Perhaps the most important event of the National Football League offseason is the NFL Draft. It is a three-day event in which all 32 teams have the chance to select players coming out of college to join their organizations. The draft is a valuable opportunity for teams to add young talent to their rosters, and to improve on positions that were weak during the previous season. Teams that struggled in the previous season are rewarded with an opportunity to draft the best players, as they receive the highest draft picks. The draft order is determined based off the teams’ records, as the team with the worst record receives the first pick and the team with the best record receives the last pick. If a team is able to have a successful draft and select players with a lot of talent who will make a large impact on their teams, they could turn into a much better team very quickly. However, if a team drafts players that turn out to be “busts”, or players that do not play well in the NFL, they miss out on a great opportunity to improve their team and inch closer to the Super Bowl.
The first day of this year’s NFL Draft is over. That means 32 young athletes have been drafted to the NFL, and their dreams have finally been realized after years of hard work. Myles Garrett, an athletic defensive end from Texas A&M, was selected with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. He was widely considered to be the best player in the draft, and the Browns made a huge step in the right direction with the selection. Normally, the Browns’ draft picks disappoint mightily, but with the pick of Garrett, their luck is sure to change. However, after selecting Garrett, the Browns were not done in the first round. They went ahead and traded away their 12th overall pick to the Houston Texans for the 25th overall pick and the Texans’ 2018 first round pick, and selected stud defensive back Jabrill Peppers from the University of Michigan. On top of this, the Browns went ahead and traded for a third first round pick, and selected University of Miami tight end David Njoku. Interestingly, two of these players, Peppers and Njoku, played their high school football in northern New Jersey.
The rest of the first round was filled with shocking selections and game changing trades. The Kansas City Chiefs, originally slotted to be picking 27th, traded up to the tenth pick and selected their quarterback of the future, Patrick Mahomes II of Texas Tech University. Two other trades were made to select franchise quarterbacks in the first round, with the Chicago Bears trading up for Mitchell Trubisky of the University of North Carolina and the Texans trading up for Clemson University’s Deshaun Watson.
Another surprise that shook up the draft was the amount of offensive weapons selected in the first ten picks of the draft. The first round was projected to be filled with defensive talent early, so the surplus of offensive players selected early was shocking. One quarterback, two running backs, and three wide receivers were selected in the top ten picks. This led top ten talents Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Jonathan Allen, and Reuben Foster to fall to the Saints, Colts, Redskins, and 49ers, respectively. Reuben Foster took the biggest tumble of the draft, falling all the way to pick 29, where he ended up being selected by the San Francisco 49ers.
Perhaps the biggest reach of the draft was the Titans selecting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson with the 18th overall pick. He was considered a second round talent, but the Titans jumped the gun and drafted him in the first. It is obvious that he has the athleticism to be a great player, but he lacks the raw talent to make a large impact in the NFL. The Titans would have been better off selecting a different player with this pick.
Looking ahead to the next two days of the draft, there are still plenty of talented players available in the draft. Running back Dalvin Cook, quarterback Deshone Kizer, offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, and cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Kevin King headline this list. All of these players could have easily been selected in the first round, and will be drafted early in the second round.
An interesting name to watch in the second round of the draft is running back Joe Mixon, from the University of Oklahoma. He is considered by some to be the most complete running back of the draft, but has fallen due to his off-the-field concerns, headlined by a domestic violence incident a few years ago. Some possible landing spots for Mixon are the Packers, Bengals, Colts, Broncos, and Eagles.
As a fan of the Indianapolis Colts, I was hoping for linebacker Reuben Foster of the University of Alabama to fall to the Colts at the fifteenth pick, as they have a big need at linebacker. I was surprised that he and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen were both available, and I would have been ecstatic with either one being drafted by the Colts. However, the Colts went a different direction and drafted safety Malik Hooker from Ohio State. Of course, Hooker is a great player who should have been selected much earlier in the draft, but I still would have preferred Foster or Allen. Hooker will be able to make an early impact for the Colts, who now have a wide variety of talent at the safety position with Clayton Geathers, TJ Green, Darius Butler, and Hooker.
Overall, the first round of the NFL Draft was exciting to say the least, and it will be very interesting to see what happens over the course of the next few days in rounds 2-7.