With the first round of the NFL Draft in the books, we look at winners and losers of the first round, as well as some players who could be steals in the second round.
The Jaguars may have got the best player in the draft with the fifth pick. Jalen Ramsey is exactly what this team needed. Whether the Jags want to play him at corner or safety is irrelevant, he is the best player at that position right now. Even better is the talented crop of defenders who will fall to the Jags in the second round. Reggie Ragland, Myles Jack, and Mackensie Alexander are players who make sense, and that is not even counting the defensive tackles.
Not only does Ezekiel Elliott get to play for a team that is a contender when healthy, Elliott gets to run behind arguably the best offensive line in football. Also, the presence of Dez Bryant means opposing defenses have to respect the passing attack, which equates to Ezekiel Elliott tearing up the NFL from day one. This is the perfect situation for him.
When the Titans traded the number one pick to the Rams, they received a slew of picks in return, but moved all the way back to number fifteen in the draft. They knew if they wanted to really help their offensive line, they had to move up. The Titans moved up seven spots, giving up a third round pick this year and a second round pick next year to take Jack Conklin, probably the safest pick in the draft.
At the start of the night, the University of Alabama was expecting to have multiple players picked in the first round. Unfortunately, Jarran Reed, A’Shawn Robinson, and Reggie Ragland all fell out of the first round, despite being near-locks to be taken there. Only Ryan Kelly was selected number 18 by the Colts.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers held the seventh pick in the draft, and used that pick to take Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. I think the pick was a good fit. Buckner gives you scheme versatility, along with great size and power. However, as the draft wore down, San Francisco traded their second, fourth, and sixth round picks to Kansas City to trade up ten spots to take…. Joshua Garnett. A player Mel Kiper had ranked 67th on his big board. While Garnett is a good guard and may be the best run blocker in the class, that seems like a lot of picks to give up to move up ten spots, especially if you are going to draft someone who would probably be there anyway.
Ole Miss Football
Although the University of Alabama had a rough night, Ole Miss had an even worse one. Just before the draft, a video of someone who may have been top prospect Laremy Tunsil was posted on Tunsil’s twitter. In it, the person is seen smoking with a bong while wearing a gas mask. Then, somebody hacked into Tunsil’s Instagram account posting pictures of messages between Tunsil and a coach. These messages showed Tunsil asking coaches for money. Tunsil then slid to the thirteenth pick in the draft despite being one of the best players available. If that was not bad enough, in a press conference following the draft Tunsil said that he had taken money from Ole Miss coaches. There is no way Ole Miss is getting out of sanctions for this, right?
With 31 picks in the book, the first round ended. However, many players who were expected to be first round picks were pushed to the second round. Here are some players who were not drafted in the first round, but could be impact players in the NFL.
Kevin Dodd, Defensive End, Clemson
Dodd was projected to go in a very wide range of picks. Ultimately, he fell out of the first round. However, he should not be waiting long in round two. Dodd is a talented pass rusher in a class where such players are hard to find. Dodd is great at bending the edge and getting to the quarterback, a skill set he showed when he dominated in a losing effort in the 2015 National Championship.
Noah Spence, Outside Linebacker, Easterm Kentucky
When people look back on this draft class in ten years, they may wonder how a player like Noah Spence fell to the second round of the draft. He has had his issues in the past, but Spence has been drug tested constantly since transferring to Eastern Kentucky and has been deemed clean. Spence needs to develop a counter move when rushing instead of relying on his athleticism to get around the edge, but his power and speed could make him a pro bowler off the edge.
Jarran Reed, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
It is really surprising Jarran Reed dropped out of the first round. He is great against the run, and he i a real team player. Reed is not afraid to gobble up blocks and let other players make plays if it helps his team. Reed uses his hands very well and is a smart football player. Whoever drafts him in the second round is getting an absolute steal.
A’Shawn Robinson, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Robinson was one of the players in this year’s class I was worried would slide. Although he possesses the perfect physique to play in the NFL, Robinson’s motor runs too hot and cold. While his highlight film is impressive, his blooper film is just as bad. Robinson can stop the run like few in this class, but his inability to get after the passer worries me.
Reggie Ragland, Linebacker, Alabama
It was assumed by many Reggie Ragland would be picked in the first round. Oakland, Atlanta, and Green Bay all seemed like places that would fit. Ultimately, his lack of coverage skills likely caused him to drop down draft boards. Ragland would not surprise anyone as a prospect a team would trade up to get. He is a thumper that can improve any teams’ run defense and be a leader in the middle of the field.
Mackensie Alexander, Cornerback, Clemson
Five Corners heard their names called Thursday, but Mackensie Alexander was not one of them. Many have looked at his zero interceptions and noted his lack of ball skills. It is worth mentioning not a single receiver scored a touchdown on Alexander in 2015. Alexander is a physical corner who can press on the line of scrimmage. He should be the first corner taken on day two.
Andrew Billings, Defensive Tackle, Baylor
Andrew Billings is another prospect who fell victim to the depth at tackle in this class. Billings is really good against the run as a nose guard, but slid into the second round when in other drafts he would be picked in the first.
Myles Jack, Linebacker, UCLA
Myles Jack is a top five player in the draft when fully healthy. He can do anything you would want a linebacker to do on the football field. I was very sure that somebody would have drafted him at the end of the first, but his knee issues have caused him to fall out of the first round. How far he falls is unknown, as it will rest on the shoulders of team doctors.
Chris Jones, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State
Chris Jones is different from the other defensive tackles on this list. While Billings, Reed, and Robinson are all run stoppers, Jones is an athletic three technique player who can rusher the passer up the middle. Jones’ scheme versatility means that any team could pick him up in the second round.