Three of the top four picks were offensive tackles and five of the top 10 picks were offensive lineman. And for the first time since the 2001 draft, there were less than two quarterbacks selected in the first round. There were a couple of projected first rounders that are still on the board after last night, and a couple of teams made a reach for their respective first rounder.
One thing's for certain: there are both winners and losers of the opening round.
Minnesota Vikings: With three, yes, three first round selections last night, the Vikings made huge improvements on both sides of the ball. In the deal that sent Percy Harvin to Seattle, Minnesota received the Seahawks' 25th overall pick, and they also made a draft-day deal to grab the 29th pick from New England.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, projected to go in the top five, fell all the way down to Minnesota at No. 23. Two picks later they landed Antoine Winfield's replacement with cornerback Xavier Rhodes. And, with the No. 29 pick from the Pats, they landed the second best receiver in the draft––Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee––to replace Harvin on offense.
Solid picks all around for the Minnesota Vikings.
St. Louis Rams: Head coach Jeff Fisher traded up from the No. 16 spot to the No. 8 spot in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. With that pick, they snagged the most explosiver player in the draft: wide receiver Tavon Austin. With the departure of Danny Amendola this off-season and the need for weapons on offense, the elusive 175 pound speedy wideout may have been the best selection in the draft so far.
St. Louis had two first round picks thanks to the trade with Washington last season, which allowed the Skins to move up to No. 2 and snag Robert Griffin III. With their other pick (No. 22 overall), the Rams moved down to No. 30 in a trade with Atlanta and added inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
E.J. Manuel: The only quarterback selected in the first round, the Bills used it's 16th pick in the trade with St. Louis to snag Manuel out of Florida State. I've been questioning the move by Buffalo to grab Manuel, though it appears he moved up the board because of his speed and mobility, which fits what Buffalo wants to do on offense.
New York Jets: It's become quite evident that head coach Rex Ryan worries too much about his defense than his offense. The Jets already traded away their best player––All Pro shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis––to the Bucs. With the No. 13 pick they received in the deal, the Jets added defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Four picks prior to that, at No. 9, they added a potential Revis replacement by selecting Alabama corner Dee Milliner.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez could use all the help he can get on offense, as the Jets ranked 30th in the passing game last year, and 28th in overall offense.
Dallas Cowboys: Instead of using their No. 18 pick to improve the secondary, as I expected, the Cowboys traded down to the No. 31 spot and made a huge reach to improve on the offensive line. Jerry Jones selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, whom I was expecting to see come off the board in the second or third round––not the first. Huge reach for Dallas, especially when they could have added Eric Reid with the 18th pick.
Geno Smith: The Jaguars, Raiders, Eagles, Cardinals and Bills all made the decision to pass on Geno in the first round, which frustrated the West Virginia quarterback. Though he has changed his mind and will end up staying in NYC for the second and third rounds tonight, he was originally so frustrated that he had stated he was going home after being skipped over by all 32 teams last night.
Someone close to him must have informed him that returning home today would only hurt his stock, and show teams that he can't handle adversity. Even though he's staying in NYC, I believe that the fact that he even thought about going home today may still hurt his stock a little. He'll be selected by someone in the second round later this evening, but it's still yet to be seen how he handles the situation this season.
The second round is set to get underway at 6:30 pm (eastern time) later this evening, with plenty of talent still available on the board, including several players with first round grades. Should be an exciting second round.
Top 5 picks in Second Round:
1 (33) Jaguars
2 (34) 49ers ((from Chiefs))
3 (35) Eagles
4 (36) Lions
5 (37) Bengals ((from Raiders))
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