Storylines are aplenty leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft. We’ll give you the biggest myths you’ve fed.
In the film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” Jimmy Stewart portrays a man that goes on to fame and notoriety after everyone thinks he shot the notorious villain Liberty Valance. It was, in fact, John Wayne’s character who shot the criminal, allowing Stewart’s character take the credit. When Stewart tries to tell the truth to a reporter, he is told “When the legend becomes fact… print the legend”.
It happens every year come draft time. Someone says something about a prospect or a team…it catches fire…and just about everyone assumes it as fact. Many never even bother to question said myth. Therefore, it just grows until it eventually takes on a life of its own.
Myth #1: Myles Garrett is a once-in-a-generation prospect
First of all, let me get this disclaimer out of the way. I love Myles Garrett as a prospect. Do I love him like I did Von Miller (2011), Robert Quinn (2011) or John Abraham (2000)? Absolutely not. For as impressive as Garrett is in workouts, he can be equally as disappointing on a snap-to-snap basis during games. What is most concerning is his disappearing acts against premium competition. Of Garrett’s 8.5 sacks during the 2016 season, 4.5 came against UT-San Antonio (with former LSU backup Jevonte Domond at left tackle). Another 2.0 sacks were against Auburn, with first-year starter and former Ole Miss backup center Austin Golson at left tackle. Another sack was versus Tennessee redshirt-Freshman tackle Drew Richmond. Garrett’s lone sack against a draftable college tackle was against UCLA’s Conor McDermott, who is a 6-7 round prospect at best. Garrett was shut out against Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama and Kansas State…all teams with quality offensive lines and left tackles.
Garrett has all the traits NFL scouts look for in a pass rusher. His size, length, strength and athleticism are undeniable. However, it’s his uneven performance as a football player that give me pause.
Myth #2: Bloodlines are a solid indication of prospect evaluation
This myth most directly pertains to Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt (yes J.J.’s lil bro). I’m sure you’ve heard it ad nauseam over the past few months, “Watt has the bloodlines to be a successful player in the NFL.” While I get the basis of such commentary, just what the hell does it equate to? Sure, it’s nice that T.J.’s big brother is one of the best defensive players in NFL history, but that has absolutely nothing to do with T.J.’s pro prospects. Sure, Eli Manning, Serena Williams and Marc Gasol are a few younger siblings who followed their older siblings to greatness.
People that lean on this rhetoric must have never heard of Seth Curry, Ozzie Canseco, the other Watt brother (Derek) or thousands of other younger siblings who never amounted to anything close to what their elders accomplished. If T.J.’s surname were “Jackson”, he’d be considered more of a late 2nd round prospect.
Myth #3: There is no franchise quarterback in this class
Sure, it has happened in a draft class, where there are zero franchise quarterbacks produced. 2013 and 2007 come to mind. But, it’s rare. In short, it’s just hard to fathom that Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, Pat Mahomes, DeShone Kizer, Davis Webb, Brad Kaaya and Nathan Peterman all turn out to be bums. I’ll take my chances on the sheer numbers that this talented, but unproven class unearths at least 1 productive signal-caller.
Myth #4: Christian McCaffrey = Danny Woodhead (or any other white RB)
It’s spewed over and over again when evaluating prospects in any sport. A 6-4 cornerback is automatically the next Richard Sherman. A sharp-shooting, 6-8 white dude in basketball is presumably a Larry Bird clone. Happens all the time…we all do it. However, it’s lazy and generally off-base. Christian McCaffrey is as far away from Danny Woodhead as you can get in a football player…other than skin tone. I’m just saying, if McCaffrey were a black dude, he never would have had to “prove” that his measurables were elite like he did at the combine.
Myth #5: Malik McDowell has a questionable motor
This one and #6 are closely tied together. First off, salute to my guy Voch Lombardi for alerting me to this flat out lie. I checked out Voch’s film session on McDowell and it led me to go back and watch more film on Malik. Somehow, this myth has become so pervasive throughout draft circles that some folks have suggested that McDowell will fall out of round 1 completely. That is complete and utter bullshit, to say the least. Malik McDowell is the Russell Westbrook of college football defenses. The man did everything for Michigan State. He lined up at nose, 3-tech, EDGE, stand-up LB and was unblockable most of the time. Throw in the fact that McDowell is not a conventional human being and didn’t interview well for some teams, and you have a terribly perpetuated myth that he doesn’t love football and his motor is questionable.
Myth #6: Solomon Thomas is relentless
To piggyback off #5, Solomon Thomas is NOT as relentless as he’s been given credit for. Sure, when he’s on, Thomas plays with his hair on fire, creating havoc in damn near any backfield he chooses. However, there are countless instances where Thomas may as well purchase a ticket to watch his teammates make plays. Solomon Thomas is not the type of athlete that can coast on sheer physical ability alone. He must consistently exhibit that balls-to-the-wall mentality to live up to his ever-growing draft hype. There is increasing thought that Thomas could go #2 to the San Francisco 49ers. If he does, it should not be based off the misconception that his motor never runs cold.
Check out Voch Lombardi’s informative film session, comparing Malik McDowell and Solomon Thomas:
Myth #7: Cam Robinson is not athletic enough to play left tackle
Someone said, very early in this process, that Cam Robinson can’t play tackle in the NFL and would project better to guard. Those are lies, people! Does Robinson have shoddy, inconsistent footwork? Hell yeah, he does. Are his hands all over the place? Yep. There is considerable work ahead for some NFL offensive line coach. But, all the tools are there with Robinson. He just became an easy target once this myth started to gain steam. Check out the film of Robinson vs Myles Garrett to witness what the big Alabama product is capable of when he’s dialed in.