N.F.L. Draft: Analysis of Every Pick in Round 1


How he fits: The Jaguars had a major letdown in 2016, failing to live up to preseason hype, and they were left with needs at tight end, running back and defensive depth. Tom Coughlin, the team’s new executive vice president of football operations, is an old-school guy and Fournette is an old-school pick.

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Corey Davis was selected fifth over all by the Tennessee Titans.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

5: Titans Take Wide Receiver Corey Davis

Corey Davis, Wide receiver, Western Michigan

With an incredible 5,285 career receiving yards at Western Michigan, Davis steps into the N.F.L. as the top route-running receiver in his class. He may not have the top-end speed some teams cherish, but he makes up for it with red-zone ability. The biggest concern, beyond his speed, is his fairly high number of drops, which could discourage quarterbacks from trusting him.

How he fits: Drafting early thanks to last year’s trade with the Rams, the Titans improved a great deal last season and are now filling in the missing pieces that could allow them to go from good to great. Wide receiver was a major need, and even if Davis was not the top talent available, he was the top talent at the position where they needed the most help.

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Jamal Adams was selected sixth over all by the Jets.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

6: Jets Get Safety Jamal Adams

Jamal Adams, Safety, Louisiana State

He is not the fastest safety (4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash) or the strongest (18 bench-press repetitions) but his instincts in pass coverage and his stellar run support make him a potential franchise cornerstone for a team willing to bet big on a position often ignored early. Among his few weaknesses is an inability to intercept passes. His father, George, was a running back taken with the 19th pick in the 1985 draft who split six seasons between the Giants and Patriots.

How he fits: As much as the Jets need a quarterback, they may be even more desperate to bolster the secondary after Darrelle Revis fell off a cliff last season. They have selected a defensive player with their last nine first-round picks, but Adams seems to be a remarkably safe building block.

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Mike Williams was selected seventh over all by the Los Angeles Chargers.

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John David Mercer/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

7: Chargers Take Clemson Receiver Mike Williams

Mike Williams, Wide receiver, Clemson

Not to be confused with the various other Mike Williamses through the years, this one is the Clemson star who had 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016. He did so after missing all but one game in 2015 because of a freak injury in which he fractured his neck by hitting his helmet into a goal post after a touchdown. He has all the measurables teams look for, and beyond occasional drops and apprehension about the neck injury, there is little question he is the best receiver in the draft.

How he fits: Even after hitting a home run with Joey Bosa last year, the Chargers had holes all over the defense, as well as a need to develop an eventual replacement at quarterback for the aging Philip Rivers. But Mike Williams, the top receiver on the board, proved too enticing to pass up.

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Christian McCaffrey was selected eighth over all by the Carolina Panthers.

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Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

8: Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey Goes to Carolina

Christian McCaffrey, Running back, Stanford

McCaffrey’s career at Stanford was nothing short of incredible, with the versatile running back piling up 5,128 yards from scrimmage and 31 touchdowns in 37 games. He was most productive as a sophomore, with injuries limiting him some as a junior, but the combination of elite running ability, elite speed and elite receiving skills makes him the do-everything back that many teams love. The only worry is that his lack of size and tackle-breaking ability, along with his overuse in college, could result in his body breaking down.

How he fits: The Panthers were in the Super Bowl two years ago, but they were an also-ran in 2016. They are set at quarterback but could use plenty of offensive skill players to complement Cam Newton. McCaffrey is a one-man offensive depth chart who could be something special alongside Newton.

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John Ross was selected ninth over all by the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

9: Bengals Add Some Speed With John Ross

John Ross, Wide receiver, Washington

Sure he’s small, but with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash and a 133-inch broad jump, teams are unlikely to get hung up on height or weight. His 23 touchdowns on 112 touches will not hurt his stock either, though a history of trouble in both knees — including an anterior cruciate ligament repair in 2015 — will result in teams poring over his medical reports.

How he fits: Trying to get back to the playoffs after a one-year absence, the Bengals need talent and depth on the offensive and defensive lines. Instead, they reached for a wide receiver who can fly.

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Patrick Mahomes, center; his mother, Randi Martin, left; and the agent Leigh Steinberg after Mahomes was selected 10th over all by the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph, via Associated Press

10: Chiefs Trade Up to Get QB Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech

Mahomes is a big, brash guy who put up huge numbers in Texas Tech’s offense. With an ability to extend plays with athleticism and then find players downfield, he could develop into something special if a team can afford to be patient. He has probably the strongest arm in this draft.

How he fits: The Bills traded the No. 10 pick to the Chiefs for the 27th selection in this draft, a third-rounder and Kansas City’s 2018 first-rounder. The Chiefs made the move because they need a long-term solution behind Alex Smith. He was a bit of a reach this early in the draft, but it seems like a perfect situation for Mahomes to learn the game.

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Marshon Lattimore was selected 11th over all by the New Orleans Saints.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

11: Saints Take Top Cornerback Marshon Lattimore

Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State

He is ridiculously fast (4.36-second 40-yard dash), excels in the vertical leap and broad jump, and justified his measurables on the field after a slow start because of ailing hamstrings that required surgery. He has the coverage skills to be a shutdown corner and the strength and instincts to beat receivers for the ball when he is challenged. The only real knock is his lack of experience against top competition.

How he fits: It is a broken record to say the Saints have needs on defense, as the Drew Brees era has been almost entirely defined by lighting up the scoreboard on offense while the defense lets the other team keep pace. Lattimore is a step in the right direction as the top cornerback in the draft.

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Deshaun Watson was selected 12th over all by the Houston Texans.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

12: Texans Trade Up to Take Clemson QB Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson

A two-time finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Watson went 32-3 as a starter in college, and he scored 75 combined points against the punishing Alabama defense in the last two national championship games. He does not possess the necessary accuracy on deep passes to be a true N.F.L. star, and if he wants to continue to be a threat as a mobile quarterback he will probably need to add some size to his slender frame.

How he fits: The Browns traded the No. 12 pick to the Texans for a package that reportedly includes the No. 25 pick and a first-rounder in 2018. Watson may be a project at the pro level but that immediately makes him better than any of the recent Houston quarterbacks who were highly paid spaceholders.

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Haason Reddick was selected 13th over all by the Arizona Cardinals.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

13: Cardinals Pick Tough LB Haason Reddick

Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple

A running back and safety in high school, Reddick was a walk-on at Temple but showed off an impressive combination of athletic abilities at the scouting combine, complementing his growth as a pass-rusher over the last few years. He retained his coverage abilities from his time as a defensive back, which will keep him on the field for third downs, but as a smaller linebacker he will have to fight for everything.

How he fits: The Cardinals’ world-beater offense fell apart last season despite nearly the entire team returning from the previous year’s 13-3 squad. Suddenly a team that seemed to have all of the position players they needed finds themselves looking for long-term solutions at quarterback and wide receiver to support the dominant David Johnson. Reddick, however, was too irresistible of a solution at linebacker.

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Derek Barnett was selected 14th over all by the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

14: Eagles Strengthen Defense With Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett, Defensive end, Tennessee

After three years of intense production in the hyper-competitive Southeastern Conference (he broke Reggie White’s university sack record), Barnett disappointed at the combine by justifying concerns about his speed. He can make up for that lack of burst with excellent technique, but with non-ideal size and an inability to keep up with faster quarterbacks, he will need the perfect situation to thrive.

How he fits: It is hard to say if the Eagles’ 3-0 start was a mirage, or if it was a sign of what the team is capable of at full-strength, but Philadelphia believes it has a franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz and now will look to support him with skill players and defensive depth. They went with the latter, adding a defensive end who has some serious question marks despite great production.

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Malik Hooker during a game against Indiana University in October. Hooker was selected 15th over all by the Indianapolis Colts.

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Jay Laprete/Associated Press

15: Colts Go With Ball Hawk Malik Hooker

Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State

Recruited as a basketball player, Hooker has only one year of starting experience, but he did a lot with that one year, intercepting seven passes. He is still learning the position, but a patient team willing to let him improve at stopping the run will very likely be rewarded with a star player. His first years may be awkward, however, as he has to refine his tackling technique and let experience help him on plays where instincts and athletic ability are not enough.

How he fits: The Colts are committed to building a defense that will hold up its end of the bargain with an Andrew Luck-led offense. Hooker has the athletic ability to control the middle of the field once he gets comfortable in the pro game.

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Marlon Humphrey during a game against Clemson in January 2016. Humphrey was selected 16th over all by the Baltimore Ravens.

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

16: Ravens Shore Up Defense With Marlon Humphrey

Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama

Smaller than Washington’s Kevin King, and lacking King’s top-notch instincts, Humphrey succeeds thanks to top-end speed (4.41-second 40-yard dash) and his ability to adjust and recover when he makes a mistake. He most likely will need time to adjust to the N.F.L. before he has a chance to truly succeed.

How he fits: Ozzie Newsome does not have a great track record of first-round picks, but while looking for depth all over the field, he went for Humphrey despite a potentially superior player in King being available. Humphrey is the first Alabama player taken in this draft, despite being ranked below a number of his teammates.

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Jonathan Allen posed for photos with his fiancée, Hannah Franklin, before the N.F.L. draft. Allen was selected 17th over all by the New Orleans Saints.

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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

17: Redskins Get a Steal With Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen, Defensive line, Alabama

Allen won the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Awards in 2016, signifying him as the nation’s top defender on the nation’s top defense. He is small for a tackle, and potentially not long enough or fast enough to play on the end, so there will be an adjustment period regardless of his tremendous success in college. But he was a key part of a wildly successful defense, and he is the type of player who tends to outperform his measurables.

How he fits: The Redskins could use some skill players on offense, as well as some offensive line depth, but the team’s defense was its weak point last year. They lucked out with Allen, a top-five pick on talent, falling all the way to No. 17.

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Adoree’ Jackson walked the red carpet before the N.F.L. draft. Jackson was selected 18th over all by the Tennessee Titans.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

18: Adoree’ Jackson Will Help Titans’ Return Game

Adoree’ Jackson, Cornerback, Southern California

An All-American in track, and a two-way performer for the Trojans as a cornerback and wide receiver, Jackson has shown steady improvement in terms of his coverage ability. His lack of size and his inability to provide run support could limit his ability to contribute on the outside in coverage. But he has the makings of an elite return specialist, so even if he is limited to being a slot corner, he could still provide enough production to justify a high draft pick.

How he fits: With a second pick in the first round, the Titans were working with house money. They decided to go with an intriguing option at defensive back rather than rolling the dice on Reuben Foster, a linebacker whose character concerns have him still hanging around despite top-10 talent.

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O.J. Howard in Prattville, Ala., after being selected 19th over all by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser, via Associated Press

19: Buccaneers Give Jameis Winston Some Help

O.J. Howard, Tight end, Alabama

The second-fastest tight end at this year’s combine (his 4.51 40-yard dash was within a tenth of a second of all but three wide receivers), Howard did not have exceptional production in college because of an offense that underutilizes tight ends. However, he has the size and skill-set to thrive in a pro offense. He may not be ready to contribute as an in-line blocker right away, which could limit his playing time, but there is little reason to believe that is not a skill he could develop.

How he fits: Jameis Winston and Mike Evans form one of the best quarterback-wide receiver combinations, and the Buccaneers showed solid improvement last year. To build on that success, Tampa Bay continued the run on Alabama players by taking Howard, who gives Winston another enormous target in the red zone.

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Garett Bolles brought his son, Kingston, to the stage after being selected 20th over all by the Denver Broncos.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

20: Broncos Draft First Offensive Lineman, Garett Bolles

Garett Bolles, Tackle, Utah

Bolles turns 25 in May and started only one year for Utah after transferring from a junior college, with a long history of off-field troubles giving him a late start. While that probably gave teams pause, his massive frame, which could seemingly take on quite a bit more weight, and his athleticism project him as an impact left tackle.

How he fits: Blaming last year’s failures on the retirement of Peyton Manning ignores how ineffective Manning was in 2015 despite the Super Bowl win. The Broncos still has one of the game’s most exciting defenses, even with the retirement of DeMarcus Ware, and decided to bulk up on the offensive line. A draft had never gone this long before an offensive lineman was selected.

21: Lions Pass on Reuben Foster, Take Jarrad Davis

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Jarrad Davis during Florida’s pro day in March. Davis was selected 21st over all by the Detroit Lions in the Draft.

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida

He is two years removed from his most productive college season and lacks consistency in his technique, but he has the type of character on and off the field that has teams willing to look past his shortcomings and potentially even his injury history.

How he fits: The Lions were a playoff team last season and bolstered their offensive line depth through free agency, so adding a solid prospect at linebacker seems like a wise move for a team that needs to fix a lot of small problems if they want to get to the next level. They passed on Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, who is a top-five talent but turned in a diluted drug sample before the draft.

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Charles Harris in a September game against Georgia. Harris was selected 22nd over all by the Miami Dolphins.

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Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

22: Dolphins Bolster Pass Rush With Charles Harris

Charles Harris, Linebacker, Missouri

Harris did not play football until his junior year of high school, but it came naturally and he was a solid player at Missouri, with 18 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss in 35 games. His impact is limited by his size, and he is not adept at stopping the run, but he can contribute if a team lets him focus on the quarterback.

How he fits: The Dolphins lucked into Laremy Tunsil as a long-term solution at left tackle last season because of some social media shenanigans, and this year they rolled the dice by taking a player who is still learning his position but could eventually be a great pass rusher.

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Evan Engram during a game against Vanderbilt in November. Engram was selected 23rd over all by the Giants.

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Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

23: Giants Help Eli Manning by Taking Tight End Evan Engram

Evan Engram, Tight end, Mississippi

A tight end who is closer to ideal size for a wide receiver, Engram will most likely never be much of a blocker, and he has plenty of issues in terms of his receiving technique. But as a larger pass-catching option with very good speed (4.42-second 40-yard dash), he could be a nice fit for a creative offense.

How he fits: The Giants had a good record last season, but a playoff loss to the Packers showed how far they still have to go thanks to big holes at running back, offensive line and, shockingly for the Giants, defensive line. Tight end may not have been at the top of their list, but Engram should be a wonderful complement to Brandon Marshall, giving Eli Manning multiple big targets when Odell Beckham Jr. is locked down.

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Gareon Conley during Ohio State’s pro day. Conley was selected 24th over all by the Oakland Raiders.

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Paul Vernon/Associated Press

24: Raiders Take Risky Cornerback Gareon Conley

Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State

A player who had his draft status thrown up in the air because of a sexual-assault allegation, Conley has first-round talent and the ability to succeed in man or zone coverage. He has yet to be charged and has denied the allegation against him, but it raised a red flag for many teams.

How he fits: The Raiders ended a long playoff drought thanks to Derek Carr and Khalil Mack (and some help from Sebastian Janikowski, who was the last player remaining from their Super Bowl appearance following the 2002 season), and are now looking to add to their young core by shoring up a defense that is awfully thin beyond Mack. Conley is a bit of a throwback for the Raiders as a high-risk, high-reward pick that could backfire in a big way.

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Jabrill Peppers during a game against Maryland in November. Peppers was selected 25th over all by the Cleveland Browns.

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Paul Sancya/Associated Press

25: Browns’ Second Pick Is Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Peppers, Linebacker/Safety, Michigan

Whether he is a linebacker or a safety is open to debate, as the do-everything star for the Wolverines played offense and defense and never committed to a single position. He runs a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and can seemingly do everything well, but he may be too small to play linebacker and may lack the ball-hawking instincts to play defensive back.

How he fits: The Browns traded into this spot when the Texans selected Deshaun Watson (the Browns also received a 2018 first-round pick), and with Myles Garrett seeming like a sure thing at defensive end, they took a chance on Peppers, giving them two of the most intriguing defensive players in college football last season.

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Takkarist McKinley was selected 26th over all by the Atlanta Falcons.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

26: Takkarist McKinley an Emotional Pick for Falcons

Takkarist McKinley, Defensive end, UCLA

A defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4, McKinley utilizes his elite speed to wear out opposing linemen. His technique and his overall power are lacking at the pro level, so he will need to add some size and absorb a great deal of coaching if he wants to find success in the N.F.L. McKinley was extremely emotional after being picked, honoring his deceased grandmother and repeatedly cursing during a live interview.

How he fits: The Seahawks traded the No. 26 pick to the Falcons in exchange for the No. 31 pick and other assets. With needs on the offensive and defensive lines, Atlanta went for defense. It is an ideal situation for McKinley, who can learn the game under Dan Quinn, one of the game’s best defensive coaches.

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Tre’Davious White was selected 27th over all by the Buffalo Bills.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

27: Tre’Davious White Will Help Bills’ Defense and Return Teams

Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, Louisiana State

His athleticism and instincts make him seem like an elite prospect at cornerback, but his small frame, below-average tackling, and reputation for playing soft count against him. Even if he does not appear to be an every-down corner, because his run support is lacking, he can be an asset in man coverage and is fast enough to be a strong special-teams performer.

How he fits: The Bills moved into this spot after trading the No. 10 pick to the Chiefs for a package of draft picks. Looking for a new identity after firing Rex Ryan, the Bills have needs at cornerback, wide receiver and linebacker, They got a solid cornerback prospect at the end of the first round, with some caveats about his size and toughness.

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Taco Charlton was selected 28th over all by the Dallas Cowboys.

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Michael Conroy/Associated Press

28: Cowboys Get Defensive Help With Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton, Defensive end, Michigan

He is big (6-foot-6, 277 pounds), he is strong, and he was occasionally dominant for Jim Harbaugh’s defense, but he lacked consistency and does not have truly elite speed on the edge. If he gets stronger while he develops in the N.F.L. and evens out his effort, he could be a steal toward the end of the first round.

How he fits: A team with relatively few needs, the Cowboys could use some help at defensive end and in the secondary. They went with the former, getting a player who might not contribute right away but who could pay off in the long run.

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David Njoku was selected 29th over all by the Cleveland Browns.

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Alan Diaz/Associated Press

29: Browns Trade for Packers’ Pick and Draft Tight End

David Njoku, Tight end, Miami

A wide receiver in high school, and a boys’ high jump champion, Njoku is the athletic tight end people have come to expect from Miami. Possessing plenty of speed and leaping ability, Njoku had 698 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2016, and if he can improve his in-line blocking skills he has the talent to be a top tight end. He may have to add some bulk if he wants to handle bigger defenders.

How he fits: The Packers badly need some depth in the secondary, and they may be setting up for that by trading the 29th pick to the Browns in exchange for the 33rd and 108th picks. The Browns, who already drafted Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers, added to their haul with a big-play tight end. They may not have anyone to throw him the ball just yet, but Njoku will be a 20-year-old rookie, so he can presumably hit his prime after Cleveland has acquired more assets.

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T. J. Watt during a game against Purdue in November. Watt was selected 30th over all by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Michael Conroy/Associated Press

30: Linebacker T. J. Watt Joins ‘Steel Curtain’

T. J. Watt, Linebacker, Wisconsin

A younger brother of J. J. Watt, T. J. missed some time early in his college career but was an All-American in 2016 on the strength of 15.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. Not really an elite athlete, he has the frame to become a massive linebacker and has the work ethic to get there.

How he fits: It is time for the Steelers to get younger at linebacker, and some help in the secondary would be nice as well. They got the linebacker they were looking for in Watt, choosing a safer option who might take time to develop rather than Alabama’s Reuben Foster, who has a higher ceiling but a lower floor.

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Reuben Foster during a Walk of Fame ceremony on the Alabama campus in April. Foster was selected 31st over all by the San Francisco 49ers.

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Erin Nelson/The Tuscaloosa News, via Associated Press

31: Reuben Foster Finally Gets Picked, by San Francisco

Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama

An every-down linebacker who can run the field and deliver crushing blows, Foster is a potential centerpiece for an N.F.L. defense, but he saw his stock fluctuate wildly after a heated argument with a hospital worker ended his time at scouting combine. He was already not able to participate in on-field activities because of rotator cuff surgery, and that combined with reports of a diluted drug sample, which is treated as a positive result, sent many teams running in the other direction. The winner of the 2016 Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, he is capable of dominant play at the pro level if he can get his off-field issues under control.

How he fits: The 49ers traded the Nos. 34 and 111 picks to Seattle for this pick, swinging for the fences with Foster, who could fill the gaping hole the team has had since the unexpected retirement of Patrick Willis. Before his off-field troubles, Foster was a top-three pick with Ray Lewis-like potential, and if the 49ers can help him get his life together, he could be the steal of the draft.

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Ryan Ramczyk was selected 32nd over all by the New Orleans Saints.

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Ben Solomon for The New York Times

32: Saints Protect Drew Brees With Offensive Tackle

Ryan Ramczyk, Tackle, Wisconsin

He was only a one-year starter in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and he has relatively short arms for a player hoping to be viewed as a left tackle, but the skill he showed as a pass -blocker in 2016 put him into the conversation as a first-rounder. The only red flag, besides his short arms, was off-season surgery to repair the labrum in his hip.

How he fits: The Saints need defenders, even after drafting Marshon Lattimore with the No. 11 pick, but with the last pick in the first round they apparently could not pass up Ramczyk, who was the top tackle left on the board. It is hard to go wrong with a big tackle from Wisconsin.

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