2018 NFL Draft First Round Results Analysis
The first round of this years draft was full of some surprises just like every draft seems to be. Some teams hit with their picks, while some not so much. Nonetheless, here is my analysis for each pick of the first round.We all knew the Browns were going to take one of Saquan Barkley, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen with the first pick...until they didn't. There were some rumors closer to the draft that the Browns started to like Baker Mayfield more and more. The consensus among most analysts, however, was that Mayfield was the fourth best quarterback in the draft. Several recent mocks, however, did have the Browns taking Mayfield at #1. Personally I don't think Mayfield was a #1 pick. I think he is a good, but not great quarterback. What makes it even worse is that they passed up on Saquan Barkley to take him. They could have taken Barkley at 1 and still could've got Mayfield at #4 in my opinion. I think the Browns were the Browns as usual, and they blew it again. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: C+
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York GiantsThis one was a no brainer in my opinion. Sure, the Giants will probably need a QB soon with Eli not getting any younger, but they could not pass on the best player available like the Browns did. Him being the best player doesn't guarantee that he will pan out, but if he does he could easily become the best running back in the league in a few years. The Browns will regret not taking him. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
3. Sam Darnold, QB, New York JetsI had Darnold as the second best quarterback in this class, and I'm not surprised the Jets took him. At times during this off season, he had been the projected number 1 pick. What makes this pick somewhat scary is that USC quarterbacks never seem to pan out in the NFL. Another thing that doesn't make this pick appear that promising are Darnold's stats in his last season at USC. He finished with only a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio, with 26TDs and 13INTs. He also only completed 63.1% of his passes. All that being said I do think he will be a pretty good quarterback in the league. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
4. Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland BrownsThe Browns got their QB at #1. So the obvious choice here would've been Bradley Chubb. So what do the Browns do? They take Denzel Ward. Why would they want to pair Chubb with Myles Garrett on their defensive line? That would be too much talent I guess. Don't get me wrong, Denzel Ward is a really good defensive back, but was he worth the #4 pick? I don't think he was. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: B-
5. Bradley Chubb, DE, Denver BroncosThis just shows why the Browns are the Browns and the Broncos have won a Super Bowl recently and still have one of the leagues best defenses. Throwing the best defensive player in the draft (Chubb) with Von Miller and the rest of that defense and quarterbacks beware. Chubb should be a solid defensive option for years to come. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
6. Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis ColtsWidely regarded as the best interior offensive lineman to come out of the college ranks in several years, this is a great pick for the Colts. Andrew Luck should be happy with this one, although he probably wishes he had him several years ago, before all his injury woes. If, and thats a gigantic IF, Luck can eventually come back and stay healthy, he should be much better protected with Nelson on his side. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
7. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo BillsIt seemed like from the onset of the off-season, Josh Allen was going to be the first pick in this year's draft. Over time that feeling kind of faded and he started falling back little in most mocks. I don't think he's the most NFL ready QB, but I still think he is the best quarterback in this draft. It may take a couple years, but if the Bills can be patient with him, I think they found themselves a solid QB. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
8. Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago BearsThe Bears have several needs, but their biggest need was at linebacker. They filled that need in a big way, drafting Smith. He is a tremendously athletic linebacker, and has the prototypical size to go along with it. He seems to be around every play during the game using his speed and anticipation. This guy has the potential to be a pro-bowler year after year. Great pick. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
9. Mike McGlinchey, T, San Francisco 49ersThis was necessarily an immediate need since the 49ers have Joe Staley and Trent Brown at tackle, but Staley is getting old and may not have many more years left. The 49ers also have their franchise quarterback, and seem to want to protect him as much as possible. With this pick they get a guy who can step right in and dominate whichever side of the line he plays on and should be able to keep Garoppolo upright. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A-
10. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona CardinalsThe third ranked QB in my opinion. I think he will have tremendous upside, but will he be able to harness that? He definitely has a bit of an ego, saying there were "9 mistakes ahead of me" after being drafted 10th by the Cardinals. You definitely want a quarterback who thinks he is the best, but until he proves that he is, I think this is a good, but not great pick. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: B
11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Miami DolphinsHe is a tremendously talented defensive back and should sure up the Dolphins secondary for years to come. A lot of teams would have liked to draft this guy. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
12. Vita Vea, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At 6 feet 4 inches, 347 pounds, this guy should have no issues stopping anything that comes at him in the middle of the Bucs defensive line. I can see him being a perennial pro bowler in the NFL. Great pick by the Bucs. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
13. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Washington RedskinsA little smaller than Vea (not by much), but just as strong, Payne should be right along side Vea in future pro bowls. Just like Vea there shouldn't be much getting past him in the middle of the line. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
14. Marcus Davenport, DE, New Orleans SaintsThis guy reminds me of Jadeveon Clowney. Although I don't think he is nearly as good as Clowney was at this point in his career. I think this is a good pick, but I think its early. I don't understand why the Saints traded up this far to get him. He has all the raw abilities to be really good, but it will remain to be seen if he can turn it into top-level talent. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: B
15. Kolton Miller, T, Oakland RaidersThis wasn't an immediate need for the Raiders. I think there were better options still on the board at this point. The guy taken right after this pick, Tremaine Edmunds, was the best player available and would've filled the biggest need for the Raiders at linebacker. Instead they draft a guy with durability concerns. They do have a need at OT, but they could've got similar talent later in the draft. I think the Raiders missed on this one big time. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: D+
16. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Buffalo BillsAside from Saquan Barkley, Edmunds may be the most talented and physically gifted played in this draft. He has the ability to play anywhere within the linebacker core. His anticipation is not always the greatest but his athletic ability almost certainly guarantees he will overcome a split second misstep. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
17. Derwin James, S, Los Angeles ChargersThis guy has prototypical safety size, and premier speed. He should be able to control the Chargers secondary for years to come. The only thing I worry about is that he hits people so hard could it lead to durability concerns for him? Nonetheless this is a solid pick at #17 for the Chargers Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
18. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay PackersEasily the second best CB on the board, this guy is extremely quick and great at reading and anticipating what the quarterback will do. He can also be a game changer on special teams. This is a great value pick for the Packers at #18, and also addresses a need. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A-
19. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas CowboysSean Lee 2.0? Ok, he's a little bigger than Lee, and maybe even more athletic than Lee. I can't say that he has better instincts than Lee, since he is one of the best in the NFL at getting to the ball, but Vander Esch should have no problem becoming one of the best linebackers in the league, barring injuries. I think this is a great pick for the Cowboys. They have their linebacker of the future. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+.
20. Frank Ragnow, C, Detroit LionsDon't get me wrong, this guy is a good player, but I think this was way early to take him. Another thing, this didn't really address a need. It seems like Matt Patricia wanted to take a guy like himself, but in the end did it really help the team? I don't think is did. I just don't like this pick at all. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: F
21. Billy Price, C, Cincinnati BengalsNot only did the Lions take a guy they didn't even need, they didn't even draft the best player at that position. The Bengals scooped him right up however. Price was widely regarded as the best center in the draft. He can also play every position on the line so he can fill in wherever the Bengals see fit. The Bengals had needs all across the offensive line, with center being at the top. With back to back centers being taken, this one gets a grade completely on the other side of the spectrum from the Lions pick. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
22. Rashaan Evans, LB, Tennessee TitansA typical Alabama draft prospect. Tremendously athletic and physically gifted. This guy will be a started from day one. He should be a leader on that defense almost from day one as well. He has the ability to be all over the field, and will be involved in every play. He wasn't projected as high as the linebackers that went in front of him, but I think he can be just as good. A really great value pick for the Titans here.
Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
23. Isaiah Wynn, T, New England PatriotsTo get the most out of Tom Brady's final years under center in New England (and whoever takes his place, the Patriots took a guy that should be a solid protector on the line for Brady. He was the best available tackle at this point in the draft and should be a solid player in the NFL. He should be a perennial starter for years to come, no matter who he is blocking for. I think they could've went with a skill position here, but I still like this pick for them. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A-
24. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina PanthersHis stock seemed to continually rise throughout the draft process. His combination of size and speed is comparable to that of elite NFL Receivers. Hes not the best route runner, but once he gets the ball in his hands he is extremely difficult to bring down. If he is able to play to his full potential, I can see him being mentioned along the likes of Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. The Panthers may have got the steal of the first round. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A+
25. Hayden Hurst, TE, Baltimore RavensIn terms of his size and athleticism and what he can do offensively, he reminds me of Tyler Eifert of the Cincinnati Bengals. If he can stay healthy, unlike Eifert, he should be what Eifert could have been in becoming an All-Pro tight end. In just a few short years he should be one of the best tight ends in the league. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
26. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta FalconsHe could be the next Julio Jones...playing alongside Julio Jones. A mix between Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. He has the athletic ability to be one of the best in the league. He will start right away opposite Jones. The Falcons offense should be almost unstoppable this season. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
27. Rashaad Penny, running back, Seattle SeahawksThis may have been a little early to take Penny, but don't be fooled, he is a solid running back. He doesn't necessarily have great speed, but he is quick and can run right through arm tackles. I don't think he will be an every down back, but can provide explosiveness and change of pace for the Seahawks. He kind of reminds me of Marshawn Lynch, but I don't think he will be as good. Some did not like this pick. I don't think it was a great pick, but I also don't think it was terrible. Just maybe not the best timing. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: C+
28. Terrell Edmunds, S, Pittsburgh SteelersEdmunds seems just like the kind of player the Steelers always like on defense. He may not have all the intangibles of say a Troy Polamalu, but talent-wise I think he has the potential to be on that level. He can play in the secondary or up on the line-of-scrimmage, a thing that Polamalu excelled at. He has great size and speed for his position and is always looking to hit something. I like this pick for the Steelers. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
29. Taven Bryan, DT, Jacksonville JaguarsHe doesn't have the body type of a prototypical modern DT, but make no mistake he can disrupt the middle of the line. At 6'5", 291 pounds hes built more like a defensive end, although I'm not sure he has the quickness to play that position. Size wise he is a DE, quickness wise he is a DT. Everything else considered I think he can play both effectively. He still has room to improve, but his ceiling appears high. I don't think it was the best pick for the Jaguars, but I do think it was solid. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: B+
30. Mike Hughes, CB, Minnesota VikingsI think this pick was little bit of a reach. There were a few guys higher rated at CB that were still available. Hughes also hasn't necessarily proven himself in coverage. He has a high motor and is very athletic, but I think his biggest impact may come on special teams, as opposed to in the secondary. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: C+
31. Sony Michel, RB, New England PatriotsPart of the two-headed monster rushing attack for the Georgia Bulldogs, Michel sets himself apart from Chubb with his quickness. Add to that the ability to run guys over, and the Patriots got a really good player with this pick. Tom Brady should be very happy. He could be Todd Gurley 2.0, with Nick Chubb being Todd Gurley 3.0. Backyard Sports Talk's grade: A
32. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore RavensNo one will ever be Michael Vick, but this is a good comparison in terms of skill-set. Jackson has the athletic ability to make plays with his feet. The issue is I don't think he has the arm Mike Vick had. Vick wasn't the most accurate but he could make just about any throw, especially the deep ball. I think accuracy and timing is something he still needs to work on. He has the ability to be a playmaker, and if they Ravens can mold an offense around him, they could make this work. But we have seen this before (e.g. the Wildcat with Pat White and the Dolphins). Personally I hope it works out, because I think Jackson could be exciting to watch if he can put it altogether. This may be the toughest one to grade.
Backyard Sports Talk's grade: B
Biggest winner from round 1: Has to be the Giants, they got the best player in the draft. Broncos are a close second with Chubb.
Biggest loser from round 1: Browns. Had 2 of first 4 picks and didn't get 2 of the top 10 players. Enough said. The Browns Browned.
Sleeper Pick: This was a tough one, but based upon upside, talent, and where he was picked I think I have to go with Lamar Jackson. I think this all depends on if he can fulfill his upside though.
Biggest Reach: The easy one here would be to go with Mayfield, but I think I'm going to go with Frank Ragnow at #20. In my opinion they could have moved up early to mid second round to take him if they wanted him that bad.