Wild Round One
A stunner at number one, a few reaches, and moments of WTF
I am still not entirely sure what I saw Thursday night.
A week ago I think everyone was resigned to the fact that Cleveland was taking a quarterback at number one overall, but when news started to circulate a few hours before the draft began in Dallas that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield would be the top selection a number of thoughts ran through my head.
Surely not… really? huh…
By 5pm I had pretty much talked myself into this.
And then it happened.
The kid that was a walk on, twice, who ended up winning the Heisman Trophy, became the face of a franchise with all the potential to be anywhere from a savior to just the latest in a long line of names on the back of that now infamous jersey.
Had you told me two years ago that Mayfield would have been a first ROUND draft pick, I would have mocked you to your face. Since then, I have learned to not doubt what this kid can do.
After the shock wore off, things went a little more according to plan with Saquon Barkley going second to the Giants, Sam Darnold third to the Jets, then the next Cleveland Curveball came at the fourth pick when the Browns selected Denzel Ward.
Ward was ranked as the best prospect in this draft on our Top 100 list threw a number of people off guard as everyone in the free world expected Bradley Chubb to go in that slot. Chubb did not last long as Denver snatched him up at five, the Colts got the top guard in this draft in Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, THEN THE MAYHEM RETURNED.
Buffalo traded up into the seventh slot to select Wyoming’s Josh Allen who is now destined to spend his life in winter football hell. Then we began to wonder how far Josh Rosen would fall as he would be the 4th quarterback to be taken.
The Bears got an absolute beast at linebacker in Roquan Smith, San Francisco addressed offensive line needs picking Mike Mcglinchey, the second Notre Dame lineman in the Top 10.
Arizona, who had been rumored to be wanting to move up for weeks now, finally pulled the trigger and moved to the 10th slot taking Rosen. I’ll be honest, I can’t stand this kid. Smug, kind of looks like a doofus and will most likely be holding a clipboard for a few months behind Sam Bradford, but the Cardinals got their QB of the future.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, my favorite defensive back in this draft fell into Miami’s lap, Tampa Bay moved back in the Buffalo deal to get Vita Vea, who being paired with Gerald McCoy is going to be a problem for guards in the NFC South.
Washington selected a stud DT in Da’ron Payne, THEN THE MAYHEM RETURNED. New Orleans traded up, and gave up A LOT to move to 14 (swapped 1st round spots in 2017, a late round pick this year, AND surrendered their first round spot in 2018) to select defensive end Marcus Davenport from UT-San Antonio. Davenport better be the next coming of JJ Watt for that kind of ransom. I spent the night watching the NFL Network broadcast, and they were falling over each other projecting that the Saints would be selecting the 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson only to be as stunned as the rest of us when Davenport’s name was announced. It wouldn’t be the last time Jackson was projected to go somewhere and didn’t.
Oakland slid down to 15 in the Arizona trade to upgrade their offensive line with UCLA tackle Kolton Miller, Baltimore bailed on 16 as Buffalo moved up to take linebacker Tremaine Edmunds who is a flat out animal.
I, and many others, spent what felt like an hour wonder how in the hell Derwin James kept sliding before finally landing in Los Angeles with the Chargers. Second favorite DB in this class.
Green Bay addressed their horrific secondary by drafting Louisville’s Jaire Alexander who will step into a starting role immediately at cornerback.
At 19, I had pegged SMU receiver Courtland Sutton for about four weeks, only for the Cowboys to take Boise States Leighton Vander esch. Don’t know I can put a lot of stock in a grown man named Leighton.
Detroit took Arkansas center Frank Ragnow bolstering an already solid offensive line that another Lions running back wont be able to gain 100 yards in a game behind. The streak dates to 2013. Cincinnati also selected a center, Ohio State’s Billy Price.
After a bajillion trades the Titans ended up at 22 and took Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, then came the Patriots at 23. For weeks New England had been linked to Lamar Jackson as he evidently made quite the impression on Bill Belichick. They broke from the perceived plan and selected Georiga tackle Isaiah Wynn, but no fear, the Pats had another 1st round pick, so there was still hope.
More on that in a minute.
Carolina selected D.J. Moore, my favorite receiver in this draft, at 24. Second draft in a row the Panthers selected a dynamic player that I REALLY liked. For Moore’s sake I hope Norv Turner does more with him than Mike Shula did with Christian McCaffrey in 2017.
The Ravens at 25 were also heavily linked to Lamar Jackson, after trading back a couple times, was this going to be the time?
No, they took a 25 year old former baseball pitcher turned tight end who has good hands. Woooo.
Atlanta at 26 could have taken any number of guys and made me happy, instead they took Calvin Ridley from Alabama. Don’t get me wrong, Ridley can play, but there were larger needs for the Falcons, UNLESS Julio Jones unfollowing every Falcons related account on Instagram means there is some thing messy about to hit.
Assuming there is nothing nefarious afoot, Ridley, coupled with Jones and Mohammed Sanu makes for a fun passing attack for Matt Ryan to try to win with.
Add in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield, if Steve Sarkisian can’t coordinate THIS offense he might as well become an accountant or something.
Then we hit the 7th inning stretch portion of the 1st round. BACK TO BACK WTF picks as Seattle took Rashaad Penny, a versatile running back at 27, and then the best moment of the night had to be ruined by a bad pick and another massive reach as Pittsburgh selected Terrell Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Most had Edmunds pegged as a 3rd rounder at best.
No one will remember the pick in the end, as the moment belonged to Ryan Shazier. The Steelers linebacker, recovering from spinal surgery after an on field injury earlier last season WALKED to the podium to deliver the announcement.
If seeing that moment did not make you feel something, you might not be human.
Jacksonville took a sensible pick with defensive tackle Taven Bryan from Florida, Minnesota selected cornerback Mike Hughes from the national champion winning Central Florida Knights, then the Patriots were back on the clock at 31.
Here we go. Lamar Jackson time.
Well, no. Was Belichick playing us the whole time?
Either way they got a damn stud in Georgia running back Sony Michel. The Patriots just reload. Again.
Then we had final pick intrigue. The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles held the final pick, then traded their way out of the first round, Baltimore who had been the other team linked to Jackson traded their way back in just in time to select a visibly irritated Lamar.
Deion Sanders interviewed Lamar shortly after the posing for pictures with the commissioner and asked “What could you have done differently?” Lamar confidently said looking like he was ready to fight any of the teams GMs who passed on him “Nothing.” “I’m a Raven now, It’s on.”
The first round started with an AFC North team drafting a Heisman winner and ended with an AFC North team drafting a Heisman winner.
A wild first night of the draft, now we get to see what drama unfolds Friday and Saturday as rounds 2-7 take place.
Having some time to process the events of Thursday night I still cannot freaking believe the Browns took Baker at one, I am stunned Derwin fell as far as he did, I am shocked the Saints gave up so much for a project, I am pissed my favorite receiver went to an NFC South team, I am happy I cried seeing a grown man walk, and I am mad at myself for believing in Bill Belichick’s smoke screen.