Just like every draft, there were some trades (yikes Chicago), reaches (Watson and Mahomes?!?), and steals (looking at you Colts). We won’t know the true value of the draft for another 3-4 years, but judging is part of human nature, and I just can’t resist grading out the picks from the first round tonight.
Grading the First Round
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Good, the Browns didn’t outthink themselves and grab Trubisky. It may have left them in a tougher spot in terms of quarterbacks by not getting Trubisky, but there’s no way Garrett should have been passed up. Garrett will be an impact player for the Browns newly upgraded defense for years to come.
2. Chicago Bears – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
Grade: C (B+ for player value, D+ for trade value)
I don’t mind drafting Mitchell Trubisky (after all, he is #7 on my board). But trading #3, a third and fourth from this year, and a third next year in order to move up one spot and do it? Bad. The Bears got nothing short of hustled by GM John Lynch and the San Francisco 49ers in order to take a QB after paying Mike Glennon $14 million to be the quarterback for this year alone (and $18.5 million in guaranteed money throughout the contract).
3. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Grade: A (B+ for player value, A+ for trade value)
Thomas was a top ten player for me and the second best edge rusher in this draft. While it was a good value pick for the player, the grade comes out of the trade value they got from the Bears all while grabbing the player they would have taken at #2 anyway. Brilliant start to the draft by new GM John Lynch.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette finally gives Blake Bortles and the Jags a running back to play with and that can create fear and change gameplans of defenses. We’ll see down the road how the fit is and whether or not Fournette can catch passes in what looks to be a pass-heavy offense.
5. Tennessee Titans – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
This one was completely unexpected, but I loved the pick. Davis sat at #8 on my board and was the top WR. He gives Mariota the weapon he’s been lacking and he will fit very well with the offense in Tennessee. Great pick.
6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Once again, another team nails their pick. Adams fills one of the Jets biggest needs in the draft, while also being a great fit for the team and presented excellent value. He was my #3 player overall (and #2 safety behind Hooker).
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Not as sure about this one. Williams was my #19 overall player and #3 WR in this draft. He adds a weapon to the Chargers’ offense that has been lacking weapons lately with Keenan Allen getting hurt every year. But I just didn’t see the value that I would hope to get here at #7.
8. Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
My #2 RB and #21 player overall, I gave this pick a higher grade because I really like the fit here. He gives Cam Newton a dynamic double-threat playmaker.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – John Ross, WR, Washington
This pick is a tenative B-. He provides the speed that I’m sure Cincinnati wants to add, but his knees and injury history worry me. He was my #2 WR and #14 overall, so it’s not terrible value, I just am concerned as to how frequently he could keep getting injured.
10. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Grade: D+ (D for player value, C- for trade value)
Yikes. Not only was it a bad trade in sacrificing so much future draft capital, but Mahomes received a second-round grade from me and sits at #38 for me. I don’t see the value in the trade or the player.
11. New Orleans Saints – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
A top five player on my board, New Orleans starts adding to their defensive backs, like Vonn Bell who they drafted last year.
12. Houston Texans – Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Grade: D+ (D- for player value, C for trade value)
Again, another bad quarterback reach. It wasn’t a terrible trade considering where they traded from, but Watson is my #5 QB and #57 overall. Definitely not worth the move for me.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Reddick was not my highest ranked LB left, but he’s clean, hard-working, and effective.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
They picked exactly who I mocked to them this morning. Barnett is a sack-heavy pass rusher who makes impacts on the passing game. He should be a stellar starter for them for years to come.
15. Indianapolis Colts – Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
Beautiful steal. #2 overall player for me and he fits right in with the secondary to help boost this defense and help them stop the some pass-heavy QBs in their division like Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, and Deshaun Watson.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
My #26 player, but he is a good football player that provides needed corner help in Baltimore.
17. Washington Redskins – Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Another steal as Allen was a top four talent that fell all the way down to Washington here.
18. Tennessee Titans – Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Again, I’m not so sure about the reach here. He was my #34 player with an early second round grade on him. He also adds to the special teams, which is an added benefit, but it seemed unlikely they draft a smaller corner like him this early.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
A talented and multi-faceted tight end will only help boost Tampa’s offense after also adding speedy receiver Desean Jackson in free agency.
20. Denver Broncos – Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
The top tackle in this draft, Bolles will be able to fill in for where Okung should have been, but never panned out.
21. Detroit Lions – Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis was my #2 ILB in this draft behind Reuben Foster and fits well in one of Detroit’s greatest needs as a good coverage linebacker.
22. Miami Dolphins – Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
This pick surprised me as I thought it might be Forrest Lamp. But alas, it was not (which is good news for the Vikings) and Harris came off the board instead. He was my highest rated edge rusher left.
23. New York Giants – Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi
Based on value and where I had Engram on my board, this pick should have been graded so much worse. However, Engram is a perfect fit (and I mean perfect) for this offense and what they’ve been looking for from a tight end. Because of that, I had to give the pick a B.
24. Oakland Raiders – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
This pick will depend on what we find out in the next week. If he’s innocent, this is an A pick. I had him projected to New Orleans at #11 prior to the rape allegations, so #24 was a real steal if he truly is innocent. He had absolutely no character concerns prior to the allegations.
25. Cleveland Browns – Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan
I have Peppers as a second round player, but this is the point where second rounders are coming off the board. He’s a versatile safety as the Browns continue to build up the defense with athletic playmakers.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Takk McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
Grade: B (B+ for player value, B- for trade value)
I like Takk and he was my highest graded edge rusher left at this point at #22. When Atlanta traded up, I thought for sure it was Lamp as OG is a big need for them, but sure enough, it was the edge rusher from UCLA.
27. Buffalo Bills – Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White is my #48 overall player and I had a few corners still above him when he went off the board here. The redeeming quality of this pick is the picks the Bills got in return to drop all the way down here.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
Once again, a team grabs the guy I like in the round I like them in. Dallas grabs pass rusher Taco Charlton who finally gives the Cowboys that edge presence they’ve been looking for.
29. Cleveland Browns – David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
A player that does well with value but not with need, Njoku will provide a Greg Olsen-like presence for whoever the Browns QB is for the future.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
Watt was a second rounder in my opinon, but the Steelers took the guy they felt was most prepared to be successful in the NFL.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
A top fifteen player that likely dropped due to character concerns (stemming from the combine and diluted sample). Lynch proved he was ready for the big time with the quantity of the picks he’s already gotten from Chicago plus drafting two elite impact players in Foster and Thomas.
32. New Orleans Saints – Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I don’t know how to grade this. This pick came out of left field for me. I didn’t have OT as a need by NO and so I never considered a tackle ever going here. That said, he was my best available tackle remaining (by a long shot).
So Where Do the Vikings Go Now?
A lot of Vikings fans might not have watched the draft since we didn’t have a pick, but I’ve got good news: the first round went really well for us. It couldn’t have gone better in fact. The offensive linemen dropped and a lot of defensive talent still remains on the board which could lead those offensive linemen to keep dropping down to us at #48. What do we do as Vikings fans now that round one is done? Personally, I think there are a couple of moves we could make during round 2:
Option #1 [Best Case Scenario]: Trade up and grab OG Forrest Lamp.
Rumors came out following the end of day one that Minnesota was trying to work out a deal to move up to pick #31 and grab Lamp to play guard for the Vikings, but they were outbid by SF trying to get LB Reuben Foster. I think it’s still a very real possibility that they move up and grab him if he gets past Green Bay and Seattle at #33 and #34. We could trade with the either Seattle at #34 or the Chicago Bears at #36 and trade our second rounder (#48), our later third rounder (#86), and our fifth rounder (#160) for their second rounder. We could maybe even get away with just a second and a third rounder (based on the NFL Draft pick value chart). This would likely be enticing to the Bears who traded away a third and a fourth for Trubisky and would allow them to get back and grab some more players. Meanwhile, the Vikings would be able to get the best guard in the draft (who I have ranked at #6) who seemingly has a Pro Bowl career ahead of him at guard. We could then grab a center/guard like Pat Elflein with #80 and a running back, defensive tackle, safety, or linebacker with picks #120 and #128.
Option #2: Stay put and hope a player continues to fall.
Who knows, maybe Lamp could fall to us at #48 (very unlikely) or a player like Dan Feeney or Cam Robinson falls to us (more likely). The problem is that because many linemen didn’t go in round one, once they start to go in round two, we could see a run on linemen and they could go fast. This would be a riskier strategy and we would likely have some backup picks ready (Joe Mixon, Budda Baker, etc.) in the case that the guy we want doesn’t fall here.
Option #3 [Worst Case Scenario]: Trade back into the late second and accumulate picks.
All of a sudden, all of the linemen go off the board one after another as offensive line-needy teams in the top of the second take all of the respectable talent as well as Mixon/Baker/etc. Then what? We trade back down into the bottom of the second and grab a player like OT Antonio Garcia while also adding a third or fourth rounder and another later round pick (maybe we get a 2/3/6 for our second rounder). The problem is, the farther back you keep going, the less top-tier talent still exists in the draft.
Micah’s Best Players Remaining
1. Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky (#6 Ovr, #1 OG) – First Round Grade
2. Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma (#15 Ovr, #2 RB) – First Round Grade
3. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State (#25 Ovr, #1 3TDT) – Late First/Early Second Round Grade
4. Desmond King, FS, Iowa (#28 Ovr, #2 FS) – Late First/Early Second Round Grade
5. Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State (#29 Ovr, #4 WR) – Late First/Early Second Round Grade
6. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida (#30 Ovr, #4 CB) – Late First/Early Second Round Grade
7. Pat Elflein, OG/OC, Ohio State (#35 Ovr, #2 OG/#1 OC) – Second Round Grade
8. Budda Baker, FS, Washington (#36 Ovr, #3 FS) – Second Round Grade
9. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (#37 Ovr, #4 RB) – Second Round Grade
10. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana (#39 Ovr, #3 OG) – Second Round Grade
Day Two Mock
33. Green Bay Packers – Kevin King, CB, Washington
TRADE: Minnesota trades 48, 86, and 160 to Seattle for 34.
34. Minnesota Vikings – Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
35. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
36. Chicago Bears – Budda Baker, FS, Washington
37. Los Angeles Rams – Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
38. Los Angeles Chargers – Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
39. New York Jets – Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
40. Carolina Panthers – Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut
41. Cincinnati Bengals – Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
42. New Orleans Saints – Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
43. Philadelphia Eagles – Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
TRADE: Cleveland trades 52, 65 to Buffalo for 44.
44. Cleveland Browns – Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
45. Arizona Cardinals – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
46. Indianapolis Colts – Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
47. Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
48. Seattle Seahawks – Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
49. Washington Redskins – Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston
50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Marcus Williams, S, Utah
51. Denver Broncos – Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
52. Buffalo Bills – Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
53. Detroit Lions – Malik McDowell, 3TDT, Michigan State
54. Miami Dolphins – Josh Jones, S, NC State
55. New York Giants – Caleb Brantley, 3TDT, Florida
56. Oakland Raiders – Marcus Maye, S, Florida
57. Houston Texans – Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
58. Seattle Seahawks – Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
59. Kansas City Chiefs – Ryan Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
60. Dallas Cowboys – Fabien Moreau, CB, UCLA
61. Green Bay Packers – Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
62. Pittsburgh Steelers – Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
63. Atlanta Falcons – Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple
TRADE: Arizona trades 77, 119 to Carolina for 64.
64. Arizona Cardinals – Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan
65. Buffalo Bills – Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
66. San Francisco 49ers – Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
67. San Francisco 49ers – Desmond King, S, Iowa
68. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dorian Johnson, OG, Pitt
69. Los Angeles Rams – Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
70. New York Jets – Tarell Basham, EDGE, Ohio
71. Los Angeles Chargers – Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
72. New England Patriots – Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
73. Cincinnati Bengals – Duke Riley, LB, LSU
74. Baltimore Ravens – Ethan Pocic, C, LSU
75. Buffalo Bills – Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
76. New Orleans Saints – Demarcus Walker, EDGE, Florida State
77. Carolina Panthers – Ardarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
78. Baltimore Ravens – Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
TRADE: Denver trades 82, 101 to Minnesota for 79, 128.
79. Denver Broncos – Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
80. Indianapolis Colts – Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
81. Washington Redskins – Dalvin Tomlinson, 1TDT, Alabama
82. Minnesota Vikings – Jaleel Johnson, 3TDT, Iowa
83. Tennessee Titans – Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
84. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
85. Detroit Lions – Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
86. Seattle Seahawks – Larry Ogunjobi, 3TDT, Charlotte
87. New York Giants – Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida
88. Oakland Raiders – Montravius Adams, 3TDT, Auburn
89. Houston Texans – Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
90. Seattle Seahawks – Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
91. Buffalo Bills – Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
92. Dallas Cowboys – Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
93. Green Bay Packers – Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah
94. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
95. Seattle Seahawks – Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego State
96. New England Patriots – D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
97. Miami Dolphins – Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU
98. Carolina Panthers – Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
99. Philadelphia Eagles – Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
100. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
101. Minnesota Vikings – Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
102. Seattle Seahawks – Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
103. New Orleans Saints – Davis Webb, QB, Cal
104. Kansas City Chiefs – Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
105. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
106. Seattle Seahawks – Daeshon Hall, EDGE, Texas A&M
107. New York Jets – Nathan Peterman, QB, Pitt