After months of anticipation, round one of the draft is over. Trades were made, good picks were chosen, and bad picks were all a part of the first round. Nick Chiamaradas tells you the "losers" of round one, while I give you my "winners".
The writing was on the wall when the Rams traded up to pick No. 8 for receiver Tavon Austin. St. Louis was about to have a good Round One. The Rams weren't done just yet though, as they traded down from their pick No. 22 to pick No. 30, ultimately selecting Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree. The Rams improved their team (and filled holes) with these selections, and drafted players I feel will have very productive NFL careers. While St. Louis isn't ready to compete for the NFC West title yet, they are fully capable of putting up a good fight. Tavon Austin will replace Danny Amendola and will be a nightmare for corners to cover in the slot. Ogletree has had some character issues, but his play on the field is impressive. Ogletree would have been a top fifteen talent if it weren't for the concerns of his character.
The Vikings had one hell of a first round. At pick No. 23 the Vikes found one of the bargain picks of the first round, Florida DL Shariff Floyd. Two picks later they snag cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who was projected to go in the teens. At pick No. 29 the Vikings decided to trade back into the first and get another player expected to be drafted already, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. While the Vikings gave up a lot to get Patterson, the Vikings are clear winners in round one. They land three good players who will strengthen their ball club from day one. The two defensive picks will help improve both the pass and run defense. I do worry about Rhodes adjusting to the zone scheme of the Vikings, as he projects to be more of a man corner, but I like the pick nonetheless. On the offensive side of the ball they get Patterson who will force teams to stack the box less against Adrian Peterson. With Greg Jennings and Patterson on the field at the same time, safeties will have to respect the Vikings passing game.
I am really surprised that the Jets are actually on this list, but they earned the kudos by drafting well. The Jets wasted no time in finding their replacement for Revis in Dee Milliner. While he has a long way to go before being as good as Revis, Milliner is capable of filling his shoes and will have to embrace that task. Five picks later the Jets further improved on the defensive side of the ball by drafting Sheldon Richardson. Sheldon is a "beast", and it was not a surprise when he was the first defensive lineman off the board. Richardson throws people around more often than not and has a high motor, making him an effective defender when pursuing the quarterback and runners.
Eric Reid is the safety the 49ers wanted. The fact they traded up to snatch him means they value the player he is. So, the 49ers get "their guy", but what did they have to give up for him? Just pick No. 31 and No. 74; not a whole lot when you have as many picks as the Niners do. Now the safety position is taken care of and the 49ers can focus their attention on other areas of need for the rest of the draft. Reid is a physical, hard hitting safety, who Jim Harbaugh deemed "smart" in a live interview on 49ers.com shortly after the pick. Hopefully the 49ers hit a home run here.
The Raiders trade down from pick No. 2 to pick No. 12, and make a total Al Davis-type pick. D.J. Hayden is a speedster cornerback who has seen his stock rocket up in the weeks leading up to the draft. Speed isn't all Hayden has to offer though. He has great awareness and ball skills to go along with his 4.34 forty time. With so many holes to fill, the Raiders found a way to get a good cornerback while also adding some picks to this year's draft, which they desperately need.
I chalk this up as a win for Andre Johnson. While Johnson has been able to put up monster stat lines while being double-covered, a quality No. 2 receiver on the roster will take some pressure off of him. DeAndre Hopkins is another tall receiver with great ball skills. This pick makes the Texans better on offense, and this piece could help them compete for an AFC Championship.
Feels good to put them in the 'losers' list. Trading back from 18 with the 49ers, most thought the Cowboys would address the offensive line with a tackle or guard. No one saw Travis Frederick coming. The center from Wisconsin isn't a bad player. In fact, he could be quite good. The question here is value. NFL Network's Mike Mayock had a third round grade on Frederick.
This one hurts. As an alum, I was ecstatic when the Bills announced Florida State QB EJ Manuel was their guy. I was happy for him and the Florida State program. BUT ... there's no doubt it was a reach. However, I believe that if GM's and coaches identify a quarterback they love, that player should be drafted regardless of draft position. Obviously the Bills loved Manuel.
This one also hurts. Bjoern Werner from Florida State is a really good player. He could be an asset for the Colts' defense ... if they find a spot for him to play. I'm not sure this is a schematic fit. Werner projects best as an end in a 4-3 defense and even then, he's a better run defender than pass rusher. At 260 lbs he's a bit of a tweener. I suppose he could play OLB but will be a certain liability in pass coverage.
MORE DRAFT COVERAGE
- NFL Draft Hub Page
- 49ers Pre-Draft Roster
- Prospect Scouting Reports
- Niners Nation Community Mock Draft
- Consensus Top-400 big board