The long awaited NFL Draft has finally come. As we stayed glued to our TV screens and Twitter feeds for 4+ hours on Thursday night, we witnessed one of the craziest drafts in recent memory.
It all started at pick 2 where the Chicago Bears traded up one slot to secure Mitch Trubisky; a questionable move, which we’ll get to later. We then saw the Kansa City Chiefs leapfrog up the board for Patrick Mahomes, who would’ve thought he’d be a top 10 pick? It wasn’t done there. The Houston Texans were the next team to trade up for a QB as they secured Deshaun Watson at 12.
Storylines of players dropping past their slotted value was evident throughout ESPN’s broadcast. We saw O.J. Howard fall right into the lap of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 19 – a pick which I label as the best of the 1st round. Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen fell to the Redskins at 17, and Reuben Foster barely even got drafted.
With all the trades, storylines and madness that filled Philadelphia on Day One of the draft, it’s only right to review it. Below I compiled my pick-by-pick analysis with grades included. I also listed my top players left on the board heading into Day 2.
- Cleveland Browns
- San Francisco 49ers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Atlanta Falcons
- Chicago Bears
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Analysis: Even with the late Mitch Trubisky hype, we all knew this was the pick – there was no way around it. Garrett is a generational talent as a pass rusher. He has the athleticism and all the tools to be a terror in the AFC North. Pleased to see the Browns didn’t bite on Trubisky, and instead went for the sure thing.
2. Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Analysis: The Chicago Bears wasted no time to shake up the draft. They gave a major haul in order to trade up one slot in order to draft their franchise QB in Mitch Trubisky. After signing Mike Glennon over the offseason to a $15M salary, the move is beyond questionable. I can’t knock a team for taking a QB their high on, but they could’ve easily sat back and took him at #3.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Analysis: After trading down, the 49ers were able to accumulate even more draft capital, and were still able to get arguably the best player left on the board. Solomon Thomas adds yet another fierce defensive linemen along with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Analysis: The free agency period last month saw the Jaguars add a handful of defensive talent – so they understandably shifted their focus to the offensive side of the ball. Leonard Fournette is a punishing bellcow out of the backfield who will shorten games and lend a much needed helping hand to Blake Bortles. Jaguars fans may not like it now, but they will by midseason.
5. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Analysis: This was the first major shock to me. Corey Davis is a talented wide receiver, don’t get me wrong, and he fills arguably the biggest need for Tennessee. However, I question the value here – he’s a guy the Titans could’ve even got at their second pick at #18. Still, he provides an instant weapon for Marcus Mariota in the passing game.
6. New York Jets: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Analysis: Thank god for Jets fans, they didn’t go QB here. Jamal Adams was widely viewed as the best player on the board (#3 overall on my big board). The Jets have holes all over their defense, especially in the secondary. Thus, they get the best defensive back in the entire draft class. Adams is a tone setter out of the secondary and one of the most instinctive players in the class who can make plays back in coverage as well. A much needed leadership boost in the Big Apple.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Analysis: While I would’ve preferred Malik Hooker here, Mike Williams is a solid pick for the Chargers. Your typical “go up and get it” WR, Williams provides a nice weapon on the outside for Philip Rivers. Keenan Allen has struggled to stay healthy over the past couple seasons, but if he can, the Chargers have one of the best duos in the league.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Analysis: McCaffrey has been heavily cited to the Panthers over the past week or so, and it stayed true when they handed in their draft card. McCaffrey is the ultimate weapon as he can run outside or between the tackles, but his real value comes with his ability to engineer the slot in the passing game. No doubt a very good player, but I’m not sure how creative Carolina’s offense is with his utilization.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: John Ross, WR, Washington
Analysis: Undoubtedly the biggest reach in the top 10, John Ross is speedster as he record-breaking 4.22 40-yard dash at the Combine would indicate. However, this is a guy who has several injury concerns and probably would’ve been on the board in the late teens. While he adds another weapon to Cincinnati’s offense, it doesn’t fill a huge need for the Bengals, nor was it a value pick.
10. Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Analysis: What a blockbuster trade here from the Kansas City Chiefs. They move up and secure their future franchise QB. It’s clear that they’re tired of Alex Smith engineering the offense, thus they move up and get the complete opposite in Patrick Mahomes. While he’s my QB4, I really like the fit in Kansas City.
11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Analysis: Without question the top corner in the class, the Saints get tremendous value here and arguably fills their biggest need. Lattimore is a tremendous athlete with advanced cover skills. You can leave him isolated without safety help and he’ll get the job done. However, the hamstring issues concern me.
12. Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Analysis: At pick 12, this draft is already one of the craziest in recent memory. While they definitely need a QB, I’m not a huge fan of Watson’s fit in Houston. Although, as I said earlier, I don’t knock teams for trading up for their franchise QB, especially when it’s a guy like Watson. While I don’t think he’s the best fit, Watson has the pedigree and all the intangibles to be a successful QB in the league. My QB1.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Analysis: The hometown kid goes off the board one spot before Philly picks. Haason Reddick has seen his draft stock ascend more than any player in this year’s draft class. He provides a defensive weapon to Arizona’s defense as he can run and chase, rush the passer and stick to his man in coverage. A flashy yet sound pick by Cardinals brass.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
Analysis: As an Eagles fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see a mass of talent fall to our pick which included names like Reuben Foster, O.J. Howard, Jonathan Allen, Malik Hooker and even Dalvin Cook. I wanted the splash pick, but instead the Eagles went with a high floor guy who will be a consistent contributor for the next decade. Passing on the heavy talent that dropped is a hard pill to swallow.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Analysis: The Colts are another team with needs and holes all across the roster. While Malik Hooker brings that “risk” label due to his inexperience and tackling concerns, the Colts get one of the best players on the board. A rangy ballhawk with elite ball skills. Hooker will immediately transform Indy’s defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Analysis: I thought for sure Foster would be the pick here, but instead Ozzie Newsome goes for a different Alabama defender. Just as we all expected, Humphrey was the first Alabama player selected. With Conley’s recent rape allegations, top tier corners are slim in the draft. I’m a huge fan of Humphrey (CB3), and he fills a need for the Ravens. A tremendous athlete who is physical against the run.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Analysis: The storyline leading up to this pick was the fall of the Alabama players, and we now see them go in consecutive picks. Jonathan Allen’s arthritic shoulders may have been a concern for some teams, but he’s too good of a football players to pass up here. I had him at 15th on my Big Board, so this is about where he should’ve gone in my eyes. Allen fills the biggest need for the ‘Skins and fits their scheme to perfect as a 5-tech.
18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Analysis: This pick was a shock. I’m aware of their glaring need at corner, but Jackson won’t be ready from day one. Very raw at the corner position, there’s no doubting his upside. However, with guys like Howard and Foster on the board, this pick is a head scratcher. Still, Jackson is an electric playmaker who can at worst be an elite returner in the league.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Analysis: This is the best pick of the draft, to this point. Howard was my top rated offensive player in the entire draft (#6 overall) – I have no idea how he made it this far. Howard fills a need for Tampa Bay and provides them with an elite playmaker at TE, along with guys like Mike Evans and Desean Jackson. This offense is scary. My new Madden team.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Analysis: We all knew the Broncos were likely to go offensive tackle in the 1st round, and they have the widely considered top linemen fall to them at 20. Bolles plays with a nastiness and mean streak warranting a 1st round pick. The Broncos get their franchise left tackle.
21. Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Analysis: I’m a big fan of Davis’ game, and it’s no secret that the Lions need help in their LB corps. However, I consider this to be a bit of a reach, especially with Reuben Foster still on the board. Davis has big medical concerns, and the value just isn’t there at #21.
22. Miami Dolphins: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
Analysis: Based on my big board, Charles Harris is a big reach. However, he fits the mold of what the Dolphins look for in their ends and he fills a big need. Harris has a deadly spin move, but looks non-existent against the run.
23. New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Analysis: Surprise pick here by the Giants, but a great one nonetheless. If they went TE, I would’ve expected David Njoku to be the guy. However, Engram is a sleek athlete who gives the Giants a matchup nightmare all over the field. With his size, athleticism and skillset, Engram can serve as the lead TE alongside other weapons such as Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, or even in the slot. Like the Buccaneers, the Giants offense got scary on Thursday night.
24. Oakland Raiders: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Analysis: After the rape allegations that surfaced earlier this week, it was unclear if Conley would even be drafted. The 3rd best player left on my board (#10 overall), the Raiders get tremendous value here. Conley is one of the few corners in this class with lockdown skills on the outside. I figured the Raiders would roll the dice on a defensive prospect like Conley, Reuben Foster or Malik McDowell here.
25. Cleveland Browns: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Analysis: Another shocker pick coming in the 1st round. Along with Myles Garrett, the Browns add another polarizing player to the defense. Jabrill Peppers is the epitome of a “boom or bust” prospect, but I love his game – I’ve been higher on him than most throughout the draft process. If they utilize him correctly, this pick will pay dividends for the Browns. Garrett and Peppers mark a rebuild to the Browns defense. The recent “diluted” drug test proves to not hurt him.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
Analysis: Not a fan of this pick. The Falcons traded up 5 slots for a guy I had 51st on my big board. He has upside as a pass rusher, but I think there were better options on the board for the Falcons. On tape, I didn’t see the motor everyone raves about. He does fill a need, and fits the scheme. If anything, they could’ve sat at 31 and most likely have gotten him.
27. Buffalo Bills: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Analysis: I like Davis a lot more than most. He’s a trustworthy corner who can guard the boundary. Not the explosive athlete or playmaker you typically like in the 1st round. However, he will be a staple of Buffalo’s secondary for years to come. Hard to pass on Reuben Foster here – thought for sure he’d be the pick.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
Analysis: Great pick here for the Cowboys. Their defense was dismantled over the offseason, but they get a much needed boost in the pass rush department here. Taco Charlton was my top rated edge rusher left on the board. He has a tremendous combination of size, athleticism and power with tons of upside. As he proved in the Ohio State/Florida State games to end the season, he can take over games.
29. Cleveland Browns: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Analysis: The Browns continue to blow me away in this draft. Between Garrett, Peppers and the picks they’ve acquired for next year, they’re going to turn things around in Cleveland, and quick. Njoku is a polarizing athlete with the size to match. An instant upgrade and playmaker on that offense.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
Analysis: This pick was a huge reach in my eyes. I didn’t have Watt ranked until 63rd on my big board. With that being said, the Steelers needed to add a young pass rusher to put alongside Bud Dupree. While Watt is a bit raw at the position, he showed a lot of promise at Wisconsin in his limited time on defense. I love the fit in Pittsburgh.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Analysis: Fantastic job here by John Lynch to trade up and snag the top LB in the class who fell to the tail-end of the 1st round. Honestly, I didn’t think he had this in him. After adding Solomon Thomas to the defensive line, they continue to build that defense. Thomas and Foster were both in my top 5, and serve as building blocks on that deteriorated defense.
32. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Analysis: This pick was surprising, but not a bad one by any means. Ramczyk was the 29th player on my board, and the Saints get a quality tackle in this class while they still can. I thought for sure they would double dip on defense with their two first round picks.
Best Players on the Board:
- (2) Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
- (9) Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
- (19) Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
- (20) Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
- (25) Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
- (26) Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
- (33) Budda Baker, S, Washington
- (34) Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
- (35) Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
- (37) Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan