Hello everyone, and welcome back to IE Sports Radio. It has been a little over a month since the NFL draft gave us our off-season hit of football attention. Emotions and reactions have settled to normal now, although I imagine some fans are still complaining about their team’s picks. Now we can review these decisions with a much more clear headspace (theoretically). Overall I thought it was a pretty good draft, albeit a little boring. There were a handful of trades, but none were in the top 9 picks and only one likely had a massive effect on the rest of the draft (that one being the Chicago Bears trading up for QB Justin Fields). Don’t get me wrong though, there was still plenty of excitement, and plenty to talk about. Let’s dive in to some of my favorite picks and some surprise ones in each round:
Favorite Pick – LA Chargers select OL Rashawn Slater 13th
I was amazed that Slater lasted all the way to the 13th pick. I thought the latest we would see him go was at pick nine to Denver, but we he made it past that the Chargers had to get excited. This was a massive piece to add as LA continues to rebuild their front line. Slater is a smooth athlete with excellent feet, a strong base, and the skill-set to be an anchor on the edge for years to come. I’m still not 100% sold that he stays at LT long term, but even if he ends up on the right side I think he will be elite there and well worth this selection. Honorable mentions for favorite 1st round pick include Atlanta taking TE Kyle Pitts at #4 and Indy snagging DE Kwity Paye at 21.
Surprise Pick – NO Saints select DE Payton Turner 28th
The position here was not surprising, as New Orleans had lost pass rusher Trey Hendrickson in free agency. What was surprising was the player. Turner had a late day two grade from several sources, so his selection on day one did not line up with the value. The Saints also selected him over other highly talented choices like Gregory Rousseau, Odafe Oweh, and Azeez Ojulari among others. We will definitely have to see how this one turns out, although to give some credit Turner has the size, length, and potential to be a nice pick. Other surprise selection candidates were the Raiders taking OL Alex Leatherwood at 17 and Green Bay taking CB Eric Stokes at 29.
Favorite Pick – KC Chiefs Select C Creed Humphrey 63rd
Few teams have done as much to help their OL this off-season as the Chiefs. They added OG Joe Thuney in free agency, talked OL Kyle Long out of retirement, made a nice trade to get OT Orlando Brown Jr., and then managed to add one of the best centers in the draft at the end of the 2nd round. Humphrey has great size and tenacity to man the middle of the trenches. He may not have the best athleticism, but he will get the job done, and has a great cast around him with the aforementioned additions plus getting Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and Lucas Niang back from COVID opt-outs. Other favorite picks were the Chargers grabbing Asante Samuel Jr. and the Lions grabbing DT Levi Onwuzurike
Surprise Pick – Colts select DE Dayo Odeyingbo 55th
This pick was strange to me for several reasons. First, Indianapolis had already taken a D-lineman in the first round, and they had other needs they could have filled instead of double dipping. Second, Odyingbo was seen by most as a late 3rd to early 4th round pick, so the value is not fantastic. And third, the former Vanderbilt standout tore his achilles this off-season, meaning he may not play right away. That makes this an odd long-term pick for a team that on paper is shooting for a super bowl now. Most of the other picks in round 2 were good, although Cincinnati trading down and missing on several O-line targets just to reach for one feels like poor planning.
Favorite Pick – NE Patriots select DE Ronnie Perkins 96th
What a value pick this was for the Patriots. Perkins was seen by many as a potential first round pick, but easily a 2nd round pick at the latest. Instead New England found a pass rusher with good athleticism and a developed skill set with a compensatory pick. He may not have elite size or versatility, but I believe he will be a contributor early for the team. Minnesota also had a really good third round with their selections of OG Wyatt Davis at 86 and DE Patrick Jones at 90.
Surprise Pick – WFT selects WR Dyami Brown 82nd
Value was not the issue with this pick, as Brown was consider a 3rd or 4th round prospect and Washington grabbed him right smack in the middle of the 3rd round. The position was the part that took me back a bit. The football team had already signed WRs Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries in free agency to go with young star Terry McLaurin and a litany of young players with upside at the position. I would have expected them to avoid this group with the exception of a late round flyer pick (which they also did with Dax Mline late in the 7th). We will have to see Brown fits in to the plans, but I don’t think it’s the type of pick you regret.
Favorite Pick – Lions select WR Amon-Ra St. Brown 112th
No more surprise picks from here on out, as most day three selections have some degree or surprise or uncertainty around them. I really liked this pick by Detroit. Most people were not very high on St. Brown because he lacks great size and athleticism. What he does do well is catch the football, and usually receivers who can do that manage to stick in the league. I actually think he could rise up from day three draft status to starter, in the mold of a Stefon Diggs or Emmanuel Sanders. Might be high praise, but that’s the potential the Lions got in this selection. I also really liked the Titans taking DE Rashad Weaver at 135 and Baltimore getting WR Tylan Wallace at 131.
Favorite Pick – Texans select TE Brevin Jordan 147th
Houston was already on the outside looking in with regards to this draft. They did not have a pick until the beginning of the 3rd round, which only made a tumultuous off-season worse. They had to shoot for the stars on some of their picks, and I like their shot with Jordan. Not only was the value great getting a third round prospect in the 5th, but the upside is tremendous. Jordan has the athleticism teams covet at the position. He’s a bit raw, but with some sound coaching and commitment to the craft he could be one of the steals of the draft.
Favorite Pick – Cardinals select CB Tay Gowan 223rd
Coming in to the draft, Arizona’s CB room was looking thin. I thought they were a strong bet to take one in the first round, but they went with LB Zaven Collins. I also thought it would be a good idea to double up, which they did with Marco Wilson in the 4th round and then Gowan in the 6th. Gowan held a 3rd round grade from ESPN, and he was one of the players I was hoping to get selected as we got closer to the end of the draft. Gowan is not the perfect prospect, but he has the physical tools and upside of a #2 boundary corner, which is fantastic to get in the 6th round.
Favorite Pick – Lions Select RB Jermar Johnson 257th
Detroit only had one pick in the final three rounds, but in my opinion they made the most of it. The lions have not had a consistent running game for years, but they are on their way with the duo of De’Andre Swift and Jamal Williams. Johnson has a shot at the #3 spot on the depth chart. He is not elite, but does several things well, including running between the tackles and making catches out of the backfield. I am a major proponent of teams taking a back late in the draft because there are always some diamonds in the ruff. My money is on Johnson to be one of those.
Jets Swap First Round picks with Minnesota, both get great OL Prospects –
These were two of my favorite picks, and they came through a draft day trade. The Jets traded the 23rd pick along with two third round picks to the Vikings for the 14th pick and a 4th rounder. NY took OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, whom many considered the 3rd best OL prospect in this class. The Vikings took OT Christian Darrisaw, whom I considered to be one of the best LT options. Both players fill key needs for both teams at good to great value, making this trade a win-win. Some may say the Vikings won overall, but if AVT works out for the Jets who is to argue this decision.
Bears Trade up for QB Justin Fields –
When Justin Fields and Mac Jones made it past the Denver Broncos pick, everyone got the feeling something big was coming. Then news came across of the Bears trading up from the 20th pick to 11 with the Giants, and you know what they were gunning for. I liked Fields better than some. To me he was tied for 2nd best QB prospect with Zach Wilson, behind Trevor Lawrence of course. He has great physical tools, nice experience including big games, and a great work ethic (don’t care what other analysts say about it). Naturally there is some bust potential, and Chicago gave up a lot of draft assets to get the deal done, but how can you blame them for taking their shot.
Browns Trade up in 2nd round for LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah –
Let me start by saying that I cannot believe the WFT passed on JOK TWICE! Even though they took LB Jamin Davis in the first round, I would have been totally okay with them taking another quality option in the next round. Could have been our LB core for the next decade, anyways rant over. Cleveland knew they needed a LB and saw one of the top five options in the class falling to them. They took the opportunity and jumped up to make it happen. JOK upgrades their LB group instantly, and I think he will be an excellent player.
There are plenty of honorable mentions to go around for trades. New England trading up in the 2nd round to get DT Christian Barrmore and Las Vegas also trading up in the 2nd to get S Trevon Moehrig both got serious consideration. I also liked Denver trading back on day two and still landing a good OL prospect in Quinn Meinerz. Some of these trades were a bit one sided, with New Orleans giving up two third rounders in the aforementioned Denver trade just to move higher in the 3rd round (though they did get a solid CB in Paulson Adebo). Now we fans get to wait and see how things pan out. My rule to the first year is free, the second year is at a discount, and by the 3rd year you should be close. Some may think otherwise, but most teams will not give a player more chances than that barring injury. That will do it for this post. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.