The quarterback might be the most important player in the league, but that will never warrant reaching for one.
Justin Herbert is going to be considered the biggest reach in the draft when it is all said and done, but we’ll hold off on breaking it down till we get to that pick. We’re going to do this in chronological order, not which players will have the biggest impact on their team going forward.
First, the Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU. This is obviously one of the biggest picks in the draft for two reasons: he’s a quarterback and it’s the number one overall pick.
Burrow has all the intangibles of being one of the best players in this draft, it just depends on how well his line blocks for him and how well his coaches do their jobs. Contrary to popular opinion, he isn’t going into a poor situation.
He has a very capable offense with receivers like AJ Green and Tyler Boyd, and a potential All-Pro running back with Joe Mixon. All the pieces necessary to put up the numbers are there, Burrow just has to hope his offensive line doesn’t continue to give up three sacks a game like last season.
But the return of Jonah Williams, the Bengals’ first round pick from last year, will sure up a spot on the left side of the line protecting Burrow’s blindside.
There are three positions in football that matter more than the other 21. Quarterback, which was taken first overall, edge rusher, which was taken second overall in Chase Young out of Ohio State who will probably be the best player in this entire draft class; and OT left or right depending on your quarterbacks handedness and which side is his blind side.
With the number four overall pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Giants select Andrew Thomas, Left Tackle, Georgia.
The Giants selected their quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones last year, but Jones spent a lot of his rookie year running around in his own backfield trying to get away from opposing defenses. With the addition of Chase Young in his division, however, management decided they were going to finally get him some help.
Thomas was regarded as one of the top OT in this year’s draft, but not many considered him the best.
Some scouts, like NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, even though Andrew Thomas was the 3rd best in this year’s draft class. However, it was stated numerous times that this draft class’ offensive tackle class was ranked by the smallest of margins.
Cleveland Browns’ offensive tackle, Jedrick Wills, was regarded as the number one OT by most scouts, so it leaves you wondering what the Giants saw in Thomas.
Next is one of the biggest reaches in the draft. With the number six overall pick, the Los Angeles (San Diego) Chargers select Justin Herbert, quarterback, Oregon. Herbert didn’t even belong in the first round, much less a borderline top five pick.
Hebert started for four years at the University of Oregon and made hardly any improvements, if any at all. The quarterback had an impressive sophomore campaign but never did anything to follow it up. Some might even say he regressed.
He has all the physical tools to be a great quarterback, but if being athletic was all it took to be regarded as great, then Jalen Hurts would’ve been the first overall pick.
Herbert has two major concerns: one, his inability to read a defense in real time, and two, his capability to push the ball down field.
He has a big arm, but the offense he ran at Oregon was nothing but bubble screens, slants and flat routes. The game that captures his lack of field awareness and inability to perform against decent competition the best was his game against Auburn.
The Ducks had a sizable lead and just had to continue to play solid football to walk out of the stadium with a victory. However, Herbert couldn’t perform and that cost Oregon the game.
Herbert isn’t any better than Josh Allen, and Allen isn’t going to win you a Super Bowl. So why reach on a pick like that when you can fill another hole?
It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your team is if your quarterback can’t perform. The 49ers and Bears will preach all day about that.
This draft wasn’t all reaches, however. With the number eight pick in the NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Isaiah Simmons, linebacker, Clemson.
Simmons was going to be the steal of the draft no matter how far he fell after the Chargers’ pick. He is regarded as the second-best talent in this draft behind only Chase Young on the defensive side of the ball.
Simmons, being 6 feet 4 inches and 240 pounds, is a freak of nature athletically. He ran a 4.39 second 40-yard dash, which was nearly the fastest time put up by a linebacker in 14 years along with a 39-inch vertical.
But he isn’t strictly a linebacker. The biggest knock on Simmons is he doesn’t have a sure position, but that’s technically only a negative if the defensive coordinator is incapable of doing his job. He plays all over the field, logging a plethora of snaps at slot corner, safety, edge rusher and outside corner.
During the draft process, an interviewer asked Simmons what position he plays. Without hesitation he responded with “defense,” implying he doesn’t need to play a specific position to make an impact on the field.
Simmons to the Cardinals is slightly lackluster, however. The Cardinals don’t have an overly-impressive defense or defensive coordinator along with an offensively-minded head coach to boot. Simmons is going to make impact plays no matter where he plays, but don’t expect him to show up on SportsCenter every week like Derwin James did in his rookie season.