The highest of this 12 months’s N.F.L. draft didn’t have the attract of a franchise-changing quarterback. As an alternative, Spherical 1 on Thursday evening in Las Vegas belonged to gamers recognized for stopping these passers and to golf equipment attempting to maneuver across the draft board.
Edge rushers went No. 1 and No. 2 total, with Georgia’s Travon Walker going first to the Jacksonville Jaguars, adopted by Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson to the Detroit Lions.
Walker, a centerpiece of the Georgia protection that delivered the college a nationwide championship in January, was certainly one of 5 Bulldogs defensive gamers chosen within the first spherical, setting a document for a single college’s defensive unit. He was additionally the primary non-quarterback to go No. 1 total since 2017, when the Cleveland Browns chosen edge rusher Myles Garrett.
The evening was additionally outlined by trades, together with an enormous transfer by the Philadelphia Eagles to accumulate huge receiver A.J. Brown, a 2020 Professional Bowler, from the Tennessee Titans.
Brown missed 4 video games final season due to accidents, however he was Tennessee’s main receiver with 869 yards and 5 touchdowns in a season that ended with a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals within the divisional spherical of the A.F.C. playoffs. Tennessee used the No. 18 decide from the Eagles to pick one other wideout, Treylon Burks of Arkansas, whereas additionally banking a third-round choice within the commerce.
There have been 9 trades complete in the course of the first spherical, together with an unlikely swap between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions, divisional rivals within the N.F.C. North.
Earlier than Thursday, a quarterback had been taken throughout the prime three picks of each draft since 2014.
The Steelers took the one quarterback of Spherical 1, choosing Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh at No. 20. It’s the newest that the primary quarterback has been taken within the first spherical since 1997, when the 49ers selected Jim Druckenmiller with the twenty sixth decide.
Spherical 2 begins Friday at 7 p.m. Japanese, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely be on the clock with decide No. 33.