Moving round 1 of the NFL Draft to primetime was simply a stroke of genius. Some people had complained, although I'm not even sure what they were complaining about because it seemed like a winning idea way before last night arrived. I loved that I was able to watch the first round, from start to finish, and when the round was over, it didn't matter if I was sick of watching Mel Kiper look like a moron. He wouldn't be back on my TV for another eighteen hours, and the 'burnout' factor that usually kicked in during the middle of round two in years past simply wasn't going to happen this year.
Now, there is at least one negative about having only the first round last night. When your favorite team decides they can trade back three spots, from the end of the first round the beginning of the second round, well you don't get to see them make a pick. A friend of mine is studying abroad in South Africa this semester, and he stayed up until 5 AM to see who the Vikings ended up with. Of course, the Vikings ended up trading that pick to the Detroit Lions, and will be picking second in the second round later tonight, so my friend ultimately stayed up for no reason. It's times like that it'd be nice to be able to predict the future.
There were a lot of surprises in the first round, including the Jags drafting Tyson Alalu at number 10 ahead of Derrick Morgan, Dan Williams and Jason Pierre Paul. More surprising was Adam Schefter tweeting immediately after CJ Spiller went off the board saying the Jags top player left was 'probably Alalu.' He's the best in the business, and it showed last night. Larry Fitzgerald told Schefter via Twitter that following him the night of the draft was like 'going to the movies with someone who had already seen the movie and wouldn't shut up.' It was hilarious, and true, but I kept checking anyways because I couldn't help myself. Kind of like when I found out where my Christmas presents were hidden when I was little.
I wasn't surprised to see Tebow go ahead of Clausen, and I wasn't surprised that Denver ultimately took two high character guys over players with character concerns. DeMaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow were two great picks in my opinion, and while a lot of misinformed and/or lazy sports writers are giving McDaniels a lot of grief for trading Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall for Tim Tebow and DeMaryius Thomas, that simply isn't true. The Broncos have been very creative with their draft picks, and having a lot of picks the last two years has helped them build their whole roster, something they wouldn't have been able to do without the ransom they acquired from the Bears for Cutler. They also still have a second round pick next year from the Dolphins, so they aren't done getting players back from those trades. I think Denver will emerge as the best team in their division over the next few years, and when Tebow is an all-pro, there's going to be an awful lot of talking heads eating crow.
A lot of teams made questionable moves, trading up a few spots when it didn't seem necessary. San Francisco going from 13 to 11 to take Anthony Davis when it seemed clear Miami was going to trade down with a team who wanted Ryan Mathews or Earl Thomas was strange. Denver moving up from #24 to #22 to draft DeMaryius Thomas with Dez Bryant still on the board and Green Bay the only team between themselves and New England was odd. Detroit probably could have sat at #34 and had Jahvid Best fall into their laps, but they were probably afraid a team would fall in love with Best tonight and make the Rams a great offer, so they took matters into their own hands.
I think it's clear the Vikings don't want Jimmy Clausen. I think they have him near the top of their board at the moment, probably with Sergio Kindle, Taylor Mays and Brian Price or Chris Cook. However, if they felt Clausen was the answer at QB long-term, there's no way they trade back with Detroit, knowing full well the Rams will be auctioning off that first pick in the second round to all the Clausen suitors. I hope the Rams ultimately keep the pick, and the Vikings take Clausen at 34, but it's looking more and more like Taylor Mays will be the choice. He's a boom or bust pick, as his athletic ability could make him an elite safety in this league, but his inconsistency and struggles at times could make him another disappointing safety for the Vikings. However, they need to replace Madieu Williams, so I won't be too upset if they take Mays. The Vikings under Childress have a great track record in the draft, so even if they take a Chris Cook or someone else, I will trust their choice. This isn't Mike Tice, thankfully. Be sure to vote in the poll to the right for who you want the Vikes to take.
*Mock contest update: Jenks is in the lead currently with 15 points, I'm in second with 12 and Wilsey is taking up the rear as usual with 11 points. It'll take a lot of luck for either Wilsey or myself to overtake Jenks, but if some of our first rounders go to the right teams in the second round, it's at least possible. I want Clausen or Mays for the Vikes, but Price would give me the best chance at catching Jenks...*