First, let me say that I agree with a lot of what Bry said. I think the eagles had, at best, a strange draft, and at worst a terrible draft. I have a really hard time getting to using a first round pick on Marcus Smith. If that’s your guy, why not trade back into the early second round with a team looking to come up and get a QB (or anything else really)? Was there really a big risk that Marcus Smith would have been gone at 38?
I wanted to get this up ranking the first 16 of the first round earlier, but I’ve been busy starting a law firm. No really: Stri’s Law Firm. If you live in the Charlotte, NC area and you get sexually harassed at work, I TOTALLY have you covered.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on the early part of Round 1.
Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (Stri’s Mock, Jadeveon Clowney):
I still think they wanted to trade back and get a QB, but they were looking for the Redskins/Rams RGIII deal and nobody was biting. So they did the smart thing and took the best player. This grade would have been an A, except they never followed it up with the next obvious move, taking one of the available QB’s with their 2nd rd pick or trading up two spots for Bridgewater. If the Texans, who don’t have many holes, would have traded up TWO spots, they would have come away with Clowney and Bridewater (who was himself seen as a top 5 pick before his pro day). Why not do that Houston?!? It’s SO obvious.
StL: Greg Robinson (Stri’s Mock: Greg Robinson)
I guess the Greg Robinson rumors to the Rams were as true as advertised. I don’t love the pick — as I said in the mock they should take Sammy Watkins and get a primary receiving threat to make Austin a dangerous slot guy. But Robinson’s a great prospect at a premium position, so it’s hard to get on them too much.
Jacksonville Jags: Blake Bortles (Stri’s Mock: Sammy Watkins).
Honestly, what in the hell are the Jags doing? The worst franchise in the NFL makes yet another dumb move. Instead of trading down to fill their 100s of holes, or grabbing an impact position player, they take a QB so high that they’ll want to start him behind an atrocious offensive line with nobody to throw the ball to. What could go wrong? Bortles is about to have his whole career David Carr’ed.
Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins (Stri’s Mock Taylor Lewan at 9)
The bills biggest needs were at O-line and WR and they trade up to get the best WR in the draft. I really like the move, but it came at a heavy heavy price.
Raiders: Khalil Mack (Stri’s Mock: Blake Bortles).
Everyone is in love with Mack…except this guy. For some reason, I have never been a Mack fan. Just a feeling, but I don’t think he’s going to be the impact player at the next level that everyone thinks.
Falcons: Jake Matthews (Stri’s Mock: Jake Matthews).
A good team that needs to keep Matt Ryan upright does the smart thing and takes the most polished o-lineman in the draft.
Bucs: Mike Evans (Stri’s Mock: Mike Evans)
This was the right pick for the bucs all along. They needed to get another WR and when Evans fell into their laps, they did the right thing.
Browns: Justin Gilbert (Stri’s Mock: Johnny Manziel)
Now THIS is how you run a draft. I had the Browns taking Manziel at 4 and then coming back later in Rd. 1 to get their DB. Instead, they trade back, get the best DB in the draft, and STILL come away with Manziel. Great first round. Then their star wr Gordon gets suspended for the year. God really does hate Cleveland.
Vikings: Anthony Barr (Stri’s Mock: Khalil Mack)
I think I blew this in the mock because I value Mack lower than pretty much everyone else in the universe. Truth be told, I’m not that high on Barr either. He seemed to gain a lot of momentum late in the draft process, but I don’t love him as a top 10 talent.
Lions: Eric Ebron (Stri’s Mock, Justin Gilbert)
This pick really pissed me off because I wanted Ebron to be sitting there so the Giants could pass on him and I could write a I TOLD YOU SO to every so called draft expert who had the Giants taking Ebron. At least Jerry Reese said after the draft that Ebron “wasn’t really on our Board”, that made me feel better. In any event, this is an atrocious pick. Anytime you’re taking a tight end who doesn’t block in the top 10, you’re doing something wrong. And you can talk all you want about Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis: when your pick HAS to turn into one of those two guys to justify it…let’s just say the odds aren’t great that you’re going to be happy in 5 years.
Titans: Taylor Lewan (Stri’s Mock, Darqueeze Dennard)
I really like Lewan, I think he’s a bruiser, but where does he play on this Titan’s line? Believe me, nobody subscribes to the idea of you can never have too many good offensive linemen more than I do. But the Titans just signed Michael Oher to play Lewan’s projected position. Do you move the 11th pick in the draft inside to guard? It seems a little odd to fortify a strength when there were so many other things to do with this pick, even if that strength is the critical o-line.
The NY Football Giants: Odell Beckham (Stri’s Mock: Aaron Donald).
Before the draft, I really wanted the Giants to take a first round WR to replace Nicks. But I knew Watkins and Evans would be gone and that the Giants wouldn’t get one of those guys because they rarely trade up, especially in the first round. I discounted Beckham as a possibility because I thought he was too similar to Cruz, and thought instead that the Giants would get their DT here and then pick up a bigger WR in a deep class in the later rounds. But they go with Beckham here, a great talent and a versatile WR, but not the big jump ball kind of WR1 that Nicks was and that Eli has always had (plaxico, nicks). I like the pick, but I’m still concerned about having two small WRs, even if the book on Beckham is that he plays bigger than his height.
Rams: Aaron Donald (Stri’s Mock: Clinton-Dix).
This is a tremendous value here…but with a very high bust risk. There is no doubting Donald’s production in college, but he is so small for a DT that he could get swallowed up at the next level. He almost projects better as a Justin Tuck type DE, but that’s a position he’s never really played. Hopefully for the Rams, he can bulk up while maintaining his devastatingly quick first step.
Bears: Kyle Fuller (Stri’s Mock, Anthony Barr).
I have no problems with the Bears trying to go DB, but I think this was really high for Fuller with both Dennard and Pryor sitting there. Fuller is a guy whose stock rose late, and I’m not sure what the rise was based on. In any event, I can’t justify him over a guy like Dennard.
Steelers: Ryan Shazier (Stri’s mock, Timmy Jernigan)
Shazier was a polarizing figure pre-draft. Either you love him or you think he’s terribly over-rated. I really like Shazier, and I think he fits well scheme wise with the Steelers. The only question is whether this was too high for him and the Steelers could have traded back a few spots and still got their man.
Cowboys: Zack Martin (Stri’s mock, Calvin Pryor)
I have no problem with Martin. Again, I think you can never have enough solid o-linemen. The problem is that this pick does nothing to address that secondary. You can’t keep getting beat over the top so much. How do you not take Pryor here and address that glaring problem? As a giants fan, I’m happy with this pick.
Baltimore Ravens: C.J Mosely (Stri’s mock, Zach Martin)
I like C.J. Mosely and he seems like a good fit on the ravens. I thought pre-draft that they would look o-line, but they could also use a linebacker and this seems like good value here.
NY Jets: Calvin Pryor (Stri’s mock, Eric Ebron)
In mock 1, I had the Jets looking DB and then changed it because mock 2 had all of the elite DBs gone by this pick. In picking Pryor, the jets get arguably the best safety in the draft, which I think will help their depleted secondary. The problem, however, is that they still don’t have any corners, and Rex bases his entire D scheme on press corners. So what do they do? Play more zone? I have no idea, but so far I don’t think Idzik is hitting it out of the park in any facet of the GM job.
The Grade: B+
Dolphins: James JuWaun (stri’s mock: Xavier Su’a Filo)
So I was right about the dolphins taking an o-lineman, just missed on which one it would be. And for good reason, as this seems like a reach. And I am never a big fan of reaching for a need. Again, I wonder why if this was their guy, the Fins didn’t trade back and get some more picks.
Saints: Brandin Cooks (stri’s mock, Jason Verett at 27).
Cooks fits amazingly well into what the Saints do on offense as a Sproles type. While they had to come up to get him, they didn’t get completely fleeced in the deal. I love the aggressiveness, especially from a good team without a lot of wholes that can afford to give up draft picks.
Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (stri’s mock, CJ Mosely)
I really like Dix, I think he’s an impact player on the defensive side. As a giants fan, I was happy he didn’t fall to the eagles. Plus, the packers got value here.
Browns: Johhny Manziel (stri’s mock, Bradley Roby)
I had Manziel mocked to the Browns at 4, and they pick him up at 22 after getting the best corner in the draft. How can you not like that? It’s weird to see Cleveland making smart moves.
Chiefs: Dee Ford (stri’s mock, Odell Beckham)
I don’t get this one. I know you can never have too many pass rushers and its fine value, but the Chiefs have Houston and Hali at DE already. I think they would have been much better served going after a weapon on offense. With few holes and a higher pick than the Saints, they could have done what New Orleans did and gotten Brandin Cooks.
Bengals: Darqueeze Dennard (stri’s mock, Dee Ford)
I can’t figure out why so many teams with a need at corner (e.g. jets, cowboys) passed on Dennard or why the Bears too Kyle Fuller in front of him. In any event, the Bengals get great value here, as Dennard projects as one of the best cover corners in the draft.
Chargers: Jason Verrett (stri’s mock, Louis Nix).
Something must of come out about Louis Nix pre-draft, because he plummeted. He was still on the Board when the Giants, who needed a DT, picked in the third round…and they passed. As for Verrett, he’s a solid corner and this is the range where he was projected to go. But he’s from a small school, which I think is usually riskier.
Eagles: Marcus Smith (stri’s mock, Kony Ealy).
Well, I was right about them going pass rusher, but Marcus Smith? That’s a hard one to figure. I know they traded back, but they could have traded back further, even into the second round, and still got him while acquiring more picks. Chip Kelly seems like a guy who knows what he’s doing, but I don’t get this pick.
Arizona Cardinals: Deone Bucannon (stri’s mock, Cyrus Kouandjio)
A terrible pick on 3 fronts. First, it’s too high for Bucannon from a value point. Second, the Cardinals badly need offensive line help and Su’a Filo was sitting here for them. Finally, Bucannon wasn’t even the best player at his position left because Jimmy Ward was here. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin (stri’s mock, Brandin Cooks)
So, I was right about them going WR, but the Saints moved up and stole Cooks so they settle for Benjamin. It’s a fine pick, but they have to be disappointed that one of the better WRs didn’t fall.
Pats: Dominique Easly (stri’s mock, Rasheed Hageman)
Again, I was right about them going DT, just picked the wrong DT. This is a boom or bust pick. Easly could be great and would have been a much higher pick if he didn’t injure both knees in college. Big DTs and knee injuries don’t mix well, so this pick will be dependent on how he holds up.
49ers: Jimmy Ward (stri’s mock, Kyle Fuller)
Since Fuller went about 15 picks too high, the 49ers went with Ward here. I think he was the best DB on the board at this point, which was a position of need. I like the pick.
Broncos: Bradley Roby (stri’s mock, Ryan Shazier)
Roby falls a bit and the Broncos scoop him up. I think this is a great pick because they get the best player left on the board in a division where you need lots of corners. The smart teams keep doing smart things.
Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater (stri’s mock, seahawks taking Kelvin Benjamin)
I mentioned in the mock that the seahawks would look to move out of the first round to save themselves a bunch of salary cap dough, which is exactly what they did. With Bridegwater, the only elite QB left, falling to this point, the Seahawks were in a position to ransom the pick to someone trying to get in front of the Texans. Like I said, smart teams keep doing smart things. I love it for the Vikings. Bridgewater was once considered a potential first pick based on what he did in pads. He fell because of what he did in a t-shirt on his pro day. Personally, I don’t know what kind of NFL QB he’ll be, but he’s certainly worth the risk of a 32nd pick.
Like I said at the start, I can’t figure out why the Texans allowed this to happen. They should have trumped Minnesota’s offer using the first pick in the 2nd round and taken Bridgewater themselves. Moving up one pick and snagging Bridgewater would have put them in a FAR better position this year and beyond than standing pat and going with a bag of dirty socks at QB.