Winners: Arizona Cardinals & Tennessee Titans
Besides Kliff Kingsbury already being a winner for his ridiculous draft set-up, Arizona struck gold again on Day Two, despite only having one pick in the third round.
On Day One, the Cardinals somehow played the waiting game with the #8 pick and when Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons fell to them, walked away with one of the most versatile defensive players in recent memory. On Day Two, they followed the same strategy and scooped up huge Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones early in the third round, who many projected as a late-first round pick. The value at that pick can’t be overstated and they addressed a glaring need for their team with a legitimate starting potential talent.
I also loved what the Tennessee Titans did in terms of using a late second-round selection to snag LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton, who’s biggest knock is that’s he’s not a play-maker and instead projects as a pure coverage guy at the next level. Their late third-round choice showed that GM Jon Robinson and the gang had a plan, as they replaced Dion Lewis with an explosive and speedy scat-back in Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans. Evans can be a change-up runner who takes the workload off of Derrick Henry, while also being a more skilled receiver than Henry out of the backfield. All in all, a nice day for Tennessee.
Loser: New England Patriots
I know that the Patriots have their mysterious ways and can take a seventh-round bench warmer and turn him into an All-Pro player, but someone has to explain what the heck New England was doing on Friday night.
The Patriots threw the first wrench into things when they took Division II Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger off the board just five picks into the second round and from then on, things just kept getting stranger. I should note that I don’t mind the pick of Dugger overall, but the risk-reward factor at the spot with what was still available was classic New England. Maybe it is crazy enough to work, but probably not.
From there though, Alabama run-stopping linebacker Anfernee Jennings was a prototypical third-round pick, who will need to make some massive leaps to play consistently and then the franchise went all “2012 New York Islanders”, using their last two picks of the day in round three to pick two tight-ends. I personally don’t love how UCLA’s Devin Asiasi translates to the NFL and Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene was just an overall confounding choice, especially with Dayton’s Adam Trautman still available. No matter what way you view it though, two tight ends only ten picks apart is strange, even by New England standards.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
I didn’t love their first round, but grabbing Yettur Gross-Matos early in the second is a huge steal. They also got excellent value from safety Jeremy Chinn later in the second. Combined with their first round selection, they’ve added a lot of very promising pieces to their defense.
After four went in the first round, the market for QBs dried up on Friday, with only Jalen Hurts getting picked. That leaves a lot of big names like Jake Fromm still twisting in the wind, and players like Oregon State’s Jake Luton sliding further down the draft boards.
Winner: Wide Receivers
We heard heading into this draft that this wide receiver class is absolutely stacked. So far, it has lived up to the hype and then some. This wide receiver class set the record for the most receiver selections in the first two rounds of any NFL draft with 13 players being selected in the two rounds, and 16 wide receivers total through three rounds. The wide receivers have dominated this draft and have commanded value from almost all teams. Some teams have had such a priority in this positions that some teams. such as the Broncos, have already double dipped into this position. Even with 16 wide receivers taken, expect that number to easily blow by 20 after today’s run in the draft.
Loser: Green Bay Packers
Okay, I don’t think anyone has any idea what the Packers are doing in this draft. They were one game away from the Super Bowl last year. And instead of bulking up the defense, they drafted a QB in round one, a bulldozer running back in round two, and a BIG reach on a tight end in round three. I mentioned last winners and losers article that Jordan Love, the QB taken here, was a big winner for landing with the Packers. While the player won a draft position, this is a great example of a team losing on that pick as well. The Packers have yet to help their defense, and haven’t really moved the needle at all this draft. If the Packers goal was to piss of Aaron Rodgers this draft, I think they’ve done a good job of that.