- St. Louis Rams – Jared Goff, QB, California
Two weeks after trading up from 15th to grab the top pick from the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles selected Goff over North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, hoping they’ve finally found the solution to their perennial problem at football’s most important position.
The 6-foot-4 Goff is a Bay Area native who set records and grew into a top prospect in three seasons with the Golden Bears. Now he’ll be competing for the chance to throw the first passes at the Coliseum in the Rams’ return in September.
Goff was generally considered to be a more polished pro product than Wentz, and the Rams apparently reached the same conclusion after extensive evaluation of the top two prospects. Goff and Wentz visited the Rams’ temporary headquarters in coastal Oxnard, California, where Goff is expected to report next weekend for his first rookie minicamp.
“I felt very comfortable with their whole staff,” Goff told ESPN in Chicago. “I had an immediate connection all the way from the combine. I felt really good with their whole staff, (general manager) Les Snead and everyone involved in the whole organization. It’s very exciting.”
The Rams heralded the draft and their return to Southern California after 21 years away with a block party in the LA Live entertainment district downtown. Thousands of fans and season ticket holders began lining up seven hours before the first pick, and they erupted in cheers when Goff’s name was called by Commissioner Roger Goodell on the large video screen.
The Rams missed the playoffs last winter for the 11th straight season in St. Louis, with their strong defense unable to bail out the NFL’s least productive offense and worst passing game despite star rookie running back Todd Gurley and a solid offensive line. Nick Foles lost his starting job to Case Keenum, but neither quarterback distinguished himself.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
From Fargo to Philly, Carson Wentz is the latest quarterback the Eagles hope will deliver the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
The Eagles selected the North Dakota State quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night after trading up twice to get the pick from Cleveland.
A potential franchise quarterback was Philadelphia’s goal when it moved from No. 13 to No. 8 to No. 2 to get in position to select Jared Goff or Wentz despite signing Sam Bradford to a $36 million, two-year contract in March.
The 6-foot-5 Wentz led the Bison to their fifth consecutive FCS title last season. He passed for 1,651 yards and 17 touchdowns during his senior year that was shortened by a wrist injury. Wentz only started his final two seasons and didn’t face big-time competition.
Bradford did not report for voluntary workouts this week and agent Tom Condon has requested a trade. Bradford’s contract includes $22 million guaranteed. The Eagles also signed Chase Daniel to a $21 million, three-year deal to be the backup. Daniel’s deal includes $12 million guaranteed.
If Philadelphia trades Bradford, another team would only pay him $7 million this season. The Eagles would incur an $11 million salary-cap hit for Bradford’s signing bonus.
- San Diego Chargers — Joey Bosa DE, Ohio State
The Chargers have needed a force on the defensive line since Jamal Williams left after the 2009 season.
Many people had expected the Chargers to take either a left tackle or to pick Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
Bosa’s career ended on a down note when he was ejected in the first quarter in the Fiesta Bowl for targeting Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The Chargers are coming off a 4-12 season in which they went winless in the AFC West. They’re also trying to get a citizens’ initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot to help fund a new stadium.
- Dallas Cowboys — Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
It’s the highest Dallas has drafted a running back since taking Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett second overall in 1977. All-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith went 17th to the Cowboys in 1990.
Running back wasn’t the biggest need going into the draft with Darren McFadden coming off a strong season and the Cowboys adding two-time Pro Bowler Alfred Morris from Washington in free agency. But the Cowboys will get to put the top-rated running back in the draft behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Dallas took blockers in the first round three times in a span of four seasons starting in 2011.
Elliott was one of the stars when the Buckeyes won the national championship at the home of the Cowboys during the 2014 season, He rushed for an Ohio State bowl-record 246 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-20 victory over Oregon.
The 6-foot, 225-pound Elliott was the No. 2 all-time rusher at Ohio State with 3,961 yards, trailing only two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. That included a school-record 3,699 yards over two seasons in 2014 and 2015. He declared for the draft after his junior season.
- Jacksonville Jaguars — Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Ramsey can play cornerback or safety, providing the Jaguars with one of the most versatile players coming out of college. Picking in the top 10 for the ninth consecutive year, the Jaguars wasted little time selecting the 6-foot-1, 209-pound defender who ran track at Florida State.
General manager Dave Caldwell called it “an easy decision.”
Ramsey started all 41 games in three years in college, finishing with 180 tackles, 23 passes defended, five sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
He’s the latest piece in Jacksonville’s defensive rebuilding project. The team spent more than $214 million on six defensive starters in free agency the past two years.
- Baltimore Ravens — Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The 6-foot-6, 312-pound Stanley shined at left tackle for the Irish throughout his four-year career. He started all 13 games in 2014 as the team’s offensive lineman of the year.
The Ravens haven’t had a standout left tackle since Hall of Fame entrant Jonathan Ogden retired in 2007.
Baltimore thought it found the answer in Eugene Monroe, but he’s been slowed by injury since signing a five-year contract in March 2014. Monroe played in 11 games that year, and last season suited up only six times before placed on injured reserve in December.
The Ravens tried 330-pound guard Kelechi Osemele at left tackle last year, but he departed as a free agent during the offseason.
- San Francisco 49ers — DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
He’s a familiar face to help usher in the Chip Kelly era as new Niners coach after Buckner was recruited to Oregon by former Ducks coach Kelly. Buckner is an ideal fit as an end in San Francisco’s 4-3 defensive scheme. He had 10 1/2 sacks last season and was also credited with 16 quarterback hits and 39 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He is also a strong defender against the run.
San Francisco, which missed the playoffs for a second straight year, needed help in the pass rush after ranking 29th in the league with just 28 sacks after the retirement of defensive end Justin Smith last year and the release of troubled edge rusher Aldon Smith.
- Tennessee Titans — (Trade with Cleveland Browns), Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Selecting a lineman was not unexpected as new general manager Jon Robinson has said his priority is protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The Titans made the trade and the pick Thursday night, two weeks after trading the No. 1 pick overall to the Los Angeles Rams.
Tennessee gave up the 15th pick overall and the 76th pick overall along with a second-round pick in 2017. The Titans also received a sixth-round pick in this draft.
This is the third time in the past four drafts that Tennessee has taken an offensive lineman with its top draft pick.
But Tennessee gave up the most sacks (54) in the NFL in Mariota’s rookie season, and the quarterback missed a total of four games after spraining each knee.
- Chicago Bears — (Trade), Leonard Floyd, CB, Ohio State
- New York Giants — Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
- New Orleans Saints — Sheldon Rankins, DT, Ole Miss
- Miami Dolphins — Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
- Oakland Raiders — Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
- Cleveland Browns (trade) — Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
- Detroit Lions — Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
- Atlanta Falcons — Keanu Neal, S, Florida
- Indianapolis Colts — Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills — Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
- New York Jets — Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
- Houston Texans — (Trade) Will Fuller, WR
- Washington Redskins — (Trade), Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
- Minnesota Vikings — Laquon Treadwell, WR, TCU
- Cincinnati Bengals — William Jackson III, CB, Houston
- Pittsburgh Steelers — Artie Burns, CB, Miami
- Denver Broncos (trade) — Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
- Green Bay Packers — Kenny Clark DT UCLA
- San Francisco 49ers (trade) Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
- Arizona Cardinals — Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi
- Carolina Panthers — Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech
- Seattle Seahawks (trade) — Germain Ifedi OT Texas A&M