The Cowboys’ best move was last season’s trade of their first-round pick to the Raiders for Amari Cooper. He’s better than any WR the Cowboys could have gotten in this draft. They did okay with the picks they actually got to use, addressing needs along the offensive and defensive lines. Second-round DT Trysten Hill should help but might have been taken too early.
The Giants had two first-rounders entering the draft and added a third. But there’s room to wonder about each of their opening-round choices. Was the No. 6 pick far too high for QB Daniel Jones? Was the No. 17 selection too lofty for DT Dexter Lawrence? Did they take the right CB at No. 30 with Deandre Baker? Should they have added a pass rusher before third-rounder Oshane Ximines? It’ll all fine in the long run if Jones succeeds as the successor to Eli Manning. For now, you must take a leap of faith to trust GM Dave Gettleman.
Trading up to take T Andre Dillard 22nd was one of the best moves of the draft. The Eagles got the best pass-blocking offensive tackle available. Dillard might not start immediately but is there to take over whenever Jason Peters’s career is done. The two second-rounders, RB Miles Sanders and WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, fit in nicely. Sanders could have a significant role as a rookie.
There’s plenty to like here. It’s all so un-Redskins-like. They resisted the urge to move up or trade for Josh Rosen, stayed put at No. 15 and got the QB they wanted in Dwayne Haskins. There are questions about his mobility, but he’s a gifted pocket passer and it wouldn’t be shocking if he’s the Week 1 starter. Pass rusher Montez Sweat will turn out to be a steal at No. 26 if his health-related concerns indeed arose from a misdiagnosis. Getting speedy WR Terry McLaurin in the third round helps, and using a fourth-round choice on RB Bryce Love is intriguing.
The Bears, like the Cowboys, can take solace in the fact that the player they got last year from the Raiders — Khalil Mack, in Chicago’s case — is better than anyone they could have gotten in this draft if they had kept the first-round pick they traded away. The Bears also helped themselves by getting RB David Montgomery in the third round. He can split carries with Tarik Cohen as a replacement for Jordan Howard.
The Lions began well by using the No. 8 pick on T.J. Hockenson, getting a difference-making TE one year after they tried but failed to trade for Rob Gronkowski. From there, however, it was easy to wonder whether every player Detroit picked came off the board too soon.
Using the 12th selection on pass rusher Rashan Gary is a risk. He’s talented, but his production at Michigan never lived up to his promise. Trading up to use the 21st selection on S Darnell Savage Jr. is puzzling. He has speed, and he’s a good prospect. But few had him rated so highly, and the Packers probably could have gotten him later.
The Vikings’ best pick was getting TE Irv Smith in the middle of the second round. His presence will help QB Kirk Cousins as he and the Vikings try to rebound from Cousins’s highly disappointing first year in Minnesota. Bolstering Cousins’s offensive line with first-round C Garrett Bradbury also was wise.
It’s rarely a bad idea to focus on upgrading the offensive line. But the players you choose have to be good values. The Falcons used the 14th choice on G Chris Lindstrom and the 31st selection on T Kaleb McGary, and each was a reach.
Getting QB Will Grier in the third round was a plus; Cam Newton is coming off his second shoulder surgery in less than two years. Grier is a decent long-term prospect, and he could be a better short-term alternative at QB, if Newton’s shoulder woes aren’t behind him, than the Panthers have had. Pass rusher Brian Burns was well worth the 16th selection, and second-round T Greg Little fills a pressing need.
The Saints had few picks and few glaring needs. They had to fortify the middle of their offensive line after C Max Unger’s retirement, and they did so immediately by using their second-round choice on C/G Erik McCoy.
The Buccaneers needed to bolster their defense, and they did just that, devoting each of their first five selections to that unit. Taking LB Devin White fifth was justified, particularly after losing Kwon Alexander in free agency.
There’s no problem with being enamored with Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning QB, and taking him with the first pick. Maybe he’ll be a star; perhaps he won’t. He’s worth taking that shot. But using top-10 picks on QBs in two straight drafts is no way to build a roster. The Cardinals got only a low second-round pick in this draft and a fifth-rounder next year for Josh Rosen a year after surrendering quite a bit to move up to select him 10th. That’s not exactly resourceful. Being able to get Byron Murphy, perhaps the draft’s best CB, to lead off the second round was good value.
The defending NFC champs traded out of the first round but did extremely well by getting S Taylor Rapp late in the second. The first of their three third-round choices was RB Darrell Henderson, perhaps a reflection of lingering concerns about Todd Gurley’s workload and the condition of his knee.
You’re supposed to get good players, and you’re supposed to get better when you have the picks the 49ers had. They appear to have cashed in reasonably well. Taking pass rusher Nick Bosa with the second pick was the right move. Adding WR Deebo Samuel near the top of the second round gives QB Jimmy Garoppolo a playmaking receiver. But using a fourth-round pick on a punter? That’s a bit odd, no matter how good Mitch Wishnowsky is.
Seattle’s best move was getting WR D.K. Metcalf at the end of the second round. There are questions about his agility, but he is a physical marvel who should add a big-play dimension to the offense, and he could be particularly valuable given the questions about Doug Baldwin’s future. Seattle addressed needs on defense earlier in the draft, but it’s debatable whether first-round DE L.J. Collier and second-round S Marquise Blair were good values.
Every team in the AFC East had a good draft, but the Bills seem to have had the best haul of the group. The Jets, Bills and Dolphins grabbed first-round DTs, putting the Patriots’ offensive line on notice. The Bills got the best bargain with theirs; Ed Oliver fell to them at No. 9. Second-rounder Cody Ford will help the offensive line, and both third-rounders, RB Devin Singletary and TE Dawson Knox, could be playmaking contributors to aid second-year QB Josh Allen.
The Dolphins traded down in the second round before using that pick in the deal to get Josh Rosen. That was a major discount for a QB drafted in the top 10 a year ago. Miami did well in that deal, and using the 13th pick on DT Christian Wilkins provides a badly needed upgrade to the run defense.
The Super Bowl champs made five picks in the first three rounds and used them well. It’s easy to envision first-round WR N’Keal Harry, second-round CB Joejuan Williams and third-round pass rusher Chase Winovich having roles as rookies. QB Jarrett Stidham was a terrific value pick late in the fourth round. Could he be Tom Brady’s eventual successor?
The Jets upgraded their offensive and defensive lines. They made the proper and obvious move at No. 3 by taking DT Quinnen Williams. He could be dominant. They helped their pass rush with one third-rounder, DE Jachai Polite, and patched the interior of their offensive line with another, G/T Chuma Edoga.
The Ravens’ first draft since Eric DeCosta took over for Ozzie Newsome as general manager went well. Big-play WRs joined the offense with first-rounder Marquise Brown and third-rounder Miles Boykin. Third-rounder Jaylon Ferguson brings the potential to help the pass rush after the departures of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs in free agency.
Using a fourth-rounder on QB Ryan Finley is interesting. The arrival of Zac Taylor, the team’s new coach, has made Andy Dalton’s job security a bit tenuous. The Bengals missed out on getting LB Devin Bush when the Steelers traded ahead of them in the opening round but added potential contributors in first-round T/G Jonah Williams, second-round TE Drew Sample and third-round LB Germaine Pratt.
The Browns were in the unfamiliar position of tweaking a strong roster instead of trying to launch a rebuild. Their first-round pick went to the Giants this offseason in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. They’re certainly fine with how that turned out. Getting CB Greedy Williams midway through the second round was another solid move by GM John Dorsey.
The Steelers are not known for making bold trades to move up, but they acted decisively in the first round to climb 10 spots for LB Devin Bush. He fits in well. The Steelers needed WR help after trading Antonio Brown and used a third-rounder gained in that deal on Diontae Johnson. The Steelers have had great success getting productive wideouts later than the first round.
The Texans had to upgrade their offensive line after Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times. They did just that, taking Ts Tytus Howard and Max Scharping in the first two rounds. But they get marked down for being outmaneuvered by the Eagles when Philadelphia traded one spot ahead to get Andre Dillard, regarded as the draft’s best pass-blocking offensive tackle, with the 22nd pick.
GM Chris Ballard gets the benefit of every doubt, at least for a while, after drafting first-team all-pros Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard a year ago. Ballard traded out of the first round this year and did well in the second by getting CB Rock Ya-Sin, edge rusher Ben Banogu and WR Parris Campbell.
The Jaguars were more lucky than good, but that’s a big part of doing well in the draft. They benefited when pass rusher Josh Allen fell to them at No. 7. T Jawaan Taylor might have been an option for them there, but he dropped all the way into the second round before the Jaguars moved up to get him 35th. If concerns about a knee injury are overblown, that will be one of the heists of this draft.
There might be a sizable payoff for taking DT Jeffery Simmons 19th, given that many believe he has top-five talent. But that payoff won’t come soon; Simmons is recovering from a torn ACL. In such a competitive division and coming off a non-playoff season, could the Titans really afford to use their first-rounder on a player headed toward, essentially, a redshirt season?
John Elway did well by helping his new QB, Joe Flacco, and giving the Broncos a potential replacement for the former Super Bowl MVP. Getting TE Noah Fant in the first round and T Dalton Risner early in the second round boosts Flacco’s chances of success. Elway moved up to stop QB Drew Lock’s draft plummet 10 picks into the second round. It’s a good situation for Lock, but will this work out better than Elway’s other recent attempts to find a long-term solution at QB?
Did the Chiefs signal their intentions about how they’ll address the off-field issues facing Tyreek Hill by drafting a speedy WR and kick returner, Mecole Hardman, in the second round? That seemed telling. Fellow second-rounder Juan Thornhill could help immediately in the secondary.
First-round DT Jerry Tillery and second-round S Nasir Adderley will help. But third-round T Trey Pipkins faces quite a jump from the University of Sioux Falls. Should the Chargers have taken a more aggressive approach to adding a QB rather than waiting until the fifth round and choosing North Dakota State’s Easton Stick? Philip Rivers can’t play forever.
This isn’t about whether the Raiders got good players. They did. It’s about whether they got the most out of their picks. They didn’t. Using the fourth choice on pass rusher Clelin Ferrell and the 27th on S Johnathan Abram meant they didn’t maximize the value of those picks. The Raiders’ roster is better than it was before the draft. But it remains worse than it was before they traded Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.