The first round of the NFL Draft is complete. Let me make one thing clear first: I’m not an expert, nor am I here to rip the job of scouts and personnel staff who do this for a living. With that said, I want to take a look at some picks that jumped out to me, including the Browns, the Bears trade-up, the Titans, and the NFC East.
Some thought the Browns may stray from the “sure thing” in Myles Garrett and go with a quarterback at #1. In my opinion, they did the right thing by sticking to their analytics, going with Garrett, and not reaching for another QB destined to fail with a weak roster around him.
They later traded their 12th pick to the Texans for the 25th to grab Jabrill Peppers. While Peppers’ position is still a question mark, he clearly has the potential to be a playmaker — something the Browns desperately need. Then, they traded back into the first round to grab TE David Njoku with the 29th pick. I thought that was a great value pick, and he could immediately become their best receiving option come the fall. I thought it was a great first round for the Browns.
The Bears Trade…
The Bears traded a whole lot to move up one spot in the draft — from third to second — to get former UNC Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. No one knows how Trubisky will pan out, but the Bears were confident enough to give up their third, 67th, 111th and next year’s third rounder for him. That’s a lot.
First things first: kudos to John Lynch, new 49ers GM, for hitting a home run in his first NFL draft as General Manager of a pro football team. The 49ers still got who they wanted at #3 while also adding a few picks to their arsenal.
Back to the Bears… Again, no one knows how Tribusky will pan out, and they just signed Mike Glennon to be their quarterback. But if Tribusky sits for a year or two, then grows and develops into a successful starter, can anyone blame them for giving up what they did for a franchise quarterback? I wouldn’t, and we don’t know for sure the other offers that San Fran may have been entertaining; the Bears may have HAD to offer that much to fight off other competitors from taking their coveted quarterback.
It looks terrible on paper, and it could end up being a disaster. But we really won’t know until Trubisky hits the field and plays, so I prefer to wait on that before irrationally destroying the Bears for it.
Titans come away with two playmakers…
One team that stood out was the Titans — I thought they had a legitimately promising first round. They snagged WR Corey Davis at #5, which came as a surprise; he was expected to go in the later teens (17.5 over/under in Vegas). I love Davis and think he’s going to be an outstanding pro for years, and it gives Marcus Mariota a true #1 receiver to build and play with for the next 5-10 years presumably.
They then grabbed former USC playmaker Adoree’ Jackson with the 18th pick. This was another surprise, as Jackson was mocked as a late first rounder or even a second rounder. But I like Jackson, and the Titans have had success with smaller cornerbacks like him. Plus, they desperately need help in their secondary, so this made sense.
Although they may have ‘reached’ for both players, I think the Titans got who they wanted and came away with playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Being a Cowboys fan, I obviously play close attention to all NFC East teams. First, I’ll start with the Eagles. They selected Derek Barnett with the 14th pick, adding to their already-disruptive front four. Some believe he could be the best pass rusher of all the prospects. That’s yet to be determined, but I think it was a solid pick for the Eagles. Pass rush is increasingly important in today’s NFL, and the Eagles seem to know it.
The Redskins went with Jonathon Allen, DT from Alabama, with their pick (17th). This was great value — Allen was projected to go in most peoples top 10, but injury concerns caused him to fall. The Redskins defense is bad, and this pick was a clear indicator that they want to build from the trenches out to help aid a promising offense.
The Giants made noise by selecting TE Evan Engram with the 23rd pick. I think they wanted to go in a different direction (OL, LB, or OJ Howard), but Garett Bolles, Jarrad Davis and Howard all went in the prior four picks. So the Giants went with Engram, who draws a lot of comparisons to Jordan Reed. While the Giants desperately need help protecting the quarterback and opening running lanes, I think it was still a pick that made them a better team immediately. They now have one of the best passing attacks in the league (if not the best), and they finally have a pass-catching tight end for the first time in years.
The Cowboys selected Taco Charlton with the 28th pick, a defensive end from Michigan. It’s clear the Cowboys need help rushing the quarterback, and this gives Rod Marinelli another toy to work with along the defensive line. He may not be the guy to get 10+ sacks next year, but the Cowboys desperately need pressure on the quarterback, and he will help provide it. The Cowboys have proven to love players from big schools with big-game experience. Charlton’s big game against Ohio State last fall was probably a major reason they went with him.