Something magical happened last night at Radio City Music Hall. Amazingly, every team got the player who was at the very top of the board!
At least that's what they're telling us today... Of course GMs lie about that all the time and the reality is that there were a few head picks that in hindsight were questionable. So let's take a look back at round 1 and see how each team did.
1. Kansas City: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - B+ - People always love to give teams at they very top of the 1st round super high grades... but I don't really see why. This is a very solid pick by KC. It's not visionary or exceptional. It's good, it will help them in the years to come and I think it deserves a solid B.
2. Jacksonville: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - B - The one bit of trepidation here is that they've evidently picked Joeckel to play RT for what could be quite a while with Eugene Monroe on the other side. Joeckel should be very good and perhaps that's what matters most, but there's a question of value if he's only going to be a RT.
3. Miami: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon - C+ - How you feel about this pick ultimately depends a lot on how you project Dion Jordan at the next level. In college at least, he was not a standout pass rusher, which makes his presence in the top 5 somewhat of a surprise to me. If the Dolphins are right about projecting his athletic ability turning into production, then it could end up being a great pick because.... They didn't pay a bad price for this pick, which bumps up the grade a bit for me. According to the draft value chart, which is somewhat followed, Oakland probably should have held out for more.
4. Philadelphia: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - B+ - Like Joeckel, Johnson will start at RT for the Eagles, but unlike Jacksonville, there is not a good young LT on the other side. Jason Peters, who is one of the best in the league when healthy, is 31 years old and coming off a major injury. He's also only signed for this year and next. So you can see the path for Johnson to end up as a LT in the relatively near future.
5. Detroit: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU - B - A project player somewhat like Jordan, but the difference is that Detroit didn't have to give up an extra 2nd rounder to get him.
6. Cleveland: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU - B - Mingo may have gone slightly higher than expected, but this is still perfectly fine value and could set the Browns up with a plus pair of pass rushers.
7. Arizona: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - B - The Cards offensive line is a mess and while I would have like to see them maneuver their way into one of the top OTs, which they could have done relatively cheaply given what Miami gave up to get to #3... But Cooper is a fantastic prospect and while taking a guard this high is questionable, he really does upgrade that line.
8. St. Louis: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia - C - To me, this is a classic "reach for need" pick. The Rams were desperate for help at WR and moved up to get Austin. They essentially gave up an extra 2nd and 7th for a WR who probably will never be their #1. He's very fast and was a great playmaker in college, but there's a reason the history of the NFL is not filled with great 5-7, 174 pound WRs.
9. New York Jets: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama - B - I get that the Jets felt they needed another CB after trading Darrelle Revis and there's value in the fact that they got the top CB in the draft and will pay him less over his entire rookie deal than Revis will make in one season... But even without Revis the Jets were ok at CB. Cromartie is a good corner, Kyle Wilson was the Jets first round pick in 2010. They have corners. They have no offense.
10. Tennessee: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama - B - Yes there's the question of the value of taking a guard this high, but for a team that is going to be run first with Chris Johnson and Shonn Green, Warmack should have a big influence there.
11. San Diego: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama - B+ - OT was the major need for the Chargers and in the context of what happened in this draft with all the offensive lineman, I would actually say Fluker is solid value here.
12. Oakland: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston - B- - I really don't what to say about Hayden, who is coming off a life threatening injury, but who also is held in very high regard by draftniks. It's a bit of risky pick, but really I'm hitting the Raiders a bit here for not getting better value for their move down.
13. New York Jets: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - C+ - There is something to be said for taking the best player on the board and there's a decent change Richardson could have been at this point. However, the Jets came into this draft with 2 1st round picks, huge problems on offense and not only do they take 2 defensive players but they do so at positions where they're already pretty good at. With Wilkerson & Coples the Jets already have two solid players with the same skill set as Richardson.
14. Carolina: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - B - When players are taken later than their pre-draft expectations, media guys love to gush over the "value" that the team got rather than admit that maybe their pre-draft prognostications were wrong. Star is a case of that, but not the worst in this round... I like Star and think he'll be a good, albiet not incredibly impactful player.
15. New Orleans: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas - B - I think Vaccaro is a bit overrated but this was a need for the Saints and decent value.
16. Buffalo: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State - D - This grade reflects my opinion on Manuel's ability and the value of this pick. I think it was a pretty significant reach given that no other QBs went in the first and there was a very good chance Manuel could have been had the end of the 1st at worst and in the 2nd at best. But I will admit... Getting a QB is the most important thing a team can do and if Manuel does develop into a franchise guy, then it really won't matter whether he could have been had later or not. So while I'm not a fan of this pick, I get why they did it.
17. Pittsburgh: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia - B- - I'm not a fan of Jarvis Jones. I don't like his body, I think his stats were juiced from the fact that he only rushed the passer and nothing else... And I was prepared to knock whatever team took him in this round. But I have to say, there's no better place in the NFL he could have landed. The Steeler program is one where LBs thrive and if I trust any team to coach up Jones, it's Pittsburgh.
18. San Francisco: Eric Reid, S, LSU - B+ - The 49ers had a need at safety, they had a ton of picks which made it easier for them to move up and they got a safety who may very well be better than the guy at his position taken 3 spots ahead.
19. New York Giants: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse - C+ - The Giants say Pugh was the highest player on their board, which if you believe I have a bridge to sell you. To me this looks like a reach for need. The Giants needed youth on the offensive line and there was obviously a huge run on OL in this draft so you can see why they may have felt they had to reach to get a guy many thought would be available later in the 2nd round. Aside from value though, Pugh is short armed and many wonder if his best position won't be guard at the next level. I just don't quite get this pick.
20. Chicago: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon - B- - The Bears probably breathed a sigh of relief when the Giants took Pugh and Long fell to them. This is higher than I thought Long would go, but as I've said a few times, there was such a run on OL I can give needy teams a bit of slack for reaching.
21. Cincinnati: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - B - I like Eifert, I think this is a fair place to take him. The Bengals do already have a TE they took in the first round in the form of Jermaine Gresham, but we've seen 2 TE offenses become more prevalent in the league. Adding Eifert to a passing game with A.J. Green and Gresham already is only going to help out Andy Dalton.
22. Atlanta: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington - C+ - I'm not exactly sure why the Falcons felt they needed to trade up here. Looking at how the board fell, there's a decent chance they would have gotten either Trufant or Rhodes (who I actually think is better) had they stood pat. I don't particularly dislike the pick, but I just think they wasted value by jumping up to make it.
23. Minnesota: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - B - Remember what I said about Star Lotulelei? That goes double here. I've seen some draftniks raving over this pick because lots of mock drafts had Floyd as a top 10 pick. So did he drop to 23 by chance and the Vikings got lucky or might have been that those mock drafts simply overrated him? I do like Floyd, but the Vikings didn't get a top 10 guy in the 20s.
24. Indianapolis: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - B - Solid value, solid player and fills a need. Slight concern about them moving him to OLB, but really that's a transition that a lot of guys make.
25. Minnesota: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State - B+ - I wasn't nearly as impressed with the Vikings draft as some are, but I think this was their best pick.
26. Green Bay: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA - B - Like the Colts above. Solid player in the right range.
27. Houston: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson - B+ - There's a decent chance that Hopkins will be the best WR in the draft and he should fit very well opposite Andre Johnson in Houston.
28. Denver: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - B+ - This was really a good draft for teams picking in this range. Denver is an already good team that made kind of a luxury pick here with a talented player that fits their system well even if they weren't in dire need of a DT.
29. Minnesota: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - D - I don't get this pick at all. Let's start with what the Vikings gave up for it. A 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 7th is a heavy price to pay and the player they get for it is a project. Patterson is an explosive guy, but he doesn't run great routes and has questionable hands. He's still raw, so there's certainly upside, but for the price I struggle to see how he was worth it.
30. St. Louis: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia - B- - He could be a bit redundant with what they already have, but it's not a bad value at all.
31. Dallas: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin - C - In grading this one, you have to take into account that the Cowboys extracted extra value from this pick by virtue of their trading down. But like seemingly everyone, I find the player they came away with suspect. It does fill a need, but he likely would have been around later and he's not even a talent on the level of a center like Pouncey. To take a guy at C in the first round, I just would have expected a better prospect.
32. Baltimore: Matt Elam, S, Florida - B+ - Elam represents solid value at a need position.