Well, Day 1 of the NFL Draft went exactly as expected in the sense that it was completely unexpected.
It couldn’t go off the rails because it was never on rails to begin with. The first five picks came on the defensive side of the ball (the longest streak without an offensive player since 1991), six receivers went in the top 20, and there were nine total trades — one of which involving the Buccaneers!
Tampa traded No. 27 overall to Jacksonville for picks 33, 106 and 180, so their first selection will lead off Day 2. While we wait even longer, why not take some more stabs at predicting picks? No trades this time, I think we can agree that’s a fruitless exercise at this point.
33. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Logan Hall, DL, Houston
It’s not sexy and people will be annoyed about losing out on Devonte Wyatt and Lewis Cine, but Jason Licht made a saavy move trading down here.
The team clearly identified a pool of talent they felt good about and knew they’d still get their hands on an impact prospect with a move down the board. In this scenario, they get a player they clearly like while getting some valuable mid-round picks, which other teams clearly coveted as well during their trade downs.
Logan Hall can join the rotation immediately and might be reminiscent of a more dynamic William Gholston with time. The Houston product has a tweener body type but that won’t really bother Todd Bowles, who will move Hall around the formation to create mismatches like he normally does.
With excellent strength in his hands and lower body, as well as a constantly revving motor, Hall could become an intimidating presence as he fills out his frame and expands his pass rushing toolbox.
34. Minnesota Vikings: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
35. Tennessee Titans: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
I made this pick in my first round mock and I need to stick by it. Still think it makes plenty of sense for a Titans team that apparently wants to cut payroll and has an aging QB with a chunky cap hit.
36. New York Giants: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
37. Houston Texans: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
38. New York Jets: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
The Jets come away with immediate contributors at all three levels of the defense with Sauce Gardner, Jermaine Johnson and now Muma in the top 40 picks. Robert Saleh’s defense is finally starting to get some horses with real potential.
39. Chicago Bears: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
40. Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Hard to know what the league really thinks about Willis at this point given his tumble out of the first, but his sheer throwing talent is obvious if a team is willing to be patient with him. The Seahawks need to swing on a signal caller, so it’s one of Willis, Sam Howell or Matt Corral here.
41. Seattle Seahawks: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
42. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
43. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Sure seems like the Falcons are poised to roll the dice on a QB at some point on Day 2. Not sure why given the state of their roster, but their process hasn’t exactly been sound in recent years. Howell is far from perfect but he can add verticality to the offense and is a threat with his legs.
44. Cleveland Browns: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
45. Baltimore Ravens: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
How do we keep letting the Ravens get away with this? Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum and Kyler Gordon would be absolutely bonkers, and there’s a very real chance all three start Week 1.
46. Detroit Lions: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
47. Washington Commanders: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
The Commanders panicked for Carson Wentz, and I would expect they insulate themselves from the potentially harsh recoil of that rash decision. Corral needs a lot of seasoning but he’s got the right mentality and tools.
48. Chicago Bears: Bernhard Raimann, OL, Central Michigan
49. New Orleans Saints: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
The Saints hit on their big needs with WR Chris Olave and LT Trevor Penning in the top 20, so now might be a good time to turn attention to the defense. Cross is a tone setter who can work in the box and on tight ends, which would allow them to replace the retired Malcolm Jenkins.
50. Kansas City Chiefs: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
51. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
The Eagles love keeping a deep backfield with diverse runners, and that should especially be a priority with Miles Sanders’s injury history and expiring contract. Walker is a mighty back who is excellent at creating for himself and fighting through contact. He could very well supplant Sanders as the starter by year’s end.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Jones, DL, Connecticut
53. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
54. New England Patriots: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
55. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
56. Dallas Cowboys: Nik Bonitto, EDGE, Oklahoma
57. Buffalo Bills: Dylan Parham, OG, Memphis
58. Atlanta Falcons: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
Rumored to be a potential surprise first rounder, Jackson is a talented athlete whose fit has been muddy since his college days. However, he’d be going to a creative defensive coordinator in Dean Pees. The Falcons desperately need edge rusher help and the crop dries up fast after a big run.
59. Green Bay Packers: Luke Goedeke, OL, Central Michigan
60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
Going to stick with my initial pick here, but I do still think the team will have to trade up to ensure it happens — unless Licht decides to pick him at 33, of course.
McBride isn’t flashy, but he’s a well-rounded player who will operate as an effective blocker and safety valve for Tom Brady.