There was nothing surprising about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Jameis Winston out of Florida State with the first overall pick, followed by another quarterback, Marcus Mariota from Oregon, picked second by the Tennessee Titans. Slightly more surprising were the conference splits, as the ACC and Pac-12 led the way with nine players each taken in the first round. The Washington Huskies were the school with the most selected players in the first round.
Winston was the projected number one pick for most of the way, although we’ve been hearing more and more about Mariota overtaking him. But the way this works, unlike in the NBA, is that each team makes the pick they feel the most comfortable with and caters their need, instead of simply taking the best available player remaining.
The Titans had an endless amount of offers coming in to trade their number two pick. Who knows, maybe they’ll still be entertaining calls from the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns or maybe the San Diego Chargers. But right now, with their quarterback situation being up in the air (Zach Mettenberger doesn’t seem like the franchise quarterback type), Mariota seemed like the right pick.
Completing the top 5 were Dante Fowler Jr., as the Florida defensive end was taken third by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Amari Cooper, the standout Alabama wide receiver and the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner last season, was taken fourth by the Oakland Raiders. Fifth overall was offensive tackle Brandon Scherff out of Iowa, going to the Washington Redskins.
Vic Beasley out of Clemson was the first linebacker taken off the board, going 8th overall to the Atlanta Falcons who have been looking for a pass rusher in trades previously. Todd Gurley was the first running back to get taken off the board, going 10th to the St. Louis Rams. Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin was the only other running back in the first round, selected 15th overall by the San Diego Chargers.
Trae Waynes was the first cornerback to be selected, taken 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Danny Shelton was the next pick, going to the Cleveland Browns, the first defensive tackle taken off the board. Cameron Erving was the 19th overall pick, going to the Cleveland Browns. He’s not defined by just one position, but he plays center as well, the first taken in this draft. Laken Tomlinson (Duke) went to the Lions at 28th, the first guard in the draft and Damarious Randall (Arizona State) was the 30th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers, the first safety taken.
As for the conferences, the SEC finished third in players selected in the first round with seven. Both the ACC and the Pac-12 had nine players each. The Big Ten had three players selected, the Big 12 with just two and the American conference had two as well. Washington is the only school with three picks in the first round, while Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Oregon and USC sent two each. National champions Ohio State didn’t have a player taken in the first round.