Having five personnel evaluators from NFL teams project the top 10 picks in the 2016 NFL draft seemed like a good idea. It was a good idea. But as one hour on the phone with these seasoned pros turned into six, the possibilities began to seem endless. The possibilities almost are endless, even with the first two selections all but known. That is why thinking through the scenarios is so much more worthwhile than trying to guess what is just about impossible to guess.
Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was one of the big winners in this exercise as evaluators repeatedly and independently wondered why more people weren't talking about him as a top-10 selection. Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil was one of the potential losers even though most evaluators had him penciled in as the third overall pick. There were twists, turns and a few revelations as we made our way from the Los Angeles Rams at No. 1 to the New York Giants at No. 10, including one of the best explanations I've heard yet for the method behind the Philadelphia Eagles' alleged QB madness.
1. Los Angeles Rams
Minutes after the Rams acquired the top pick from Tennessee, reports surfaced suggesting Wentz was the player they were targeting. Then came word the Rams had not made a decision, followed by reports that Goff would be the likely choice at No. 1. The one vote for Wentz in this survey came from a personnel evaluator who wasn't willing to discard the earliest reports.
"My take on it is someone with the Rams leaked it, and then all of a sudden they had to put the genie back in the bottle," this evaluator said. "They could go either way, but it wouldn't shock me if they went Wentz -- not at all."
This same evaluator said he liked both Goff and Wentz, but that he would take Goff based on throwing accuracy and pocket presence, as well as what Goff was able to accomplish with a shaky supporting cast. Another evaluator felt strongly Goff would be the choice based on his abilities and from a marketing standpoint in California, where he saw Goff as the natural fit. A third evaluator went with Goff after some waffling. He could see the Rams going either way.
"My initial thought when I heard they were trading up was that they would take Wentz based on his size and Jeff Fisher's history of quarterbacks," this evaluator said. "But I also thought of [general manager] Les Snead's history with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and figured he would see some of Matt Ryan in Goff, and the Rams would see Goff as better prepared to play right away. I doubt they would be trading up to No. 1 to take Wentz and then sit Wentz. You are making that move to play the guy now."