NFL Draft Daily looks at top stories, historical trends, player performances and more all through the lens of the NFL Draft. After all, the draft is finally here! Check back in tomorrow for another entry.
If we thought yesterday was rough for quarterbacks…
Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback taken on Thursday. We all assumed there would be a flurry early in the second round that would see Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, Matt Corral and Sam Howell all come off the board. Instead, it took until 10 picks into the third round for another quarterback to come off the board. It was the longest we had to wait for the second quarterback to be selected since 1996. Perhaps even more surprising, it was Ridder, not Willis who landed with Atlanta. We knew this quarterback class was not thought of too highly by decision makers in the league, but this was ridiculous.
Willis lands in a great spot
Jon Robinson said earlier this offseason that he wanted to find Ryan Tannehill’s successor in this draft. Well, now we know who they intend that to be. Willis will get the chance to sit and learn during his first year or two in the NFL. Tannehill’s contract runs through 2023. Willis has a tremendous amount of upside with his strong arm and mobility. However, he has no pocket awareness and needs to learn how to process at an NFL level. Given Tannehill’s struggles in the postseason each of the past two years, the Titans clearly feel they needed to work on a succession plan. Willis, who was the No. 20 player on my board, has the potential to be better than Tannehill ever was.
Nakobe Dean’s unexpected fall
Five Georgia defenders were selected on Day 1. As it turned out, we had to wait until the middle of the third round for the next one to be selected. Nakobe Dean was frequently projected to go late first-round, early second-round. His tumble confounded draft analysts and fans alike. Reports started to surface that Dean passed up shoulder surgery this offseason after coming off pectoral and knee injuries. Those injury concerns caused a massive drop. This is a good situation for Dean though, who will get to play with Jordan Davis again in the NFL. He will also not be asked to start in 2022, allowing him to get healthy.
Bill Belichick marches to the beat of his own drum
I have learned better than to really question what Belichick does. That being said, it seems like the Patriots are picking off a very different board than the rest of the league. Cole Strange in the first round was a bit of a stunner. Tyquan Thornton might have been even more surprising. He went ahead of George Pickens, Skyy Moore and Alec Pierce, among others. Marcus Jones in the third round was pretty on par with expectations. New England clearly had a very different board from many others out there. That being said, both players are good scheme fits and should be productive early in their careers. It was just a surprise to see the Patriots take these players where they did.
No one navigates the draft like Eric DeCosta
After having Kyle Hamilton fall into their lap and trading back into the first round to take Tyler Linderbaum, the Ravens landed another elite prospect in David Ojabo. He unquestionably comes with injury concerns and will miss much of this season after tearing his Achilles in March at his pro day, but the upside is incredible. He was regularly mocked to go in the top 15 prior to the injury. Baltimore took it a step further in the third round when it grabbed Travis Jones. They didn’t panic, they simply retooled their defense with a number of players that will help them in 2022 and beyond. Linderbaum replaces one of their biggest free-agent losses. With six, yes that’s right six, fourth-round picks, the Ravens will continue to rebuild the depth on their roster and potentially add some 2023 draft capital if they trade a couple of those selections.
Extending their fives seconds of fame
If you were watching the draft, you witnessed some very long lead ups to the announcement of the pick. With celebrities and former players announcing several of the Day 2 selections. For the most part, it went well. There were a couple of slip ups, like Elvis Dumervil calling it the 2002 NFL Draft. However, there were a few notable announcements that took WAAAAAY too long to get to the pick. Former Vikings player turned actor Ed Marinaro took over two minutes to read the name on his card. So long in fact, that the NFL sent a runner on stage to ask him to wrap it up. Kyle Brandt and The Miz took their time, going as far as to declare the Bills and Browns respectively the future champions of Super Bowl LVII. It was probably the worst part of the draft. Just get on the stage, say hi to the fans and read the card. It’s not that hard.
Best players available
As you would expect, the consensus started to fall apart on Day 2. Plenty of players expected to go on Day 3 found their way into Day 2 and vice versa.
47. Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
52. Darian Kinnard, OL, Kentucky
59. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
64. Sam Howell, QB, UNC
66. Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
67. Cade Otton, TE, Washington
69. Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
82. Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
84. Domonique Robinson, EDGE, Miami (Ohio)
87. Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
91. Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
93. Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
94. Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
95. Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
97. Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa
98. Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
99. Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State
Follow the Aftermath via email to get every article delivered right to your inbox. Enter your email in the text box to subscribe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out our weekly podcast Draft Season Never Ends with new episodes every Friday, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.