How’s this for some knee-jerk reactions made years before any of us actually knows what the heck will become of the 32 players selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night?
Let’s start with a receiver going to a certain purple-clad squad with the pick it got for shipping pouty receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo.
• Liked the 22nd overall pick of LSU’s Justin Jefferson in part because no one is making excuses for a Vikings first-round receiver who’s clearly too slow (Laquon Treadwell) or clearly too raw and unproductive (Troy Williamson). Jefferson ran a 4.43 at the combine and caught 111 balls with 18 touchdowns for the 15-0 national champs.
• Also liked the Vikings trading down from No. 25 to 31 and getting two extra picks at Nos. 117 and 176. The Vikings have a lot of holes to fill and there wasn’t much difference in value from 25 to 31.
Now on to the top 10.
• Loved the first three picks, although Lions fans should be disappointed their team didn’t lie, er, smoke screen its way into getting the Dolphins or Chargers to come up to No. 3 for their quarterback.
In time, No. 1 pick Joe Burrow can be the QB who transforms even the moribund Bengals.
At No. 2, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young will immediately team with Redskins 2018 first-round pick Montez Sweat to terrorize QBs and improve a league-worst third down defense that gave up first downs at a whopping 48.9% clip.
And, at No. 3, Detroit’s 28th-ranked pass defense grabbed the best cornerback in Jeff Okudah.
• Hated the fourth pick by the Giants. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas didn’t seem like the best of the five tackles that went in the top 18 picks.
• No top-10 trades for the first time since 2015, but three QBs went in the top six. Liked Justin Herbert to the Chargers at No. 6 better than Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 to Miami.
Of course, with five first-round picks in the 2020-21 drafts, the Dolphins could afford to take a medical risk on the guy who will essentially redshirt a year before becoming the 22nd Miami starter in over two decades to try and replace Dan Marino successfully.
• Arizona, which robbed the Texans of receiver DeAndre Hopkins earlier this offseason, got the steal of the top 10 with Clemson’s “positionless” defender Isaiah Simmons. The 6-4, 238-pounder with the 4.39 speed can cover an All-Pro tight end one week, spy a mobile QB the next, blitz a stationary passer the week after that and play safety or big nickel another week.
• It’s always risky to give the Browns a pat on the back in the spring.
But after watching Greg Robinson play 15 games at left tackle last year, it was nice to see Kevin Stefanski’s new team add offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.
He’ll team nicely with prized free-agent acquisition Jack Conklin, a young former All-Pro, stay at right tackle.
• The second-best steal of the top half of the draft was the Jets getting Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton at No. 11.
Sam Darnold didn’t get a receiver, but he got a 6-7, 364-pound blind side protector who is so athletic he ran a 5.1 40 at the combine.
• There was a win-win with the first trade of the draft. The Bucs moved up one spot to take perhaps the best tackle of the draft in Iowa’s huge and athletic Tristan Wirfs. He’ll start at right tackle right away.
Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion 49ers get not only another crazy disruptive pass rusher in tackle Javon Kinlaw but extra picks they desperately needed.
• Would love to have seen an unfiltered response from Aaron Rodgers after the Packers traded up from No. 30 to 26 to take his heir apparent, Utah State’s Jordan Love.
Oh, the irony. Brett Favre was 35 and begging for more help when the Packers did this to him with the 24th pick in 2005. Rodgers is 36 and is clearly frustrated with his targets.
And the Packers not only look to the future, they trade away more picks to do so.