The only guarantees of the past 48 hours have been Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars 1.01, 32 prospects coming off the board, and a chubby Irish kid with an inescapable adrenaline hangover.
With only three trades, expect movement on days two and three. Here are the most consequential wins and losses from last night’s first round.
Miami Dolphins: 1.06 Jaylen Waddle and 1.18 Jaelan Phillips
Chris Grier and Co. have cured concerns from last year’s three first-round picks by selecting their own version of the J&J in Jaylen and Jaelan. I do not have Jaylen Waddle graded as a top-three receiver in this class due to a lack of refinement but the natural abilities give him such a high ceiling as a player and this is the direction the league is heading. Phillips is one of the more refined and explosive pass rushers in this draft class. Concussion issues are a concern for Phillips. I think both of these picks have high ceilings with “Quality NFL Starter” floors.
Las Vegas Raiders 1.17 Alex Leatherwood
It’s uncomfortable to say but yes, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock got this one right. Leatherwood is my #3 overall ranked player in this draft class, barely edging out Penei Sewell by .08 points. Size, great athletic testing, anchor strength, and hand placement do it for me. I’ve argued until I’m blue in the face that Leatherwood is an elite tackle prospect and while people are clowning the Raiders for this one, time will show that they nailed this pick.
New York Giants 1.20 Kadarius Toney, 2021 5th, 2022 1st, 2022 4th from Bears
For the first time in his career, Dave Gettleman trades back in a sweet deal with the Bears and still drafts a very nice compliment to Kenny Golladay, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram, in Kadarius Toney. Toney, much like Waddle, has elite traits and is slippery as all hell. The opportunity to move back and still draft someone as shifty as Toney
Patriots 1.15 Mac Jones
Mac Jones just isn’t a good enough football player to be drafted in round one. In fact, this paragraph is being written before the draft even starts. Whatever team pulls the trigger on him in the first round will have to deal with a pretty expansive learning curve in terms of what passes are safe and dangerous and the lack of physical ability is discouraging. I like Mac Jones, but only if he’s taken on day three of the NFL Draft. Not round one.
Jaguars 1.25 Travis Etienne
Without context, it doesn’t make sense that I’m calling the Jaguars losers for taking two players that I absolutely love but… why a running back in the first round when you have a proven back already in James Robinson? Urban Meyer stated that he envisioned Etienne to fill a third-down role but you do not spend a first-round pick on a satellite back – that’s insanity. I say the Jaguars are losers because this pick doesn’t really make any sense roster construction and personnel-wise. They missed an opportunity to improve in an area with a significantly larger talent drop-off. I love Etienne and Trevor, don’t get me wrong, but selecting an RB with James Robinson coming off an amazing season is asinine.