The first round of the 2016 NFL draft is less than three weeks away.
The SEC is expected to have the most draft picks of any league; the SEC had 54 players selected last year, giving the league the most draftees for the ninth year in a row.
And over the past five drafts, the SEC has had 50 first-rounders, followed by the ACC with 26, the Pac-12 with 24, the Big 12 with 20 and the Big Ten with 18. No other league has more than the AAC’s six.
GN is looking a bit deeper into the SEC players expected to go early in this draft. We have a 20-question, 20-day “SEC Draft Winds” project, whereby we have polled our contributors and asked a specific question about a high-profile SEC player in this draft.
This is part nine.
Would you select Alabama quarterback Jake Coker in this draft?
Brady Ackerman: I would draft him in the sixth or seventh round based solely on the facts that he won big at Alabama and once was at FSU. If I had plenty of picks, I would take him because this would keep me from lobbying for him as a free agent. I don’t think he’s overly talented and the only thing that really stands out for me is his competitiveness. He made plays in the Ole Miss and Tennessee games when option one broke down and kept his team alive. He’s a project/practice-squad guy who because of that attribute and the fact that he’s from Alabama makes him worth a pick for me.
Heath Cline: I’d consider him with a late pick. You can never have enough viable quarterback options, so why not see if, with some time, you can refine him into something useful down the line? Peter King of Sports Illustrated has been advocating for the Broncos to deal for A.J. McCarron, whom the Bengals drafted in the fifth round. Maybe in 2020, he’s suggesting something similar for Coker.
Dan Hancock: He will get drafted merely for his prototypical frame (6 feet 5, 236 pounds) and the uniform he wore in college. His size makes him an offensive coordinator’s dream; his ability, though, may be equally frustrating to his OC. At the next level, Coker could be just another Alabama quarterback who never panned out. He’ll be a late-rounder, but he’ll get drafted. He’ll need to put a lot of work in, though, to see playing time on Sundays.
Mike Huguenin: Yes, as long as it was in the seventh round. I don’t think all that highly of Coker, but in a draft bereft of quarterback talent, he has some things you like, mainly his frame and experience in a pro-set attack. He is a developmental project, for sure. If I had targeted him in the seventh round but he was gone, I certainly would not be upset, though.
Leslie Koerdt: No. Coker has the prototypical look of an NFL quarterback, but he is a project. He is a free-agent pickup for a team that has time and patience.
David Levin: The Patriots drafted Matt Cassel, didn’t they? Seriously, Coker will be lumped in the same category as Mike Shula and Jay Barker: He played within a system that allowed him to lead his team to wins and titles. I personally think Coker is better than some think and could be a solid NFL backup.
Dan Mathews: Brian Hoyer has been a starting quarterback in the NFL. I think a team wouldn’t be going too far on the ledge by taking Coker in the fifth or sixth round. He’s shown that he can lead, win and play through pain.
David McKinney: I don’t think so. Coker probably is outside the top 10 quarterbacks available in this draft. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team signs Coker as a free agent. Whether he makes a team remains to be seen, but as far as the draft goes, there are better options.
Matt Moscona: If my team was looking to bring in a young quarterback to compete for the backup job, Coker would be a solid choice in the final three rounds. The bottom line is that there aren’t many guys walking around at 6-5 who can make all of the NFL throws. Coker also is attractive since he played in a pro-style system in college and won’t have to learn how to take a snap from under center. Still, there is not enough of a résumé to invest a pick in the first four rounds on Coker.
Seth Stokes: Yes, in the late rounds. I think he could be a good backup. He’s a smart guy with a decent arm and better-than-expected athleticism. I don’t think he would ever see the field as a full-time starter, but I do think he could be a serviceable backup.
Jake Wimberly: No. While Coker did win a national title at Alabama, let’s remember there has been way more buzz around Coker’s potential than his actual performance. Yes, he looked nice down the stretch in 2015, particularly against Michigan State, but Coker is another example of a run-of-the-mill quarterback good enough to “manage” Nick Saban’s team but hardly good enough to compete and succeed on the next level.
(Feature photo by MATTHEW EMMONS/USA TODAY SPORTS)
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