Written by Carter Weissenfluh
With the draft concluding on May 1st, we saw lots of moves across the league for each franchise to get their top pick. We also saw five quarterbacks taken within the first fifteen picks, with three going with the first three picks. The Jacksonville Jaguars took Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson with the first overall pick, where he and new head coach Urban Meyer will look to turn around the franchise. With a similar strategy, the New York Jets took quarterback Zach Wilson from BYU as he and new coach Robert Salah will look to turn around their franchise as well. The 49ers shocked many by going for a fixer-upper at quarterback with Trey Lance from North Dakota State. This pick is especially interesting considering that Jimmy Garoppolo has already been named the Week 1 starter, but Lance looks like the choice for the future in San Francisco. In a turn of events, the Chicago Bears were able to trade up to get the 11th overall pick and grab Justin Fields. The Bears hope that this is their franchise quarterback, as they have never had a quarterback throw for over 4,000 yards. The Patriots had their quarterback fall into their laps at fifteen with Mac Jones. Many people suspected that they would have to trade up to get him, as they hope he can be their next Tom Brady.
The first player taken off the board that wasn’t a quarterback was Kyle Pitts, who went to the Atlanta Falcons. Their offense now seems unstoppable as quarterback Matt Ryan will have Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and now Kyle Pitts in his playbook. We also saw the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, and Miami Dolphins take wide receivers in the first round. All three of these picks reunited former college teammates, bringing together Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow from LSU, Jaylen Waddle and Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama, and Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith also from Alabama. The Carolina Panthers took the first defensive player off the board with Jaycee Horn, a cornerback out of South Carolina. This addressed their biggest need to compete in the NFC South with all the weapons that the Saints, Buccaneers, and Falcons have. The Denver Broncos surprised many by passing on Justin Fields, who they were rumored to take in this draft. They instead added another cornerback to their roster in Patrick Surtain II. He will play a vital role in Vic Fangio’s defense as they look to compete with the defending AFC champions Kansas City Chiefs. The Dallas Cowboys surprisingly traded within the division as the Eagles and Cowboys swapped the 10th and 12th picks. The Cowboys went on to take the best linebacker prospect in the draft, Micah Parsons out of Penn State who can do it all. The Cowboys need all the help they can get on defense as they were the worst defense last season.
With the draft over it will be interesting to see how these teams use their new players. In a couple of years, we will look back on this draft and see how the five quarterbacks will progress and if they were able to handle the pressure and turn their franchises around.