The 2016 NFL Draft started with a pair of quarterbacks, and toward the end of Thursday’s first round, another QB provided the most authentically emotional moment of the night.
Then there was the twisting, turning story line involving a 315-pound offensive lineman and some social media skullduggery that sent him on a Warren Sapp-like slide down the draft board.
And added to the mix were some crazy red-carpet outfits, one adorable scene-stealing toddler, a handful of unexpected picks and some interesting trades.
Almost lost in all of that was the fact that no position group had a better first round than the defensive backs, a group headlined by No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, the Florida State corner-slash-safety who is headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Seven DBs were chosen Thursday. They were joined by seven offensive linemen — six of whom were overshadowed by the drama surrounding Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil — and seven defensive linemen. Four of the seven DBs came from the state of Florida’s “Big Three” schools: Florida State, Miami and Florida.
Write-ups for the seven secondary first-rounders provided by MSN.com:
5. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State
Considered the best player in the draft by many scouts, Jalen Ramsey will be expected to make an immediate impact, whether it be as corner or a safety. Safety might be the better choice at the moment, as Ramsey does need work in some aspects of coverage. That should come with coaching, though. Super-long arms should help.
10. New York Giants — Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Classic deal with young cornerbacks in Eli Apple’s case: Great size, great speed, so-so technique. It’s on the coaches, and Apple’s desire, to help him reach his high-upside potential. Must be considered a bit of a project, as he’s only three years removed from high school. And, yes, that’s three Buckeyes in the top 10.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Vernon Hargreaves is a true cover corner who needs to get bigger in order to hold up. Not great at keeping up with high-speed receivers, but stellar in press-man coverage. Performed well in a one-on-one showdown with Amari Cooper in 2014. Will be interesting to see who’s better in the long run, Eli Apple or Hargreaves.
14. Oakland Raiders — Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Probably a bit of reach here, but Karl Joseph has the skills to be a difference-maker in the mold of Earl Thomas, Brian Dawkins or Bob Sanders. OK, maybe not that good, but he’s that kind of physical force, and with the leadership skills you want. With Charles Woodson retired, Oakland acts fast to bolster its secondary.
17. Atlanta Falcons — Keanu Neal, S, Florida
A big hitter in the mold of Kam Chancellor, Keanu Neal ending up with coach Dan Quinn, who coached Chancellor in Seattle, is no major surprise. Don’t expect great coverage skills, but that’s not what the Falcons are focusing on with the pick. Atlanta fans are going to love watching this dude put his body on the line.
24. Cincinnati Bengals — William Jackson III, CB, Houston
William Jackson III is a true ballhawk, with great OK size and amazing speed. He led the NCAA in pass breakups last season. Lacks sturdiness, so some worry that he’ll get knocked off balance too easily when contacted while covering.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers — Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Fla.)
Artie Burns is a very accomplished track athlete, so we all know speed will never be an issue. Very raw in coverage, so the Steelers will have some work to do. Ball skills already at an NFL level.