Winners and Losers of the NFL Draft


Tom Pennington

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones introduces new head coach Mike McCarthy at a press conference.

Logan Potts, Sports/News Editor

Every year there are teams that use their draft picks to build up their future and there are teams that use their picks to greatly improve their chances of contending. And every year there are teams that completely waste their picks and do nothing to help their future or make them any better immediately. This draft was no exception as we saw tons of great value picks and a lot of questionable picks that undoubtedly left fans confused and upset. Here are the teams (and players) that benefitted the most from this draft, and the teams that went in the complete opposite direction. 




  1. Dallas Cowboys


The Cowboys came into this draft after one of the toughest offseasons in recent memory. They lost star cornerback Byron Jones to free agency, had to overpay to keep Amari Cooper around, lost their all pro center Travis Frederick to an early retirement, and have not been able to strike a long term deal with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott. Jerry Jones needed to win this draft and he absolutely did. First, they had CeeDee Lamb fall into their lap, who was Jones’ sixth player on his draft board, and they took that chance to scoop up arguably the best wide receiver in the draft. Now the Cowboys really didn’t need to take a wide receiver but they couldn’t pass up on the chance to grab another stud weapon for Prescott. Following that pick, the Cowboys got great value in the second round with cornerback Trevon Diggs, great value in the third round with Neville Gallimore, got another cornerback with solid upside in Reggie Robinson II in the 4th round, then selected my number two ranked center in Tyler Biadasz late in the 4th round. They then selected DE Bradlee Anae to fill their defensive line depth issues in the 5th round, but then wasted their 7th round selection on QB Ben DiNucci. They got amazing value with Lamb, Diggs, Gallimore, and Biadasz, while also filling big needs with those picks. I could not have imagined a better draft than this for the Cowboys.


  1. Denver Broncos


Heading into the draft, the Broncos plan was very clear: get help for their quarterback of the future Drew Lock. They did just that by drafting three wide receivers, a center, a tight end, and a guard. They got great value by picking top 3 wide receiver Jerry Jeudy at pick 15 in the 1st round, wide receiver KJ Hamler in the middle of the second round, center Lloyd Cushenberry in the third round, and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the 4th round. Jeudy, Hamler, and Okwuegbunam will all provide an immediate impact as vertical receiving targets that will maximize Drew Lock’s top end arm strength. The Broncos also got steals with DT McTelvin Agim in the 3rd round and LB Justin Strnad in the 5th round. The Broncos have put second year QB Drew Lock in a great position to succeed and they will find out quickly if he is their franchise quarterback or not.  


  1. Baltimore Ravens


The 14-2 Ravens were a pleasant surprise last year as second year QB Lamar Jackson took a giant leap forward in his progression and became the league MVP. The Ravens were, however, upset in the AFC Divisional round by the Tennessee Titans. The main goal for the Ravens heading into the draft was to bolster their depth because they didn’t have any glaring positional needs. Because of their success last season, they had late draft picks, but they excelled in finding good value at those picks. In the first round, they got a steal at pick 28 by selecting LSU linebacker Patrick Queen who had a minor slip and fell right into their laps. They then got another steal in the second round, selecting Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins to be there running back of the future and be an amazing complementary piece to Mark Ingram. The Ravens got defensive line depth in the third round, selecting DT Justin Madubuike at pick 71, then got a solid upside receiving weapon in Devin Duvernay with their second third round pick. With the rest of their picks, they got LB Malik Harrison in the third round, G Tyre Phillips in the third round, G Ben Bredson in the fourth round, DT Broderick Washington in the fifth round, WR James Proche in the sixth round, and S Geno Stone in the seventh round. None of those picks were reaches and not a single pick was wasted.


  1. Tua Tagovailoa


As the biggest question mark in the first round, nobody quite knew if Tagovailoa’s injury history was going to cause him to fall at all. Tagovailoa ended up not falling at all, as he was selected by the Miami Dolphins at pick 5. He lands in a situation where he can sit out a year behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, similar to how Patrick Mahomes had to sit behind veteran Alex Smith for a year before he got his shot. We saw how it worked out for Mahomes, and the same thing could happen with Tagovailoa. On top of that, the Dolphins used a majority of their other picks to get the right players around Tua. They selected offensive tackle Austin Jackson later in the first round, offensive tackle Robert Hunt early in the second round, offensive lineman Soloman Kindley in the fourth round, and wide receiver Malcolm Perry in the seventh round. Whenever Tua gets his shot, you can bet he’ll have plenty of weapons to throw to, and plenty of protection up front.




  1. New Orleans Saints


The Saints got good news this offseason as future hall of fame quarterback Drew Brees announced that he would not retire and return for another season. The Saints also unfortunately lost backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who they hoped would be the successor to Brees, to the Carolina Panthers. Going into the draft, I expected the Saints to select a potential successor to Brees at some point. They did not. They made only four selections and didn’t use one to draft a QB until the seventh round when they used pick 240 on Tommy Stevens. The worst part is that the Saints had Jordan Love, the quarterback who I think has the highest ceiling out of all the quarterbacks in the draft, at pick 24. They used that pick to select center Cesar Ruiz, even though they have the center spot already filled by second year player Erik McCoy. I do like Ruiz a lot, and he will most likely be converted into a guard, but the offensive line was not a position of need for the Saints who already overpaid to keep OL Andrus Peat. I also really like LB Zach Baun, who the Saints selected at pick 74 in the third round. He was a steal for the Saints at that spot so I have to give them credit for that pick. But then from there, it went downhill fast. The Saints traded FOUR picks, which was every pick they had left, to move up 25 spots to grab tight end Adam Trautman. This would’ve been a decent pick at this draft position, but the Saints filled their need at tight end by signing Jared Cook in the off season and didn’t need to give up four picks for a backup tight end. Then to make things worse, they traded away their 2021 sixth round pick to move back into the 7th round and selected Stevens who will be nothing more than the Saints third string quarterback. Based only on the picks, this draft is already below average, then when you consider the assets they gave up for these picks, this draft looks like one of the worst.      


  1. Chicago Bears


This draft just confuses me so much. It’s not often you see a team without a first round pick do well (although the Los Angeles Rams did very well this draft without a first rounder), and the Bears proved this true. The first selection the Bears made was taking Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with pick 43 in the second round. Now, on paper this looks like a solid value pick as Kmet was viewed as one of the top two tight end prospects, but the Bears already had nine tight ends on their roster, including the newly signed Jimmy Graham. There are a good amount of positions that need nine players on a roster, but tight end is definitely not one of them. At pick 50 in the second round, the Bears did get great value in cornerback Jaylon Johnson, but all five of their remaining picks are viewed as reaches. This draft was a huge waste for the Bears and I only see Johnson being an impact player for the Bears for the next 5-10 years. 


  1. Seattle Seahawks


Over the years, the Seahawks have been known for trading down in the draft and not making a first round selection, or making a later first round selection. The Seahawks were slotted at pick 27 in the first round, and decided to stay put to select LB Jordyn Brooks from Texas Tech. This was by far the biggest reach of the first round. Brooks was a projected late second round pick and although he is a very good player, was viewed more as a safe prospect than wild card prospect with high upside. This pick was a horrible value pick and even more questionable considering the current Seahawks linebacker core is very solid. Seattle desperately needs pass rushers, but they made a huge reach in the second round when they selected Darrell Taylor at pick 48. It seems like every pick the Seahawks made was a reach and they didn’t add a weapon for Russell Wilson until they picked TE Colby Parkinson with pick 133 in the fourth round (another big reach). Like the Bears, Seattle really didn’t add any players that project as high impact starters or depth.


  1. Aaron Rodgers


This draft really could not have gone worse for the 36 year-old Rodgers. The Packers were one win away from reaching the super bowl last season, and their main need was getting solid weapons and offensive help for Aaron Rodgers. Well, the Packers traded up and spent their first round pick on Rodgers’ future replacement (Jordan Love), spent their second round pick on running back AJ Dillon even though they have a top 10 running back in Aaron Jones and a solid backup in Jamal Williams, and they did not select a single wide receiver in what could end up being the deepest wide receiver drafts of all time. Although I like the Jordan Love pick, Rodgers has every right to be pissed off at the Packers front office for doing virtually nothing to help him out and push the team to the level they need to be at to truly contend next year.