Fast and furious was the name of the game in the NFL Draft’s first round on April 22. At least seven trades were made as teams maneuvered up, down and around draft slots to nab players in what scouts have been calling one of the deepest drafts in years. The AFRO reflects:

1.) St. Louis Rams— QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
The Rams got their franchise quarterback to build around. Bradford was the top QB in the draft and despite several other teams’ attempts to trade up and grab him, the Rams held firm.

2.) Detroit Lions— DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
Detroit continues to add franchise cornerstones to their team. Suh was the top talent and now the Lions have a quarterback and defensive tackle to build around.

3.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers— DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
Expected pick here. The second-highest rated prospect in the draft and Tampa was ecstatic to land him. Some scouts suggest he’s a better pass rusher than Suh.

4.) Washington Redskins— OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma
Washington didn’t take the offensive tackle that many expected but they did take one which will definitely boost the talent along their depleted front. Williams was scouted as the second most athletic offensive lineman in the draft.

5.) Kansas City Chiefs— DB Eric Berry, Tennessee
Chiefs’ defense finished second to last against the pass, so grabbing Berry was a wise decision. Berry has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed and the Chiefs hope he can be at least half of that.

6.) Seattle Seahawks— OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
Current left tackle Walter Jones has one foot out the door. Grabbing the top-rated offensive tackle was something the Seahawks weren’t expecting.

7.) Cleveland Browns—CB Joe Haden, Florida
Cleveland couldn’t land the quarterback they wanted in Bradford so they went with the top-rated cornerback on the board. Haden’s only been playing defensive back for three seasons so his upside is promising.

8.) Oakland Raiders— ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama
Oakland has been loading up on 3-4 linebackers and selecting the top inside 3-4 linebacker now gives them one of the more athletic linebacking corps in the league.
 
9.) Buffalo Bills— RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson
Interesting pick considering running back is one of the Bills’ few strengths but grabbing an explosive playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field shouldn’t upset too many people.

10.) Jacksonville Jaguars— DE/DT Tyson Alualu, California
First head scratcher of the draft. Alualu is a good prospect but was viewed mostly as a second round pick. He’ll bring much needed pass-rushing ability to a defensive line that needs it.

11.) San Francisco 49ers (From Chicago via Denver) — OT/OG Anthony Davis, Rutgers
San Francisco’s offensive line was decent last season. They get a big boost here if they can motivate the talented but controversial Davis.

12.) San Diego Chargers (From Miami) — RB Ryan Matthews, Fresno State
Matthews will be expected to contribute heavily after the team parted ways with long time running back LaDainian Tomlinson in the offseason.

13.) Philadelphia Eagles (From San Francisco via Denver) —DE/OLB Brandon Graham, Michigan
The Eagles lost some of the sting of their once feared defense last season. Adding the ever-hustling Graham should help boost the pass rush.

14.) Seattle Seahawks— S/CB Earl Thomas, Texas
Thomas will bring a lot of versatility and ball skills to a listless secondary.

15.) New York Giants— DE/OLB Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
Many believed Pierre-Paul’s selection might possibly signal the end of Osi Umenyiora. The AFRO believes Pierre-Paul can play weakside linebacker to give the Giants some serious speed on the edge.

16.) Tennessee Titans— DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
Tennessee wasn’t expecting the top-rated defensive end to be available here so snatching him up was a no brainer.

17.) San Francisco 49ers— OG/OT Mike Iupati, Idaho
The 49ers solidified their offensive line for the next five years possibly by using their second first round selection on the mauling Iupati. Iupati was the highest-rated guard in the draft and the Niners could potentially have the best offensive line in a few seasons.

18.) Pittsburgh Steelers— OC/OG Maurkice Pouncey, Florida
The Steelers upgraded a troubled spot along the interior of their offensive line by grabbing Pouncey. With the ability to play center and guard, Pouncey should start immediately in Pittsburgh.

19.) Atlanta Falcons— OLB/ILB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
Atlanta’s offense is solid so adding a highly-rated defensive prospect was a good choice.

20.) Houston Texans— CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama
The Texans lost one of their better secondary players in Dunta Robinson to free agency. They replace him with a corner who some scouts suggest is the best corner in the draft.

21.) Cincinnati Bengals— TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
Gresham could finally give Cincinnati the explosive tight end they’ve been looking for and will pair nicely with a strong trio of offensive playmakers in Cincinnati.

22.) Denver Broncos (From New England) — WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech
The Broncos traded away their top receiver in Brandon Marshall to Miami. They replaced him with a raw but talented wideout in Thomas.

23.) Green Bay Packers— OT/OG Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
The Packers lucked up by having Bulaga fall to them this late in the draft. Green Bay’s primary needs were offensive line and cornerback, and Bulaga was seen as a top 10 pick by most draft experts.

24.) Dallas Cowboys (From Philadelphia via Denver via New England) — WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys joined the Packers as a team overjoyed to see top talent just fall to them. They had to trade up a few picks to snag Bryant but grabbing a top five talent was worth it. Extreme value and excellent pick for Dallas.
 
25.) Denver Broncos (From Baltimore) — QB, Tim Tebow, Florida
The Broncos (controversially) traded away their franchise wide receiver and quarterback over the last two seasons. Grabbing Tebow was considered a reach to some but ideal for Denver’s front office.

26.) Arizona Cardinals— DT/NT Dan Williams, Tennessee
For the second year in a row, a top-rated prospect falls to Arizona late. Williams should provide the anchor that the Cardinals have been searching for to push their 3-4 defense.

27.) New England (From Dallas) — CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers
After trading back a few times the Patriots picked up a physical cornerback prospect who should step in immediately in New England’s youth movement on defense.
 
28.) Miami Dolphins (From San Diego) — DT/DE Jared Odrick, Penn State

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO