Who are the winners and losers from the NFL Draft?

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Caleb Williams: Chicago Bears draft USC quarterback first overall

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It was a record NFL Draft in Detroit with teams going quarterback crazy, some big shock selections and a real international flavour coming through.

The big question though, as ever, is who won the draft?

There's still a long way until the 2024 NFL season kicks off in September, but while teams like the Chicago Bears will have a summer of hope, the Atlanta Falcons are already under pressure to explain their big puzzling pick.

Here are our big winners and losers from the draft.

Who won the NFL Draft?

Chicago Bears win big with Williams and Odunze

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Rome Odunze (L) with Caleb Williams (R) of the Chicago Bears

Thanks to their trade with the Carolina Panthers last year, the Chicago Bears had the first and ninth picks of this year's draft - and they made the very most of them.

The Bears famously passed on Patrick Mahomes in 2017, when their current general manager Ryan Poles was with the Kansas City Chiefs - so there was no way he was missing out on making Caleb Williams the first pick this year.

A generational talent on the field with superstar persona off it, without stepping on the field Williams has already given Chicago fans more hope than they've had in years.

And that was reflected in Williams breaking the Fanatics record, external for draft night merchandise sold for any player in any sport - even eclipsing Caitlin Clark from the recent WNBA draft.

The Bears then doubled down on Williams by picking gifted wide receiver Rome Odunze with the ninth pick of the night to ensure their new superstar quarterback has another elite receiving option.

Also adding veteran receiver Keenan Allen in free agency, Chicago's long-suffering fans now have a passing attack worth watching - they just cannot wait until September.

Vikings get winner McCarthy and defensive value

The Minnesota Vikings made the biggest trade moves of the draft, moving up to get quarterback JJ McCarthy and then a great value addition of edge rusher Dallas Turner at pick 17.

McCarthy was not the flashiest of QBs in the draft, but he won the college National Championship with Michigan last year so knows how to get the job done on the biggest stage.

Just 21, McCarthy is young but has leadership qualities and with Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell a former quarterback himself he will know how to get the best out of him.

With the top 14 picks all being offensive talent, the Vikings then recognised they could get Turner with the 17th pick, when in any other year the Alabama linebacker would have gone much higher - that could turn out to be great value.

NFL goes international

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Rugby winger Travis Clayton was drafted by the Buffalo Bills

English rugby union winger Travis Clayton has never played a game of American football, but that did not stop him being drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

When Bayron Matos of the Dominican Republic was later signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins, that made it five players from the International Player Pathway program now on NFL teams.

And further signs of the NFL's growing international reach came with three draft picks being announced live from Ireland, one from Australia and even one from Spain courtesy of former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres.

Another weapon for Mahomes

The Buffalo Bills have been haunted by trading picks with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 to allow them to draft Patrick Mahomes - as he's knocked them out of the play-offs in three of the past four years.

And Buffalo again traded with their big AFC rivals to let them draft wide receiver Xavier Worthy - who just happens to be the fastest ever player to have run at the NFL Combine.

Mahomes loves speedy receivers to throw to, and they literally do not come quicker so he is delighted - but could the Bills live to regret this one too?

Who lost the NFL Draft?

Falcons fans question Penix pick

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Michael Penix Jr was a surprise pick by the Atlanta Falcons

What are the Falcons doing? That was the big question from Thursday's first round after Atlanta used their eighth overall pick on quarterback Michael Penix Jr - despite signing veteran Kirk Cousins on a $180m deal in free agency.

Cousins is guaranteed $100m from the deal so it was a huge shock to see the Falcons draft a quarterback so high - and it's not like Penix is a raw youngster as he turns 24 in May and played 48 games in college.

General manager Terry Fontenot said if Penix sits on the bench "for four or five years, that's a great problem to have because we're doing so well at that position," but it's an odd pick to say the least.

With a pivotal pick at eight that they could have done anything with - choosing to upset your new $100m quarterback is not the best move.

Cousins not given QB warning

Can you call someone on a guaranteed $100m deal a loser? Probably not, but in terms of job security and settling at a new team then Kirk Cousins did not come out of the draft well.

Cousins was only given notice of the Falcons picking Penix Jr at the last minute - so would he have even signed for them had he known their thinking?

He left Minnesota for Atlanta to make a play-off run and be the top dog, now he'll be looking over his shoulder every time he throws an interception.

Goodell's back but is back good yet?

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Roger Goodell gets an unwanted bear hug

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was not as keen on his usual big hugs with newly drafted players this year - due to undergoing recent back surgery., external

Giant lineman JC Latham did not get the memo though as he gave Goodell a huge bear hug after being drafted by the Tennessee Titans.

Goodell took it well, but walked a bit gingerly off the stage after that.

Defensive draft prospects

They say offence sells tickets but defence wins championships in the NFL, but it seems like owners want to sell plenty of tickets after a record 14 straight first-round picks went on offensive talent.

The longest previous wait for a defensive pick was eighth, and just highlighted how desperate teams are for a star quarterback - they drive this league and the 2024 NFL Draft just highlighted that point.

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