might even have chased a national championship. Instead he threw himself into a quarterback draft class that was loaded at the top as a middling prospect. Fromm was the 8th quarterback off the board, and he went in the 5th round to Buffalo, where Josh Allen is locked in at quarterback for the foreseeable future. I don’t see Fromm challenging the more physically talented and mobile Allen for the #1 job, and he’s not the type of athlete you can throw into special packages like you could with Jalen Hurts, so Fromm may just find himself on the bench for a long time to come.
Division II Football
It’s becoming increasingly rare for DII prospects to be high selections in the draft, as Kyle Dugger out Lenoir-Rhyne became the first to be selected in the first three rounds of the draft since 2006 (according to Boston.com), taken off the draft board at 37th overall by the New England Patriots. It’s just one player, but it’s huge for Division II to prove they can still produce elite prospects, as retaining top players can be a problem for players seeking a professional future.
Aaron Rodgers/Green Bay Packers
I don’t know what the Packers were doing in this draft. General Manager Brian Gutekunst said before the draft that while the receiver class was deep, he wasn’t just going to hope someone fell into their laps late, adding that he “didn’t expect us to wait around”. Aaron Rodgers mentioned it ‘would be nice’ for the Packers to draft a skill position player in the first round, something they haven’t done in 15 years. Not only did Green Bay not draft a receiver, their first two picks were spent on Jordan Love, a quarterback who will sit behind Rodgers for a few years, and AJ Dillon, who while a great runner, joins a crowded backfield. They gave Rodgers one weapon in the passing game, taking tight end Josiah Deguara. Deguara is good, but Green Bay left arguably the second best tight end in the class, Dayton’s Adam Trautman, on the board with this pick. With a closing window to win and a Hall of Fame quarterback asking for more weapons, Green Bay didn’t deliver, and now they will struggle to remain even close to the top of the cutthroat NFC.
Look, Eason probably wasn’t thrilled about slipping all the way into the middle of the fourth round, but he found his way into a near-perfect situation. The Washington and former Georgia signal-caller was selected by the Indianapolis Colts, where he finds himself in a quarterback room with Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett. Their selection of Eason likely signifies the exit of the latter, or at very least, gives the fourth-rounder a chance to battle it out for the backup job. That part is under his control, at which point he could be the backup to Rivers, learning under an experienced starter. Rivers is under contract for just a year, so Eason, if he impresses, could have a chance to take the reigns within a year. Consider that to the situation of Fromm, and it’s a dream. Eason can just make his slip in the draft a chip on his shoulder and convert that frustration into proving himself worthy of becoming Rivers’ heir apparent in Indianapolis.
Alright this one’s a little strange, and it can more universally be applied to small-name football schools. Dayton tight end Adam Trautman was ranked as the 2nd best tight end on the board, and he was regarded as a potential second-round pick. It largely depended on when Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet was taken, and after Kmet departed the board for the Chicago Bears early in the second round, Trautman seemed in a good spot. Yet Trautman watched three more tight ends get selected, before he finally heard his name called at the very end of the third round by the New Orleans Saints. You can call Dayton a winner for getting their first draft pick in 43 years, but the reality is Trautman should have gone way before he did, and the selection of tight ends from bigger football schools like UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Cincinnati just showed a lack of trust from NFL teams in picking up Trautman. For small schools like Dayton looking to compete against bigger name schools, it’s a tough recruiting blow to see such a slide from their best player since the 1970s.