At the top of the order, the NFL Draft had very few surprises as teams stayed true to their board.
Many have shared, that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teams where handcuffed in the due diligence they could administer on the draft prospects. Physicals, one-on-one interviews, board-work, and most notably live workouts, were hampered by social distancing practices.
Therefore, when the first three selections occurred, it was to no surprise that Joe Burrow, Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah came off the board.
However, there were a few notable surprises, and teams definitely improved as they matched young prospects to holes on their teams. Below you will find what I think are the biggest winners and losers from the draft.
The silver and blue added dynamic pass-catcher CeeDee Lamb to an already lethal offensive group last night. Lamb has been projected as a Dez Bryant type of player, and added 65 catches, 1158 yards and 11 touchdowns to the Oklahoma Sooners offense last season. His ability to create after the catch will take a potent Cowboy group further. Dallas’ offense produced the most amount of yards in the league last season, and ranked six in terms of points. Lamb will now step on the field with Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Blake Jarwin. Plenty of options for Dak Prescott and an established offensive line to work with.
The Dolphins have been “Tanking for Tua” for what feels to be like forever. But last night, their long-term plan finally came to fruition. The team selected Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection. Pre-injury, the dynamic Alabama star was touted as the next great quarterback and likely the number one overall pick. His playing style has been compared to Steve Young and Russell Wilson. The Dolphins also did Tua justice by selecting Austin Jackson to protect his blindside.
Finally, Miami selected Noah Igbinoghene with the 30th selection. Getting your franchise QB, a LT and a CB1 in the first round is not too shabby.
Denver is starting to put some pieces together at Mile-High Stadium as they continue to add to their young core on offense. Courtland Sutton had an impressive sophomore campaign, as he eclipsed 1100 yards receiving last season. He is now paired with arguably the best route runner in the draft with Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. Drew Lock should be foaming at the mouth looking at his two young receivers, and I’m sure he’s ready to unleash the rocket-arm he is known for.
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ESPN’s Josina Anderson had shared that the Falcons were looking to make a splash prior to last night’s draft. It was revealed that the they offered a “complete deal” to the Washington Redskins in attempt to move up and select EDGE rusher Chase Young. Ultimately they didn’t have the firepower and had to stay put at their pick. With defensive back as a need, it may have been depressing as first-round talents Okudah and Florida’s CJ Henderson came off the board. The team settled on Clemson’s AJ Terrell, but I’m sure they had loftier expectations going into the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
I suppose its hard to be overly critical of the defending Super Bowl Champs, but you do have to question their rationale of selecting LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd selection. With all of the running backs at their disposal, the Chiefs selected Helaire over the likes of Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. Both of these candidates held more acclaim, and Swift’s skill-set would have meshed perfectly in an Andy Reid system. Who knows, KC may have gotten a steal in the draft, but it appears they left better options on the table.
Going into the draft, there were plenty of talks of the disgruntled offensive linemen being moved to the Cleveland Browns, or maybe even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both of those options appear to be closed as the teams went ahead and selected youth over experience last night. The Browns, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Jets all chose offensive tackles with their selections, leaving Williams and the Redskins few dance partners to trade with. It appears Minnesota and the Seattle Seahawks are the only viable options left in play for a trade.
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