Immediate Reactions to Some of the Big Round One Picks

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) attempts a pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Round one of the NFL Draft was expected to be one filled with unexpected outcomes, and we certainly got that. There were multiple trades, players that fell, and players that were drafted much, much higher than expected. Here are immediate reactions to some of the more surprising picks of the night.

No. 3, San Francisco 49ers- QB Trey Lance

The 49ers smoke screen worked. While the world assumed Mac Jones was the guy that Kyle Shanahan liked, Trey Lance emerged from the North Dakota tundra, and he is set to take over the reins for San Francisco’s offense. The Niners have said they will not be trading Jimmy Garoppolo, which tracks with Lance being the most raw QB prospect, but they’ve already fooled us once.

No. 9, Denver Broncos- CB Patrick Surtain II

Most everybody assumed that the Broncos would be a team in the quarterback market if one fell to them. Well, two of them fell (Justin Fields and Mac Jones), and yet the Broncos decided to go elsewhere. Very head-scratching that the pick was a cornerback, albeit one of the best in the class, when Denver just signed Kyle Fuller this offseason. Then again, if they pull of an Aaron Rodgers trade, all is forgiven.

TRADE: No. 11 to Chicago Bears- QB Justin Fields and No. 20 to New York Giants- Kadarius Toney

Justin Fields is a great pickup for Chicago and well worth the draft capital that they gave up under two conditions: 1) he stays healthy and 2) well, the Bears actually play him. As of now, they are insistent that Andy Dalton will be their 2021 starter. Maybe Chicago is scared that they might screw this one up too?

For New York, this is a no brainer. Pick up draft capital and move back after the top three receivers go off the board. Then, at 20 they still get a great slot weapon. You make this trade 10 times out of 10.

TRADE: No 14 to New York Jets- OL Alijah Vera-Tucker and No. 23 to Minnesota Vikings- OT Christian Darrisaw

The Minnesota Vikings may have won night one with this trade. Not only do they acquire two additional third round picks, but they still get their guy. It was a stressful couple hours over on The Draft Team’s live stream, but they did make the pick with a little help from their friends over in Las Vegas.

For New York, they did need some help along the offensive line, and they get one of the better players. That said, depending on how sold Las Vegas was on Alex Leatherwood (it seems like they were very high on him), they may have been able to get him at 23, anyway. This was an aggressive move that may have been unnecessary, but New York appears to be learning from mistakes they made with Sam Darnold.

No. 17, Las Vegas Raiders- OT Alex Leatherwood

Jon Gruden is nothing if not aggressive. Alex Leatherwood would have almost certainly been available near the Raiders second round pick, but they went and got him right away. The Raiders certainly need o-line help, but with Christian Darrisaw and even Teven Jenkins still on the board, this is a very questionable choice.

No. 25, Jacksonville Jaguars- RB Travis Etienne

The Jaguars could have gone in so many directions: offensive line, secondary, wide receiver…but they decide to go running back? Not only do they take a running back, but they take a running back that is the spitting image of someone already on the roster, James Robinson. Etienne is a great player, but I’m not sure how well he fits in Jacksonville.

No. 28, New Orleans Saints- DE Payton Turner

Look, the Raiders pick was bad, but at least Leatherwood has been a consensus early pick in Day Two. The Saints may have been able to get Payton Turner during day three, and there were so many other players available that would have made sense: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Trevon Moehrig, Eric Stokes, Elijah Moore, just to name a few. This may have been the worst pick of night one.