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Neil Reynolds' - 10 takeaways from Round 1 

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books and it was a record-breaking night in Detroit with 275,000 fans in attendance to witness the leading college football players from across America hearing their names called and their dreams realised. Here are 10 takeaways from a memorable opening round.

The pass is king…

The first round saw six quarterbacks selected for just the second time in NFL history (1983), a record eight offensive tackles, a record seven wide receivers, a tight end, a center, six edge rushers/defensive linemen and three cornerbacks. The common factor among all 32 of them? They all affect the pass, reflecting the aerial nature of today's game. Even the defensive tackles are types who can get after the quarterback, they are not space-eating run-stuffers. The passing game is king and the general managers across the league know it.

Williams in a great spot…

As expected, Caleb Williams was the first overall pick and he is walking into a wonderful situation for a rookie quarterback. The Bears have totally transformed their attack in the space of just two offseasons with Williams – compared on draft night to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers – headlining a group that now features wide receivers D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, ninth pick Rome Odunze, tight end Cole Kmet and running backs D'Andre Swift and Khalil Herbert. I cannot wait to see this Chicago attack… those are words I've not written in quite some time!

Too good to resist…

There was talk of trades at numbers two, three, four and five, but they never materialized. Jayden Daniels is the new quarterback of the Washington Commanders who have now, according to NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, gone from "unwatchable on offense to must-see TV." New England grabbed who they hope will be their franchise quarterback for years to come in Drake Maye and Arizona gave Kyler Murray one heck of a weapon in wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The Los Angeles Chargers threw a slight curveball at five, opting against a much-needed wide receiver to take Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt. In each case, the teams opted for "dudes over depth." Another great phrase unveiled by Jeremiah in round one.

Falcons shock the NFL…

The biggest wow of the night came at pick eight where the Atlanta Falcons selected Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. While he has some serious skills and his arm strength has drawn comparisons to Justin Herbert, have Atlanta just created a messy situation for themselves? Kirk Cousins was signed to a $180 million contract in March and $100 million of that is guaranteed. So, how does he handle this moment? Surely the Falcons knew their QB plan when tempting Cousins to Atlanta? They didn't just think of Penix last night! One other note of interest. This makes long-term sense given that Cousins is 36 and coming off a torn Achilles. But how long term will the Falcons want to go and how patient will they be? Penix will turn 24 before the start of the new season – so if this is Kirk's team for two or three years, Penix could be 26 or 27 before he sees an NFL field. And if he plays sooner, was that a lot of money wasted on Cousins? The talent was there when watching Penix's film, but the Falcons have created a situation that will need to be well managed. The benefits could be huge, but so could the potential for disaster.

Vikings hold their nerve…

A lot of pre-draft talk focused on the Minnesota Vikings giving up one of their first-rounders to take a quarterback. But the Vikes held strong and only moved up one spot, trading with the New York Jets to go from 11 to 10. It only cost them a fourth and fifth-round pick. Now, J.J. McCarthy comes on board as the new quarterback and has an exciting situation where he can work with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson. Minnesota made another smart trade up at 17, giving up just a fifth-rounder this year and third and fourths to Jacksonville in 2025. That allowed them to take edge rusher Dallas Turner. So, Minnesota did indeed trade up not once, but twice, yet they were able to use both of the first-round picks they had acquired. That's some good work from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

Did Denver reach for Bo Nix?

Once Minnesota had their quarterback, the last passer with possible first-round status – Oregon's Bo Nix – was going to find himself landing with the Denver Broncos or the Las Vegas Raiders. Fortunately for the Broncos, they were picking one spot ahead of the Silver and Black, who showed no desire to trade up for Nix. Many felt Nix was a second-round talent or late first at best. He went number 12. But the Broncos had little choice. Their quarterback room heading into the draft featured Zach Wilson, Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci. And they had no second-round pick. Nix has been over-drafted but could be a good fit. He is hugely experienced with 61 college starts and is a renowned ball distributor compared to Tua Tagovailoa. Could he be the new Drew Brees in Sean Payton's attack? That's going to be the plan in Denver, for sure.

Colts take first defender…

We had an historic run of 14 straight offensive players before the Indianapolis Colts took the first defender in UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. And what a story he has to tell. Latu had a neck injury at Washington and was forced to medically retire from football. He was considering a career as a firefighter, but refused to give up on his dream and had to change schools to keep playing. Latu is a guy you will all want to root for and I think he will catch our attention in 2024. He was the best pure pass rusher in this class, mixing technique and tenacity with an array of moves. Latu has been compared to T.J. Watt and I have a feeling the Colts got themselves a good one with the first defender off the board.

Necessary wide receiver picks…

There were some receiver picks in the second half of the first round that made massive sense to me. The explosive and productive Brian Thomas is the replacement for Calvin Ridley in Jacksonville and will team nicely with Gabe Davis and Christian Kirk at receiver and Evan Engram at tight end. And coming off a season in which his receivers let Patrick Mahomes down time and again, the Kansas City Chiefs had to take a wideout at number 28 after trading up with Buffalo. That became an even greater need once Rashee Rice got himself in trouble off the field. Is anyone else fascinated to see how Andy Reid uses the lightning-quick Xavier Worthy out of Texas? He ran a record time at the NFL Combine, covering 40 yards in 4.21 seconds. Will he be the new Tyreek Hill for Mahomes?

What were the Buffalo Bills thinking?

The Buffalo Bills came into round one needing a wide receiver. After that, they needed a wide receiver. And after that, they probably needed a wide receiver! The Bills have one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Josh Allen, but he needs weapons after the offseason departures of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. General manager Brandon Beane must have a plan, but I cannot see what that might be at the moment. Buffalo traded from 28 to 32 and then all the way out of the first round to 33 – the first pick on day two. In doing so, three more wide receivers went off the board in that period… Worthy to KC at 28, Ricky Pearsall to San Francisco at 31 and Xavier Legette to Carolina at 32. Does the Pearsall move mean Brandon Aiyuk is heading out of San Francisco via trade? If it does, the Bills better be making a call to California in double quick time!

Take a bow, Detroit!

The fans in Detroit have suffered for years, but the good times are rolling now. Last season's playoff games at Ford Field reminded us just how passionate the Lions fan base is and Thursday night was another gentle nudge! Close to 300,000 fans in one place to watch a guy stand on stage and read out 32 names? Incredible when you think about it. The passionate football folk of Detroit will be out in force for days two and three and by the end of this weekend, I think we will be talking about record crowd numbers for an NFL Draft.