Best day: You have to go with the St. Louis Rams here, right? The Rams had two picks in the top 13, so of course they were going to come out looking good in the first round. But they added Greg Robinson, a high-upside tackle, with the second pick. And they added Aaron Donald, an extremely athletic and explosive defensive tackle with the 13th pick. It is Donald who pushes their first day over the top because he wasn’t expected to still be sitting there at 13. Rams coach Jeff Fisher wants to play a smash-mouth style of football, the same style demanded from the rest of the rugged NFC West. Both these picks help solidify that.
Best drama: This is just too easy (pats self on back for putting this category in here). No doubt, watching Johnny Manziel fall…and fall…and fall had to be the biggest drama of the day. Manziel was considered an option for Houston at No. 1. And for Cleveland at No. 4. And then an option for Tampa Bay at No. 7. And for Dallas at No. 16. It was painful to watch, but it also made for the biggest intrigue in the draft.
Biggest surprise: I’ll go with the 49ers drafting Northern Illinois free safety Jimmie Ward. The 49ers drafted free safety Eric Reid in the first round last year, and they need help at corner and wide receiver. As surprising as the pick was on the surface, though, it could make some sense moving forward. Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke told the San Francisco media that Ward will split time between safety and nickel corner. If he turns out to be a corner, at least to start, the pick will make much more sense.
Looking ahead: So now what for the Seahawks? General manager John Schneider said the Seahawks still have a number of players they like on their board for No. 40, so don’t be surprised if Schneider trades down once more. The Seahawks have seven picks in the final two days, but they always like to stockpile more. In fact, Schneider has traded down in the second round three straight years, so it’s likely that he’ll do that once more to get more picks on day three. As for as what positions they might look for, there are still some quality guards left in the field, and that’s a position where the Seahawks have a need.
Here are the positions that were drafted in the first round:
Defensive ends: 4
Wide receivers: 5
Defensive tackles: 2
Tight ends: 1