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Where to start…well, let’s get the headliner out of the way first. Dude! How much is Kliff Kingsbury getting paid? Everyone, I mean EVERYONE was talking about the man’s pad!

On to the draft. It was a ratings winner and honestly a refreshing break from the over-produced, over-hyped machine that the draft has become year after year. It was great to have the added personal touches. There weren’t as many trades, which was expected (well, except for the Vikings), but amidst concerns of tech issues and potential hackings, everything went relatively smoothly.

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My Top 5 Best Drafts:

1. Baltimore – When it comes to the NFL draft, no one seems to do it better than the Ravens. They have killed the process for three straight years. This year’s draft was highlighted in the first round with the selection of LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, who can flat out fly. The hits kept coming in the second and third rounds with Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and Texas dynamite wideout Devin Duvernay. Baltimore wrapped things up with two late gems in SMU wide receiver James Proche and Iowa safety Geno Stone.

2. Minnesota – I think it’s safe to say that Rick Spielman loves acquiring draft picks--he ended up with a record 15 in the 2020 draft and added a few more for 2021. The Vikings’ draft is headlined by first round wideout Justin Jefferson out of LSU. Jefferson can line up at the slot but also has the speed needed to lineup outside and go deep. Spielman then rebuilt a defense that recently saw a slew of players leave via free agency. The defensive line should get a boost from Baylor’s James Lynch, while the defensive backfield added five new members led by corners Jeff Gladney of TCU and Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler. Mississippi State safety Brian Cole could be a great find in the seventh round. He is a thumper as a run defender and should be a demon on special teams.

3. Dallas – Jerry is NEVER leaving that damn yacht along with the women that held his phone for him. Seriously, what was going on with that? The Pokes scored big! Dak Prescott didn’t need another wideout but he sure as hell got one. CeeDee Lamb can destroy a defense from the slot. He may not have top-end speed but he can get deep and high-point the ball…and watch out once he’s got it. They followed that pick with the physically gifted Trevon Diggs out of Alabama and added two solid defensive lineman in Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore and Utah’s Bradlee Anae. Do not be surprised to see fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz from Wisconsin get some playing time at center next season.

4. Indianapolis – Chris Ballard continues to get the job done for the Colts. The general manager did not have a first round pick but he scored first round talent in the second round with USC wide receiver Michael Pittman and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. Ballard also scored with his next four selections, adding Utah safety Julian Blackmon, Washington quarterback Jason Eason, Ball State guard Danny Pinter, and Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor. If Frank Reich can get Eason to apply himself in the quarterback room and on the field, he could have a great future at quarterback.

5. Carolina – I LOVE what the Panthers did--their defense stunk last year, so first-year coach Matt Rhule used every one of the team’s picks to make it better. It was also the first time a team has drafted on only one side of the field. Derek Brown was one of my top four players and was an absolute monster at defensive tackle for Auburn. Nabbing Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos in the second round was a steal. The edge rusher is still blossoming and has a bright future in front of him. Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn is an athletic freak. He tore it up at the combine, which sky-rocketed the small-school product up draft boards. He has a ton of range and can also come up and smack you in the box. If fourth-round pick Tony Pride junior can get his technique down and improve his ball tracking skills, the Notre Dame corner could be an early starter for the Panthers.

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Other Notables:

Arizona – Favorite pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB – Clemson
Buffalo – Favorite pick: Zach Moss, RB – Utah
Cincinnati – Favorite pick: Logan Wilson, ILB – Wyoming
Tampa Bay – Favorite pick: Antoine Winfield Jr., S – Minnesota

My Worst Draft:

1. Green Bay – I’m only picking one team this year because NO ONE deserves the bottom rung more that the Packers. I get looking towards the future with their first-round pick Jordan Love out of Utah State, but not selecting a wideout, in a year where there a ton of great options is just a bone-head move. Picking running back A.J. Dillon in the second round was boggling. Not only do the Packers have solid depth at the position but you can argue they have a near pro-bowl-level running back in Aaron Jones.

Honorable Mention:

Atlanta – They could have easily moved back in the first round and still selected Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell. This would have allowed the Falcons to make their pick but also pick up some draft capital, which they lacked in a talent-deep draft.

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Finally, here are my best value picks in every round:

1st Round: Cowboys pick 17 – CeeDee Lamb, WR – Oklahoma
2nd Round: Rams pick 52 – Cam Akers, RB – Florida State (My choice for rookie of the year--Akers is the perfect fit for Sean McVay’s offense. He is a true three-down back who should be an explosive option as a receiver out of the backfield. The Florida State product was stymied by a sub-par Seminole offense but will flourish with L.A.)
3rd Round: Saints pick 105 – Adam Trautman, TE – Dayton
4th Round: Raiders pick 139 – Amik Robertson, CB – Louisiana Tech
5th Round: Buccaneers pick 161 – Tyler Johnson, WR – Minnesota
6th Round: Ravens pick 201 – James Proche, WR – SMU
7th Round: Cardinals pick 222 – Eno Benjamin, RB – Arizona State