The first round of the NFL draft is one of the most exciting days of the entire year, and is a culmination of hundreds of hours of work for a lot of people who work in the industry. I have graded every single pick of the first round for your viewing pleasure. I tried to keep the explanations short and sweet covering everything from value, need, and overall skill set of the player. The grades are between A+ and F- (Yes, that’s a thing when Dave Gettleman is picking players) but it is important to remember that these are knee jerk reactions. Things will change when teams make more picks to fill their other holes on the roster.
On Sunday, I’ll have another article out grading every team’s full draft class so keep an eye out for that. As always direct all of your hate and questions to @DanteCollinelli on twitter I’m always down to talk football.
RD 1 Pick 1: Arizona Cardinals
Selection: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
To the surprise of nobody, Murray goes number 1 overall to the Cardinals. Murray fits Kingsbury’s scheme to perfection and will give the Cardinals one of the most exciting players in the entire league. Murray wasn’t my QB 1 and I’m worried about how prepared he is to make NFL level throws on a consistent basis. Murray will be one of the most interesting players to watch this upcoming season. I’m not worried about Murray’s weight or height at the next level at all. I think he does a good job of protecting himself when running down the field.
RD 1 Pick 2: San Francisco 49ers
Selection: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
Nick Bosa is the unquestioned best player in this entire draft class. His football IQ, technique, speed, and power make for an elite edge rushing prospect that fills the 49ers biggest need. Bosa will join Deforrest Buckner and Eric Armstead on the 49ers defensive line, making for an elite pass rush combination. Bosa does have some injury concerns throughout his career so it’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
RD 1 Pick 3: New York Jets
Selection: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Jets took advantage of the Cardinals’ selection of Kyler Murray, allowing them to take the second best player in the draft at pick 3. While he doesn’t fill a need on the team, Williams provides the Jets with an elite interior pass rusher that isn’t currently on the roster. Williams is one of the youngest players in the draft and will only get better from this point going forward. He can play in any scheme so the Jets will find a way to get him on the field for the majority of their snaps.
RD 1 Pick 4: Oakland Raiders
Selection: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
The Raiders make the first surprise pick of the draft by selecting Ferrell at number 4 overall. Ferrell is a high floor player with refined hand technique and power in his base. He fills the Raiders biggest need after trading away Khalil Mack last season. However, this is a reach to be selecting a player like Ferrell with Devin White, Ed Oliver, and Josh Allen still on the board. Ferrell will be a productive player for the Raiders for years to come, but his low ceiling will keep him from being a true elite talent.
RD 1 Pick 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Selection: Devin White, LB, LSU
Tampa Bay fills their biggest need after the Raiders make a surprising pick at number 4. White is the fastest linebacker I’ve ever scouted and will bring a new element of speed and tenacity to the Buccaneers defense. He’s an elite playmaker and will cause multiple turnovers a season. His mindset is contagious to the people around him, making everyone on the field meaner and better. This is as good as it gets for Tampa Bay.
RD 1 Pick 6: New York Giants
Selection: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The Giants’ selection of Daniel Jones is one of the biggest reaches for a quarterback in recent memory. Jones has a great football pedigree and has a lot of similarities to Giants’ current quarterback Eli Manning which is probably why they took him. Jones is limited as a passer down the field and doesn’t have the needed football IQ to succeed early in the league, so I think he will sit behind Eli Manning for at least one season. Jones has a long way to go before he can be a quality starting quarterback at the next level. Even then I think he lacks the ceiling to be anything more than Ryan Tannehill.
RD 1 Pick 7: Jacksonville Jaguars
Selection: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Josh Allen doesn’t fill a need for the Jaguars right away, but he is arguably the best player left on the board due to the Giants and Raiders making reaches. Allen improved mightily in his senior season with his hands and overall technique. He’s a pure speed rushed off the edge with great movement skills in space, allowing him to play in coverage, as well as rush the passer. The Jaguars now have one of the fiercest pass rushes in the entire league.
RD 1 Pick 8: Detroit Lions
Selection: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
TJ Hockenson is the best tight end that I have scouted in the last 3 years. He is a proficient pass catcher and an extremely good blocker in the run game. His versatility will give the Lions a dynamic chess piece that they can move around the formation. Hockenson will give quarterback Matthew Stafford a reliable target in the middle of the field and in the redzone. Hockenson will also make it easier for the Lions to run the football because of his blocking prowess.
RD 1 Pick 9: Buffalo Bills
Selection: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Bills get a gift at number 9 with Ed Oliver falling down the board. Buffalo fills one of their biggest needs with one of the elite players of the draft. Oliver fits the Bills’ scheme perfectly and will provide them with a great penetrator and run stopper. Oliver may be undersized, but his speed, quickness, and power make up for his lack of size in spades. Oliver should be used better in Buffalo than he was at Houston, which should make him more productive in the NFL.
RD 1 Pick 10: Pittsburgh Steelers (via Denver Broncos)
Selection: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Steelers trade up 10 spots with the Denver Broncos in order to fill the biggest need on their team with the selection of Devin Bush. Bush is a fast, hard-hitting linebacker, who will change the tone of the Steelers defense for years to come. The Steelers only gave up pick number 52 in order to move up for this selection, which is a good value. Bush should be a productive first-year starter in the middle of the Steelers’ defense.
RD 1 Pick 11: Cincinnati Bengals
Selection: Jonah Williams, OT/IOL, Alabama
Jonah Williams is the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft class. He can play all 5 starting positions on the offensive line, including left tackle. He is a people mover in the run game and a smooth pass protector. He instantly upgrades the Bengals’ porous offensive line from last season. Some fans might’ve wanted a quarterback to be the pick here, but Williams fills a need at a good value.
RD 1 Pick 12: Green Bay Packers
Selection: Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
The Green Bay Packers take a huge risk by selecting Rashan Gary at pick 12. Gary lacked production at Michigan, despite having an elite athletic profile. Gary was misused at Michigan by playing out on the edge and could be better used on the interior of the defensive line. Green Bay spent a lot of money on the edge position in free agency so Gary wasn’t a need this early in the first round. The Packers will have to bet on his athletic upside and that his best football is in front of him. Gary also had plenty of injuries throughout his career that kept him off the field often at Michigan.
RD 1 Pick 13: Miami Dolphins
Selection: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Miami Dolphins have a barren defensive line with little to no talent. Christian Wilkins adds a high character and high-quality player to that group. He is an impressive penetrator in the passing game and stout run defender. Wilkins fits the prototype that the Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier talked about all offseason. Wilkins will be a productive player for a long time and give the Dolphins some needed punch on the defensive side of the football.
RD 1 Pick 14: Atlanta Falcons
Selection: Chris Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
The Falcons make a surprise pick by reaching for Chris Lindstrom here at number 14. While Lindstrom is a good guard prospect, the Falcons passed on bigger needs and better players. Lindstrom will provide them with a steady presence up front for the next 10-12 years. Lindstrom will have to prove that he can be a consistent pass blocker at the next level to reach his ceiling because he wasn’t tasked with doing that often at Boston College.
RD 1 Pick 15: Washington Redskins
Selection: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Redskins get my number 1 overall quarterback without having to trade up into the top 10. Haskins should come in and be the day 1 starter for the Redskins in 2019. He will excel in their short passing heavy offense with his short to intermediate accuracy. Haskins is still a very young player and has tremendous upside. His football IQ will allow him to have a productive rookie season. The Redskins would be wise to surround him with some more weapons with their other picks.
RD 1 Pick 16: Carolina Panthers
Selection: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Brian Burns might be the best pure pass rusher in the draft class. He possesses elite speed and the ability to bend the edge quicker than anyone else. He fills arguably the biggest need for the Panthers early in round 1. He will need to put on a little bit of weight on his frame in order to be more effective against the run at the NFL level. His immediate impact should help the Panthers compete in a pass-heavy division with Drew Brees, Jamies Winston, and Matt Ryan.
RD 1 Pick 17: New York Giants
Selection: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence is a huge reach at number 17 for the Giants. He doesn’t fill one of their bigger needs and isn’t a top 20 player in this class. His role as a pure run-stopping player is no longer highly valued in the NFL. The Giants passed on way better players in a position where they need a lot of talent to compete this season. Lawrence will serve his role well, however, his role is not of high value anymore. Dave Gettlemen traded Damion Harrison last season for a fifth-round pick and then took essentially the same player with the 17th pick in the draft. I just don’t understand this team at all.
RD 1 Pick 18: Minnesota Vikings
Selection: Garrett Bradbury, IOL, NC State
Bradbury is the best IOL in this draft class. He is a smooth mover in the run game and is able to get to the second level with ease. He has great hand placement and always plays with leverage. The Vikings desperately needed help on the offensive line in order to protect Kirk Cousins moving forward. Bradbury was a top 10 player for me in this class, so it’s a great value for the Vikings at 18.
RD 1 Pick 19: Tennessee Titans
Selection: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Jeffery Simmons has a long and complicated route to the NFL. He has character concerns in his past, stemming from a video of him striking a woman during a fight. He then proceeded to have a great career at Mississippi State. Simmons would have been a top 5 pick in this class if it was not for his character concerns and injury concerns. Simmons tore his ACL during the pre-draft process, which aided in his fall down the board. There is no question that Simmons is talented, but he will have to prove that he is a changed person from his high school days in order to be successful at the NFL level.
RD 1 Pick 20: Denver Broncos (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
Selection: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Denver passes on a quarterback again at number 20 by taking tight end, Noah Fant. Fant is a dynamic pass-catching threat from multiple spots on the field and he is one of the most athletically gifted tight ends in recent memory. He will give Denver a real speed threat down the middle of the field for aging quarterback Joe Flacco. Fant will have to work on his hands and route running to reach his ceiling, however, all the tools of a pro-bowl tight end are present.
RD 1 Pick 21: Green Bay Packers
Selection: Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
Savage has experienced a huge draft rise since January when he attended the senior bowl and impressed a lot of scouts. Savage gives the Packers a playmaking safety for a team that desperately needs more turnovers this season. Savage is a hard-hitting player in the run game that will add a mean streak to the Packers’ defense. Savage is a bit of a reach here in the first round, but he still fills the Packers’ biggest need.
RD 1 Pick 22: Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore Ravens)
Selection: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Eagles surprised everyone by trading up for Dillard with the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles needed to find a replacement for Jason Peters at left tackle, so I see why they did it. Dillard is a fluid athlete with a strong pass set and plenty of experience pass protecting from college. In the running game, he doesn’t get good leverage and will get pushed back way too easily. Ideally, he will sit his first season in Philadelphia and be given a chance to mentally develop and bulk up his frame, making him more effective in the running game. The Eagles needed to get in front of the Houston Texans in order to make this pick because trust me they would have taken Dillard at 23.
RD 1 Pick 23: Houston Texans
Selection: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
The Houston Texans desperately needed to find protection for Deshawn Watson this season. Howard is a smooth mover with long arms that allow him to stay in front of most pass rushers. He comes from a small school and will need considerable technical refinement before making an impact at the NFL level. Houston passed on a much better player in Jawaan Taylor at right tackle for a developmental pick at the same position. Howard has the tools to be successful but a long way to go before he hits his ceiling.
RD 1 Pick 24: Oakland Raiders
Selection: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
This was one of the most obvious picks of this draft class after Marshawn Lynch left the team this offseason. Jacobs is one of the most physical runners in recent memory and upgrades a sad Raiders running back depth chart. He will give the Raiders a runner with attitude while being able to add value in the passing game. Jacobs has limited tread on his tires because of limited carries in college. This pick fits like a glove for the Raiders here at the end of the first round.
RD 1 Pick 25: Baltimore Ravens (Via Philadelphia Eagles)
Selection: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Marquise Brown is an elite speed threat down the field and in short areas. His ability to take a short pass all the way to the house will give a new dynamic threat to the Ravens offense. His ability to create separation will give Lamar Jackson an easy target to hit at all three levels of the field. Brown has a foot injury to deal with right now but should be ready for the regular season, according to all reports. This is a small reach for the Ravens, but I understand why they felt the need to make this pick here.
RD 1 Pick 26: Washington Redskins (Via Indianoplis Colts)
Selection: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Montez Sweat was a consensus top 10 pick for most of the pre-draft process, especially after his record-breaking combine. Problems popped up when his medicals came back that he had a heart condition. That took him off some teams board, however, Washington gets great value trading back into the first round to select him. He fills a position of need and if healthy could be an instant impact starter. Sweat is a great run defender and pure power rusher which results in some impressive reps against lighter competition.
RD 1 Pick 27: Oakland Raiders
Selection: Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Jonathan Abram is one of the hardest hitting players in the entire draft class. He was even thrown out of a game for hitting in his own teammate once. Jon Gruden loves physical players and that’s what they get with Abram. The Raiders didn’t have a lot of talent at the safety position, so he fills a need as well. I don’t love Abram’s ability in coverage so he will have to make a living stopping the run in the box at the next level. I love Abram’s physical mentality. However, I think Oakland would have been better served to take a free safety or cornerback at this spot.
RD 1 Pick 28: LA Chargers
Selection: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
The LA Chargers played their last game against the New England Patriots where they got gashed up the middle of the defense by the running game. Tillery is a player who needs to be more consistent but when he’s on he’s really on. His quickness and pass rush moves are easy to see on tape and should translate well to the next level. Defensive tackle was a big need for the Chargers even though I would consider Tillery a reach here. If the Chargers can get Tillery to put all of his traits together this pick could be a real steal.
RD 1 Pick 29: Seattle Seahawks
Selection: LJ Collier, Edge, TCU
The Seahawks opened up a huge hole on their defensive line by trading away Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs. Collier is a huge reach here for an edge rusher who isn’t a great athlete and didn’t produce that much in the Big 12. Ideally, you would like to see him sit a year so he can learn some pass rush moves but he will likely be thrust into the starting lineup too soon. Collier does provide some power and run defending prowess which I’m sure the Seahawks value. I just don’t see the upside of tacking Collier here instead of taking someone like Jawaan Taylor to protect Russell Wilson.
RD 1 Pick 30: New York Giants (Via Seattle Seahawks)
Selection: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker has had quite the fall since the start of the college football season but the Giants clearly bought into his outstanding tape here at pick 30. Baker is a physical man to man corner and has plus ball skills. His footwork and transitions are fantastic allowing him to stick with defenders down the field. The Giants needed a lot of help in the secondary so not only is Baker a good value, but he fills a position of need. This is by far their best pick of the night and you could still argue its a small reach.
RD 1 Pick 31: Atlanta Falcons (Via LA Rams)
Selection: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
This pick shocked me quite a bit as we have another team to pass on Jawaan Taylor here in the first round. McGary is a mauler in the run game and very physical down the field when hitting linebackers. The Falcons needed a new right tackle badly, but again, I just think McGray could have been had in the second or third round. McGary has a long way to go as a pass protector, however, he has the needed movement skills to improve in that area over time.
RD 1 Pick 32: New England Patriots
Selection: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
It pains me to say this but I love this pick for the Patriots. N’keal Harry has been my number one or two ranked wide receiver since the summer. His ability to make plays after the catch and at the catch point is truly impressive. New England has been looking for an “X” wide receiver for quite a while now and Harry fits that mold perfectly. He will play perfectly off the all the small slot receivers already present in New England.