Welcome to another edition of the Onside Kick column. The NFL Draft is in the books, so this week, we’re going to take a look at all of the top ten picks and see how good they were on a scale of one to 10.
Pick 1: Joe Burrow, Quarterback, LSU
By the time draft night came around, everyone pretty much knew Joe Burrow would be taken at number one. He is the clear best player in the draft, having won the Heisman trophy and the College National Championship in his final season with LSU. The Ohio native is everything you want in a quarterback; strong, accurate, athletic and a good leader. Anything other than Burrow would have been a huge mistake here.
Pick 2: Chase Young, Edge Rusher, Ohio State
Rumours of a trade down for the Redskins circled in the hours leading up to the draft. But in the end, Bruce Allen stayed put at two and took the best defensive player in the class. This is a fantastic pick, as Young has the potential to turn into an all-time great edge rusher. The only criticism is that they’re already pretty good at that position, having drafted Montez Sweat in the first round last year and keeping hold of Ryan Kerrigan who has been one of the most productive pass rushers over the last few years.
Pick 3: Jeff Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State
After trading Darrius Slay to the Eagles earlier in the offseason, the Lions needed to improve at cornerback, and that’s exactly what they did at pick number three. Okudah could be a truly elite player in the NFL very quickly and is a fantastic replacement for Slay, who has been to the last three Pro Bowls. However, the Lions could have traded down with a quarterback-needy team- such as the Chargers or Dolphins- and still got Okudah there. Ultimately, though, you can’t criticise a pick that brings in an elite prospect at a big position of need.
New York Giants
Pick 4: Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Georgia
Now they have their future franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones, the Giants need to protect him. Anything other than an offensive tackle with this pick would have been disastrous, but Dave Gettleman came through and picked Andrew Thomas. While I believe Jedrick Wills is the best tackle in this class, Thomas is a close second and is sure to be a great addition to the team.
Pick 5: Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama
If it weren’t for an unfortunate string of injuries, Tua Tagovailoa would be in consideration to be the number one pick in this draft. As it is, he was still there to be taken by the Dolphins at five. Miami got themselves a true franchise quarterback in Tua, who has the potential to be better than the first overall pick, Joe Burrow. If he can sort out the injury problems, he could be an all-time great for the ‘Phins.
Los Angeles Chargers
Pick 6: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon
With their first pick in the draft, the Chargers took the third quarterback off the board in Justin Herbert. While you can’t criticise a team for taking a franchise quarterback when they clearly need one, Herbert is not as polished a quarterback as you should expect to get with the number six pick. Yes, he has an outrageously strong arm and is better with his legs than both Burrow and Tua. However, his consistency and decision making leave a lot to be desired and the Chargers may have to wait a while for him to develop into a true franchise quarterback.
Pick 7: Derrick Brown, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
With Cam Newton, Luke Keuchley and Greg Olsen all leaving the Panthers this offseason, it’s time for the start of a new era in Carolina. They started that by drafting Derrick Brown with their number seven pick. Even though Brown is an immensely talented player who dominated at the college level, the selection must be questioned. Isaiah Simmons was still on the board and linebacker was a much bigger need for the Panthers than defensive tackle. The Panthers got a great player in Brown but may regret passing on Simmons in future years.
Pick 8: Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker, Clemson
At pick number eight, Steve Keim continued his amazing offseason by capitalising on the Panthers mistake and securing the services of Isaiah Simmons. The linebacker was expected to be off the board by now and is possibly the best defensive player in this draft besides Young. He is the definition of versatility, being able to line up at linebacker, safety or edge rusher, and dominating at all three. The Cardinals have a talented young core and are now definitely playoff contenders and may even go further in 2020.
Pick 9: CJ Henderson, Cornerback, Florida
After trading away AJ Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars were in desperate need of help in the secondary. They got that help by picking CJ Henderson, who was clearly the second best cornerback in the draft behind Jeff Okudah. This was a little bit earlier than he was expected to go, but you can’t criticise the Jaguars for drafting an immediate starter at a position of need.
Pick 10: Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Jedrick Wills will be the best offensive lineman to come out of this draft, mark my words. So it’s an absolute steal that Cleveland managed to get him with their number 10 pick. Wills is as solid and as polished a tackle you could expect to get in the draft. Having also secured the services of Jack Conklin this offseason, Baker Mayfield will have a stout offensive line in front of him for his third season as the Browns starting quarterback. The only issue is Wills will have to switch positions from right tackle to left tackle to be able to fit into the starting line.
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