NFL Draft: First Round Recap & Surprises
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
Here is a recap of Thursday night and Round 1 of the NFL Draft:
I was surprised a little by the ability of teams to trade now in the first round. Especially with Oakland and Miami deal. For once it was good for the Raiders to not only move down, but to add one of Miami’s second rounders and they still got the player that coveted at number twelve.
It was shocking that Miami also left Lane Johnson out there when everyone suspected he was the target. Getting Jordan seems to be a trend by many teams by trying to pair up bookend pass rushers and now Miami still needs to address o-line or Tannehill and Wallace won’t be the factor they hope for.
I will get to the Bills selection of E.J. Manuel later, but I do like the Rams moves. Making sure they got Tavon Austin was huge and then moving back and still getting a player like Alec Ogletree is a double win for them. I love Austin as a college player and will be interesting to see if his skills translate into the NFL and he becomes a star. The only thing that would hurt the Rams draft night is that they still have the Niners and Seahawks in their division.
As for the Niners, obviously they wanted Eric Reid and made sure they got them by only losing a 3rd rounder to Dallas to move up. I was shaky on Reid but seeing what the Niners did to make sure they got him makes me think he could eventually turn into a Troy Polomalu like pick for them.
2. Playoff Teams Do What They Do Best:
There are three teams I feel know how to use the whole draft to keep their teams always as a playoff contender. They are the Ravens, Steelers and Giants. Two of these teams did what they always do in the first round by making smart solid picks and one reached a bit.
The champion Ravens sat back, stayed at number 32 and ended up finding themselves with multiple options in front of them. Even though they could have looked to trade back even, Ozzie made a solid selection in safety Matt Elam. Elam should step in and right away be an upgrade of the departed Bernard Pollard.
The other team I like that always gets it is the Steelers. Just like the Ravens, the Steelers sat back and let the draft come to them. Jarvis Jones has some question marks but he fills a need and going to play for Dick LeBeau could be explosive from day one. I wouldn’t be surprised if he steps in for James Harrison and is in contention for defensive rookie of the year.
The other team that gets it is the Giants, but I really wasn’t thrilled with their pick of Justin Pugh. Actually as a Skins fan, I am. I just think at the point taking a projected right tackle is questionable unless it’s a DJ Fluker talent. I question the Giants but there is a lot of draft yet and the mid rounds are where they usually shine.
3. Big Surprises:
I feel the real surprises came from the quarterbacks and that Manti Te’o did slip out of round one. I am shocked that Geno Smith completely fell out last night. I thought that at least a team would get back into the end of the first round to secure him. When he goes in the second round it will be a big win for that team.
I am not going to crush Buffalo for the surprising pick of EJ Manuel at 16 over Smith and Nassib. Doug Marrone obviously had Manuel as his top quarterback and the Bills clearly had to get a quarterback in this draft. They were able to move back once but could not risk moving back or waiting to round two for Manuel. Even though it seems high for him if that is the guy you want, you have to make sure you get him. I remember Baltimore moved up to get Joe Flacco and it seemed maybe a bit high but they got him and obviously it was the correct call.
As for Manti, I am not surprised he was not taken last night. There is a lot of talent at the back of the first round and when teams are on the clock they have many options with the talent out there. The Giants and Bears both decided to address offensive line issues over Te’o. Baltimore went with a solid safety over Te’o.
Minnesota had three picks and chose not to take Te’o. I am more shocked that the Vikings gave up so much to Pats to move in position to get Patterson. Other trade-ups did not get multiple picks but this one did. Te’o should be early tonight though.
4. Clueless Teams:
The Oakland Raiders for once can relax because the New York Jets are the most clueless team. Funny part is I like Dee Milliner. But when you have two high first round picks and add to that a pathetic offense and then grab two defensive players I can only laugh and think of Vinny Cerrato taking three receivers in the same round.
The Jets have no quarterback, running back, healthy legit wide receiver or tight end. They have a top center and a decent left tackle but that is it. So you go and take another defensive lineman? I am not a Jets fan but if I was I would be livid. First since Rex Ryan somehow was not fired but now this. They have a chance to redeem themselves somewhat if Geno Smith is able to fall to them tonight but it still leaves them without playmakers. If Austin was the guy they coveted you have to be disappointed as well since they had a better second rounder than the Rams and were unable to move up.
Speaking of Vinny Cerrato, it was funny to hear that he is the official GM of CBS Sports Radio for the draft. The worst drafter in recent history is your official draft expert. Great move by CBS Sports Radio, ESPN Radio must be shaking.
5. Draft Coverage:
I hated how slow the draft was last night. It got to point that 2-3 picks were in and nothing was being announced. Jason LaCanfora on twitter was way ahead of the TV coverage that all the analysts had to do was follow his tweets and they would have looked like genius to the television audience. I do think they caught on by the twenties though.
And I saw the Deadspin article where the NFL had guys in identical suits carrying in the team hats enclosed in glass cases into the draft. Way too much extra going on here Goodell! I like when it’s the commissioner announces the pick, does not do this big dramatic hug and then analysts give their opinions. Now it is all just show.
I wasn’t a fan of the three day event but have grown OK with it. But suddenly it is the Oscars now and it only gets weirder tonight when a bunch of former players suing the NFL in the concussion case will be announcing picks on stage. Countdown to 51 baby!