The first round of the NFL draft lived up to its billing. The Carolina Panthers got their franchise quarterback, the Denver Broncos got their exceptional pass-rusher, the Atlanta Falcons surprised everyone with a trade up to get Julio Jones and the New Orleans Saints also traded up, but they were able to get stand-out running back Mark Ingram. Not bad.
A lot of teams exit the first round with high grades, and there were very few controversial picks overall. The Minnesota Vikings selected Christian Ponder at No. 12, higher than what he was ranked, but it’s hard to argue with the team going after a quarterback at that point.
And while the first round was filled with a lot of talented players matching up with teams that can really use their help, there are a number of players that fell out of the first round and should make for wonderful bargains for teams selecting at the top and middle portions of tomorrow’s second round.
Here is a peek at some of those potential bargains.
Da-Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Bowers started off this draft season as a top player. Experts were suggesting that the Denver Broncos might select him with the No. 2 pick overall if the Panthers didn’t draft him first. But then news of his knee injury came out, and from there it proved impossible to prevent the subsequent slide from top-ranked to out of the first round completely.
Bowers is still capable of becoming a franchise defensive end for a team that can use an all-around player. The guy plays well against the run and the pass, is very disruptive and explosive, and is just an elite athlete. Questions about his durability have dogged him so far, but there should be quite a few teams licking their chops, hoping that Bowers will fall to them in the second round.
Two running backs: Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech) and Mikel LeShoure (Illinois)
Ryan Williams was expected to go in the first round, and LeShoure was considered a bottom of first- or top of second-round player, but both are wonderful athletes with a lot of upside. Williams is the kind of back that will fight for every yard, and he could end up as a featured back for a team in the NFL.
All LeShoure has done is draw comparisons to the Rams Steven Jackson. The running back position is not in high demand this year, so it makes sense that they fell to the second round, but it would make no sense at all for teams to pass on them much longer.
These guys can potentially be big-time playmakers for any team willing to give them a chance.
Two quarterbacks: Ryan Mallet (Arkansas) and Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)
Mallet has fallen out of the first round because of supposed character issues. Whether it’s warranted or not is still an important question to ask, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that this guy has a huge arm. Could he be a Raider?
Meanwhile, the run of quarterbacks taken in the first round also stopped short of Colin Kaepernick. That’s surprising if you consider that there was a lot of hype on Kaepernick leading up to Round 1, and some experts were saying that he could end up being the top QB of this class once the dust settles. Teams not fortunate enough to get their QB in the first round should seriously consider taking one of these athletes in the second.
Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
A lot of mock drafts had Reed going towards the bottom half of the first round, but that was obviously not the case. Reed is very high intangibles and plays with a lot of heart and energy. He is a very polished player, so he can come in and help out a team right away.
If you watch him play, you realize that he just loves to fly around the field and make plays. He is a bit undersized, but he makes up for it by playing big.
There are still a number of teams that could use a player like Reed, so he should be going, going, gone once the second round starts.