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One 1st Round draft observation for all 32 NFL teams

Round One of the 2024 NFL Draft started slowly but picked up steam as it progressed, providing the requisite twists and turns we’ve come to expect. Here is one draft observation for all 32 teams from the opening night of the nation’s best non-sporting sporting event.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills — The Bills traded their pick in Round One (#32) to the Panthers, and now open Day Two with the first pick in the second round. There is plenty of talent available, particularly at wide receiver, where Buffalo needs help in the wake of the departures of Steffon Diggs and Gabe Davis. University of Texas receiver Adonai Mitchell or Georgia’s Ladd McConkey could be targets for the Bills.

Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins did the responsible thing and grabbed edge rusher Chop Robinson of Penn State to fill a need on the defensive side of the ball. But with Xavier Worthy and his 4.21 speed on the board, didn’t it feel like Miami would lean in that direction?

New England Patriots — The Patriots drafted Drake Maye to be their potential franchise quarterback. Maye is a boom or bust candidate for me, and it’s 50/50 on which way things will go.

New York Jets — The Jets drafted a big offensive tackle (Olu Fashanu) to protect Aaron Rodgers, and Rodgers immediately gave the selection his blessing. Still, I’m a little surprised New York didn’t opt for Brock Bowers. I know Rodgers can’t throw passes if he’s getting knocked down in the pocket. It’s just Bowers seems like the type of player Rodgers could turn into a star.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens got one of the draft’s best cover corners in Clemson’s Nate Wiggins. But Wiggins, at 6’2-190 pounds, is built on the slight side and doesn’t exactly relish contact. It will be interesting to see how he responds when divisional foes like the Steelers and Browns line up in bunch sets and make him be the force player on sweep and wide zone plays.

Cleveland Browns — The Browns don’t pick until late in the second round. And guess what? No one outside of Cleveland missed them. Sorry, Browns. You’re not that popular.

Cincinnati Bengals — The Bengals opted for massive Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims, who is 6’8-340 pounds with huge potential. Mims, however, made just eight starts in college and will need some seasoning before becoming an NFL regular. The ceiling is high on Mims, but the floor is low. It’s up to the Bengals to develop him.

Pittsburgh Steelers — The Steelers took a mauler in University of Washington tackle Troy Fautanu. Fautanu is a versatile lineman who can play all three positions and may kick inside to center. Pittsburgh continues to get bigger and more physical and looks to be going medieval on offense in 2024.

AFC South

Houston Texans — The Texans sat out Round One, but after a free agency period that was among the most ambitious in the NFL, they deserved the rest.

Indianapolis Colts — The Colts drafted at #15 overall and were the first team to choose a defensive player, opting for UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. How far away are we from the NFL just abandoning defense altogether and running nothing but routes-on-air?

Jacksonville Jaguars — The Jags took a speedster in LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr, who should help quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the passing game. Thomas better help, because my suspicion is Lawrence has one more year to reach the next level before the Jags start shopping for an alternative.

Tennessee Titans — The Titans selected Alabama tackle J.C. Latham at #7 overall, two picks after the Chargers nabbed Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. I’m sure Tennessee is happy with Latham. I’m also sure they’re furious they missed out on Alt.

AFC West

Denver Broncos — I know the Broncos needed a quarterback. But taking Bo Nix at #12 ahead of Bowers just seems silly.

Kansas City Chiefs — The Chiefs added Worthy’s blazing speed to a receiving corps that already acquired Marquise Brown in free agency. In a league hell-bent on promoting parity, this doesn’t seem fair.

Las Vegas Raiders — The Raiders nabbed Bowers, who was arguably the best player on the board when they selected. But with a huge need at cornerback, and with none yet taken, you can’t blame those who are scratching their heads at the pick.

Los Angeles Chargers — The Chargers lost Keenan Allen and Mike Williams earlier this off-season and were linked to wide receivers in just about every mock draft imaginable. And yet, with Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze on the board, they chose Joe Alt. Which simply goes to prove one thing: a leopard can’t change its spots, and neither can Jim Harbaugh.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys — The Cowboys took Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton, who is a physical specimen who should strengthen their aging offensive line. Guyton started just 14 games in college and is a raw prospect but his toughness and athleticism could make him a Day One starter in Dallas.

New York Giants — With Nix, J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix on the board, the Giants could have drafted a quarterback to challenge Daniel Jones. Instead, they opted for Nabers, the talented receiver from LSU. Head coach Brian Daboll appears to be hitching his coaching wagon to Jones. Time will tell whether this was a wise move or not.

Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles, picking 22nd, somehow had their choice of any cornerback on the board. They opted for Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell, who is an exceptional athlete who most analysts thought would be a Top 15 pick. How well Mitchell plays in new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s zone-heavy scheme is a small concern, but the consensus is Philly got a steal.

Washington Commanders — The Commies took LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick, prompting a quarterback frenzy that saw a record six signal-callers go in the first twelve spots. Daniels is an exceptional athlete who will need to use that trait behind a Washington line that yielded 65 sacks last season. If the slightly-built Daniels makes it through the season without an injury, it will be a miracle.

NFC North

Chicago Bears — The Bears nabbed Caleb Williams #1 overall and Odunze at #9. No team added more talent than Chicago on the night. Now it’s up to the Bears’ coaching staff to develop that talent effectively.

Detroit Lions — The Lions traded up from #29 to #24 to draft Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold. Arnold gives Detroit better depth in the secondary on what is becoming one of the deepest rosters in the league.

Green Bay Packers — The Packers might rival the Broncos for the reach of Round One. They selected Arizona lineman Jordan Morgan, whose versatility was said to be attractive to Green Bay. It’s surprising, though, that they didn’t choose Duke’s Graham Barton, a similarly versatile lineman with better film.

Minnesota Vikings — The Vikings lost quarterback Kirk Cousins and edge rusher Danielle Hunter this off-season, then deftly maneuvered through Round One to replace them with J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner. Landing Turner, who many expected to go to Atlanta at #8, with the 17th pick was a coup for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons created the biggest buzz of Round One when they nabbed Penix at #8 overall. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that newly-signed free agent QB Kirk Cousins apparently had no idea Atlanta was going to draft Penix. Awk-ward…

Carolina Panthers — The Panthers traded into Round One by acquiring Buffalo’s pick at #32 and took South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette, who reminds me of a bigger version of D.J. Moore. Carolina has now added two quality receivers in Legette and Diontae Johnson, both of whom should help embattled second-year quarterback Bryce Young.

New Orleans Saints — Saints fans were visibly thrilled when it was announced they had drafted Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga, who is one of the most pro-ready players in this class. Fuaga should be a major upgrade over the departed veterans he will supplant at tackle, Cam Erving and Andrus Peat.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Bucs got a dude in Barton, whose athleticism, position versatility and touch of nasty make him a stellar pro prospect.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals — The Cards made one of the safest picks in the draft at #4 overall when they took stud receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State. They complimented the Harrison pick with Missouri edge rusher Darius Robinson at #27, who has solid pro potential. It was a good night for my sister, who is one of perhaps seven Cardinals fans in the country.

Los Angeles Rams — The Rams picked Florida State edge rushed Jared Verse at #19, although I nearly wagered serious money on them trading up to select Bowers, who would be a dream fit in Sean McVay’s scheme. This is why I don’t bet.

San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers took slot receiver Ricky Pearsall from the University of Florida, which increased the likelihood that either Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk will be traded at some point during the draft. Stay tuned for that drama over the weekend.

Seattle Seahawks — The Hawks went for defensive tackle Byron Murphy II out of Texas, making Murphy the only interior defensive lineman drafted in Round One. I don’t know when the last time just one defensive tackle was taken in the first round, but as I write this it’s almost 2:00 in the morning and I’m too tired to look it up. Needless to say, Round One was all about the offense…


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