The 2016 NFL draft starts tonight so here's our comprehensive first-round mock draft.
1. Moritz Boehringer
This 22-year-old wide receiver from Germany has never played a single game of football in the U.S., but his athleticism, strength and speed have some NFL scouts predicting he could be the first German player ever to make it to the NFL.
He started playing football when he was 17, and most recently played in the highest level of German football, NFL.com reported. At 6'4" and 227 lbs, he impressed scouts at an NFL pro day in March, tallying scores and times in various drills that ranked him among the top wide receiver prospects from the NFL scouting combine in February, the site said. It added that six teams, including the Patriots, Packers and Broncos, expressed interest in him.
Still, relative inexperience could trump his raw talent. After all, as MMQB.com writes, Boehringer was until recently, "a mechanical engineering student in Aalen, Germany, who drove 50 kilometers each way to practice American football once a week."
If he is drafted, likely in the later rounds, he will be the first European player to be drafted straight into the league.
"I don't have any expectations," Boehringer said, according to ESPN. "I'll just wait and see what happens. The best advice I've gotten is just keep working hard. It's just my dream to play."
2. The draft takes forever
Get a sandwich and a beer or two (or five) because the first round of the NFL draft, scheduled for Thursday night at 8 p.m., will take a long time. Each of the 32 NFL teams is allotted 10 minutes to make their first round picks, meaning the process can take more than five hours to complete, though it usually doesn't take that long. ESPN has blocked out 3.5 hours for the first round. Rounds 2 and 3 are scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. and rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday at noon. Draft protocol stipulates that teams get seven minutes per pick in round 2 and five minutes in rounds 3-6. They have four minutes to make a pick in round 7. If that seems specific and bureaucratic, here's the six-step process for actually choosing a player, according to NFL rules:
"When a team decides on a selection, it communicates the player's name from its draft room to its representatives at Selection Square. The team representative then writes the player's name, position and school on a card and submits it to an NFL staff member known as a runner.
"When the runner gets the card, the selection is official, and the draft clock is reset for the next pick. A second runner goes to the representatives of the team up next and lets them know who was chosen. Upon receiving the card, the first runner immediately radios the selection to a NFL Player Personnel representative, who inputs the player's name into a database that notifies all clubs of the pick. The runner also walks the card to the head table, where it's given to Ken Fiore, vice president of player personnel.
"Fiore reviews the name for accuracy and records the pick. He then shares the name with the NFL's broadcast partners, the commissioner and other league or team representatives so they can announce the pick."
Something tell us that the first-ever draft in 1936, which featured teams like the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Redskins, was a simpler affair.
3. Scouting reports
Not only are players evaluated on the strength of the "draft stock" and "measurables," that is, how fast they run, how high they jump, how far they throw and how many passes they catch, future NFL players are increasingly being assessed on subjective factors such as "character." For example, Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton was infamously maligned as "fake" and "selfish" in a scouting report before he was drafted.
Scouts, perhaps attempting to remain relevant in a sports atmosphere where analytics are holding more and more sway (anyone can compare sets of numbers, after all) have taken to citing sources, many of whom are anonymous, as insights into players' "readiness" for the NFL. Recently, this took the form of a scout questioning the cooking abilities of Ohio State's Eli Apple. In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an unnamed scout was quoted as saying, "I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can't cook. Just a baby. He's not first round for me. He scares me to death."
Then there's this from Slate:
"There are two great things about this scout's foray into food criticism. One is that the last NFL season ended with Peyton Manning winning a Super Bowl and retiring. Peyton Manning, in addition to being a guaranteed Hall of Famer and one of the best football players ever, was once publicly described by members of his own family as not being able to open a can of soup.
The article cites a 1999 Sports Illustrated profile that quotes members of Manning's family explaining that he not only couldn't open soup, but had his girlfriend order Chinese food for him.