Instant Overview Reaction
WOW, what a 1st round. With a whopping 9 trades impacting the order of the 1st round, no pick was guaranteed until it was announced. At any point, any team could be picking.
If you thought 8 teams not selecting in the 1st round was a lot, that number rose to a ridiculous 10 total teams, with 2 more trading out of the 1st. Having 2 veteran WR1s traded during the draft also provided us with plenty of bombshells, throughout a truly wild 1st round.
Unlike most years, I am very happy and content with most of these picks. There is only one or two where the rationale and logic truly elude me, and only a small handful more that despite understanding the logic, I dislike.
Check out how I had all the players ranked pre-draft on my Draft Preview, with links to positional breakdowns and scouting reports.
Top 25 Remaining Players
- Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati (10th ranked prospect)
- Matt Corral QB Ole Miss (12th)
- Nakobe Dean LB Georgia (13th)
- Travis Jones IDL UConn (18th)
- Bernhard Raimann OL Central Michigan (25th)
- Breece Hall RB Iowa State (30th)
- Leo Chenal LB Wisconsin (31st)
- Logan Hall IDL Houston (32nd)
- Perrion Winfrey IDL Oklahoma (33rd)
- Dameon Pierce RB Florida (34th)
- Rachaad White RB Arizona State (36th)
- Boye Mafe EDGE Minnesota (37th)
- Malik Willis QB Liberty (39th)
- Skyy Moore WR Western Michigan (40th)
- Trey McBride TE Colorado State (42nd)
- Christian Harris LB Alabama (44th)
- Channing Tindall LB Georgia (46th)
- Jalen Tolbert WR South Alabama (47th)
- John Metchie III WR Alabama (48th)
- Jaquan Brisker SAF Penn State (50th)
- Christian Watson WR North Dakota State (51st)
- Sam Howell QB North Carolina (52nd)
- Arnold Ebiketie EDGE Penn State (53rd)
- Andrew Booth Jr. CB Clemson (54th)
- David Ojabo EDGE Michigan (56th)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker EDGE Georgia – D+
The athletic potential is undeniable, and I understand being infatuated with the ceiling. Still, there were so many great options here. Taking a player with limited production, who also needs to switch a position (from 5T to pure EDGE) with the 1st overall pick seems like a reach. There has never been a player with the production profile of Walker who was drafted this high. This pick could easily end up being a great pick, but there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.
2. Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson EDGE Michigan – A+
Getting the hometown boy who is also the best player in the draft is a slam-dunk pick. This couldn’t be more perfect for them. Easily an A+ grade.
3. Houston Texans – Derek Stingley Jr. CB Louisiana State – B+
Stingley is one of the freakiest prospects in recent memory. There are question marks, but the high-end potential of his talent is undeniably elite. This isn’t an A+ grade simply because of the questions and the fit. Stingley needs to prove he can play with motivation even on a bad team. He also has injury concerns. Other than that, this is an amazing infusion of talent.
4. New York Jets – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner CB Cincinnati – A
I would’ve loved to see them take Ekwonu here, but Sauce is a perfect fit. The Jets have a need in the secondary, and Sauce is the best player available. Much of this pick is reliant on their next pick, but from on an island, this is a great pick.
5. New York Giants – Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE Oregon – A-
Watching Thibodeaux walk onto the stage was one of the highlights of my draft-watching experience. This guy has so much confidence and moxy, he will be a national treasure in New York.
Filling a massive need for the Giants, this is a great pick. Although they should’ve waited until pick 7 to take KT and use 5 to address the O-Line, taking KT is a slam dunk.
6. Carolina Panthers – Ikem Ekwonu OL North Carolina State – B+
Ekwonu is the best remaining player on my board, and he is the hometown kid. This pick fits in so many ways, and in a vacuum, this is a terrific selection. Still, there was nothing they could’ve done that would make me happy about their draft, aside from trading down. With no other premium selections in the draft, the focus should’ve been on acquiring more capital. While drafting Ekwonu is a great fit, they still don’t have a Quarterback.
7. New York Giants – Evan Neal OL Alabama – B+
As a consensus elite player in this draft, the Giants did well by their fanbase. I’m not a huge fan of Evan Neal, but they desperately needed to improve their O-Line, and taking Neal is a great way to do it. His versatility will allow them to place him anywhere, and figure out the best formation for Andrew Thomas, Neal, and their incoming Free Agents.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Drake London WR South California – C
London is a unique Wide Receiver prospect, and his skill set is extremely rare. There are no other receivers in this draft with his contested-catch ability. Still, there were many other positions I would’ve attacked if I were the Falcons. Their O-Line needs help, and they have practically no defense. Additionally, none of these receivers are worthy of a Top 10 pick. London has serious separation concerns, and while he’s a good fit on the Julio-less Falcons, Pick 10 is rich.
9. Seattle Seahawks – Charles Cross OL Mississippi State – B-
The Seahawks should have traded this pick. With so many needs, taking Cross solves such a small portion of their issues. Is Drew Lock their savior? Will they have a consistent pass rush? Do they have a reliable defense? I would answer all those questions with a clear NO. They could’ve gotten a good Tackle later in the draft, and addressed more of their needs. I’m a fan of Cross, but from a strategic perspective, I was hoping for more from the ‘Hawks.
10. New York Jets – Garrett Wilson WR Ohio State – A-
Well, no Deebo. The Jets played their cards over and over again this offseason, coveting a true WR1. I’m not convinced Garrett Wilson can be that, but of all these receivers, he has the best chance. This is just around the beginning of the range where I feel comfortable taking a receiver. Filling a need and taking a great player will definitely earn a good grade.
11. TRADE New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave WR Ohio State – B-
I am a HUGE fan of Olave, he is my WR1. Still, this is way too early, especially considering they traded up to get him. I love the fit, and it fills a need, so I can’t knock this pick too much, I just wish they would’ve restrained themselves a little more, possibly traded up later, giving up fewer resources.
12. TRADE Detroit Lions – Jameson Williams WR Alabama – B-
WOW. This was the first big shock of the draft. Pre-injury, J-Mo is the best receiver in this draft. And yes, there is a mini-run on receivers right now. I still think trading up 20 spots in the 1st for a Wide Receiver is crazy. He is such a talented player, so I don’t think this is a bad pick, and they surprisingly didn’t have to give up the farm to get him.
13. TRADE Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Davis DL Georgia – A-
Limiting my personal bias as much as possible, the Eagles just pulled off a masterful move. Jumping ahead of the Ravens who presumably were set on Jordan Davis is a draft-trading masterclass. I’m not a fan of Davis, who is my IDL5. He doesn’t have the quickness or the pass-rush abilities to be a consistent producer, and he doesn’t have the stamina to be a full-time player. This fills a great need though, so I have to give them a very good grade.
14. Baltimore Ravens – Kyle Hamilton SAF Notre Dame – A+
This is a massive steal. Hamilton is one of the most talented players in this draft, and he is exceptionally cerebral. Although the Ravens don’t have a need in the secondary, getting one of the 5 elite blue-chip players in this draft with the 14th pick is beautiful.
15. TRADE Houston Texans – Kenyon Green OL Texas A&M – B
I am as big a Kenyon Green fan as the next guy, but this seems a bit early, especially with Zion Johnson on the board. I do like the willingness to build around Davis Mills, especially getting to trade down and acquire more capital. There are a lot of things to like about this pick, but the grade is affected due to the reaching nature of this pick.
16. TRADE Washington Commanders – Jahan Dotson WR Penn State – A-
This may seem like a bit of a reach, but with the run on receivers and a Washington need at receiver, Dotson makes a lot of sense here. Additionally, I am a huge fan of Dotson. This isn’t reflective in my rankings, but I wish I could be higher on him. He is a stud, and pairs very well with Terry McLaurin. Carson Wentz may finally have the receiving corps he needs to excel again.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Zion Johnson OL Boston College – A+
After this pick, I can’t imagine a scenario in which the Chargers don’t have one of the best offenses in the league. They were missing only one piece to their line, and Zion Johnson is a Top 10 talent on my board. In a quickly improving AFC West, the Chargers are keeping up, and possibly even taking the lead.
18. TRADE Tennessee Titans – Treylon Burks WR Arkansas – B+
It’s never great to lose a Wide Receiver of the AJ Brown caliber, but replacing him with Treylon Burks isn’t a bad replacement at all. Not to mention, he will be a heck of a lot cheaper. This is very reminiscent of the Stefon Diggs – Justin Jefferson swap by the Vikings. That paid off big time, I’m sure the Titans have that success story in mind. I’m not convinced he can have the same type of success, but this is a win.
19. New Orleans Saints – Trevor Penning OL Northern Iowa – C-
The only reason this isn’t one of the worst picks in the 1st round is due to their need at Left Tackle, which is the ideal position for Penning. He has elite athleticism, but he is such a flawed player. He is the lowest player on my board to be selected thus far. I understand the need, I just don’t have high hopes for the player.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh – D+
Yet another hometown hero going to his college city’s team. There is a slight justification to this pick, but it’s still murky. Pickett is my QB5, and he is very overrated. He isn’t special in any way, and his small hands are a big concern. I understand the need for the Steelers to take a Quarterback, but is Pickett even better than Trubisky? I don’t think so. From Pickett’s perspective, this is the best-case scenario. He gets to sit behind Trubisky, and learn from the Hall-of-Fame Coach Mike Tomlin. Going to a steady and competent organization is beneficial to his career. If there’s any team to prove me wrong on my Pickett slander, it’s the Steelers, but I still don’t like the pick.
21. TRADE Kansas City Chiefs – Trent McDuffie CB Washington – A
Love this pick. With McDuffie taking a bit of a tumble down the draft, the Chiefs came up and filled a need. There will be great options available if they would have sat and waited, but McDuffie is a supreme talent, so I have no problem with this.
22. Green Bay Packers – Quay Walker LB Georgia – A-
Walker being the first Linebacker selected was a twist that few saw coming. However, I think he absolutely deserves it. Despite having him as my 16th overall prospect, I never expected him to go this high. It’s not the Packers’ premiere need, but it’s a great value. Additionally, the Packers could use a Linebacker, so it’s not a wasted pick.
23. TRADE Buffalo Bills – Kaiir Elam CB Florida – B+
Elam is one of my favorite Cornerback prospects, and the Bills could use a Corner opposite Tre’Davious White. Elam has length, speed, and exceptional toughness, to go along with phenomenal coverage ability and burst. There are few flaws to his game, and he will be the next slam-dunk 1st round draft pick by the Bills. They didn’t have to trade up to get him, so they don’t get a perfect grade, but it’s a great fit.
24. Dallas Cowboys – Tyler Smith OL Tulsa – A
Tyler Smith was gaining more and more buzz as a potential 1st round pick, and this fills a need at Tackle for the Cowboys. Moreover, the Cowboys don’t have an immediate need for starting-caliber players, as they have capable starters, they just needed an infusion of upside and youth. No O-Lineman in this draft has a better combo of upside and youth than Smith. He is the youngest lineman in the class at only 20 years old, and his raw physical traits are truly enticing.
25. TRADE Baltimore Ravens – Tyler Linderbaum OL Iowa – A+
The Ravens once again proved they dominate the NFL Draft. Trading Marqise Brown for a 1st round pick is a robbery, and then trading back to add even more capital is masterful. Top it all off by selecting one of the best and most polished linemen in this draft, and you have a true masterpiece.
26. TRADE New York Jets – Jermaine Johnson II EDGE Florida State – A+
I’m not as big a Jermaine Johnson fan as most, but even I have to admit this was an uncharacteristic fall for such a talented player. He was consistently mocked in the top 14 picks, so getting him at 26 is a steal. The Jets came away from Round 1 with 3 Top 10 values, which is outstanding.
27. TRADE Jacksonville Jaguars – Devin Lloyd LB Utah – D-
I won’t give any pick an F, but this one sure was tempting. I truly don’t understand what the Jaguars are doing in this draft. Trevor Lawrence led the league in interceptions last year, and they lost more pieces of their O-Line than they gained, while simultaneously overspending on mediocre Wide Receivers. They didn’t give him enough, and not only did they invest in defense with their picks, but they also traded extra capital to do so. Lloyd wasn’t even a must-grab value. This thought process by the Jags front office is truly perplexing.
28. Green Bay Packers – Devonte Wyatt IDL Georgia – A-
While I would have loved to see the Packers draft Christian Watson, that would have been a bit of a reach, and there were no available Wide Receiver values here. Given the way the board fell, Wyatt is easily the best option. As a Top 15 player on my Board, this is a massive value. The Packers will now have a stout defense.
29. TRADE New England Patriots – Cole Strange OL Chattanooga – B
Many will give this pick a much lower grade, but I am much more fond of this pick than others. Cole Strange is an extremely underrated prospect who checks many boxes, physically and technically. He is polished with upside, but his level of competition and his Senior Bowl performance have kept him from rising up draft boards. Still, a coach like Belichick should be able to turn Strange into an All-Pro player, and this is a glaring need.
30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Karlaftis EDGE Purdue – B-
Aside from not being a big Karlaftis believer, I’m not sure how he fits into their defense. He isn’t an ideal fit for the 5T, as his elite power mismatch will be neutralized by the bigger linemen in the middle. Still, most scouts have Karlaftis much higher than I do, making this a steal of a draft pick. Taking both into account, this is an above-average pick.
31. Cincinnati Bengals – Daxton Hill SAF Michigan – C-
Like Karlaftis, I don’t buy the hype surrounding this player. The only difference is, with Karlaftis I see the potential of him being a quality player. I truly don’t believe Hill will ever be a quality NFL starter. He lacks the coverage skills to be a consistent Corner, even from the slot, as he got COOKED on many occasions in man coverage. He doesn’t have the physicality, tackling ability, or size to be a Safety at the next level either. So what role will he play? He is just an athlete, that’s it. That’s not a 1st round player.
32. TRADE Minnesota Vikings – Lewis Cine SAF Georgia – B+
Getting Lewis Cine at pick 32 is great value, and if it were just that, this pick would get an A+. A Top 20 player on my Board, this is a steal. However, taking into account the return the Vikings got for dropping 20 slots in the 1st round, this draft move was abysmal. I love the pick, and it’s a great fit, but golly, they should have gotten way more of a haul.