The picks are in, the zoom calls are over and the future of the NFL just became a little bit clearer. A night of trades and drama started with the inevitable, the Cincinnati Bengals took their quarterback of the future selecting Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick. Right behind them with the second selection, the Redskins added fire and fury to their D-Line drafting Chase Young, the Defensive End out of The Ohio State University.
But as always, not every fan base came away happy. As is the story ever year, there were winners and there were losers. Needs were met, but some holes were left unplugged. Over the course of the next few paragraphs I will give you a brief run down on who I think were the winners of the first night of the Draft. Who drafted well, who was brave and who made the moves and got the players they needed to make them better? See for yourself:
Well, of course. Securing the best Quarterback to come out of college in recent years, the Bengals did what they needed to do and secured their future signal caller.
Burrow takes his place as the signal caller for the Bengals in Zach Taylor’s offence and will aim to turn things around after a disappointing first season. In a tough evolving division, which has seen an influx of good QB’s and explosive offences, the Bengals are now doing their part to keep up with the rest of the pack.
Landing Isiah Simmons was something I don’t think anybody in the desert expected. He’s a truly positionless, fluid and flexible hybrid player who can cover all positions on defence.
Officially listed as a linebacker, he has played snaps at safety and corner as well. Also, did everyone see that flex from Kliff Kingsbury?! My word that is a seriously impressive place to call home. Taking the best pick available to them and doing the simple things properly is enough to be a winner in my eyes, especially when the pick is somebody like Simmons.
A generational talent and the first piece of the Ron Rivera puzzle. Chase Young fits nicely onto an already busy defensive line. In a division where the Cowboys and Eagles have formidable offensive lines, disrupting them is obviously the number one priority and bringing in Young does exactly this.
The Dolphins checked all the boxes that needed to be checked and have set their offence up for the next ten or so years. Despite much debate in the run up to the draft, the Dolphins trusted that Tua was indeed healthy and selected him with the fifth overall selection. Adding to the offensive line they drafted Austin Jackson to sure up some protection for their new prized possession quarterback and when you have an injury history like Tua does, protection is more than important. It’s vital.
The Vikings had a sneaky good first round. They managed to secure Justin Jefferson to replace the void left by Stefon Diggs.
Considering the Packers failed to provide any weapons for Aaron Rodgers, instead drafting the man who will one day take his job, the division is slowly opening for the Vikings. Facing an incompetent Bears team and a Lions organisation which doesn’t have any clear identity, the Vikings are well equipped to make a run at a division title and tonight’s picks will certainly help that cause.
I don’t think anyone massively whiffed on their picks, I do agree that there were reaches from a couple of teams, Vegas and Seattle. For the most part though, all teams addressed their needs appropriately but just not necessarily in the form of fashion that many thought they would e.g. the Giants taking Andrew Thomas at number four.
It’s never a good idea to grade an entire draft class based on the first night and round, but it will be worth keeping a close eye on the list above to see if anyone else makes their way on, or off, the winners list.