Last night was exciting and intriguing day to say the least. It’s an indication that at the end of the day, the draft is truly unpredictable. No matter how much analysis and information is put into it, once it begins all that goes out the window. The quarterback frenzy shook up the first round creating an aura of intrigue throughout the night. The first surprise of the night came in the form of trade between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers.
The Bears traded up one spot and many assumed they were on the cusp of drafting a defensive player. Going against conventional wisdom, the Bears drafted Mitchel Trubisky out of North Carolina. Mitch is a boom or bust candidate. The Bears gave up significant draft capitol to move up and draft a quarterback with only 13 starts under his belt. To further the notion of confusion, the Bears recently signed Mike Glennon to a $45 million dollar contract with $18.8 million guaranteed. Three to five years from now, this trade will either be applauded or loathed by Bears fans.
The second surprise game in the form of a trade between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills traded out of the 10th overall pick which enabled the Chiefs to move up 17 spots and draft Patrick Mahomes II from Texas Tech. While it appears that Alex Smith’s job is secure for this season, Mahomes is now the heir apparent and will have the opportunity to be groomed by QB guru Andy Reid. In a draft where the quarterback class had been labeled as weak, there were two already taken in the top 10.
With the 12th overall pick, the Cleveland Browns surprised us yet again, rather than taking a signal caller they traded out of that spot with the Houston Texans. As a result, the Texans drafted Deshaun Watson from Clemson University. If your keeping count, that’s tree QB’s in the first 12 picks. Again this is why everyone loves the draft, its completely unpredictable. Another important aspect to note is that all of these QB’s were acquired via trade. The Browns would use this trade to draft Jabrill Peppers (safety), out of Michigan. One of the most versatile players in this year’s draft, the Browns had now added Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers at this point.
One of the surprising and riskiest moves of the night came from the Oakland Raiders. They decided to use their first-round pick on Gareon Conley from Ohio State. Conley has been the subject of extreme controversy the last couple of days. It was reported last week that he was being investigated for allegedly raping a woman. He has not been officially charged or arrested, he also took a polygraph test for a different NFL team during the interview process and passed. His agents sent out statements to several media outlets stating Conley’s innocence and that he had information and eye witnesses proving so. Regardless of how that situation plays out, him being selected certainly raised eyebrows across the league. If his off the field issues are cleared, the Raiders got the lengthy, agile, ballhawk they needed. From a strictly football standpoint, Oakland got great value with this pick as Gareon was regarded as a top 15 talent and one of the best cover guys in the draft. Reggie McKenzie expressed his confidence in the Raiders doing their homework on both the situation and they feel confident in their decision.
The draft was capped off with two significant trades to close out the first round. The first trade involved the Browns trading back into the first round. Many assumed they were finally going to get the QB they are in dire need of. Yet, they choose David Njoku (tight end) out of Miami, he is an absolute specimen. Boasting a combination of size, speed and athleticism that you covet in a tight end. The scariest part is the young man is only 20 years old. He has yet to scratch the surface of his full potential. In two to three years, he will be lighting up the league.
The second trade also involved a team trading back in the first round. The 49ers traded up to get Rueben Foster who had fallen dramatically. He was the nation’s top linebacker in 2016, but medical concerns and a failed drug test hurt his draft stock. Arguably one of the five best players in the entire draft, the 49ers possibly landed the biggest steal of the draft by picking him at 31. If he stays healthy, the 49ers have will be well rewarded.