Our team at The Sports Wave spent months upon months scouting players, writing reports, mocking drafts, and more. Although the draft season is busy, it is one of the more entertaining parts of the offseason and the first round did not disappoint. Today, I will be reviewing some winners and losers from the first round.
New York Jets
Shoutout to Chris Mullen and Stephen Heimers. The Jets perfected the first round of their draft. Although I had Fields as my QB2, the Jets have been fully committed to Wilson since early April and got their guy. Wilson is agile in the pocket and takes care of the football. He has the rare arm talent and with his unorthodox throwing style, he can sling the ball down the field without being set. He’s a tough quarterback who fits exactly what Saleh wants. They then traded up with The Vikings in which they gave up pick 23, pick 66 and pick 86 to earn the rights to pick 14 and pick 143. They then selected Alijah vera Tucker, who is arguably a top 3 offensive lineman in this draft class and the best guard by far. The Jets offensive line ranked 29th in the league last year as they allowed pressure in 2,5 seconds or less 28% of plays and the Jets averaged just 1.1 yards before contact in the run game. AVT shores up their left side of the offensive line and is versatile as he can play both the guard and tackle position.
New York Giants
After Philadelphia jumped the Giants for Devonta Smith, the Giants got a great haul for their 11th overall pick. They traded their pick 11 for the Bears pick 20, pick 164, 2022 first round, and 2022 fourth-rounder. With the 20th pick, the Giants selected Kadarius Toney. Love the pick but it was a bit of reach as I did have Elijah Moore and Rashod Bateman higher on my list. Toney adds yet another dynamic to this much-improved offense and will take on the slot receiver role. He has 3 career drops on 123 catchable balls and is unstoppable in the open field. He is an elite burst of speed and lulls defenders to sleep by varying his speed during the route. Still raw as a route runner, but this can be improved.
Although the Bears had to give up two firsts, a fourth, and a fifth, they found their franchise quarterback. The Bears have had bad luck with quarterbacks but they made it clear they were going to upgrade, whether through the draft or free agency. After missing out on Russell Wilson, the Bears drafted Justin Fields. Fields went from the consensus number two quarterback in this class to dropping all the way to pick 11. Fields are raw as a prospect, but have an incredible deep ball, are athletic, and excel in RPO options. However, he is a one-read quarterback and has below-average pocket awareness. I believe he will start this season but will sit behind Dalton for the first few weeks. I say this with confidence when I say the Bears have found their franchise guy.
Las Vegas Raiders
Every year, the Raiders are a lock to make a terrible pick. Last year it was Damon Arnette, in 2019 it was Clelin Ferrell and in 2017 it was Gareon Conley. This year the trend continued as the Raiders selected Alex Leatherwood. Although Leatherwood has great upside as a tackle, with tackles like Christian Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins available, and linebackers Jamin Davis and JOK available as well, why reach for Leatherwood. Leatherwood has big question marks about consistency at the NFL level and there is a concern to whether he is a tackle or guard at the NFL level.
New Orleans Saints
Saints passed on many great edge rushers in Jaysen Oweh, Azzez Ojulari, Carlos Basham, and Gregory Rousseau to select Payton Turner. They are on this list because this pick was a HUGE reach, sorry Andrew. Although he does fit with Allen’s 4-3 defense and provides great size and length for the position, there are still huge questions surrounding his pass rushing and speed of the edge. Im interested to see how the Saints develop him.