Winners and losers from the NFL draft’s first round: AFC East comes out firing

The NFL logo appears on an entrance door to the football stadium at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona February 2, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The opening round of the NFL draft Thursday night featured four quarterbacks chosen in the top 10. A fifth quarterback was taken with the round’s final pick. Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds became the first brothers selected in the first round of the same draft.

Which teams fared the best? Which made the most puzzling moves? Here are some early thoughts on that:


Ravens . . . Ozzie Newsome had a big night in the first round of his final draft as general manager. He traded down twice and still ended up with a player, at No. 25 overall, who fits in perfectly on offense, Hayden Hurst. The tight end from South Carolina will be extremely useful to quarterback Joe Flacco as the Ravens try to return to the postseason following three straight non-playoffs seasons. Then Newsome and the Ravens traded back up into the opening round to get Lamar Jackson at No. 32. He becomes the successor in waiting to Flacco at quarterback, and he’ll have the time he needs to learn and develop while waiting for his chance.

Jets . . . The Jets were fortunate as the moves made by the Browns and Giants allowed them to pick Sam Darnold third overall. Darnold had issues with turnovers, and some observers began to nitpick his throwing delivery. But he probably has the best chance of this celebrated QB draft class to be very good to great. The heavy price that the Jets paid to trade up three spots in their pre-draft deal with the Colts paid off handsomely as they landed the player who probably should have been the No. 1 overall selection.

Colts . . . They landed guard Quenton Nelson at No. 6. That’s good news for quarterback Andrew Luck, who is set to return after missing all of last season following shoulder surgery. The franchise finally has focused on upgrading Luck’s offensive line. And now General Manager Chris Ballard can utilize the trio of second-rounders, two of them in this draft, that he received from the Jets.

Patriots . . . They didn’t get an heir apparent to Tom Brady, at least not in the opening round. But the Patriots did plenty to help Brady by bolstering the offense around their five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. They used the 23rd pick, received from the Los Angeles Rams in the Brandin Cooks trade, on offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, who could be a factor immediately at either guard or tackle. The 31st choice was used on running back Sony Michel, a big-play threat who could step in as the replacement for the departed Dion Lewis.

Cardinals . . . When quarterback Josh Rosen dropped a bit, the Cardinals traded up to 10th to get him. That gave Arizona the most polished quarterback in this draft. The Cardinals added veterans Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon earlier this offseason. But Bradford’s lack of durability throughout his career and Glennon’s lack of production last season in Chicago don’t inspire much confidence. It might not take long for Rosen to be viewed as a viable starting candidate.

Falcons . . . The Falcons didn’t have to do anything for Calvin Ridley, viewed by many observers as the best wide receiver in this draft, to fall to them at No. 26. Ridley makes the Atlanta offense better and can be paired at wideout with a fellow Alabama alum, Julio Jones.

Bills . . . The Bills traded up twice, once for quarterback Josh Allen and once for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. These moves carry risks. Allen is wildly talented, with an otherworldly arm and excellent athleticism for a quarterback his size. But he has bust potential. He was only a 56 percent passer in two seasons as a college starter at Wyoming. He apologized after racially offensive comments posted on his Twitter account while he was in high school were reported the day before the draft. Edmunds is a talented but very young player who turns 20 next week. Will he be ready to be an NFL contributor as a rookie? Still, these are players who could become standouts, and for now the Bills get the benefit of the doubt for their boldness.


Saints . . . They traded up 13 spots in the first-round order, from 27th to 14th, and surrendered a first-round choice next year to Green Bay as part of the deal. That’s the kind of trade that is made for a quarterback or for a player at another position who is relatively certain to be a difference-maker. In this case, the Saints made the move to get pass rusher Marcus Davenport of Texas-San Antonio. While Davenport certainly has promise, it is far from a certainty that he’ll make a smooth transition from a less prominent college program to the NFL.

Cowboys . . . The Cowboys, fresh off releasing Dez Bryant, had their choice of wide receivers with the 19th pick. None had been taken. Not Ridley. Not D.J. Moore of Maryland. Instead, the Cowboys went with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. He is a promising player worth a mid-first-rounder. And he does address a need on the Dallas defense following the departure of Anthony Hitchens in free agency. But getting a wide receiver was the move to make, and the Cowboys squandered their chance to take Ridley or Moore.

Seahawks . . . The Seahawks did nothing to bolster their transitioning defense. And when they used the 27th overall selection on San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, they passed over fellow running backs Derrius Guice and Michel.

Browns . . . Look, the Browns are better than they were when Thursday began. They’re closer to respectability. But that’s supposed to be the case when you have the first and fourth overall picks in the draft. You’re supposed to be considerably better. The issue is whether the Browns made the most of those picks. They took Baker Mayfield at No. 1 when Darnold probably is the surest thing and the safest choice among the quarterbacks in this draft. They took cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4 when they could have taken N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb to pair him with Myles Garrett as bookend pass rushers. This is not to say that Mayfield and Ward have no chance to be excellent players. They do. But the belief here is that the Browns would have been better off with Darnold and Chubb.



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