Redrafting the entire NFL, Part 2: Offensive studs fly off the board
Imagine this: An error is discovered in the legal language of the NFL's rulebook that immediately renders all player contracts null and void. To restart the league, a draft is planned. All players are eligible to be selected.
In this four-part series, theScore's NFL editors will draft on behalf of the league's 32 teams, with each employing a unique roster-building strategy, explaining their picks as they go.
On Monday, we explained the rules and drafted the first round. If you missed it, we recommend starting there. Today, we're drafting Rounds 2 through 10.
Got all that? Let's jump in and see how our teams built out the core of their rosters.
Rounds 2-10 👇
Quarterbacks dominated the first round, with 19 teams finding their answer under center. Over the next nine rounds, only two teams - the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos - continued to opt against drafting a starting quarterback. It's a bold strategy considering Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Lock are the best of the rest. But there's something to be said for forming a strong base and then looking for a stop-gap starter in the later rounds, rather than reaching for a signal-caller over elite players at other positions. Don't forget, young quarterbacks will still enter the NFL.
Teams that drafted a quarterback in the top 10 mostly opted to give their signal-caller an elite weapon in the second round. Aaron Rodgers got Justin Jefferson, Tom Brady got Travis Kelce, Trevor Lawrence got Saquon Barkley, Justin Herbert got George Kittle, and Russell Wilson got Tyreek Hill. Notably, the Buffalo Bills were the only team to select defenders with each of their first four picks, with the first three - Jalen Ramsey, Justin Simmons, and Marshon Lattimore - all secondary players. That could be an all-time pass defense - one that's perfectly capable of stopping the Brady-led New York Jets from dominating the AFC East.
The Patrick Mahomes-led Jacksonville Jaguars, Rodgers-led Cleveland Browns, and Brady-led Jets all honed in on their win-now strategies. The three teams mostly surrounded their all-world quarterbacks with veterans who are in their prime and ready to help push for a title over the next few years. Jefferson and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed were the only sophomores selected by the top three teams in the opening 10 rounds. Jacksonville, Cleveland, and New York also all picked up at least two Pro Bowl-caliber offensive linemen, in what was possibly a reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs' struggles in Super Bowl LV.
After three running backs - Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara - went in the first round, the desire for the position dropped significantly. Only six running backs were taken from Rounds 2 through 6. It's clear some teams wanted to ensure their offense has a workhorse back, while others try to snag a solid starter for a fraction of the price later on. Which strategy looks best once full rosters are set will be among the most interesting talking points post-draft.
While evaluating the first round, we pointed to the Chiefs' selection of Carson Wentz at No. 27 as one of the biggest boom-or-bust moves. Kansas City clearly has no intention of moving away from its pass-heavy attack with Wentz, reuniting Stefon Diggs with Adam Thielen and picking up rookie Ja'Marr Chase. If Wentz fails, it won't be because of a lack of help this time. Another notable strategy is by the Atlanta Falcons, who went all-in on their youth movement by selecting rookie quarterback Trey Lance at No 18. The NFC South club selected five more rookies, two sophomores, and no veterans above the age of 26.
Check back Wednesday as the draft is completed in Rounds 11 through 25!
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