The Defense Has it
The Green Bay Packers opened the night by drafting Washington cornerback Kevin King, this started a run of defensive backs that didn’t end until 11 had been selected by the end of the second round. In total, there were 19 defensive backs (CB/S) selected in the first two rounds, the most dating to the start of the modern draft in 1967.
By three rounds, the total rose to 29 pushing the number on the defensive side of the ball to 63, another modern draft record.
Are teams shifting their focus to defense, well no it’s more just a factor of the strength of those positions in this year’s draft availability.
Another Londoner For The NFL
“My heart is with Nigeria but London is my home,”
Obi Melifonwu completed his journey from London to the National Football League when he was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round. Melifonwu, a stand-out safety at the University of Connecticut, was the 24th player selected in the second round, the 56th overall.
He becomes the fourth UK-born player currently in the NFL, joining defensive end Jack Crawford (Atlanta Falcons), offensive tackle Menelik Watson (Denver Broncos) and running back Jay Ajayi (Miami Dolphins).
Melifonwu, born in Archway’s Whittington Hospital to Nigerian parents, spent the first three years of his life in London before his family moved to Massachusetts. “My heart is with Nigeria but London is my home,” he said prior to the draft.
He earned first team All-AAC honours in his senior year at the University of Connecticut Huskies, with a team-leading 118 tackles and four interceptions, and was one of the star performers at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.
Support or Replace?
Life in the NFL is a fragile environment for any player and the draft can give a good indication for if your team considers you part of their future plans. Do teams draft weapons that will support you or are they using high picks to line up your replacement?
The ageing Phillip Rivers at the Chargers (who moved up the California coast from San Diego to Los Angeles) would have slept easier last night at his team used their high picks to bolster his protection.
The Chargers having already picked up Russell Okung in free agency weren’t done and grabbed a pair of linemen in the second round Friday. Forrest Lamp may have been the best offensive lineman in the draft yet the Chargers managed to secure him with the 38th overall pick. He’s flexible and can fill in all over the line. The second help they secured Rivers was Dan Feeney out of Indiana (picked 71st overall). Whilst Rivers is undoubtedly a great QB, last year he was sacked 36 times (tied for ninth in the league) and ranked fifth in Pro Football Focus’ Pressure Percentage metric.
Over on the East Coast, Giants’ Eli Manning may not have had such a good night. The Giants moved in round one to give him an extra weapon however they didn’t move yesterday to give support to their leaky line, instead choosing to add defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from Alabama with the 55th pick and Davis Webb, the California quarterback, with the 87th pick.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the best pick with a story as they add running back James Conner in the third round. They picked up the Pitt product who won over hearts by overcoming a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015.
This is no sympathy pick though, the 6’2″, 240 pounds runner returned from with 16 touchdowns last season. The Steelers, now have a big back to complement starter Le’Veon Bell.
“It’s a dream come true, they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and they are going to get a hard worker and a great football player.”
Conner hasn’t travelled far in his physical journey. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, playing at Pittsburgh, becoming a 2014 first-team All-ACC player, tearing his ACL and beating cancer in 2015 before making first-team All-ACC again in 2016 and now staying close to home with the Steelers.
Rounds 2 and 3 Summary
|1(33)||Green Bay Packers (From Browns)||CB||Washington|
|2(34)||Jacksonville Jaguars (From Seahawks via 49ers)||OT||Alabama|
|3(35)||Seattle Seahawks (From Jaguars)||DT||Michigan State|
|4(36)||Arizona Cardinals (from Bears)||S||Washington|
|5(37)||Buffalo Bills (from Rams)||WR||East Carolina|
|6(38)||Los Angeles Chargers||OG||Western Kentucky|
|7(39)||New York Jets||S||Florida|
|8(40)||Carolina Panthers||RB/WR||Ohio State|
|9(41)||Minnesota Vikings (from Bengals)||RB||Florida State|
|10(42)||New Orleans Saints||S||Utah|
|12(44)||Los Angeles Rams (from Bills)||TE/WR||South Alabama|
|13(45)||Chicago Bears (from Cardinals)||TE||Ashland|
|16(48)||Cincinnati Bengals (from Vikings)||RB||Oklahoma|
|18(50)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||S||Texas A&M|
|19(51)||Denver Broncos||DE||Florida State|
|20(52)||Cleveland Browns (From Titans)||QB||Notre Dame|
|22(54)||Miami Dolphins||LB||Ohio State|
|23(55)||New York Giants||DT||Alabama|
|27(59)||Kansas City Chiefs||DE||Villanova|
|29(61)||Green Bay Packers||S||North Carolina State|
|32(64)||Carolina Panthers (From Patriots)||OT||Western Michigan|
|3(67)||Saints (From 49ers via Bears)||RB||Tennessee|
|6(70)||Vikings (From Jets)||CB||Ohio State|
|8(72)||Patriots (From Panthers)||WR||Western Kentucky|
|10(74)||Ravens (From Eagles)||DT||Michigan State|
|11(75)||Falcons (From Bills)||LB||LSU|
|15(79)||Jets (from Vikings)||WR||Alabama|
|19(83)||Patriots (From Titans)||DE||Youngstown State|
|21(85)||Patriots (From Lions)||OT||Troy|
|22(86)||Vikings (From Dolphins)||RB||Toledo|
|27(91)||Rams (From Bills via Chiefs)||S||Boston College|
|31(95)||Seahawks (From Falcons)||S||Michigan|
|32(96)||Lions (From Patriots)||WR||Northern Illinois|
|33(97)||Dolphins (Compensatory Selection)||CB||Clemson|
|34(98)||Cardinals (Compensatory Selection – From Panthers)||WR||Grambling State|
|35(99)||Eagles (Compensatory Selection – From Ravens)||CB||West Virginia|
|36(100)||Titans (Compensatory Selection – From Rams)||TE||Florida International|
|37(101)||Broncos (Compensatory Selection)||CB||Lamar|
|38(102)||Seahawks (Compensatory Selection)||DL||North Carolina|
|39(103)||Saints (Compensatory Selection – From Patriots through Browns)||DE||Florida Atlantic|
|40(104)||49ers (Compensatory Selection – From Vikings via Chiefs)||QB||Iowa|
|41(105)||Steelers (Compensatory Selection)||RB||Pittsburgh|
|42(106)||Seahawks (Compensatory Selection)||WR||Michigan|
|43(107)||Bucs (Compensatory Selection – From Jets)||LB||LSU|
Day Three Today
The final day of this year’s draft takes place today in Philadelphia starting at 4:55 PM and is available to view on NFL Network. You can also stream it on NFL.com/Watch.
Day three covers rounds four through seven.