The first night of the NFL draft definitely lived up to the hype. Whether it was Blaine Gabbert free fallin’ to the 10-spot, Jake “the shocker” Locker ending up in Nashville, or the Falcons paying a king’s ransom to get the most talented Julio since Julio Franco won the batting title in 1991, the first round provided some serious drama.
Julio Jones joins an Atlanta team that sorely needs a strong complement to Roddy White on the outside. He also followed what may have been one of the more underrated surprises of the draft — the Bengals eschewing a quarterback for Georgia wideout A.J. Green.
With the Chiefs drafting Jonathan Baldwin later in the night, three wide receivers total were taken in Round 1. That’s a hair lower than the 10-year trend, which reflects four wideouts per year being selected that early. While that’s a relatively small incremental change, the defensive line saw the biggest move from the previous 10 drafts.
In all, 12 guys were plucked where an average of just under eight were taken in years prior. Running back also reflected a strong variation, with only one –- Alabama’s Mark Ingram -– going on Day One, and very late at that (28th overall). That’s a big drop considering about three runners typically go in the first round every year.
Notice the plight of safety and tight end, positions that didn’t get a sniff Thursday night.
— Elliot Harrison