Carolina's selection of Shaq Thompson was the most surprising pick of the first round. The Panthers still need to upgrade the offensive line and I believe there were higher-rated players available where they were picking. They likely could've traded back and still secured Thompson if they were enamored with him. That USC's Leonard Williams slipped out of the top five was the first and biggest surprise of the opening round. The Titans, Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins all could have been a nice home for the versatile defensive lineman, and they all went in another direction.
The New York Jets made Williams the No. 6 overall pick, and had to be thrilled he fell as many as four picks later than he could have gone. New coach Todd Bowles, who has a defensive background, got a defensive centerpiece he couldn't possibly have anticipated being available. Phillip Dorsett to Indianapolis near the end of the first round was a surprise to me, but it might be my favorite selection of the draft thus far. Why? Because, in a league that for so long prided itself on being "defense-first," the Colts went against the grain, so to speak, and said to the rest of the AFC South, "Catch us if you can!" Now, they can pair the rookie flyer from Miami with established sprinter -- and legitimate weapon -- T.Y. Hilton, and put huge pressure on opposing secondaries.
Yes, when you play the Colts, your hopes of holding them down on the scoreboard just became much more difficult. Now you have to figure out how to match them score for score. Welcome to the "new" NFL -- you had better find the end zone if you want to play deep into the playoffs. I was shocked to see the Redskins remain where they were with the No. 5 overall pick and select Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff instead of USC's Leonard Williams. I know there might be some small medical issues with the D-lineman's shoulder, but it's tough to pass on a guy who was nearly a consensus pick as the No. 1 overall talent in the 2015 NFL Draft.
GM Scot McCloughan is a highly respected evaluator, but I'm left scratching my head over his decision to grab an O-lineman best suited to play guard with intentions of slotting him at right tackle -- and doing so with a valuable, top-five pick, no less. Maybe the trade market didn't develop and the Redskins really want to establish a physical offensive line, but this is the most surprising development of Round 1. Most surprising development? Carolina taking Shaq Thompson and having Thomas Davis announce the pick. This was a pick nobody saw coming.
That said, Thompson is actually my favorite player in the draft because of his versatility. He could start for you at linebacker or running back. Some people think he could also start at safety. Carolina needs an offensive tackle, but a couple of them flew off the board right before the Panthers came on the clock. Thompson will be fun to watch, as it'll be very interesting to see how Ron Rivera and Co. deploy him. I was surprised by the lack of trades. But Detroit's pick of Laken Tomlinson floored me. I get that the Lions basically entered this draft with zero guards on the roster and that Tomlinson is talented. But come on. Defensive line help was there. So was help in the secondary. Just a bizarre move by the Lions, who could've gotten guard help (heck, maybe even Tomlinson) in the second round.
I also don't understand the picks of Shaq Thompson by Carolina and Stephone Anthony by New Orleans. Both teams needed to get their respective quarterbacks some help -- the Panthers with a lineman, the Saints with a wide receiver.