Last weekend, 254 players saw their NFL dreams come to fruition when they were drafted by one of the league's 32 teams. With the dust settling from a hectic weekend in Nashville, it’s time to look back and evaluate the winners and losers of this year’s draft.
After years of inconsistent quarterback play, the Redskins finally found their quarterback of the future. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins set new Big Ten records in his only season as a starter, passing for 50 touchdowns and over 4800 yards, records previously held by future hall-of-famer Drew Brees. The Redskins also traded back into the first round to select Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat. While Sweat had some behavior problems earlier in his career that caused him to transfer from Michigan State, he has improved in his production every year, earning second-team All-American honors and finishing sixth in the nation in sacks his senior year. The team also added former Heisman trophy finalist Bryce Love, who fell to them in the fourth round because of a torn ACL.
Although the Josh Rosen era lasted only one year in the desert, the former Cardinals quarterback should be thrilled about his new destination. With the Miami Dolphins, Rosen joins a rebuilding team under new head coach Brian Flores. While rebuilds normally aren’t the most exciting situations for quarterbacks to be in, Rosen will be given every opportunity to develop slowly without any expectations to win immediately. With journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick as the only other quarterback on the roster with starting experience, Rosen should have no problem winning the starting job and hopefully becoming the franchise quarterback many league observers thought he would become when he was chosen at the tenth pick in last year’s draft.
The city of Nashville had a great weekend. While the hometown Titans only had six picks in this year’s draft, they made sure each of them counted. First round pick Jeffrey Simmons is coming off a torn ACL and might have to red-shirt a year, but he is very easily a top five talent. The Titans also got arguably the best receiver in this year’s draft class in Ole Miss’s A.J. Brown and added great depth with all of their day three picks. In addition to their team’s draft, Nashville was an excellent host for the draft, prompting longtime ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter to tweet, "Drafts in NY, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas were tremendous and all were great hosts. There never has been a scene like this for any draft in any sport, ever. Nashville’s insane."
New York Giants:
After months of smokescreens and deception, general manager Dave Gettleman did in fact take a quarterback, just not the one everyone thought. By selecting Daniel Jones at the sixth pick, Gettleman is banking his reputation and job on a quarterback who many scouts and evaluators gave second round grades to. By taking Jones at six, the Giants missed out on several premiere defensive players still on the board, including edge rusher Josh Allen and defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Additionally, with the picks from the Odell Beckham Jr. deal made, the Giants traded their star wide receiver for Dexter Lawrence, Oshane Ximines and Jabrill Peppers. At the end of the day, this draft class will all depend on Jones’s development and whether or not he can turn into the heir apparent to Eli Manning. Also, passing on Dwayne Haskins and watching him fall to the rival Redskins at fifteen could come back to haunt this team for years to come.
After watching quarterback Deshaun Watson get sacked a league high 62 times behind a porous offensive line, the Texans knew they needed to address the position in the draft. However, the Texans were not nearly aggressive enough, instead watching the Philadelphia Eagles jump in front of them to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard. That selection caused the Texans to reach for Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, who many believed was a second round pick. The team also added Max Scharping from Northern Illinois to shore up the offensive line. Questions remain, however, about how soon both of these picks will be able to contribute and whether the Texans did enough to help protect Watson.
The Raiders produced the major shock of the first round by taking Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. While Ferrell should be a good NFL player, many expected him to go much later in the first round. The Raiders picked again at pick 24 and selected Alabama running back Josh Jacobs. While Jacobs is immensely talented, he was never the lead back at Alabama, and the team could have used the pick on another position of need and taken another running back later in the draft. While Mississippi State safety Jonathan Abram was a good pick at no. 27, the team already has two starting safeties so it will be tough for Abram to see the field early. Picking cornerback Trayvon Mullen instead of Greedy Williams in the second round also could turn out to be a mistake. While the Raiders didn’t have a horrible draft, they certainly could have managed the value of their picks much better.
Contact Zachary Schiller at firstname.lastname@example.org.