2018 NFL Draft First Round Review

Well we anticipated fireworks and plenty of uncertainty for this first round and it defiantly lived up to the hype. Sure there wasn’t the huge trades that we thought there might be, but we still got plenty of curve balls that kept us on our toes. Listed below is our 2018 NFL Draft First Round Review that analyzes each pick and how we feel about it.

2018 NFL Draft First Round Review

1. cleveland-browns-logo Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma

Even though Mayfield was rumored to be the pick leading up to the draft and even when Scott McCloughan was hired, this pick as still a bit of a surprise. But you have to assume the Browns felt that Mayfield has a bit of Brett Farve in him and that lead them to make the pick. Mayfield does have good ball placement skills and a knack for making plays. But if he is going to avoid being the next Browns bust at quarterback he needs to contain his competitiveness and improve on his decision making.

Pick Grade: Don’t Like It


2. new-york-giants-logo New York Giants: Saquon Barkley RB Penn State

The Giants were set on picking one of the elite prospects in this class and despite some trade offers they stood pat and took Barkley to give the offense another weapon. New York feels they are closer to being a playoff contender than the second worse team in the draft and that shows by passing on a quarterback for Barkley. This offense that now consists of Barkley, Beckham, Engam and Sterling Shepherd is a lot more dangerous for defenses to defend.

Pick Grade: Like It


3. new-york-jets-logo New York Jets: Sam Darnold QB USC

After moving up from six to three it was clear that the Jets were going to take a quarterback here and Sam Darnold just happened to fall into their lap. Darnold has some flaws to work on but with Josh McNown as the incumbent starter Darnold doesn’t have to play right away and can ease into a starting role by either mid season or shortly after. Darnold has a tremendous ceiling and if he’s able to fix his lower body mechanics and not turn the ball over, he could be the quarterback the Jets need to get back into the playoff hunt.

Pick Grade: Love It


4.cleveland-browns-logo Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward CB Ohio State

Playing an aggressive defense that leaves the cornerbacks on an island it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that the Browns ended up taking the best cornerback in this class. Ward thrives in man to man defense using his quick feet and top end speed to stick with defenders in and out of breaks. Sure getting a pass rusher like Bradley Chubb would have been nice, but Ward isn’t a big drop off and fills a position that is much weaker than end.

Pick Grade: Love It


5. denver-broncos-logo Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb DE North Carolina State

Trading down was a possibility but you have to believe Denver didn’t get the offer they wanted and felt that Bradley Chubb was just too good of a prospect to pass up. Adding Chubb to go with Von Miller, Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett gives the Broncos four good pass rushers. The real question is whether the Broncos will be transitioning to more of a base 4-3 defense which is something Chubb is better suited for and head coach Vance Joseph has ran throughout his career.

Pick Grade: Like It


6.Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson G Notre Dame

As soon as the Colts pick was on the clock they wasted no time turning in the card and drafting Quenton Nelson. Protecting Andrew Luck has been an issue for the Colts for years but now they are able to get an elite level guard who can step in and contend for All Pro status. Look for the Colts to insert Nelson in at left guard and move Jack Mewhort outside to right tackle where he has played in the past.

Pick Grade: Like It


7. buffalo-bills-logo Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen QB Wyoming

While Josh Allen has plenty of flaws, the one team that I felt was the best possible situation for him was the Bills because they are modeling their offense like what the Panthers built early in Cam Newton’s career. Allen will never be a pin point accurate thrower but the Bills have Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones who are both good contested catchers who can win 50/50 balls and bail Allen out. Add in Allen’s size, arm strength and mobility and he’s built to play in the cold Buffalo winters.

Pick Grade: Love It


8. chicago-bears-logo Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith LB Georgia

If anybody in this draft seemed like a Chicago Bears middle linebacker than that player is Roquan Smith. Fast, aggressive and nasty Smith flies around the field and attacks the ball. Smith should step right in as the weakside inside linebacker position giving this defense an identity. When you also add in that he is a good blitzer it should allow defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to get creative dialing up blitzes.

Pick Grade: LOVE IT


9. san-francisco-49ers-logo San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame

This pick was a bit of a surprise as we never really heard that McGlinchey was an option, especially with both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Tremaine Edmunds left on the board. But the 49ers just paid Jimmy Garoppolo big money and need to keep him upright. McGlinchey is a good but not elite tackle who should step in on the right side as a day one starter with the potential to move to left tackle when Joe Staley retires.

Pick Grade: It’s Ok


10. arizona-cardinals-logoArizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen QB UCLA

With the lack of success the Cardinals have had the past couple of years it was clear that GM Steve Keim needed to make a move at quarterback because Sam Bradford was nothing more than just a placeholder. Rosen has the potential to start day one and be one of if not the best quarterback in Cardinals history. His big question is whether he can stay healthy. Arizona doesn’t have the best offensive line to protection him. Regardless, the Cardinals got the best quarterback in this class.

Pick Grade: Love It


11. miami-dolphins-logo Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick CB Alabama

Miami had to be in a good spot as both Fitzpatrick and Tremaine Edmunds were available here with both being talented and filling big needs. Fitzpatrick is a versatile weapon who will be their slot corner giving them a chess peice who can match up with both receivers, backs and tight ends while also giving them some pass rushing ability off the edge and could even play some linebacker. Not to mention he could drop back and play some safety. For a team needing defensive playmakers, they got one here.

Pick Grade: Like It


12. tampa-bay-buccaneers-logoTampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea DT Washington

A curious pick for the Bucs as defensive tackle wasn’t a big need with Gerald McCoy and the recently signed Beau Allen. However the Tampa Bay isn’t going to pass on a talent like Vea for Beau Allen. Vita Vea gives the Bucs an elite level run stuffer that they can line up next to Gerald McCoy and shut down the middle of the offense. Not to mention that Vea is more than just a run defender offering good lateral agility and some pass rushing upside.

Pick Grade: I’m fine with it


13. washington-redskins-logoWashington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne DT Alabama

When you have the worst rushing defense in the NFL you probably need to target one of the two elite defensive tackles in this class. Payne has experience playing the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense and uses his strength and size to overwhelm offensive guard to not only stack and shed but also penetrate and disrupt the backfield. Now the Redskins have both former Alabama teammates in Jonathan Allen and Payne to build their defense around.

Pick Grade: Solid


14.new-orleans-saints-logo New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport DE Texas San Antonio

There were rumblings that the Saints could make a big move in the draft, but everybody thought it was going to be a quarterback to eventually replace Drew Brees. Instead the Saints needed to add an edge defender which could be one of the few missing pieces to defense who is quietly one of the best young groups in the NFL. Davenport is still raw but has a good combination of size and athletic traits to be a force off the edge. If Davenport is able to give the Saints an edge rushing presence and take some of the pressure off Cam Jordan than he is worth the extra first round pick they gave up to get him.

Pick Grade: Like It


15.oakland-raiders-logoOakland Raiders: Kolton Miller OT UCLA

You have to wonder if the Raiders were caught off guard by the 49ers taking Mike McGlinchey a pick ahead of them and then panicked that they were not going to get a good tackle and then reached for Miller. Sure Miller has great size and is a good athlete, but he is still very raw. Tackles are at a premium but this was way too earlier for a right tackle. Raiders fans have to be wondering whether they should have gone with Tremaine Edmunds or Derwin James to fix a struggling defense.

Pick Grade: Don’t Like It


16. buffalo-bills-logo Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech

Edmunds was my favorite prospect in the entire draft and our 6th overall prospect. So for the Bills to get him with the 16th overall pick was a tremendous steal in our opinion. Edmunds is a freak of an athlete for his size and the fact that he is still 19 years old means his ceiling could be limitless. Bills head coach Sean McDermott has had a lot of success with linebackers and could have his latest good one here. Expect Edmunds to play the middle linebacker role and the Bills could use him in more of aggressive type role like McDermott did when he was with the Eagles.

Pick Grade: Absolutely Love it


17. san-diego-chargers-logo Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James S Florida State

In the 2017 NFL Draft the Chargers were rumored to want Jamal Adams to be their version of Kam Chancellor, but he was taken the pick ahead of them by the Jets. Well history didn’t repeat itself as James slid a bit to them here and now they get a similar big athlete that can run around and make bit hits. When you add in James’ leadership ability and the Chargers have the potential for one of the best and most underrated secondaries in football.

Pick Grade: Like It


18. green-bay-packers-logo Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander CB Louisville

Green Bay had to get out of the first round with either a pass rusher or a cornerback and with questions about Harold Landry’s ankle made the move to cornerback all the easier. Jaire Alexander also had some injury issues this past year but his Combine performance proved that he has good athletic traits to go along with his feistiness that he plays with. Look for Alexander to start inside as their slot corner but it won’t be long before Alexander and last years 33rd pick Kevin King are the two starting outside corners.

Pick Grade: Like It


19.dallas-cowboys-logo Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise State

All the rumors of the Cowboys loving Vander Esch proved to be true as they passed on the top receivers to get a linebacker. Now Dallas has had success with Boise State players and the upside that Vander Esch provides was enough to draw some Brian Urlacher comparisons. Now Vander Esch has talent but I don’t see him being the elite athlete that he’s been talked about or the fact that he is the 19th best prospect in this class. Vander Esch may very well be a good linebacker in this league, but there are better prospects they could have gone with.

Pick Grade: Don’t Like It


20.detroit-lions-logo Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow C Arkansas

Detroit wants to have a big physical offensive line and that was no more evident than drafting Ragnow to go along with the signing of Ricky Wagner last year. Ragnow was a popular prospect this past summer but had a down year with nagging ankle injury. His physical run blocking skills will be a welcome sign as the Lions need to jump start their run game that has been practically nonexistent the last several years.

Pick Grade: Solid


21. cincinnati-bengals-logo Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price C Ohio State

Some will say that the center position has been a liability for the Bengals for years and now that Russell Bodine is gone Cincinnati went out an got an elite center prospect. There wasn’t a lot of buzz about Price leading up to the draft and some of that could have been because he tore his pec doing the bench press at the Combine. Regardless he has been clear to start training camp and his combination of strength and agility should have him starting inside day one.

Pick Grade: Solid


22.tennessee-titans-logo Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans LB Alabama

It is only fitting that former linebacker Mike Vrabel’s first pick as a head coach would be to draft an inside linebacker. Rashaan Evans is a fun player to watch as he is ultra aggressive attacking the ball with a combination of explosiveness and strength to not only jar back offensive lineman but maintain his balance and then attack the ball. Evans is also a good blitzer and can be used in creative ways either up the middle or off the edge to help this defense out.

Pick Grade: Like It


23.new-england-patriots-logo New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn OT  Georgia

Isaiah Wynn is our 9th rated player in this class and someone that I could see becoming an All Pro Guard in the NFL, so the value in my eyes is great. Something to note as the Patriots took Wynn is they announced him as a tackle rather than the guard that most thought he’d be transitioning to in the NFL. The Patriots have a big need at left tackle where Nate Solder left in free agency and Antonio Garcia didn’t play last year because of blood clot issues. Wynn is tremendous quick setting and the Patriots run a quick strike attack, so him at left tackle is a tremendous fit.

Pick Grade: Love It

24. carolina-panthers-logoCarolina Panthers: DJ Moore WR Maryland

While I’m not a huge fan of DJ Moore because he struggles to run routes and create separation, he is tremendous in the open field using his speed and agility to elude defenders and reel off big runs. Moore’s ability fits right in with how the Panthers are evolving their offense to having more explosive weapons for Cam Newton to spread the ball to. Adding Moore to McCaffery and Samuel and now the offense is much harder to defend. While he fits I just believe that guys like Calvin Ridley or Christian Kirk will be better players and better value.

Pick Grade: Don’t Like It


25. baltimore-ravens-logo Baltimore Ravens: Hayden Hurst TE South Carolina

After all these years of people mocking the Ravens a first round tight end, it finally comes true with Hayden Hurst. While I like Hurst’s ability to control the middle of the field and stretch the seam I really don’t feel like he is the best tight end in this class let along the 25th best prospect. But the Ravens need to add weapons to help out Joe Flacco. I guess I would have taken Calvin Ridley and got a good route runner who can stretch the defense vertically.

Pick Grade: It’s Ok


26.atlanta-falcons-logo Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley WR Alabama

With all the drama around Julio Jones the Falcons felt the need to bolster their offense by adding the best receiver in this class. Ridley is an elite route runner who uses his explosive speed and bust to run away from defenders both deep and underneath. He gives the Falcons a quality number two receiver that can take some of the pressure off of Julio Jones which is a dangerous thought.

Pick Grade: Love It


27. seattle-seahawks-logo Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny RB San Diego State

Well this may have been one of the head scratchers of the evening. Now running back is a need for the Seahawks as they currently had Mike Davis and Chris Carson as their starting running backs, but was Penny really worth a first round pick? Sure he fits the zone blocking scheme well with his decisive running style and the ability to make subtle cuts at top speed, but there are better running backs in this class. I’ve long thought Scott McCloughan should get more of the credit for building this team when he was the Assistant GM and the recent drafts by John Schneider may be proving me right.

Pick Grade: Don’t Like It


28.pittsburgh-steelers-logo Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrel Edmunds S Virginia Tech

Speaking of questionable drafts over the years, how about Kevin Colbert. Seriously Terrell Edmunds? Did he think he was getting a steal with Tremaine Edmunds? I’d like to find a draft analyst that had Terrell Edmunds worth a second round pick. Sure he is a good athlete, but unlike his brother he’s just an athlete playing football. Poor pick here by the Steelers drafting a fourth round talent in the first round.

Pick Grade: Horrible


29. jacksonville-jaguars-logo Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan DT Florida

Your telling me that opposing offensive lines are going to have to block Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler, Calais Campbell and now Taven Bryan on passing downs? That is a tall order for anybody as the rich got richer. While this was clearly not a need the Jaguars felt he was he best available player and gives them some insurance that they can let a guy like Marcel Dareus walk if they don’t want to pay his contract.

Pick Grade: Like it a lot


30. vikings_logo Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes CB Central Florida

Death, taxes and Mike Zimmer defenses drafting cornerbacks in the first round. While Zimmer loves to have a lot of cornerbacks, the Vikings do have a bit of a need at the position. Hughes gives the Vikings an fluid corner that can play both in press and off coverage. He should compete with Mackensie Alexander day one for the nickel corner but could only be a matter of time before he replaces Trae Waynes on the outside. His potential is that high.

Pick Grade: Like It


31.new-england-patriots-logo New England Patriots: Sony Michel RB Georgia

You have to wonder if taking a running back this early is more of an indication that they are planning for life after Brady? Sure Michel will help the Patriots right away giving them a dynamic running back, but without Brady they will have to rely on the running game more often and would have an elite running back to carry the load. I mean Michel could be their best back since Curtis Martin.

Pick Grade: Like It


32. baltimore-ravens-logo Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson QB Louisville

We all wondered and thought that Lamar Jackson should be a first round and it took all the way till the last pick for him to be selected. Baltimore has long been a rumored destination because both Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and offensive line coach Greg Roman have had success building offenses around mobile quarterbacks. Jackson can come in and sit behind Flacco working on his mechanics while before likely taking over in year two and giving the Ravens a different dynamic they have never had at the quarterback potion.

Draft Grade: Like It


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