With five weeks of the Best Player Available Podcast in the books, we’re taking a week off. Though we’ve been discussing the 2017 NFL Draft, there’s been plenty to learn beyond just the players picked. If you’ve been listening so far, I’m sure you’ve learned quite a bit about evaluation and how NFL teams think. I sure have. 

Here are my five takeaways from the first five episodes of our series. 

  • QBs are often poorly evaluated: With three weeks until the draft, we’re hearing glowing things about Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, two passers who might go in the top 10 despite having very limited starting experience. I think drafting teams should consider the Bears’ decision to draft North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky. On the other hand, Ohio State’s Justin Fields seems to be devalued despite his considerable playoff experience. Teams similarly downgraded Clemson’s Deshaun Watson despite his participation in two national championship games. Watson’s current issues aside, clearly, teams didn’t give him enough credit for being a winner.
  • If a prospect only started for one full season, buyer beware: Trubisky wasn’t the only player with a limited resume that didn’t live up to expectations. As we discussed in last week’s Friday Wrap, Washington WO John Ross, Alabama TE O.J. Howard, Michigan DE Taco Charlton and Miami (Fla.) TE David Njoku entered the draft with minimal starting experience and wound up disappointing on the NFL level. It’s something to consider when reviewing the cases of Penn State OB Micah Parsons, Miami (Fla.) defensive ends Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips, Jones and Lance.
  • Don’t draft a player who’s a ‘B’ player at several positions but an ‘A’ player at none: Stanford’s Solomon Thomas was considered an athletic defensive lineman who could play inside or outside, though there was no consensus on which position was his best. He probably hasn’t lived up to being selected at No. 3. Similarly, USC’s Adoree Jackson was seen as an athletic type who not only played cornerback but also excelled at returning kicks. However, he didn’t turn out to be good enough at cornerback to warrant sticking with the Titans the full five years of his rookie deal. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers was very similar and has also not lived up to his potential.
  • There are strata of first-round picks; there’s the top 5-6, then everyone else: Talking to scouts and evaluators, it’s pretty clear that Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore were the players everyone knew would be NFL stars. After that, there were doubts. I’d say each of these players have proven that scouts were right.
  • In the era of free agency, BPA is a fallacy: I’ve joked that next year, if I do a podcast on 2018, I’ll call it the Need-Based Draft Podcast. While many teams do make some or all picks based solely on their respective boards, the lion’s share are made in reaction to the holes in the roster. I guess that’s human nature. 

We’ll be back next week with former Giants Mike Murphy. In the meantime, make sure to check out the Friday Wrap for more info on the business of the game. Register here.