There were a bunch of fireworks and movement on the board in the first round of this years draft. Lot's of surprises of players rising up the board (i.e. Tim Tebow, Tyson Alualu), as well as a few first round prospects falling (i.e. Jimmy Clausen, Taylor Mays). Rounds two and three should be just as action packed, and there should be just as many surprising moves made.
The 49ers went out and patched up the offensive line... or so we shall see. They made a trade up two spots to grab Anthony Davis like he was the second coming of Larry Allen. The second of the two picks was used on Mike Iupati who should challenge current starter David Baas for his job at left guard. By opening day, the 49ers could have two new starters holding down the fort for Alex Smith. The 49ers have just 5 selections left in the draft with the 49th, 79th, 182nd, 206th, and 224th picks. There will be a long wait Saturday morning before the Niners go on the clock considering they don't have a pick in the 4th round (for the trade up to get Anthony Davis), and the 5th round selection (for the offseason trade of Ted Ginn Jr.). It is not certain if the 49ers will hang on to the rest of their picks considering they don't have much left to work with, or they will package more picks to move up and grab one specific player. It would probably be wise to hang on to ther rest since there aren't that many left... although some will feel quality is better than quantity. The 49ers still have to address the secondary some if they want to put themselves in front of the pack in the NFC West.
Today will be a very interesting day. The second and third rounds are still a chock full of talent and we should see alot of potentially good football players come off the board.
Now on to the thoughts and grades of the first round.
I will do a pick by pick analysis followed by an overall grade. I am going to do these similar to how I graded out our community mocks.
Here is the grading table that I will be using:
A+ = (Excellent, best possible pick)
A = (Excellent pick)
A- = (Excellent pick but could have gone another way)
B+ = (Very good pick)
B = (Very good pick but could have gone another way)
B- = (Very good pick but not a huge area of concern)
C+ = (Average pick with some upside)
C = (Average pick)
C- = (Average pick but may not pan out)
D = (Complete blunder of a pick)
1. Sam Bradford | Oklahoma | Quarterback | Rams - I think that the Rams front office's hand was forced in this pick. They have waited and waited to grab a franchise quarterback for years now. They finally get their guy in Bradford. It will now be up to the front office to get a couple of lineman and a few other offensive weapons to surround him with in the rest of the draft for him to have any kind of success. GRADE: A+
2. Ndamukong Suh | Nebraska | Defensive Tackle | Lions - Ndamukong Suh could potentially be the best player in the draft this year. The Lions just turned one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL from last year in to one of the best with their recent free agency moves and this pick here. The Lions will now be able to present a pass rush without having to send blitzes all the time. Excellent pick and best possible scenario for the Lions. GRADE: A+
3. Gerald McCoy | Oklahoma | Defensive Tackle | Bucs - The Bucs have not had a force on that defensive line since the departure of Warren Sapp. McCoy will inspire the guys around him to play at their best. He is a great addition and excellent leader on the field. I am not sure there was a better pick for the Bucs here. I don't expect playoffs for them, but they have a chance to at least climb out of the cellar. GRADE: A+
4. Trent Williams | Oklahoma | Offensive Tackle | Redskins - I have to say that I was a bit stunned with this selection. Williams over Okung? I don't know, I guess Shanahan saw something that the rest of us didn't or don't; enough anyway to warrant picking him over Russell Okung. If they plan on starting him at left tackle, which I presume they will, I think that McNabb could be on the ground quite a bit more than he was in Philadelphia. GRADE: C-
5. Eric Berry | Tennessee | Safety | Chiefs - The Chiefs safeties were at the bottom of the barrell last year. They went out and tried to add an older Mike Brown last year and it just did not quite pan out. Eric Berry is a field general that will demand his teammates to play to his level which I expect to be quite high even in the NFL. They may have been able to grab an offensive lineman with this selection but when Berry is sitting there right in front of you, how hard would it be to pass on him? Overall, I don't think the Chiefs could have done better. GRADE: A+
6. Russell Okung | Oklahoma State | Offensive Tackle | Seahawks - I bet Pete Carroll was giddy when Russell Okung fell to them here. This was a no-brainer for the Seahawks. I don't think there was a better possible scenario that could have happened for them. Hasselbeck is getting older and he will need a power house like Okung to protect his blind side. It really didn't sit well with some folks (including me) when the Redskins picked Williams and Okung fell to the 49ers division rivals but overall they could not have done better in round one. GRADE: A+
7. Joe Haden | Florida | Cornerback | Browns - The Browns needed an upgrade on defense and they went for one here. There have been many that have speculated that Haden would be a shutdown corner but the facts are that he is not... at least yet. Holmgren and Mangini are great motivators though and may be able to maximize Haden's potential. I am big believer that certain players are hyped beyond their potential and for me, Haden falls in to that category. GRADE: B-
8. Rolando McClain | Alabama | Linebackers | Raiders - Everyone expected some kind of mind boggling pick here but the Radiers actually made a sensible pick for once. McClain is not some sort of athletic freak but a solid football player. The Radiers are doing a lot to make their linebacking corp one of the best in the NFL. I don' think it was the best way for them to go here but they didn't completely mess it up this time around. GRADE: A-
9. C.J. Spiller | Clemson | Running Back | Bills - Marshawn Lynch hasn't really panned out to what the Bills had hoped he would in Buffalo. He has had a few off-field issues and has been so-so on his production. Most Bills fans were hoping for a quarterback here, or maybe even an offensive lineman but ended up with a dynamic game changing type of player in Spiller. This was probably a bitter-sweet pick for the Bills fans here and I am sure they are divided on their opinions. GRADE: B
10. Tyson Alualu | California | Defensive Tackle | Jaguars - Besides the Tebow pick, this was the biggest head scratcher in my opinion. Yes, the Jags tried to trade back but wouldn't it have made more sense to trade up for him in the second? I don't know about this pick here and that organization has made some real iffy picks in the past few years. This one falls right in to that category. I think Alualu will be good, but not first round good. GRADE: D
11. Anthony Davis | Rutgers | Offensive Tackle | 49ers - I have had a day to sleep on it and there is a little more hope. But there are some major issues with this pick for me here. First, they traded up to get a guy who would have been there at the 13th pick (mistake number one). Second, they selected a guy who is only 20 years old, I don't think he is mature enough to start at right tackle just yet... it's going to take some time (mistake number two). With that said, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, Davis was on my bust radar, so he will have to work diligently to prove me wrong. I think Bulaga would have been the better pick here. Singletary and Solari have their work cut out for them if they want to get him "start-ready" for the NFL by opening day against the Seahawks in Seattle. The 12th man and a 20 year old rookie right tackle should be interesting and may not be the best mix. GRADE: C-
12. Ryan Mathews | Fresno State | Running Back | Chargers - This was another confusing trade-up in my eyes. I believe that if the Chargers would have just sat tight with the slot they had, Mathews would have been there. At the very least, they could have traded up with the Texans or Falcons if they were that nervous about it. Moving up all the way to the 12th pick was a bad move in my opinion. GRADE: B
13. Brandon Graham | Michigan | Defensive End | Eagles - This to me, is the only trade-up that was somewhat intelligent. Graham has the potential to be a Dwight Freeney type of player. When you have that type of potential and an area of need, it really is not a horrible move. The Eagles needed to enhance their defense and I fully anticipate them doing that some more today. GRADE: A
14. Earl Thomas | Texas | Safety | Seahawks - So far, it appears that the Seahawks have done the best in this draft. Getting two players rated as high as they were to fill areas of need will be instrumental for them next season. Depending on what else they do, the Seahawks may be the division rivals the 49ers have to worry about and not the Cards. Or it could be the Cards and Hawks that are battling it out. Time will tell. In any case, the Hawks are nailing this draft so far. GRADE: A+
15. Jason Pierre-Paul | South Florida | Defensive End | Giants - I am not sure what to make of this pick but for some reason or another, it just doesn't feel right. Pierre-Paul is going to have to do a lot to make himself start ready. The Giants already have two extremely talented defensive tackles if they decide to keep them both. With the pick here, it appears that the Giants may be willing to deal one of the current starters at that position at this point. GRADE: B-
16. Derrick Morgan | Georgia Tech | Defensive End | Titans - This was a very good selection for the Titans. If they can land Haynesworth again, their defense may be in business again. I believe that Morgan will be a force at the next level and I don't think that the Titans could have done any better with this pick. GRADE: A+
17. Mike Iupati | Idaho | Offensive Guard | 49ers - I really liked this pick and thought that the 49ers did well here. I think they should have gone a different route with the 13th pick, but this one here was solid for me. Iupati will push Baas for his job and just may take it. There will be a lot of depth at guard now and I believe that Adam Snyder will be moved back inside. Iupati, Baas, Rachal, and Snyder should all push each other and elevate the level of play at this position. GRADE: A
18. Maurkice Pouncey | Florida | Offensive Center | Steelers - The Steelers have not taken a center in the first round in 73 years. It was a pick that illustrated an area of need. The Steelers interior line struggled from time to time last year and they are putting guys in place that are going to make a difference. GRADE: B
19. Sean Weatherspoon | Missouri | Linebacker | Falcons - Most pundits speculated that Weatherspoon would be the second linebacker off the board... and he was. With the acquisition of Dante Robinson a few weeks ago, the Falcons made a very solid pick here with Weatherspoon who had a great season and great Senior Bowl. Weatherspoon is versatile and can line up in a variety of a few of the linebacker positions to present different looks for opposing offenses. GRADE: A
20. Kareem Jackson | Alabama | Cornerback | Texans - This was a bit of a reach. I thought that Jackson could go in the first but I didn't expect it this high. Not with Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty, and Patrick Robinson on the board still. Jackson is a big physical corner that will be able to potentially keep up with the better wide outs in that division. GRADE: B
21. Jermaine Gresham | Oklahoma | Tight End | Bengals - I thought real hard about putting Gresham here in my mock but I second guessed myself and ended up being wrong. Carson Palmer will now have more than just Ochocinco to target and will open up options all over the place. If any year was a year for Palmer to shine, it'd be this one. GRADE: B+
22. Demaryius Thomas | Georgia Tech | Wide Reciever | Broncos - This pick was acquired through a trade back. The Broncos really baffled me with their two second round prospect picks in the first round. I can see maybe one reach, but two? McDaniels is either going to have a short or long lived career in Denver. If they flop this year, I suspect he will be fired quite quickly. GRADE: B
23. Bryan Bulaga | Iowa | Offensive Tackle | Packers - The Pack needed offensive line and offensive line they got. Bryan Bulaga in my opinion was an absolute steal at this slot here. I am very surprised that he fell all the way to the 23rd overall pick. Aaron Rodgers I am sure is relieved that the organization is doing things to preserve his shelf life. Great pick and great investment if he pans out. GRADE: A+
24. Dez Bryant | Oklahoma State | Wide Receiver | Cowboys - Missing most of last season and having a bad pro day certainly didn't help Bryant's stock out much as evidence of this pick. But I am sure the Cowboys were ecstatic to land him here. Michael Irvin has already given Bryant permission to wear his #88 and told him to make him proud. Now I don't know if that means he needs to start the cocaine now or later, but if he ends up being anywhere near the player that Irvin was, the Cowboys will be extremely excited, as will their fans. GRADE: A+
25. Tim Tebow | Florida | Quarterback | Broncos - This could have been either the biggest mistake in this years draft or one of the best picks in time. Tebow simply has won and as much as he has said, "I am truly blessed", I now believe that he really is. It will be interesting to say the least to see the competition in preseason between Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Brady Quinn. GRADE: C-
26. Dan Williams | Tennessee | Defensive Tackle | Cardinals - I am not sure how happy Darnell "Steroids" Dockett is, but I can imagine he is pretty happy. Dan Williams side-by-side with Dockett is going to be scary for a bunch of teams this year. The defensive line was just majorly enhanced by this selection. GRADE" B+
27. Devin McCourty | Rutgers | Cornerback | Patriots - I really liked this pick for the Patriots. They needed to overhaul that secondary just a bit, at least at the corner position. The Pats will now be able to keep up with some of the better wide receivers in the AFC. Randy Moss will school McCourty and help him be the best he can be. GRADE: B
28. Jared Odrick | Penn State | Defensive End | Dolphins - Bill Parcell's loves building solid defenses and that's what he is trying to do with this pick. Odrick will be converted from his natural position but definitely has the size and strength to do so. GRADE: B+
29. Kyle Wilson | Boise State | Cornerback | Jets - Questionable pick. The Jets just went out and signed Antonio Cromartie and already had arguably the best cornerback in the NFL in Revis. Wilson does add to the special teams aspect and will be a viable nickel corner, but one has to wonder why they didn't pursue a defensive end or pass rushing outside linebacker. Jerry Hughes and Sergio Kindle were still on the board here. GRADE: B-
30. Jahvid Best | California | Running Back | Lions - This was another unnecessary trade in my opinion. If they would have just waited until today, they could have had best without losing anything. There was not another team in the market for a running back this high... particularly one with the concerns Best has. Kevin Smith and Jahvid Best will boost the Lions running game though and take alot of pressure off of Matt Stafford. GRADE: C
31. Jerry Hughes | TCU | Defensive End | Colts - The Colts hand was somewhat forced here. If they did want to go corner or interior line, there weren't a ton of options left. Still though, I found myself wondering why you draft a player like this with your first round selection when you already have the two best pass rushers in the NFL in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Rotating three could keep them all fresh I suppose, but it made me scratch my head a bit. GRADE: B-
32. Patrick Robinson | Florida State | Cornerback | Saints - I have said all along that I think that Patrick Robinson has the most potential out of any of the corners coming in to the NFL this year. Now whether or not he lives up to that will strictly be up to him. I really and truly thought that the Saints would try to replace the loss of Scott Fujita here. He was instrumental in their success last year and it is still a big void that needs to be addressed. So I cannot fully support the pick on a corner for the Saints here but I do expect at some point that they will. GRADE: A-
SUMMARY: There were winners and losers of the first round and some that fell somewhere in between. Rounds two and three should be nothing short of yesterday's excitement. There are still a lot of fascinating players on the board such as Jimmy Clausen and Taylor Mays. Other players that fell out of the first like Everson Griffen, Brian Price, Sergio Kindle, and Carlos Dunlap should be interesting to follow today among others. And the most interesting to us of course will be the 49th and 79th picks if we stay put to select there. Get ready for another fun-filled action packed day.