I’m back again, it’s Lee Wakefield here and I’m going to give you my thoughts and feelings on Thursday night’s opening round of the draft. What a weekend it was! There’s been some great picks and equally some head scratchers! So let’s dive in and didn’t it start off with a bang?!
Note: There is a trade guide at the bottom of the article to explain every trade that went down on Thursday (also, if you want a short review of the draft analysis, check out Tim’s blog!)
(Underneath each pick I’ve also said who my pick was in my final mock).
#1. Browns – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
To be honest, even though Baker to Cleveland gathered pace over the last few days prior to the draft, I really didn’t see this coming. I did think he was the only real alternative to Sam Darnold but I didn’t think it’d happen, nonetheless. So Baker Mayfield is the going to sit and soak up knowledge from Hue Jackson, Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the Browns organisation before taking the reins some time between week 6 of the coming season (If Hue Jackson still can’t get any wins and has surely been fired) and the start of the 2019 season. For me, it’s a great pick too, although I know many won’t feel the same. Mayfield has a galvanising personality and an underdog mentality that could drag the organisation upwards. The Browns had some good players in place before the draft and have had a good draft overall this weekend in my book, now it’s up to the coaches to put it all together, because on paper this team should be good.
My pick: Darnold. Correct position at least.
#2. Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn. State
New York passed on a QB and on a pass rusher to take most people’s number 1 player. This obviously means they believe Eli Manning still has what it takes to get the Giants back to the Superbowl and maybe win another title. The offence certainly looks up to the task now with the skills positions looking very healthy, with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepherd, Evan Engram and now Saquon Barkley. The Giants also added Will Hernandez at the top of the second the block for Barkley and keep Eli on his feet. Barkley should be a star and quickly become one of the better players at the Running Back position. Additionally he should also give the Giants their first 1,000 yard rusher for a very long time.
My pick: Barkley. One for me.
#3. Jets – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
With Mayfield going first overall, I bet the Jets were jumping for joy in their war room! Most people, like myself, had Darnold as the number 1 QB on their board and he fell right into their laps at number 3. The perfect scenario and probably what they hoped (as opposed to expected) to happen when they made their trade with the Colts to get to number 3. Darnold probably won’t start right away as he needs to fix his ball security issues but he’s landed in a nice situation with two veteran Quarterbacks to learn from in Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. McCown will serve as his mentor for both on and off field matters and I’d imagine Bridgewater will be the starter. If Bridgewater gets injured or if he simply isn’t the QB he was, then Darnold will get the call but the Jets can give Bridgewater a year to audition for another team whilst developing the future franchise guy. So really this works out for everyone… well, unless Teddy fails then he’s basically out of the league.
My pick: Mayfield. Switched with Darnold.
#4. Browns – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
This was the first pick of the night where things got a little unexpected. I actually went and got myself some more snacks and spent a few minutes browsing Twitter as I was so sure this was going to be Bradley Chubb. I say this pick was unexpected but I won’t say it was a bad pick, because it wasn’t. Denzel Ward was the number 1 Cornerback in this draft class, Corner was a huge need for the Browns too. So with this in mind, that makes this a nice pick for the Browns. Ward is another player, like Mayfield who has the personality to elevate those around him and the franchise as a whole and he gives Cleveland a potential star in their secondary. Now the Browns have Myles Garrett, Jamie Collins and Ward as top players at the three levels on their defence and I feel that’s really important. These players hold themselves and those around them accountable and as I said earlier, the Browns have some nice pieces so with these catalyst type personalities, they should be really competitive next autumn.
My pick: Chubb. Didn’t see this one coming.
#5. Broncos – Bradley Chubb, Edge, N.C. State
This turned out to be a bit of a steal for Elway and the Broncos. They can pair Bradley Chubb with Von Miller and reintroduce that fearsome pass rush to their defence that powered them to a Superbowl win. They probably didn’t expect Chubb to be there at 5 with the Giants and Browns as possible suitors but he was and they must be delighted. The AFC West is a division full of pass rushers, with each team having at least one, if not two stars who can take your Quarterback down to the dirt. That’s really the makeup of teams in that division and it’s always the name of the game want to create a roster that can win their division. Whilst I don’t feel Denver have the offence to win the AFC West, they’re looking at getting back to the top and Chubb helps that, a lot.
My pick: Allen (Bills). Wrong again.
#6. Colts – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Chris Ballard would have had, “find some protection for Andrew Luck” pretty close to the top of his objectives for this draft. So with that in mind, he went out and got the best offensive lineman in the draft. Quenton Nelson is going to be a pro bowl player from very early on in his career and that’s really what GM’s should be looking for when picking at the top of the draft. Job done really. I’m sure they would have taken calls for this pick but the fact that they stayed at 6, maybe shows the importance they’re putting on protecting number 12.
My pick: Rosen (Dolphins). I thought teams would be a little more aggressive.
#7. [TRADE] Bills – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Here’s the trade everyone knew was coming, it’s just that everyone, including me, didn’t know when. The Bills needed this to happen and fair play to them for getting this done and even better was that they didn’t give up both of their first round picks to do so. I’ve said it before so I’m not going to go into it again, I’m not a fan of Josh Allen but people on the Bills coaching staff and in their front office, obviously are. Now they’ve got to put a system in place and put weapons around him to give him the best chance to succeed. Shame they didn’t really seem to do so for the rest of the draft…
My pick: Nelson. These trades have thrown me off balance.
#8. Bears – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
I’d been banging the table for Chicago to select a linebacker at the spot and they did, just the other guy. However I did say I considered Roquan the better player and maybe Chicago did too and picked the more polished player over the potential of Tremaine Edmunds. Roquan should be fantastic for the Bears, he’s everything that NFL teams look for in a linebacker in the modern day. He’ll play all 3 downs and will be making plays from sideline to sideline for many years to come, from Soldier Field and beyond.
My pick: Edmunds. Right position, wrong player.
#9. 49ers – Mike McGlinchley, OT, Notre Dame
Another team putting emphasis on keeping their prize, franchise QB on his feet. McGlinchley will come in and lock down the Right Tackle spot for many a year and then possibly take over from Joe Staley at Left Tackle when he eventually retires. San Francisco actually like McGlinchley that much that they traded away Trent Brown, so there’s not even going to be a camp battle for his starting spot. I feel like 9 is a little high for McGlinchley here, as it would have been for any of the tackles but there were rumours that the Raiders were high on the former Notre Dame Tackle and wanted him at number 10.
My pick: Smith. Maybe the positive news about Reuben Foster had an impact?
#10. [TRADE] Cardinals – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
So teams were aggressive on Thursday night and went up and got their Quarterbacks, just not quite as aggressive as I suspected they’d be. Arizona obviously felt like they had to jump ahead of Miami, who I had down to select Josh Rosen in my final mock. Rosen should be great for Arizona with a veteran coaching staff, in a small market where he will have less of a spotlight on him and with a too and running back to take the pressure off him. It’s not all roses for Rosen however, first he’s got to win the starting job and once he’s actually under centre, he’s going to feel like he’s back at UCLA because he’s going to be behind an offensive line that’s iffy at best. You can’t do everything in one draft but maybe it’ll be best if Rosen sits for his rookie year, with that offensive line and his injury history. Whether Arizona can wait around in a tough division, is another question.
My pick: Ward (Raiders). They obviously wanted McGlinchley so traded back once he was taken.
#11. Dolphins – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Like Smith for Chicago, Fitzpatrick is everything that the modern NFL team looks for at his position, he’s a chess piece and a mismatch neutraliser. He’s going to play in the league for a long time and at a high level too. I really like this pick and the versatility it brings to Miami’s defence. Another star in the making.
My pick: James (Colts). Another trade that’s thrown me off.
#12. [TRADE] Buccaneers – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Bucs have thrown a lot of money at their defensive line this off season and continued to load up by adding dynamic tackle Vea. This might be a move with one eye on the future, as Gerald McCoy’s enters the later stages of his career. This pick wasn’t a big need but the Bucs are in a division that runs the ball a lot and they also addressed other needs on day 2 of the draft.
My pick: Fitzpatrick (Broncos). There were lots of trades, of which I correctly predicted zero.
#13. Redskins – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The ‘Skins probably wanted Vita Vea to improve their run defence with rated dead last in 2017, so when he was taken they seemingly just moved to their next best Defensive Tackle. I consider it a bit of a reach at 13 but not too bad and if it fills a need and Payne turns out to be a good player in Washington, then they won’t care one bit.
My pick: Vita Vea. The one that got away for Washington.
#14. [TRADE] Saints – Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
This was a huge shock. As the trade was announced and New Orleans went on the clock, I was certain that this was for Lamar Jackson. I’ve been pretty upfront with my feelings about Davenport in the past, so I think it’s a huge reach at 14 but when you add in the fact that they gave up next year’s first rounder it makes it a huge gamble on a very raw prospect. The fact that the Saints don’t have a first rounder means they can’t move up into the upper echelons of the draft next year if they need a QB, so they’re banking on Drew Brees sticking around and playing well for another 2 years. That’s big when you consider that as things played out, they could have gotten Harold Landry at 27, who has had better quality production and is currently a better player, in my book. Good luck Micky Loomis, if this pick isn’t a home run, you’re probably out of a job.
My pick: Harold Landry (Packers) Tennessee got a bargain in the 2nd. Would love to know how/why he fell so far.
#15. [TRADE] Raiders – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Another poor pick in my book. As I said earlier, the Raiders wanted McGlinchley at 10 so moved back to 15 but then took Miller at least 10 to 15 spots too high. I like Miller a fair amount, he’s got rare length and athleticism for the position but he needs refinement. Luckily he’s joining a pretty good unit in Oakland but he also could be the weak link if he starts right away.
My pick: Connor Williams (Cardinals) probably the player the Raiders should have taken, in my book.
#16. [TRADE] Bills – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Bills moved up to halt the slide of Edmunds. I think he’s a player with huge potential and fits what Sean McDermott wants from this linebackers but I found it a little odd that they moved up to get a defensive player when they’ve just drafted Josh Allen. The Bills receiving room is full made up of Zay Jones, who had concrete hands in his rookie year, Kelvin Benjamin and a load of people you’ve never heard of. Get your young QB some help outside of aging Shady McCoy! Edmunds will be a good player in Buffalo but at what cost to the team as a whole?
My pick: Maurice Hurst (Ravens). I can’t believe what a steal the Raiders got with him, even as a Chargers fan, I hope it works out for him in terms of his health.
#17. Chargers – Derwin James, S, Florida State
Steal of the night. I can’t believe that James was there at 17, not could I believe the Chargers would get him, so much so that I still thought it was going to be Lamar Jackson announced. James is a perfect player for Gus Bradley and his defence, I expect him to maximise James’s versatility and to see James line up all over the formation. If it all clicks, James could be earning pro bowl honours early on in his Chargers career. The Chargers have gone all in on defence this draft with the first 4 picks all coming on that side of the ball. It’s beginning to look and feel more like a Bradley defence now and the personnel fits more rather than it looking like a defence in transition from a 3-4 as it did at times last year.
My pick: Jackson. A little part of me wishes that they took Jackson as it’s hard to come by good Quarterbacks.
#18. [TRADE] Packers – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
It wasn’t a shock to see Seattle move back here since they had a huge wait for their next pick had they remained at 18. Green Bay leapt up to get some corner help and took Alexander. They continued the work done last year with the selection of Kevin King and then went further still adding Joshua Jackson in the second round. This is now a completely remodelled group from a couple of years ago and it looks very healthy indeed, with a mixture of styles and types of corner, which is needed in a division which is very pass orientated.
My pick: Guice (Seattle). Some character concerns have risen about Guice which explains his fall from this kind of position.
#19. Cowboys – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
I don’t love this pick but nor do I hate it. It fills a need for Dallas but with Rashaan Evans on the board at this point, it becomes a little bit puzzling to me. Vander Esch affects the game in more ways but is much less polished as an overall prospect. The Cowboys are obviously hoping to develop him at the same time as Jaylon Smith so they can form a young core of their linebacker group.
My pick: Calvin Ridley. Still not sure who Dallas expect to catch the football for them since Dez has departed and Jason Witten retired, because I’m sure it’s not going to be Tavon Austin. Weird.
#20. Lions – Frank Ragnow, G/C, Arkansas
The Lions line looks really strong now. I didn’t mock Ragnow in any of my mocks but he’s a really good player. His hype train really gathered pace in the last week or so before the draft but I didn’t buy a ticket. The Lions also added Tyrell Crosby in the 5th round which was an absolute steal in my opinion (I wanted the Chargers to take him in the 2nd). Matt Stafford should have more time and Detroit’s Running Backs should have more holes to run through… they got way better as a team here.
My pick: Davenport. Should still be on the board.
#21. Bengals – Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
I, like everyone, knew Cincinnati would pick an offensive lineman. They may have wanted Ragnow before Detroit took him but Price isn’t a bad consolation prize, at all. He’ll add a lot of toughness to the Bengals line and is an upgrade over the departed Russell Bodine. Watch for Cincinnati to remodel their offensive line in the coming years, as there are a few guys in the last chance saloon.
My pick: Wynn. I prefer my pick but like most if my picks, it was wrong.
#22. [TRADE] Titans – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Again, I was close on the position as I have been mocking Tennessee to take either an inside or outside linebacker in most of my mocks. The Titans trade up to ensure they take the best one remaining in front of the Pats, who may have had an eye on Evans. I feel it’s a really good fit with Mike Vrabel here, look for Evans to be productive from the get go on Nashville.
My pick: McGlinchley (Broncos). Turns out he’d have been a steal at 22.
#23. Patriots – Isaiah Wynn, G/T, Georgia
This pick filled a big need on the New England offensive line. Wynn also has the versatility that the Patriots like plus the experience of big games too. Again it’s a pick that just looks and feels just right. I think this will be a really successful marriage.
My pick: Evans. I bet New England would have loved this to have happened.
#24. Panthers – D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Steve Smith Sr. raved about his pick once it was made. I think Moore is a good receiver but I’m not sure he’s who I’d have taken when given the choice of them all. Aside from Devin Funchess, Carolina now just has a lot of the same, run after the catch, kind of receivers and Torrey Smith, so I’m not 100% sure what they’re trying to achieve and it kind of doesn’t make use of Cam Newton’s big arm… but then again, I’m not a GM or OC.But still… weird.
My pick: Justin Reid. Carolina took 3 corners but no safeties over the weekend. Colin Jones, starting safety, come on down…
#25. [TRADE] Ravens – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
This is a really weird pick. Hayden Hurst, like every Tight End in this class, is ok but not worth picking in the first round. All the Tight Ends are either “meh” or only have one outstanding attribute whilst being terrible in other areas. Some might even say that Ravens 3rd round Tight End, Mark Andrews is better. Like I say, really weird. Huge reach by Ozzie Newsome.
My pick: Vander Esch (Titans). It’s really hard to predict trades.
#26. Falcons – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Not where I expected them to go at all but I like it. The strong get stronger and they now have an excellent compliment to Julio Jones who poses a different problem for defences. Atlanta didn’t have many holes so made a strength, stronger. A luxury afforded to teams who build a roster correctly over time.
My pick: Payne. Who’d have guessed Ridley?
#27. [TRADE] Seahawks – Rashaad Penny, RB, SDSU
Another head scratching pick. Rashaad Penny isn’t a first round back nor does he fit Seattle’s power run game as he’s more of a slasher. No idea what’s going on here if I’m honest. Guice, Michel or even Nick Chubb (who also would have been a reach) would have been much, much better fits in this offence.
My pick: Guice. Correct position, correct player if they had their heads screwed on.
#28. Steelers – Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Worst pick of the round, pipping the Davenport pick. With Justin Reid, Ronnie Harrison and Jessie Bates III on the board, Pittsburgh picked Edmunds. I’ve literally no idea why. Bates would have been a huge reach at 28 but he would still have been miles ahead of Edmunds if it were my choice. A good result for Edmunds would have been to sneak into the 3rd round. It’s also not a good fit for the defence either. Terrible, just terrible.
My pick: Ronald Jones II (Broncos). Good old trades messing up a perfectly good mock.
#29. Jaguars – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Similar to the Falcons pick in that the Jags didn’t have many needs to just took a player that made a strength of their team even stronger. The Jags front seven reads like a hit squad, it’s borderline illegal it’s that good. The only issue is going to be getting them all enough snaps. Crazy depth. Andrew Luck has to play this lot twice a year, I fear for him.
My pick: Will Hernandez. This would have been fun too, just for different reasons.
#30. Vikings – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Another roster with very few big needs, another team who just go ahead and take a little bit of a luxury pick. The Vikings have corners but with the selection of Mike Hughes, they’re telling any corner not named Xavier Rhodes they have some competition. Hughes won’t start right away and will have to earn more playing time via special teams, where he should get a lot of work returning kicks. The Vikings have a nice situation here, they have ready made replacement for any underwhelming corner and guard against someone wanting to be overpaid in free agency, as they’ll just get them walk in most circumstances. Another pick where the strong get stronger.
My pick: Josh Jackson (Cleveland). By this point I was surprised no teams had traded back into the first round. There was still a lot of talent waiting to be taken.
#31. Patriots – Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
This was a verrry interesting pick. Running Back didn’t jump out as a big need for New England but who are we to argue with Bill Belichick? I feel that this is a very good fit for the offence that Josh McDaniels runs as Michel can do it all and has had a shared role in college. The Patriots generally rotate a number of backs to keep them all pretty fresh, to create mismatches and to match a situation depending on down and distance. Michel could take on the Dion Lewis role, now he’s in Nashville.
My pick: Josh Jackson (Browns). Someone has to trade back into the first… right? Right…
#32. [TRADE] Ravens – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Yes! Finally someone trades back into the first round. I honestly thought this would have been done more earlier on. I was thinking about the teams picking early in the second who needed a Running Back or a Corner with plenty of talent left there to take. Anyhow, this was a pretty bold move by Ozzie Newsome and signals an incoming new era for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is a completely different Quarterback to Joe Flacco, so this team is going to have to evolve in order to accommodate their young signal caller. It’ll be up to incoming GM, Eric DeCosta to find the players to fit the new offensive style, which will surely incorporate more spread concepts and become more college like. Like I’ve mentioned previously, the beauty of this trade is that the Ravens now have 5 years in which to mould Jackson and their new offence.
My pick: Jaire Alexander (Eagles). The one team I pick to stay put, actually trades back.
So that wraps up my series on this year’s draft. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as it’s been a lot of fun writing them. Thanks to The Full 10 Yards for having me!
Just one final thing, I’ll be appearing on another Full 10 Yards podcast in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Trades In Round 1
2018 first-round pick (No. 7)
2018 seventh-round pick (No. 255)
2018 first-round pick (No. 12) (Vita Vea)
2018 second-round pick (No. 53)
2018 second-round pick (No. 56)
2018 first-round pick (No. 10)
2018 first-round pick (No. 15) (Kolton Miller)
2018 third-round pick (No. 79) (Traded to Steelers)
2018 fifth-round pick (No. 152)
2018 first-round pick (No. 14)
2018 first-round pick (No. 27) (Traded to Seahawks)
2018 fifth-round pick (No. 147)
2019 first-round pick
2018 first-round pick (No. 16)
2018 fifth-round pick (No. 154)
2018 first-round pick (No. 22) (Traded to Titans)
2018 third-round pick (No. 65)
2018 first-round pick (No. 18)
2018 seventh-round pick (No. 248)
2018 first-round pick (No. 27) (Rashaad Penny)
2018 third-round pick (No. 76)
2018 sixth-round pick (No. 186)
2018 first-round pick (No. 22)
2018 sixth-round pick (No. 215)
2018 first-round pick (No. 25) (Hayden Hurst)
2018 fourth-round pick (No. 125) (Traded to Eagles)
2018 first-round pick (No. 32)
2018 fourth-round pick (No. 132)
2018 second-round pick (No. 52)
2018 fourth-round pick (No. 125)
2019 second-round pick