In athletics, the clock is ticking on the NFL Draft selection, Grades And trades. Follow our Live blog, Group wise exams/requirements, Draft trade And Best players available.
For a long time now, the NFL Draft has been underway. The first round started with the Carolina Panthers, Bryce Young became the first Alabama quarterback to go No. 1 overall, and from there, things took off as teams began snagging key building blocks.
There is no doubt that every general manager will be successful on the first day of the draft. However, it will take some time to learn how smart these choices really are.
At first glance, there are few apparent winners and losers after a round of action. Here’s a rundown of who was better or worse Thursday night.
Carolina Panthers – Last month the overall no. After advancing to No. 1, the Panthers did the right thing by drafting Young, the high-scoring quarterback to kick off the Frank Reich era. Yes, Young is short. But many descriptions for the Alabama quarterback include the big-time playmaker, who must thrive to emulate the likes of Reich, Jim Caldwell, Thomas Brown and Josh McCown.
Houston Texans – There were all kinds of rumors that Houston would pass on C.J. Stroud and get a defensive player. However, the Texans really filled a need for a franchise quarterback. They used their second first-round pick and a 2024 first-rounder from the Browns at No. 3, where they acquired edge rusher Will Anderson. So new coach DiMeco Ryans begins his tenure by landing franchise cornerstones on both sides of the ball.
Strode – With a low S2 test score, some speculated that Stroud could endure a draft-day slide after a week filled with derogatory rumors and questions about his decision-making and execution skills. However, the concerns proved unfounded and the Strat did not have to wait long, moving into second place overall.
Arizona Cardinals – Arizona needed more picks to help bolster their roster, which some competitive talent evaluators consider the worst in the league. The Cardinals badly wanted to trade up from the third overall pick, and they picked the Texans’ No. 1 pick in 2023. 12 and no. They achieved that goal by landing the 33rd overall pick, a first-rounder and a third-rounder in 2024. Then they traded again. In the top 10 (giving up Nos. 12 and 34) and getting the first offensive lineman in the draft in Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr., he helped protect quarterback Kyler Murray better.
Indianapolis Colts – After starting three different quarterbacks in 2022 and eight different passers since Andrew Luck retired in 2019, Indy gets Anthony Richardson, a big, physically gifted prospect.
Justin Fields – The Bears’ young quarterback, who had a season-high 55 sacks in 2022, should have liked his team’s first-round pick at No. 10 in Tennessee’s Darnell Wright.
Jalen Carter – The Georgia defensive lineman, one of the best defensive players in the draft, had faced a lot of uncertainty until this week as off-field issues (he was involved in two misdemeanors in a racing incident that killed a Georgia teammate) and additional concerns about immaturity threatened his stock. However, things ended up playing out in Carter’s favor, as he landed in Philadelphia, where he reunited with former Georgia teammate Jordan Davis and a defense with several strong leaders. That team should help Carter grow and reach his full potential.
Wide receivers and tight ends – Until Seattle took Jackson Smith-Njikpa out of Ohio State, the No. It was a long wait for top wide receivers who didn’t start coming off the board until the 20th. That started a streak that included Quentin Johnston (TCU), Jay Flowers (Boston College) and Jordan Addison (USC) to the Chargers, Ravens and Vikings, respectively. Tight ends had to wait even longer, as the first (Utah’s Dalton Kincaid) didn’t arrive in Buffalo until the 25th. The long wait could have been painful. But these pass-catchers may have a silver lining. All of them have joined teams with solid quarterback positions, which can translate into very successful careers.
Will Lewis – There was a time when the Kentucky quarterback was considered a potential top-five pick. However, NFL talent evaluators apparently felt differently and Lewis became Brady Quinn this year – sitting in draft headquarters, enduring a torturous and humiliating wait. Thursday night comes and Lewis’ phone goes off the hook, so he’s on the board entering Friday night when the second and third rounds take place. It will be interesting to see if a quarterback-needy team tries to jump up in the second round to get Lewis, or if they’ll be content to let him fall to them.
Doc Prescott – The Cowboys quarterback could really use more help at wide receiver and an improved defense. But instead of drafting a player in an area of need, the Cowboys took Michigan defensive tackle Massie Smith.
Jordan Love – In a similar situation, the Packers could have used a new starting quarterback as well. Green Bay was already thin at wide receiver, and injuries have hit the offense hard the past few seasons. Adding a top-flight wideout or tackle would have made a lot of sense. However, the Packers used their top pick on Iowa defensive lineman Lucas Van Ness, who wasn’t even a full-time starter at Iowa.
(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)
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