- Michael Johnson not being one of the first 64 players chosen (biggest surprise IMO).
- The Bucs trading ahead of Denver (???) while passing on a WR who is exactly what they need (Maclin) and a fine LT (Oher) for a QB who won’t touch the ball for at least a year and all but signals the end of the line for last year’s developmental QB, Josh Johnson. Other than that, it was a tremendous pick. (this wasn’t a surprise; just a sickening reality)
- The Bears and Cowboys trading out of day 1. To their credit, at least they didn’t draft Freeman.
- (ahem) The Raiders drafting DHB over Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin.
- The Broncos, a team with a ton of needs on defense, drafting Knowshon Moreno. Not slamming the pick; just a little surprising.
- (For everyone who isn’t me) Larry English going as high as the 16th pick.
- The Browns trading down twice and drafting Alex Mack.
- The Colts drafting Donald Brown while Ziggy Hood, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt were still on the board.
- I like Alphonso Smith, but I have a hard time applauding the Broncos giving up next year’s first rounder in order to move up and get him.
- Two safeties coming off the board before Rey Maualuga (38, Cincinnati).
- Brian Robiskie going in the top 40 (I wonder if my prophecy would have come true if the Vikings hadn’t taken Harvin; not sure who else would have grabbed him R1).
- Everette Brown falling to #43. Yes, there are concerns about his size, but I didn’t see him dropping that far.
- As if the Dolphins needed additional Wildcat options, they drafted Pat Smith at #44.
- The Raiders reaching badly for Michael Mitchell (S, Ohio), a guy who had earned sleeper status but wasn’t considered a top 4 round pick by anyone.
- Sean Smith slipping to the 61st pick in the draft (Miami). I think he’s great value near the end of day one.
Who do I think had a good first day?
Assigning grades to picks at this point is well, pointless. Here are the teams I think did well with their selections:
Cincinnati – Andre Smith could be the steal of the draft if he proves this offseason was an aberration. Rey Maualuga had no business falling to the 38th overall pick. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but good job Cincinnati.
Green Bay – Simply from a player standpoint, emerging from round one with BJ Raji and Clay Matthews is applaudable.
Atlanta – They get two good football players in Peria Jerry and William Moore. They needed help along the defensive line, and Jerry gives them a tackle who can penetrate the backfield. Moore is a better football player than measurable prospect. They fill a need at SS with a guy I think got too much negative pub this offseason.
New England – I love the first three picks. Chung fills an urgent need at SS, Ron Brace will be a good fit up front, and Darius Butler will be a solid player on that defense. I thought they took Vollmer a round or two early.
Miami – Vontae Davis at 25 was good value at corner. Sean Smith at 61 was a steal. Adding the athletic/versatile Pat White to an offense lacking weapons was a decent move.
Jacksonville – It won’t be popular, but I think coming away with 2 of the top 5 tackles in the first 39 picks of the draft was a good day 1. Monroe on the left and Britton on the right opening up holes for money man MJD should please Jagz fans.
Baltimore – Simply for getting a top tackle with the 23rd overall pick.
Philadelphia – Donovan McNabb’s smiling tonight after his team picked up Jeremy Maclin (thanks Tampa) to go with DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy to help out Brian Westbrook.
NY Giants – Hakeem Nicks fills an obvious need at receiver, and William Beatty is a guy I had them taking in the first round, assuming Nicks was off the board. They get both guys I had them targeting, and Clint Sintim in the 2nd. That was a bit confusing IMO, as his best fit is as a 3-4 OLB.
NY Jets – For having the marbles to move up and get their QB. I think this one’s going to work out well for them.
Houston – I like the Cushing and Barwin picks; solid young high motor talents who could make quite an impact.
St Louis – Solid picks in areas of need with Jason Smith (T) and James Laurinaitis (LB).
Who do I think had a bad day?
Tampa Bay – Josh Freeman and no 6th round pick. Enough said.
Cleveland – I wouldn’t call it bad, but I question the Mack selection. They had their choice of linebackers, Oher or Britton for right tackle, any WR outside of the top 3, and any of the cornerbacks outside of Malcolm Jenkins. I realize they passed on all these guys twice, but when their first pick finally came up at #21, Mack was a surprise. Following up Brian Robiskie with Mohamed Massaquoi was a head scratcher for me.
I hate to single out the Bucs (and Browns I guess), but I can’t find another team I’d give a “bad” grade to. I really wish I had been wrong.