What We Learned From The First Round Of The NFL Draft

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Mark Barron of Alabama greets NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #7 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Last night was a storm of trades, surprising picks and crazy Roger Goodell handshakes. It was a lot of fun.

In my opinion, we learned quite a lot from last night's draft, which had its fair share of mind-boggling picks. The Browns used the Falcons' first-round pick on polished but 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden, about a hojillion teams made trades and the Patriots even moved up twice. The apocalypse is upon us.

If you'll indulge me, I'll bullet point those things that I found most interesting from last night.

  • The Falcons' first round pick turned into...Brandon Weeden. A 28-year-old quarterback. I'm not saying the Falcons couldn't have used David DeCastro or Riley Reiff, both of whom were on the board at that point, but damn.
  • The new rookie pay scale led to a ton of trades last night. The Patriots actually moved up twice—they're famous for moving down, in case you were unaware—and by my count a total of 16 teams had another team's pick by the time the dust settled. Teams won't be shy about gunning for prized prospects anymore, since the cost is significantly less. Keep that in mind tomorrow in case the Falcons swap up, too.
  • I'll post something a little longer about this later, but I thought both the Buccaneers and Panthers filled needs but not their biggest needs. With the Saints out a first round pick, I don't think any team in the division took a giant leap forward thus far.
  • The Falcons are almost certain to get a player they want at #55, if they can be patient. Picks like Bruce Irvin, Brandon Weeden and even Kevin Zeitler have knocked down other prospects, which can only help Atlanta.
  • Worth remembering that while there's no true, consensus first round pick tight end—none went Thursday night—there's depth at the position. I still think it's a likely Falcons second or third round target.
  • The name doesn't always matter. Nick Perry is a highly-regarded prospect, but got relatively little hype coming out of USC. As a 3-4 OLB for the Packers, I bet that'll change in a hurry.

Share with us your observations, if you would. I'd be glad to hear them.

Be sure to tune in before 7 p.m., when the second round starts and the Falcons actually have a pick (!). I'll be here for the ride, as well.

The NFL Draft returns to primetime in 2012. Catch all of the excitement of the 2012 NFL Draft on NFL Network April 26 - 28

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