After a, let's say, interesting Round 1 of the NFL Draft, Pro Football Weekly is back for more on Day 2. Let's get right to five critical questions.
1) What was the strangest pick of Round 1?
Hub Arkush: Kyler Murray but we've already beat that one to death so . . . I know many will say Tytus Howard to the Texans at 23, but he is an interesting prospect. So, even if they may have been able to get him one of their second-round picks, I'm going to let that one breath for a while and see what happens.
Try as I might, I can't find any respected analyst who saw Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 to Oakland or even in the top 15. Is he a first-round pick? Definitely. But in the top five he's just not great value, as every board I got info on — with the obvious exception of the Raiders — had him between 15 and 30, and the overwhelming majority had him in the the 20-to-32 range. Ferrell does not fit a "30" front, so he will have to be an end on a "40" D-line, and it's not certain he won't fare better on the left side than the right, where they're more valuable.
His 36 ½ TFLs and 21 sacks the past two seasons are very impressive, but when you realize he had two other first-round picks next to him with Dexter Lawrence commanding double- and triple-teams and Christian Wilkins also having to be doubled at times, you have to start digging a little deeper. He is an exceptionally high character kid — although again not quite in the mold of his teammate, Wilkins — and I truly hope he is a huge star who makes millions and has a long career. But it's not at all inconceivable the Raiders could have gotten him with their 24th pick where they took Josh Jacobs.
John Sahly: It had to be Ferrell at No. 4 to Oakland. We knew the Raiders would find a way to change up everybody's boards, but picking someone they could have had later that same night was classic Raiders.
Arthur Arkush: I thought Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 and Daniel Jones at No. 6 were ridiculous reaches. The good news for Raiders and Giants fans is that the Clemson pass rusher and Duke quarterback play premium positions and seem to have relatively safe floors.
But Ferrell isn’t in the same league as Khalil Mack, the fifth overall pick in 2014; and I don’t like Jones as much as three of the four first-round passers Dave Gettleman punted on last year when he had the second overall pick. We’ll discuss one of those a bit further below, but the Giants just didn’t come close to maximizing what turned out to be a three-prospect haul on Night 1, and the biggest reason is that they paid an extraordinary price for an ordinary QB prospect to kick off their night.
2) What was the best pick of Round 1?
Hub Arkush: I'm torn here so let me give you my big six and then I'll pick one. Quinnen Williams at three, Josh Allen at seven, T.J. Hockenson at 8, Dwayne Haskins at 15, Dexter Lawrence at 17 and Montez Sweat at 26. Williams is easily the best prospect in the draft, so getting him at three is big. I would have thought long and hard about taking Allen ahead of Nick Bosa, and Hockenson is the best TE prospect I've seen in a decade. So, like Williams to the Jets, for the Jaguars and Lions to sit still and have them fall to them is great luck.
I believe Haskins is the best QB prospect in this draft, and after all kinds of rumors Washington was moving up to get him, sitting still and having him fall to 15 as the third QB was huge, Lawrence is my favorite player in this draft, and I couldn't be happier for Sweat after all the rumors and reports the last few weeks, that he went in the first round. First and foremost, I hope Sweat gets more tests and opinions and that his heart is not an issue, but if he's healthy he was a top 10-to-12 talent and getting him at 26 is highway robbery. IF HE'S HEALTHY!
For best I have to go with Lawrence to the Giants at 17. Every time I turn on his tape, I see Ted Washington, Haloti Ngata or "Snacks" Harrison at his best, and if that's who Lawrence turns out to be, he is a great pick and a true steal at 17.
John Sahly: I had Josh Allen as one of the top three players in the draft, so to have him fall to No. 7 was stunning, and the Jaguars, despite having a few needs on the offensive side of the ball, added a really nice piece to a defense that should be better this year. He'll have time to adjust to the league and develop everything else he needs to do while he can simply go get the quarterback from Day 1.
Arthur Arkush: I loved Josh Allen to the Jaguars at No. 7, but that feels too obvious. So I’m going with the final pick of the round, which doubled as Bill Belichick’s first Round 1 foray at wide receiver in his nearly two decades in New England: N'Keal Harry.
No position featured more turnover for the Patriots, if not in the NFL, than their wide receivers a year ago. Harry doesn’t have Josh Gordon’s speed, but he’s a big, physical force who will be as effective in the Pats quick game as he is down the field. I expect him to pick things up quickly and give Tom Brady the kind of impact rookie at the position he’s never really had.
3) Who is the best player available?
Hub Arkush: It has to be D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Drew Lock, Parris Campbell or Greedy Williams, in that order. I mentioned in my Thursday night column one G.M. said there were no more than a dozen to 14 solid first-round talents in this draft. Two of them were Metcalf and Brown.
John Sahly: I'll show my Mizzou bias here but it's Drew Lock. How he got out of the first round escapes me.
Arthur Arkush: Josh Rosen. Wait, is that not what we’re looking for here? Fine. I’ll give you a couple prospects in a minute, but not before pointing out that Rosen is a 22-year-old potential franchise QB seemingly hiding in plain sight and potentially available for a mid Day 2 pick. Frankly, I’m surprised he’s not a Patriot yet.
As for kids in this class, Jawaan Taylor and D.K. Metcalf are the two best remaining talents, but Alabama’s Irv Smith is my guy.
4) Who set themselves up for good Day 2?
Hub Arkush: Again it depends on how you look at it. Indianapolis is now picking 34, 46, 59 and 89. After last year, you have to wonder if Chris Ballard isn't just playing in a league of his own in April.
If you're talking about by who they took Thursday night, the Raiders are sitting pretty after filling huge needs with the top running back prospect, Josh Jacobs, top safety prospect in Johnathan Abram and, while I didn't love where they took him, Ferrell should be a Day 1 starter who has a long career. Filling those needs as well as they did early allows them to now truly go best player available with all of their remaining picks. At 35 Friday night, we know Arizona and Indianapolis in front of them won't be drafting a quarterback, so unless they trade those picks, Gruden is in great position to still get Drew Lock, whom he allegedly covets.
John Sahly: I'm in agreement with Hub that it's Indianapolis. This is a draft stocked with Round 2 graded guys, and Ballard, who cleaned up on Day 2 of last year's draft, is armed with four picks. The Colts are going to be super interesting next season.
Arthur Arkush: With a trio of second-rounders (not to mention an extra second-rounder next year thanks to the trade back with Washington), Chris Ballard’s Colts clearly are ready to stampede — in this draft and perhaps in the season ahead.
I also like the maneuvering of the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night in the trade with the Atlanta Falcons that netted them an extra second- and third-rounder, and although I have questions on the pick they did make Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks have improved their draft positioning more than any NFL club over the past week.
5) Any changes on what you expect the Bears to do after a strange Round 1?
Hub Arkush: The gap between 32 and 87 is so huge that it's hard to say anything that happened Thursday night would impact the Bears. Many agree that cornerback is the Bears number three focus, and the fact that only one — Deandre Baker — went in the first round means there's a ton of good ones still on the board. And the same can be said about the running backs, but that was expected. The problem is, there could very well be a run at both positions over the 54 picks that will come ahead of the Bears if they stand pat, so it doesn't really matter.
I suppose it could incentivize them a little bit more to try and move up Friday night, but a move into the second round would almost certainly cost them one of next year's twos, and I really hope they don't do that. I thought Thursday night was one of the strangest first rounds I've ever seen, but it's still hard for me to see it having any impact on the Bears Friday night.
John Sahly: Entering the draft I thought Ryan Pace may try to move up, but given the talent remaining on the board, I see that as less of a possibility now. I think the player(s) the Bears want on Day 2 will be there.
Arthur Arkush: With 54 picks still in front of the Bears, it’s tough to say there should be any profound changes to their approach stemming from last night’s results. Perhaps the likelihood of a cornerback or even wide receiver at No. 87 went up a bit because of the surprisingly slow movement at those two positions.
On the other hand, the front-seven playmaker pipeline is drying up awfully fast, so if they don’t address one of the two aforementioned skill spots, running back feels even more now like their first play.