The NFL Draft took place Thursday, April 28, and ended that Saturday, the 30th. The annual NFL Draft is a chance for teams to gain new members to their rosters, with a chance to improve their team. There are 262 draft selections with seven rounds to draft. This year’s draft was filled with questionable trades, head-turning selections, and numerous talents. With pick number one, the Jacksonville Jaguars started the draft. Ending the draft, with pick number 262, was the San Francisco 49ers. Both the Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs had the most picks this year, totaling 12, while the Miami Dolphins had the least, with four.
Starting off the draft, the Jaguars selected Georgia’s edge rusher Travon Walker. To some, this pick was surprising to say the least. Many anticipated Michigans’ edge rusher, Aidan Hutchison to be the Jaguar’s first pick, not Walker. Rumors of Walker becoming the potential overall number one draft pick started after his pleasing performances at the NFL Combine. At the Combine, Walker ran the fastest 40-yard dash, had a vertical jump of 35.5 inches, and so many more spectacular athletic performances. These performances helped him total a 9.999/10 on the Relative Athletic Score. Before the Combine, Walker was considered to be a mid to late pick, but after his exemplary performance, he began to climb the ranks in many people’s mock drafts. With the help of this pick, Jacksonville hopes to improve its record and pull out more wins this season.
On even just the first night of selections, there were many surprises packed in. For starters, in the first round, only one quarterback was drafted, while many defensive players filled many of
the first-round spots. This year, five defense players were the first straight picks. That’s the first time in 31 years since this has happened, dating back to 1991 when six defensive players were taken in a row to start the draft. In addition, this year’s draft seemed trade crazy, with nine trades in the first round alone. Trades are an important aspect of the NFL Draft which help teams boost their positions in current drafts, future drafts, or even gain a team member that will benefit them.
We then saw the three largest and most notable trades, starting with the Eagles trading to receive A.J. Brown. A.J. Brown belonged to the Titans, but with this trade, they instead let go of A.J and received an 18th overall, third-round draft pick. The second most notable trade was the Ravens trading Marquise Brown and a 100th overall pick for a 23rd overall pick with the Cardinals. This trade seemed to not only benefit the Cardinals receiving a player, but also helped the Ravens gain a player as well. When asked about the Cardinals’ draft pick performance, sophomore Manav Sannappanavar noted a later draft choice pick for the cardinals. Specifically, Sannappanavar commented on their 7th round pick, Jesse Luketa:
“I think that he’s an alright player but really his draft didn’t mean much as he isn’t that great and will be a severe drop in quality if he was to play as a substitute for one of the starting LB’s on the cardinals.”
The third notable trade was the Lions-Vikings deal. The Lions were able to move up 20 spots for a 12th overall pick and 46th overall, while the Vikings got 32,34, and 66. This pick, out of them all, seemed most unbalanced, and the Vikings seemed to get the short end of the stick in this trade.
Overall, the selections and performances of these teams seemed to be relatively good. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter handed out draft grades for each other’s teams. His marks included the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans, all being the highest scorers. Although no one was deemed deserving of a perfect “A+” in his book, all the teams received an A. Amongst some of the worst marks were the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and the Seattle Seahawks, all scoring a C+ or below.
With numerous defensive picks, unexpected trades, and a captivating number one pick, this year’s draft was for sure one to remember.
PSA: Some of these facts may have changed due to the late publication.