This year’s NFL draft was hyped up to be one of the most chaotic drafts in recent memory. Whether it be a lot of trades or a lot of surprising picks, this draft was set up to be a wild one. Through one night, the hype did not get backed. There were only four trades night one and did not have any crazy surprises. There were some surprising picks but none to the degree that caused media to go crazy. That being said, there were plenty of bad picks and plenty of good picks; so, let’s dive into my winners and losers from night one in the NFL draft.
Disclaimer: I did not include the Bengals, Redskins, or Lions because they were guaranteed to be wins with Burrow, Young, and Okudah.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers earn my number one winner in round one of the draft because they got what they needed the most at the best value. The Buccs traded up one spot to get to No. 13 to draft Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs was my number one graded lineman in this year’s draft. For reasons that I do not know, Wirfs fell to 13 and was the fourth lineman taken this year.
The Buccs need to protect Brady to succeed on offense. Getting arguably the most athletic lineman in the draft is a good start at protecting Brady. The picture-perfect offseason for the Buccs rolls on in the quest for the Super Bowl.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins had three first-round picks this year, and they selected Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, and Noah Igbinoghene. A great start to rebuilding this team. The Dolphins hope they just selected their quarterback for the next 15 years. Tua has high upside as long as he can stay healthy. That is, in part, why Austin Jackson was selected 18th overall. The Pac-12 lineman will hope to come in and help protect Tua in the long-run.
At the end of the first round, the Dolphins traded back with the Packers to move to the 30th pick. The Dolphins went with athletic corner Noah Igbinoghene. Igbinoghene is a good addition to the already solid secondary of Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. Igbinoghene will be given time to progress with not a lot of pressure because of the other two top corners. When he gets to a high level, the Dolphins might have just constructed the best secondary in the NFL.
3. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had two picks in the first round, where they selected WR Justin Jefferson and CB Jeff Gladney. The Vikings addressed what I believed were its two most significant needs and got great value at each pick. I could not believe my eyes when I saw Justin Jefferson fall past the Eagles. The Vikings must’ve been on the same page with me as they scooped up the former LSU Tiger. Jefferson will provide the big-play ability and will help with the offense right away rather than some other receivers needing time to develop.
The Vikings also drafted Xavier Rhodes replacement in Jeff Gladney. I mocked the TCU corner to the Vikings, so I already liked the possible fit. The Vikings improved for the now and the future.
4. Denver Broncos
The Broncos needed a receiver to pair up with Cortland Sutton. In my mock draft, I thought that the big three receivers would all be gone before the Broncos selected. Luckily, the run on receivers started later than expected and the Broncos had their choice of Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. The Broncos went with Jeudy; I believe that Lamb is the better receiver, but there is no denying that adding Jeudy to that young offense isn’t a win and will help the Broncos compete in the tough AFC West.
5. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had my number one defensive player in the draft fall into their lap. I was stunned to see Isiah Simmons fall to the 8th pick. I thought the Giants would take him with the 4th pick, but they didn’t, and I definitely thought the panthers would take him at the 7th pick. The Cardinals were able to improve their defense with the man labeled as the “swiss army knife” who can play anywhere. A man that can elevate any defense and the Cardinals did that with this home run pick.
Winner and Loser:
1. Dallas Cowboys
For me, the biggest surprise in the first round was the fall of CeeDee Lamb. The fall stopped when Jerry Jones and the Cowboys scooped him up with the 17th pick. Adding the number one receiver on my big board is unquestionably a win but at a possible cost. The Cowboys could have just assembled one of the most dangerous offenses and will give every defense matchup problem this upcoming season. Know you are probably thinking about how they land in my winner and loser category.
The Cowboys land in this category for me because they still have a huge issue in their secondary. The Cowboys did not need a receiver this high in the draft but did need either a corner or a safety. The Cowboys will struggle to defend the pass if they do not address the secondary in day two of the draft. With that being said, if they can draft either: Jaylon Johnson, Kristain Fulton, Xavier McKinney, Grant Delpit, or Aintoine Winfield Jr., the Cowboys will have
had the most successful draft by getting a top tier guy in two prominent positions of need. This is something significant to keep an eye on in rounds two and three Friday night.
1. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders could have the perfect draft. The Raiders could have picked CeeDee Lamb at the 12th pick and got Patrick Queen at the 19th pick. Instead, they went with Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette. Ruggs will be a reliable receiver, and the Raiders needed receiver badly, but Ruggs isn’t the total package receiver like Lamb or Jeudy is. The Raiders will most likely regret taking Ruggs over the other two in a couple of years
To top off the receiver mess up, the Raiders went ahead and drafted a corner that they could have easily gotten in the second or third round. The Raiders could have drafted a versatile linebacker in Queen that they desperately needed and then solve the corner problem in the third round, where they have three picks.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles needed to take a receiver with the 21st pick no matter what to help out Wentz. They did that…but picked the wrong guy. The Eagles selected Jalen Reagor, who has a lot of upside but is not nearly as polished as Justin Jefferson. Jefferson was picked the pick directly after the Eagles by the Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson would have provided a lot more to the weak receiving core that the Eagles have. The Eagles will look at this pick in a couple of years, and they might be happy, but not as happy as the Vikings will be by having Jefferson.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Packers made the most surprising pick of the night by trading up four spots and selecting QB Jordan Love out of Utah St. Love is a QB that will need to be taught a lot to be a successful NFL QB. Aaron Rodgers can help with that and mentor him for the future. The problem I have with the pick is that it shows me that the Packers are not ready to win now. They needed to draft a receiver to help the offense because Aaron Jones and Davante Adams will not cut it by themselves.
4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks had two big-time playmakers available to them with the 27th pick. Patrick Queen and Yetur Gross-Matos were both available, and the Seahawks passed. The Seahawks selected linebacker Jordyn Brooks which made me scratch my head. I have no words on how Brooks was chosen ahead of Queen if a team was looking for a linebacker. The pass on Gross-Matos tells me that the Seahawks are confident that Clowney could re-sign. Not taking Queen when a linebacker is a position of need is what makes the Seahawks a loser of night one.
5. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers made the most interesting decision to me with the 14th pick. They selected Javon Kinlaw to replace the traded DeForest Buckner. The pick evidently was just a replacement to the man they could have kept. In my dream scenario for the 49ers, they could have selected Jeudy or Lamb with the 14th pick and drafted Ross Blacklock as the defensive tackle replacement in the late picks of the first round.
Johny Lynch decided to do it the other way around getting Kinlaw at 14 and Brandon Aiyuk at pick 25. I believe either Jeudy or Lamb with the 14th pick and Blacklock at the 30th pick (original pick before trading up) would have made a more significant impact than what Kinlaw and Aiyuk will this season.
By: Nic Rohloff