Winners and Losers of the 2018 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft this past weekend was exciting to watch, although it came with great sacrifices. I recently moved to a new apartment and don’t currently have WiFi set up, meaning I sacrificed my data. 100% worth it. I was able to watch all of rounds 1-3, but Saturday didn’t allow me to watch all of rounds 4-7. It’s for this reason I’m later than most getting out my winners and losers of the draft. I spent time yesterday reviewing and examining picks for each team, which has led me to create my list of winners and losers for the 2018 NFL Draft.
As always, it’s hard to be 100% sure who won and lost because none of these guys have played a single snap in the NFL yet. Because this is the case, I’ve chosen my winners and losers based on which teams filled needs and where they drafted each player in comparison to where they should have gone.
New York Giants
With their first two picks, the Giants took care of a major need that’s been a problem for a long time, the running game. Saquon Barkley is going to be a force at running back. To help him out, they drafted G Will Hernandez, who’s strength is run blocking. This is going to help Eli significantly. Three out of their four remaining picks were defense, where they got some great value in guys like LB Lorenzo Carter and DT B.J. Hill. They also drafted a quarterback in the fourth round by selecting Kyle Lauletta, who is considered a sleeper at the position in this draft. Regardless of who they would have picked after Barkley and Hernandez, the Giants get a win from me because they took care of one of their biggest problems.
Despite what many people have to say about the Browns screwing up in the draft again, I believe the Browns made good choices, starting with their number one pick, Baker Mayfield. I always believed Baker Mayfield is the best quarterback in the 2018 draft class, so I loved the pick. The other guys have big arms or come from the right systems, but none of them can match Mayfield’s accuracy. The Browns need someone who can actually get their receivers the ball. After Mayfield, many criticized their pick of Denzel Ward. I think it’s a good pick. Yes, they could have had Chubb, but DE isn’t a need for them. Corner is a need, which they filled by selecting Ward. QB, CB, and OT were their three biggest needs heading into the draft, and they addressed every single one in their first three picks. I also like the addition of RB Nick Chubb, who I think can be a very good running back in the NFL.
Although the Titans only had four picks in the draft, I think they did very well with those picks. Their two biggest needs were an edge rusher and an inside linebacker. With their first two picks, the Titans drafted and inside linebacker (Rashaan Evans) and an edge rusher (Harold Landry). When you take care of your two biggest needs with your first two picks, that’s a win. They did have other needs they didn’t address, but those needs aren’t nearly as glaring as their top two were.
Griffin could be considered a loser because he had to wait so long to be drafted, but it has to be worth the wait for him. Being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks has to be a dream come true for Griffin because he now gets to play with his brother Shaquill. After playing together at UCF, the brothers can continue making an impact together on the Seahawks defense. This was destiny. It was meant to be. It couldn’t have happened any other way.
Denver was able to get the best pass rusher in the draft by waiting at pick five. Many thought he would be gone, but the surprise pick of Denzel Ward to Cleveland made this possible. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rushing the passer, offensive lines are going to have an even harder time protecting their quarterback. In the second round, the Broncos selected SMU receiver Courtland Sutton, who many thought would go in the first round. Then in the third, they drafted RB Royce Freeman, who I believe was very underrated. I’m an Oregon Ducks fan and loved watching Freeman dominate. The Broncos also added ILB Josey Jewell, WR DaeSean Hamilton, and TE Troy Fumagalli. Addressing needs on both sides of the ball, it was an all around great draft for the Denver Broncos.
New Orleans Saints
I have the Saints as losers primarily because of their trade for Marcus Davenport. Pretty much everyone thought this was going to be the selection of Lamar Jackson to be their future quarterback, but no. They traded their first round pick next year to get a pass rusher. I don’t get it. Pass rushers are good to have, but I wouldn’t trade a first round selection for one. Another shocking pick was OT Rick Leonard in the fourth round. From what I’ve heard, Leonard was ranked below 400 on most teams big boards. In other words, this guy wasn’t projected to be draft at all. The Saints picked him 127th overall.
I only saw one situation for the Raiders where they could be considered a winner in this draft. That is with the selection of DT Maurice Hurst in the fifth round. Hurst is a first round talent, but fell very far in the draft because of a heart condition. If he stays healthy, this is a big steal. Other than Hurst, the Raiders selections felt like reaches. Kolton Miller in the middle first, P.J. Hall in the second, and Brandon Parker in the early third. All reaches. Then they drafted Arden Key in the third, who is talented, but has off field concerns. They obviously saw something in these guys they liked and wanted to make sure nobody else got them.
Not really sure what the Seahawks were doing in this draft. I think they got some good players, but where they took those players shouldn’t have been the spot where they were selected. Nobody had Rashaad Penny going in the first round. Instead of selecting him in the first, Seattle should have either traded back and picked him in the second round, or used their first round pick on a top offensive lineman and then traded up for Penny later. The Shaquem Griffin pick was a win for them, but because they reached and didn’t address probably their biggest need until late in the draft, I have them as losers this time around.
Detroit got some good picks later in the draft in Oregon T Tyrell Crosby and DL Da’Shawn Hand, but their early picks were reaches in my opinion. Frank Ragnow was not the best lineman available when they selected him. RB Kerryon Johnson wasn’t the best running back on the board when they selected him either. Derrius Guice was still on the board and they passed on him. The Lions need a better running game, and I don’t think Johnson makes it that much better, if better at all.
Even though the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson, Joe Flacco is still the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. The problem for Flacco, is he may not be the starter for much longer. If you look at what happened with Alex Smith and the Chiefs this offseason, this feels like a similar situation. If Flacco can’t get the offense to thrive early, Jackson will start sooner than later. Even if Flacco has a great year, much like Smith did last season, he could still be on his way out the door. Flacco’s time with Baltimore seems to be coming to an end.