NFL Draft: First round in review

As expected, Tampa Bay opened the draft by selecting Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Also as expected, the Tennessee Titans selected Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. There was a lot of talk about teams trying to trade into the second position, but I think Tennessee’s asking price was too high for any team to pay. Jacksonville was up third and also did the expected, drafting Florida defensive end Dante Fowler. He is a perfect fit for the Jag defense and gives them a presence coming off the edge. The Oakland Raiders had a choice to make between USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. They went with the Al Davis type choice in selecting Cooper. The surprise to that point of the draft was Williams was still on the board. With Washington up at the five spot we had the first surprise of the draft. They selected Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff. Scherff is an excellent player but is five too high for him? Time will tell. The Jets probably had no idea Leonard Williams would still be on the board when they were up. Looking at the gift, they select Williams, who many feel was the best player in this draft. This was an excellent start for new General Manager Mike Maccagnan. I thought that the Bears might be looking at trading down, but with both Vic Beasley and Kevin White on the board they had a choice of two solid players. With Brandon Marshall traded, the Bears got his replacement in West Virginia's Kevin White. No real surprise here. It was supposed to be a lock that Bud Dupree would be drafted by the Falcons, but with Vic Beasley still on the board they went with the more natural pass rusher. This was an excellent choice for Atlanta, as it’s very difficult to find top edge rushers and that is what Beasley is. The Giants had to get a pass blocker, and they got a big one in Miami’s Ereck Flowers. Flowers still is a bit raw but has tremendous upside. Through nine picks, one of the biggest surprises was there were no trades. So much for the pre-draft rumors. With the tenth pick, St. Louis took Georgia running back Todd Gurley. There is no question Gurley was the best back in the draft before his injury. Will he still be the same back post-surgery? We won’t know the answer to that until fall and maybe not even then. It might be 2016 before Gurley is back to what he was early last fall. The pre-draft chatter was the Vikings were favoring Michigan State corner Trae Waynes. The chatter proved correct as that was who Minnesota took. With the NFC North loaded with receivers, you have to have guys to cover them. A great pick by the Vikes. In my mock draft on Wednesday, I felt Cleveland would take DeVante Parker, the big receiver from Louisville. Cleveland failed to take a receiver last year and it haunted them. I figured they would then take nose tackle Danny Shelton with the 19th pick. I was wrong as they took Shelton at the 12 slot. Shelton is a perfect fit for what Cleveland wants at nose tackle. I don’t think there were many who felt that New Orleans would go offensive line with their pick, but that’s what they did, selecting Stanford tackle Andrus Peat. I felt Peat was one of the best offensive lineman in this class. He played in an NFL system and has been very productive in both the pass and run game. Miami selecting DeVante Parker was a mild surprise, but he is a big, fast and productive receiver who gives Ryan Tannehill another weapon.. At 15 we finally had a trade, with San Diego moving up to draft Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. The Chargers had a huge need at the position and Gordon was the last back with first round value in this draft. After going two years with a running back being drafted in the first round, we saw two go in the top 15 picks. Houston’s selection of Wake Forest corner Kevin Johnson was also a mild surprise. Not that he wasn’t deserving. He is easily the second best corner in the draft. To me the surprise is that Houston drafted a corner. That said, in the NFL, corner is one of the most important positions on the defensive side of the board. I don’t know if I know anyone who didn’t have San Francisco selecting Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead. They had a need and Armstead has as much upside as any player at that position. Andy Reid isn’t afraid to take a risk. He has done it a number of times over the years and usually it works out well. This year, he selected Washington corner Marcus Peters who may have the best overall cover skills in the draft. While he lacks great top end speed, his instincts and ball reactions are outstanding. Cleveland was up again at 19, and again I felt they would go wide receiver. Again I was wrong, as they chose Florida State center/tackle Cam Erving. I can’t criticize as offensive line was also a big need and Erving has more versatility than any other lineman this year. With this draft being strong at the receiver position, maybe they will go receiver in the second round. Philly drafted one of the most underrated players in the draft. USC’s Nelson Agholor is a great route runner, with soft hands and excellent run after ability. On top of that he is an outstanding return man. Chip Kelly got himself a very good player with the pick. In recent weeks, I was told by a few scouts that Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was a lock for the first round. He was doing well with his rehab and there were a group of offensive line coaches who really liked him. That proved true as Cincinnati selected Ogbuehi at number 21. A few days ago I wrote that Bud Dupree was my most over rated player, I based that on the fact that many analysts felt he would be drafted in the top 10. I thought that he was more of a “20 to 25 guy”. Pittsburgh selected Dupree at 22. He is a good fit for the Pittsburgh scheme. At 23 Denver traded up for Shane Ray. Four days ago he was considered a top 10 pick but his being charged with pot possession hurt his stock. Denver got a steal with this pick. Arizona had needs on the offensive line, by getting Florida’s D.J. Humphries they got a young and athletic left tackle who is still developing. In Ron Rivera’s defense, the Will linebacker is a very important position. Undersized Shaq Thompson is the type of player who will excel as a Will in that scheme. Ozzie Newsome always seems to come out of the first round with a great player. That was again the case last night as the Ravens got Dez Bryant clone Breshad Perriman. Perriman is big and physical and can be a defensive backs nightmare in one on one situations. Dallas who had multiple defensive needs, got one of the stars of the Combine when they selected UConn corner Byron Jones. He will be an excellent matchup with the taller receivers in the league. I like Duke guard Laken Tomlinson but not as a first rounder. He is a big, powerful bulldozer in the run game and keeps improving in pass pro. The question is, could they have gotten him a little later? Colts’s offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton just keeps adding firepower this off-season. Wideout Phillip Dorsett is the fastest receiver in this class. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock said Wednesday night that Arizona State safety Damarious Randall was the fastest “riser” in the draft. With Green Bay selecting the speedy cover guy at 30, Mayock became very prophetic. New Orleans said they had to improve their defense and they got the most athletic inside linebacker available in Clemson’s Stephone Anthony. Anthony also has top instincts and can be a very physical tackler. The Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots closed out the first round by selecting Texas’s versatile defensive lineman Malcom Brown. Brown has the ability to play anywhere along the line for the Pats. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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