20. San Francisco 49ers
There’s no beef with taking the best OT on the board in Notre Dame’s Mike McGlichey, but at the nine ahead of a whole slew of fantastic talents was a bit of a reach. Washington’s Dante Pettis in the early second? That’s paying a lot for a kick returner and solid receiver – he’d better be stronger than Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, who went three picks later to Arizona. Kansas State CB D.J. Reed in the fifth was a steal.
19. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle always drafts to the beat of its own drummer, and it usually works out just fine. So give it the benefit of the doubt for taking San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny WAY too early with the 27th pick overall. The Seahawks made amends for the value with USC DE Rasheem Green in the third. As always, they succeed on bulk picks – take a ton of players, hope a few stick. Texas P Michael Dickson in the fifth round will be one of them.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs needed defensive help, and that’s what they got. Their first pick wasn’t until the second round, and Ole Miss DE Breeland Speaks is okay. However, USC’s Uchenna Nwosu went two picks later – KC needs to be right.
And then it all got interesting, with excellent college players in Clemson LB Dorian O’Daniel late in the third and Texas A&M S Armani Watts in the fourth – they might just stick. Former top national recruit Kahlil McKenzie out of Tennessee has all the defensive tackle tools, but it never worked. He’s an interesting sixth round flier.
17. Green Bay Packers
Really, Green Bay? You’re so worried about dealing with Matt Stafford, Mitchell Trubisky and Kirk Cousins that you had to draft two corners in the top 45 picks? Okay – no complaints about getting Louisville’s Jaire Alexander in the first and Iowa’s Josh Jackson in the second.
If one of the three receivers – Missouri’s J’Mon Moore, USF’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown – does anything, consider that a success. Alabama’s JK Scott in the fifth will be worth it – there’s the Packer punter for the next decade.
16. Baltimore Ravens
South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst ahead of Alabama WR Calvin Ridley in the first round? Picking up Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews in the third would’ve been good enough. OU OT Orlando Brown in the third was a value steal, but the draft will all come down Lamar Jackson being the difference-making quarterback of the near future as soon as possible.
15. Los Angeles Rams
It’s hard to do much of anything when your first pick isn’t until late in the third. However, Michigan State C Brian Allen in the fourth was a good get, Virginia tackling-machine LB Micah Kiser in the fifth was smart, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo late in the fifth is ridiculously good. Throw in sixth round RB John Kelly out of Tennessee, and TCU LB Travin Howard in the seventh, and the Rams came up with a whole lot of nice ideas.
14. Tennessee Titans
Going against absolutely everything we believe in when it comes to the NFL Draft – bulk picks, bulk picks, BULK PICKS – this might work. The Titans only had four selections, but they might have nailed almost all of them. They needed a linebacker, and grabbing Alabama’s Rashaan Evans with the 22nd overall pick was terrific.
Getting Boston College pass rusher Harold Landry with the ninth pick in the second round was even better. The most interesting pick? Washington State QB Luke Falk in the Tom Brady spot, 199th overall in the sixth round. There’s your backup for the next few years.
13. Oakland Raiders
Offensive tackle was a need, but taking UCLA’s Kolton Miller at the 15 ahead of Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edwards and FSU S Derwin James wasn’t very Raider. They made up for it, finishing with the ultimate boom-or-bust draft.
After going with a few good small school prospects for the lines, they swung for the fences with each of their last six picks. LSU LB Arden Key in the third and Michigan DT Maurice Hurst in the fifth? On talent, they might just be the two best players at their respective positions in the draft. Washington LB Azeem Victor in the sixth and Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman in the seventh were fabulous chances on greatness.
12. Chicago Bears
It’s a three pick draft – and they had all better be great. At the very least, the Bears just got three starters. Georgia LB Roquan Smith is a special talent at the eight, and Iowa’s James Daniels in the second round was a fantastic puzzle piece pick for a line that needed a true center. The big selection, though, was Memphis WR Anthony Miller midway through the second round – the Bears will love him.
11. Houston Texans
Considering there wasn’t a pick until the third, this was a remarkable draft. The Texans gave away the world to get Deshaun Watson last season, but this works. Stanford S Justin Reid is an instant starter, and landing Mississippi State versatile offensive lineman Martinas Rankin 13 picks later in the third was a steal.
Throw in UCF TE Jordan Akins late in the third, and Texas Tech slot guy Keke Coutee – thanks for playing, Braxton Miller – in the fourth was great. Getting Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor in the sixth as a flier was outstanding.