On a Thursday night loaded with surprising trades and selections, the Cincinnati Bengals actually went with the predictable choice and added the fastest wide receiver in the draft, John Ross, with the team’s Round 1 pick. The Washington standout adds another dimension to Cincinnati’s offense, one they lost when Marvin Jones Jr. left in free agency last year, and wasn’t replaced despite the additions of Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell and Cody Core.
Solomon Thomas went to San Francisco with the third overall pick and after Myles Garrett was drafted by the Browns first overall, most fans were hoping the team would take a receiver, and the reactions showed how excited many are. The need for a pass rusher is still pressing, but Ross’ unique speed was too much to pass on for Cincinnati.
@andydalton14: "any time you have the fastest player in the league, it's going to be hard for that safety not to cheat'— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) April 28, 2017
Urban, WRs coach: there is a legit comparison to DeSean Jackson— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) April 28, 2017
John Ross is such an awesome No. 2 option for the Bengals across from Green. Boyd in the slot. Nice.— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) April 28, 2017
Bengals haven't had a speed receiver like this since me— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthPFF) April 28, 2017
Crazy start to the draft
After North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was taken by the Bears with the second pick, there was nobody willing to trade up with the Bengals, or at least that is what head coach Marvin Lewis said right after getting Ross. The Bears got to pick No. 2 by swapping picks with the 49ers. The 49ers seriously won there and acquired a bunch of extra picks, while still getting their guy in Thomas.
Ravens’ Round 1 pick
The Bengals’ Round 1 selection probably forced the Ravens into drafting a cornerback, Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey at number 16, instead of a much-needed pass rusher, or wide receiver as was expected. Many thought the Ravens would take Corey Davis, but, surprisingly all three Round 1 receivers were drafted by pick No. 9, with the Bengals scooping up Ross after Davis went fifth overall to the Titans and Mike Williams went seventh overall to the Chargers.
Marv says they got no calls on clock. Once QB taken at 2 created different dynamic— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) April 28, 2017
Lewis also mentioned after the pick was made that there were some defenders they liked by the time they were on the clock, but went with offense - something that makes sense given the step back the attack took in 2016. This very well fits what Bengals announcer Dave Lapham said earlier this week when predicting the pick. He noted if Cincinnati stayed put at the ninth pick, they’d take Ross, as they were interested in Will Fuller last season before the Texans traded up to get him. Lapham noted the ideal scenario would be for the Bengals to trade down to the 15-18 range and take a pass rusher, like Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, or UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley and Missouri’s Charles Harris if he was off the board by then. The Volunteer was taken by Eagles with the 14th pick, by the way.
Wide receivers taken
Los Angeles will have an amazing offense on paper, with Williams, the Clemson Tiger joining Tyrell "The Gazelle" Williams, Keenan Allen - or whatever is left in his knees, Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon and Philip Rivers.
49ers win Round 1?
San Francisco, in the first year under new general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s regime, got an extra third and an extra fourth-round pick in this year’s draft and another third-round selection in next season’s draft due to their trade with the Bears.
BEARS FANS DON'T READ THIS.— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 28, 2017
49ers fans ... good trade.
The 49ers then worked their way back into the first round with the 31st overall pick (trading with the Seattle Seahawks) and grabbed Reuben Foster, who had a crazy slide to the second to last pick of the first round.
The Seahawks got the 49ers’ 34th overall pick in return as well as the fourth round pick the 49ers received from the Bears earlier in the night.
All the talk about Trubisky going second to either the 49ers or the Browns via trade paid off, and the Californians were able to have their cake - Thomas, and eat it, too.
The shocking trades didn’t end up there as the Chiefs traded with the Bills and took Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II with the 10th overall pick. That put a lot of pressure on the Texans, who had to surrender their 2018 first rounder to be able to get National Championship game’s MVP, Clemson star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Most pundits thought Houston wanted Mahomes, and Kansas City leapfrogged them to get the quarterback. Cleveland now owns many of the Texans’ draft picks next year, although they are still looking for a better quarterback than Brock Osweiler...
Texans building the Browns dynasty piece by piece— Elliot Harrison (@HarrisonNFL) April 28, 2017
Trubisky, Mahomes and Watson were the only three quarterbacks taken in Round 1.
All these moves favored teams who were looking for defenders, like the Saints, who were able to get Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the 11th pick, and the Jets, who added LSU safety Jamal Adams - son of former Giants running back George Adams. The Colts also snatched up Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 15th selection, which was much further than he was expected to fall. Hooker was projected to go in the first seven picks by nearly all draft experts.
The 2016 Chuck Bednarik Award recipient Jonathan Allen slipped considerably but if he’s healthy, Washington might land the steal of the draft. The Alabama defensive lineman was considered one of the top three players on many big boards. His shoulder issues surely hurt his stock, but he still had 41.5 sacks in three years as a starter for Nick Saban’s star-studded team.
Another notable guy to fall down the board was tight end O.J. Howard. The Alabama product was rumored to be in the conversation for the Bengals pick, but he’ll have to settle for the Buccaneers, who picked him 19th. For different reasons, Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley had to wait until the Raiders took him five spots later at pick 24 when he appeared to be locked in as a top 20 pick. Recent allegations against him changed that. He will have the pleasure to go and try tackle Marshawn Lynch in practice in Oakland.
Ohio State just became the second team ever to have three DB's selected in the first round in the same year (Miami, 2002).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 28, 2017
AFC North additions
Elsewhere in the AFC North the Browns loaded up on defense with Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, a very intriguing prospect who could provide a lot of versatility, and then added Miami tight end David Njoku with the 29th pick after trading back into the first round again with the Packers. Baltimore didn’t address their need for sacks although tried to trade up to do so. The Ravens could have selected McKinley, but “FINE ME LATER!”
Commissioner Roger Goodell only avoided getting booed when the Steelers were to announce their pick, as the NFL paid tribute to late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney. They brought Hall of Famers Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis in to make the 30th pick, which Pittsburgh used to select linebacker T.J. Watt out of Wisconsin.
Otherwise Goodell got roasted, as usual, but it was especially loud when he first went on to stage. He looked visibly bothered by the jeers, although you might wonder what he was expecting from a city that once booed his nemesis, Santa Claus.
The Seahawks turned their 26th round into the 34th, 95th, 111th and 249th picks after a trade with the Falcons for Takkarist “Fine Me Later” McKinley. The Packers were the only other team to trade out of the first round tonight.
That was a pretty fun Round 1. Who’s ready for Rounds 2-3 tonight?