With the NFL Draft finally over and on the books, I thought I’d jot down some quick thoughts post-draft on each team.
As Adam wrote for the site after the first day of the draft, the Kyler Murray pick speaks to bad front office decision making in Glendale.
The wasting of last year’s pick on Rosen, the picks surrendered to move up and take him and the money paid to the player the Cards thought was their future at QB speaks of a dysfunctional organisation. However, Arizona finally may have solved the team’s persistent problem of finding a partner for All Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Drafting Byron Murphy, who many rated as the best cover corner in the draft, in the 2nd round was huge especially given the fact that whoever plays the opposite side to Peterson is likely to be heavily targeted.
It was surprising to see GM Thomas Dimitroff double down on the offensive line with his first two picks in Nashville, especially given that many analysts expected the team to rebuild a defence that was decimated by injuries last year.
Defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Dexter Lawrence were still on the board and not a single cornerback had been taken. Consider it a vote of confidence in Dan Quinn to restore the unit to its effectiveness during that 2017 NFC Championship season, or that the team expects the other side of the ball under old/new coordinator Dirk Koetter to our score opponents on a weekly basis.
The Ravens lost a lot of talent during free agency, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Baltimore will hope Marquise Brown can be the deep threat they’d hoped Breshad Perriman would be a couple of years ago. Second round pick Jaylon Ferguson will be needed to contribute this year, though the Ravens are one of the best teams in the league in unearthing hidden defensive talent. Given their history in that respect, perhaps it made sense to go with receiver Miles Boykin in the third round to go with the 20 tight ends on the roster…
GM Brandon Beane must be feeling pretty smug, managing to pick up two first round talents for both lines with his first two picks.
Defensive tackle Ed Oliver slipped to Buffalo at number 9 with much of the pre-draft buzz projecting him as a top 5 pick. The addition of Cody Ford at guard will help stop Josh Allen in his attempts to become the Bills leading rusher again this season. Mind you, so will the addition of ANOTHER running back in the shape of Devin Singletary. Beane stood pat with the receivers he added for Allen in free agency, though he could go bargain bin shopping in the post-draft free agency market.
Carolina’s once fearsome front seven isn’t quite the force it once was and is going through something of a changing of the guard this offseason.
Edge rusher Julius Peppers retired this spring and the team chose to move on from linebacker Thomas Davis. Brian Burns doesn’t seem to fit the mould of pass rusher and linemen the Panthers have opted for in previous years, but many scouts and analysts see him as a good prospect who could do with adding some weight. There were similar concerns about Leonard Floyd coming out of Georgia and he hasn’t quite lived up to his first round pedigree yet. Burns will be looking to buck the trend.
The draft this year wasn’t quite the event it has been for Bears fans the previous two Aprils given that GM Ryan Pace wasn’t on the clock until the fourth round.
Even then though he demonstrated his trademark aggressiveness when he identifies a player the franchise wants, trading up for Iowa State running back David Montgomery. Montgomery will be a three down back in a way that Jordan Howard wasn’t. That can only help this offense given when Howard was on the field last year it became clear it was either an inside run or a play action pass about to be whispered into Mitch Trubisky’s headset. Chicago could be a team looking to add a veteran edge rusher on a one or two year contract to join Aaron Lynch in backing up Leonard Floyd and Khalil Mack.
Every year when I look at the Bengals draft class, I just feel underwhelmed.
But as a franchise that’s who they’ve become now really. At number 11 they picked up Alabama tackle Jonah Williams, continuing Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor’s surprising slide. Analysts are pretty split on whether Williams will play at guard or tackle in the NFL, though it’s likely his first task will be to compete with Bobby Hart for the right tackle spot. The Bengals, who many saw as a dark horse to take a QB in the first round, waited until three rounds later to select Ryan Finley. That made sense given the fact that Andy Dalton is the least of Cincinnati’s concerns right now.
The Browns were lauded for their free agency and trade acquisitions prior to the draft, meaning the team had few areas they really needed to be concerned about.
In the second round the addition of Greedy Williams makes for a potentially ball-hawking young cornerback duo with last year’s first rounder Denzel Ward.
The team didn’t take a tackle though, which is concerning given that Greg Robinson, who performed adequately in that role as Baker Mayfield’s blindside protector last season, has had more bad seasons than good in the league. Mayfield’s mobility might mitigate that concern a little.
Dallas will be fine with how their first round pick panned out. That of course was used to acquire Amari Cooper from the Raiders during last season, which helped ignite the passing offense.
Jerry Jones will be counting on defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to get the most out of defensive tackle Trysten Hill given concerns about the UCF product’s character and work ethic. Many in the Lone Star state will be holding their breath to see if this pretty low key draft class is enough to provide depth behind the marquee players donning the white and blue.
John Elway has often been pilloried for his draft record, having more success in building his team through free agency. He’s also taken a lot of flak(o) in recent seasons for his inability to build a competitive roster following Peyton Manning’s retirement.
But in the initial buzz following the draft, the Broncos should be considered to have had one of the better weekends in Nashville. Elway moved down in the first round and was still able to add pass catching tight end Noah Fant with the 20th pick, as well as tackle Dalton Risner in the second round, who should be able to start right away.
Elway then used the second round pick he got from the Steelers for the 10th overall pick, to move up for QB Drew Lock. It was pretty essential the Broncos added a prospect who could develop behind Joe Flacco given the former Raven’s age and the possibility of his play beginning to decline.
Lock, who has the arm strength Elway desires, will have a good role model in that regard in Flacco. At the same time as looking to the future, however, Elway managing to help his team this coming season with a weapon in the passing game and protection for his starting QB who isn’t noted for his mobility.