There was screaming. There was dreaming. There was crying and hoping and coping, but most of all there was the name of the game, chaos. Once again we were all proven that no matter how many prospects we study, how many mock drafts we make, and how many people we talk to, we still don’t know anything. After the first round of the NFL Draft, we were left stunned by the seemingly erroneous selections, unreasonable reaches, electrifying trades, and a fair dosage of drama. Now it’s on to the rest of the weekend to try and match one of the craziest nights in recent memory. Here’s who won and lost from Day One.
Originally holding the fifteenth selection of the draft, Arizona saw their passer available and took their chance. By swapping picks with the Oakland Raiders, they moved up to 10th and took my QB1, Josh Rosen out of UCLA. Sending 15, 79, and 152 to move up five spots and select your franchise quarterback is a bargain and can pay off quickly depending on Bradford’s health. A backfield of Rosen and David Johnson for the next decade is more than exciting for Arizona, and the fans who haven’t drafted an adequate passer in years. He may not start immediately, but his impact will eventually be felt as he wages war on the nine teams that passed on him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A trade up seemed imminent for Buffalo, but a trade down was quite clearly unexpected from Tampa Bay. Giving up the seventh pick and pick 255 for 12, 53, and 56 was clearly enough to sway Tampa Bay. After the Bills selected Josh Allen, the Buccaneers went on to select the number one defensive tackle in the class, Vita Vea. Mark Jarvis’ number one player, Vea was a surprising pick at 12, but can certainly wreak havoc alongside Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Vinny Curry. Those two second-round selections could be huge for their future. They didn’t “fleece” the Bills, but drafts are won and lost in the second day of festivities, and Tampa Bay just gave themselves a real advantage.
Los Angeles Chargers
This one is pretty simple. We knew heading into the draft that the Chargers would need to address defense sometime early during the draft, and they did so at 17. Except, they got a prospect many thought would be gone in the top ten with Derwin James. The Florida State star wowed scouts during his Seminole career and looks to continue to do so at the next level. Potentially the top safety in the class, James fills a need on that Bolts’ defense and is versatile enough to help at other spots as well.
Words can’t explain what I’m feeling right now happy to be a charger big things coming ⚡⚡⚡ pic.twitter.com/dmueoW8dY9
— DJ3 (@derwinjames6) April 27, 2018
Ozzie Newsome made his final first-round selections last night, and he certainly went out with a bang. The Hayden Hurst selection at 25 was, to put it simply, bad, but he rebounded shortly after. He then traded up with the Philadelphia Eagles, giving up their current and future second-round picks, but they feel it was well justified, as they landed potential franchise quarterback, Lamar Jackson. They didn’t give up too much and they addressed both an immediate need and a long-term beneficiary. If Jackson pans out, this acquisition is more than worth it, no matter who the second round picks turn out to be.
On the other side of this deal were the Eagles, who won the day for a few reasons. First off, they got two second-round picks from Baltimore, which is fine for trading down 20 spots. Howie Roseman gave himself protection for the future, ammo in this year’s class, and stopped the New York Giants from getting a top five quarterback in this class, possibly the most important part of this deal. Hurting the Giants has the potential to delay their process one year, considering he would have most likely been the pick at 34. Howie Roseman proved himself a genius again, and prolonged Philadelphia’s dynastical window without even immediately improving his roster.
New Orleans Saints
Trading up to the fourteenth pick with an aging quarterback and a closing window usually means quarterback, and that’s what we all expected. However, New Orleans decided to choose a raw edge rusher at fourteen, instead of Lamar Jackson. Now is Jackson a better prospect than Davenport (yes) but that’s beside the point. Davenport may not even start year one, and in an ever-closing window, the Saints needed impact players. What makes this worse is that they gave up 27, 147, and a 2019 first round picks. That’s two first-round picks for a risky prospect outside of the quarterback position, who won’t help you year one. Putrid move.
Ryan Shazier made the Steelers’ first-round selection special, and it certainly outshined the selection. Terrell Edmunds was the pick, a consensus day three safety. Shocking the draft community, so many questioned the Steelers’ decision. To make matters worse, Sean Davis is already starting at strong safety, Edmunds’ position, and neither don the skill set to move over.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) April 27, 2018
We were warned this selection would have something special about it, and it came to fruition. Rashaad Penny, a name no one circled as a first-round option, was the pick late in the first round. Not only was the pick considered a massive reach, but Seattle doesn’t have the supporting cast around him. Without an offensive line, Penny won’t be able to do much and it will leave Russell Wilson in a similar spot to last year’s campaign.
New York Giants
Dave Gettleman might not have had the best night last night. He took Saquon Barkley at two, a controversial pick to say the least. Top-flight passers Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen were both available, and they decided to support an aging, unimpressive, 37-year-old Eli Manning. According to reports, Gettleman rejected multiple unbelievably lucrative offers, some that would not really hurt their chances of selecting Saquon Barkley. If this wasn’t bad enough, Lamar was lingering around late in the first round. A successor to Eli Manning should have been the pick at two, and Gettleman had a chance to correct his mistake. He didn’t. He sat and waited the first round out, only for Lamar Jackson to be selected at 32.
The Cardinals traded up with Oakland, and many expected a defensive prospect to be taken at 15, such as Derwin James, Josh Jackson, or Jaire Alexander. However, they selected the over-hyped offensive tackle prospect, Kolton Miller. For reference, I ‘comped Miller to former first-rounder Ereck Flowers. To miss out on such tantalizing defensive talent, with a bad defense, then picking a poor offensive tackle at 15 is just terrible. They also traded their third-round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant, who is yet to put it all together, and probably will never reach his full potential. They definitely could have done a lot better for themselves.