Just briefly, I thought I’d write out my thoughts on the first round of the NFL Draft that happened yesterday.
1. Winners: BROWNS, Vikings
Yes, I picked these winners because they were exciting. It’s always interesting to see QBs drafted and multiple picks in a round. That said, I do think these two teams had the best day.
BROWNS: The browns were, in my opinion, the biggest winners of the day. They managed to fleece the Bills by moving back for not only their 9th overall selection, but also next year’s first rounder and fourth rounder. That’s a whole lot of team-building power. Then, they barely had to give up anything to take the 8th pick and take the guy they wanted anyway with a strong cornerback. Later, they used their accumulated mass of picks to trade up and nab Johnny Football, who, if nothing else, will sell tickets and bring a huge level of excitement to a fan base lacking it for some time. Seriously, even if Johnny Manziel doesn’t work out, they still have already set themselves up with an extra first-round pick next year.
I suspect Manziel will be decent, but not great. For the sake of some friends who are Browns fans, I hope he’s amazing. It would be exciting to see his style work in the NFL, and to see the Browns take that division again!
VIKINGS: The Vikings also did a nice job picking up an extra pick to swap places with the Browns, then nabbing a solid pass rusher. The best move they made, in my opinion, was to move back into the first round and take Bridgewater. Although I’m not completely sold on Bridgewater, I think that his alleged failure on a pro day and the like don’t show much. Numbers don’t lie and he’s had some awesome seasons. I expect him to end up as the starter for the Vikings by the end of the year. They’ve got a solid team and I think they could compete in the stacked NFC North.
2. Losers: Lions, Bills, Texans
LIONS: Eric Ebron is an exciting pick with a big upside, but I really hated this pick for the Lions. They desperately need help on defense and they have solid options at tight end. I’ll say it: I’m not at all sold on Pettigrew because of his drops, so I would have liked the Ebron pick except that he’s also questioned for having a number of drops. There’s nothing like seeing a perfect spiral pass bounce in and out of a tight end’s hands to make a fan base upset. If Ebron had solid hands to go along with his height and speed, I’d say this is a good pick to take some pressure off of Megatron, but for now it just seems like yet another weapon that’s going to be inconsistent due to drops. We’ll see, but I think defense was a better option here, not to mention that Fauria could, I think, be developed into more of a threat.
BILLS: Yes, they got Sammy Watkins who is a very exciting receiver, but they paid way too much for him. Two first rounders and a fourth round pick is an extremely steep price, but time will tell whether Watkins shows he deserved that kind of future-mortgaging. On the plus side, I do think this gives them a chance to see whether they can stick with EJ Manuel as their starter. He has been provided a ton of weapons now so now the Bills can see for sure what they have after a roller coaster rookie year from Manuel.
TEXANS: Yes, they got the premier player of this draft, but I really think they should have done anything they could to trade down. Rumors continue to abound that they were asking for three first round picks in exchange for this one. If there were an Andrew Luck, that would make sense, but no team would seriously consider that even for a sure thing at defense. Because the Texans asked too much, they didn’t get the opportunity to stockpile picks and talent. I think they could have gotten two first round picks and maybe a third and fourth. That would help them to plug an awful lot of holes in their roster. It will be interesting to see how Clowney does across from JJ Watt, though. The QBs in their division should be sweating.
Let me know your thoughts!