2018 Draft Recap and Grades
Analyzing all 32 teams selections
From Baker Mayfield to Trey Quinn, 256 picks were named over the weekend. Some teams vastly improved their rosters, other teams acted as if the draft was a burden, and yet still some very talented guys were not taken.
First the grades (listed by team alphabetically) with a few notes
Arizona Cardinals: B – Josh Rosen appears to have fallen to a spot he can grow into. Christian Kirk was a great addition. Both can learn under savvy veterans
Atlanta Falcons: B – Met a lot of needs with Calvin Ridley, Isaiah Oliver, and Deadrin Senat, and got a heck of an insurance policy in Ito Smith if Devonta Freeman all of a sudden becomes to expensive to keep.
Baltimore Ravens: B+ – Ozzie Newsome was busy in his final draft as General Manager of the Ravens. Twelve draft picks, a number of trades, some troubling picks, some good picks. Hayden Hurst was a first round reach, but they made up for it by snagging Lamar Jackson. Selecting the son of a former Raven in Orlando Brown, drafting a better tight end in the 3rd round than they got in the first (Mark Andrews) and a couple project receivers in Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley make me feel good about where they are headed.
Buffalo Bills: C- – Josh Allen better be worth it. Tremaine Edmunds is going to be a day one starter at linebacker, but all the other picks don’t do much for me.
Carolina Panthers: B – Carolina got my favorite receiver in this years class in D.J. Moore, but much like I felt last season when they took Christian McCaffrey I fear his talent will be wasted by a terrible offensive coordinator. Defense got better with Donte Jackson, Marquis Haynes an Kendrick Norton.
Chicago Bears: A- – Two year in a row I have loved what Chicago has done in the draft. Roquan Smith is a stud at LB as well as Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Addressed needs and improved the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals: C – Much like Cincy every year, pretty blah. A couple highlights (Billy Price, Sam Hubbard, and Malik Jefferson) but not enough “wow” for me. Logan Woodside has a change to be the eventual replacement for Andy Dalton.
Cleveland Browns: B+ – A pair of curveballs right off the bat with Mayfield and Denzel Ward, a stud in Nick Chubb (not the Chubb everyone expected the Browns to end up with) and a couple projects. I GUARANTEE CLEVELAND WINS A GAME THIS YEAR, MAYBE EVEN THREE.
Dallas Cowboys: C – Not a lot to write home about, and I think only two starters out of the nine picks. Leighton Vander Esch is okay, Connor Williams will be a stud in time, but nothing else makes me excited. Curious to see if Bo Scarbrough can regain the magic he had at Alabama for a bit.
Denver Broncos: B+ – Bradley Chubb falls into their laps at number five, Courtland Sutton is a day one starter, Royce Freeman can contribute immediately, and Troy Fumagalli could see a lot of catches in year one. All in all, a solid weekends haul.
Detroit Lions: C – Their offensive line got a boost in adding Frank Ragnow, Kerryon Johnson will be first Lions running back to rush for 100 yards in a game in five years, and Da’Shawn Hand will help a depleted defensive line, but there were upgrades I would have like to have seen in that secondary.
Green Bay Packers: A- – Addressing their abysmal secondary with Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the top 45 picks was huge, sneakiest picks of the draft may be receivers J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown. Could be great additions to a pass happy offense that now has to replace Jordy Nelson.
Houston Texans: C – Someone might want to poke the Texans with a stick or something. Incredibly bland draft. Handcuffed by dealing so many 2018 picks last year when they moved up to get Deshaun Watson, Houston got maybe two starters over the weekend in safety Justin Reid and tackle Martinas Rankin.
Indianapolis Colts: B- – Necessities and risks. Guard Quenton Nelson, the best OL in the draft, will contribute immediately in keeping Andrew Luck upright along with guard Braden Smith, and a couple risky picks that could pay dividends for an offense that needs a spark in running back Nyheim Hines, and receivers Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain. Chris Ballard has had two good drafts in a row but might need a third before the Colts can be contenders again.
Jacksonville Jaguars: C – Not a lot to grade here, a few upgrades, but no star power. D.J. Chark will start immediately and help that passing game, Ronnie Harrison can contribute to a pretty good secondary in nickle situations.
Kansas City Chiefs: C – Five of the Chiefs six picks come on the defensive side of the ball. This tells me they expect to score a lot of points with Pat Mahommes now under center, so building depth was a must.
Los Angeles Chargers: C – Derwin James falling to 17 was a no brainer, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu is a day one starter, but not a lot else excited me.
Los Angeles Rams: B- – Due to offseason trades that brought Marcus Peters and Brandin Cooks, the Rams didn’t have a pick until the third round where they took a pair of eventual starters on their offensive line in Joseph Noteboom and Brian Allen. Linebackers Ogbo Okoronkwo and Trevon Young will contribute right away and John Kelly can finally blossom now that Butch Jones isn’t squashing another young running backs skillset at Tennessee.
Miami Dolphins: B- – Minkah Fitzpatrick was my favorite defensive back in this draft and tight end Mike Gesicki is liked by a lot of draftniks whose opinions I respect. Most interesting pick is running back Kalen Ballage. Paired with Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake, this stable of running backs has potential.
Minnesota Vikings: C+ – Minnesota really didn’t need a lot, but they made some improvements among their eight picks. Corner Mike Hughes and defensive end Jalyn Holmes will be nice additions to Mike Zimmer’s defense.
New England Patriots: A- – Foxboro might as well be considered Athens North as the Pats picked up a pair from Georgia in tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. Love the picks of Duke Dawson, Ja’Whaun Bently, and Braxton Berrios. They. Just. Reload.
New Orleans Saints: C+ – I feel they gave away too much in trading up to get Marcus Davenport at 14, but if he ends up being JJ Watt 2.0 I am going to look dumb. Love the addition of Tre’Quan Smith and Kamrin Moore, but still not addressing the succession plan for Drew Brees.
New York Giants: B+ – Saquon Barkley was a no brainer, Will Hernandez will start at guard day one, defensive tackle B.J. Hill will play a lot right away, and quarterback Kyle Lauletta could very well be the face of the franchise once Eli hangs ’em up.
New York Jets: B- – They traded up to three knowing they would get a quarterback. Belief was they were going to get the leftovers from who Cleveland didn’t take (either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen) but when the Browns took Mayfield, they had their pick of the pack. Darnold was the right pick at three. As for the other five guys they drafted, I don’t see a lot of potential.
Oakland Raiders: B- – Needs and projects. Kolton Miller was a no-brainer at 15 and will be a starter at tackle for the foreseeable future. Arden Key’s stock dropped as the 2017 season progressed and Maurice Hurst’s dropped due to a medical issue. If either of them pan out, that defensive line is going to be fierce. Favorite pick of them all might be receiver Marcell Ateman, who has all the skills and build you could hope for. Ateman coupled with Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, and the draft weekend trades that brought in Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer make a DEEP group of wide outs for John Gruden in his return to coaching.
Philadelphia Eagles: B – Another team that didn’t have a lot of needs, but the picks of tight end Dallas Goedert and defensive end Josh Sweat make the champs a notch better.
Pittsburgh Steelers: C – Terrell Edmunds is okay, but not a first round guy, massive reach. The selections of Oklahoma State’s James Washington and Mason Rudolph could give us a peek into the offenses future, but I don’t see Ben Roethlisberger hanging them up any time soon. Safety Marcus Allen and running back Jaylen Samuels are nice additions.
San Francisco 49ers: B- – Mike McGlinchey made a lot more sense with the trade of Trent Brown and will start day one at right tackle. Dante Pettis could be serviceable at receiver, but I would have preferred to see a bigger name at that position. Defensive end Kentavius Street and defensive back D.J. Reed help make their side of the ball tougher.
Seattle Seahawks: C – Drafting Rashaad Penny in the first round when you could have got him in the third seems weird, but the picks of linebacker Shaquem Griffin (who will get to play with his twin brother) and defensive back Tre Flowers plug holes left by the departures to the Legion of Boom, maybe now they can be the Squad of Bang?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C- – Defensive tackle Vita Vea, playing along side Gerald McCoy is going to be nightmare fuel for offensive line coaches for years to come, but none of their other picks make their team that much better and the Bucs didn’t address their offenses patheticness.
Tennessee Titans: C+ – Only four picks, but decent ones. Linebacker Rashaan Evans and end Harold Landry were two solid selections for Tennessee in the top 41.
Washington Redskins: C+ – Defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne is a grown ass man, Derrius Guice falls into an already crowded position group, and Mr. Irrelevant wide receiver Trey Quinn could be stepping into a perfect opportunity. Rarely does someone taken last in the draft make the team, but looking at Washington’s roster, even with them overpaying for Paul Richardson in free agency, Quinn could easily be WR2 behind Josh Doctson when its all said and done.
Quinn is in a position to contribute immediately for an offense that needs a shot in the arm.
As for the guys who did not get selected, a number of guys who will be starters in this league were left on a very talented scrap heap.
My favorites include:
Running backs Josh Adams, Roc Thomas, and Kamryn Pettway, wide receivers Allen Lazard, Byron Pringle, and Chris Lacy, defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa, Poona Ford, and Tracy Sprinkle, and defensive back Quin Blanding.
All those guys will end up on the 53-man roster for someone soon.