Who are the Early Candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year?

We’re four weeks in and this season has been nothing short of riveting. As a draft geek, I love seeing how rookies fit with their new teams, and there have been some standouts thus far on both sides of the ball.

Today, let’s take a look at who are the early offensive rookie of the year candidates.

8. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb.

Just barely nudging into consideration is an emerging weapon for Baker Mayfield. Chubb has been an afterthought thus far, but his performance against the Oakland Raiders put the league on notice.

Chubb rushed for 105 yards on 3 attempts (yeah, that’s an average of 35 yards per carry) against Oakland, and the Browns are looking to give him more carries moving forward.

7. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

This is a true dark-horse pick, but if Rosen can turn this struggling franchise around, then he’ll most definitely be considered for OROY. I thought it was foolish to throw him into the fire against the Bears, but he showed some encouraging traits in his first start against Seattle.

Against the Seahawks, Rosen went 15 for 27 for 180 yards and 1 touchdown. Although these aren’t great stats, given that this was his first start and he didn’t throw any picks, it’s not bad. If Rosen can show that he can be an upper-tier QB in the NFL, he’ll OROY consideration.

6. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay.

Lindsay is the only undrafted rookie I have on this list, but boy is he deserving of it. I wanted to also include Lindsay’s teammate, Royce Freeman on this list, but Lindsay has shown way more explosiveness and he jumps off your screen.

So far this season, Lindsay has 267 yards rushing and he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry. If Lindsay can continue with this type of production and be a factor in the passing game, Lindsay should get be in the OROY discussion.

5. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

In some aspects, it’s been a tough transition for the former USC quarterback. He’s thrown 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and his first appearance on Thursday Night Football ended in a loss to Baker Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns. However, Darnold has shown that he’s the future of the Big Apple.

His performance against the Detroit Lions put him on a pedestal that was probably too high for him, but he showed some spark. If he can revive this season and put the Jets in the middle of the pact, Darnold could become this year’s OROY.

4. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions 

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson.

Johnson has had a quite, but impressive first four weeks of the NFL season. He became the first Detroit Lions running back since 2013 to rush for over 100 yards in one game.

Through four weeks, Johnson has run for 216 yards for 5.7 yards a carry. He has also been a factor in the passing game, too. In order for Johnson to become OROY, he must be entrusted to be the bell-cow and he must be given the ball more in the passing game.

3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns 

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

It looks like Hue Jackson’s plan of benching Baker for Tyrod Taylor for a year didn’t work in his favour. That’s alright, though, since Mayfield has shown promise in both his first appearance and first start, respectively. Could Mayfield become Cleveland’s saving grace? If so, would a mediocre record be enough of an accomplishment for him to win OROY?

In his first appearance against the New York Jets, Baker went 17 for 23 and 201 yards. In his first start against the Raiders, the Oklahoma QB went 21 for 41 and 295 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Not a stellar performance, but Cleveland’s offence putting up 42 points is noteworthy. The title of number one overall pick has lofty expectations, and if Baker can meet them, he’ll be OROY.

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

Let’s not lie to ourselves, everyone thought Saquon would be the unanimous OROY coming into the 2018 NFL season. Has he lived up to expectations? I don’t think he has, but I blame a lot of that on how poor the Giants are as a collective. It’s no secret: Barkley is versatile. However, in order to win OROY, he must demonstrate that he is an elite running talent.

Over the first four weeks, Saquon has accumulated 260 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns. As well, Barkley has 27 receptions for 193 receiving yards. He’s been good, but he has to push it into the next gear to get my OROY vote.

1. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley.

Perhaps an unlikely leading candidate for OROY, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley has been incredible in the first quarter of the season. Ridley has been an excellent complimentary piece to Julio Jones, and while that isn’t translating into wins, the Falcons must be happy with what they’ve seen.

Ridley has 264 receiving yards and a league-leading 6 receiving touchdowns. Julio takes a lot of targets, as he leads the league in receiving yards, but Ridley will get his fair share of attention from Matty Ice. Look out for Ridley to be my pick for OROY.

New York Giants 2018 Season Preview


Giving my season preview for the New York Giants 2018 NFL Season including my win-loss record prediction, bold predictions, statistical projections and analysis of the team’s strengths, weaknesses, and key players Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, and Odell Beckham, Jr. Will the Giants return to the playoffs with the addition of Saquon Barkley?

Best and Worst Case Scenarios for every NFL Team in 2018

Best and Worst Case Scenarios for every NFL Team in 2018

It’s that boring time of the NFL offseason.  The NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals recently concluded, and so all there is to watch is baseball (and the World Cup).  But, it’s still fun to speculate how each NFL team will do in 2018 (then be proven completely wrong later).  Today, I will go over each team’s floor and ceiling.  Think of it as their best case scenario vs. worst case scenario.  Anyway, let’s get started.

Atlanta Falcons

After another rough playoff elimination last season, maybe the Falcons will follow in the paths of the Astros, Eagles, and Capitals, and finally win that ring.  They have all the talent on offense, and Vic Beasley and Deion Jones are dangerous on defense.  To me, their absolute best case scenario (ceiling) is 13-3 and that first Super Bowl ring.  I can’t imagine them doing better than 13-3 in that division.  The floor is when Matt Ryan starts looking like 2015 Matt Ryan, and the offense continues to regress from that incredible 2016 season.  Steve Sarkisian gets his walking papers, and the Falcons go 7-9 and miss the playoffs.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals just drafted a man who has been considered the most pro-ready QB.  Personally, I think he’ll be quite successful in the NFL, but Sam Bradford could possibly hold him off for a while.  Because the Cards are in this awkward transitional phase, I can’t see them doing much better than 9-7.  And because they’re competing in a division with two teams on the rise (San Fran and L.A.) and one team that’s still pretty good (Seattle), things could get really hairy.  I think their floor could be 3-13.

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco and his huge contract should be able to hold off Lamar Jackson, at least for one year.  Maybe Flacco can return to his vintage form and the Ravens pull off another playoff run.  In a division with Cincy and Cleveland, it’s possible for them to do as well as 11-5.  This team has a history of giving the Pats trouble in the playoffs, but I just don’t think a Super Bowl run is realistic.  And their worst case scenario?  Probably 5-11 if injuries happen, Terrell Suggs’ 16th season just ain’t cutting it, and the run game can’t get it together under Alex Collins and Javorious Allen.

Buffalo Bills

So, Buffalo got A.J. McCarron to be that awkward “bridge” QB for Josh Allen (the job might actually go to Nathan Peterman).  Well Bills, at least you made the playoffs last year!  Even with Shady McCoy still playing great (which may not happen now that he’ll be 30 this season), I don’t see Buffalo doing better than 8-8.  Sure, the Jets and Dolphins are also at a crossroads, but New England should probably be marked on the calendar as two Ls.  As for their worst case scenario, we’ve certainly seen it get bad with teams in this transitional phase.  2-14 is the floor.

Carolina Panthers

Cam and Carolina got back in the playoffs after a rough 2016 season.  As Jon Bois noted in this video, Carolina’s consistency is the absolute craziest in the NFL (just skip to 9:10 if you want proof).  Christian McCaffrey should continue to add to this team, and Dontari Poe should help improve the d-line.  To me, their best and worst case scenarios are quite like the Falcons.  13-3 if everything goes right, 7-9 if everything goes wrong.  Now watch them pull a 2015 Panthers and go 15-1 again, or a 2016 Panthers and go 6-10.

Chicago Bears

Mitch Trubisky will no longer have to wait behind the human giraffe Mike Glennon, and will get his chance to lead the Bears into playoff contention.  In a tough division like the NFC North though, I can’t see them doing better than 10-6.  However, that could very well net them a playoff spot in the Wild Card.  As for their floor, think Matt Nagy will oversee an improvement from 5-11.  The Bears are a high-floor, low ceiling team in my opinion, as their floor should should be 6-10.

Cincinnati Bengals

When Cincy’s stubborn owner Mike Brown kept Marvin Lewis AGAIN in 2018, I can just imagine Bengals fans having the same mindset as Squidward in this clip.  Maybe Dalton and A.J. Green will go back to their vintage years of 2011-15 by going 10-6… and losing in the first round of the playoffs again.  To me though, their worst case scenario is that they continue their downward trend and go 4-12.  Maybe that will make Mike Brown do something?  No, I doubt it.

Cleveland Browns

You know what, I think this team could shock the world and win a game this season.  Actually, 10 of them.  Considering Tyrod Taylor quarterbacked a team to the playoffs last year, why can’t he do it again?  Cleveland has a pretty scary 1-2 combo in Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry, and a defense that actually isn’t that bad.  The elephant in the room is Hue Jackson.  Maybe if that jump in Lake Erie truly did wash away all the losing, they can go 10-6 and make the playoffs.  Or, they could just go 2-14 (they can’t possibly go 0-16 again.  Can they?).

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas had a disappointing season last year, as they had to deal with injuries and the drama known as the Zeke suspension saga.  Jason Witten and Dez Bryant leaving could certainly hurt the offense a bit, but I can still see them improving to 12-4.  But no more than that, as they have to deal with Philly and an improved Giants team.  Of course, I do see a possibility of them going 6-10.  Jason Garrett would probably get fired in that case.

Denver Broncos

It was a rough first season for head coach Vance Joseph, as the former defensive coordinator had to deal with a QB controversy.  John Elway has given him a new QB in Case Keenum, who should definitely hold down the fort for at least this year.  Keenum obviously had a great season last year, and he’s still playing on a team with a solid defense (though not as good as Minnesota’s).  Considering the AFC West still has some question marks, I can see Denver doing as good as 12-4.  However, if the Keenum experiment fails, things could get ugly.  Perhaps another 5-11 season is their floor.

Detroit Lions

Having a top 10 QB like Matt Stafford is usually enough to net this team 6 wins, so I can’t see them doing much worse than 6-10.  Unfortunately for the Lions, they play in a division with the Packers, Vikings, and a Bears team that is much improved.  Unless Matt Patricia truly does bring that Patriots attitude to the team, I can’t see them doing better than 10-6 and a possible Wild Card berth.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is back, which means the Packers being a playoff team is probably back as well.  This is despite him losing one of his favorite targets in Jordy Nelson and the NFC being stacked.  After all, they added Jimmy Graham, who will probably emerge as a solid red zone option for Rodgers.  The defense added Muhammad Wilkerson and Jaire Alexander, and maybe new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can turn their defense into a solid unit.  If he does, the Packers could do as well as 13-3.  If he doesn’t (and some injuries happen), expect an 8-8 year.

Houston Texans

It’s all about staying healthy for this bunch.  Deshaun Watson was having a great rookie season until his ACL injury.  And when J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus went down, so did the Texans.  As long as their most important pieces don’t suffer from the injury bug, I can see them doing as good as 12-4.  However, if injuries strike yet again, I can see 5-11 being the floor.

Indianapolis Colts

Despite a gutty performance from Jacoby Brissett, the Colts had a disastrous 4-12 season last year that saw coach Chuck Pagano get fired.  After being royally screwed over by Josh McDaniels, Frank Reich will now try to lead this team to victory.  If Andrew Luck returns healthy and the new pieces on the o-line come together, this could be an 11-5, division-winning team.  If not, this could be another 4-12 year in Indy.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags surprised the NFL world last year by making it to the AFC Championship Game a year after going 3-13.  The bad news for the Jags is that the division has gotten a lot better if everyone stays healthy.  The good news for Jacksonville is that they’ve retained the young defensive core that got them a game away from the Super Bowl.  The elephant in the room is Blake Bortles, and if he has a poor year, the Jags could do as bad as 6-10.  But, if all goes according to plan, I say they can do as well as 13-3 and get the franchise’s first title.

Kansas City Chiefs

A lot of the Chiefs’ season will be determined by their QB play, and no one really knows what we’ll get out of Pat Mahomes.  He has a veteran coach in Andy Reid and spent a year learning behind Alex Smith though, so those are some good signs.  If Mahomes can make good use out of his weapons on offense and the defense stays solid, a 12-4, division-winning record could happen.  If Mahomes is significantly worse from Alex Smith though, things could get as bad as 5-11.

Los Angeles Chargers

The 30,000-seat soccer stadium that the Chargers play in may very well be home to a division champ this year.  The Chargers have a trusty vet in Phillip Rivers at QB, and some good weapons for him (though Hunter Henry is out for the year).  The defense is where this team is super stacked from top to bottom.  It starts up front, where Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram bring the heat.  In the secondary, a healthy Jason Verrett, Casey Heyward, and rookie Derwin James should be exciting.  I see this team doing as well as 13-3 and seriously contending for a Super Bowl.  However, they could disappoint and go 7-9.

Los Angeles Rams

Boy, is this team going all-in this year.  Getting Pro Bowl caliber players like Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib clearly demonstrates this.  Jared Goff and Todd Gurley should be with this franchise for a while, but this great core they have will only stay around 1-2 years.  If the Rams make the most of it, they’ll go 14-2 and bring a Super Bowl to L.A.  If they waste this stacked roster or if injuries happen, this team could do as poorly as 8-8.

Miami Dolphins

This team traded their star RB and star WR, plus they lost arguably their best player on defense in Ndamukong Suh.  Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played since 2016.  Some of their more notable free agent signings include: Brock Osweiler, a 35-year old Frank Gore, and Danny Amendola (they did draft Minkah Fitzpatrick though).  In any case, things could get ugly in South Beach, and I think they could do as bad as 2-14.  And to me, their ceiling is only 8-8.

Minnesota Vikings

After a stellar year from Case Keenum at QB, the Vikes weren’t convinced and nabbed Kirk Cousins in free agency.  Will the move pay off?  The money is fully guaranteed, and for someone who doesn’t have one playoff win, it’s certainly a risk.  If Kirk is solid and the defense stays elite, a 14-2 season with the franchise’s first Super Bowl could be in order.  If not, it could be a disappointing 8-8 year.

New England Patriots

Will this be the cliff year for Tom Brady?  He’s 41, and he’s lost Dion Lewis, Brandin Cooks, and both of his starting tackles.  The defense lost a key piece in Malcolm Butler.  But who am I kidding, this is the Patriots we’re talking about!  Their best case scenario is 14-2 and a Super Bowl, because Brady and Belichick are still there.  However, if the gloom and doom scenario truly does play out, this team could go 8-8, their first non-winning record since 2000.  That’s really how good this team has been.

New Orleans Saints

Sean Payton saved his job last year after three consecutive 7-9 seasons from 2014-16.  The defense finally stepped up, and Drew Brees had another great year in his late 30s.  Brees not only has help from his defense, but his running game has a great one-two punch with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.  Ingram is suspended the first four games, but I don’t think that will derail the season.  As a matter of fact, this team could do as well as 13-3, and win the franchise’s second title.  However, they could drop back to 8-8 if things go wrong.

New York Giants

After a disastrous campaign last year that saw their ringmasters at head coach and GM get fired, the Giants have regrouped.  They have a smart offensive mind at head coach, and an old school GM now.  They landed a generational talent in Saquon Barkley at RB, and some much-needed pieces on the o-line as well.  If Eli can still play well at age 37 and the defense can return to its 2016 form, this team could do as well as 12-4.  That might be enough to steal a division title from Philly.  But, if this team doesn’t look as good on the field as they do on paper, it could be a disappointing 6-10 year.

New York Jets

The Jets took what could be the long-awaited answer to their QB woes in Sam Darnold.  We don’t know whether he’ll start Week One yet, but there’s a good shot he gets some playing time this year.  Darnold’s weapons on offense are a bit questionable though.  The Jets are building something solid with their young defense however, where they added Avery Williamson and Morris Claiborne.  Those aren’t the greatest additions, but they’re starter-level players.  To me, this Jets team will probably see some bumps in a transitional QB year, and they could do as poorly as 3-13.  But, they could do as well as 9-7.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders were hyped up as contenders in the AFC last year, but they suffered from a very disappointing year.  So, they fired their head coach and made what many consider a “splash hire” in Jon Gruden.  While it’s been quite a long time since he’s coached, I still believe he can do it.  He has a lot of talent to work with on offense, as Derek Carr is a young franchise QB.  This team could disappoint and do as poorly as 6-10 again, but I could see them going 12-4 and retaking the AFC West.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philly broke their long stretch of misery last year, but what does it take to repeat as champs?  Well, it looks like Carson Wentz will be back as the starter, but will he be during Week One?  In any case, this team retained most of the core that got them to the Super Bowl, and added Michael Bennett on defense.  The thing that might hold them back this year is playing in a talented NFC.  Their best case scenario is a 14-2 season and another Super Bowl title.  However, they could regress back to 8-8 if things go horribly wrong.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Killer Bs are back after a disappointing playoff exit last season, but can they rebound this year?  The Steelers promoted from within for their new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who should hopefully help this offense stop playing down to their competition.  That was a big struggle for Pittsburgh last year.  This team still has a great core in tact though, and they could go 14-2 and win the franchise’s 7th title if all goes according to plan.  However, they could go 8-8 and possibly lose the division to the Ravens if things go poorly.

San Francisco 49ers

There’s a lot of pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo, who just received a $137.5 million contract after an impressive 5 starts with San Fran.  One fact that really shocked me is that the 49ers went from playing one primetime game last year to FIVE this year.  That goes to show you how much the NFL values having a franchise QB when it comes to scheduling primetime games.  If Kyle Shanahan’s squad can live up to the hype, they could go 12-4 and possibly steal the division from the stacked Rams.  However, if they can’t live up to the hype, they could disappoint and possibly stay a 6-10 season.

Seattle Seahawks

With the Rams and 49ers as improved teams, and the Cards getting a potential franchise QB, Seattle might be taking a backseat.  They lost a lot of key pieces this offseason, like Jimmy Graham, Richard Sherman, and Michael Bennett.  It wasn’t anywhere near San Francisco’s 2015 offseason level of bad, but it was pretty bad.  They drafted Rashad Penny in the first round, which is definitely a questionable move.  Russell Wilson should carry this team to at least a 6-10 record.  But, I can’t see them doing better than 10-6 in this tough NFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa was a trendy pick to win the division last year, but they suffered a very disappointing, 5-11 year.  The Bucs made some big additions on the d-line this offseason, trading for JPP, signing Vinny Curry, and drafting Vita Vea.  Paired with Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence, it looks like a stacked unit on paper.  The big thing is Jameis Winston getting it together with Dirk Koetter.  It didn’t work last year, but it probably has to in 2018 for Koetter to keep his job.  I can see the Bucs improving to 11-5 this year if it all goes right, but they could do as poorly as 5-11 again.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans made their way back to postseason football last year after posting another 9-7 season.  With the signings of Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler, perhaps they have what it takes to make more noise in the AFC.  In a stacked division though, there’s a lot of pressure for Marcus Mariota and first-year head coach Mike Vrabel.  If they respond to it well, I can see Tennessee going 12-4 and possibly getting the franchise’s first Super Bowl.  If they don’t, I can see them having a disappointing 7-9 year.

Washington Redskins

The Skins ditched Kirk Cousins for Alex Smith, and it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I think it’s a typical Dan Snyder move and it’s not going to lead to a lot of success for Washington.  The Skins added Paul Richardson in free agency and got Da’Ron Payne and Sheldon Richardson in the draft.  Ultimately, I can’t see this team doing much better than 11-5.  I could see them doing as poorly as 6-10, but no worse than that given that Alex Smith is a pretty steady QB.

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

The 2018 NFL Draft has come to an end. Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about how the first round picks will pan out.

2018’s first round picks will be graded using a scale ranging from future Hall of Famer to absolute bust. Let’s see how each team’s pick will do for them.

1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Prediction: Bust

The pick that shocked the world will end up in flames. Mayfield is accurate and an electric playmaker. However, I have my concerns with him. He’s had legal issues, unsportsmanlike conduct on the field and on the sidelines, which does not bode well for the prototypical NFL quarterback. He isn’t Johnny Manziel, but he won’t be Peyton Manning, or even Joe Flacco, for that matter.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

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

Prediction: Pro Bowler

This is a match made in heaven. Some suggested that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback, but when’s the last time Eli Manning had a running game? The answer: since Tiki Barber. Barkley will be an electric playmaker for the Giants and the trio of Manning, Beckham and Barkley will be quite the spectacle.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Jets must have sprinted to get that draft card in to the commissioner. Darnold fell into their lap, and he should be a nice fit in the Big Apple. Darnold has good leadership intangibles and has great QB traits. I doubt he’ll be a Hall of Famer, but he’ll make a few Pro Bowls and lead his team to some respectable playoff runs.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

4. Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Many suspected that the Browns would have taken Bradley Chubb with the fourth pick, but they opted for local standout Denzel Ward. Personally, I like the move, since I’m not as high on Chubb as some are, and I like the idea of having more Ohio State players. Ward won’t be as good as his former teammate Marshon Lattimore, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but look for Ward to make some Pro Bowls in the future.

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward.

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

Prediction: Quality Starter

Like I said before, I’m not as high on Chubb compared to others, but he’ll be a quality starter. It’ll be interesting to see who will start opposite Von Miller, since Shane Ray is still a solid starter. The Broncos will likely regret picking Chubb, since there will be players who were picked after who could make a great impact for their respective teams. However, I’m happy they didn’t select a quarterback.

Denver Broncos DE Bradley Chubb.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

The Colts may have gotten the steal of the draft. Yes, Nelson is a guard, but ask any QB who has to play Aaron Donald or Fletcher Cox and they’ll tell you that guard play is important. Andrew Luck has been a human piñata since he got into the league, and his resurgence will be attributed to the additional protection.

Indianapolis Colts G Quenton Nelson.

7. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Prediction: Bust

Buffalo traded up with Tampa Bay to select their quarterback of the future. Allen has a cannon of an arm, but he’s very unpolished and will need to adapt to NFL defensive schemes. His football IQ is lacking and he has to play Bill Belichick twice a year. Evidently, he’ll become a bust in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’m a big fan of Smith going to the Bears. He fits Chicago’s mantra of being blue collar and tough, and he gets to join his former teammate Leonard Floyd. Smith will end up being a staple in the Bears’ defense.

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith.

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

Prediction: Quality Starter

San Francisco invested in Jimmy Garoppolo’s future by getting a tackle in Mike McGlinchey. Left tackle Joe Staley is old and they traded their right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. McGlinchey will start at right tackle and eventually slide over to left tackle. McGlinchey will struggle early in his career, but I see him having a Eric Fisher type career where he struggles early on, but improves as the years pass.

San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey.

10. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Arizona Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders to nab their future starting QB. Rosen is loved by some and hated by many, due to his smug behaviour. Because of this, Rosen fell to 10. The UCLA product was my favourite QB in this year’s draft, but I think his ceiling is limited. He may make a few Pro Bowls, but he won’t be a generational talent.

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Miami got a great player in Minkah Fitzpatrick. His outstanding work ethic and Alabama pedigree makes him a special talent. The Dolphins lack hard working, dependable players, and Fitzpatrick has the ability to be a culture changer. Because of this, he will make a few Pro Bowls in a likely successful career.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Prediction: Bust

I like Vea, but I don’t see him succeeding in Tampa Bay. The thought of him and Gerald McCoy in the middle of the defensive line is scary, but Vea will be marginalized by McCoy’s exceptional play. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but I envision Vea being a bust.

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

Prediction: Quality Starter

I was not a fan of this pick, but Washington won’t be too disappointed by this pick. Payne gets to join former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in the Capital, but Payne won’t be a difference maker, even with a supporting cast. He’ll be a decent player, and that’s about it.

14. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Prediction: Bust

The Saints traded a boat load to the Green Bay Packers in order to select Marcus Davenport, and it will end up not being worth it. Davenport tests well, but he doesn’t dominate his lower level competition as much as one would want. Davenport won’t end up being the dominant edge rusher opposite Cam Jordan that NOLA wants him to be.

15. Oakland Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Prediction: Quality Starter 

Oakland shocked many draft analysts when they selected Kolton Miller. Their right tackle position hasn’t been solidified, and Donald Penn is getting closer to retirement. Miller will be a decent tackle, but Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie could have maximized the value of this pick more.

16. Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Buffalo traded up to select their next great defender in Tremaine Edmunds. His impressive tape and athletic ability will make him a Pro Bowl talent for the Bills.

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

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Chargers were the beneficiaries of James slipping to them. His instincts and playmaking ability will make him a great safety. He learned his swagger from former Florida State teammate Jalen Ramsey, and that alone will earn him a few Pro Bowls.

18. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Packers nabbed one of the best corners in this year’s draft. Alexander is a physical, ball hawking corner who’s skill set can fill a void in the Packer defense. His flashy play will help him be respected around the league, but his size will hurt him from being a Pro Bowl talent.

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

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Dallas Cowboys have been solid at drafting in recent years, and Vander Esch shouldn’t disappoint. Some analysts believe he could be Brian Urlacher, which I vehemently disagree with, but he has that old school mentality. He won’t be a Pro Bowl level linebacker, but he’ll be a solid starter.

20. Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’ll never understand this pick, but to be fair, I’d consider it a safe pick. It’s a reach, most definitely, but Ragnow will be a quality starter in the NFL. He didn’t warrant a first round pick, and James Daniels is the better center prospect, but Matthew Stafford should be happy that he has a quality snapper now.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Again, I don’t understand why these teams take average centers in the first round. Again, the Bengals and Andy Dalton will be happy to have a decent center with Price, but they could have gotten better offensive linemen at this stage of the draft. In essence, bad pick, yet still a good player.

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Titans’ strategy in this draft was quality over quantity. They traded up for three of their four draft picks, and it should work out for them. Rashaan Evans, their first round pick, has Pro Bowl potential and will slide right into this defense.

23. New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter 

With Nate Solder signing with the New York Giants, the Patriots used one of their first round picks on an undersized tackle. Isaiah Wynn is a good prospect who could be a great guard, but it seems as though Bill Belichick wants to play him at tackle. His 6’2″ height is concerning for a blindside tackle, but perhaps he can make it work.

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

Prediction: Bust

I didn’t understand the D.J. Moore hype train during the late stages of the draft. He’s a solid prospect, but he’s not a first round talent, so I expect him to be a bust. Cam Newton might be able to make him a better player, but Carolina would have been better off with a Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Maxx Williams experiment didn’t work out, so the Ravens got two of the top tight end prospects in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Hurst is a volume catcher who can be a game changer, and Joe Flacco (or Lamar Jackson) will love to throw to him.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

Julio Jones’ future in Atlanta is up in the air, but if he comes back and is paired up with Calvin Ridley, the league will be put on notice. Matt Ryan should be ecstatic to get Ridley who’s an excellent compliment to Jones. I don’t see him being a Pro Bowler, but he’ll be respected around the league.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Prediction: Bust

Seattle had one of the most surprising selections of the first round in drafting Rashaad Penny. Ultimately, it’ll end up not panning out for them. Penny is an all-round back, but he doesn’t warrant a first round pick and the expectations surrounding a first round running back.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Quality Starter

Pittsburgh surprised the football world when they picked Edmunds, but he’ll end up being a good player for them. He has good instincts and a solid work ethic, and should personify the Pittsburgh Steelers well.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Prediction: Bust

The Jags opted to draft another Florida product in the first round. Bryan has a lot of good physical traits, but he lacks instincts and might find himself lost in the mix in Jacksonville’s competitive defensive line.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

This prediction might seem bold, but I really like this fit for Hughes. Him and Xavier Rhodes will be an exciting one, and they could have a better Legion of Boom on their hands.

31. New England Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

New England picked two Georgia products in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Michel was highly productive at Georgia, even with Nick Chubb taking some of the carries. Michel is a great fit in New England, since they have a running back by committee approach.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Few players fit their team’s mantra quite like Lamar Jackson does to the Baltimore Ravens. His electric play will make him supersede the average Joe Flacco. Eventually, I see Jackson becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Grading the New York Giants Draft

Grading the New York Giants Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft recently concluded.  It’s too early to truly know how these players will pan out in the NFL, but it’s fun to give teams “grades” anyway.  My favorite team, the Giants, did very well in the draft in my opinion.  They addressed their revolving door at RB by getting a generational talent, added a day one starter on the o-line, and possibly found their QB of the future as well.  So, let’s look over each pick and give them a grade, shall we?  By the way, I might do this for other teams, but figured I’d start with my favorite squad.

Round #1, Pick #2: Saquon Barkley (RB- Penn St.)

Some Giants fans wanted to grab a QB with this pick, but most were in the Barkley camp.  Giants GM Dave Gettleman certainly was, as he didn’t waste any time with selecting Saquon.  He didn’t even listen to any trade-up calls, as clearly he was high on Barkley.  Barkley and Peyton Manning were the only players to earn a perfect grade from Gettleman in all of his years of scouting.  Barkley could instantly become the guy that gets 20+ touches a game, and end the Giants “backfield by committee” nonsense that’s been going on for years.  2nd and 9s will start to become 2nd and 6s or 5s.

Putting Barkley in an offense with Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram should make the Giants a fun team to watch.  I was extremely hyped about this pick.  The only questions are, should they have taken a QB, and should they have traded down for a RB?  Personally, I would say no to both of those questions.  Some critics may question whether it was worth it to take a RB so high in a passing league, but Barkley is a great pass-catcher.  Saquon certainly seems to be worth it.  (Grade: A) Running back Saquon Barkley poses for photos during a news conference, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. Barkley was selected as the number two overall pick in the NFL football draft by the New York Giants. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)Barkley mentioned that he “kind of fell in love what this place” when talking about the Giants.  He could be the face of the franchise for Big Blue.  (Photo Credit: AP/Julie Jacobson)

Round #2, Pick #34: Will Hernandez (OG- UTEP)

Hernandez had a first round grade from the Giants, and will immediately help an o-line that has struggled the last 3+ years.  He will probably be starting alongside Patrick Omameh, a guard the Giants added in free agency.  That would mean John Jerry would be out of the lineup, who has underwhelmed throughout his tenure with the Giants.  Justin Pugh left in free agency, so this makes the pick of Hernandez even more important.

Hernandez is a shade under 6′ 3″, “short” for an NFL o-lineman (I laugh as a guy that’s 5′ 9″), but he weighs in at well over 300 lbs.  To me, Jason Kelce is proof that “short” interior o-linemen can not only succeed, but thrive in the NFL.  Hernandez is a nasty lineman, who will help bring the Giants back to the old-school football they were known for.  He is the kind of “hog molly” that GM Dave Gettleman has raved about.  Gettleman mentioned that Hernandez played for a disastrous, winless UTEP team in 2017, but he played just as tough in the first game as he did in the last.  That’s the kind of character the Giants should be looking for.  (Grade: A+)Image result for will hernandezHernandez says he “wants to embarrass defenders”.  Gettleman mentioned that “he’s a little cranky”.  You can’t blame him, considering he was an NFL-level talent on an 0-12 team.  (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins)

Round #3, Pick 66: Lorenzo Carter (OLB- Georgia)

Gettleman discussed that it’s great when “need meets value”, and that appeared to happen again for Big Blue in the 3rd round.  Just as Gettleman had a 1st round grade on Hernandez, he had a 2nd round grade on Carter, and was able to pick those players in the round afterwards both times.  That could just be the effect of having picks at the top of each round.  But it’s worth mentioning, considering Gettleman apparently tried trading up for Carter.

Carter is a physical specimen at 6′ 5″, 250 lbs.  He could definitely compete at edge rusher in the Giants 3-4 scheme, as the Giants needed a linebacker to add to the mix there.  Carter only had 15 sacks in 4 years, which is disappointing, especially considering his 4.5 40 yard dash time.  So if nothing else, he could definitely be a big contributor on special teams for the G-men.  (Grade: B+)LB Lorenzo Carter can help the Giants with rushing the passer, one of the things Gettleman has stressed the most.  (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports/Crystal LoGiudice)

Round #3, Pick #69: B.J. Hill (DT- NC St.)

A few picks after the Giants selected Carter, they were on the clock again as a result of the JPP trade.  This should purely be a depth pick, as Hill likely won’t start in 2018 unless injuries force him to.  After all, there’s only three d-linemen in a 3-4 defense.  He could certainly rotate into the game at times, but I expect Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson to take up most of the snaps at defensive tackle.

If the Eagles proved anything from their Super Bowl run, it’s that you can never have too many d-linemen.  Gettleman took DT Vernon Butler with a 1st round pick while he was with Carolina in 2016.  This was despite the Panthers having the solid duo of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short at defensive tackle.  Hill had a solid career at N.C. State, with 187 tackles in 44 starts, so maybe he’ll be a starter one day.  I’m okay with him being just depth for now, but not exactly thrilled either.  (Grade: B-)While he likely won’t make an impact on day one, Hill adds solid depth on the d-line.  (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Round #4, Pick #108: Kyle Lauletta (QB- Richmond)

Kyle Lauletta wrote this awesome article for the Player’s Tribune, and it makes me hyped about his possibility of being the future for the Giants at the QB position.  He seems like the classic underdog story, as he was overlooked because of all the top-flight QBs in this draft.  Not only that, he played for Richmond Spiders, not exactly a college football powerhouse.  Lauletta will likely compete with Davis Webb for the backup position, and possibly to replace Eli a few years down the road.

Lauletta has ideal size for his position (6′ 3″), and Gettleman talked about him having “instinctual things that you can’t teach”.  He put up decent stats with the Spiders last season, tossing for 3,737 yards, and 28 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.  The big question with Kyle is his arm strength, as it’s not exactly elite.  In any case, learning behind Eli Manning will definitely help Lauletta’s development.  I reacted negatively to the Giants taking Davis Webb last year, considering it was the 3rd round.  He was taken a pick after Kareem Hunt!  Since it’s the 4th round however, I’m more okay with the Giants looking to the future with this pick.  (Grade: B+)Lauletta impressed at the Senior Bowl, and he could very well be the heir apparent to Eli one day.  (Photo Credit: Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Round #5, Pick #139: R.J. McIntosh (DT- Miami)

The Giants came into the draft needing depth on the d-line, and so that’s why they took Hill in the 3rd round.  But Big Blue doubled down with McIntosh in the 5th round, and I don’t think they should have.  Finding depth at receiver or corner would’ve been more ideal here in my opinion, as the Giants needed that.  Some Giants fans wanted them to draft a tackle, but I think Adam Bisnowaty, Chad Wheeler, and (sigh) Ereck Flowers will compete at RT.  I wish they could’ve found a trade partner for Flowers, but I digress.

So taking another defensive tackle was a bit of a head-scratcher, but he was certainly good value.  He can be used as a pass rusher at defensive end, and on the interior of the d-line.  In any case, the Giants were probably going to get a depth guy here anyway.  So I can’t be too upset.  (Grade: B)R.J. McIntosh was the second defensive tackle taken by Giants in 2018 NFL Draft. McIntosh will add more depth to the d-line.  (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

Overall Grade: A-

To me, the Giants hit a home run with their first two picks.  While I would’ve liked them to add some depth at receiver and corner, they signed some as undrafted free agents.  Those guys could possibly compete for roster spots.  The depth they got in rounds 3-5 could possibly help them years down the road, as they may have gotten one of the draft’s biggest steals in QB Kyle Lauletta.

GM Dave Gettleman had a great first draft, and he’s certainly popular among most Giants fans.  He did have the luxury of drafting high in these rounds.  But with only 6 picks, he made the most of them.  The Giants running game got a huge boost with Barkley and Hernandez, and “hog mollies” were added on both sides of the line.  The Giants are returning to their old-school style of football, and you’ve got to love that as a fan.

NFL Draft Recap: Day One

NFL Draft Recap: Day One

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.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold about to throw a pass.

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

 

NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

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.

 

Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson.

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.

 

Photo Credit/Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images

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.

Photo Credit/Jamie Squire, Getty Images

 

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.

 

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen about to complete a pass.

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.

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

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.

UTSA Defensive End Marcus Davenport.

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.

 

Florida State S Derwin James.

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.

 

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander picks off a pass against Purdue.

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.

 

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 16: Leighton Vander Esch #38 of the Boise State Broncos tackles quaterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks during the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 38-28. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

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.

 

Ohio State guard Billy Price running onto the field with his teammates.

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.

 

Photo Credit/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

 

Jan 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Central Florida Knights defensive back Mike Hughes (19) returns a kickoff against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter in the 2018 Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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.

 

Grayzee’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft

Grayzee’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft

Welcome to my NFL Mock Draft!  I’m not the hugest mock draft guy, as it truly is impossible to predict where all these guys land.  However, since it is the day before the draft and we’ll have more information than we ever will, I might as well do a mock draft.  There will be no trades, even though Buffalo, Arizona, and possibly New England seem like candidates to trade up.  Let’s get started.

Pick #1: Cleveland Browns select Sam Darnold (QB- USC)

Some rumors suggest Cleveland likes Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, but I think they’d be foolish to not go with Darnold at #1.  He seems least likely to bust out of all the QBs in this draft class, which the Browns could certainly use given their history with drafting QBs.  Darnold had a rocky year compared to his 2016 campaign, but losing JuJu Smith-Schuster clearly hurt his production.  Though his turnovers can be concerning, Darnold has all the skills to be a great QB at the next level.

Pick #2: New York Giants select Saquon Barkley (RB- Penn St.)

New GM Dave Gettleman has talked about drafting a player who would “wear a golden jacket” one day, so I don’t think he would pass up on Barkley’s talent.  People think the Giants could be selecting Bradley Chubb because of the JPP trade, and I believe that would be a good fit as well.  However, the thought of having Barkley and Odell Beckham on the same offense could light up defenses for years.  And no, I don’t think the Giants signing the old and injury-prone Jonathan Stewart will deter them from drafting Barkley.

Pick #3: New York Jets select Josh Rosen (QB- UCLA)

Josh Rosen seems like the perfect fit for the Jets, who traded up to #3 to presumably get a QB.  Rosen is the most pro-ready QB in this class, and though his durability and personality scare people, he has the traits to succeed in a big market like New York.  The Jets gave up a lot to get a QB, and I think Chosen Rosen is a lot less risky than Baker Mayfield.

Josh Rosen

Photo from: AP Images

Pick #4: Cleveland Browns (from HOU) select Bradley Chubb (DE- NC. St.)

The Browns will have their pass rush set for at least the next 5 years, as they double down at defensive end.  Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb could be deadly, and I think GM John Dorsey could learn from the Eagles model that you can never have enough edge rushers.

Pick #5: Denver Broncos select Baker Mayfield (QB- Oklahoma)

Mayfield is another QB who’s attitude has come into question, and his size has as well.  And while John Elway does love tall QBs, I think he’ll take Mayfield here.  Mayfield is quite a competitor, and could take the starting position from Case Keenum by year one possibly.

Pick #6: Indianapolis Colts select Quenton Nelson (OG- Notre Dame)

Nelson has been called a can’t miss/can’t bust prospect, and ideally he could help protect Andrew Luck for the next decade plus.  The Colts SB Nation page mentions that Nelson would help an o-line that desperately needs it, and that seems true.  Nelson is strong, has great footwork, and should be an All-Pro at the next level.

Pick #7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S- Alabama)

Minkah can play both cornerback and safety, and immediately help a Bucs secondary no matter where they choose to play him.  After all, Tampa gave up the most passing yards among any defense in the NFL last season.

Pick #8: Chicago Bears select Tremaine Edmunds (LB- Virginia Tech)

The Bears will have a solid inside ‘backer duo with Danny Trevathan and Edmunds.  Edmunds recorded well over 200 tackles in college, and won’t even turn 20 until after he hears his name called on draft night.

Pick #9: San Francisco 49ers select Roquan Smith (LB- Georgia)

John Lynch mentioned that Reuben Foster’s career with the 49ers could already be in jeopardy.  It looks as though there’s a strong possibility that the Niners will double down on ILBs, as Roquan Smith led his team in sacks last season.

Pick #10: Oakland Raiders select Denzel Ward (CB- Ohio St.)

The Raiders, much like the Bucs, played below expectations in 2017 partially due to poor secondary play.  Ward would join sophomore Gareon Conley to form a young core at the cornerback position.

Pick #11: Miami Dolphins select Calvin Ridley (WR- Alabama)

Truthfully, the Dolphins have a lot of needs, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were a team picking in the top 5 in the 2019 draft.  However, wide receiver is now a big one thanks to the departure of Jarvis Landry.  Ridley seems to be the consensus top pick at the receiver position, due to his speed and route-running abilities.

Pick #12: Buffalo Bills (from CIN) select Josh Allen (QB- Wyoming)

Allen’s strong arm and his experience playing in cold weather make him an ideal fit for Buffalo.  The Bills are so desperate for a QB that they’ve reportedly been “trying like hell” to trade up once again.  In this scenario however, Allen falls in their lap at #12.

Pick #13: Washington Redskins select Vita Vea (DT- Washington)

The Redskins will have a great foundation on the d-line with Jonathan Allen, and now Vita Vea.  Vea is a huge run-stuffer, and will fit the nose tackle position perfectly for the Skins.

Pick #14: Green Bay Packers select Derwin James (SS- Florida St.)

The Packers let go of Morgan Burnett, which means they need a new strong safety.  Derwin James fits the bill.

Pick #15: Arizona Cardinals select Lamar Jackson (QB- Louisville)

Jackson goes from being a Louisville Cardinal to an Arizona Cardinal, as the Cards can’t possibly consider Sam Bradford as their franchise QB (despite paying him $20 million).  Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has worked with a mobile QB before in Tim Tebow, so I think it could work.

Pick #16: Baltimore Ravens select Da’Ron Payne (DT- Alabama)

Given Ozzie Newsome’s love of Alabama prospects, it may make sense for him to take the best player available here in Payne.  Taking a WR here (which the Ravens do really need) might be too much of a reach.

Payne-FTR-GEtty-Images.jpg

Photo from: Getty Images

Pick #17: Los Angeles Chargers select Orlando Brown (OT- Oklahoma)

Joe Barksdale has been serviceable at right tackle, but the Bolts could be looking for an upgrade at the position.

Pick #18: Seattle Seahawks select Josh Jackson (CB- Iowa)

Will Hernandez and Billy Price could be possibilities for Seattle, as the Seahawks have struggled on the o-line for years.  However, I think they’ll address the secondary that recently lost Richard Sherman.

Pick #19: Dallas Cowboys select D.J. Moore (WR- Maryland)

With Dez Bryant gone, Dallas has a hole in the receiving corps.  Adding Allen Hurns and Moore can alleviate that.

Pick #20: Detroit Lions select Marcus Davenport (DE- UTSA)

The Lions franchised Ziggy Ansah, and he could use a partner in crime on the d-line.  Davenport has great size and speed, and the Lions will take him.

Pick #21: Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF) select Will Hernandez (OG- UTEP)

Cincy traded for Cordy Glenn to help a weak o-line, but the interior needs help as well.  Losing Kevin Zeitler last offseason did no favors for the Bengals, and so they’ll draft Hernandez.

Pick #22: Buffalo Bills select Billy Price (C/OG- Ohio St.)

The Bills have lost center Eric Wood to retirement this offseason, and even if Richie Incognito comes out of retirement, he is 34 years old.  The Bills need new blood on the interior of their o-line, and they’ll get that with Price.

Pick #23: New England Patriots (from LAR) select Mike McGlinchey (OT- Notre Dame)

The Pats lost Nate Solder this offseason, and need a new man to protect Brady’s blindside.

Pick #24: Carolina Panthers select Jaire Alexander (CB- Louisville)

The Panthers still need some help in their secondary, and they’ll get it here.

Pick #25: Tennessee Titans select Harold Landry (DE- Boston College)

The Titans departure against the Patriots in the playoffs proved that not only were they a young team that couldn’t stack up to a juggernaut like New England, they also couldn’t get any pressure on the QB.  Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel could consider Landry, who had a 16.5 sack season in 2016.

Pick #26: Atlanta Falcons select Maurice Hurst (DT- Michigan)

Despite Hurst’s heart condition possibly scaring away some teams, the Falcons lost Dontari Poe this offseason and need help at defensive tackle.

Pick #27: New Orleans Saints select Mark Andrews (TE- Oklahoma)

Drew Brees will get another weapon, as Coby Fleener hasn’t exactly worked out in New Orleans.

Pick #28: Pittsburgh Steelers select Mason Rudolph (QB- Oklahoma St.)

Ben Roethlisberger is 36 and has mentioned retirement before.  The Steelers could do a traditional Steeler thing and take a linebacker with their first round pick, but I think think they could develop Rudolph behind Big Ben for the next few years.

Pick #29: Jacksonville Jaguars select Christian Kirk (WR- Texas A&M)

With the two Allens having left in free agency (Robinson to the Bears and Hurns to the Cowboys), the Jaguars need a new weapon for Blake Bortles.  The speedy Kirk fits the bill.

Photo from: AP Images

Pick #30: Minnesota Vikings select Connor Williams (OT- Texas)

The Vikings need to protect their big investment in Kirk Cousins, and the o-line still isn’t where it needs to be.  Williams can find a starting spot on the o-line.

Pick #31: New England Patriots select Leighton Vander Esch (LB- Boise St.)

Vander Esch will help a front 7 that was one of the weaker links for the Super Bowl runner-ups last year.

Pick #32: Philadelphia Eagles select Derrius Guice (RB- LSU)

It’s a deep runningback draft, and the Eagles can take advantage of that with this pick.  Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Guice can form a three-headed monster in the Eagles backfield.