The NFL draft had its first round on Thursday and the futures of some teams were decided with the picks they made in the draft. This first round was one of the most predictable drafts for about 15 picks and even after that it still did not seem to be too crazy. Even the “big shocks” were relatively small and definetly possible options for the teams that made those pick. Another noticeable absence was the lack of trades made by teams in the draft. As I am writing this, there has been only two trades through 27 picks, and the trades weren’t exactly blockbusters either. All the hype about a mega-deal from the Eagles, Browns, or Bears to move up and get Marcus Mariota like it was so widely predicted before the draft.
Now lets look at some of the biggest surprises whether it good or bad, and some of my favorite picks by teams. Of course, I’ll address the picks that left people shaking their heads. It’s a shame that the lack of trades may be due to a perception of over importance in first round picks. It seems every year that teams only seem interested in trading up for quarterbacks and that’s the only way for a trade to happen in the first round. This is an issue I will address later, most likely after the draft, but for now let’s start with the picks so far.
- Buccaneers:Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
- Titans: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
- Jaguars:Dante Fowler, Jr., DE/OLB, Florida
- Raiders:Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- Redskins:Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
- Jets:Leonard Williams, DE, USC
- Bears:Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
- Falcons: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
- Giants:Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
- Rams:Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- Vikings:Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
- Browns:Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
- Saints:Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
- Dolphins:DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
- Chargers(via San Francisco): Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
- Texans:Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
- 49ers(via San Diego): Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
- Chiefs: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- Browns(via Buffalo): Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
- Eagles:Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
- Bengals:Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
- Steelers:Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky
- Broncos(via Detroit): Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
- Cardinals:D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
- Panthers:Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington
- Ravens:Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
- Cowboys:Byron Jones, CB, UConn
- Lions(via Denver): Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke
- Colts: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
- Packers: Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
- Saints(via Seattle): Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
- Patriots: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Getting Leonard Williams will be one of the best picks of the draft. The best overall player fell to six, that’s the huge deal here. The Jets were finally patient and let the draft come to them and that is what they have failed to do for so long and that is draft the best player available. Even though Williams may not be the best fit for the team in terms of their scheme. It’s always easier to adjust a scheme or fit a player in then it is to find talent like Leonard Williams.
It’s weird saying the Browns and Jets had great picks, but here we are. It’s a different year and what a difference a year makes. The Browns went for a huge nose tackle, who will clog up the middle and stop the run, in Danny Shelton. Also, they got one of my sleeper picks in Cameron Erving, a very versatile player who can play anywhere on the line, although center and guard are probably the most likely spots. I believe if he does play interior linemen he will be a solid to Pro-Bowl Caliber player. It’s a change in philosophy that I really believe will benefit the Browns, like it did the Cowboys. Build from the interior out on both offense and defense.
The Panthers drafted Shaq Thompson out of Washington and shocked many analyst with this pick, not me though. I had Thompson as a first round talent. A very athletic linebacker who can cover in pass coverage, not a great pass rusher but reminds me of a player that the Panther’s head coach Ron Rivera coached in Chicago named Brian Urlacher. Thompson needs to add some weight, and will need to develop better instincts in the run game. Definitely a high-upside guy that I believe will allow Luke Kuechly to roam more free in the middle of the field and help eliminate tight ends out of the passing game.
Other Great Picks: Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in Melvin Gordon and believe he will be an impact player, the trade up two picks is what I thought was extremely unusually, and almost baffling. Looking at the two teams: Houston already has Arian Foster and San Francisco has plenty of needs on defense. I find it a little bit of a stretch that either team, with so many needs on defense, would invest a pick in a position that neither team really had a glaring need. I just feel it was a waste of draft picks to trade up.
The Giants watched their favorite player get drafted at number five to an inter-division rival. Now they will have to see Brandon Schreff twice a year, and even though I believe Flowers will be a solid player, I feel it was a reach here to draft him so early. I also had several other linemen rated higher than Flowers and feel that the Giants drafted a player that needs time to develop and even in time, will not be as good as some players taken later in the draft.
I understand the Bears wanted to draft the best player available, and almost struck gold until the Jets made their pick. I’m not saying Kevin White is not a great player either, I just feel that wide receiver is not as glaring of a need as people said it was for the Bears. The Bears being in the position they were in I feel they should have traded down and acquired more picks, with a team likely willing to trade up to get Kevin White who is an exceptional player.
Other Questionable Picks: Philidelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions
With the 2nd round starting tomorrow, here of some prospects I will be keeping a close eye on.
- Randy Gregory-DE
- Denzel Perryman-ILB
- Owamagbe Odighizuwa-DE
- Carl Davis-DT
- Benardrick McKinney-ILB
- Eli Harold-OLB
- Landon Collins-S
- Dorial Green-Beckham-WR
- Brett Hundley-QB