The 2018 NFL Draft was filled with surprises, plenty of booing, and two Heisman trophy winners.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the first round, let’s delve into the Patriots Draft decisions Thursday night. With the 23rd pick, the Patriots scooped up Isaiah Wynn. Wynn is a tackle out of Georgia– he’s a great run blocker and has wonderful footwork. This kid is an explosive player and is able to slide out of a tackle in ‘emergency situations.’ He is surely a starter and has experience with both the guard and tackle positions. With the 31st overall pick, the Patriots selected a second Georgia man– Sony Michel. Michel is a skilled Running Back who has the ability to weave between the defensive line and can truly outrun most of the guys on the field. He’s been compared to Kamara in his run game ability– and will surely fill a similar offensive position that Dion once held. The Patriots have a specific role for each back in their offense and Michel will find his role and run with it– literally.
With the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Browns took Baker Mayfield, a QB out of Oklahoma. New England fans are used to hearing the phrase, “he has a chip on his shoulder”– with respect to Tom Brady’s fiercely competitive spirit, and quite frankly I’m sick of hearing that about Mayfield. This kid was a walk-on Heisman Trophy winner and had everyone talking about him for the past four months. Just because Nike passed up on him and he got into some College Drama, does not a chip\make. Sure, he has reason to prove people wrong– but Tom Brady rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of obscurity to become the best QB of all time (now that is a chip). Regardless, this kid can throw the ball and is a highly accurate playmaker. The question of whether Mayfield or Taylor will start for the Browns is now up for debate.
The second pick went to the Giants and they chose Saquon Barkley out of Penn. Saquon is an unbelievably dynamic Running back, and he will be yet another offensive weapon for the Giants to call on next season. Who knows, maybe with OBJ and Saquon on the field, Eli will be able to catch some W’s next season– but I doubt it. However, Eli is a “better QB when the run game is freed up,” and clearly Gettleman felt that Eli still has some miles in his tank and they didn’t need to draft his heir apparent just yet.
With the third pick, the Jets took Sam Darnold from USC. For most of the week, Darnold was expected to go number one overall, and you could see the sadness in his when he spoke with Deion Sanders last night. When Deion asked if he was thrown off by Mayfield going first, he replied– “when I didn’t (get the call from the Browns) it was onto New York” and “I’m just going to do my job.” Perhaps the Browns were worried about his ability to keep the ball secure when the pocket is loose– which he has displayed some issues with throughout his college career. Either way, Darnold is a great player who is very accurate on the run.
The Browns were back on the clock at No. 4, selecting Denzel Ward. Ward is a Defensive Back from Ohio State, who had a 4.32 forty yard dash in the Combine. He was able to secure 37 tackles and 2 interceptions in the 2017 season. I personally figured the Browns would go with Darnold at number one and Saquon at number four. However, Dorsey saw the problem in their defense and took the best corner in the draft to fix that issue. Ward is a starter from day one, and he will be a great addition to their team.
The Broncos secured NC State’s Defensive End, Bradley Chubb with the fifth pick of the night. Chubb was the 2017 ACC Defensive Player of the year, with a whopping 26 career sacks. He truly impacts the run game and is a very physical player. When Deion asked Chubb what got him to the draft, he replied– “on the field, it is my motor… and off the field, it is my family.”
Next up, the Colts picked Quenton Nelson, a dominant offensive guard from Notre Dame. If luckis on Indianapolis’ side, the Colts will have Andrew back and they’ll need a guy like Nelson to keep him safe on the field. Nelson was a favorite for the Broncos, but I personally had him going to the Colts in my mock draft– as he is ready to go from the start and the Colts desperately need a dominant guy on their line of scrimmage.
The Bills traded up for the Buccaneer’s pick and clenched Josh Allen at No. 7. The Wyoming QB, fell into some controversy the morning of the draft after some (aptly timed) tweets were revealed to the media. Allen’s tweets were racist and disgraceful in nature, however, it did not seem to affect his draft stock, as teams do a deep dive on each player months in advance and they likely already knew about his gross high school tweets. The Bills just signed a two year and ten million dollar deal with McCarron, so Allen has some time to work out his kinks (both on and off the field). If I were Brandon Beane, I would have gone with Rosen because of his highly academic approach to the game and his skilled throwing mechanics, but Allen has time to learn and work on his accuracy. Positively, he has the ability to throw the ball like an arrow and is an overall athletic guy.
With the eighth pick of the draft, the Bears took Roquan Smith. Smith is a Linebacker out of Georgia who was a favorite for the top ten overall. He will be a great fit for the Bears’ Defense and is a very dynamic player. The 49ers snagged Mike McGlinchey in the ninth pick of the evening. McGlinchey, an offensive tackle out of Notre Dame, is there to protect San Fran’s golden boy– Jimmy G. He is a coachable player and at 6’8’’ and 309 lbs, he is the brick wall the 49ers need to keep their investment secure.
The Cardinals traded with the Raiders for the tenth pick of the draft, and they (finally) selected Josh Rosen out of UCLA. Rosen is a QB with a wildly accurate arm and has a very technical approach to throwing the ball. He plays the game from an academic and strategic point of view. There have been questions about his coachability, however, his High School coach clarified that he simply wants to know the reasons why coaches ask certain things of him, so he can better understand the game and how he fits within it. Rosen is a natural passer and had 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2017.
With the 11th pick in the draft, the Dolphins selected Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a Defensive Back from Alabama, and he will be a good fit in Miami. He is great on man to man coverage and is dominate enough to cover a tight end. He had nine interceptions in his career and four of them were returned for touchdowns. With the twelfth pick of the night, the Buccaneers’ selected the Defensive Tackle out of Washington– Vita Vea. This was a surprising decision because they had recently signed a group of Defensive players in free agency. Vea is nearly 350 lbs, but he plays with vigor and immense power– he will do well in Tampa Bay.
With the 13th pick of the night, Da’Ron Payne was chosen by the Redskins. Payne is an assertive Defensive Tackle out of Alabama. He will do well in Washington as their Defensive line is filled with players from the Alabama system. Payne, in particular, makes it very hard for an offense to run the ball– as seen in his 102 career tackles at ‘Bama. With the fourteenth pick of the night, the Saints traded with Green Bay, selecting Marcus Davenport. Davenport is a Defensive End from UTSA. He is an edge rusher and will do very well in New Orleans. The Raiders were next with the fifteenth pick, selecting Kolton Miller from UCLA. A formidable Offensive Tackle, like Miller, is surely needed in Oakland.
The Bills traded up with the Ravens for the 16th pick of the evening, selecting Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Edmunds is a nineteen-year-old Linebacker, whose “rare size and skill set give him a sub package versatility,” and he is great at tracking and sacking QBs.
With the 17th pick, the Chargers went with Derwin James– a Defensive Back from Florida State. James is a large athlete but he is much smoother than you would expect from a bigger safety. Similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick, he is the type of guy who can cover tight ends on man to man coverage. Next, after a trade with the Seahawks, Green Bay picked up Jaire Alexander– a Defensive Back out of Louisville. Alexander is a starting corner, despite missing six games last year. He is skilled with tracking the football in the air and “adds value in the punt return game.”
With the 19th pick of the draft, the Cowboys selected Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from Boise State. He has suffered from neck issues in the past but remains a great overall athlete. He’s the type of player who really understands and predicts routes– and will be an asset in Dallas. The Lions were next with the 20th pick of the night, choosing Frank Ragnow– a Center out of Arkansas. A few mock drafts had Ragnow going to the Pats, so it’s interesting that he ended up landing with Matty P’s Lions. Next up, another starting Center was chosen by the Bengals– Billy Price out of Ohio State.
The Titans traded with the Ravens for the 22nd pick of the night, selecting Rashaan Evans. Evans is a Linebacker from Alabama and had fifteen sacks in his career. He will be a starter, and fit in well with the Titans defense. As mentioned previously, with the 23rd pick of the night, the Patriots selected Isaiah Wynn from Georgia. With the following pick, the Carolina Panthers selected DJ Moore, a Wide Receiver from Maryland. Moore has ‘big ups’ and can snatch the ball from high in the air. He will join the likes of Funchess and Cam Newton in an unbelievable lineup of offensive players.
With the 25th pick of the first night, the Ravens selected Hayden Hurst, a tight end from South Carolina. I’m personally shocked they went with Hayden Hurst before Lamar Jackson. I guess they figured no other team desperately needed a QB at that point in the draft, and Jackson would still be there later on (via trade), while Hurst may not be. Hurst, a former baseball player, is a natural athlete and can “line up in the slot and win matchups against smaller nickels and safeties.”
The Falcons selected Calvin Ridley, a Wide Receiver from Alabama, at No. 26. Ridley is extremely fast an will fit in very well with the likes of; Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Julio Jones. Seattle chooses Rashaad Penny, a Running Back out of San Diego State, as the 27th pick of the night. Penny is a “premiere kick returner” and was previously offensive and special teams player of the year. The Steelers follow with Terrell Edmunds, a Safety from Virginia Tech. Edmunds secured 59 tackles and 2 interceptions in his career. He was announced by Ryan Shazier and his fiance — and OH MAN, I had tears in my eyes watching Shazier walk up to the podium, that man is unstoppable. Sending love and positivity to the Shazier family.
The Jaguars followed with Taven Bryan, a Defensive Tackle from Florida. Bryan was a one-year starter, but had an impressive combine workout with “measurables similar to Gerald McCoy.” The Vikings then selected Mike Hughes, a Defensive Back from the University of Central Florida. This CB transferred from JUCO after the 2016 season and is a dependable player that will fit in well with the Vikings defense. With the 31st pick of the draft, the Patriots selected, the aforementioned — Sony Michel.
Lastly, with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens traded with the Eagles to select Lamar Jackson. Jackson, a QB out of Louisville, was the Heisman Trophy winner in 2016. He had 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2017, as well as 1,601 rush yards. He has incredible skill and speed and was slept on in this draft. He is comparable too and/or better than many of the top QBs in this draft class and should have been taken at an earlier pick. It did not seem to phase Jackson in the end, as he kept repeating that “(he) was just happy to be a Raven” and that “they are going to get a Super Bowl out of (him).”