Thursday night, the first 31 picks of the 2016 NFL draft were selected.
Amid growing storylines – both positive and negative – 31 players’ lives were changed forever.
Were there surprising picks? Yes.
Were there dumb picks? Yes.
Were there really good picks? Also yes.
Needless to say, if the first round was any indication, we’re all in store for an entertaining draft over the next two days.
But before we get to the second round, here are my reactions to some of the picks from Thursday night in Chicago.
The Raiders are a great fit for Karl Joseph
Karl Joseph has early-first round talent.
The former West Virginia safety is easily one of the best all around players in this year’s draft, and had it not been for a knee injury he suffered early in the regular season, we possibly could’ve been talking about the potential of Joseph being one of the first five names off the board.
But due to the injury, Joseph was slated as a late-first round selection in many mock drafts.
But instead of falling into the 20’s, and maybe even out of the first round, Joseph’s name was called with the 14th pick, making him the fourth WVU player to be selected in the first round over the past five seasons.
Oakland was the team that took him.
Joseph is headed to the Bay Area, and not only will start his NFL career on a team that is certainly trending up and in the right direction, but he’s also re-united with another former Mountaineer, Bruce Irvin, who was signed by the Raiders earlier this offseason.
Former great safety Charles Woodson ended his historic career this past year on the Raiders, and Oakland may have just drafted the next great safety to replace him.
There wasn’t much more that could’ve gone wrong for Laremy Tunsil yesterday.
On a day with so much promise for the offensive tackle out of Ole Miss, once looked at as a Top 5 pick, Tunsil certainly went through a whirlwind of emotions.
Just minutes before the draft started, a video surfaced of Tunsil smoking through a gas mask, effectively ruining any chances of him being taken early on.
Tunsil, who said that the video was leaked via a hack on his Twitter account, was selected with the 13th overall pick, but the damage had been done.
On top of that, shortly after he was selected by the Miami Dolphins, Tunsil’s Instagram was reportedly hacked, showing text messages between Tunsil and Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freese, in which the O-Lineman asked for money from the head coach.
Tunsil did admit after the draft to accepting money from Rebels coaches.
No matter if Tunsil was hacked or not, whether or not the video was old or recent, there couldn’t have been a worse day for this information to come out on.
The good news for him is that he’s not in a premium spotlight position, he wears a facemask, and he plays in the NFL, where one day’s front page news is another day’s back page bullet point. In other words, he should be able to recover from this, but he’s going to have to wait out the storm.
Chip Kelly’s predictability knows no bounds
Chip Kelly sure does like his Oregon players.
So, when DeForest Buckner was still on the board when Kelly’s San Francisco 49ers were on the clock with the seventh pick in the draft, should anyone have been surprised that the former Duck’s name was written on the card that was handed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?
The answer is no.
To be fair, Buckner was arguably worthy of Top 10 status, depending to who you listen to.
It was later in the first round where Kelly’s pure genius showed itself.
Kansas City was on the clock with the 28th overall selection. It then went up on the ticker that the Chiefs had traded the pick to San Fran in order for the 49ers to select once again.
And who did they pick? Joshua Garnett, the guard from Stanford.
My question is why?
San Francisco traded three picks to jump back up into Thursday night’s showdown, and only to get a guard? With a slew of prime defensive players still on the board?
I simply don’t get it. That’s a lot to give up.
The Redskins botched their pick
The Washington Redskins literally had one job heading into Thursday night: draft a player who lines up on the defensive side of the football.
Healthy, top-rated players like Reggie Ragland, A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Von Bell and Mackensie Alexander remained on the board, even highly-touted players with injuries like Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith were prime for the taking.
And, low and behold, they messed it up.
Washington – a team with receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Jameison Crowder, and tight end Jordan Reed – took a wide receiver.
As a Redskins fan I had zero reaction when the pick came through.
And this isn’t to take anything away from Josh Doctson. He’s a good wide receiver, and will certainly help Washington become a better offensive team.
But I don’t understand the team using it’s first-round pick on Doctson, who wasn’t even the best wide out left available at the time. Laquon Treadwell would’ve been the better choice.
Maybe Doctson will be a difference maker, but in a draft with a lot of good defensive talent, and there being a lot of time between the Redskins first and second round picks, I don’t agree with it.
New York Giants and New Orleans both reached
In any draft there are players taken too early or too late.
Last night there were two in particular that stood out to me in the too early department.
Apple is a good player, one of the five Ohio State players taken in the opening round, but 10 is too high. He wasn’t seriously projected to go outside the Top 20, with the most-projected landing spot for him being the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two picks later, though, was possibly an even bigger reach.
The New Orleans Saints had one of the worst defenses in the National Football League in 2015. That can’t be denied.
In attempt of improving their poor defense, the Saints selected Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins who, although Todd McShay had going to the Saints in more than one of his mock drafts, I don’t believe will be as good as any of the top defensive players available out of Alabama.
Both Apple and Rankins look like they will be good players, but both were drafted too early.