The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, and I will admit, some picks made me want to throw my television out my window. After 3 days and 7 rounds, I have my 3 winners and 3 losers, and as a New England fan, I will dive into the Patriots draft class.
OL Billy Price, Ohio State (Round 1, Pick 21), S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest (Round 2, Pick 22), DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State (Round 3, Pick 13), LB Malik Jefferson, Texas (Round 3, Pick 14), RB Mark Walton, Miami (Round 4, Pick 12)
Maybe it’s an Ohio State bias, but I think the Bengals came out of this draft with four players with late 1st or early 2nd round grades in Price, Bates, Hubbard and Jefferson, all of who could step in and start day 1 if needed. Cincy filled some serious needs at linebacker with Jefferson, who is an athletic freak, and offensive line with Price, who can play center or guard day 1, while adding young developmental talent to the defensive line and the secondary. Add in Walton to give them more running back depth, and this was a great draft for Cincinnati.
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (Round 1, Pick 25), QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville (Round 1, Pick 32), OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma (Round 3, Pick 19), TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma (Round 3, Pick 22), S DeShon Elliot, Texas (Round 6, Pick 16)
The former Heisman winner Jackson is the headliner, but the two tight ends, Hurst the athletic pass catcher who can block, and Andrews, the red zone monster, will give their offense a huge boost and make the transition from Joe Flacco to Jackson much smoother. Brown had an awful combine, but he is a giant and was an All-American at Oklahoma, so this kid can still play. The Ravens got some steals for their secondary in fellow All-American safety Elliot and Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett as well. Snagging a potential franchise QB, a left tackle with potential, two great tight ends and some secondary studs is a nice haul for Ozzie Newsome’s last draft.
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia (Round 1, Pick 8), OL James Daniels, Iowa (Round 2, Pick 7), WR Anthony Miller, Memphis (Round 2, Pick 19)
The Bears are going to live and die by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, so this draft was about helping his development. With their 1st round pick, the best offensive line prospect Quenton Nelson was off the board, and there were no offensive skill players worth taking, so rather than trading down or reaching, they improved their defense with the best linebacker to enter the draft in years in Smith. With their second-round picks, they got Daniels, a center who could easily have gone round 1, and Miller, a playmaking wideout who led the FBS in touchdowns. Those picks will make Trubisky’s life much easier.
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (Round 1, Pick 1), CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State (Round 1, Pick 4), OG Austin Corbett, Nevada (Round 2, Pick 1), RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (Round 2, Pick 3), DE Chad Thomas, Miami (Round 3, Pick 3), WR Antonio Callaway, Florida (Round 4, Pick 5)
In my opinion, the only way the Browns could have screwed this draft up is by not taking the best, safest and most media friendly quarterback Sam Darnold, and they did just that by taking Mayfield number 1. They made matters worse by reaching for Denzel Ward when the draft’s best pass rusher, Bradley Chubb, still on the board. As for the rest of their draft, I had quite a few guards and running backs ranked ahead of Corbett and Chubb who were still available, and then they reached to get Callaway, a wide receiver with more off the field issues than touchdowns. Honestly, the only pick I like, based on talent available at the time, is Chad Thomas.
RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State (Round 1, Pick 27), DE Rasheem Green, USC (Round 3, Pick 15), LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF (Round 5, Pick 4), P Michael Dickson, Texas (Round 5, Pick 12), OT Jamarco Jones, Ohio State (Round 5, Pick 31)
The Seahawks have a million holes on their roster, and with their 1st round pick, they took a running back who would have gone in the 3rd round at best. That alone makes them draft losers. The Griffin pick in the 5th round is a low risk pick and a good story, and I guess you can say they got the best punting prospect in recent memory… so I guess that’s a small win.
New Orleans Saints
DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA (Round 1, Pick 14), WR Tre’Quan Smith, UCF (Round 3, Pick 27), OT Rick Leonard, Florida State (Round 4, Pick 27)
This is mainly due to the Davenport pick, not that selecting him was a bad idea, as he was the 2nd best pass rusher in this draft, but it’s what they gave up to get him. Giving up a 1st rounder in 2019 is a huge price to pay, especially to go up and get a player who is a raw prospect, didn’t play against big school competition, and isn’t a quarterback. Davenport looks like Jadeveon Clowney, but the Saint’s gave up far too much to get him.
The New England Patriots
Round 1: OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (Pick 23), RB Sony Michel, Georgia (Pick 31)
Round 2: CB Duke Dawson, Florida (Pick 24)
Round 5: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, Purdue (Pick 6)
Round 6: LB Christian Sam, Arizona State (Pick 4), WR Braxton Berrios, Miami (Pick 36)
Round 7: QB Danny Etling, LSU (Pick 1), CB Kieon Crosse, Western Carolina (Pick 25), TE Ryan Izzo,
Florida State (Pick 32)
The Patriots drafts are never sexy, so I have come to expect that they won’t take guys who I think they should, so I always have to go into evaluating Bill Belichick's draft classes with as much optimism as possible. The way I see it, the Pats got a couple of plug in starters in the two Georgia boys Wynn and Michel, with Michel being the possible Alvin Kamara of this draft. Dawson doesn’t have the best measurables but has a chance to be a solid nickel corner in the league. Bentley and Sam give New England two young linebackers to develop and add depth to the middle and weakside. As for Berrios, he’s a 5’8 slot receiver, what else needs to be said? Danny Etling must have a great work ethic that Belichick likes, because that’s about all he has, as he couldn’t hold off a freshman at LSU last season and was splitting time at quarterback. My favorite pick of this Patriots draft class, Izzo out of Florida State. Izzo has good size (6’5, 256 lbs), is a good run blocker, despite low numbers in college, is solid in the passing game.
Overall, the Pats got a haul that is pretty solid, but could have been better. New England left a lot of talent on the board. Talents like Mason Rudolph, Sam Hubbard, Ronnie Harrison, and others were on the board as the Pats picks came and went, but Bill left them there. Bill doesn’t do sexy drafts, and he has had plenty of misses, but also has had some huge hits on some underrated prospects, so I trust that this class will be at least pretty good, maybe even great.