Round One has the Usual Surprises - Here are the Ones I See

FINALLY the much-hyped first round of the NFL draft is done with! David Gettleman selected Kelvin Benjamin, a very raw but very big talent from last year's national championship team, the FSU Seminoles.

Now, heads turn to rounds 2-3 this evening at 7 pm. Carolina drafts at numbers 2-60 and 3-92 after a wild, strange round one. It seems like every draft, we make our "mocks" which are always ALWAYS wrong, but do serve several purposes: They're informative as to team needs and illustrative of overall thoughts about the talent level of the players involved. There are always some surprises and and some head-scratchers.

Let's take a look at some of the more surprising choices as I see them:

Pick #3 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF 

Bortles is a classic example of "if he's the guy you want, you TRADE DOWN. It's also why the Jaguars are drafting in the top ten year after year. With teams foaming at the mouth to move up and get "their guy," the Jags stayed put and drafted Bortles. While I think he's a MUCH better prospect than when they drafted Blaine "Street Tragic" Gabbert in the top-ten a few years ago, my own opinion is that he could have been "had" in the early teens....or at MINIMUM #7 - before the Minnesota Vikings pick. The Vikings then traded down with Cleveland anyway, who took CB Justin Gilbert. So Bortles wasn't even in the picture. The Jags could have picked up another 2nd or 3rd this year plus another #1 in 2015. They didn't, they need numerous starters, and this is a snapshot of what's wrong with the organization. On the positive side, I see why Bortles was their coveted guy. He's probably the most pro-ready QB, coming from a pro-style offense in college, and he has the prototypical size you look for where Bridgewater and Manziel are undersized. Their GM is claiming other GMs had him at "the top of their board" but I'm just not buying it - especially not over players like Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Justin Blackmon appears to be the next bust in a long line of them for the Jags and Watkins was on the board. Grade: D

Pick #16 - Dallas Cowboys - Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame

Jerry Jones made headlines talking about wanting to take Johnny Manziel at 16 overall this past week, but I for one didn't believe him. I really think he thought he'd be long gone so it wouldn't have mattered, but he was still sitting there. However, they wasted no time in nabbing the most "versatile" offensive lineman in the draft in Zack Martin. Most (including myself) thought they'd go defense since they had an atrocious D (last in the NFL) in 2013, but as has been pointed out, QB Tony Romo is 34 and has back problems. If you can't get a franchise QB (Dallas wasn't really looking for one), the next best thing is to protect the QB you DO have and the Dallas O-line has been trouble for years. Martin is a plug-and-play guard, capable of playing center, and with a little adjusting can probably play either tackle spot although he won't be a Pro-Bowler there. He's a guy that gives them versatility on that line in case of injury and should make Romo's life easier with receivers like Dez Bryant and an emerging Terrence Newman. Grade: A-

Pick #23 - Kansas City Chiefs - Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

I think everyone was thinking the Chiefs would go with a wideout to put opposite Dwayne Bowe with the first pick. Yes, it's actually a logical pick to get a Dee Ford since the edge-rusher depth in this draft is one of the few positions that is NOT deep this year. Ford was a 4-3 DE in college, but a bit short (6'2") and projects nicely as an OLB at the NFL level. Remember, it's Peyton Manning's division and you have to get after him if you don't want to bank on having a Wild Card spot for the playoffs. Ford has a great motor (no pun intended) and can dip under and around tackles with his speed and quickness. With such depth at WR, Andy Reid's squad can still wind up with a very good WR in round two or even three to put outside and still upgrade there. Grade: B+

Pick #26 - Philadelphia Eagles - Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville

This is the second-most "head-scratching" first-round pick behind that of New England's (see below). They needed to replace cut WR DeSean Jackson, but New Orleans wisely traded up to #20 to pick up WR Brandin Cooks who was almost certainly the player the Eagles had targeted at 22. To the Eagles' credit, they traded back four spots, but to pick up Marcus Smith? He's a decent pass-rusher but needs to develop counter-moves and is average against the run. Their biggest needs are replacing Jackson and in the secondary, so taking a bit of a situational pass-rusher with their top pick doesn't make much sense especially when guys like Bradley Roby and massive WR red-zone threat Kelvin Benjamin were still on the board. Look for Chip Kelly to address those positions tonight, but for the moment..... Grade: C-

Pick #27 - Arizona Cardinals - Deone Bucannon, SS, Louisville

This choice raised a lot of eyebrows. While the Cards have seemingly more pressing needs on the offensive line and could have upgraded a guard spot with whichever guard they had highest-rated as no "pure" guards were taken in the first round at all, Bucannon was rated a second-round prospect at best. He does fill a need with Tyrann Mathieu being the incumbent free safety AND they did trade back from 22 to 27 before selecting him, so that takes a little bit of the sting out of reaching for this kid. I just feel if he's the guy they really wanted, they could have traded further back for more picks to get him. Time will tell on this one, but also keep in mind the Niners drafted a SS three picks later. Grade: C+

Pick #29 - New England Patriots - Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

This was the most surprising pick of them all. I mean, it's really no surprise Jacksonville did what they do every year, but Bortles at least has a lot of positives. The same can't really be said for Easley here. He's a 3-technique DT with a lot of quickness but he's undersized at 6'2" and only 288 lbs, has VERY short arms (32 7/8"), and has had ACL surgery on BOTH knees. I find it odd that someone like Bill Belichick, who needs interior defenders due to injuries to Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork last season, would STAY PUT to choose a defensive tackle who has extensive durability concerns coming out of college. BB is known for his trading back, and if Easley is the guy he wanted, I think he could have been had in the second round....and with Stephon Tuitt still available, BB must have fallen in love with Easley for whatever reason. I just don't feel it.   Grade: F

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