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The first round of the NFL Draft was as hectic as ever, with two quarterbacks taken within the first two picks and three signal-callers taken within the top-four selections. The Houston Texans traded up to No. 3 to have two of the top three picks, while seven of the top-14 picks came out of the SEC. 

Running backs went early and wide receivers went late. Offensive tackles went at a premium and quarterbacks were ignored after No. 4. This draft was certainly unpredictable as the first round concluded. 

What did we learn after 31 picks? Did the smokescreens actually come to fruition? 

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Will Levis was never going No. 2

Maybe the Reddit user meant the second round for Levis? The Kentucky quarterback ended up not going No. 2 overall to the Houston Texans, but he wasn't drafted in the first round at all! What a great job by teams to get the Levis smokescreen going as a decoy for what they really wanted to do in regards to their plans -- whether they were taking a quarterback or not. 

Toward the end of the first round, it became apparent Levis wasn't going in Round 1. He certainly wasn't going in the top two, as the Texans had their sights set on C.J. Stroud all along. 

For teams like the Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders to pass on Levis in the teens was something. Team needs and lack of trades later in the draft doomed Levis, who ended up being the only quarterback who fell out of the "big four." 

Running back value wasn't as low as believed

The Atlanta Falcons ended up taking a running back in the top-10, Bijan Robinson at No. 8. Robinson was the first running back taken in the top-20 since Saquon Barkley went No. 2 overall in 2018, ending any speculation if Robinson would fall. 

The second running back taken was Jahmyr Gibbs, but he went much earlier than expected at No. 12. Two running backs were taken in the top-12 for the first time since 2017 (Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey were both picked in the top-10). 

So much for teams not taking a running back high because of positional value. The top running backs were taken early, but both are expected to be very good players in the NFL

The weak wide receiver class ended up being true -- somewhat

No wide receivers were taken in the first 19 picks, which was quite a bit of a surprise given the pre-draft hype with Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Ohio State wide receiver was the first player at his position taken, but not until No. 20 by the Seattle Seahawks

That started a run of four straight wide receivers taken from No. 20 to No. 23, the first time in the common draft era that's ever happened. The receivers went off the board, but later than expected. 

Once Smith-Njigba was picked, teams moved quickly to get their pass-catcher. 

Lions had 20th century draft in 21st century

For a team with two picks in the top-18, the Lions certainly took an interesting approach. Detroit surprisingly selected running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 overall (after trading down from No. 6), despite having David Montgomery and D'Andre Swift in their backfield.

The Lions took linebacker Jack Campbell, the only linebacker taken in the first round. In the 1980s and 1990s, running back and linebacker this early in the draft was the premium. Those positions getting selected that early are on the backburner. 

General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are defying the odds. The Lions needed some help at linebacker, but appeared set at running back. Keep in mind they could have had Jalen Carter at No. 6. 

Texans had their cake and ate it too

Houston kept the smokescreen going like it didn't exactly know what it was doing at No. 2. Turns out, the Texans knew exactly what they were doing. 

The Texans had ambitions of taking an edge rusher high in the draft, but they also got their next franchise quarterback in the process. After Houston took C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall, the Texans made a massive trade with the Arizona Cardinals to trade up to No. 3 and select Will Anderson Jr.. Houston parlayed the No. 12 and No. 33 picks to move up to No. 3 and get Anderson, getting the second-best quarterback in the draft along with arguably the draft's best defensive player. 

Getting a premier quarterback and edge rusher in this draft for Houston seemed impossible. The Texans got both.

Eagles got player they wanted all along -- without giving up much

 The Eagles did have aspirations to trade up in this draft -- for one player. That was Jalen Carter, who Philadelphia only had to move up one spot in the draft to get -- giving up the No. 10 pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick for a player that was No. 1 on their draft board. 

Philadelphia had aspirations it could land Carter and the culture of their building would handle any issues Carter had heading into the draft. The Eagles were impressed with Carter's visit and are convinced he'll be a tremendous asset for the organization, reuniting him with former Georgia teammates Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis

There was a minor hole at defensive tackle for Philadelphia. The position is now a massive strength, making up for the loss of Javon Hargrave in free agency. 

Cardinals finally got the help Kyler Murray wanted 

Arizona did trade down from No. 3 overall, but moved back up to No. 6 to get the offensive lineman franchise quarterback Kyler Murray sought all along. Murray reportedly wanted Paris Johnson Jr. on the Cardinals and told the organization how he felt about the top offensive lineman selected in this draft. 

Murray gets more protection with Johnson, who will likely slide into left guard or right tackle (D.J. Humphries is under contract as the left tackle). Johnson could complete with Kelvin Beachum at right tackle, but the Cardinals do have an opening at guard. 

Seahawks offense loaded for Geno Smith

The Seahawks were patient with their draft board, deciding to commit to the quarterback they signed to a massive extension rather than draft his succession. Seattle had two chances to select Will Levis at No. 5 and No. 20 and passed both times, with the second pick resulting in making an already good offense even better. 

Seattle selected Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 20, adding him to a wide receiver group that already has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks also have Kenneth Walker at running back behind an ever-improving offensive line with Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas at the tackle spots. 

The Seahawks have their young offensive core set around their veteran quarterback. They'll need all the offensive weapons needed with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. 

Eagles love Bulldogs

Somehow, Nolan Smith fell toward the back end of the first round. The Eagles didn't even have to trade up for a player they wanted at No. 10 (and wouldn't have minded taking Smith there). Smith is the third Georgia player the Eagles selected in the first round of the draft over the last two years, joining Jalen Carter (No. 9, 2023) and Jordan Davis (No. 13, 2022). 

The Eagles have taken four Georgia players within the past two years, with Nakobe Dean being selected in the third round last year. Dean and Carter are expected to start on the Eagles defense this year, while Smith and Davis will be part of a loaded defensive line rotation. 

Howie Roseman certainly loves his Georgia players. The Eagles have stacked up on Georgia defensive players and Alabama offensive players over the last three years. 

Lamar Jackson is happy -- very happy

Lamar Jackson
BAL • QB • #8
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Jackson became the richest quarterback in NFL history (in terms of average annual salary) before the draft started, signing his five-year, $260 million extension to stay in Baltimore. The Ravens paid Jackson, then got him another wide receiver to throw to with Zay Flowers -- their second wide receiver taken in Round 1 in the last three years. 

Having the fewest yards amongst wide receivers last season, the Ravens added Flowers with free agent signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman. They also have Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely at tight end. 

Not only does Jackson have his money, but this is arguably the best group of pass-catchers he's ever had. The Ravens made their quarterback very happy over the past two weeks. 

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