What follows are my knee-jerk reactions to the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. If you disagree, cool. I’m just having fun and am super-excited for the upcoming fantasy football season to begin to crystallize. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. How did your team do? I’m bummed the Giants didn’t trade down after not taking a quarterback. Barkley is exciting, but I’d have been happy with Guice or Chubb in Round 2. Anyway...
1. Baker Mayfield, QB, CLE - I’m still calling him #BroadwayBaker. Apparently the Browns want to add some swagger to their team. Mayfield is able to move much like the incumbent, Tyrod Taylor (a theme we will see again in this draft). I LOVE this pick and am officially rooting for the Browns in 2018.
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG - The Giants are standing by their man, Eli Manning. OBJ is only 25 years old, okay? Let’s say Manning is washed and the Giants need to add a free agent QB after next year. Isn’t this New York market along with Saquon, OBJ, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram REALLY ATTRACTIVE?
3. Sam Darnold, QB, NYJ - The Jets landed what most teams considered to be the top quarterback in the draft due to the Giants taking a running back second overall. A win for the Jets, for sure. The presence of veteran Josh McCown means they can take their sweet time with Darnold, too—he won’t start until he’s ready. This means the days of Teddy Bridgewater in New York are most likely numbered.
4. Denzel Ward, CB, CLE - The Browns shocked everyone with Mayfield, but they really stunned everyone by passing on Chubb. I believe in what Cleveland is doing, but passing on Chubb is interesting.
5. Bradley Chubb, DE, DEN - Chubb gets paired with Von Miller and Shane Ray. The Broncos added veteran QB Case Keenum this offseason, and I agree with Mike Mayock that this might be a better group than when the Broncos won the Super Bowl with the ghost of Peyton Manning. The Broncos are contenders right now.
6. Quenton Nelson, OG, IND - Andrew Luck may actually stand upright in 2018. Or Jacoby Brissett. Either way, this is a slam-dunk pick for the Colts.
7. Josh Allen, QB, BUF - The Bills trade up, giving up a pair of second round picks to do so. They get the strong-armed, inaccurate QB that they want. Allen officially makes for a QB3 dart throw in best ball leagues given that his competition at QB is A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman.
8. Roquan Smith, LB, CHI - I thought Mayock was going to lose his you-know-what if Smith fell any farther. The Bears defense overachieved last year due to the wizardry of Vic Fangio—now the defense actually gets to add some epic sideline-to-sideline talent in Smith. I love it.
9. Mike McGlinchey, OT, SF - The 49ers are wiser than the Colts, as they move to protect their prize Jimmy Garoppolo early on with this pick. I have no beef with this, but I am surprised the Niners didn’t choose Edmunds here.
10. Josh Rosen, QB, ARI - The STEAL of the draft is Arizona only giving up a third and a fifth to move up five picks and obtain the most pro-ready passer in this draft. Much like the Mayfield/TyGod pairing, Rosen matches up extremely well with Sam Bradford as far as the offense that will be tailored to suit their similar skill sets. This is highway robbery by the Cardinals and my favorite pick of the draft so far.
11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, MIA - Probably a bit of a surprise that Minkah was still on the board. Adam Gase believes he can win with Ryan Tannehill, so I guess we get another year of Tannehill as a cheap QB2 pick. I’m down.
12. Vita Vea, DT, TB - This was an odd pick since the Bucs already have Gerald McCoy and Beau Allen on the interior, but McCoy has missed some time and this looks like a case of simply picking a great talent who fell too far.
13. Da’Ron Payne, DT, WAS - Considered to be the best run-stopper in this draft.
14. Marcus Davenport, DE, NO - The Saints trade up to land Davenport, in what most consider to be a massive head-scratcher.
15. Kolton Miller, OT, OAK - The Raiders have some needs on defense, but it’s tough to argue against a guy who is probably the best tackle in the draft.
16. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, BUF - The Bills trade up again to select an athletic freak who isn’t even 20 years old yet. That Buffalo defense is going to be pretty scary soon enough. Edmunds offers size and speed and is an epic upside pick.
17. Derwin James, S, LAC - The Chargers secondary is going to be LIT. This is an awesome value pick by the Chargers, as James was considered to be a top-10 selection. James should help improve the Chargers’ run defense, an added benefit for a team that struggled in that area at times in 2017.
18. Jaire Alexander, CB, GB - After trading down from 14 the Packers trade back up to 18 to get their guy. Alexander ran an en fuego 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Also, the Packers added a 2019 first-round pick by trading down from 14 (when the Saints went nuts for Davenport). Not a bad haul for Green Bay. He’ll probably play slot corner.
19. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, DAL - Dallas passes on a wideout and instead bolsters the linebacking corps that is spearheaded by a 32-year-old Sean Lee. For a team that wants to pound the rock and play defense, this pick makes far more sense for Dallas. It’s not as glitzy, but I bet it’s more effective in the long run.
20. Frank Ragnow, C, DET - He can play center or guard. The Lions need to unlock their running game in a big way, and this is a great way to begin.
21. Billy Price, C, CIN - He’s versatile and this fills a need at center for the Bengals. Two offensive lineman in back-to-back picks isn’t all that exciting, but it’s smart. Price profiles as the center of the future in Cincinnati. Bengals were probably bummed that Ragnow went one pick ahead, though.
22. Rashaan Evans, LB, TEN - The Titans moved up (BAL moved down) to take Evans out of Alabama. They passed on edge-rusher Harold Landry, but Wesley Woodyard is getting long in the tooth and Evans can start on Day One.
23. Isaiah Wynn, OT, NE - The Raiders took Kolton Miller at 15th, so the Patriots settled for Isaiah Wynn. They will probably play him at tackle after losing Nate Solder to the New York Giants. Gotta keep Brady healthy into his 50s, right?
24. D.J. Moore, WR, CAR - The Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin last year. They picked up Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright. Adding Moore means that offensive coordinator Norv Turner now has a cupboard full of weapons to use. Funchess, Olsen, Run-CMC, Moore...this is a heck of an offense. Steve Smith said that Carolina has never replaced him since his departure...until now. That’s high praise for Moore. The Panther fan in me hopes he lives up to it.
25. Hayden Hurst, TE, BAL - The Ravens began at 16th and traded down twice, and still landed the best tight end in the draft. Hurst is a high-motor guy, a willing blocker, a natural ball-catcher, and plays faster than his 4.67 40-yard time. This is a great pick by GM Ozzie Newsome.
26. Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL - Wow at the Falcons going with Ridley, pairing one Bama wideout with another one named Julio Jones. This Atlanta offense is going to be flat-out absurd. Who is buying Matt Ryan in 2018? This guy!
27. Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA - He is a big running back. He is also a kick returner. Unfortunately, Seattle still does not have an offensive line to speak of...but Penny can play all three downs, so that’s nice for fantasy purposes. You can kiss the value of Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise goodbye, ladies and gents.
28. Terrell Edmunds, S, PIT - Ryan Shazier welcomes Terrell Edmunds to Pittsburgh. What a powerful moment for Shazier and everyone watching. Edmunds is the brother of Tremaine, who was also picked in Round One (16 to BUF). Edmunds is a big, physical, long safety who can cover.
29. Taven Bryan, DT, JAC - The Jaguars added a guy who ran a 4.98 40-yard dash at 291 pounds. This is a bit of a luxury pick for the Jags, who already have a strong defense. May as well take the guy with great measurables. Saquon Barkley gets shut down in Week One of 2018 against this defensive front.
30. Mike Hughes, CB, MIN - Hughes isn’t overly fast (4.53) but he’s paired with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Hughes should take the nickel job sooner rather than later.
31. Sony Michel, RB, NE - No more Dion Lewis means the Patriots take the shifty Michel. I am already frustrated at this RBBC for 2018. Ugh. Rex Burkhead, James White, Jeremy Hill...so many options for Wild Bill.
32. Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL - Editor Pete is extremely unhappy that Lamar didn’t land in New England, but for my part I’m just stoked that Jackson went in Round One. Joe Flacco has been a liability for years, and Jackson adds so much electricity into a boring offense. It’s time for a new guard in Baltimore. I’m with Deion Sanders—I love you, Ozzie Newsome.
Who was the best pick in Round One?
This poll is closed
Sam Darnold - 3 to NYJ
Josh Rosen - 10 to ARI
Derwin James - 17 to LAC
Lamar Jackson - 32 to BAL
Other - comment!