Five defensive players were taken in the first five picks of the NFL Draft, including three pass rushers, starting with Georgia's Travon Walker to Jacksonville first overall. Breaking down the players taken in the first round of the draft.
The Carolina Panthers addressed a longstanding need by selecting offensive tackle Ikem "Ickey" Ekwonu from North Carolina State with the sixth pick in the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Ekwonu is expected to start right away at left tackle. Ekwonu was the first offensive player taken in Thursday night's draft following five defensive players being chosen. The Panthers don't have a draft pick in the second or third round after trading for quarterback Sam Darnold and cornerback C.J. Henderson last year. Their next pick is in the fourth round at No. 137.
The New York Giants filled their two biggest needs in the first round, taking edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon and tackle Evan Neal with the No. 5 and 7 overall picks during the NFL draft. The Giants (4-13) had plenty of needs coming into the draft, but the offensive line and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks were the top two.
The Detroit Lions have selected Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, addressing a desperate need with a hometown star. Detroit has an opportunity to add much-needed talent on both sides of the ball with the second pick in the draft, the last one in the first round along with six other selections. The Lions seem to have more needs on defense than offense with veteran quarterback Jared Goff surrounded by solid players on the line, at tight end and running back. Jacksonville took Georgia defensive end Travon Walker No. 1 overall.
The Atlanta Falcons continued to emphasize their passing game by selecting Southern California wide receiver Drake London with the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft. London gives Atlanta a much-needed go-to threat at wide receiver. The selection comes one year after the Falcons chose tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound London gives Atlanta good size as well as big-play potential. He had 88 catches for 1,083 yards and seven touchdowns last season and was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the year. Calvin Ridley was suspended by the NFL for 2022 for betting on games last season.