Instant Analysis: 2018 NFL Draft

NFL Draft
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2018 NFL Draft was full of intrigue for months leading up to tonight. A lot of the intrigue had to do with the fact that the Browns held the first pick and fourth picks and had just revamped their entire front office. The Draft was live from AT&T Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas and started with what has become a yearly tradition and the round of boos aimed at the Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell thought he would walk out with a bevy of Cowboys stars from the past, but to no avail. The crowd let him know what they thought of his leadership abilities as the head of the NFL. The best part of the draft coverage was from ESPN. After months and months of making terrible decisions, the decision to put Kirk Herbstreit on the draft coverage was gold. Herby is as knowledgeable as anyone when it comes to the college game. His knowledge of every top player is unbelievable and really added to the coverage. Without further ado, here are the 32 first round picks and analysis from myself, social media, and others that I trust and know are knowledgeable about the game of football.

1. Cleveland Browns– Baker Mayfield QB, Oklahoma

As was predicted by this site weeks ago, Mayfield was the top pick. He instantly gives the worst franchise in all of sports buzz. Mayfield may be the most polarizing player in the draft. The Twitter fallout was about 50/50 from people who loved the pick to people that hated the pick. A friend of mine told me earlier in the week, “If Mayfield were 6’3″ it would be a no-brainer he would be the number one pick.” I agree with him, Mayfield’s ceiling is the highest of maybe any prospect on the board.

Grade A+

2. New York Giants– Saquon Barkley RB, Penn State

Dave Gettleman had to be salivating since the combine when he knew the best overall player in the draft was going to fall to him. Barkley can do it all and gives the Giants an explosive punch at RB to go with Manning at QB and Beckham at WR.

Grade A+

3. New York Jets (via Colts)– Sam Darnold QB, USC

Probably the second best QB in the class. Darnold will be going into a QB room that includes Josh McCowan and Teddy Bridgewater, two veteran pros. Plus coming from LA he will be able to handle the pressure of playing in a big media market.

Grade A

4. Cleveland Browns- Denzel Ward CB, Ohio State

The Browns finally take a player from OSU and some fans are upset.  The Browns have struggled with finding a number one CB as much as they have finding a QB. They got both in the first four picks this year.  OSU has become the new DBU of college football.

Grade A+

5. Denver Broncos– Bradley Chubb DE, North Carolina State

Chub has the highest potential to be this year’s draft bust. He can be an elite pass rusher, but he struggles to defend the run. Denver is hoping he can fit opposite Von Miller to form a formidable pass rush.

Grade B

6. Indianapolis Colts– Quenton Nelson G, Notre Dame

Best overall player in the draft. A mean, nasty, offensive guard that the Colts need to protect their franchise QB Andrew Luck. Nelson will be a Hall of Famer in 15 years.  The Colts needed to rebuild their offensive line and they needed to do that from the inside out.      

Grade A+

7. Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers)– Josh Allen QB, Wyoming

Buffalo got the QB they needed and did not have to give up all of that much. They only had to give up one of their first-round picks to get him too.                                               

Grade B

8. Chicago Bears- Roquan Smith ILB, Georgia

Smith was the best linebacker in college football last year. The SEC Championship game and the CFP showcased his skills running sideline to sideline making plays.

Grade A+

9. San Francisco 49ers– Mike McGlinchey OT, Notre Dame

The reason ND rushed the ball for 270 yards a game last year? Two top ten offensive linemen! The 49ers just got their insurance policy for Jimmy G.

Grade A

10. Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland Raiders)– Josh Rosen QB, UCLA

The fourth QB in the top ten and the second one traded up for in first round. Rosen is the best available when the pocket is clean, but lacks the ability to make plays on the move.

Grade A

11. Miami Dolphins– Minkah Fitzpatrick DB, Alabama

First player from the national champions is their best defensive player. Fitzpatrick was the quarterback of the best defense in the country last year and will get a chance to shine early with the Dolphins.

Grade B

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Vita Vea DT, Washington

A bit of a strange pick here. Seems to be a reach since Vea wasn’t the best defensive linemen on the board.           

Grade C

13. Washington Redskins– Da’Ron Payne DT, Alabama

Washington had to be ecstatic that the best defensive lineman fell to them. Payne is the second Tide player in first round.

Grade B

14. New Orleans Saints– Marcus Davenport DE, UTSA

He is a boom or bust player and the Saints traded up for him.

Grade C

15. Oakland Raiders– Kolton Miller OT, UCLA

Gruden with his first pick for the Raiders is an offensive tackle to help protect their franchise QB, Derek Carr.                      

Grade B 

16. Buffalo Bills– Tremaine Edmunds OLB, Virginia Tech

Worked out last time the Bills took a pass rusher from Virginia Tech right?

Grade B

17. Los Angeles Chargers– Derwin James S, Florida State

Second best safety in the draft and an absolute stud. Chargers got a player that can go week one and fill a hole at safety.

Grade A

18. Green Bay Packers– Jaire Alexander CB, Louisville

Smooth cornerback that can cover guys. A little weary of taking defensive players from teams that struggled on defense.

Grade C+

19. Dallas Cowboys-Leighton Vander Esch LB, Boise State

Fills a need for the Cowboys with durability issues for Lee and Smith.

Grade C

20. Detroit Lions– Frank Ragnow C, Arkansas

Bret Bielema expressed a bit of hyperbole by calling Ragnow the best offensive linemen he has ever coached. Joe Thomas anyone?  Ragnow began climbing draft boards after his combine and pro day and ends up with the Lions and new Head Coach Matt Patricia.

Grade B

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price C, Ohio State

Solid performer and should solidify the center position for the Bengals.

Grade C+                                    

22. Tennessee Titans– Rashaan Evans LB, Alabama

Great linebacker from the Tide and will fit in nicely with the Titans.

Grade B+

23. New England Patriots– Isaiah Wynn OT, Georgia

The Patriots lost two of their three offensive tackles to free agency so Wynn should fill that void.        

Grade B

24. Carolina Panthers– D.J. Moore WR, Maryland

Big Ten wide receiver of the year will give Cam Newton a good target to go too in 2018.

Grade C+

25. Baltimore Ravens– Hayden Hurst TE, South Carolina

The final first-round pick of the great Ozzie Newsome’s career is a TE. Fitting right?

Grade B

26. Atlanta Falcons– Calvin Ridley WR, Alabama

Another Bama receiver going to Atlanta. He will team up nicely with the other Bama product Julio Jones.  Matt Ryan has to be smiling.

Grade B+

27. Seattle Seahawks- Rashad Penny RB, San Diego State

Seattle needs offensive line help to protect Russell Wilson and they take the fifth best RB in the draft? This pick is a mystery.

Grade D at best                                                                                                    

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Terrell Edmunds S, Virginia Tech

Third best Safety in the draft, but way behind Fitzpatrick and James.  Edmunds picked 12 spots behind his brother, that’s a pretty athletic family. He will be the physical safety the Steelers have been missing.                                                                  

Grade B

29. Jacksonville Jaguars– Taven Bryant DT, Florida

Jaguars loading up on defense so their franchise QB does not have to win them games, just keep them in it. Jags defense just got better and it was already awesome.

Grade B

30. Minnesota Vikings– Mike Hughes CB, Central Florida

A silky smooth CB, but has red flags from off the field altercations. If Hughes can get his life in order he will be a solid pro.

Grade C+

31. New England Patriots– Sony Michele RB, Georgia

Great pick by NE. Michele had great games against the best teams on Georgia’s schedule and adds an explosive RB option.

Grade A

32. Baltimore Ravens– Lamar Jackson QB, Louisville

Ravens trade back up into the first round to take the athletic former Heisman Winner. Great value pick by Ravens, Jackson has a high ceiling.

Grade C

 

Draft by Conference:

  1. SEC- 10
  2. Big Ten- 4
  3. Big 12- 1
  4. Pac 12- 4
  5. Others- 5
  6. Independents- 2
  7. ACC- 6

Winners:

  1. Browns
  2. Dolphins
  3. Ravens
  4. Patriots
  5. Falcons
  6. Titans
  7. Chargers
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