The trades didn’t happen.
During the day there was more smoke than a Cheech and Chong show.
But in the end, the quarterbacks went one-two, just as we thought to the Bucs and Titans respectively.
Most didn’t feel like Tampa Bay wouldn’t move from their top spot. Of course the Bucs didn’t and drafted FSU signal caller Jameis Winston. At the end of the day, the Bucs brass felt comfortable enough making Winston the face of their franchise.
Tampa Bay talked with over 75 people and put in 100-plus man hours in investigating Winston and looking into his past away from the field. That was the big knock on this former Seminoles.
The draft really began with the second selection. Would Tennessee pick Marcus Mariota (Oregon), trade the pick to a team that wanted him or select a defensive lineman or pass rusher? Reports surfaced throughout the day that the Eagles, Browns and other football suitors courted the Titans regarding the No. 2 overall selection.
High End Surprises
All the players I thought would go inside the top 10 picks were drafted. But the order in which they were selected caught my attention.
It was pretty easy to peg Winston, Mariota and Dante Fowler (Jacksonville) going one, two and three. But how would the next seven fall?
The Raiders went with wide receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama) while the Redskins went with offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (Iowa). Cooper was not that big of a surprise but Scherff was. Many thought Washington would address their defense. Instead, they beef up their offensive front with the draft’s top offensive linemen and get some protection for Robert Griffin, III.
Wide receiver Kevin White (West Virginia) went next to Chicago followed by outside linebacker Vic Beasley (Clemson) to Atlanta. Like the Redskins, the Giant went OL and grabbed Miami standout tackle Ereck Flowers.
I thought running back Todd Gurley (Georgia) would go in the top ten and he fell to the Rams at No. 10. Yeah they need help on the offensive front but St. Louis could have very well just landed a franchise runner and difference maker in Gurley.
Oh, Those Browns
The Browns gets knocked on and much of it has been well deserved. But I thought they had a terrific pair of picks in defensive tackle Danny Shelton (Washington) and offensive lineman Cameron Erving (FSU).
Cleveland was dead last in rushing defense and pulled the draft’s top nose tackle in Shelton. This kid is a giant in the middle and a true anchor with some athleticism.
And if you know the Browns and their head coach Mike Pettine he loves to draft players who can line up at multiple positions. No one on the front does that better than Erving.
Sure they needed wide receivers and play makers for their offense. At the same token they did a tremendous job with these two picks shoring up the lines of scrimmage.
Surprisingly there were only two trades in the first round. San Diego swapped positions with San Francisco to grab running back Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin). Gordon and Gurley were running backs taken No. 10 and 15 respectively.
The second trade of the night was Denver and Detroit swapping picks. The Broncos moved to the No. 23 spot to pick defensive end Shane Ray (Missouri). Many thought Ray could fall out of the first round because of the marijuana citation he received earlier this week.
There was so much speculation going into the evening that this would be a very active night with deals. Obviously, outside the quarterbacks, teams didn’t see much value in giving up picks for prospects. This likely means that there wasn’t much of a difference in the talent between the picks, as teams figured they could draft the same time of player/athlete with their original selection.
Surprise Picks On the Backend
There were a handful of surprise picks in the backend of the first round. Detroit drafted offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (Duke). What’s surprising is that the Lions have a need at right tackle. Then you have the Saints drafting inside linebacker Stephone Anthony (Clemson). He’s one of the draft’s best middle ‘backers but New Orleans needs to also address their secondary and pass rush.
Out Of The First Round
Big time talents in outside linebacker Randy Gregory (Nebraska) and offensive tackle La’El Collins (LSU) fell out of the first round. They were thought to be first round picks much of the spring. Gregory failed a drug (marijuana) test at the Combine while Collins is wanted by police for questioning in the murder of his ex-girlfriend.
How far will they tumble? You would think Gregory will be selected at some point on Friday in rounds two or three. Collins could fall completely out if he’s not cleared soon by Baton Rouge police.
Safety Landon Collins (Alabama), offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings (Pitt), and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri) were some others that were thought to be first rounders but were not drafted last night.
Inside the Numbers
It wasn’t the SEC that had the most players selected in the first round. Both the Pac 12 and ACC each had nine while the SEC had seven. The Big 10 had three and the Big 12 and the AAC each had two.
In terms of what states produced the most first round picks that distinction goes to Florida. The Sunshine State had seven first round picks followed by Georgia (5). California had three and none from Southern California, which is a shocker. The state of Texas only had two players selected that played their high school ball in the Lone Star State.
Another interesting note centers around the Trojans. Leonard Williams became the 78th first round pick from USC, the most of any college program. Ohio State is next with 71.
Looking Ahead To Day Two
There are plenty of new story lines going into rounds two and three tonight.
• How far does Randy Gregory fall?
• What happens with La’el Collins?
• Who and where do the quarterbacks fall? Keep an eye on Bryce Petty (Baylor) and Brett Hundley (UCLA).
• Others to keep an eye on that will bring exceptional value are safety Landon Collins, wide receivers Jaelen Strong (Arizona State) Dorial Green-Beckham, and a handful of offensive linemen led by T.J. Clemmings (Pitt) and linebackers.
• There will be a run on running backs with T.J. Yeldon (Alabama), Duke Johnson (Miami), Jay Ajayi (Boise State), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and others.
The Tennessee Titans are on the clock.
Related stories: NFL Rosters Breakdown Series
Part 1 - Daddy, where are NFL players from?
Part 2- Where do student-athletes major in the NFL?
Part 3 - Drafted vs Undrafted Players
Part 4 – Positional Breakdowns of the NFL: Where are they from?
Part 5 - NFL Veterans: Where are they from?
Part 6 – Top NFL Producing High Schools