In a first round filled with surprise picks, trades and some great moments including Ryan Shazier walking on stage to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers pick. When all was said and done, there were some clear winners and losers on day one of the draft. Here are my biggest winners and losers of the first round.
The Buffalo Bills surprisingly could go down as stealing the show on draft night with their first round picks. Starting off at number seven, the Bills got what they believe to be their franchise quarterback after trading for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers original pick. Josh Allen was projected by some to be the number one overall pick, so for the Bills to steal him at seven is a huge win. The Bills did not stop there, as they then traded for the sixteenth pick to grab linebacker Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Edmunds already considerably fell in the first round after possibly being considered in the top-10, and the Bills took full advantage. Originally, the Bills already had two first-round picks, so the extra price they had to pay was not too severe, especially if they really did find both a franchise Quarterback and Linebacker.
Before the draft started, I was a big proponent of the Browns drafting Bradley Chubb with the first overall pick. Instead, he was passed on twice by Cleveland, and twice by teams from New York. A generational talent then fell into the lap of the Denver Broncos. The old saying “it takes one to know one” could not have been truer when Von Miller was on video going bananas after the Broncos took Chubb. With this addition, the Denver pass rush just got that much more deadly. Watch out NFL.
San Diego Chargers
Derwin James at 17 is borderline highway robbery. It didn’t take much skill at the GM position for the Chargers to make this pick once they looked at who was still left on the board. It was widely assumed San Diego would take an interior defensive lineman, but once James was made available, there was no question who they would go with. Call it an easy win, but a win nonetheless.
This is less about my personal analysis of the players and more about the value of the picks. Originally at 16, there were not many players high on the draft boards that fit the Ravens needs. They then traded down all the way to 25, which seems like a much better position to draft Haydn Hurst, who is considered the best tight end in the draft. Once the Patriots did not draft Lamar Jackson at 31, the Ravens immediately swooped in and grabbed him at 32. Because they took him in the first round, they also get Jackson for one extra year of team control. Although I don’t think Hurst or Jackson will be anything special in the NFL, if the Ravens are confident in these players, this was a great first round.
New York Jets
The losers in these types of articles are much easier than the winners, mostly because it is usually the same teams every year. Originally at the sixth pick, the Jets gave up a haul to move up only three spots, despite Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles saying there were still “6 or 7” guys they were still considering. They decided to go with Sam Darnold, who could have been there at the original position at 6. Didn’t the Jets already learn that taking a highly-rated quarterback out of USC may not be the best move for their franchise?
Once again, it’s the same old teams. If Baker Mayfield was the player they truly wanted at one, that’s fine. However, reaching for Denzel Ward at four was not ideal. If that really was the Browns pick, there was no reason why they could not have traded down and then grabbed him. That is beside the fact I think they completely whiffed on not taking Bradley Chubb.
Rashaad Penny? Really? No disrespect to him, but this was not the pick this team needed. With now holes in the pass rush, and at corner, receiver, and offensive line, the team goes with a running back. Not only did they not address their needs, and take a running back in the first round, which is usually a reach in general, they got the third or fourth best running back still available. This irony of this pick is Rashaad Penny may end up being pretty good, and this still may go down as the worst first pick in the draft.