Biggest winners from Round 1 of NFL Draft, plus two huge wide receiver trades | 76ers, Suns, Mavericks advance

Happy Friday everyone! Another week nearly done.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

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The NFL welcomed 32 new players last night, and we should be happy for each and every one. Sure, some won’t live up to their first-round pedigree, but 32 dreams were realized, and that’s awesome. You can check out every pick — complete with NFL expert Pete Prisco’s analysis and grades — right here.

Defense dominated the draft early. Each of the first five picks were defenders for only the second time in the common draft era (since 1967). The other time was 1991.

Overall, though, it was an even split — 16 players, 16 defensive players — and it was no surprise that offensive line (nine selections), defensive line (seven) and wide receiver (six) ruled the night. On the other end of things, there were no running backs or tight ends and only one quarterback (more on that later).

So, who had the best night?


How about this? the giants and the jets — not exactly known for their recent success — were among NFL expert Jordan Dajani’s biggest winners.

The Giants got Thibodeaux at five and offensive lineman Evan Neal at seven.

  • Dajani: “Thibodeaux was regarded as the No. 1 overall pick in mock drafts during the college football season. … Getting him at No. 5 overall is good value, all things considered, and the Giants again scored on value at No. 7, taking who could be the safest player in the draft in Neal.”

The big news entering the draft was the Giants not picking up Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option. But Neal should help, and if Jones still struggles, 2023 is a much better quarterback class than 2022. Regardless, the Giants got two potential franchise cornerstones at key positions.

The Jets, meanwhile, followed up the Gardner pick with wide receiver Garrett Wilson at 10 and edge defender Jermaine Johnson II at 26. Priscus graded those picks as B+, A and A, respectively.

  • Priscus: “Gardner is the best cover player in the draft…Wilson is a speed player who will help Zach Wilson in a big way. … Johnson is great value this late in the draft. … He fits with what Robert Saleh wants in his edge rushers.”

As for what else stuck out…

We have so, so much content — including individual pick analysis, grades and much more — all right here.

Honorable mentions:

And not such a good morning for…

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In the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, this was generally regarded as a weak quarterback class. Last night, the NFL teams confirmed that notion.

Of course, it’s not all bad news for this class. Being taken after the first round means less pressure to play and succeed immediately, which very well could help this group down the line. Still there were only four players who attended the draft and didn’t hear their name called Thursday. Two — Malik Willis and Matt Corral — are quarterbacks.

Not so honorable mentions:

A. J. Brown to eagles, Marquis Brown to Cardinals as wild wide receiver offseason continues


wow. Just, wow. Two more huge trades involving wide receivers went down last night. The headliner is AJ Brown to the Eagles. Here’s the trade:

Brown immediately got a four-year, $100-million ($57 million guaranteed) extension.

This trade, quite simply, was a stunner. Brown is a star. Since entering the NFL three seasons ago, he’s averaged 16.2 yards per catch, second in the league behind Mike Williams (min. 150 receptions). That big play ability is why the Eagles earn a “A” in NFL guru Jeff Kerr’s trade grades.

  • Kerr: “Brown will pair with DeVonta Smith to form one of the youngest wide receiver tandems in the NFL (Brown turns 25 this year and Smith is 23). Quez Watkins (23) will line up in the slot, with Jalen Hurts (23) having a young receiver trio to build with. The Eagles had just 1,993 receiving yards from the WRs in 2021, third-fewest in the NFL. Getting Brown was necessary for a team with hopes of competing for the NFC East in 2022.”

NFL expert Chris Trapasso broke down why it makes sense for Tennessee, too. brown, meanwhile, tweeted — and deleted — his reaction.

Just before that blockbuster went down, the ravens sent Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. Here’s that trade:

  • Cardinals get: WR Marquis Brown100th pick
  • Ravens get: 23rd pick (traded back to 25 to select C Tyler Linderbaum and add 130th pick)

NFL reporter Cody Benjamin thinks the Cardinals are clear winners hereand Lamar Jackson is none too happy about it.

Chris Paul sets record as Suns finish Pelicans; 76ers, Mavericks also advance


Welcome to the record book, Chris-Paul! the Sun’s‘star guard went 14-for-14 from the field last nightset to playoff record for most makes without a miss as Phoenix advanced past New Orleans with a 115-109 win.

  • Yes, you read that right: Paul took 14 shots and made every single one. I have finished with 33 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
  • Deandre Ayton had 22 points, and Devin Booker made his return from a hamstring injury with 13 points.
  • The Suns won the fourth quarter 33-24.

Paul’s late-game acumen is one of Phoenix’s biggest strengths writes NBA expert Sam Quinn.

  • Quinn: “There are many reasons why the Suns are among the title favorites, but Paul is at the top of the list. He might not be quite as great as he once was, but he’s pretty close, and he’s never had a team this great around him. … with so many of the playoff games coming down to the final five minutes, there’s not a player in the league you’d rather have down the stretch over Paul.”

Meanwhile the 76ers finished off the Raptors with a dominant 132-97 win in Toronto.

  • Joel Embid had 33 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way, and james harden played his best game of the series with 22 points and 15 assists.
  • Tyrese Maxey had 25 points.
  • All five Philadelphia starters scored double-digit points.
  • The 76ers led by just one point at halftime but outscored the Raptors 70-36 in the second half.

Up next for Philadelphia is the Heat.

And finally the Mavericks have won a playoff series for the first time since their 2011 NBA Finals triumph. Dallas beat Utah 98-96 to finish the series.

  • Luka Doncić and Jalen Brunson both scored 24 points.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie had 19 points off the bench.
  • Bojan Bogdanović missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded.

Dallas meets Phoenix in the second round.

Best players still available in NFL Draft

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Now that the first night of the NFL Draft is over, we turn our focus to tonight’s second and third rounds.

Here are CBS Sports’ top five players yet to be picked:

  • Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia (No. 14 overall)
  • Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson (No. 16 overall)
  • Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan (No. 21 overall)
  • Malik Willis, QB, Liberty (No. 23 overall)
  • Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minn. (No. 24 overall)

You can check out the full list here.

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