32 down, 192 to go. The draft isn’t won by the end of round one, but it can be lost. A flurry of trades saw teams climbing the draft order to snap up their future quarterback, while some teams were happy to accommodate and stock up on picks. Who else emerged as a winner and loser from draft night?
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Heisman Trophy Winners
AT both ends of the first-round we saw Heisman Trophy winning players find a new home. Some are questioning the Browns’ decision to draft Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield first overall though. By no means am I Nostradamus and it wouldn’t shock me if the uber-competitive Mayfield became a solid NFL QB. Lamar Jackson, whom the Ravens traded up to take 32nd overall could be the future starter in Baltimore and is well worth his draft spot. Regardless of how their careers pan out, things went well for the two collegiate stars on Thursday night.
Eli Manning and Case Keenum
BOTH the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos were rumoured to be considering quarterbacks with their top-5 pick. That didn’t bode well for the job security of Eli Manning and Case Keenum respectively, however, their jobs remain safe with running Saquon Barkley and defensive end Bradley Chubb taken instead.
Leighton Vander Esch
IT’S always cool to see the city hosting the draft landing an exciting player and Dallas did just that last night. With uncertainty surrounding their linebacker corps, the Cowboys acted quickly to snare one of the fastest risers in the class in Leighton Vander Esch. The high effort guy out of Boise State will be a massive addition to Dallas’ defense from day one.
Image from chron.com
New England Patriots
GOD damn it, Bill Belichick might have just done it again. After being rumoured as a trade up candidate for the past week, New England stood pat and took two Georgia guys with picks No. 23 and No. 31. Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel are great gets for the Patriots and help soften the blow of losing Nate Solder and Dion Lewis in free agency. This guy is a mastermind.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NO one was surprised to see the Buffalo Bills trade up into the top-10 and doing so helped them land their future QB. The Bucs were happy to accommodate the Bills, moving back just five spots and gaining two second-round picks for their troubles. Getting their hands on more picks as well as landing a great defensive prospect in Vita Vea made Tampa Bay big winners on day one.
The Edmunds Family
FOR the first time in NFL history two brothers were taken inside the first-round. Many people believe that Tremaine Edmunds could have top-10 upside and despite sliding to No. 16 he will join an evolving Buffalo team with plenty of upside. The same wasn’t assumed about his brother Tremaine, but he was still considered as a solid option. For the Steelers he was too good to pass up at No. 28, capping off a memorable night for the family.
DON’T think I put the Seahawks here because they traded back from No. 18, that move made sense. Taking a running back with No. 27 though, WTF? I get that they have been trying to find Marshawn Lynch’s replacement since he left, but they really needed to address their suspect offensive line. They didn’t.
WITH Lamar Jackson coming to town Joe Flacco’s job security is definitely on notice. The former Super Bowl winning QB is still on the books for another two seasons, but it seems like the Ravens have drafted the heir apparent. If Jackson performs well from day one they might opt to build their future around him and kick Flacco to the curb.
WHERE was Harold Landry? One of the players that we assumed was a safe first-round pick will have to wait until day two to hear his name called after he was overlooked last night. Boston College’s edge rusher was meant to be one of the best available defenders and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was the first player selected tonight. Still, it hurts to miss out on being selected in round one.
MOVING up was always going to be the move for Buffalo, but they went about it a weird way. They did invest on players with high ceilings who could pay dividends, however, the Bills had to give up a ton to move up just five spots. Making matter worse they then gave up more assets to move up from No. 22 to No. 16. Sacrificing a lot of picks in what is widely recognised as a deep draft might not be the smartest move, even if their picks live up to the hype.
SPEAKING of the Buffalo Bills, they had long been linked to moving up and taking Josh Rosen out of UCLA. Rosen was projected as a top-5 pick for the entire offseason but had to wait until pick No. 10 to hear his name called last night. It came after the Cardinals moved up to take him and he remains adamant that the nine teams who passed on him made a severe mistake. Time will tell.
Banner from boston.com