First Round Draft Thoughts

I figured I would add a few thoughts during the course of the night on the draft on some of the more notable news items. I wont be doing every pick, just the ones that seemed a bit more newsworthy.

Myles Garrett was the expected top pick for some time and despite some last minute rumors that is exactly what Cleveland did. His contract will immediately rank 22nd among all edge defenders so the Browns will hope for a pretty good run out of the gate and hope that he ends a seemingly endless streak of busts in the draft for the Browns.

The big shock of the draft comes from the Bears trading a large number of mid round picks to move up one spot and take QB Mitch Trubisky. I don’t know enough about the QB to say if this is a good or bad decision, but as a concept I love this. The Bears signed Mike Glennon to a contract that guarantees him $18.5 million and this contract now brings their guaranteed money on the position up to a whopping $47.5 million on those two players (they also guaranteed Mark Sanchez another $1 million).

Teams get too caught up in QB contracts rather than stockpiling, IMO, and this at the worst allows the Bears to stockpile. If Glennon works out they will get everything they gave up plus more back in draft picks when they trade Trubisky away in the future. If Glennon bombs they have a chance. There will also be no situation like in LA where they are likely in a situation where they have to bring him in allowing him to sit on the bench and acclimate himself to the game. There is never too big a price for a QB, though it is fair to question if the 49ers were really picking a QB here. The Bears general manager, who spent a lot this season probably just made sure his job is secure another year or two even if they flop again.

I think the story with the 49ers is not so much their draft pick, but the fact that they were able to convince the Bears that they were going to pick Trubisky or had someone else lined up to trade into the spot. I think that was genius on their end because I cant see either scenario. Like the Titans and Browns last year they need a lot of depth and to add a bunch of picks is beneficial.

The Jaguars add yet another running back to their mix. Maybe Fournette is going to have the same impact as Ezekiel Elliot but in general running backs don’t have that impact and the position is a flop at the top of the draft. Fournette will immediately have the 4th highest contract among running backs and will now give the Jaguars the number 4 and number 6 highest paid backs (Chris Ivory) in the NFL, neither of whom are expected to catch the ball. I have no idea what they are building in Jacksonville but Id hope they are willing to eat whatever guarantee is left on Ivory’s deal and cut him.

The Jets never-ending streak of defensive draft picks continues with Jamal Adams. If Adams is a dynamic playmaker he will give the Jets something that they have been missing for years. If he isn’t well they just spend their second pick on a safety in the last 4 years and the coach and GM will probably be out. Id imagine Calvin Pryor is on notice at this point and its hard to see the Jets picking up his option now. If Gilchrist is healthy he should certainly be out as soon as he can pass a physical.

The Panthers went with versatile running back Christian McCaffrey which is probably more of a fit in todays NFL than Fournette. Still its hard to imagine two running backs being selected in the top 10. The valuation here makes more sense as he will rank 13th among runners. He should fit in fine with the team and make an immediate impact if he becomes a NFL talent.

It’s rare that I praise the Bills front office but trading out from number 10 and getting a first round pick next year I think was a great move. The Bills have a ton of holes on their team, wont be in a position to go into free agency (and quite frankly shouldnt be going there), and this gives them a far better chance to improve in the future.

I said going into this draft that when you look at the Chiefs roster and their future cap situation they are one of the “good” teams that needed to hit in the draft and going Pat Mahomes gives them the financial flexibility to do just that. For the Chiefs this impacts Alex Smith the most who would seem to now be a lame duck for the year. Like with the Bears I like the concept of going a year early for the QB but I hate dumping a first rounder to do it. KC has to be hoping that Smith has a good season to keep Mahomes on the bench and potentially increase his own trade value. Smith is under contract for one more season and they can recover some of the draft capital they lost if a team is willing to trade a 2 or 3 for him next season.

Speaking of desperation the Texans make the move up to grab Deshaun Watson of Clemson and give up a 1 next year. Thats great for the Browns who can use the picks and if the Titans improve Id say there is a good chance that it will be a top 20 or higher selection. Im not sure anyone had Watson going this high, but the draft turned into an offensive one so he wasnt going to last. His story is great so hopefully he can survive a head coach that has been nothing but a quarterback killer since he took over the Texans job. Its a good fit for Watson with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, but the Texans need to pony up with Hopkins ASAP because they cant risk having him hold out or not give it his all when they have a young QB who is likely going to need to start.

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @jason_otc