Five standout moves of the first round

Now that the first round of the NFL has passed, let’s take a look at five picks that stood out from last night.

Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee
Kansas City (5th overall)

I will put Berry into the discussion when it comes to the best overall player in this draft, and the Chiefs get a dominant safety who can work the middle of the field, come down to play over a slot vs. three wide receiver sets and has top tier playmaking ability—because that is what you pay for in the NFL. Good enough to pass on some big names at offensive tackle? Yes, because Berry can have an immediate impact for a secondary that is far below average.

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
NY Jets (29th overall)

Beyond the value the Jets got here from selecting a corner that had a top-15 grade for some clubs, Wilson gives head coach Rex Ryan more options on defense. The Boise State CB will compete for the Jets’ No. 3 corner spot and play a valuable role in the club’s sub packages on defense. A man-to-man corner who fits Ryan's style of athlete. Big value for a team that wins with defense this late in the first round. Call it the “best player available” for New York, but the idea is simple: the Jets just added another young player who will get his hands on the football in 2010.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
San Diego (12th overall via trade with Miami)

I have heard this called a “reach” more than once tonight, but I don’t see it that way because the Chargers had Mathew’s as the player they wanted most on their draft board. If you watch the Charger offensive scheme under Norv Turner, the running game is predicated on using a downhill back that can produce in the off-tackle power game. Think of the Lead Open, Lead Strong, the Power O. Mathews fits this mold and has the ability to carry the ball 20-plus times at the NFL level. Big move that fills a need with the right player.

Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Green Bay (23rd overall)

Bulaga experienced a draft day slide, but that doesn’t hide his talents as a player that could have gone in the top ten. He is athletic enough to play the left tackle position, worked under the coaching of Kirk Ferentz at Iowa, is a top player when it comes to the run game and is a huge value pick for the Packers all the way back at No.23. Green Bay GM Ted Thompson gets to fill a major need with young talent—and doesn’t have to move up in the draft to get it. This pick couldn’t have worked out better for a team that needed to get younger at the tackle position.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Cincinnati (21st overall)

A pick that could have been expected because of the Bengals issues at the TE position, but when you take a step back and look at this offense around QB Carson Palmer—after the addition of WR Antonio Bryant via free agency—it is a completely different unit than we saw in the playoffs. Think of how Gresham can add to the Bengals play calling in the red zone, when he is removed from the core of the formation aligned as a WR or when he can work the middle of the field between the numbers. Provides creativity to the Bengals play calling and forces defenses to prepare for multiple looks.

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