Alas, we know who picked who after many months of speculation. Here is the full first round, with a breakdown of each pick made.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: This one is easy, the Colts released Peyton Manning and are headed in a new direction. They’ll start down the new road with a new Franchise QB in Luck, and they can only hope that they’ll see the same results they did when they took Peyton many years ago.
2. Washington Redskins (From Rams): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Another one we knew was coming. The Redskins gave up quite a bit to get here and they’re hoping it pays off for them. The Skins weren’t too far off a year ago, heck, they went 4-0 under Rex Grossman. The QB of the future has landed in the Nation’s Capital, and they should see great success with him.
3. Cleveland Browns (From Vikings) : Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: After the Browns jumped up a spot to get here, many questioned why they did it. There were rumors that the Bucs would jump two picks and take Richardson. Browns solidified their position and took the best RB in the draft. He’ll immediately give them an upgraded offense and take a bit of pressure off of Colt McCoy
4. Minnesota Vikings (From Browns): Matt Kalil, T, USC: After they repeatedly said they weren’t sold on Kalil, they selected him fourth overall. He’ll jump in to protect Christian Ponder right away, and it fills the biggest void the Vikings had going into the draft. A solid lineman that would have been hard for them to pass up, which is why they didn’t.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (From Bucs): Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: They took Blaine Gabbert tenth overall last year, and he didn’t impress. Many have him slated as a bust already, but he didn’t have anyone with a pair of hands like Blackmon. Blackmon will step in right away and be the true number one WR the Jags have needed, and he should be able to make Blaine Gabbert look like the tenth overall pick they paid for.
6. Dallas Cowboys (From Rams): Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: Jerry Jones moved up to upgrade his defense. They take Claiborne to play opposite Brandon Carr. He can line up and play anything, and he is a premier shutdown piece for the Cowboys to work with. Great pick here for the Cowboys, and they gave up their 2nd rounder to get here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (From Jaguars): Mark Barron, S, Alabama: A good pick for the Bucs secondary that will fit in and has the talent to be a Pro Bowler year after year. It’s a need for them as they had one of the worst pass defenses last year, but they moved down a bit too far and missed out on their top two targets in Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne. Still a very solid pick for the Bucs though. Definitely an upgrade on defense
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: The
Reach Pick we all expected. The owner of the Dolphins gets his way and the Dolphins get a new QB. I think it will work out for them, but there was way too much talent on the board for them to reach for a QB who may or may not beat out Matt Moore. A good pick for them depth wise, but I think they could have done better here.
9. Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College: A nice pick that I didn’t expect from the Panthers. Kuechly had over 300 legitimate tackles in his college career, and he’s a beast of a backer. An instant upgrade to a defense that was one of the weakest last year. He’ll step right in to produce in the Panthers scheme under Ron Rivera.
10. Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: A solid pickup for the 30th ranked defense in terms of points scored against them. Gilmore flew up my draft board day after day during the process, and they’ll be able to keep things moving on defense. It’s clear that the Bills wanted to focus on Defense in Free Agency, and now in the draft. Good pick here for them.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis: I thought the Chiefs would take DeCastro here to add the the run game scheme, but they must have thought that Poe would add to the defense that only produced one sack from the position. Some say that Poe is just a workout warrior judged by the combine where he turned heads left and right. I don’t think he’s worth the 11th overall pick, but they got the guy they targeted. We’ll see what they do to address the void at Guard later in the draft, but adding pass rush is never a bad thing.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (From Seahawks): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: Traded here to jump in front of the Rams who were rumored to have a target on Cox. They get the guy they need to add to the pass rush, and its a solid pick here for them. They don’t have many holes on defense other than LB, but no way they’d reach for a LB here.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Larry Fitzgerald said he wanted some help on the other side of the field. He got it with Floyd. Floyd will learn under Fitzgerald and the pair should be one of the best duo’s in the league. Now if only the QB will be able to get them the ball. I thought they’d go for an offensive lineman here, but Floyd is a great value for what the Cardinals want to do.
14. St Louis Rams (From Cowboys) Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: Taking the best player available here. They need some help on the offensive line and at wideout, but they are under a new regime. Not going to reach for a guy when there is higher value on the board. They added to the pass rush, and they’ll use him wisely. Need to attack the defender, and Brockers is a nice one to do it.
15. Seattle Seahawks (From Eagles) Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia: A bit of a surprise here, but Carroll and Schneider know what they’re doing. He’ll hop right into a young defense and get to the passer as needed.
16. New York Jets: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Jets fans booed at the pick after it was made, but the Jets have to focus on defense and the pass rush. They’ll have added competition to the division this year with the Bills picking up Mario Williams, so of the Jets plan on getting to the Super Bowl that Rex Ryan will eventually promise, pass rush is a good way to get there. That and you know, running the ball. He’s not elite, but he should workout for them.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Raiders): Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: Mike Zimmer gets a new toy to play with, and a good one at that. Love the pick here for the Bengals. They’ve shown they’re focusing on defense, and they can hope to improve the 15th overall defense of last year. The last true-first-round CB available here, and he fell right into Cincinnati’s lap. Great Selection.
18. San Diego Chargers: Melvin Ingram, LB, South Carolina: As a Raiders fan, I can’t help but be worried about this pick for my sake. It’s a good pick for the Chargers, although I think they needed to focus solely on offensive line for the first round. Ingram falling this low surprised me, but it’s great choice for a regime that needs to make noise this year or they’re most likely out of the building.
19. Chicago Bears: Shea McLellin, DE/LB, Boise State: An aging defense is getting younger, his versatility is amazing, and he’ll fit in nice. Thought they needed to focus on offensive line here, but not a bad pick for the Bears. Solidifying the position for years to come.
20. Tennessee Titans: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: The Titans saw a loss of production on offense last year when Kenny Britt went down for the season. Wright is a guy that will step in as the immediate no. 2, but he has the talent to be a no.1. Nice pick for the Titans here, solidifying the position.
21. New England Patriots (From Bengals): Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse: I don’t really need to go into detail on the Patriots defense, or lack thereof last year. They need to address the defense, and moving up the get Chandler Jones here is a big step in doing something about it.
22. Cleveland Browns (From Falcons): Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Not sure how I feel about this pick. I don’t see him having first-round talent, but I’m not a GM either. We’ll see how it turns out for the Browns, but I think it’d have been better giving McCoy the chance he deserves.
23. Detroit Lions: Reilly Reiff, OT, Iowa: He can line up and play either side of the line, and Matt Stafford needs protection. Surprised DeCastro wasn’t the guy, but I had Reiff before DeCastro in my mock. I like the pick here for the Lions.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: David DeCastro, G, Stanford: Good pickup for the Steelers, who have an obvious need on offensive line. Thought they’d go defense here, but I didn’t think he’d fall this low. Steal for the Steelers here at 24.
25. New England Patriots (From Broncos): Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama: Patriots jumped again to a higher pick to steal Hightower to add to the improving defense. This guy is a stud, and the Pats got lucky that the Steelers passed him for DeCastro. The Ravens were rumored to have targeted Hightower as well, but Pats jumped over them to take him. Excellent strategy from the Hooded one.
26. Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois: I thought they’d go offense here, but what a steal getting Mercilus to add to the already top-5 defense. Great pick for them after losing Mario Williams to free agency. They can add to the offense later in the draft, and sticking to their board has paid off for one of the smartest GM’s in the game in Rick Smith.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (From Patriots): Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin: Not a pick many expected, but the Bengals shoring up the position for the next decade or so helps them improve dramatically. Trading down lets them gather more picks, and they get the guy they targeted all along. A solid piece of the line that will help Andy Dalton and the young Bengals for years to come.
28. Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, DE/LB, USC: What a pickup for the Packers. The USC thing worked for them once before with Clay Matthews, and they go right back to it. The 31st ranked defense just got a lot better with Perry. He can play with his hand in the dirt, or on his feet as a backer. Filling a need while taking the best player on the board, that’s the Packers way.
29. Minnesota Vikings (From Ravens): Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: The Vikings trade back into the first to nab up the Safety they had their sights set on. A nice pick for a team that’s gonna see some stiff competition in the division, just as they did last year.
30. San Francisco 49ers: AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois: A pickup that surprises me, as I didn’t have Jenkins taken until the mid-2nd, but Harbaugh knows what he’s doing. I thought it would have been Stephen Hill here, not the name, but the position. Good enough for me.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (From Broncos): Doug Martin, RB, Boise State: I gave them a hard time in my write up of their Barron pick for passing on Richardson, but they got the second best RB in the draft. They finally get the explosion they need at the position, and the patience paid off. Nice pickup.
32. New York Giants: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: The Giants don’t have much of a need other than TE, but they picked up a guy they think can do the job in Martellis Bennett, they let go of Brandon Jacobs earlier in the off-season, and they needed a guy at RB. Didn’t think they’d take a RB in the first round, but they got him before somone else had a chance to jump on it. Great Pickup for the Giants, with a younger, faster RB than they had last season, when they claimed the Lombardi Trophy.
Overall a good draft, a few agreements and a few disagreements. A TON of trades in the top ten, and a record setting time in getting the first round taken care of. Goodnight from Radio City Music Hall!
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