Nobody is going to be completely right about any of Thursday’s first round draft picks. But, we all like to see what the draft heads thought about our favorite team’s draft so we can complain with or against them. Probably the most well known draftnik is Mel Kiper Jr. over at ESPN. You can spot his hair from a mile away. Some people love him, some not so much, but he works his hair off every season.
We’ll take a look at his winners and losers from Thursday, starting with the team with the most draft capital, the Jaguars.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Winner
Jacksonville grabbed Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 and his teammate Travis Etienne at No. 25. Kiper, along with most of those who pay attention, love the Lawrence pick. It really was the only pick they could make, but they get credit for making it. I wasn’t that happy with the Etienne pick, and Kiper does say he doesn’t love taking a running back in the first round. But he justifies the pick by citing Etienne’s receiving skills and the amount of draft capital the Jaguars have to add more offensive players around Lawrence. I get it, but I still feel like it’s an unnecessary pick at that point in the draft. I don’t think Etienne is a natural receiver like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, which made more sense for the Chiefs in the first round last season.
San Francisco 49ers, Head scratching move
Kiper wanted Mac Jones for the 49ers at No. 3 instead of Trey Lance. I get it, Lance is raw and Jones is more polished, but I would have been disappointed if Kyle Shanahan limited his offense with Jones at the helm. This isn’t the same NFL it once was and Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in it. I would have liked to have seen Justin Fields here, but Lance has the potential to be better than all of them, including Lawrence. And the good news is that Shanahan took a limited Jimmy Garoppolo to the Super Bowl two years ago. I believe he can use Lance in a way to win games from Day 1.
Chicago Bears, Winner
There’s no getting around this. Kiper is dead on right. The Bears traded up nine spots to grab Justin Fields. Fields could be a bust and this would have still been the right move. You can’t say that too often. And I don’t see him being a bust. He has all the skills to develop into a good starter with upside for much more. The Bears have made numerous head-scratching moves of late, so this one looks stark in comparison and might have just saved GM Ryan Pace’s job while giving Chicago something to be excited for.
Green Bay Packers, Head scratching move
I’m with Kiper here. Cornerback Eric Stokes Jr. doesn’t deserve to be caught up in the Aaron Rodgers drama, but even if that wasn’t hanging over this pick, it still looks like a reach. And when you look at their need for a true No. 2 receiver, it looks worse. And when you look at how Rodgers feels about how he’s been treated by the organization, it looks even worse. This isn’t as bad as last season when they reached for Rodgers’ backup/hopeful replacement in Jordan Love, but it feels as bad. The Packers have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and the only offensive player they’ve drafted in the first round while Rodgers has been with the team was Love. That’s not love my friends.