1. DeMeco Ryans rewarded for telling Vikings, 'No thanks'

DeMeco Ryans has been rewarded handsomely for pulling out of last year's Vikings head coaching search. After returning to San Francisco and coordinating the league's top-ranked defense, the 38-year-old became the first rookie NFL head coach to land two of the top three picks when his Texans stole the opening night of the draft on Thursday night. A feat like that has happened for only two other head coaches in NFL history: Norv Turner with Washington in 2000 (Nos. 2-3) and Ted Marchibroda with Indianapolis in 1992 (Nos. 1-2). Armed with a league-high 22 picks the next two years, including both of Cleveland's first-rounders via the Deshaun Watson trade, the Texans added franchise quarterback C.J. Stroud at No. 2 and the best edge rusher, Will Anderson Jr., at No. 3 after a shocking trade up from No. 12. The draft windfalls didn't help Marchibroda or Turner, who was fired midseason, but, for now, let's consider Ryans a huge draft-day winner.

2. Lions make a few head-scratchers, but are still NFC North team to beat

The Lions made three head-scratching moves Thursday but are still the team to beat in the NFC North right now. First, they traded out of the sixth pick. Then they took a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) 12th? And then a middle linebacker (Jack Campbell) 18th?! Both picks appear to be reaches on players who many expected to be Day 2 selections. But let's give GM Brad Holmes a little benefit of the doubt, since he's done so well since arriving in 2021. This isn't Matt Millen, who in a span of four years (2002-05) picked three of the franchise's all-time draft busts in Joey Harrington (No. 3), Charles Rogers (No. 3) and Mike Williams (No. 10). The Lions now have four picks on Day 2. The Vikings have one. Holmes had a stellar 2022 draft that included a sixth-rounder from Jackson State (James Houston) who had eight sacks in seven games as a rookie.

3. Better chance to win division: Vikings or Thielen?

One of the only predictable moments of Thursday night came when the Panthers picked Alabama quarterback Bryce Young No. 1 overall. Known for his fleet feet and faster mind, he'll probably become a starter Day 1. The Vikings play the Panthers this season. Andy Dalton was signed, but don't expect the Red Rocket to start against the Vikings for a sixth time with a fifth different team. With D.J. Moore traded to the Bears as part of the deal to move up to No. 1, Carolina is counting on former Viking and soon-to-be 33-year-old Adam Thielen and newly signed tight end Hayden Hurst to bring Young along in a division that's begging for the Panthers to win. The Bucs won the division at 8-9 last season and now Tom Brady is retired. Everyone else was 7-10. Thielen has lost a step and is coming off a career-low 10.2-yard average per catch. Who is in a better position to win their division? The Vikings or Thielen?

4. Bears boring, but effective in landing protection for Fields

The Bears could have stayed where they were and landed the best non-quarterback in the draft No. 1 overall. They chose the boring but effective route, trading down to No. 9 long before the draft and then moving down to No. 10 when they were on the clock. The trades netted an elite receiver (Moore), a second-rounder this year, a first-rounder next year and a second-rounder in 2025. The move to 10 got them a fourth-rounder next year. Then they did what Da Bears absolutely needed first and foremost – protection for their 24-year-old franchise quarterback, Justin Fields. He should take a big leap in Year 3. Who knows, with Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright (the guy who stonewalled Anderson, the No. 3 overall pick, in college), maybe Fields takes a Jalen Hurts-sized Year 3 leap this year.

5. Packers were winners before the draft started

Some might yawn that the Packers picked Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness 13th overall. It was one of the few picks that some of us humiliated mock drafters got right. The Packers probably should have given Jordan Love a receiver, but it's not surprising they didn't after about two decades of not giving Aaron Rodgers a first-round receiver. Edge rusher certainly was a need in Green Bay. Where Green Bay won came earlier in the week when they got the Jets to swap first-rounders this year (13th for the 15th) and give them a second-rounder this year (No. 42), a sixth-rounder this year and a conditional second-rounder next year that becomes a first-rounder if Rodgers plays 65% of the snaps. It doesn't matter what the name on the jersey says. Rodgers turns 40 this year. Forty! Green Bay has 10 more picks this year, including three on Day 2.