After the Bills and Chargers secure receivers early in the NFL draft, the attention shifts to defense in Round 2

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Jim Plunkett

Defense took center stage in the NFL draft on Friday night following a record-breaking 23 offensive players selected in the first round.

The Atlanta Falcons, surprising many by choosing quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8, started the shift by trading up to select Clemson defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro with the third pick of the second round.

“I can’t let them down, and I’ll do everything in my will power to not let them down,” Orhorhoro said.

Next, the Commanders selected Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton, and a total of 20 defensive players were chosen in a round marked by seven trades as teams pursued their desired players.

The Titans took a risk by selecting Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat with the 38th pick after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Sweat visited Tennessee after the incident, and new coach Brian Callahan, along with general manager Ran Carthon and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, visited him and his family at home.

“We had some tough conversations while we were there,” Carthon said.

Following the selection of Florida State defensive tackle Braden Fiske by the Rams, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to draft Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean at No. 40.

Draft Stage

The Eagles previously selected Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell as the first cornerback at No. 22, and the addition of DeJean strengthens their already crowded secondary, which includes Darius Slay and James Bradberry.

“All I wanted was a chance to play,” DeJean said, who was expected to be picked in the first round. “Of course, there was some frustration yesterday, but I’m happy with where I am now.”

DeJean kicked off a streak of cornerbacks being selected, with three more picked in a row. New Orleans chose Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry, Houston selected Georgia’s Kamari Lassiter, and Arizona picked Max Melton from Rutgers.

The third round saw nearly an equal number of offensive and defensive players selected, with 20 out of 37 picks being offensive players.

Day 2 began with the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Chargers adding new wide receivers for their star quarterbacks.

After trading down twice and missing out on the first round, the Bills picked Florida State’s Keon Coleman in the second round to provide another playmaker for Josh Allen, helping to fill the gap left by Stefon Diggs.

“He has pretty much everything you want in a quarterback,” Coleman said about Allen. “I’d love to play with him.”

The Chargers, who opted for Notre Dame left tackle Joe Alt over wide receivers Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze with the fifth overall pick, traded up to select Georgia’s Ladd McConkey at No. 34. Justin Herbert will rely on him to fill the gap left by Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

“Just watching his game, it looks effortless for him,” McConkey said about Herbert. “He can make any and every throw. I’m excited to get out there, get into a rhythm with him, show him what I can do, and earn his trust.”

Keon Coleman (Credits:

Seven wide receivers were selected on Thursday night, tying the record for the most in the first round. Four more were chosen in the second round. The most receivers drafted in the first two rounds is 13, which happened in 2020.

New England picked Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk, bringing the total to 10 wide receivers chosen among the top 37 picks. Adonai Mitchell from Texas became the 11th wide receiver selected when the Colts picked him at No. 52.

No quarterbacks were chosen on Friday after a record six were picked in the top 12 on Thursday, including five of the first eight picks.

The Bills made waves by trading the 28th pick to AFC rival Kansas City, who selected wide receiver Xavier Worthy. Buffalo then traded the 32nd pick to Carolina, and the Panthers chose wide receiver Xavier Legette.

However, the Bills acquired a third-round pick and more draft assets and still managed to get a talented receiver in Coleman, despite his disappointing 4.61-second 40-yard dash time at the scouting combine.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been caught from behind,” Coleman said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to not be able to run by somebody. More so than that, I don’t think there was ever just one DB that just sat when I was running at them. So that pretty much tells you all you need to know.”

The Raiders secured a first-round talent at No. 44, picking Oregon interior lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper was chosen by Green Bay before Jonathon Brooks became the first running back selected at No. 46 by Carolina.

The Giants drafted Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin, the Jaguars picked LSU defensive lineman Maason Smith, and the Bengals selected Michigan defensive lineman Kris Jenkins.

Detroit Fans (Credits: NBC Sports)

The Commanders, who acquired picks Nos. 50 and 53 from the Eagles in exchange for No. 40, selected Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil with the first of the two picks. They then chose Kansas State tight end Ben Sinnott at No. 53.

West Virginia center Zach Frazier was drafted by Pittsburgh with the 51st pick to provide more protection for Russell Wilson, who they had selected interior lineman Troy Fautanu at No. 20 on Thursday.

The Browns made their first pick of the draft at No. 54, selecting Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr. The Dolphins picked Houston offensive tackle Patrick Paul, while the Cowboys chose Western Michigan edge Marshawn Kneeland.

Tampa Bay added Alabama edge Chris Braswell, the Packers selected Georgia safety Javon Bullard, and Houston drafted Notre Dame offensive tackle Blake Fisher.

Buffalo picked Utah safety Cole Bishop at No. 60. The Lions chose Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr., announced by Hall of Famer Barry Sanders alongside the mayor, which excited Detroit fans. The Ravens selected Washington offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten.

The second round concluded with the Chiefs selecting BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia and the 49ers choosing Florida State cornerback Renardo Green.

In the third round, three players from national champion Michigan were chosen consecutively. The Rams picked Wolverines running back Blake Corum at No. 83, the Steelers chose wide receiver Roman Wilson, and the Browns selected guard Zak Zinter.

This led to new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh singing Michigan’s fight song in Los Angeles’ draft room.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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