The draft’s first round certainly did not disappoint.
1. Cleveland Browns: A trade down collected two additional selections, including a 2015 first round selection. The Browns added CB Justin Gilbert eighth overall, and stole the show after the team selected QB Johnny Manziel 22nd overall.
2. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings drafted OLB Anthony Barr ninth overall after trading down one spot. Barr is a dynamic edge rusher with tremendous upside. The Vikes traded back into the first round to draft QB Teddy Bridgewater, a pro-style prospect that will seize the starting reigns down the road.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals had a gaping hole at the cornerback position. CB Darqueze Dennard, a very physical prospect from Michigan State, slid all the way to their 24th overall selection. Cincy waited for a corner to fall, and the result was fantastic.
1. Washington Redskins: The Redskins’ rough 2013 campaign earned the franchise a second overall pick. However, the ‘Skins traded away their 2014 first rounder two years ago, and could not bolster any phase of their football team.
2. Miami Dolphins: OL Ja’wuan James is a very versatile prospect. He will add depth and size to the Dolphins’ offensive line. However, he was widely viewed as a second-round pick, and the ‘Phins could have at least traded down and added an extra pick while taking James later in the first.
3. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles selected OLB Marcus Smith out of Louisville with the 26th overall selection. Philly traded down four spots, but could have traded all the way out of the first, picked up Smith tonight, and an additional selection.
- The Jaguars selected QB Blake Bortles third overall despite the fact OLB Khalil Mack’s availability. Regardless, the rebuilding team needs a new face of the franchise, and Bortles and the Jaguars appears to be a solid match at the moment.
- Four safeties (Calvin Pryor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Deone Bucannon, and Jimmie Ward) were selected in the first round. Due to the evolution of the aerial attack, defensive backs have increased value.
- The Jets passed on explosive WR Brandin Cooks in favor of Pryor, a hard-hitting safety out of Louisville. While the Jets need more firepower on offense, Pryor will make an immediate impact in the defense.
- The Saints traded up seven spots to select Cooks, after losing several key offensive weapons in free agency. Cooks could possibly replicate RB Darren Sproles, a former Saint, in some capacity.
- QB’s Tom Savage and Jimmy Garoppolo are still available heading into the second round. Several other first round prospects are on the board due to the depth and talent of the 2014 draft class.