No games have been played yet, but we already have a good idea of who the winners and losers are from the NFL Draft.
Taking a look specifically at Day 2 on Friday, here are the big takeaways:
Loser: Joe Flacco
Here we go again. A year after being unseated in Baltimore by rookie Lamar Jackson, Flacco now has another rookie to contend with in Missouri product Drew Lock. Unlike Jackson, Lock profiles similar to Flacco — a big arm with the tendency to make mistakes.
President of football operations John Elway has already stated Lock will compete for the backup role behind Flacco, but plans can change if the wins don’t come. There won’t be early pressure on Lock to perform, but fans in Denver will be curious about their new rookie quarterback if Flacco doesn’t get the Broncos off to a good start.
Winner: John Elway and the Broncos
Denver dominated the early part of the second round, grabbing two potential long-term pieces on offense. First, it was Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, who is likely to start at offensive guard after starring as a tackle with the Wildcats.
But Risner was soon overshadowed by the Broncos trading up to get Lock, who Elway says was the No. 1 QB on his board going into the draft. Denver passed on Lock at picks No. 10 and No. 20 on Thursday, but didn’t balk at the chance to trade up when the opportunity presented itself Friday. Even if Lock doesn’t develop, it’s good value for the Broncos to get a potential franchise quarterback. Worst case scenario, he’s an inexpensive backup for the next few years.
This is Elway’s second chance at landing a franchise quarterback via the draft. His first was a big miss — he took Paxton Lynch in the first round in 2016. Rather than having to find a signal caller in the first round of next year’s draft, the Broncos have this need covered for the foreseeable future — and at a bargain.
Loser: Arizona GM Steve Keim
Arizona has had months to plan for Josh Rosen’s departure, and it waited until the last possible moment to get value back from last year’s No. 10 overall pick. It’s yet another indictment on general manager Steve Keim, who has made mistake after mistake since Bruce Arians left the team last January.
The Kliff Kingsbury/Tyler Murray experiment is one that could take time to develop. But with the number of errors Keim has made in recent months, will this regime be given the time it takes to overhaul a franchise? Only time will tell.
Winner: Kyler Murray
Regardless of value for the franchise, the Cardinals gave Murray the best chance to succeed on Friday night. Getting rid of Rosen means a clear QB room for Murray to walk into this offseason. It also means he’ll be able to go through preseason without the distractions that come with a major QB controversy.
The Cardinals also picked up some help for their new franchise quarterback. They selected UMass receiver Andy Isabella with the pick they got for Rosen — a potential day-one weapon out of the slot in Kingsbury’s offense. Arizona also bolstered a struggling defense with its first selection of the day, cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
Miami surprised some when it passed on Dwayne Haskins and Lock with the No. 13 overall pick on Thursday, but it all makes sense now. The Dolphins acquired Rosen for a late second rounder and a 2020 fifth-round selection on Thursday, which might be the cheapest cost for a potential franchise QB since the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012.
The Dolphins now have a future at quarterback and a solid mentor in Ryan Fitzpatrick to help Rosen grow. Miami doesn’t have any external expectations for this season under first-year head coach Brian Flores. Rosen is also now free of the burden of expectations that come with being a top-10 pick — it’s now up to Murray to shoulder that load in Arizona.
Loser: New York Giants
The New York Giants were the biggest losers of the night, and it has nothing to do with who they selected on Friday. The Giants watched as two teams acquired potential franchise quarterbacks with second-round picks, just a day after they spent the No. 6 overall pick on a player they say will spend three years on the bench.
If Daniel Jones goes on to become a successful quarterback, it may not end up mattering. But at the very least, it’s a bad value proposition. Most experts had Lock rated above Jones to begin with, although Giants GM Dave Gettleman obviously disagrees. But does Gettleman think the gap is so wide between the two that he’d rather have Jones at No. 6 than Lock in the middle of the second round? It’s possible the answer is ‘yes,’ but that would be a symptom of a much larger problem within the Giants’ front office.