Sports Illustrated compiled a list of the draft’s ‘Winners’ and ‘Losers’ the day after the annual event. This wasn’t a list of teams and their draft grades per se. Mostly it listed specific people, and in some cases neither teams nor people.
New Browns GM John Dorsey was the top ‘Winner’ despite his bonehead pick of Denzel Ward at 4th overall that gift wrapped Bradley Chubb to the Broncos at 5th overall. That set off a chain reaction that had Josh Rosen still on the board at 10th overall which had the Cardinals ringing up the Raiders to make a deal to trade up.
That trade put Cardinals GM Steve Keim among the ‘Winners’, I suppose in part because he didn’t give up as much (3rd and 5th round picks) to the Raiders as he probably should have had to in order to get his hopeful franchise quarterback and last top QB in the draft.
Among the losers were the ‘Draft Machine’ for floating those supposedly racially charged tweets from Josh Allen just before the draft presumably to get him to fall down boards for the Bills to get, Giants fans for their team getting Saquon Barkley instead of a top QB to replace Eli Manning, Analytics for reasons I can’t quite figure out, Joe Flacco whose team traded into the bottom of the first round to take Lamar Jackson, and... Jon Gruden.
Here is what Connor Orr said about Gruden making the list of Losers:
Maybe, like any good Las Vegas magician, Gruden’s grand reveal is still to come. But for so many teams with new coaches, an a-ha moment arrives via the draft; a clue as to what the plan might be. The Raiders took a left tackle of the future after trading down with the Cardinals in exchange for a pocket full of change. While no one is going to complain about strengthening the core of your offensive line, Derek Carr is in his prime and has a current weapon set of Amari Cooper and a 32-year-old Jordy Nelson. Luckily, they also have a mercurial 32-year-old running back to anchor their ground game. What could go wrong? Also, Oakland’s fifth-round punter selection just cemented the ridiculousness that was cutting Marquette King because he wasn’t a Gruden Grinder. It just feels difficult, given what Oakland has done so far, to see them quickly legitimizing the new regime.
There are a lot of criticisms of the Raiders draft. I had a few myself. But most of them seem to revolve around the Raiders not going defense at 10 or 15 with some big time talent still on the board such as Derwin James. It seems Orr is suggesting the Raiders should have drafted a wide receiver or a running back with their top pick instead of an offensive tackle. That’s not a criticism I had heard before.
Somewhat ironic, I suppose, that the Raiders used one of the picks (79) they got from the trade down to get Miller to acquire wide receiver Martavis Bryant from the Steelers.