Right off the bat I must brag a little bit about how I called Jacksonville taking Blake Bortles. I knew things were too quiet there. For there to be no speculation about the hometown QB coming to a QB-needy team, it just had to be a smokescreen. They end up grabbing the kid with their 3rd pick yesterday.
Well, what a draft that was! Coming into it, analysts were describing it as the least predictable draft ever. The first two picks were the calm before the storm. Houston took Clowney and St. Louis took Robinson…things were going just as planned right? What a boring draft!
Then the craziness started. Jacksonville shocks the world with Bortles, Buffalo trades down to take Watkins, Raiders land their prized Mack and so on and so forth.
Just to recap, here is how the 1st round ended up:
1. Houston Texans – DE Jadeveon Clowney
2. St. Louis Rams – OT Greg Robinson
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blake Bortles
4. Buffalo Bills – WR Sammy Watkins
5. Oakland Raiders – OLB Khalil Mack
6. Atlanta Falcons – OT Jake Matthews
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Mike Evans
8. Cleveland Browns – DB Justin Gilbert
9. Minnesota Vikings – OLB Anthony Barr
10. Detroit Lions – TE Eric Ebron
11. Tennessee Titans – OT Taylor Lewan
12. New York Giants – WR Odell Beckham Jr.
13. St. Louis Rams – DT Aaron Donald
14. Chicago Bears – DB Kyle Fuller
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Ryan Shazier
16. Dallas Cowboys – OT Zack Martin
17. Baltimore Ravens – LB C.J. Mosley
18. New York Jets – S Calvin Pryor
19. Miami Dolphins – OT Ju’wuan James
20. New Orleans Saints – WR Brandin Cooks
21. Green Bay Packers – S Ha’sean Clinton-Dix
22. Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel
23. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Dee Ford
24. Cincinnati Bengals – DB Darqueze Dennard
25. San Diego Chargers – DB Jason Verrett
26. Philadelphia Eagles – DE Marcus Smith
27. Arizona Cardinals – S Deone Buchannon
28. Carolina Panthers – WR Kelvin Benjamin
29. New England Patriots – DT Dominique Easley
30. San Francisco 49ers – S Jimmie Ward
31. Denver Broncos – DB Bradley Roby
32. Minnesota Vikings – QB Teddy Bridgewater
– Browns trade their 2014 1st round pick (4th overall) to the Bills for their 2014 1st round pick (9th overall) and their 2015 1st round and 4th round picks.
– Browns trade their first round pick (9th overall) and their 5th round pick (145th overall) to the Vikings for their first round pick (8th overall).
– Cardinals trade the 20th overall pick to the Saints for their first round pick (27th overall) and third round pick (91st overall).
– Browns trade their first round pick (26th overall) and third round pick (83rd overall) to the Eagles for their first round pick (22nd overall).
– Seahawks trade their first round pick (32nd overall) to the Vikings for their second round pick (40th overall) and fourth round pick (108th overall).
As you can tell, the Browns did a ton of trading. I definitely would call them a winner. They acquired a 1st round pick in next year’s draft, while also getting their franchise quarterback with the 22nd pick when they were thinking about taking him with their 4th pick. They also added Justin Gilbert, the best cornerback in this draft. This team is ready to win.
The Minnesota Vikings have to be winners as well. They added an extremely talented lineman in Anthony Barr and jumped in front of the quarterback-needy Texans at the end of the first round in order to take their franchise quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater.
The New Orleans Saints paid a hefty price to move up to the 20th pick and grab Brandin Cooks. I think it was well worth the price. New Orleans has arguably the best quarterback in football, and adding a player like Cooks who has the ability to speed past defenders for long touchdowns is a perfect fit for this team. Cooks is extremely versatile. Whether you want to throw him a screen, let him run intricate routes, sprint for a deep touchdown or let him run out of the backfield, he is a unique offensive weapon that the Saints will love for years.
The Cincinnati Bengals needed a cornerback and were extremely lucky to be able to sit right where they were and have their guy fall into their lap. Darqueze Dennard was looked at as a top 20 player and possibly the best corner in the draft, but he lasted to them at 24 and they have to be excited.
I really don’t know what the Miami Dolphins were thinking when they took Ju’wuan James. Nothing against the player, but he just isn’t first round quality to myself and many evaluators. With players like Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio and others still on the board I cannot fathom why they took James. If James was their prized player, they should have looked to trade back.
The Tennessee Titans surprised a lot of people when they took Taylor Lewan with the 11th pick. Now, Lewan is an incredible player, but they already have two starting tackles. I just do not see where they will play Lewan. They should have taken something else that they could use or traded back.
The Arizona Cardinals took a 5th round safety. Now this is my opinion, but most evaluators had Buchannon nowhere near the first round. This was a shocker. With a player like Jimmie Ward sitting there for them, they reached deep into the depths of the draft for their guy.
There is still a ton of talent available going into day 2 of the NFL Draft. I think we will see a ton of teams looking to trade to get more picks in tonight’s portion. To me, this is by far the deepest draft of all time. This draft has the largest selection of underclassmen ever, and I think this adds to the depth.
Here are my best available players for today’s portion of the NFL Draft:
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Marquise Lee, WR, USC
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Ra’shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State
Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State
Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Trevor Reilly, DE, Utah
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Kareem Martin, DE, UNC
Stay tuned for my recap of tonight’s draft action! I will also wrap-up tomorrow’s portion of the draft. After all the dust settles and the draft has concluded, I will post a complete wrap-up of the draft to conclude this year’s work on Sports Weekly!