Winners & Losers: Dolphins Get Their Man, Buckeyes Dominate, Jets in Trouble
Round 1 is officially in the books, and not without its fair share of chaos. After the first two picks came in just as they were expected to, the shakeups began with Joey Bosa’s name being turned in on San Diego’s draft card.
From there, the night just kept getting more and more wild. Teams began upsetting what many thought was the natural order in which these prospects would fall. As the first round unfolded, the teams who appear to be the initial winners and losers of the draft’s first night emerged.
Here, I take you through who I feel gained the most on Thursday night, and who might have suffered.
Winner: The Miami Dolphins
It really isn’t too tough to put the Dolphins as the early winner of Round 1. The team grabbed a prospect many felt was inaccessible outside of the top 5, and did so with the 13th overall pick. Esentially, the Miami Dolphins netted themselves Laremy Tunsil, Byron Maxwell, and Kiko Alonso all with one draft pick.
The team also was able to make this move without trading up. The Dolphins were reportedly in on the Myles Jack chase, and could actually have a chance at the stud UCLA linebacker on Day 2. Now, the Miami Dolphins can sleep well knowing that they not only maximized their resources, but did so by selecting a man who is widely considered to be the best player in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Loser: Laremy Tunsil
For however happy Dolphins fans are about Tunsil falling, there is still a human element to this story.
Tonight, Laremy Tunsil lost out on millions of dollars because someone decided to do something vindictive. Whoever hacked Tunsil’s account, in an effort to post a video that is years old, was clearly out for blood. More accurately, they were out for his reputation and wallet.
If Tunsil had been the 3rd overall pick, his contract could have been worth as much as $26.5 million. As the 13th overall pick, Tunsil’s salary should side closer to the $12.5 million range. Because of this person’s decision to bring to light a mistake made by Tunsil in the past, he more than halved the lineman’s potential earnings on his first contract. He was also forced to have his dirty laundry aired in front of millions of people at home.
Now, it is Tunsil’s turn to earn back that money, and show that what occurred in the video was an isolated incident. Hopefully for Dolphins fans, he has a chip on his shoulder when doing so.
Winner: The Jacksonville Jaguars
If Laremy Tunsil isn’t the best player in the draft, then it is probably Jalen Ramsey. The Dallas Cowboys wanted to pick up someone who could replace DeMarco Murray as the bell cow running back, and they actually managed to find an upgrade over Murray.
In doing so, they allowed Jalen Ramsey to slip to the Jaguars. Due to the Chargers’ defensive needs, and the Cowboys’ eye for flashy prospects, the Jaguars were afforded the chance to select a dynamic defensive back that many consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime prospect.
Loser: Whoever is Negotiating with Ryan Fitzpatrick in New York
Note: Published prior to the Jets’ selection of Christian Hackenberg.
The New York Jets had a chance to create some leverage for themselves tonight by selecting Paxton Lynch. However, the team opted to select Darron Lee, a linebacker out of Ohio State.
Nobody can fault the Jets for this pick, but whoever is in charge of getting a deal done with Fitzpatrick (likely GM Mike Maccagnan) is in a tougher spot now than he was just a few days ago. The Jets have lost all leverage in their own argument against a big money contract for Fitzpatrick. Everyone knows that they need him desperately at this point, and they should be willing to do anything to avoid another season with Geno Smith at the helm.
This could mean overpaying Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Winner: Denver Broncos & Paxton Lynch
This pick is a complete win-win.
Had Paxton Lynch been drafted higher than this, he would have been asked to do far too much early in his career. If the 49ers had selected him, he might have been the starter on day one. Now, Lynch will have a chance to sit and learn.
Mark Sanchez is not the long-term answer for the Broncos. However, I do believe he will start this season at quarterback for Denver. At some point, it seems logical that Lynch will come off of the bench and supplant Sanchez. Until then, he can sit and learn Gary Kubiak’s system without having his confidence shaken by early struggles on Sundays. The situation benefits both parties, as Denver secures their quarterback, and Lynch finds a team that will allow him to sit and adapt mentally to the NFL before being thrown into the fire.
Loser: Defensive Linemen
This year’s draft class was far from sexy, but it did feature some of the best defensive line prospects in recent memory. However, you wouldn’t know it from the results of Thursday’s first round.
Kevin Dodd, A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, and Chris Jones were all expected to be first round picks. Robinson, Reed, and Dodd even received some talk in the high-teens. However, all of these players are still waiting to hear their names called.
Winner: Ohio State University
The University of Miami’s record stands for another year.
The Ohio State Buckeyes got very close to the record, having five players selected in the first round. But, the Hurricanes still hold the all-time record with seven. If you thought plenty of Buckeyes were paraded across the stage on Thursday, imagine what it would have looked like for a single to school to have an even greater number.
Urban Meyer will definitely not be complaining about Ohio State’s recruiting after this draft. If DJ Khaled asks him about business, there’s only one response.
When was the last time you remember just one member of the Crimson Tide being drafted in the first round? This year had some “when pigs fly” type of moments, and only seeing one of Saban’s players selected was one of them. Ryan Kelly, the Crimson Tide center who is now heading to Indianapolis, was the only member of the SEC powerhouse selected in Round 1.
Surely Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson will hear their names called on Friday, but it does not make it any less shocking that so few players from Alabama crossed that stage on the draft’s opening night.
Winner: Interior Offensive Linemen
A position that rarely receives attention in the first round managed to have a very successful night. Three players who could start their careers as interior offensive linemen were selected, including Ryan Kelly, Joshua Garnett, and Germain Ifedi.
Garnett was actually acquired thanks to the 49ers trading up to select the Stanford product. Many have pointed out that a running back renaissance could be on the way, and this is a perfect indication of teams’ dedication to that toughness inside.
Loser: Defensive Linemen
Unfortunately the sheer depth of this year’s defensive line class caused several dynamic players to slip into the second round. No defensive tackles were taken in the top 10 (depending on how you feel about DeForest Buckner), and only four were selected in the first round all together.
This position is by far the most talented in this year’s class, and it is very shocking that so few came off of the board. While the defensive linemen might have lost, the teams who could be looking for great value in Round 2 are doing backflips.
Winner: Ryan Tannehill
I had to end this article on a Dolphins related note, and nobody has to be feeling better after Round 1 than the Dolphins quarterback. Tannehill has had lackluster pass protection since entering the league, and now he will finally have a formidable group blocking in front of him.
The Laremy Tunsil pick stands to change the dynamic of the Dolphins’ offense, and will greatly shift expectations for the team in 2016. Ryan Tannehill will now have the protection needed to show fans what he can do, which merely exaggerates the “make or break” status of the upcoming season for the now-veteran quarterback.