In case you missed it, Round 1 of the NFL Draft happened last night and in between Adam Schefter hyping up the fans in attendance as the best ever and Commissioner Roger Goodell being booed at every pick (except for Philadelphia’s), 32 players have found a new home. Here’s a look at who last night’s biggest winners and losers were.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
John Lynch made an incredible first impression, swiping two third round picks and a fourth from the Bears to move from second overall to third overall. San Francisco still got their man in Solomon Thomas and then, for the second straight year, traded back into the first round to take Reuben Foster. To move back into the first, all it cost the 49ers was their second round pick and the fourth rounder they acquired from Chicago. The 49ers desperately needed to upgrade their run defense and these two picks did just that, plus they acquire two third rounders.
Loser: Mike Glennon
Why did the Bears pay Glennon so much money just to turn around and trade up for a quarterback on draft night? He’ll begin the season as the starter, but if he struggles, Bears fans will be calling for his head. A terrible situation to walk into. Glennon will need to take advantage of his time on the field because he is officially auditioning for a new gig.
Winner: Deshaun Watson
As is the nature of the NFL, a high-profile quarterback is usually drafted by a struggling team simply due to the fact that good teams generally don’t have bad quarterbacks. That wasn’t the case in Houston, where they won the AFC South in spite of Brock Osweiler’s poor performance last season. Watson established himself as a winner in college and has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
Loser: Gary Barnidge
Barnidge was an afterthought in his NFL career until a breakout season in 2015, when he was 30. After failing to replicate his 2015 numbers, Cleveland traded back into the first round and selected Miami tight end David Njoku. Barnidge was excited at first:
Welcome to the TE room @David_Njoku80 looking forward to getting started.
— Gary Barnidge (@garybarnidge) April 28, 2017
But then things got awkward with his next tweet:
I want to thank the Cleveland Browns for giving me my opportunity and looking forward to seeing the change. Time for the next step.
— Gary Barnidge (@garybarnidge) April 28, 2017
Winner: New York Jets
In 2015, I was very high on Leonard Williams. I saw him as the top non-quarterback in the class, but he surprisingly fell to No. 6 where the Jets scooped him right up. A similar situation happened again this season with Jamal Adams. I had Adams as the No. 2 overall player in this class and a legitimate threat to be the first defensive back selected in the top three since 1997. Instead, he fell to No. 6 and the Jets were again able to land one of the top available players without moving.
Loser: New York Giants
Jerry Reese again continues to make mind-boggling selections in the first round. In 2015, he used a top-10 pick on a raw Ereck Flowers, who has flopped in his NFL career and followed it up by drafting Eli Apple 10th overall last year, despite the fact that the secondary was one of the team’s stronger units. Last night, the wound up reaching again, this time on a glorified wide receiver in Evan Engram. Fans are ogling over his 40-yard dash time, which is 0.01 seconds faster than what Odell Beckham Jr., but what they fail to see is that Engram is a horrendous blocker. Adequate blocking at the tight end position is very important in the NFL and is the main reason why a lot of tight end prospects are slow to develop.
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts defense needs players just about everywhere so any defensive player probably improved them. That said, Malik Hooker falling to them was a bit of a surprise. Despite a pair of offseason surgeries, Hooker was regularly mocked inside the top 10, most often to the Chargers at No. 7. A true ballhawking free safety, Hooker will fit right into the Colts secondary needing playmakers. New Colts general Chris Ballard gets his own Eric Berry.
Loser: Tennessee Titans
This loss comes from a value standpoint. Both players filled needs for the Titans but they were both taken earlier than they should have. With two first rounders, one reach is OK since you have a bigger margin for error than most do. Reaching on both is a bit different.
Winner: Washington Redskins
At one point, Jonathan Allen was mocked as high as second overall. On draft night, however, teams showed just how concerned they were over his shoulders as he slid to 17th overall. Washington needed to upgrade their weak front seven and were able to do so by getting one of the best players in the draft in the middle of the first round.
Loser: Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks fans
It really sucks for casual fans of a team with a late draft pick when they spend all night watching the draft only for their team to trade out of the first round at the end. At least in Seattle is was only around 8 p.m. there.