Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft took place on Thursday, April 26. As always there were surprises. Some of the surprises turned out to be excellent moves.
Keep reading for a run down of Round 1 in this year’s NFL Draft!
2018 NFL Draft Round 1: Cleveland Browns Assessment and Other Thoughts
Ever year, it’s without fail that the so-called NFL Draft experts end up blowing it. They don’t know which player Cleveland, just as an example, truly believes is a good fit for their organization. They don’t know how something stupid like Josh Allen’s tweets as a 14-year-old will affect Allen’s draft status.
NFL Draft experts don’t know anything. No, I’m not worried if that hurts Mel Kiper Jr.’s feelings because I include myself in the category. I don’t know anything, either. When it comes to the NFL Draft, we’re all a bunch of Socrates running around with our heads in a whirl.
What NFL Draft experts are good at is taking a look at what happened and then assessing it. That’s what I’m going to do right now.
What Were the Cleveland Browns Thinking?
Mel Kiper Jr. thought that the Browns should have chosen Sam Darnold or Josh Allen with the first pick in the NFL Draft. I don’t necessarily agree with Mel. I do agree with Mel in the sense that the Browns most definitely didn’t have to draft Baker Mayfield number one overall. I mean, who in front of the Browns at pick 4 were going to draft Mayfield?
The Giants weren’t going to draft Mayfield. They were going with Bradley Chubb if Barkley wasn’t available. If not Chubb, they might have drafted Darnold. The Jets, maybe, would have drafted Mayfield. Doubtful, though. It appears as if the Jets had their minds on Darnold from the beginning.
What I’m saying is that Baker Mayfield most likely would have been around with pick 4. In that sense, the Browns did themselves a huge disservice by not drafting Saquon Barkley with the first pick in the NFL Draft. Barkley will be a star in the NFL. I have no doubt about it.
The Browns should have drafted Barkley first. Then, they should have waited to see if anybody bit on Baker before the 4th pick. More than likely, nobody would have gone with Baker Mayfield. They could have gotten the best player in the draft, a running back to boot, to go along with the quarterback they wanted to draft number one.
The player that Cleveland did draft with the 4th pick, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, is a good player. Ward will help Cleveland’s secondary. Drafting Bradley Chubb to work his magic on the other side of the defensive line opposite Myles Garrett might have been the best move for the Cleveland Browns, though.
Giants Made the Right Move By Drafting Barkley
I believe the New York Giants made the right move by drafting Saquon Barkley second. Barkley is a once in a lifetime running back. He’s got a crazy ability to make a small move and then accelerate before defenders have a chance to react.
If you’re the Giants, you must also love Barkley’s attitude. Unless he’s full of it, the kid works as hard as he must to get better. That’s a good thing because the Giants could use some players with great work ethics after the season they had.
With Barkley, the emphasis on getting the football into the hands of Odell Beckham Jr. becomes less important. Barkley can catch the ball out of the backfield, ala Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram with the Saints, and take it to the house. He’s going to look good in G-Men blue.
Arizona Cardinals Scored With QB Josh Rosen
The Arizona Cardinals moved up in the draft to choose QB Josh Rosen. Rosen, a quarterback from UCLA, was supposed to land somewhere inside the Top 7 picks. Instead, he fell like a rock. The Desert Birds, sensing that they could get the most polished quarterback in the draft, made a play for Rosen.
Is Rosen’s cocky attitude the reason he fell in the draft? Maybe. Rosen said that there were 9 mistakes made before the Cardinals drafted him 10th. The implication is that the 9 teams ahead of the Cardinals that didn’t draft him made a big mistake by not drafting him. Cocky? Sure. A problem? I don’t think so.
I’d prefer Rosen to be cockey then to believe he won’t succeed. If Rosen can back up what he said after the Cardinals drafted him 10th, he might end up the steal of this draft. We mustn’t forget that Dan Marino wasn’t drafted until pick 27 in Round 1. Marino turned out okay. He was somewhat cocky in the 1983 draft.
Will Rosen step it up? I think he will. I thought he was the top quarterback going into the NFL Draft. Nothing he did on Thursday night changed my opinion.
Saints, Bills, Chargers, Cowboys and Titans Drafted Great Defensive Players
New Orleans, Buffalo, the L.A. Chargers, Dallas and Tennessee drafted playmaking defenders that could all end up being big stars in the NFL. New Orleans gave up next season’s Round 1 to move up and draft DE Marcus Davenport.
Per CBS Sports, Davenport was the draft’s biggest sleeper. His measurables certainly imply he could be a star at the next level. He’s 6′ 6″ and weighs 264 lbs. In his senior year, Davenport had 17.5 tackles for a loss to go along with 8.5 sacks. He also forced 3 fumbles, recovered 1, and returned it for a touchdown. Davenport is the real deal. The biggest problem is that the Saints paid a lot to move into position to draft Davenport.
Buffalo drafted OLB Tremaine Edmunds after moving up to draft QB Josh Allen. How incredible was that? In 2 to 3 years, Edmunds could be one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He’s got the talent to actually be the best. Edmunds is only 19-years-old. That means his upside is tremendous. With Edmunds, the Bills should make the playoffs this season.
The Chargers might have gotten the steal of the draft. I believe Derwin James is capable of being the next Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey can cover, play the run, and rush the quarterback. That’s James. Like Buffalo, the Bolts drafted the player that they had to draft to get them to the playoffs this season. By drafting James, the Bolts went from the also-ran in the AFC West to a division contender. I thought James was the can’t miss player going into the 2018 NFL Draft. What a steal at pick 17.
The Dallas Cowboys truly surprised me. I thought, like everyone, that they’d go wide receiver. They didn’t. Instead, the Boys decided to draft a true defensive talent in OLB Leighton Vander Esch. The Boise State LB graded out as the second best player at his position in this draft. He should help the Cowboys improve their run defense. He also has the skills to cover tight-ends and running backs on passing downs.
There were a lot of steals on Thursday night. The Titans made a big one by drafting Rashaan Evans, Alabama’s excellent linebacker from last season’t National Championship team. Like Edmunds, Evans could end up as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He’s a different player than both Reggie Ragland, whose looking to restart his career in Kansas City after bombing in Buffalo, and 49’ers linebacker Rueben Foster, who might be going to jail.
There were question marks about both of those linebackers. There aren’t any question marks about Rashaan Evans. The inside linebacker is ranked first at his position. Evans can start right away. The Titans’ D has become good against the rush. That should allow Tennessee to be even better in the secondary than they have been.
Honorable Mention Great Picks after Pick 10
pick 11 Miami Dolphins – S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
pick 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Vita Vea, Washington
pick 25 Baltimore Ravens – TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
pick 31 Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Taven Bryan, Florida
pick 32 Baltimore Ravens – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville