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Pick-by-pick analysis of the NFL Draft's first round

The NFL Draft is a time for unbridled optimism.

Every team will profess they "got their guy" – particularly in the first round.

History, of course, shows us it won't turn out that way. About half the players drafted Thursday night will end up being busts. While it will take years to know which of the 31 players chosen fall into that category, it's never too early to analyze how each pick fits their new team.

Here is a look at each of this year's first-round selections, along with an analysis of the pick:

1. Los Angeles Rams

Selection: Jared Goff, quarterback, Cal

How the pick was acquired: April 14 trade with Titans (Los Angeles acquires No. 1 overall pick and fourth- (No. 113) and sixth-round (No. 177) picks this year in exchange for first- (No. 15), second- (Nos. 43 and 45) and third-round (No. 76) picks in 2016, as well as the Rams' first- and third-round picks in 2017).

Why the Rams selected him: A new home is a perfect time for a new franchise quarterback. The Rams previously were going to start Case Keenum in 2016. That's not a winning formula.

My take: The price is crazy high and history has shown making such a bold move does not work out. It's understandable why the Rams did it – you're nowhere without a quarterback in the NFL – but their ability to field a competitive team around Goff has taken a drastic hit by giving up so many picks.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

Selection: Carson Wentz, quarterback, North Dakota State

How the pick was acquired: Cleveland traded the No. 2 overall pick along with a conditional fifth-round pick in 2017 in exchange for the No. 8 selection, third- and fourth-round picks this year, Philadelphia's first-round selection in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018.

Why the Eagles selected him: Because you don't trade up this far to take anything other than a quarterback. Wentz and Goff were the consensus top two quarterbacks available in the draft, and the price will be worth it if he develops into a franchise centerpiece.

My take: Wentz will have to prove his game translates from the FCS level to the NFL, but the good news is he won't be forced into the lineup right away. The Eagles still have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel on the roster, even if Bradford has asked for a trade because of the addition of Wentz.

3. San Diego Chargers.

Selection: Joey Bosa, defensive end, Ohio State

Why the Chargers selected him: Bosa is believed to be the best edge rusher in this year's draft. In the pass-happy NFL, a team can never have too many players who can get after the quarterback.

My take: This is the first mild surprise of the draft. Bosa's projected value had always been somewhere in the top 10, but very few projections had him going third overall. The immediate impression of Bosa is of a player who will develop into a solid pro, but might not ever become a star. That's now what you're hoping for with the third overall pick.

4. Dallas Cowboys.

Selection: Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Ohio State

Why the Cowboys selected him: Owner Jerry Jones just can't help himself when it comes to make a splash. In Elliott, he's getting a complete running back who should challenge for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but comes at a time when drafting running backs in the first round has become a rarity.

My take: The Cowboys better be getting Adrian Peterson here. With the offensive line that they possess, even pedestrian running backs can look like Pro Bowlers. Passing up on a player like Florida State's Jalen Ramsey feels like a mistake at this point.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars.

Selection: Jalen Ramsey, defensive back, Florida State

Why the Jaguars selected him: Ramsey has incredible versatility, with the ability to play anywhere in the secondary. A consensus first-team All-American, Ramsey figures to be used at cornerback by the Jaguars. He's the first defensive back taken in the top five since Patrick Peterson in 2011 – which is a good indication of his ability.

My take: There's a lot to like about this pick from St. Francis product Dave Caldwell. Ramsey broke up 22 passes over the past two seasons, and if he can turn a few more of those into interceptions, he's got Pro Bowl potential. The Jaguars have been patient in their rebuild, and this pick could be another step in the right direction.

6. Baltimore Ravens.

Selection: Ronnie Stanley, left tackle, Notre Dame.

Why the Ravens selected him: Stanley won Notre Dame's Offensive Player of the Year award in 2015, leading a rushing attack that gained at least 5 yards on 45 percent of carries. Perhaps just as importantly, Stanley comes with none of the off-the-field concerns of Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil, who was believed to be the top left tackle available.

My take: Stanley will be compared to Tunsil for his entire career. With experience playing on both sides of the line, Stanley projects as a Day One starter who can eventually take over for Eugene Monroe on the left side.

7. San Francisco 49ers.

Selection: DeForest Buckner, defensive end, Oregon.

Why the 49ers selected him: Because he went to Oregon, of course! New coach Chip Kelly likes nothing more than his former Ducks. To be fair, Bucker was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after finishing with 10.5 sacks.

My take: It's easy to make light of Kelly's propensity to take his former players, but he should have a good scouting report on them. Bucker should fit into San Francisco's 3-4 scheme at defensive end and showed in college he's got the ability to be an every-down player by taking 951 snaps in 2015.

8. Tennessee Titans

How the pick was acquired: The Titans traded the No. 16 pick, a 2016 third-round choice and a 2017 second-round choice to Cleveland in exchange for the eighth overall selection, as well as a sixth-round pick (No. 176).

Selection: Jack Conklin, offensive tackle, Michigan State.

Why the Titans selected him: With a franchise quarterback in place with Marcus Mariota, the Titans set out to protect him. Because of their earlier trade with the Rams, they had the capital to move up, although the price was significant.

My take: It's officially freefall mode for Laremy Tunsil. Conklin is a first-team All-American (as chosen by USA Today), who started for three years at left tackle. His strength is in run blocking, but the Titans clearly believe he can do it all. Like the Stanley pick, this one will be judged against where Tunsil ends up, and how he performs.

9. Chicago Bears

How the pick was acquired: The Bears traded the 11th overall selection and a 2016 fourth-round pick (No. 106 overall) to the Buccaneers to move up two spots.

Selection: Leonard Floyd, outside linebacker, Georgia.

Why the Bears selected him: In a draft class thought to be thin on pass rushers, Floyd's outstanding athleticism makes him an intriguing option off the edge. He finished with 74 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2015, but if speed is the name of the game in today's NFL, Floyd fits right in.

My take: Floyd's stats don't jump off the page, but his combine measurables do. He will have to add weight to play linebacker in the NFL, but that shouldn't be a huge concern for an NFL strength-and-conditioning program.

10. New York Giants.

Selection: Eli Apple, cornerback, Ohio State.

Why the Giants selected him: The Giants are in the midst of a massive defensive makeover after spending more than $100 million in the opening days of free agency. New York allowed the second-most passing yards in NFL history last season (4,783 yards), so cornerback is a clear need.

My take: Apple being the first cornerback after Ramsey to come off the board is a surprise. He was rated behind players like Vernon Hargreaves and William Jackson III, but the best could be ahead of him. Apple left school as a redshirt sophomore, so he's still developing.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Selection: Vernon Hargreaves, cornerback, Florida.

Why the Buccaneers selected him: Hargreaves has excelled in the best conference in college football, being named first-team All-SEC the past three years, in addition to being named a 2015 consensus All-American.

My take: The Bucs allowed a 70-percent completion rate last season, making a cornerback in the first round a near necessity. In Hargreaves, they get the player widely considered to be the second best at his position in the draft. There's a reason so many mock drafts had him going here.

12. New Orleans Saints.

Selection: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville.

Why the Saints selected him: Because he plays defense. The Saints' defense has been historically atrocious the past two years and Rankins should immediately help. Since 2011, New Orleans has allowed a hard-to-believe 4.9 yards per carry.

My take: Rankins might be considered "undersized," if that's possible for a 299-pounder, but he gives the Saints great flexibility

13. Miami Dolphins. 

Selection: Laremy Tunsil, left tackle, Ole Miss.

Why the Dolphins selected him: At one time, Tunsil was thought to be the favorite to be the No. 1 overall selection. Character concerns, including a video that possibly showed Tunsil smoking marijuana in a gas mask that surfaced just before the draft, caused him to slip down to Miami. If he stays on the straight and narrow, he could provide great value at this point.

My take: Tunsil's slide was the story of the first half of the draft. His talent is undeniable, but the character red flags are impossible to ignore. This is a boom-or-bust pick for the Dolphins. Tunsil will likely be motivated by his slide, but the allure of South Beach may not be the best place for him.

14. Oakland Raiders.

Selection: Karl Joseph, safety, West Virginia.

Why the Raiders selected him: With the retirement of Charles Woodson, the Raiders had a big hole in their secondary. It was thought that Joseph's draft stock was going to make a hit because of an injury in 2015, but he ended up going in the top half of the first round thanks to his playmaking ability (five interceptions in four weeks before getting hurt in 2015).

My take: In a draft that's not thought to be packed with top-end talent, Joseph fits the Raiders well. His style of play leaves him particularly vulnerable to injuries, but there's no denying his talent.

15. Cleveland Browns.

How the pick was acquired: Above-mentioned trade with Tennessee.

Selection: Corey Coleman, wide receiver, Baylor.

Why the Browns selected him: The Browns' receiver depth has never recovered from the loss of Josh Gordon, whose indefinite suspension from the NFL continues.

My take: Coleman figures to be Gordon's replacement as the Browns' No. 1 receiver. He had 10 drops last season, which is a big concern, but he was targeted a crazy 40 percent of the time, so it's somewhat understandable. Taking into account the moves the Browns have made, it's a good start for their new front office.

16. Detroit Lions.

Selection: Taylor Decker, left tackle, Ohio State.

Why the Lions selected him: Decker's career only got better after he was abused by the University at Buffalo's Khalil Mack in his first college game. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked 89 times the past two seasons, so protecting him better was a top priority.

My take: Scouting reports say that Decker is a better run blocker than pass blocker. Stafford has to hope that's not the case. A long-term solution at either tackle spot is a sensible pick for the Lions.

17. Atlanta Falcons.

Selection: Keanu Neal, safety, Florida.

Why the Falcons selected him: Falcons coach Dan Quinn comes from Seattle and is plenty familiar with the impact the "Legion of Boom" secondary can have on games. Neal can absolutely bring that as one of the biggest hitters in the class.

My take: Not too many mock drafts had Neal going in the first round, but his production in 2015 was hampered somewhat by a hamstring injury. Had it not been for that, he may very well have been more highly thought of. He will have to answer questions about his coverage ability at the next level, though.

18. Indianapolis Colts.

Selection: Ryan Kelly, center, Alabama.

Why the Colts selected him: Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck suffered a lacerated kidney last season. So, yeah, it might be time to better protect him. Indianapolis hasn't had a 100-yard rusher in 50 games, another sign that the offensive line was crying out to be rebuilt.

My take: Drafting a center in the first round isn't sexy, but for a team like Indianapolis, it makes perfect sense. The analytics website Pro Football Focus charged Kelly with just 11 pressures allowed last season. He should step right in and settle what has long been a problem position for the Colts.

19. Buffalo Bills.

Selection: Shaq Lawson, defensive end, Clemson.

Why the Bills selected him: Let's count the reasons: 1. Lawson was one of the best pass rushers in all of college football last season, with 12.5 sacks. 2. He played at Rex Ryan's favorite college, Clemson, where Ryan's son goes to school, and the Bills have a history of scouting extensively. 3. His football character is universally praised. 4. He's also stout against the run, with 25.5 tackles for loss, not all of which come on sacks.

My take: This looks like a perfect fit for the Bills. There is some concern about Lawson's shoulder, but if that checks out, he should fit right in as a starter in the defensive front seven – which was clearly the Bills' biggest need heading into the draft.

20. New York Jets.

Selection: Darron Lee, linebacker, Ohio State.

Why the Jets selected him: That's what they do. New York has taken a defensive player in the first round for seven straight seasons. Lee ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine – the fastest among linebackers.

My take: The Jets passing on quarterback Paxton Lynch is one of the first round's bigger surprises. Lee has the potential to develop into a nice player for them, but New York's unsettled quarterback position seemed to be a much bigger need.

21. Houston Texans.

How the pick was acquired: The Texans traded a 2016 sixth-round pick to Washington to move up one spot.

Selection: Will Fuller, wide receiver, Notre Dame.

Why the Texans selected him: After signing quarterback Brock Osweiler in the offseason, the Texans have gone about attempting to upgrade their weapons around him. More than a quarter of Fuller's catches last season went for 25-plus yards, making him one of the draft's best deep threats. He averaged an amazing 45 yards on his 14 touchdown catches.

My take: Fuller is more than just a burner, even though his 4.32-second 40 time at the combine was the fastest among wide receivers. He's not the biggest receiver (6-foot-0, 186 pounds), but he should take pressure off of DeAndre Hopkins immediately.

22. Washington Redskins.

How the pick was acquired: The above-mentioned trade with Houston.

Selection: Josh Doctson, wide receiver, TCU.

Why the Redskins selected him: They didn't want to be left out of the run on wide receivers. In Doctson, they get a player some had as the best receiver in the draft. Both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are scheduled to be free agents after the season, so Doctson gives them both short- and long-term help.

My take: At 6-2, Doctson has the desired height for a receiver. He put up big-time numbers at TCU and was the focal point of the Horned Frogs' offense. Washington has a nice collection of receivers when including tight end Jordan Reed surrounding quarterback Kirk Cousins.

23. Minnesota Vikings.

Selection: Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver, Ole Miss.

Why the Vikings selected him: They were afraid there wouldn't be any wide receivers left. In what was thought to be a down year for the position, Treadwell became the fourth receiver to go in the first round. He was originally thought to be the No. 1 wideout in this year's class, but fell because of concerns over his top-end speed (4.63-second 40 at his Pro Day).

My take: The Vikings have to be elated to get Treadwell here. After parting ways with Mike Wallace, there was a clear need at the position, and even if Treadwell isn't a burner, he offers everything else you'd want in a receiver. He's a classic example of a player's whose game tape and production should outweigh his test scores.

24. Cincinnati Bengals.

Selection: William Jackson III, cornerback, Houston.

Why the Bengals selected him: It's clear they believe in building the secondary. This is the third time in the last five years Cincinnati has taken a defensive back in the first round.

My take: Jackson led the country in passes defensed in 2015, with 23. He also ran a 4.37-second 40 and is 6-0. That's a great combination of production and measurables.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers.

Selection: Artie Burns, cornerback, Miami.

Why the Steelers selected him: Pittsburgh hadn't taken a defensive back in the first round since Troy Polamalu in 2003. At 6-0 and with a 4.46-second 40 time, Burns fits the size-and-speed combination so desired these days by NFL teams.

My take: Burns had six interceptions in 2015, leading the ACC, but scouts have said his play as a whole was uneven. This is a pick based more on potential than production. Given that Pittsburgh ranked 30th in pass defense, however, that's a defensible decision.

26. Denver Broncos.

How the pick was acquired: Denver sent the 31st overall pick and a third-round selection (No. 94) to Seattle for the 26th pick.

Selection: Paxton Lynch, quarterback, Memphis.

Why the Broncos selected him: Mark Sanchez is currently their starting quarterback. After losing Brock Osweiler to free agency, the defending Super Bowl champions had a huge hole at the position. Lynch gives them an intriguing, if somewhat raw, option. The big question now is just how quickly he'll be ready to play.

My take: This pick makes a ton of sense for the Broncos, who have a dominant defense and had such an obvious hole at quarterback. Lynch's combination of size (6-7, 244 pounds) and mobility has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton. While that feels like a stretch, it goes to show the type of upside he has.

27. Green Bay Packers.

Selection: Kenny Clark, defensive tackle, UCLA.

Why the Packers selected him: Green Bay has taken defensive players in the first round of the draft for five straight seasons. Clark had 11 tackles for loss and six sacks despite playing on the interior defensive line. He's credited for opening things up for linebacker Myles Jack.

My take: Clark didn't have as much hype as some of the other defensive linemen in this class, but he put up solid numbers and doesn't turn 21 until October. That means he's still developing physically and has a high ceiling. This is a classic Ted Thompson pick. It might not be thrilling, but is sensible.

28. San Francisco 49ers. 

How the pick was acquired: The 49ers traded their second-, fourth- and sixth-round selections this year to Kansas City for the 28th pick.

Selection: Joshua Garnett, guard, Stanford.

Why the 49ers selected him: He won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior offensive lineman and earned several All-American honors. At 6-4 and 312 pounds, Garnett has ideal size for the position and is such a good athlete he's even been used as an H-back at times.

My take: Speaking on the NFL Network, Stanford coach David Shaw said Garnett needs to improve his pass protection. That's somewhat concerning to hear for a first-round pick who a team traded up to get, but Garnett should step in and start from Day One, giving the 49ers two players in the first round who can do that, one on each line.

29. Arizona Cardinals.

Selection: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss.

Why the Cardinals selected him: An undeniably talented prospect, Nkemdiche slid down this far in the draft because of character red flags, including a drugs and/or alcohol situation in an Atlanta hotel room and an admission at the NFL Scouting Combine that he did not always give an honest effort at Ole Miss. Arizona had just 36 sacks last season – the fewest of any playoff team – so upgrading the pass rush was a priority.

My take: I like Nkemdiche here much better than I would have liked him to the Bills at No. 19. The Cardinals have a stacked roster and Nkemdiche won't be pressured into being an immediate contributor. Head coach Bruce Arians seems to have a good rapport with his players, and deserves the benefit of the doubt on this pick.

30. Carolina Panthers.

Selection: Vernon Butler, defensive tackle, Louisiana Tech.

Why the Panthers selected him: Good question. With Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short already on the roster, the Panthers did not seemingly have a need at defensive tackle. Clearly, they viewed the 323-pound Butler as the best available player.

My take: It will be interesting to see where Butler fits on the Panthers' defensive line, but there's no denying he has impressive physical attributes. Carolina's offseason has gotten awfully interesting in the last couple weeks, but General Manager Dave Gettleman shouldn't be second-guessed.

31. Seattle Seahawks.

How the pick was acquired: The above-mentioned trade with Denver.

Selection: Germain Ifedi, offensive tackle, Texas A&M.

Why the Seahawks selected him: It's pretty cut and dry  – after losing Russell Okung in free agency, there was a clear need along the offensive line.

My take: The Seahawks did a good job of moving down to acquire another top-100 pick and still filled a glaring hole on their roster. Recent offensive tackles taken out of Texas A&M haven't had a ton of success in the NFL, but the Seahawks have one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL in Tom Cable.

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