After months of speculating and predicting and arguing and rebuttal-ing, the first round of the NFL Draft unfolded pretty much how we thought it would Thursday night – at least for the first couple of picks.
Jameis Winston, the lightning rod of all lightning rods, went first overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Marcus Mariota went second to the Tennessee Titans, who reportedly turned down at least one trade offer to claim the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
After that? Mostly chalk.
Jacksonville showed that its love-fest for Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. wasn’t all show and tell or fun and games (or whatever the kids are calling it these days). Oakland, which had the worst offense in football last year, took the best wide receiver in America in Alabama’s Amari Cooper. And Washington took offensive tackle Brandon Scherff to round out the top five.
What does this mean? It means that arguably the best and safest prospect in this year’s draft – USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams – fell all the way to the New York Jets at No. 6.
Among other intriguing first-round notes:
The Bears, hoping to make up for the loss of Brandon Marshall, took Kevin White seventh overall.
Two running backs – Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon – were taken in the first half of the first round, going 10th to St. Louis and 15th to San Diego, respectively.
Oregon defensive end Arik Armstrong, who went 17th to San Francisco, will remain on the West Coast.
And Shane Ray, even with a recent marijuana citation, was too good to pass up at No. 23 for Denver.
With that, we’re on to the second round Friday, and there are still plenty of great – not to mention valuable – players available.
“I love it,” NFL Network analyst Andrew Siciliano said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I love the second and third rounds. Here’s why – and especially this year as well. Go back to what I said about the first-round grades. Second-round picks are – by the fans – the most under-appreciated commodity in the NFL because you get, in many ways, players with first-round grades and you get them at a far, far better price.”
“The best teams in the NFL – look at the Seahawks,” Siciliano continued. “Year in and year out, look at what (general manager) John Schneider and Pete Carroll have done: build your team with second-, third- and fourth-round picks.”
Among such picks: Russell Wilson (third round, 2012), Richard Sherman (fifth round, 2011), Kam Chancellor (fifth round, 2010) and Bobby Wagner (second round, 2012).
“The Seahawks, generally speaking, have not missed on those picks,” Siciliano said, “and that’s why they’re a consistent winner.”
The NFL Draft continues from Chicago with Rounds 2-3 on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday at noon.