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The Bellarion

The Bellarion

The Bellarion

Shocks and Steals on Draft Night

The NFL Draft kicked off with 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.
Property of the National Football League
Property of the National Football League

On Thursday, April 25, the first round of the NFL Draft took place. Rounds 2 and 3 happened on Friday, April 26, followed by rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 27.  

To no surprise, Caleb Williams went first overall to the Chicago Bears. Given he was the star quarterback out of USC, the Bears desperately needed a quarterback after trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. After winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022, this Bears future star will hopefully shine in Chicago. 

With the second overall pick, the Washington Commanders selected Jayden Daniels, quarterback out of LSU. Another Heisman Trophy winner (2023), Daniels is a good fit for Washington, as they also needed a quarterback due to the trading of Sam Howell to the Seattle Seahawks. Coming off a 4-13 season, the Commanders are hoping they’ve found their franchise quarterback. 

Going third overall to the New England Patriots was Drake Maye, quarterback out of North Carolina. Along with Washington and Chicago, the Patriots needed a quarterback after trading Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maye broke several records while playing for UNC, which makes him an elite quarterback with shoes to fill, especially for the New England franchise.  

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With the first non-quarterback selection (only for 4 picks), the Arizona Cardinals selected Marvin Harrison Jr., son of former NFL receiver Marvin Harrison. Harrison Jr. played at Ohio State for three seasons, breaking numerous records. Although Arizona does not have the strongest receiver core, Kyler Murray will now have a strong target to throw to.  

The Los Angeles Chargers held the fifth pick overall, selecting an offensive lineman out of the University of Notre Dame, Joe Alt. The Chargers already have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, but they needed a strong physical player up front, leading to Alt’s pick. It is rare for a lineman to go early in the draft, but Joe Alt seems to be the best chance at success. 

Taking the second receiver off the board, the New York Giants drafted Malik Nabers out of LSU. The Giants just signed Daniel Jones to a 4-year, $160 million dollar deal, who now has a solid receiver to throw to. Nabers put up 1,569 yards this season and is now LSU’s all-time leader in receiving yards for their collegiate career.  

The Tennessee Titans held the seventh pick in the draft, selecting offensive tackle, JC Latham out of the University of Alabama. He only allowed two sacks in his last two seasons at Alabama, which is why he was taken so early. Latham played all four years at Alabama which ended working out for him in the long run. 

The Atlanta Falcons shocked the NFL world by drafting a quarterback after signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million dollar contract. Micheal Penix Jr, quarterback out of the University of Washington. Penix broke a couple records while playing at Washington. Not a lot of people expected Atlanta to draft a quarterback especially with Kirk Cousins, and backup being Taylor Heinicke.  

Holding the ninth pick in the draft, the Chicago Bears had a second first-round pick. After drafting Caleb Williams, the team wanted a breakout receiver, which led to them drafting Rome Odunze out of Washington. Odunze led the nation in receiving yards. He played a huge role in Washingtons National Championship game against Michigan.  

After trading Kirk Cousins to the Falcons, the Vikings were due for a quarterback. Drafting JJ McCarthy out of the University of Michigan. McCarthy breaking a lot of records, along with winning a National Championship this past season. He finished his college career with a 27-1 record, only losing to TCU in the 2022 CFP. He got drafted into a “near-perfect” situation ESPN reporters say. 

With the second offensive lineman taken off the board, the New York Jets selected Olu Fashanu out of Penn State. Fashanu allowed zero sacks and just 11 pressures this past season. Making it easy for the Jets to select now that Aaron Rodgers will be back this season. 

The Denver Broncos held the 12 pick in the draft. After trading Russell Wilson to the Steelers, with no surprise they decided to draft a quarterback. Bo Nix out of the University of Oregon will take a trip down south to Denver. Being a Heisman finalist and putting up high numbers at Oregon, this play-making quarterback will fit in Denver.  

With the 13 pick in the NFL Draft the Las Vegas Raiders selected huge play-maker Brock Bowers. Bowers is a tight end out of the University of Georgia, he averaged 12.1 yards per carry this season with seven touchdowns. All broke the school’s record. He is a dual threat in the backfield as well and can carry the ball for positive yardage.  

Taliese Fauga, offensive lineman from Oregon State is now on the New Orleans Saints. Fauga did not allow any sacks in his 2023 season. What got NFL scouts attention was his performance against first rounder Laiatu Latu. He has only allowed one sack in his collegiate career. Which makes him a “perfect” pick for New Orleans. 

Which brings us to the next pick, Laiatu Latu. An edge from UCLA, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. He recorded 34 tackles for loss, and 23.5 sacks throughout the past two seasons.   

The Seattle Seahawks held the 16 pick in the draft, taking defensive tackle, Byron Murphy II. Having six sacks, three hits, 164 run defensive snaps, 272 pass defensive snaps. Which will make him a great fit in Seattle. 

Minnesota had a second pick in the first round. After taking a quarterback, Minnesota went with an edge out of the University of Alabama, Dallas Turner. Tallying 10 sacks and 54 pressures, while winning SEC defensive player of the year. 

The Cincinnati Bengals held the 18 pick in the draft, they decided to get Amarius Mims, an offensive tackle out of the University of Georgia. He allowed zero sacks in his 372-career pass-blocking snaps.  

Jared Verse, an edge out of Florida State, was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams. He recorded 41 tackles, 12.5 of those were for a loss, nine sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, one forced-fumble, one fumble recovery, and one blocked kick.  

With another offensive lineman taken, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Troy Fautanu out of the University of Washington. Just allowing two sacks his 2023 season. 

With another edge taken, the Miami Dolphins selected Chop Robinson out of Penn State. Having 15 tackles (12 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a pass deflection.  

The Philadelphia Eagles held the 22 pick in the draft, drafting Quinyon Mitchell, a cornerback out of Toledo. Mitchell ran the fastest 40-yard dash out of all the cornerbacks at the NFL combine. And putting up impressive numbers at Toledo.  

Having the 23 pick in the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Brian Thomas Jr. a wide receiver out of LSU. Recording 17 touchdowns with 1,177 yards and averaging around 20 yards per carry. 

With another cornerback taken, the Detroit Lions selected Terrion Arnold out of the University of Alabama. Arnold recorded 63 tackles, 12 pass breakups, and five interceptions. Which will make him a perfect fit in Detroit. 

Back to the offensive lineman, the Green Bay Packers selected Jordan Morgan out of the University of Arizona. Bouncing back from an ACL-injury, he just allowed two sacks and 14 pressures coming back from the injury. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the 26 pick in the draft, after signing Baker Mayfield to a 3-year $100 million dollar contract. The Bucs needed a lineman. Which led to them drafting Graham Barton, a center out of Duke. Only giving up two sacks in the 2023 season. 

The Arizona Cardinals drafted Darius Robinson, an edge out of Missouri. Recording 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. As well as making the first team all-SEC.  

With another receiver taken, the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Xaiver Worthy out of the University of Texas. He had 2,755 yards and 26 touchdowns in 39 starts at Texas. He also broke the 40-yard dash record, beating John Ross with a 4.21 time.  

The Dallas Cowboys selected Tyler Guyton, an offensive tackle out of the University of Oklahoma. Only allowing two sacks, and no quarterback hits in his 2023 season.  

The hometown Baltimore Ravens selected Nate Wiggins, a cornerback out of Clemson. Running a 4.3 40-yard dash and having a record setting game against UNC, having eight tackles. 

The San Francisco 49ers selected wide receiver Ricky Pearsall out of the University of Florida. Leading the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving yards per game, he will fit in with Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. 

The Carolina Panthers traded up to even have a first-round pick, using this to draft Xavier Legette a wide receiver out of the University of South Carolina, logged 113 career receptions for 1,678 yards with 12 receiving touchdowns and one kickoff return for a score.  

As rookie mini camps start, these new players must prove their talent. First camps start next week on May 13th.