Still, some moves made more sense than others. Let’s take a look at the best picks as well as some of the most confusing decisions of Round 1.
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (No. 5 overall)
The Dolphins nailed the draft by not getting cute. They didn’t need to trade up to land a potential franchise quarterback in Tagovailoa or his blind-side protector in Southern California left tackle Austin Jackson at No. 18. Then they managed to trade down and add a fourth-round pick before taking Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene at No. 30. The Dolphins spent big money on their cornerbacks, but Igbinoghene could play the slot.
Ultimately, the most important player here is Tagovailoa. Clearly, Miami’s medical team was fine with his injured hip. The Dolphins won the first round.
Los Angeles Chargers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (No. 23)
It was a great first round for the Chargers. They stayed put at No. 6 and still landed their quarterback of choice: Oregon’s Justin Herbert is a big, talented passer with lots of potential. But I might have been more impressed with their bold move to trade up and land Murray, the second-best off-ball linebacker in this draft.
General Manager Tom Telesco knew he needed to get ahead of the New Orleans Saints at No. 24. Murray fills a need for a defense that already has a lot of talent in the back seven. The Chargers have had a great offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa (No. 13)
The Bucs were lucky and smart. They benefited when Wirfs, who could have gone as early as fourth, fell to No. 13, but they were wise to move up a spot and add a potential starting right tackle for soon-to-be 43-year-old Tom Brady.
Tampa Bay has Brady, a great wide receiver duo in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, tight end Rob Gronkowski and now the missing piece on its offensive line.
Jacksonville Jaguars: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida (No. 9)
The Jaguars had to rebuild their defense, and they nailed it with their two first-round picks. Henderson helps fill the void left after the Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye trades, and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, the No. 20 pick, is a dynamic edge rusher.
Those are two really good players at premium positions on defense. Now the Jaguars just need to figure out a way to trade disgruntled edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
San Francisco 49ers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (No. 14)
Kinlaw is a good player, and the 49ers deserve credit for adding him and Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, the 25th pick. They are talented prospects who fill their most important roster needs.
The thing I can’t get past is that by trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, the 49ers swapped Buckner and a seventh-round pick for Kinlaw and a fourth-round pick (which they received from the Bucs after dropping from No. 13 to No. 14). Clearly, salary cap considerations came into play, but Buckner is one of the three best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Kinlaw will have to play really well to match his impact.
Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (No. 26)
The Packers are supposed to be in win-now mode with Aaron Rodgers. That’s why trading for Love seems a little strange. Love is a first-round talent, but he’s not going to help Green Bay this year. Rookie quarterbacks are going to have a harder time than usual because of the shortened or canceled offseason amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Not only did Green Bay not get Rodgers a wide receiver he really needs, but drafting his successor might not make him very happy. Brett Favre wasn’t when the Packers drafted Rodgers in the first round in 2005.
Seattle Seahawks: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech (No. 27)
Given his impressive draft record, General Manager John Schneider has earned the benefit of the doubt. But taking Brooks defied all expectations. It was surprising enough that Seattle didn’t trade back, as it often does, but at No. 27, a pass-rushing defensive end was its biggest need.
There simply isn’t a need for an inside linebacker on this team. Bobby Wagner turns 30 in June and K.J. Wright will be 31 in July, but they still play well. Cody Barton, a third-round pick last year, is expected to be the starting strong-side linebacker. Bruce Irvin can also play there if needed.
Brooks is a tackle machine, and perhaps Schneider will work out a trade for Ngakoue or sign Everson Griffen to fill the void at edge rusher. But as of now, there isn’t a clear path for Brooks to play a big role this year.
New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan (No. 24)
Speaking of decision-makers who deserve the benefit of the doubt, Sean Payton knows how to identify quality offensive linemen. And Ruiz was a first-round talent.
But the Saints drafted a center, Erik McCoy, in the second round last year. Guard Larry Warford is entering the final year of his deal, but New Orleans doesn’t need another starter on the offensive line. For a team that is in win-now mode at the end of Drew Brees’s career, it was a curious pick.