We always expect a couple surprises from the first round of the NFL Draft, but last night provided us with some entertaining and not so entertaining moments. And even though we’ve only gotten through Round One, we can still get a good estimation as to which teams are the Winners who bettered their team with one pick and those Losers who still leave us scratching our heads.
ROUND ONE WINNERS
Indianapolis Colts - It’s really not hard to figure out why the Colts are winners after only one round. Drafting for need after the team and Peyton Manning parted ways, Indy can now build their offense around Andrew Luck, while also giving fans a reason to stay interested during the Post-Manning era. I’ll be looking to see what the team decides to do with their second and third round picks. Going offense and giving Luck more weapons to throw to outside of Reggie Wayne would make the season more exciting.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Fresh off the heels of a busy free agency, the Buccaneers scored two more big wins in the first round. By trading down with the Jaguars and selecting Mark Barron, the Bucs get much-needed secondary help that was absolutely abysmal in 2011. Then the Bucs followed that up by using the 4th rounder from the Jags to trade back into the first round and selecting Doug Martin, who should solidify himself as the team’s lead back, pushing LeGarrette Blount to possible 3rd-down/short-yardage duties.
St. Louis Rams - The Rams hit it big even before the Colts announced Andrew Luck as their first pick. Having originally held the 1.2 pick early in the offseason, the Rams traded this pick to the Redskins for first-round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, and a 2012 second-round pick. The Rams then flipped the 1.6 pick Thursday night to the Cowboys for their 1.14 pick and an extra second rounder for Friday. So now set with the 33rd, 39th and 45th overall picks, the Rams wound up drafting LSU DT Michael Brockers. Brockers is a huge run stuffer, but will need to be coached up. However, I make the Rams a clear winner in the first round on draft picks alone AND scoring a potential stud on defense.
ROUND ONE LOSERS
Cleveland Browns - The Browns aren’t flat-out total losers, but they did make a couple questionable decisions. They were obviously scared into trading up one spot with the Vikings to secure the rights to draft Trent Richardson. But surrendering a 4th, 5th and 7th rounder to do it seems like a lot to move up one spot with a team that wasn’t going to draft Richardson in the first place. The Browns selection of Brandon Weeden at 1.22 didn’t make a lot of sense either. If he was the usual age of 21 or 22, it’d be different. He would have time to grow and, maybe, eventually give the Browns a chance at the playoffs. But throwing a 28 year old quarterback on a team that isn’t close to sniffing the playoffs makes me question the decision. Hopefully the Browns steer the ship in the right direction and make up for it in Friday’s rounds.
Seattle Seahawks - Maybe the Seahawks didn’t have a backup plan once Michael Floyd went to Arizona at the 13th pick, but taking Bruce Irvin doesn’t make a lot of sense in my opinion. Yes he is one of the best pure pass rushers to come out this year, but he isn’t an every-down player and won’t be on the field in running situations. Obviously that could change since the NFL is becoming more of a passing league, but I still don’t care for this pick. At least not in the first round. Plus, Irvin was riddled with red flags for numerous off-field issues coming into the draft.
San Francisco 49ers - I wouldn’t consider drafting A.J. Jenkins at the end of the first round a reach since other teams had him ranked fairly high, but is it that much of a position of need? The team brought in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, have Michael Crabtree and use a lot of Vernon Davis in the passing game. Where does Jenkins even fit? Considering Frank Gore’s injury history, I would have gone the route the Bucs did and drafted Doug Martin instead. Jenkins is an unpolished route runner who won’t see a lot of time early this season.