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This Ain’t No War, Son

An analysis of each first round pick from this year’s NFL draft.

Let’s get right into it.

#1: Chicago Bears: QB Caleb Williams, USC. This isn’t really all that surprising. He’s been the projected first pick for months now, but to be honest, I don’t really like the pick. The sheer talent is there, but he had struggles in college at times, especially last season. He has also developed a reputation as a prima donna, stating this offseason that he wants to be a part-owner of the team that drafts him. If he gets humbled, which he likely will, the Bears could emerge as a contender for the division title. But that won’t happen until Williams matures.

#2: Washington Commanders: QB (and Heisman Trophy winner) Jayden Daniels, LSU. This is a step in the right direction. Daniels is the epitome of a dual-threat QB, a hot commodity in today’s NFL. The Commanders won’t turn around overnight, but if they can provide Daniels with some weapons, they could start to rise up the ranks of the NFC East.

#3: New England Deflatriots: QB Drake Maye, UNC. Maye is another dual-threat QB, something the Patriots have lacked for a long time and could use, especially in a division with elite passers like Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa. The Pats won’t return to contention for a while, but Maye should help to expedite that process. Patriots insider Nicholas Rood ’25 says of Maye, “I don’t really know a lot about him, but from what I know he seems solid.” If you’re a Pats fan, you better hope he’s right.

#4: Arizona Cardinals: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State. The first non-QB off the board, Harrison is a major move, as the Arizona WR room of Kaden Davis and Zach Pascal is, well, not all that great. Kyler Murray just got an elite target, so he better make the most of it. If Junior is anything like his HOFer father, Arizona could quietly become a contender in the next few years.

#5: Los Angeles Chargers: OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame. This shocked nearly everyone. While Alt is the best lineman in the draft, this pick is puzzling. The Chargers do need O-line help; after all, Rashawn Slater can only do so much despite his Pro Bowler status. While Herbert will have all the time in the world to throw, the puzzling part is that he has hardly anyone competent enough to receive. Quentin Johnson, aka Quentin Dropson, is not the most ideal WR1. It doesn’t matter how much protection Herbert has if his targets can’t catch. I think the Chargers were better off drafting a WR like Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, and using later picks on linemen.

#6: East Rutherford Football Giants: WR Malik Nabers, LSU. Speaking of. This is a good pick; after all, the Giants offensive weapons have been limited the past few years. The only issue is QB. Danny Dimes has made fans wonder if he is a capable starter, and while his overall lack of success could be blamed on a lack of weapons, the weapons he has had haven’t been truly terrible. While they aren’t ideal, they’re better than nothing. If Nabers isn’t able to improve Daniel Jones’ play, the Giants are going to have to make some moves at the most important position.

#7: Tennessee Titans: OT JC Latham, Alabama. The Titans desperately need help on the line. With Taylor Lewan’s retirement, Will Levis [Ed. Note—remember when he put mayo in his coffee? Good times.] needs all the protection he can get with the increasing capabilities of other divisional rivals. Alabama has put out some quality lineman is several years, and Latham should be no exception.

#8: Atlanta Falcons: QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington. The Falcons shocked everyone by doing this after signing Kirk Cousins to a $180 million contract this offseason, including $100 million guaranteed. While Kirk is aging and coming off an injury, this pick could have been used in much better ways. Penix is an elite QB, and yes, the Packers have normalized drafting replacement QBs in the first round, but those have been late-round picks in non-rebuilding years. Penix may be good, but his talents could have been used better on other teams.

#9: Chicago Bears (again): WR Rome Odunze, Washington. Odunze is probably the second best WR in the draft, and will provide Caleb Williams with a reliable target. How Caleb will capitalize on it, however, remains to be seen. If Odunze struggles, Williams likely will as well, and vice versa. Chicago has made improvements over this offseason, they just have to use them to their advantage.

#10: Minnesota Vikings: QB JJ McCarthy, Michigan. McCarthy was decent in college and had pretty good stats, but was more a game manager than a game changer. However, he has Justin Jefferson at his disposal right off the bat, so his game managing should pick up where he left off in the national championship. The Vikings could turn him into a true playmaker, but even if they don’t, a game manager should be enough to keep the team above water for now.

#11: East Rutherford Jets: OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State. The Jets needed line help. Fashanu is a fairly underrated prospect who should finally give Aaron Rodgers the protection he needs. [Ed. Note—well, from opposing defenses, anyway.] This pick does help the Jets out quite a bit; all that’s left is to put it into practice and start winning.


#12: Denver Broncos: QB (and Heisman finalist) Bo Nix, Oregon. Broncos Country may be riding again. Nix put up video game numbers at Oregon, with 45 touchdowns against just 3 interceptions last season. Nix, who now holds the NFL record for shortest name (previously held by Ed Reed), should (and hopefully will) breathe some life back into the Broncos. While beating Herbert and Mahomes consistently is a few years away, the Broncos have gotten better. Putting it into practice, however, is the hard part.

#13: Las Vegas Raiders: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia. The best at his position in the nation. While definitely more of a receiving TE than a blocker, Bowers could easily be one of the best rookies this year. He could be the difference the Raiders need between a third and fourth place finish in the division—although not if Bo Nix has anything to say about it. 🙂

#14: New Orleans Saints: OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State. Oregon State’s first ever first-round pick. Fuaga should provide help to the Saints’ O-line, which is going to be without standout Ryan Ramczyk for most, if not all, of the season. This pick is a good one, and all that’s left is for the Saints to use him to their advantage.

#15: Indianapolis Colts: DE Laiatu Latu, UCLA. The Colts needed help on defense, and Latu provides that. Paired with DeForest Buckner, the Colts D-line just got much better, which is especially needed in a division with the likes of Trevor Lawrence, CJ Stroud, and even Will “Peel and All” Levis. If the offense can be at least decent, the Colts could be a contender to not finish last in the division, which is not the most ideal, but is better than finishing last.

#16: Seattle Seahawks: DT Byron Murphy, Texas. Murphy is the best at his position, and should help the Seahawks improve their defense, especially with the rival 49ers having a stout O-line and an elite backfield. This is a very good pick on a process basis, though only time will tell if it pans out.

#17: Minnesota Vikings (again): DE Dallas Turner, Alabama. The Minnesota defense has been underwhelming the past few years, and Turner should be able to fix that. In a division with Jordan Love, Jared Goff and now Caleb Williams, getting to the QB is more important for the Vikings than ever before.

#18: Cincinnati Bengals: OT Amarius Mims, Georgia. Having lost La’el Collins this offseason, the Bengals used the draft to replace him. This is a solid pick, as Joe Burrow desperately needs protection. His lack of a competent O-line has resulted in injuries every Bengals fan knows and fears in their souls. Mims is a good player who should be able to contribute from the start as Joe Burrow’s bodyguard.

#19: Los Angeles Rams: DE Jared Verse, Florida. Believe it or not, this pick was the Rams’ first first-round pick since they took Jared Goff #1 overall in 2016. With this pick, they took one of the best D-linemen in the nation, Verse will be a nice addition to the Rams defense, especially now that Aaron Donald has ridden off into the sunset. While Donald has left shoes more or less impossible to fill, Verse should be able to make a name for himself as a standout pass rusher.

#20: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Troy Fautanu, Washington. Similar to the Bengals with Amarius Mims, Fautanu is needed to protect the QB, whether it be Russell Wilson or Justin Fields. This is a good pick, and one that should pan out. The Steelers are stuck in one of the most competitive divisions, and Fautanu’s presence should ease Pittsburgh’s rise from the bottom.

#21: Miami Dolphins: DE Chop Robinson, Penn State. In a star-studded division like the AFC East, players that can get through offensive lines and get to the QB are a necessity. Knowing this, the Dolphins drafted Robinson, who should add even more force to a pass rushing group that already has Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb. This is a great pick.

#22: Philadelphia Iggles: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo. Needing secondary help, the Birds made a smart move here. One of the best DBs in the draft, Mitchell should be an immediate contributor on a defense that has fallen from recent glory. It’s a solid pick, but it remains to be answered whether it will be enough.

#23: Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU. Trevor Lawrence needs pass catchers. Divisional rival Houston has a near elite duo in Tank Dell and Stefon Diggs. Jacksonville, well, doesn’t, and Thomas changes that. While not truly elite, he still is a very good player who should pair well with Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.

#24: Detroit Lions: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama. This is a good pick overall; Justin Jefferson, Christian Watson and now Rome Odunze are going to strain the Detroit defense. Arnold is a good corner who should be able to balance out this strain and keep Detroit in the playoff hunt, and even in the playoffs themselves.

#25: Green Bay Packers: OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona. Needing help to protect Jordan Love from the equally stout defenses in the NFC North, the Packers made a smart move here. Morgan is rather underrated compared to other tackles in the draft, but make no mistake, this is a great pick. His QB, a fellow Jordan, needs more protection if the Packers want to make another deep run into the playoffs, and Morgan is a piece of that puzzle.

#26: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C Graham Barton, Duke. Nothing crazy to be said here; I like the pick and I think he will do a solid job replacing the retired Ryan Jensen. Barton should be fine when it comes to blocking for both Baker Mayfield and Rachaad White. Tampa did a good job here.

#27: Arizona Cardinals (2): DE Darius Robinson, Missouri. The Arizona Cardinals are the last of three teams to have multiple first-round picks this year. Their second pick was used to get them more help on defense, especially in the same division as the 49ers. While he likely won’t be an immediate impact player, he should blossom into a solid pass rusher that opposing teams will need to take into account.

#28: Kansas City Chiefs: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas. Bills Mafia is raging, and not because of who the Bills drafted. The Bills traded out of the first round and gave the rival Chiefs their pick. If you’re a part of Bills Mafia, your head should be exploding. If you’re a part of Chiefs Kingdom, you should be celebrating. Worthy was great in college, and this should translate into the NFL, especially with Mahomes throwing him the ball. The Bills just made the dominant Chiefs even better. Why would they do this?

#29: Dallas Cowboys: OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma. The Cowboys’ O-line has been questionable the past few years, and this should help. Dak Prescott needs more protection, as does the recently returned Ezekiel Elliott. Guyton is certainly good enough for the job. Jerry Jones actually did something smart for once. But it doesn’t matter how well Guyton does, since we all know a divisional round exit is in store.

#30: Baltimore Ravens: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, George Pickens, Amari Cooper and now Jerry Jeudy: the AFC North is chock full of great wideouts. Baltimore’s defense, however, isn’t the best at covering them. Hence, Nate Wiggins. When paired with Marlon Humphrey, this could be a near-elite defensive duo that other teams need to account for. This is one of the more underrated picks.

#31: San Francisco 49ers: WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida. A former teammate of star WR Brandon Aiyuk, who has voiced his pleasure with the pick, Pearsall should be another weapon at San Francisco’s disposal. But that is, of course, without controversy as a result of me. This is a good pick, but a third standout WR in a run-heavy offense is fishy. Unless Christian McCaffrey’s role is reduced, Pearsall being drafted could mean Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk is on the move. Is this likely? I’d say no. But never count it out.

#32: Carolina Panthers: WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina. The final pick of the first round saw the final WR from the first round. This pick adds another option to Carolina’s underrated WR room. Terrace Marshall Jr., Adam Thielen and Diontae Johnson are already proven, and Legette should add to that. This pick is crucial for Bryce Young’s development into the star he’s supposed to be. If Legette blossoms into a star, Young will likely follow.

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