The NFL Draft is over and now it’s time to turn our eyes to next season as hundreds of college players are going to try and make rosters across the country.
Who did the best? Check out the list:
1. Green Bay
18. CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
45. CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)
88. LB Oren Burks (Vanderbilt)
133. J’Mon Moore (Missouri)
138. G Cole Madison (Washington State)
172. P JK Scott (Alabama)
174. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (South Florida)
207. WR Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame)
232. DE James Looney (California)
239. LS Hunter Bradley (Mississippi State)
248. OLB Kendall Donnerson (Southeast Missouri State)
Green Bay needs cornerbacks that can play on an island, and so they went after two of them who had pretty good years last season in Alexander and Jackson. He supplemented it with Oren Burks at linebacker who was a natural leader for Vanderbilt. He might not have been the play maker that Zach Cunningham was last year, but in seeing him multiple years at Media Days, I knew Burks was going to be something special.
On offense, J’Mon Moore was one of the top receivers in the SEC last year, ahead of receivers that went before him such as Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk and more. He had over 1,000 yards receiving with 10 touchdowns, and was a big part of what made Drew Lock look so good at quarterback. He’ll be a welcomed addition along with Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown in the wake of Jordy Nelson being dropped.
Of course I have to point out JK Scott heading to Green Bay as one of the nation’s best punters the last four years.
2. New England
23. G Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
31. RB Sony Michel (Georgia)
56. CB Duke Dawson (Florida)
143. LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (Purdue)
178. LB Christian Sam (Arizona State)
210. WR Braxton Berrios (Miami)
219. QB Danny Etling (LSU)
243. CB Keion Crossen (Western Carolina)
250. TE Ryan Izzo (Florida State)
New England is up here mostly due to their first two picks. I really like the Georgia pairing of Michel and Wynn and that could be huge for New England.
A lot of people thought the Patriots may try to go find their next Tom Brady, but not taking a QB early shows that they thought this wasn’t the QB class they thought, despite how many were taken early. They did take Danny Etling, but we’ve seen him in action and know that he is not going to be the next Tom Brady unless he puts in some serious work.
New England made a move for 49ers tackle Trent Brown on day two to help fix up the offensive line and perhaps allow Wynn to stay at guard instead of having to move to tackle.
Duke Dawson comes in to help at cornerback after Malcolm Butler left, along with Keion Crossen.
The Patriots didn’t try to replace Brady this year and fix what wasn’t broken. They simply added more pieces to the puzzle around Brady and fixed their offensive line and added a stud at running back.
5. DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)
40. WR Courtland Sutton (SMU)
71. RB Royce Freeman (Oregon)
99. CB Isaac Yiadom (Boston College)
106. LB Josey Jewell (Iowa)
113. WR DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State)
156. TE Troy Fumagalli (Wisconsin)
183. G Sam Jones (Arizona State)
217. LB Keishawn Bierria (Washington)
226. RB David Williams (Arkansas)
Denver was set to trade back from #5 according to reports, but decided Bradley Chubb was too good to pass up when Cleveland didn’t take him at #4. The defense is still really good out in Denver and it just got that much better with Chubb filling the hole that was left by DeMarcus Ware. They have multiple pass rushers now.
On offense, Case Keenum is set to lead the team for the short-term future, but Courtland Sutton adds a good option at the receiver position along with DaeSean Hamilton to back up Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Troy Fumagalli was Wisconsin’s leading receiver from the tight end position and will add another pass catcher. Royce Freeman is a good pick-up from Oregon as well after four years starting for the Ducks, including in their championship appearance in 2014 as a freshman racking up over 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns. He ended his career with over 6,400 all-purpose yards and 64 touchdowns and is needed in Denver since the Broncos will be without thousand yard rusher CJ Anderson.
25. TE Hayden Hurst (South Carolina)
32. QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
83. OT Orlando Brown Jr. (Oklahoma)
86. TE Mark Andrews (Oklahoma)
118. CB Anthony Averett (Alabama)
122. LB Kenny Young (UCLA)
132. WR Jaleel Scott (New Mexico State)
162. WR Jordan Lasley (UCLA)
190. S DeShon Elliot (Texas)
212. OT Greg Senat (Wagner)
215. C Bradley Bozeman (Alabama)
238. DE Zach Sieler (Ferris State)
Ozzie Newsome picked a tight end with his final first pick, perhaps a nod at his own playing days at Alabama and with the franchise he has played and worked for his entire career. He then took a risk and traded up to grab Lamar Jackson at pick #32 to end the first round. He traded picks #52 and #125 plus next year’s second rounder to get Jackson. The problem is that Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson are two completely different quarterbacks. The offense that is built for Jackson will be nothing like what Baltimore uses now. However, there are coaches on the staff well-versed in utilizing a dual-threat quarterback, including Marty Mornhinweg and James Urban who worked with Michael Vick in Philly and Greg Roman who coached Colin Kaepernick with the 49ers when they made their Super Bowl run.
Anthony Averett is going to play with his fellow teammate in Marlon Humphrey plus Orlando Brown and Bradley Bozeman give some depth to the offensive line. However, they needed to get some players on their front seven with many of their current starters in contract years, but didn’t really outside of Kenny Young from UCLA. We’ll see if that comes back to bite them.
13. DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
59. RB Derrius Guice (LSU)
74. OT Geron Christian (Louisville)
109. S Troy Apke (Penn State)
163. DT Tim Settle (Virginia Tech)
197. LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (Alabama)
241. CB Greg Stroman (Virginia Tech)
256. WR Trey Quinn (SMU)
We all know what Payne can do after his years in Tuscaloosa, especially last season. Just watch him from the college football playoff to know how versatile he is. Derrius Guice is still kind of an unknown. Can he stay healthy? Can he keep out of trouble off the field? Straight up talent-wise, he’s a first round pick, but they got him near the end of the second for a reason.
Shaun Dion Hamilton can provide some good depth at linebacker and Troy Apke is athletic even though he didn’t do much at Penn State.
Cleveland – I like the possibility of Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb in the same backfield. Also, Antonio Callaway can be a good one if he stays clean off the field.
Jacksonville – Good first picks from the SEC with another great DT in Taven Bryan, a receiver who has athletic ability but wasn’t able to live up to it at LSU with DJ Chark, and then another great defensive back from Alabama in Ronnie Harrison
Miami – Minkah Fitzpatrick is great for their secondary and Gesicki can be a long-term tight end.
Indianapolis – Needed offensive line help, and got it with Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, but don’t like much else.
Tennessee – Only four picks in the entire draft, but Evans is a good one along with Landry for a great pass rush and securing the defense. Luke Falk could be a good backup for the team, I’ll take him over Blaine Gabbert as long as he can keep the turnovers to a minimum.