The NFL Draft is known for its unpredictability and this draft has been called one of the most mysterious drafts in recent memory. With that being said, an epic first round has finally come to a close so lets recap the moves made here on day one.
1. Cleveland Browns
Pick: QB Baker Mayfield
Opinion: Wow. Reports had surfaced over the coming days speculating that the Browns were interested in selecting Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick and I honestly did not believe they would do it. Mayfield is in my opinion the third best quarterback in this draft and though he may have potential, his attitude and issues on and off the field are a concern, but not enough for the Browns to take him off their big board as their number one ranked prospect. I think there were better and safer options out their and the risk of taking Mayfield is really high, but if you believe a player may be your guy, no matter what or where, you pick him and that is what the Browns just did.
2. New York Giants
Pick: RB Saquon Barkley
Opinion: Barkley has been connected to the Giants since he had declared back in January and Dave Gettleman had never once denied the possibility of selecting a running back with the second overall pick and now we see why. Barkley is a high potential player and I can describe him as a more mature version of Ezekiel Elliot. Barkley now pairs with Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and Evan Engram as a nice tandem on offense as the Giants look to make one more run with Eli under center.
3. New York Jets
Pick: QB Sam Darnold
Opinion: Sam Darnold is the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft. Turnovers have been a question mark for him during his collegiate career but you can coach a player away from making mistakes. Darnold has good size, a solid arm and good pocket presence and if he could reduce the turnovers, he has the potential to not only be a winner, but finally be the franchise guy the Jets have been looking for since Joe Namath left the Jets in 1977 to sign with the Rams.
4. Cleveland Browns
Pick: CB Denzel Ward
Opinion: It has been long rumored that the Browns may trade the fourth overall pick but make the right decision by staying at fourth overall and selecting maybe the top corner in this draft in Denzel Ward. Though Cubb is a better player, the Browns looked at need rather than best player available and see Ward as a pro bowl talent and a day one starter. Ward is a grinder who always seems to be around the ball and will be a big upgrade to an already improved secondary
5. Denver Broncos
Pick: DE Bradley Chubb
Opinion: The Broncos had Bradley Chubb fall right into their lap at 5th overall. Chubb is without a doubt the best defensive player in this draft and some may argue he is the best player in the draft overall. Chubb will play alongside All Pro linebacker Von Miller and former first round pick Shane Ray. The Broncos have officially commit to Case Keenum for at least this season with them passing up on both Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Pick: OG Quenton Nelson
Opinion: I have Nelson as the safest pick in the 2018 draft and after years of struggling to build a decent offensive line, the Colts pick up a franchise guard with the sixth pick. Nelson has the potential to be All-Pro as a rookie and with the Colts getting their day one starter at guard at sixth overall and acquiring more draft capital after trading back from 3rd overall, this is the best overall pick in the draft.
7. Buffalo Bills( from Tampa Bay Buccs)
*Tampa Receives picks 12, 53 and 56. The Bills also received a 7th round pick*
Pick: QB Josh Allen
Opinion: It took 6 picks, but we finally have the first trade of the night. The Bills have finally got their wish of trading into the top ten and did not have to give up both first round picks. With the 7th pick, they take Josh Allen who I think has the highest potential at the quarterback position in the draft. Allen has a canon for an arm, has the pocket presence and the size to succeed but accuracy has been the major issue with him. Allen has been compared to Carson Wentz, who has nearly the same measurables as Allen. I believe if Allen could improve his accuracy issue, he has the potential to be a Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo type player.
8. Chicago Bears
Pick: LB Roquan Smith
Opinion: After trading up the previous two seasons, the Bears stay put at 8th overall and select Roquan Smith out of Georgia. Smith is a high touted linebacker that has the qualities to be a four down linebacker in the NFL. He has the size and the ability to be a solid producer in the NFL and has Ray Lewis like qualities. He will join a solid Bears defense who finished top 10 in the NFL last season.
9: San Francisco 49ers
Pick: OT Mike McGlinchey
Opinion: The 6’8 Tackle has the commitment and the passion to be a elite level tackle in the NFL. He learns from his mistakes and is the cleanest tackle in this draft. This may not be the “sexiest” pick on paper, especially since there were players like Marcus Davenport, Tremaine Edmounds, Vita Vea and Derwin James on the board, but the offensive line is the most important part of a football team after getting a quarterback. Jimmy G. gets himself a solid offensive lineman and will most likely move over to replace Joe Staley after the 2018 season.
10. Arizona Cardinals( via Oakland Raiders)
*Raiders receive picks 15, 79, and 152
Pick: QB Josh Rosen
Opinion: Some may say that Rosen is the best pocket passer in the draft, and while he may look decent in the pocket, I am not a fan of Rosen overall and still believe that he is a 2nd round pick. He lacks mobility, makes somewhat questionable throws and his injury history in college makes him a major question mark. Not to mention his off the field issues. With all that said, Rosen still has the potential and could have a career similar to Eli Manning if he cleans up his attitude and his game(maybe not the rings but that is to be seen later). Like the Browns, the Cardinals got their guy and hope that he will be their starter for the next ten years.
11. Miami Dolphins
Pick: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
Opinion: I am a huge fan of Fitzpatrick. He is a lengthy player that plays with heart and has the speed to play both saftey and corner in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Malcom Jenkins and will more than likely be used in the same way the Eagles use Jenkins. I would assume he will pair up next to Xavien Howard at corner come week one. The only concern is where he will play on the field, but as a mentioned before, I believe he could play both secondary positions at a high level and be a major upgrade for this Dolphins team that has been desperate for help.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers(from Buffalo Bills)
Pick: DT Vita Vea
Opinion: Vea has been called a “more athletic version of Haloti Ngata” and that is the perfect comparison for him. He may not have the sack numbers or the super flashy statistics, but he is a fierce run stopper and will pressure the quarterback when asked. He slides in nicely on that Tampa defensive line and the Buccs drop back, add draft picks and receive a monster on the defensive line as a result. Nice job by the Tampa front office.
13. Washington Redskins
Pick: DT Da’Ron Payne
Opinion: Payne is a prototypical defense tackle and will now pair up with his former teammate Jonathan Allen. He is known for being one of the best run stoppers who can clog up lanes and stop anyone in his direction, but the potential for sacks is there. The Redskins really need help on that defensive-line and now add Payne who they believe will be a starter from day one.
14. New Orleans Saints (from Green Bay Packers)
Pick: DE Marcus Davenport
Opinion: I love the Saints being aggressive and moving up i the draft to add the player they think would take their championship caliber team to the next level. Do not get me wrong, I love Marcus Davenport and I think he will be a good player on that team, but the Saints gave up their 2019 first round pick to select a non-quarterback at 14 and had a shot at drafting Derwin James and making a major upgrade to their secondary. Non the less, Davenport is a athletic lineman who can get to the quarterback and stop the run. He is a boom or bust type player, but I believe he has more qualities to succeed in the league than fail. The Saints add another quality piece to their defense as they look to win another title before the Drew Brees era comes to an end.
15. Oakland Raiders (from Arizona Cardinals)
Pick: OT Kolton Miller
Opinion: I am not a big fan of this selection. Some may say that he is the best tackle in the draft but I beg to differ. He has the intangibles to be a franchise player, but his game tape, to me, shows day two talent. The bigger thing is the fact that the Raiders have big defensive needs and had so many more talented and safer players at their selection. Yes, they have more draft picks as a result of their trade with Arizona, but you want to make a solid pick in the first round(see Tampa Bay) and the Raiders failed to do so. Raiders fans have the right to feel concerned.
The Raiders also announced that they traded a third round pick to the Steelers for wide receiver Martavis Bryant. I will be making post draft outlooks for every team in the future , but Bryant helps make up for the Raiders first round selection as he is a number one type weapon for Derek Carr.
16. Buffalo Bills (from Baltimore Ravens)
* Ravens receive picks 22 and 65 in this years draft. Bills also get pick 154
Pick: LB Tremaine Edmounds
Opinion: Edmounds is the youngest player in this draft. Being only 19, Edmounds is yet to completely fill up his frame and that should not be a probably once beginning an NFL training program. He was predicted to be drafted top ten, so it is a suprise that he was still on the board at 16, which led the Bills to trade up once again to get him. I rated Edmounds as the best linebacker in this draft and his ability to play in cover and his long lengthy body only adds to his athleticism. This Buffalo defense is looking extremely solid.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: S Derwin James
Opinion: James is an absolute steal at pick number 17. He is the best pure safety in the draft and fits the Chargers defense perfectly. His play style is similar to Eric Berry and is an absolute stud when playing cover. This pick makes the Chargers defense very nasty and continues their goal of getting younger. He will add to a secondary that already consists of Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett, giving the Chargers a ligament chance at being a top ten, even top 5 defense in all the NFL.
18. Green Bay Packers (from Seattle Seahawks)
*Seattle receives picks 27, 76 and 186. Packers also get pick 248
Pick: CB Jaire Alexander
Opinion: The Packers desperately needed a cornerback after all the losses this secondary had this offseason. Not only did they acquire more draft picks to add to the 12 they had before the draft even started, they get a day one starting corner who plays with swagger and enthusiasm. He is a smooth cover corner and will hopefully not have the career Morgan Burnett had with Jay Cutler, with Mitchell Trubisky.
19. Dallas Cowboys
Pick: LB Leighton Vander Esch
Opinion: The Cowboys are the next team to get a steal in this draft by selecting Leighton Vander Esch. He has been compared to and called the next Brian Urlacher for many reasons, but I believe he plays just like his new teammate Sean Lee. The Cowboys now have a solid line backing core consisting of Vander Esch, Lee and Jaylon Smith as the Cowboys try and make the playoffs after missing them last season.
20. Detroit Lions
Pick: C Frank Ragnow
Opinion: He is touted as the best center in the entire draft and for the third time in four seasons, the Lions pick an offensive linemen in the first round to protect Matthew Stafford. Ragnow will slide right in between Taylor Decker and TJ Lang and the Lions hope Ragnow is a hit unlike Laken Tomlinson and Riley Reiff, whose tenures as Lions first round draft picks where not as promising. It is to note that Ragnow can also play guard.
21. Cincinnati Benglas
Pick: C Billy Price
Opinion: Price was the best center to me in this draft and unfortunately suffered a pectoral injury at the combine. However, he is expected to be ready for training camp and could be a solid player for them at 21. The Bengals needed a center so this pick makes sense.
22. Tennessee Titans (from Ravens)
*Ravens receive picks 25 and 125. Titans also get pick 215
Pick: LB Rashaan Evans
Opinion: With the loss of Avery Williamson in the offseason, Evans will replace him nicely and look to be a leader on that Tennessee defense that keeps on improving. Evans is a three down linebacker and may have a few flaws in his game but it is nothing major or concerning.
23. New England Patriots (from Rams)
Pick: OT Isiah Wynn
Opinion: The Patriots needed an offensive tackle now that Nate Solder is now with the Giants. He was a beast in Georgia and with the Patriots depth at guard, I would be surprised to see Wynn play anywhere other than tackle.
24. Carolina Panthers
Picks: WR D.J. Moore
Opinion: Big fan of this pick and Moore at of Maryland. He had an impressive combine which led to him leaping over Calvin Ridley as the number one receiver in the draft. The Panthers wanted to get a speedy pass catcher for Cam Newton and they get a darn good one with the 24th pick.
25. Baltimore Ravens (from Titans)
Pick: Hayden Hurst
Opinion: The Ravens add more picks by trading down and fill a major need by selecting the best overall tight end in the draft. The Ravens have struggled with their selections a of tight ends with both Maxx Williams and Crockett Gilmore and their past free agent signing of Benjamin Watson. Hurst reminds me of Jason Witten and is a good blocker, which will help Joe Flacco out a ton.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Pick: WR Calvin Ridley
Opinion: Usually one player falls in the first round and this year, that player was Calvin Ridley. Ridley was a star at Alabama but he did lack to break out in big games. He did not have a great combine, and as a result, he started to slide straight down draft boards. The Chicago Bears were trying to trade back into the first round to select Ridley, but the Falcons ended that scenario with this selection. Calvin Ridley will still be a good receiver and putting him in a receiving core with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu will only make him better and allow him to go. This pick puts the NFC on notice and arguably makes the Falcons the scariest offense in the league
27. Seattle Seahawks (from Packers)
Pick: RB Rashaad Penny
Opinion: Not of fan of this. He is a very nice runner but he is under six feet and may not be an every down back in the NFL. The Seahawks have many other needs and while running back was a major one, they did not even take the best one in this draft.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: S Terrell Edmounds
Opinion: He is the brother of now Bills linebacker Tremaine. Edmounds had a good combine and was a prime example of a rising player in the draft process. He is a prototypical Steelers pick but he is a playmaker. This selection was over shined by Ryan Shaizer who walked out to the podium and announced this selection. Extremely powering and inspirational. Brought a tear to everyone’s eye.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: DT Taven Bryant
Opinion: The Jags add to an already stacked defensive line and it makes sense. Any championship type team needs depth at all defensive positions. It is to note that with all these defenive linemens, the Jags cant afford to sign them all so Bryant is a cheap option who can play. Good pick.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: CB Mike Hughes
Opinion: Watched Hughes a lot at UCF and he is a sneaky good cover corner. He has length and size and it is known that Mike Zimmer loves working with corners so it will be interesting to see how great he will play on a stacked Viking defense.
31. New England Patriots
Pick: RB Sony Michel
Opinion: He will replace Dion Lewis who is now with the Titans. He is the typical Patriots running back: the receiving back. There were questions abouthis knee injury and numerous reports came out saying that Michel may slip in the draft because of concern over his knee injury being “bone to bone”. Non the less, he might have been taken higher than expected as he was projected to be a second round pick. He was a productive runner and receiver at the college level and he will join Rex Burkhead, James White, and Mike Gillislee in a loaded running back room.
32. Baltimore Ravens (from Eagles)
*Eagles get picks 52 and 125 in this draft, and a 2nd round pick in 2019. The Ravens also get pick 132
Pick: QB Lamaar Jackson
Opinion: The last first round pick for Ozzie Newsome was a big one, selecting a former Heisman winning in Lamaar Jackson. Jackson did not run a 40 at all through the draft process as teams had been rumored to of been interested in Jackson as a receiver, which did not flatter him at all. Jackson had all talent and speed to be a quarterback in the NFL, but his small frame is a concern. He is a developmental quarterback and will be looked to be Joe Flacco’s replacement. Flacco could be released without a cap penalty at the end of the season, so Lamaar may see action as soon as 2019. Now, with a major chip on his shoulder, watch for a motivated Lamaar Jackson to work his butt off and become the NFL starter he and others know he could be.