Ezekiel Elliott to the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas was in a prime position Thursday night. They couldn’t go wrong at with the fourth overall pick. They had major needs at defensive end, linebacker, cornerback and of course running back. Some people were surprised when they decided to go with Elliott, but they shouldn’t be. Elliott is a game changing running back who can be everything DeMarco Murray was in Dallas and more. He is multidimensional and should instantly compete for NFL rushing titles. When you combine his natural ability with the Cowboys’ offensive line, you have a recipe for success. This move just bought Tony Romo 2-3 more years because they can now get back to dominating in the run game and not relying as much on Romo’s arm.
Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars
There were rumors that the Jaguars wanted to trade up with the Chargers in order to land Ramsey at number three, but they ultimately decided to stay put and still got him. Ramsey was the second overall player on my big board and Jacksonville got excellent value with the pick. While some like him at cornerback, I think he would make an even better safety. I’ll be curious to see how Jacksonville deploys him but make no mistake, he will be an immediate impact player in the back half of the Jaguars’ defense.
Keanu Neal to the Falcons
Neal was by far my top safety prospect in this draft. He checked in as the 24th rated player on my big board, but I still believe the Falcons made an excellent selection at 17th overall. While Shaq Lawson or Myles Jack would’ve been my preferred choice, the Falcons needed help in the back half of their defense after cutting former Pro Bowler, William Moore, this offseason. Neal is a balanced safety who displays the ability to play as a single high safety or roll down into the box to be an effective run defender. Dan Quinn will love figuring out creative ways to use Neal in the same way that he did with Earl Thomas during his days as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator.
Laquon Treadwell to the Vikings
Treadwell was the top ranked wide receiver on my big board while also checking in as my number eight overall prospect. For him to fall to the Vikings at 24 was almost criminal. I understand that he lost some of his explosiveness with the leg injury, but he still has the chance to be a top flight wide receiver in the NFL. Bridgewater got exactly the type of receiver he needed, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make the biggest impact of any rookie receiver in this class. Treadwell should be their true no. 1 receiver while sophomore receiver, Stefon Diggs, should settle in as a nice complimentary piece.
Eli Apple to the Giants
People are arguing that the Giants took Apple because they let Prince Amukamara walk. That’s fine, but they also signed Janoris Jenkins away from the St. Louis Rams for one of the largest contracts given out in free agency. The Giants did a lot to improve their defense, but the offensive line and wide receiver units still need to be upgraded. Apple was the 27th rated player on my big board, and was not considered to be a top 10 pick by many. It would’ve benefitted the Giants to move their 2015 first round pick, Ereck Flowers, to right tackle and taking Tunsil at that spot instead of Apple.
Artie Burns to the Steelers
Artie Burns has a lot of raw talent, but I feel like the Steelers panicked when William Jackson III was taken by their division rival the pick before. Jackson III was the best case scenario for the Steelers, and Artie Burns isn’t even considered a consolation prize in my opinion. Kendall Fuller or Mackensie Alexander in the second round would’ve made a lot more sense. Burns could prove me wrong, but I didn’t think he was worthy of being selected in the first round this year.
Kenny Clark to the Packers
Clark wasn’t the worst pick of the night, but I certainly feel like there were better players available. I had been hearing from some sources close to the Packers that they weren’t looking to take an inside linebacker in the first round and that proved to be true. Still, I would’ve preferred them to take the route of Andrew Billings or Jarran Reed over Kenny Clark. At only 20 years old, Clark still has a lot of room to go, so I’ll reserve full on judgment until I can see Clark on the field. He was the 45th ranked players on my big board.
Joshua Garnett to the 49ers
I love Garnett, but I hate where the 49ers got him. I believe he would’ve been there at pick 37, and all the 49ers did was lose picks and hand Garnett more money by taking him higher. They do get that fifth year option because he was taken in the first round, but that wasn’t worth enough for them to move up like they did. Andrew Tiller was a surprise player in 2015, so look for him to start at one of the guard spots. This could mean the end in San Francisco for former third round pick, Brandon Thomas.