There were obviously some surprising trades and picks in round one, so here are some of my reactions from the first round of the NFL Draft:

1- The Falcons trading up for Julio Jones- I am a huge Falcons fan and I can get behind this, but we gave up a LOT for Julio and he’s going to have a lot of pressure on him from the second he starts working out with the team. I don’t know how I feel about that, but hopefully Roddy will be able to take him under his wing and help him improve his concentration to help eliminate some of the simple drops that he has occasionally. Roddy and Julio could be a very lethal tandem and I have been hoping we would go after an elite WR to get a future #1 to eventually replace Roddy, and we finally did that. Drafting a talented player at a position with a very good player already really strengthens the position in the present and the future, so I like the pick but boy… we gave up a lot for him.

2- The Vikings selecting Christian Ponder #12 overall- I like Ponder but dang… that is 15+ picks higher than I thought he would go. I imagine they were trying to work a trade to slide down a bit and they couldn’t pull it off so they drafted the player they were trying to move down and get as a result of the trade down. It looks like a big reach right now, and I definitely would have picked Nick Fairley at that spot, but the Vikings were clearly very high on Ponder and they needed a QB. I disagree with the pick because I think you have to go BPA there, but QB is one of the only positions that does not play by the BPA rule. It’ll be interesting to see how Ponder turns out in comparison to Nick Fairley because they will be in the same division.

3- New England selecting Nate Solder #17 overall- I didn’t have a 1st round grade on Solder so it will be interesting to see how he does in the NFL. The Pats draft as well as anyone so I am interested to see how that plays out, because I was shocked that they picked him over Castonzo, a player that I’m high on. We’ll see how they both play, but I was shocked that New England picked Solder this high considering it’s 10+ picks higher than I would have picked him (I probably had him as a 2nd/3rd rounder but thought he might go 29 to Chicago) and because I thought he was a better athlete than offensive tackle.

4- Washington selecting Ryan Kerrigan #16 overall- I don’t think Kerrigan or Aldon Smith are good fits for the 3-4 OLB position, but Smith is a better fit than Kerrigan. It occurred to me that if the Redskins played a 4-3 they’d actually have a very promising defensive line with Orakpo at RE, Haynesworth at DT and Kerrigan at LE, but they are all at least somewhat out of position in the 3-4 which is the actual scheme they are running. We’ll see how that works out.

5- Cleveland selecting Phil Taylor #21 overall- They have Ahtyba Rubin who is a similar player, a guy who can occupy blockers and stuff the run, and I thought this pick would have been great if they were still running a 3-4, but they are moving to a 4-3. So now they have two potentially quality 3-4 NT prospects and they are running a 4-3. Neither Rubin nor Taylor will offer much at all as a pass rusher, so I can’t really envision Cleveland’s pass rush being potent unless they get incredible production from their DE’s this year. I imagine their run defense will be impressive however, at least up the middle.

6- Da’Quan Bowers sliding all the way through round 1- I thought Bowers would slide because of his knee injury but I didn’t expect him to slide all the way through round 1. It will be particularly interesting to see where he is picked today, because the team will have to be willing to roll the dice. I could see the Vikings considering him at their 2nd round pick if they are worried that Ray Edwards might leave.

7- My mock did a bit better than I expected. When Von Miller went #2 I thought my mock was going to unravel but I got six picks right and got a solid amount of players in the 1st round. I never could have guessed the Falcons would move up that high for Julio, nor did I expect Ponder to go as high as he did. I am glad Dalton didn’t go in round one though, I have thought he was overrated for a long while.

That’s about all I’ve got, I can’t wait for round two to start. I have to say the draft really got boring after about the top 15 or so picks. It got very slow and I found myself daydreaming waiting for the teams to make their picks. Let’s hope the 2nd and 3rd rounds are more interesting!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the draft!

–Tom