It was a pretty exciting and interesting first round of the NFL Draft with plenty of trades, some questionable decisions and a viral tweet that almost cost one young man his chance at NFL stardom.
With the first round over and done with, let’s take a look back at everyone’s choice and dissect them.
1. Jared Goff, QB, Cal – Los Angeles Rams
The Rams traded up to get the number one pick from the Tennessee Titans, surrendering a plethora of picks in this year’s draft and some key ones in next year’s to get the guy they believe will be the face of their franchise. Goff has been touted as the most pro-ready QB in this year’s draft and will without a doubt have those bright LA lights shining on him.
(Also, this makes Hard Knocks pretty interesting.)
2. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State – Philadelphia Eagles
Much like the Rams, the Eagles also traded a plethora of picks both this year, next year, and a second round pick in 2018 to move up to number two to grab the North Dakota State star. Head coach Doug Pederson has expressed interest in Wentz since the Senior Bowl, and said he will sit the young man and groom him to be the team’s eventual started in 2017 or 2018. The real question is, will he sit behind Sam Bradford or Chase Daniel until then?
3. Jared Bosa, DE, Ohio State – San Diego Chargers
What would be the first pick in a long line of Ohio St. players to get drafted in round one, it also comes with questions. The Chargers were in desperate need of protecting Philip Rivers and opening running room for Melvin Gordon, yet they addressed the other side of the ball. Plus, The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme meaning Bosa might have to transition to being a LB instead of an all around DE.
4. Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State – Dallas Cowboys
With one pick, the Cowboys’s backfield went from being laughable to downright scary. The team signed Alfred Morris in the offseason, who wasn’t all that bad in Washington, and they still have Darren McFadden who can be lethal if he stays healthy. Put those three behind that offensive line and Dallas could have the number one rushing offense this season.
5. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State – Jacksonville Jaguars
Good pick by the Jags as there are more holes on defense than offense for that team. In a division that has Marcus Mariota, Andrew Luck and Brock Osweiler, the team needed a young guy to cover the best targets for those three QBs, especially down in Houston whose WR corp got scarier, but we’ll get to that.
6. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – Baltimore Ravens
Decent pickup by the Ravens, who lost some key offensive linemen during free agency. I personally felt they should have gone LB or DL, but o-linemen and wide receivers were the top picks in the first round, so it was smart to grab their highest rated guy at the one of the two most sought after positions in this year’s draft.
7. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon – San Francisco 49ers
Should be no surprise to anyone that Chip Kelly would take a PAC-12 player first, let alone an Oregon player. Still, the 49ers have so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball the team had to start somewhere. I think this was just a case of them taking the best player available in the draft.
8. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State – Tennessee Titans
Even when the Titans held the number one pick it was no secret they were going to go offensive line. They got their QB last year, now they’re working on protecting him. The Titans might have been safe drafting a WR, as Mariota needs someone to throw to. But, again, linemen and receivers were the two best positions available in the first round, so Tennessee pulled the trigger on the highest rated prospect of those two positions.
9. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia – Chicago Bears
With Derrick Henry still on the board and the Bears without Matt Forte, I’m surprised they didn’t go running back, but that defense has been terrible these past few seasons, so they made the right move on addressing the side of the ball that needs the most work. The 2017 draft class will be littered with RBs, so Chicago might go with who they have on their roster currently at that position and try to snag someone next year, if it’s still a need.
10. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State – New York Giants
Another somewhat of a questionable decision as Vernon Hargreaves III was still on the board when the Giants made this pick. However, Apple is more of a press cover guy who might fit into the Steve Spagnuolo defensive scheme better. Giants have a bit of a history of DBs not panning out, so the pressure is on Apple to reverse those misfortunes.
11. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay snagged the best defensive player in the draft in my opinion, which works great for them as they struggled mightily on defense last year, especially on the back end. Hargreaves will have a lot of pressure on him covering guys like Julio Jones, Brandon Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin, but I think he already knows that.
12. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville – New Orleans Saints
Still reeling from the loss of defensive talent to free up cap space for the signing of Jarius Byrd, the Saints defense has been a laughing stock for the past two seasons. They once had a hell of a pass rush, and Rankins looks to be the guy to help bring that hard nosed defensive play back to Louisiana.
13. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss – Miami Dolphins
The biggest story of the evening came when only minutes before the draft a video was tweeted from Tunsil’s Twitter account of him smoking weed out of a facemask. Many speculated that that’s what led to his slide down to 13, and he claims his account was hacked and the video is several years old.Talent wise, he’s what the Dolphins need, it’s just a matter of if this young man can keep his past in the past.
14. Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia – Oakland Raiders
No surprise here as the Raiders appear to be set on the offensive side of the ball and are now addressing some key holes, particularly in the safety position that perennial Hall-of-Fame DB Charles Woodson left vacant after retiring. Draft experts give this pick a C grade, but I’ll give it an B.
15. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor – Cleveland Browns
The Browns finally picked at number 15 after making a trade down with the Tennessee Titans, giving them now 11 more picks left in the draft. Some were disappointed the Browns didn’t take a QB incase Robert Griffin III doesn’t pan out, but Hue Jackson and company seem to be all in on Griffin as their first pick gave him someone to throw to, especially with Josh Brown still suspended.
16. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State – Detroit Lions
Another case of taking the highest rated position at either offensive line or wide receiver, as the team is in desperate need of both. Stafford has been smacked around these past few seasons, but he can make any WR look good if given the time to throw, hence Detroit going with the safe bet of taking a lineman.
17. Keanu Neal, S, Florida – Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons addressed an immediate need and will still need to draft heavily on defense this year. Throw in at least one wide receiver and an o-lineman or two and this will be a team to watch out for this coming season.
18. Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama – Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck got the snot beat out of him last season, to the point where he missed several games and made questionable throwing decisions to avoid getting smacked around some more. Kelly address a good need for the Colts on the offensive side of the ball, now Luck needs someone to throw to.
19. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson – Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan loves his defensive guys, and he got a good one in Lawson who in 2015 had 35 solo tackles, 12.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss. A bit surprising the team didn’t address the offensive side of the ball, particularly at WR.
20. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State – New York Jets
With the uncertainty surrounding Ryan Fitzpatrick, I’m surprised the team didn’t take any of the available QBs left on the board, especially Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook. Still, Lee provides a good cover LB who can catch up with speedy TEs like Rob Gronkowski and free up the DBs to cover WRs.
21. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame – Houston Texans
Brock Osweiler smiled when he went to sleep last night, as Fuller is a great addition to the receiving corp to start opposite DeAndre Hopkins. With the defense being the team’s strength last season and not a lot of changes to it being made over the offseason, the offense appears to be catching up quickly. If Osweiler is the QB Houston hopes for him to be, the Texans could be the best team in the AFC.
22. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – Washington Redskins
The Redskins didn’t invest in Kirk Cousins in the long term, re-signing him to only a one-year deal, but they’re willing to give him the tools necessary to earn that long term contract and show he’s not a one-hit-wonder. If Cousins can remain consistent, Doctson, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed might be the most dangerous pass catching corp in the NFC.
23. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss – Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings went 11-5 last season and won the NFC North despite lackluster play from their QB who has the skills to be one of the NFL’s best. Treadwell gives Teddy Bridgewater a great weapon to throw to and will help him realize his potential to be a quality NFL QB.
24. William Jackson III, CB, Houston – Cincinnati Bengals
With the best WRs gone to complement A.J. Green, the Bengals went with the next best option to draft a guy who can cover Antonio Brown. Last season, Jackson put up 34 solo tackles, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and 23 pass deflections to lead the nation in that category.
25. Artie Burns, CB, Miami – Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh’s offense has the potential to be the NFL’s best with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Brown; but the defense has faltered since the retirement of a lot of its veterans and the departure of Dick LeBeau. This is a step in the right direction, but experts say Burns will be a project and will experience growing pains, but then again, what do they know?
26. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis – Denver Broncos
The 2015 Super Bowl Champions traded picks with the Seattle Seahawks to grab a guy that they desperately needed with the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure of Osweiler. Lynch will most likely sit a season or two behind Mark Sanchez, but the team is loaded with talent to still succeed now and groom Lynch to take them back to the promised land.
27. Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA – Green Bay Packers
A somewhat questionable pick, but Green Bay’s defense has struggled heavily for several seasons now, and the only reason Dom Capers still has a job is because the offense is good enough to carry the team to 12 wins every year as long as Aaron Rogers is the QB. B.J. Raji called it quits this offseason, so this fills a need, but I would’ve gone middle linebacker first to allow Clay Matthews to go back to the outside where he’s more comfortable.
28. Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford – San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers appear to be all in on Colin Kaepernick as they traded back into the first round to take a guy to protect their signal caller. Alex Boone and Mike Iupati are both gone, so this fills a big need, but with too much indecisiveness on Kaepernick’s future it would have been smarter to pick a QB like Dak Prescott who could fit Kelly’s offense.
29. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss – Arizona Cardinals
Perhaps the most complete team in the NFL, it’s really hard to decide if this filled an immediate need or not. The defense is already one of the NFL’s best, but a linebacker might have been a better pick here.
30. Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech – Carolina Panthers
Josh Norman’s departure leaves a huge void in the secondary for the reigning NFC Champions, but Butler ranked higher on the Panthers draft board and with defensive backs aplenty left in the draft they know they can fill that need later.
31. Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M – Seattle Seahawks
The offensive line is not what it once was for the Seahawks, so this was a necessary step in the right direction. Ifedi is a good run blocker, but his pass blocking is what needs the most work, which is something the o-line in general struggled with last season.