CBS SPORTS — During the recap of our CBSSports.com Draft Show Live, I broke down the “tale of two drafts” in which I mentioned the Rams and Jets.
Look at what these two teams did, and you see a total difference in how they approached a draft in which they each held two picks. The Jets stood pat in both their spots and came away with a pair of good players but a pair of players that don’t make as much as sense in terms of immediately improving them on either side of the ball.
On the other hand, the Rams grabbed a pair of playmakers who can step in and make a difference immediately with Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree. Rams GM Ed Snead moved up, moved down and ultimately got better players by being more aggressive and flexible.
These winners and losers will be update as necessary, and feel free to add your choices in the comments below.
Panthers: Dave Gettleman didn’t have to do anything to make a slam-dunk selection, but that doesn’t stop it from making him a monster winner. A run on offensive linemen sent a potential super (errrm) star to the Panthers in the form of Star Lotulelei. I called Star a “dream scenario” for Carolina and never thought it would happen. But it did, and Gettleman’s got to be giddy at getting a player of that caliber at No. 14.
Thomas Dimitroff: Love, love, love the way that Dimitroff works his draft board during the first day. For the second time in three years, we’ve seen the Falcons get aggressive and make a move up the board for a player they love. Going to get Julio Jones from the Browns at No. 6 two years ago was brilliant and while the decision to go and get Desmond Trufant out of Washington wasn’t quite as bold (it was only eight spots, and he only surrendered a third- and fourth-round pick), but it was just as smart. They desperately needed a cornerback with Brent Grimes leaving, Trufant is a fantastic cover corner who fits a need and hits talent-wise as well.
Rams: Loved what Snead did this year, and he’s nailing a draft once again. Moving up to get Austin at No. 8 in the first is perfection. And while they paid a price for it, it’s perfectly OK. Austin’s the most dynamic playmaker in the draft. And anything they paid was reversed when they moved back down and nabbed Alec Ogletree. Ogletree has off-field concerns, but if the Rams can handle Janoris Jenkins, they can manage to figure out Ogletree.
Vikings: Was worried the Vikes would end up drafting Manti Te’o with one of their two picks. They didn’t, and they ended up absolutely smoking their first two picks, coming away with Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes. That was an absolute A-plus. And what really saved their decision to move back up and grab Cordarrelle Patterson — despite paying too much for the move — was that it wasn’t Manti Te’o. Giving the Patriots three picks for a two-down linebacker would’ve been a train wreck; getting a monster playmaker is a strong move, even if they overpaid for him.
Jaguars: They made a “safe” pick by grabbing Luke Joeckel and then watched as EJ Manuel was the only quarterback taken in the first round. That means Jacksonville has their pick of plenty of options at No. 33 on Friday, with Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tank Carradine, Arthur Brown and a slew of other guys. The option to trade is very much there for them, too. The only reason that Dave Caldwell won’t get a good night’s sleep is because he’s fielding trade calls.
The SEC: The nation’s most dominant conference year-in and year-out showed that people respect it as much as you would think, with the SEC landing a whopping 12 first-round picks. That ties the record for most picks for a conference in the first round, matching the ACC’s record from 2006. At one point, three straight Alabama guys (CB Dee Milliner, OG Chance Warmack and OT D.J. Fluker at Nos. 9-11) were taken. It’s getting out of hand, honestly.
Ryan Nassib: Devastating. Just devastating. He looked like a good bet for the Bills and an even better bet when they traded down to No. 16. Sure enough, they took a quarterback. But it wasn’t Nassib — it was Florida State’s Manuel. Everyone’s shocked and no one’s happy (Prisco bombed them with an F-minus — except our grading tool bottoms out at F), mainly because the move makes little sense. The Bills need a quarterback. But is Manuel going to be ready to step in and win from Day One? Can the Bills redshirt him while Kevin Kolb (a winner here, by the way) holds down the fort? What the hell was Buddy Nix (a loser here, obviously) thinking?
Geno Smith: Woof. Smith is going to have a monster chip on his shoulder moving forward … assuming someone takes him. He fell all the way out of the first round and sat through it at Radio City Music Hall as well, meaning he basically dealt his own losing hand in poker terms. Geno will end up going, but sitting through that whole thing — especially as the cameras focused on him with the Jets on the clock for the second time and Jets fans chanting “We want Smith!” was just brutal. This is also bad news for the other quarterbacks in this draft, as they’re likely to take a serious plummet as well.
Cowboys: They grabbed Travis Frederick to protect Tony Romo, but they didn’t pick up a ton of value for trading down to grab him and surprised the Wisconsin product with the pick too. “I thought somewhere in the second round would be more of a fit for me,” Frederick said Thursday. “I truly didn’t expect this.” Neither did we, Travis. Neither did we.
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