Have been taking a break for the last couple weeks. The draft was pretty crazy, and I thought a good place to get back into was to review each teams draft over the next few posts. So, let’s start with the AFC East
Round 1: (No. 7 overall) Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming; (16) Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech.
Round 3: (96) Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford.
Round 4: (121) Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State.
Round 5: (154) Siran Neal, S, Jacksonville State; (166) Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech.
Round 6: (187) Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson.
Round 7: (255) Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina.
Buffalo did what we all expected them to do, trade up in the first round to snag their quarterback of the future in Josh Allen. The fact that they didn’t have to spend both their first-round picks to get there was a massive bonus. Whether Josh Allen will develop into a franchise QB is going to take time to answer but he certainly has all the physical traits. As a 49ers fan, I was very jealous of the Tremaine Edmunds pick – he’d been mocked to the 49ers a lot and I’d watched a fair bit of film on him and he looks great. Still very young (19 when he was picked), he is an immense specimen of a human being. Inside backer is a need for the Bills and Edmunds could step inside to support or rush the passer from the outside. Getting Phillips in the 3rd round was outstanding value, I expected him to go in the mid second round. Will line up alongside Star Lotulelei in a new look DT line up for the Bills. My biggest concern on this haul is the lack of quality receiver as that’s now a key need for the Bills. McCloud and Proehl aren’t really the answer and they’ve got very little at tight end. Next year, they’ll need to focus on building round Josh Allen if they want him to succeed.
Round 1: (No. 11 overall) Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama.
Round 2: (42) Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State.
Round 3: (73) Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State.
Round 4: (123) Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame; (131) Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State.
Round 6: (209) Cornell Armstrong, DB, Southern Miss.
Round 7: (227) Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio; (229) Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico.
Would have been interesting to see if Rosen had fallen another spot and whether the Dolphins would have taken him, but he didn’t, so they didn’t. And so, Miami have another season of Ryan Tannehill (providing he’s fit). Fitzpatrick did fall to them and Miami grabbed him and that’s a good grab. Fitzpatrick will add leadership to a docile defence straight away. Nick Saban (Alabama coach) loves him and that’s a good seal of quality to have. Gesicki had an amazing combine which saw him shoot up the draft boards and he’ll at least be a big target downfield for Tannehill to aim for. No team allowed more receptions by a tight end than the Dolphins last year and between Fitzpatrick and new linebacker, Jerome Baker, they’ve got the makings of a defence that can defend that. Baker is a quick rangy linebacker who can slot in and help defend against the likes of Gronkowski! Kalen Ballage could be used in a similar RB/WR fashion that Carolina use McCaffrey. One area that wasn’t addressed that should be us the offensive line, especially with a QB coming back from serious injury (who wasn’t that great in the first place!).
New England Patriots
Round 1: (No. 23 overall) Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia; (31) Sony Michel, RB, Georgia.
Round 2: (56) Duke Dawson, CB, Florida.
Round 5: (143) Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue.
Round 6: (178) Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State; (210) Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami.
Round 7: (219) Danny Etling, QB, LSU; (243) Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina; (250) Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State.
Wynn played tackle at college but was expected to move inside to play guard at the NFL level. New England didn’t need a guard but did need a tackle so the selection of Wynn was slightly surprising, but who doesn’t trust New England to coach him up to step in on day one and play brilliantly?! There’s been some question marks over whether Sony Michel’s knee will stand up to the NFL and how long he’ll be able to play for however, he’s a great weapon for the Patriots to add to their arsenal. Duke Dawson is not a like for like replacement for Malcolm Butler, he’ll play in the slot on press-man coverages. Braxton Berrios though could become the type of weapon that Brady makes look world class. Whilst he stands only 5’9”, Berrios has no problem playing in the slot, going over the middle and clasping catches before adding some yards after the catch. Should the Pats have taken Lamar Jackson as a long-term replacement for Brady? Who knows? But they have added some interesting weapons to their offence. Defence remains a concern though
New York Jets
Round 1: (No. 3 overall) Sam Darnold, QB, USC.
Round 3: (72) Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State.
Round 4: (107) Chris Herndon, TE, Miami.
Round 6: (179) Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane; (180) Foley Fatukasi, DT, Connecticut; (204) Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia State.
This draft haul is all about who the Jets picked in the first round. They gave up a first and three second round picks to trade up to the 3rd selection and were fortunate enough to be able to choose from three quarterbacks. What’s even more amazing is (in my view) that Sam Darnold was one of those choices! With Cleveland taking Baker Mayfield with the first pick, the Jets management probably couldn’t believe their luck. Sure, he’s got some ball security and footwork issues that need to be addressed but those can be overcome with good coaching. Remember, Darnold is only 20 and hasn’t played quarterback as long as some of his peers after playing linebacker for a long time in high school. Shepherd could be a good value pick in the 3rd round and he could start from day one. Herndon has good athletic ability but is relatively unknown and then it’s a lot of unknowns who’ll be lucky to make it through to September on the team sheet. But it’s all about Darnold really.