2018 NFL Draft First Round Grades

The opening round was last night and as is always the case, there were crazy trades, questionable decisions and players falling further than they should.  Let’s discuss!

#1 Cleveland Browns – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma – A

What really matters if they didn’t draft Josh Allen.  In all seriousness, I’m reasonably confident that Baker, Darnold, and Rosen will end up at worst as adequate starting quarterbacks in the NFL.  Darnold scares me the most, but he is worth rolling the dice on.

I don’t need to go too in depth here.  The Browns needed a quarterback and they picked their favorite one.  Let’s not over complicate this, just like Cleveland didn’t over complicate it by trying to play the system and take Barkley here then get a quarterback at #4.  Quick run down on why that is dumb as hell:

  1. 1. No running back should go #1 (more on this in a second).
    2. The Browns traded away the pick that became the best quarterback in 2016, and 2017.  If they pass on the best one in 2018 and that guy doesn’t get to them at #4, good luck explaining that to your fan base.  You can explain that you tried easier than that you allowed the decision to be controlled by other teams.
    3. You have to walk away from the first round with a quarterback.  Passing on one at #1 locks you in at #4 and eliminates all potential flexibility.  They didn’t ended up trading #4, even though they should have, but they would not have even had the option had they passed on a quarterback here.

#2 New York Giants – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State – D

Congratulations, Giants, you are now the dumbest team in a city that also has the Jets.  The only thing saving this from being an F is that Barkley is so good.

This is flat out the wrong decision.  I may write an article to go more in depth on why this was a bad idea, but for the time being I’ll refer you to Bill Barnwell and FiveThirtyEight’s Scott Kacsmar.

Here is a quick rundown on why taking a running back over a quarterback is wrong:

  1. 1. The value of the running back position is not worth the 2nd pick of the draft.
    2. Running backs get injured more than, and have the shortest career spans of, anyone
    2. Saquon Barkley will immediately be a top five paid running back, where as a quarterback would be extremely underpaid if they turn into even an adequate starter during their rookie contract.
    3. Go look at where the past 15 Super Bowl winners found their starting running back.
    4. Eli Manning has been in decline for three years.
    5. The Giants now have no plan for life after Eli.
    6. From a PR perspective, and god forbid this happens, but in three years from now if Darnold looks the part of a franchise guy on the freakin Jets, Eli is a corpse being thrown out onto the field, and Barkley tears his ACL, everyone in this organization not named Mara or Tisch is getting fired.
  2. #3 New York Jets (F/IND) – QB Sam Darnold, USC – A-

I don’t think I need to go too in depth here either.  I already talked about the trade the Jets made to get up to this pick.  We all knew they were going to take a quarterback and they simply took their favorite one here.  Of the top three quarterbacks Darnold scares me the most, but he is worthy of the pick and the Jets desperately need a long term solution at the quarterback position.

#4 Cleveland Browns – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State – B-

I don’t get this at all.  The only part I do understand is John Dorsey taking one of the four most valuable positions here since that is his first round MO.

I like Ward, I think he is the best cover guy in the draft.  He has movement skills you just cannot teach and his height doesn’t bother me at all.  But I can’t understand taking him over a pass rusher, even though I have been big on Ogbah since he was in college.  Look at all of the Patriots Super Bowl losses; twice to the Giants, once to the Eagles.  The common thread?  An absolute stable of pass rushers along the defensive line.  You can never have enough.

You can also never have enough corners, and this guy named Antonio Brown works in the AFC North division.  But what I cannot understand the most is why Cleveland didn’t trade this pick.  Buffalo finally came up the board a few picks later at #7, and they gave up #12, #53, and #56 to do so.  In comparison to quarterback trades in the modern era, that was a pretty cheap price, so it would have been even cheaper to move up all the way to #4 with that package.

But when you’re the Browns and have won a single game in your last 35 tries, you should take as many picks as you can possibly get.  Grab all the lotto tickets available.  Also, fire Hue Jackson.  Actually, start with that.

This isn’t an egregious reach or anything as Ward was probably a top 12 lock and could have gone as high as #5 if reports were accurate that Denver was in love with him had Chubb been selected in advance of the Broncos selection.  It hits a need and Ward is the best in the draft at what he does.

#5 Denver Broncos – Edge Bradley Chubb, N.C. State – B+

I’m curious what offers Elway turned down for this pick.  Once again, taking the Buffalo package would have been undercutting the calibrated market value based on modern history, but trading down is nearly always the right idea.

However, Elway probably wasn’t expecting Chubb to be available when the clock started.  I like Chubb, and I am confident he will be a good player in the NFL, but I think he has gotten overhyped during the pre-draft process.  He is talked about in the same tier of prospect as Myles Garrett and Joey Bosa, and that just isn’t the case.  Louis Riddick, who is one of the extreme few at ESPN that has any clue what he is talking about, would take Chubb over Garrett if they were in the same class.

I’m sorry, but that is nuts.  Chubb doesn’t have the wiggle in his ankles to be an elite prospect, or to project as an elite pass rusher in the NFL.  Go look at his 3-cone.  I’m not saying the entire scouting process should be boiled down to a single combine drill, because that is dumber than saying Chubb is better than Garrett, but the 3-cone has been shown to be somewhat indicative of what is to come at the NFL level.

And how often does the top pass rushing prospect end up as the top pass rusher to emerge from his draft class?  Well:

Year First Edge Drafted Best Edge
2017 Myles Garrett Myles Garrett
2016 Joey Bosa Joey Bosa
2015 Dante Fowler Leonard Williams
2014 Jadeveon Clowney Khalil Mack
2013 Dion Jordan Ezekiel Ansah
2012 Bruce Irvin Chandler Jones
2011 Von Miller J.J. Watt
2010 Brandon Graham JPP
2009 Tyson Jackson Clay Matthews
2008 Chris Long Calais Campbell

So over the past 10 drafts, only twice has the best edge defender also been the edge defender that was drafted first.  You may say it is too early to call 2017 in Garrett’s favor, but I’m confident he will prove to be the best edge from 2017.  Also, you would only be strengthening my argument if you said someone else is better.

So, maybe the Broncos should have taken the trade the Bills offered, if one was offered.

#6 Indianapolis Colts (F/NYJ) – OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame – A+

There are two considerations here.  1. The Colts traded down to this pick and in that move acquired three 2nd rounders.  2. The guy the Colts picked.

Some questioned the Colts decision to trade the 3rd pick prior to the draft, because perhaps there would be a strong bidding war while the clock ticked down.  Given that Darnold was available, that certainly is possible.

However, there were two other top ten trades where teams came up for a quarterback:

The Bills sent #12, #53, and #56 to the Bucs for #7.  The Bucs profited 14.9 points of draft capital in that trade.

The Cardinals sent #15, #79, and #152 to the Raiders for #10.  The Raiders profited 6.9 points of draft capital in the trade.

I have projected the Colts to have profited 27.8 points of draft capital in their trade with the Jets, under the idea that the Jets 2019 2nd rounder will be the 42nd pick of the draft.  So not only did the Colts get the best trade in the top ten by a country mile, they also picked the highest among all three teams that traded down.

They then turned that pick into the unanimous top offensive lineman in this class, and a top three prospect overall.  There are plenty of talent evaluators around the league that believe Nelson is better coming out of Notre Dame now than Zach Martin was when he came out in 2014.  Zach Martin was an All-Pro as a rookie.  Quenton Nelson is quite possibly a plug and play All-Pro offensive lineman and the top 17 priorities for the the Colts should be protecting Andrew Luck.

#7 Buffalo Bills (F/TB) – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming – D+

The Bills did pay a low price to move up in comparison to modern NFL trades (although the calculation is only built on draft capital and doesn’t account for shipping their left tackle out of town), but they packaged those picks to move up for a quarterback with significant accuracy issues, an inability to dominate a lower level of competition, an inability to look like he belongs on the field against higher competition, an inability to recognize blitzes, and an inability to make plays within the structure of the offense.

When has that construct of a quarterback prospect ever worked out?  Never.  The answer is never.  Also, Allen is probably going to start at least half the games this season since A.J. McCarron is the other quarterback on this roster, which means Allen gets to play too early behind the worst offensive line in the NFL (more on this later).

The only thing saving this from a worse grade is that the Bills shot their shot on a quarterback.  It just is the wrong quarterback and they gave up valuable assets to make this mistake.  At least he has a strong enough arm to cut through those windy Buffalo Sunday afternoons!

#8 Chicago Bears – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia – B+

With Quenton Nelson and Denzel Ward off the board this pick was pretty apparent once the Bears were on the clock.  I don’t have too much to say here.  Roquan Smith is the perfect modern linebacker as he is phenomenal in coverage, and that has never been a more important trait at the position than it is today.  He has the athleticism to get anywhere on the field and stop the ball carrier as well.

He also will make an immediate impact and Ryan Pace is probably constructing this 2018 roster with the idea in mind that if the Bears don’t do well he will lose his job.  Also, Ryan Pace should lose his job.

#9 San Francisco 49ers – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame – B+

The 9ers sort of reached here for McGlinchey, but I can’t say that I blame them.  This is not a very good offensive tackle class, and while many feel McGlinchey can only play on the right in the NFL, he is easily the cleanest and safest tackle in the draft.  It’s possible they passed on a trade offer from the Cardinals, but I can’t hate on them spending resources on protecting their $137.5 million man.

Also, 2018 is Joe Staley’s age 33 season.  At some point the organization needs to consider a life after Staley.  Perhaps the long-term plan is starting McGlinchey on the right before moving him to the left side after Staley retires or is released in a few years.

#10 Arizona Cardinals (F/OAK) – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA – A

The Cardinals net loss on their trade up for a quarterback is 6.9 points of draft capital, which is practically unheard of in modern day quarterback trades, unless Eric Mangini is performing espionage duties for his former team.

So the Cardinals got this pick cheap and selected who I believe to be the best quarterback in the draft.  They even got to keep their 2nd round pick which I hope they spend on an offensive lineman.  I don’t really know what else to say here other than the Cards paid far below market value to get a top quarterback prospect.

#11 Miami Dolphins – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama – B+

If you are wondering why picks like Denver taking Chubb, Chicago taking Smith, and Miami taking Fitzpatrick are B+ instead of in the A range, here is the reason: Yes, I factored in that the Broncos perhaps should have traded down, but I don’t think sitting there and taking the best player who was expected to be drafted in that range constitutes a grade in the A range.  What did you really do in such a scenario besides not fuck up?

A’s are for outstanding picks or outstanding maneuvers around the board to maximize value.

Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick is perhaps the best player available, fits a need, can immediately contribute, and the Dolphins didn’t out think themselves here.

#12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (F/BUF/CIN) – DT Vita Vea, Washington – A-

I’m really surprised by this pick, and surprised by the Bucs passing on Derwin James.  The Bucs do get credit for trading down though and profiting 14.9 points of draft capital.  Essentially, the Bucs created the equivalent of the 22nd overall pick out of thin air.

I also am old school in the sense that I can’t hate on you for drafting in the trenches.  The Buccaneers starting defensive line is now Vinny Curry, Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, and JPP.  I don’t think JPP is the guy he used to be, and that we won’t be seeing that guy again, but that is a lot of talent up front.

I don’t like taking run stuffers in the first round either, but Vea has the freaky athleticism at his size to push the pocket and be disruptive in the passing game, so he warrants a top half of the first round selection.

#13 Washington – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama – C+

In contrast, Da’Ron Payne does not provide a pass rush and is a run stuffer.  He also wasn’t as dominate at Alabama as you would think he is based on how he performed in the SEC Championship and the College Football Playoffs.

I don’t know if New Orleans called Washington or if they went straight to Green Bay, so I didn’t bake that into the grade here, but if Washington passed on that trade to take a run stuffer 13th overall this is an F.

#14 New Orleans Saints (F/GB) – Edge Marcus Davenport, UTSA – C

In 2017 the Saints went 11-5 and had a pythagorean win expectation of 11.1 wins.  They had 13.2 estimated wins, they finished #1 in DVOA, and had the 6th best point differential.  My point is, short of a Drew Brees injury, I don’t see anything saying the Saints 2017 season isn’t repeatable.

So if the Saints go 11-5 again next season, a reasonable projection is that their 2019 first rounder will be the 25th pick.  The Rams, Panthers, and Saints went 11-5 in 2017 and held the 23rd, 24th, and 27th picks, respectively, due to their performances in the playoffs.  So with that 25th pick projection, the Saints sent out #27, #147, and #25 to get up to #14.  In the trade the Packers profited 12.7 points worth of draft capital.

That is a hefty price to move up for not a quarterback.  The Saints are clearly trying to maximize the Drew Brees window, but they are already without a second round pick this year due to the Alvin Kamara trade last season.  The Saints may have seen a huge drop off at edge rushers after Davenport, but Davenport is a raw prospect that everyone agrees needs coaching and seasoning.

I don’t like trading up in general, but believe there are two exceptions: 1. Going up to get a quarterback.  2. If you are one piece away.

The 2nd rule is dicey, since basically the move is to always move down in the NFL, and teams are way too overconfident in their ability to scout players and move up the board.  I guess I kind of just like the bravado of the move?  I dunno, this isn’t a disaster but I’m not a huge fan.  I should probably have a lower grade on it so I’m willing to take criticism for being inconsistent in my methodology on this one.

#15 Oakland Raiders – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA – C-

The two things saving this grade are the fact the Raiders traded down and that Miller plays a premium position.  The Raiders picked up 3rd and 5th rounders to move down a few slots and take someone they were targeting at #10 who also happens to perform the duties of protecting Derek Carr.  So the logic is sound.

I just am not high on Miller at all.  He keeps getting comparisons to Nate Solder because he is tall and athletic, but his tape is not first round caliber.  He takes a false step on every snap and has terrible hands.  Miller is all upside and projection, which is a dangerous game in the first let alone the top 15.

A funny side note: On the NFL Network broadcast following the first round, a panel including David Carr was discussing the Broncos pick of Bradley Chubb, and David Carr said “yea I hated that pick.”  The other two panelists laughed and then someone else said “then the Raiders go and get your brother some protection,” to which David said, “ha, yea, like 5 picks later or whatever it was.”

#16 Buffalo Bills (F/BAL) – LB Tremaine Edmunds – F

I almost went D- since Edmunds is possibly the best player available, but this entire pick is atrocious.  The Bills shipped out #22 and #65 to move up to #16 and tack on #154.  The Bills lost 3.5 points of draft capital in the process, which isn’t the end of the world, but they move up for an off ball linebacker that has never been deployed as a pass rusher.

There really is no history of guys never being edge defenders in college and then successfully transitioning to the position in the NFL.

OH, and look at what the Bills have done in totality.  They came in with #12, #22, #53, #56, and #65, and turned that into a quarterback that can’t hit the ocean from a boat and a fucking linebacker when they have the worst offensive line in the NFL and rookie quarterback that is sure to see the field in 2018.

Buffalo shipped out valuable picks in number’s 53, 56, and 65.  You wanna shoot your shot on a quarterback? Fine.  But to send out #65 to move up six spots to get a linebacker when your rookie quarterback is going to get murdered behind that offensive line is absolutely inexcusable.

The Bills were a pretender of a playoff team last season.  They finished 21st in point differential, won 9 games despite a pythagorean win expectation of 6.3, had an estimated win total of 6.8, finished 21st in DVOA, and have significantly downgraded at starting quarterback heading into 2018.

The Bills are in no position to be consolidating picks like this.  They absolutely needed to sit right there at #22 and #65 and take the best offensive lineman available, assuming it would not have been an absurd reach.  Considering, in hindsight, James Daniels was in fact available at #22, as was Connor Williams, that would have been a good start.

Buffalo is the easy loser of round 1.

#17 Los Angeles Chargers – S Derwin James, Florida State – A

What idiot said you shouldn’t get an A range grade when you just sit there and take the best player?  That guy is a moron.

Seriously, the reason why sitting here and taking Derwin gets an A- as opposed to the other picks that I gave a B+ where each team just took the best player available is because those earlier picks got a guy where he was supposed to go, and the Chargers are getting a guy 8-10 spots lower than he was supposed to go.  Also, I consider Derwin James a top five player in this class so this is incredible value.

Also this fit is amazing.  I made the argument in my mock draft that because of 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his experience in Seattle and working under Gus Bradley, that Derwin would be great for the 9ers as Saleh would now how to use Derwin similar to his most common NFL comparison, Kam Chancellor.  Well, Gus Bradley is the Chargers defensive coordinator.

#18 Green Bay Packers (F/SEA) – CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville – B

So I earlier calculated a net profit of 12.7 points of draft capital for the Packers in their trade down with the Saints.  Here the Packers gave some back, as they sent #27, and #76 to Seattle for #18 and #248.  That works out to losing 4.4 points of draft capital, so overall the Packers profited a projected 8.3 points combined in their two trades.

I think I would have preferred it had the Packers stayed at #27 and kept their third rounder.  They should be trying to maximize every year of Aaron Rodgers, so just have as many picks as possible.  Also, in hindsight, Josh Jackson ended up falling to #27 so they could have grabbed him there to address their need at corner.

But still, the Packers did maneuver the board and profited draft capital while ending up with a player at a huge position of need.  I also like Alexander as a player and I don’t view this as a reach.  It is interesting to see Alexander off the board as the 2nd corner in the draft (I guess I consider Minkah a safety), but to each their own.

#19 Dallas Cowboys – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State – B-

The Cowboys apparently really do believe Vander Esch is the next Brian Urlacher, as they had every receiver in the draft available to them and took a linebacker instead.

The pick hits a need and Vander Esch is outstanding in coverage, which has never been more important for a linebacker than it is today.  Part of Vander Esch’s value is in the projection of what he could be as he is a one year starter who tested very well at the combine.  He was a hot name coming into the draft so he does fit the range.

#20 Detroit Lions – C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas – B+

Ragnow was another hot name coming into the draft and he ended up cracking the top 20 after getting no hype through the majority of the draft process.  Solidifying the offensive line and trying to keep Matthew Stafford healthy is always a good idea, so the Lions do get points here for addressing the trenches and investing in protecting Stafford.

Ragnow does fit the range, as it is entirely possible the Bengals would have taken him with the next pick had he had been available.  I do think it is interesting the team passed on Harold Landry, especially with the coaching connection of the Boston College defensive line coach now on Matt Patricia’s staff.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals (F/BUF) – OL Billy Price, Ohio State – B+

The Bengals had arguably the worst offensive line play in the NFL in 2017.  They are picking at #21 because they moved down from #12 to get Cordy Glenn, but he only solves one problem.  Good for the Bengals to ignore the injury Price suffered at the combine as he should be all set once training camp starts.

Price fits the draft range and has the ability to play any position along the interior of the offensive line.  He allows the Bengals to just figure out their best five man unit and put those guys on the field.

#22 Tennessee Titans (F/BAL/BUF/KC) – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama – B-

The Titans sent out #25 and #125 to the Ravens for #22 and #215.  The Ravens profited 2.7 points of draft capital in the move.

There is a big drop off in linebackers this year after the top four, so the Titans make an aggressive move up the board to get the last one.  I also don’t think it is a coincidence that they jumped directly in front of the Patriots while targeting Evans.

So here is my usual sentence about me not liking trading up: I don’t like trading up.  I also wish I had a better handle on the Titans plans for Evans.  In a class devoid of pass rushers the Titans could look to make Evans an edge guy like he was early in his career at Alabama.  I like this pick more if that is the case.  If they are going to use him as an off ball linebacker they might be a little disappointed as Evans isn’t very good in coverage.  But I have previously called him the 230lb Dont’a Hightower, so, if the Titans get that out of this pick I am sure they will be happy.

#23 New England Patriots (F/LAR) – OT Isaiah Wynn, Georgia – B-

It is important to note that when this pick was announced Goodell said “offensive tackle,” which means the Patriots wrote OT on the draft card.  It seemed most teams projected Wynn to move inside to guard in the NFL, but the Patriots think they can leave him on the outside.

Left tackle is a massive need so taking a shot at protecting Tom Brady as he advances into his 40’s cannot be criticized.  I am interested to see that they chose Wynn over Connor Williams, but, whatever I guess.  I’ve read too many studies saying the odds of a guy picked at position X becoming a better player than the next guy picked at position X are so minuscule that between Wynn and Connor Williams it is really anyone’s guess who will be better.

Wynn wasn’t projected to go this high so it is a slight reach, but if you are going to reach you have to do so in the context of chasing positional value.

#24 Carolina Panthers – WR D.J. Moore, Maryland – B-

This continues the offensive overhaul that began in 2017.  The Panthers want to become a speed team that plays with a timing and rhythm passing attack.  Combined with McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore completes a trio of offensive speed weapons for Cam Newton, as Norv Turner looks to deployed these guys in mismatch situations.  I don’t know how much I trust Norv Turner to do that, but, A for effort.

Interesting to see D.J. Moore as the first receiver off the board as Ridley was typically seen as the top guy throughout the entire draft process and Sutton appeared to be building momentum leading up to the draft.

I don’t know if it was the right idea to pass on James Daniels.  The Panthers need to invest in protecting Cam Newton as Norwell left for a big money deal in free agency and Ryan Kalil will be retiring after 2018.

#25 Baltimore Ravens (F/TEN) – TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina – C+

I don’t really get this pick.  I can understand wanting to add more weapons to this offense but I think the Ravens had bigger fish to fry than tight end, especially with Calvin Ridley just sitting there.  Honestly, I am shocked Ozzie Newsome didn’t pounce on the opportunity to draft an Alabama product.

I think this is the absolute top of Hurst’s draft range so while it isn’t a reach, it’s a stretch.  However, to this point the Ravens have profited 6.2 points of draft capital in their two trades down.

Interesting to see Hurst come off the board before Goedert.  Not saying it is wrong, just that it is interesting.

#26 Atlanta Falcons – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama – B+

This just seems like such a luxury pick to me.  I suppose you can argue Ridley was the best player on the board, and given the Alabama connection there is no better mentor for him in football than Julio Jones.  However, the Falcons just have too many other needs besides their 3rd receiver.

Not that I am in love with Taven Bryan, but I am surprised to see Dan Quinn pass on the chance to add that type of player to his defense.  James Daniels is also available and protecting your quarterback is always a good idea.

I do think due to Ridley’s route running abilities he can be an immediate contributor and the Falcons probably never thought he would have fall this far.  They just took the best player on the board and rolled with it and are basically saying to the league “good luck trying to match up with us.”  Hey, it really could work.

#27 Seattle Seahawks (F/GB/NO) – RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State – F

This is terrible.  I think Penny is going to be a good running back in the NFL, but what in the fuck are the Seahawks thinking here?  I’m sorry, but taking a running back here is nothing short of irresponsible.

How about addressing the offensive line so Russell Wilson doesn’t spend his Sunday afternoons running around for self preservation?  Was Pete Carroll paying attention last year when Aaron Donald single handedly stopped the entire Seahawks offense?  With all their needs across the offensive line, and the fact that they cut former stalwart defensive starters like Bennett and Sherman, Sheldon Richardson left in free agency, and Pete Carroll has said Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor will have a difficult time playing football again due to injury, how in the world can Seattle justify taking a running back here?

They traded down, which gets them points, but even that can’t save this grade.

#28 Pittsburgh Steelers – S Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech – B

I theorized that the Steelers would take a safety at this spot because their entire conscious awareness revolves around the Patriots.  I predicted it to be Justin Reid, but instead they took Edmunds, who fits the range here.

I’m going to count this as a victory and say that this proves I was 100% correct that the Patriots live rent free in the Steelers’ minds and the only consideration that went into this pick was “who is going to cover Gronk.”  Yup, this indisputably proves that.

#29 Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Taven Bryan, Florida – B-

I joked on Twitter that Dave Caldwell just can’t quit athletic, unpolished Florida defensive lineman to save his life.  All jokes aside, I have mixed feelings on this pick.

I like that Coughlin and Caldwell decided there is no such thing as too many pass rushers and decided to add Bryan to a defensive line that is already an embarrassment of riches.

On the other hand, Bryan is a projection.  His get off is incredible, and he has tons of upside.  He makes splash plays, but he also has no awareness, loses the football, and ends up on the ground a lot.  The Jaguars also could have address their offensive line here with either James Daniels or Connor Williams.

Bryan fits the range and it is true you can never have too many pass rushers though, and I have to imagine this pick at least in part had Tom Brady in mind, as he hates interior pressure more than anything.

#30 Minnesota Vikings – CB Mike Hughes, UCF – B

I am shocked the Vikings didn’t address their offensive line here, but perhaps they feel confident they can get a solid contributor in the second round and think Hughes is too good to bypass.

If Hughes didn’t carry character concerns he would have gone higher as he looks like a solid first rounder on tape.  The Vikings also don’t have the best CB situation in the world, as Mackensie Alexander has struggled for two years and Trae Waynes has had an uneven career thus far and the Vikings have to make a decision on his 5th year option by May 3rd.  Perhaps this will prompt them to decline that option.

You can never have too many corners.  Interesting that another corner comes off the board before Josh Jackson.  I don’t know if I agree with passing on James Daniels here.

#31 New England Patriots – RB Sony Michel, Georgia – D

The only thing saving this from being an F is that I think Michel is the second best running back in this draft and has the potential to be Alvin Kamara.

But this pick is trash.  Belichick’s whole thing is that he doesn’t dump premium resources into the running back position and just drafts guys in the middle rounds that can catch out of the backfield and signs bulldozers like Blount to cheap deals.

And now the Patriots, with both of their first round picks, elected to ignore the defense.  I mean, the NFL was nice enough to give Bill Belichick free on-field, standing-room tickets to the Super Bowl, but clearly Belichick was texting the guy that cuts all the sleeves off his hoodies the entire time and missed the part where the Patriots defense got fucking shredded to pieces by Nick Foles.

I mean, what the fuck?  Harold Landry, Maurice Hurst, Josh Jackson.  Take any of those guys.  The running back position didn’t lose the Patriots the Super Bowl, and they still have James White and Rex Burkhead on the roster, so it’s not even a pressing need.  I do not understand this at all.

#32 Baltimore Ravens (F/PHI) – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville – A

It is no surprise the Eagles traded down as they weren’t going to pick again until #130 after this selection.  The Ravens sent #52, #125, and their 2nd round pick in 2019 to the Eagles for #32, and #132.

The Ravens finished 2017 9-7, 8th in point differential, 7th in DVOA, had an estimated win total of 10.4, and a pythagorean win expectation of 10.5.  I think projecting the Ravens to go 10-6 next season is reasonable.

The Chiefs, Falcons and Jaguars all went 10-6 in 2017, and ended up picking 22nd, 26th, and 29th, respectively, based on playoff outcome.  I think the 25th pick is a fair projection of the Ravens 2019 frist round pick, so #57 is a reasonable projection for the Ravens 2019 second rounder.  So the Ravens sent out #52, #125, and #57 for #32 and #132.  The Ravens gave up 6.2 points of draft capital to get up to this pick, meaning the Ravens broke even after all their maneuvering.

I was one of the first people to connect Lamar Jackson to the Ravens, so that fact that it happened is pretty cool.  I don’t know that Lamar could have landed in a better spot than this.  Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg spent 2003 – 2012 working under Andy Reid.  In every single one of those seasons Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick was on the Eagles’ roster.  In fact, the two best QBR seasons of Vick’s career, marks of 65.0 and 60.9, came in 2010 and 2011, respectively, when Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator.

We have recently seen Andy Reid embrace and deploy spread/read/college principals in the Kansas City offense in 2017, and saw another Reid disciple, Doug Pederson, win a Super Bowl embracing those principals.  Greg Roman is also on the Baltimore staff as an offensive assistant, and he was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco from 2011-2014, aka during peak Kaepernick.

Add in the fact Lamar doesn’t have to step on the field in 2018 and can just spend the entire time learning, and him going to Baltimore is a blessing.

Ozzie Newsome wanted to get the future quarterback of the Ravens in his last draft as GM before retiring.  He traded up but ended up breaking even overall on the night, and it landed him the successor to Joe Flacco.  The Ravens can get out of Flacco’s contract as early as 2019.

filed under: NFL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *