The popular argument for how players get knocked by scouts, real and wannabes, is the players' surrounding competition. I didn't see a lot of "but look who Soandso played against!" this year. Most of the evaluations I've come across for the last few months have mostly talked about players from a statistical standpoint as well as their individual physical abilities; not too much written about the mental part of the game (decision making and whatnot).
The first two days were to be expected. Optimism wanted us to write about a player with great potential going as high as the third round, but it was safe to assume that there wouldn't be much action until the fourth round began. As understandable as that was, it still ended up being a much less exciting draft to experience than what we remember.
The 2016 NFL Draft is only 2nd draft in last 20 yrs (2002) in which no MAC player taken in 1st 3 rounds. @HustleBelt (1/2)— Matthew Daley (@StatManMatt) April 30, 2016
This is the longest the MAC has had to wait for a draftee since 2002, when Dave Zastudil went 112th overall.— Brandon Fitz (@broncofitz) April 30, 2016
Longest MAC drought in the NFL Draft in 20 years, folks. This sucks— Brandon Fitz (@broncofitz) April 30, 2016
The highest-rated player by NFL's Mike Mayock was the 3-time First Team All-MAC linebacker Jatavis Brown at 85. It seemed like he could've been the first player taken early in the fourth round, but after after every pick, it just seemed like it'd be an even long and longer pick until somebody out of the MAC would finally be taken.
The University of Manitoba was able to celebrate an NFL Draft pick before anybody from the MAC was able to, six names from the MAC were able to celebrate as they were selected in the draft: Willie Beavers (Minnesota Vikings), Tajae Sharpe (Tennessee Titans), Jatavis Brown (San Diego Chargers), Kavon Frazier (Dallas Cowboys), Darius Jackson (Cowboys) and Daniel Braverman (Chicago Bears).
Beavers, the 121st pick of the draft, lets his versatility to play inside or be a tackle, be a beneficiary as he brings a lot of potential to the Vikings. But if you're going to talk about the Vikings' draft, it's more likely because there's a 6-foot-4 receiver from Germany that had no idea what football was until he was 17 years old named Mortiz Boehringer was selected in the sixth round.
The fifth round was bookended by a pair of consistent All-MAC performers. The Titans made it a point to improve their offense by giving Marcus Mariota more tools to work with, and did so with their big trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Their 140th pick wasn't acquired via trade, but the Jack Conklin pick at no. 8 and Derrick Henry pick at 43 were. They also used pick 193, another one they traded for, to grab another offensive lineman from Arkansas.
Three of the first four picks the Chargers made were defense, Brown being the fourth. They grabbed the MAC Defensive Player of the Year as a compensatory pick to end the fifth round, and was their last defensive player of the draft after grabbing Ohio State's Joey Bosa and Joshua Perry in the first and fourth rounds.
# of MAC players taken in the NFL Draft:— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) April 30, 2016
Nothing in the fifth, and nothing in the sixth until Dallas used two of their last three draft picks, all compensatory, on Kavon Frazier and Darius Jackson. Frazier was their fifth defensive player (second to be in the secondary), and Jackson is pegged to add more running back depth after the Cowboys picked up Ezekiel Elliott with their first round pick.
The final pick out of the MAC ended up being another Michigan MAC selection: Daniel Braverman. A short receiver that will probably be used in the slot, much like how he did at WMU. He was second in the nation with 108 receptions last year and instant reaction from a lot of fans when he announced that he won't be returning for his final season with the Broncos was "whoa, you're not Corey Davis?"; seems like he made the right choice here.
Matt Johnson and Roger Lewis were probably the most popular names to not be taken in the draft, but they've already been invited to mini-camps. There will be more players than that to sign deals with teams as undrafted free agents, many already have (Joe Licata, Ruben Carter, Jordan Williams, Rolan Milligan, Bryson Albright, Phillip Ely, etc.)