While hulking in stature and athletic in pass protection, Ifedi tends to be a bit wild and inconsistent with his technique as a blocker. In any event, Seattle closes out the first round here with a player loaded with potential who should unlock it once he gets the bad habits out of his system from the gimmicky college offense he operated in.
Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech – an ultra athletic three technique –possesses one of the most urgent first steps in the class. With the recent extension signed by Star Lotulelei, the Panthers are expected to let K'won Short walk after his contract eventually is up. Considering this, Carolina now has a logical replacement for Short when he walks in free agency, while in the meantime his versatile skillset will allow him to make an impact for the Panthers.
Arguably the most contraversial pick of the draft here, the Cardinals seemed like the only logical landing spot for Nkemdiche in the first round. They have a very welcoming locker room and atmosphere (see: Tyrann Mathieu), so if there ever was a place for the ultra-talented, wildly inconsistent and enigmatic defensive lineman, this is the place.
Considering the Broncos got their QB of the future in this move, a third round pick didn't seem like a steep asking price at all. Seattle on the other hand managed to move back, grab an extra pick, and took their guy in Germain Ifedi – OT out of Texas A&M.
Smart move for both teams here, as the Chiefs didn't have their guy there and San Francisco felt that they couldn't wait any longer to take Josh Garnett out of Stanford. The price was pretty steep – not a move I would have made – but coach Kelly always seems to have some kind of secret vision of how he wants his offense to run.
The selection of Garnett nearly brought Stanford coach David Shaw to tears, so you know what type of player he is in the locker room. On the field, Garnett is a nasty interior offensive lineman and led the Stanford ground attack for the last few years. Expect him to prove to be an instant upgrade for coach Kelly out in San Fran this upcoming season.
While some consider him undersized for the position, Clark’s amateur wrestling background makes him nearly impossible to move in the trenches. He serves as one of the best run-stuffing talents in the draft, and will likely become one of the better ones in the NFL as well. Clark also boasts a powerful initial burst off the ball, so strong in fact that he can at times ragdoll interior offensive linemen. In my divisional breakdown I said that Green Bay should target Clark in the second round, so I consider this a slight reach here, but sometimes you just gotta take your guy when he's there.
Physically, Lynch’s got it all. He measures in at around Cam Newton’s size and isn’t afraid to play like him. At Memphis, Lynch was asked to operate – in many ways – like Newton did during his Heisman winning season at Auburn. Lots of designed runs up the gut and read options, however on top of this, Lynch was asked to do much more as a passer than Newton was in 2010-11. As a passer, Lynch has a cannon. He can bomb it with the best of them and successfully rifles the ball into tight windows on intermediate-to-deep over the middle throws. Because of his size, Lynch seems unafraid to take a hit when making throws, while he also possesses a natural feel for pressure on his blind side. One of his most impressive traits is his ability to sell the play-fake. He throws very well out of play-action, and exhibits feather touch on sideline throws and jump-ball fades. With all of his noted arm strength, Lynch’s downfall can at times be too much zip on short-to-intermediate throws. It’s not what many receivers would call a “catchable ball,” leading to him struggle to find “easy completions.” His throws down the field seem more polished than his 12-yard out or running back banana route. Having said all of this, he likely won’t start right away, so there isn’t much pressure on him to take the team to another super bowl in 2017. Overall, good trade up for John Elway and co. As they come away with arguably the most talented QB in the draft.
The Steelers reached for Burns here, especially with Mackenzie Alexander still on the board, as Burns is incredibly raw at the moment, while Alexander was one of the best lockdown corners in the NCAA last season. Still though, he is young, talented, and loaded with potential, so this may end up working out for them in the long run... We shall see.
Jackson is a tall, long, rangy corner, who never shies from a fight at the line of scrimmage. He’s got excellent ball skills and has a keen sense of when to take a chance on jumping a route. He may have a bit of a learning curve to fully adjust to zone concepts at the NFL level, but regardless he will have top-tier left corner potential going forward for the entirety of his professional career. It’s a little surprising that the Bengals took Jackson ahead of Mackenzie Alexander, but to each his own I suppose.