Remember this: at one time, somebody probably though Blair Thomas was a great draft pick. Therefore it is impossible to determine who won or lost in this year’s NFL Draft after only one round has been completed.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t try.
Fat Guys: Thursday night may have been the best thing to happen to fat guys since the invention of the Baconator, or maybe even since Meatloaf proved that “big boned” fellows could become rock stars.
Three of the first four, five of the first seven, and seven of the first 11 players taken in this year’s draft were offensive linemen, spearheaded by No. 1 pick Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Fisher is undoubtedly the most anonymous college player to be taken first since the Falcons selected Aundray Bruce in 1988, though the Chiefs are certainly hoping for better results.
A total of nine offensive linemen went in the first round, which is pretty indicative of this draft as a whole – there’s simply not a lot of star power, but there is an abundance of guys who can have solid NFL careers.
New England Patriots: Only the Patriots could have no picks in the first round and come away a winner.
The Pats fleeced the Vikings for four picks in exchange for the 29th pick. New England got Minnesota’s second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks.
This trade screams Belichick in every way, including how it was done. The NFL had a planned tribute to Boston featuring former Pats offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who helped victims as a bystander at the Boston Marathon last week. The Pats even made a “Boston Strong 617” jersey for whomever their first round pick was supposed to be – only to have Belichick trade that pick away for a cache of later-round picks.
Classic Belichick – no room for sentiment in any circumstance, just for winning football games.
Teams with picks 8-10: Wide receiver Tavon Austin (Rams), cornerback Dee Milliner (Jets) and offensive guard Chance Warmack (Titans) are all great fits for the teams that picked them. I’m not sure any of those teams will have a great season next year – though the Rams are certainly close to getting there – but all of these guys have a chance to be impact players for a long time.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has a major health concern due to a neck condition that was so serious that USC would not clear him to play, forcing him to transfer to Georgia, where he dominated the competition last year. It seems like talent that should have been taken much higher falls to the Steelers every year, and Jones is no exception. If he stays healthy he will be a force.
Buffalo Bills: I really thought the Bills finally had it figured out when they dealt the No. 8 pick to St. Louis. The Bills came into the draft with only six picks, and stocked up thanks to this deal. And then they promptly used the 16th pick on Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel, a guy absolutely no one saw going in the first round.
I suppose the guy can’t be any worse than J.P. Losman. But once again Bills fans shouldn’t hold their breath thinking this will be the next Jim Kelly. NFL.com had him graded as a fourth-round caliber pick.
Chicago Bears: At this point it’s fair to question anything the Bears do in the first round. At least they addressed an area of need in grabbing Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long, though he was projected by some to be an early Day 3 pick. Long has only four career starts to his name. He started his career as a pitcher at Florida State before flunking out and getting a DUI, then becoming a football player.
The bloodlines are promising, at least, and if he’s still in the league in four years he’ll have worked out better than recent Bears first-round offensive line choice Chris Williams.
Geno Smith: OK, so there is a clear-cut loser after the first round: West Virginia quarterback Smith, who sat in the green room through the entire first round not hearing his name called. At least he’ll have a chip on his shoulder.
Ryan Nassib: When your own college coach passes you over for E.J. Manuel, well, that says a lot about what he thinks of you.
Manti Te’o: Many figured Minnesota made the deal with New England so it could make Te’o its third choice of the first round. But like most stories about Te’o’s suitors, that ended up being a hoax.
Running backs: None were taken in the first round for the first time since 1963.