Just like that, the show is over.
The Cleveland Browns kicked off the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting what they hope to be the stabilizing face of their franchise for years to come. Meanwhile, arguably the best player in the entire draft, RB Saquon Barkley, is headed towards the Big Apple. In the end, Mr. Irrelevant is on the straight path to the nation’s capital. In the books are 256 selections and it’s time to highlight who won and who wound up on the losing end.
Denver Broncos – At fifth overall, the Broncos found a gift waiting for them in the form of DE Bradley Chubb, who is considered the best pass rusher in the draft. Chubb along with veteran Von Miller will hunt quarterbacks consistently on Sundays. Adding an underrated running back in Royce Freeman will be an improvement over former starter CJ Anderson. The wide receiving corps is significantly better with the drafting of Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in the second and fourth round respectively. With this draft class on top of finding a stable quarterback in Case Keenum in free agency and the Broncos may be right back in the playoff picture this season.
New York Giants – It’s only a six man class but the Giants pretty much nailed the entire class from top to bottom. As mentioned earlier, the Giants got themselves an elite weapon in the backfield with the dynamic Barkley. The run game received a nice boost with the drafting of the gritty offensive guard out of UTEP in Will Hernandez. Depth on the defensive line improved with the selections of Lorenzo Carter, BJ Hill, and RJ McIntosh. It will be interesting to see if the Giants can rebound from an ugly 2017 season. A draft class like this sure helps.
Green Bay Packers – It is not often you draft two of the top five corners in an NFL Draft but low and behold, the Packers did. Bringing in CBs Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the first two rounds solidify what has been a weakness for the Packers the past few seasons. The team decided to let former receiver Jordy Nelson depart and veteran Randall Cobb is not getting any younger so the team hammered the receiver position with J’Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Marquez Valdes–Scantling. All are tall, lanky pass catchers with the ability to cause plenty of mismatches. Making QB Aaron Rodgers happy in the process.
Baltimore Ravens – General manager Ozzie Newsome will no longer be with the franchise following the upcoming season but he made sure to stockpile great talent for the roster after his departure. It started with the selection of the electric Lamar Jackson out of Louisville to end the first round. Jackson will need time to grow but the former Heisman Trophy winner brings a different element and is perceived to be the future for the Ravens. Tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews will be a productive tandem is upgrades the position while slot corner Anthony Averett and safety DeShon Elliott add youth and skill to the secondary and will also be too good to not utilize. Baltimore did their homework prior to the draft and it showed.
Chicago Bears – Last year’s draft produced a franchise quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and a key task for this draft/offseason was aiding him as much as possible. Getting slot receiver in Anthony Miller and an underrated guard in James Daniels provides plenty of help for Trubisky. The eighth overall pick, Georgia LB Roquan Smith, has All-Pro potential and will be a menace for years in Chicago. Keep an eye on the team’s seventh round pick in Georgia WR Javon Wims. A big-bodied receiver that can be a legitimate red-zone weapon down the road.
Shaquem Griffin – Hopefully you have paid attention to Griffin’s story during the draft process. Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome which resulted in having his left hand amputated at the age of four. The talented linebacker has played his entire career with one hand and has gained plenty of accolades along the way. Arguably, his biggest accolade to date was getting drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round at 141st overall. The same team that employs his brother, Shaquill. His inspirational story has touched many as his NFL dream is alive and well.
Seattle Seahawks – The draft haul for Seattle was odd to say the least. For starters, the team drafted a running back in the first round in Rashaad Penny, who had a third or fourth round grade by many scouts and analysts. Despite their ongoing offensive line woes, Seattle selected only one lineman, Ohio State’s Jamarco Jones, in the fifth round. The team also traded up in the fifth for a punter and selected a tight end in Will Dissly, who is nothing more than a blocking tight end. Dissly was called upon in the fourth round. The Seahawks have slowly built a trend of mediocrity in drafting and this class continues that tendency.
Oakland Raiders – So many risks were taken. Drafting offensive tackle Kolton Miller at 15th overall was a slight reach and the pick of Brandon Parker in the third round provided the Raiders a raw offensive tackle that will need plenty of time for development. That same round also produced an edge rusher in Arden Key out of LSU. Key has had off-field issues and this past 2017 season was one to forget for him. Selecting DT Maurice Hurst in the fifth round is a definite roll of the dice due to his medical condition with his heart. They needed help at linebacker and did not take one until the sixth. Five years from now, either these risks would have paid off in a major way for the Raiders or it will truly send the roster in the wrong direction.
Buffalo Bills – At seventh overall, the Bills decided to select QB Josh Allen as their next franchise quarterback. Although, Allen is not considered by some as a top-10 worthy talent. His inconsistencies on tape are alarming and it remains to be seen if Allen is more than just a quarterback with a big arm. The team could have used a couple of bodies on the offensive line but they decided to wait until the fifth. The team could have also used a spark at receiver in the earlier rounds instead of waiting until late to do so.
Kansas City Chiefs – It is hard to like this draft by the Chiefs. Adding DE Breeland Speaks and DT Derrick Nnadi provides two skillful prospects to an already strength of the team. The trade of Marcus Peters at cornerback left a huge void at position for the Chiefs. A void that they did not address until the sixth round with a small school prospect in Tremon Smith. I still do not know exactly what they will do with third round LB Dorian O’Daniel, an undersized but speedy linebacker. He has a number of veteran pieces in front of him. The Chiefs have drafted well over the last few years but this class leaves much to be desired.