Round 1 of the NFL Draft is officially in the books and while Thursday night might have been a little, say, anticlimactic, it still gave NFL fans what they ultimately wanted: new players for their beloved professional football teams. As you know, not all drafts are created equal, with some fans rejoicing, and some feeling dejected as they prepare for another year of misery and shame. Well, Gratzfeed and their team of super analysts (me, Gratz) are here to break it down for yall. Let’s begin, shall we?
New York Jets: Leonard Williams- DT- USC
There seemed to be a universal consensus that Williams was the overall best player in this years draft. However, due to the importance and need for elite quarterbacks, along with other teams drafting for need, Williams saw his draft stock take a small tumble. Now he ends up in New York with hot new Head Coach Todd Bowles, a defensive oriented mind who will know how to utilize this Jets d-line. They say that Williams is more prone to shine in a 3-4 compared to a 4-3, which Bowles prefers to run, but I’m confident Bowles will figure out a way to make it all work. Additionally, the Jets are rumored to be entertaining trade rumors for Mohammed Wilkerson. Now, if they trade him, they will compensate with Williams, but if they keep him, they will have a monstrous d-line that will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon- RB- Wisconsin
Interesting turn of events for the Chargers. Just a few days ago there were rumors that the team could deal their franchise QB Phillip Rivers (going into the last year of his contract), who appeared to be fed up with the teams lack of progress. Now, the team has apparently declared (you can never say never in this league though) that they will not trade the 30 year old and then traded up two spots and snagged Wisconsin stud Melvin Gordon. Running Back was an excruciating position for the Bolts last year as they finished 30th in rushing and lost their injury prone “starter” Ryan Matthews in free agency to the Eagles. Melvin Gordon is tall, shredded, and just a total bull and immediately fills a glaring need for the Chargers.
Denver Broncos- Shane Ray- DE- Missouri
Ray could have easily been a top ten pick this year. The problem was that just days before the draft he was caught with marijuana possession, which lets be honest is really fucking stupid if you’re about to get drafted and make millions of dollars. But, it happened and he was already being questioned because of a foot problem which still remains a little murky. Denver is the perfect landing spot for him though, not because pot’s legal, but because he’s going to a veteran team, with strong leadership that will take care of any off the field problems he has. Listen, if you have Peyton Manning on your team you’re not going to want to fuck up for some stupid shit. Also, he’ll have Demarcus Ware guiding him as well, who’s nearing the end of his career as well, showing him how the position is played and grooming him to eventually take the reigns. Ray could have been a riskier pick elsewhere, but with veteran leadership in Denver I think the Broncos took a high upside guy who has the opportunity to learn from some of the best.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi- OT- Texas A&M
The Bengals have been notorious for early playoff exits, despite having a quarterback (who’s paid) like a superstar, and an actual bonafide superstar in AJ Green. Of course, it’s important to have offensive lineman to protect your stars, but the issue here is that Ogbuehi tore his ACL in December and is seen as more of a project. Why would you take a project if you’re trying to win now? They got bounced in the wild card round by the Colts, making you think they would look to add a difference maker who can immediately come in to contribute. They were also lacking a pass rush last year and with a lot of talented prospects falling, it would have been a good opportunity to take a risk on one of them. Ogbuehi could someday end up to be a fixture on the Bengals line but, given their roster, for this draft they should have been more focused on the now instead of the future.
St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley- RB- Georgia
Listen, I don’t have anything against Todd Gurley, I think he’s an absolute stud and has the highest upside out of any running back in this years class. I don’t even mind that he’s another guy coming off an ACL injury either (I swear I don’t hate all injury picks). The problem with this one was how high the Rams took him and the multitude of other positions the Rams needed to fill. Who’s going to block for him? The Rams had one of the worst O-lines last year, throwing Gurley behind those dudes seems just cruel. The Rams might have even been able to trade down, stockpile some additional picks, and still grab Gurley. If they traded down and Gurley was scooped up by another team they could have still gotten a rusher, perhaps Melvin Gordon, or just draft one of the other positions they desperately need to improve on. I hope I’m wrong on this one, I hope he makes a full recovery and has an amazing career (he’s not going to be Adrian Peterson though) and bucks the trends of teams not drafting rushers high. But for now, I think the Rams could have filled more important needs.