This story is over 5 years old.


NFL Draft Day 2: Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, and More Players to Watch

The first round of the NFL Draft is done, but the great teams hit on second- and third-round picks. Quarterbacks like Penn State's Hackenberg and Michigan State's Cook are still on the board, as are Derrick Henry and Myles Jack.
Photo by Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Day 1 of the NFL Draft left us with the sugar buzz, but it's hitting on second and third-round picks that separates the great teams from the bad. Here are a few situations that have will my attention on Day 2:

The Quarterback Derby

Just three quarterbacks—Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Paxton Lynch—were picked on Day 1; we should see a few more shake out on Day 2, including lightning rod Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), rumored Buffalo Bills target Kevin Hogan (Stanford), and maybe, just maybe, Cardale Jones (Ohio State). Michigan State's Connor Cook is probably the best available prospect left at the position, though. The NFL Network was really pushing for him to get drafted toward the end of the first round last night, but Cook's off-field baggage (well, for a quarterback) and the receivers he played with pushed him down the board. I'd take Jones myself.

Read More: Laremy Tunsil, Myles Jack, and the First Round of the NFL Draft


As teams start to settle their quarterback situations, watch for movement on Brian Hoyer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Colin Kaepernick. Denver has said that selecting Paxton Lynch ended their pursuit of Kaepernick, but it's hard for me to believe the Super Bowl winners would go into the season with a rookie, Mark Sanchez, and no one else.

The National Championship Game

Alabama and Clemson played for the title this year, but only one player from each squad made the first round. That leaves about eight legitimate second-round talents on the board between the two schools. Of the eight, my favorite player is corner Mackensie Alexander, who I think was slighted only because of his size. You can check his mind at work in this excellent tape piece with Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar.

Players remaining in Green Room:

LB Myles Jack
DT Chris Jones
LB Reggie Ragland
DT Jarran Reed
DT A'Shawn Robinson
DE Kevin Dodd

— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB)April 29, 2016

There's also plenty of beef to stack up the run. Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson both could be good fits as defensive tackles or 3-4 ends. Reggie Ragland slipped to the second round primarily based on his coverage ability, but he's got the skill set of a prototypical old-school linebacker.

Finally, what of Derrick Henry? The Alabama back has been slagged throughout this process for the holes he was able to run through and lacking the skill set to be a complete back. NFL Network's Mike Mayock even prefers Henry's backup. Is the Heisman Trophy winner too talented to ignore, or is he an odd square in today's round-peg game? That's what we'll find out on Friday.


The Fall of Myles Jack

How much longer can we expect to see Mr. Jack on the board? He's easily one of the 10 best players on the draft based on athleticism and on-field production. But, as we went over earlier today, teams were too scared of potential microfracture surgery to pick him in the first round.

I'm told the Packers were close to pulling the trigger on Myles Jack.

— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler)April 29, 2016

It's really hard to predict exactly which teams have the risk tolerance to make a move for Jack, but I think fortune tends to favor the bold in situations like this. The New England Patriots took some injury-prone tight end named Rob Gronkowski in the second round a few years ago—he turned out OK.

Who Will Break the Seal on Tight End?

For the second year in a row, not a single tight end went in the first round. Given the scarcity of receiving talent at the position, and the perceived value of it by teams, I'm curious to see if the best available prospects gets pushed up the board.

For me, the two best tight ends in this class are Arkansas's Hunter Henry and Stanford's Tyler Hooper. Hooper is the more complete player, while Henry is the guy who fits more of the Aaron Hernandez/Jermichael Finley catch-first mold.

I think you could argue that it would make sense for a team like the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, or the Houston Texans to snag Henry in the second round, before they're completely shut out at the position. Will they need to move up to make it happen?