When it comes to drama, the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft could your average reality show a run for its money. There were seven trades in the first round alone, along with four quarterbacks taken in the Top 10.
In addition, three running backs were taken and many players saw a huge decline in their draft position. All in all, it was a night full of crazy action, highlights and hot takes. Let’s quickly recap the biggest news from the biggest night of the NFL Draft.
1. The Bumbling Browns
Not all of the 32 teams in the NFL made their fans happy in the first round. However, probably the greatest failure was that of the Cleveland Browns.
The vast majority of football fans and analysts will label the Browns’s NFL Draft as a loss because of their picks in the first round. To name just a few of their missteps, they had Baker Mayfield as the top player in the draft and picked Denzel Ward before Bradley Chubb; they also let Saquon Barkley slip through their fingers.
Admittedly, Mayfield does have the chance to be a good NFL quarterback, and nobody can deny that Denzel Ward is a brilliant defensive back. However, if these were the players the Browns were targeting, they absolutely could have traded down and still drafted them.
Maybe Mayfield has Russel Wilson potential, but that’s only if he doesn’t flame out in his first year. And, while the Browns must have known they needed secondary help, their decision to take Ward fourth overall while Bradley Chubb was still on the board was still perplexing.
2. Quarterback Quarry
The Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets also drafted their future quarterbacks in the NFL Draft first round.
The Jets snagged Sam Darnold of USC with the third pick overall; considering how the Browns were expected to pick Darnold first overall, the Jets certainly got lucky. Meanwhile, the Bills traded up to draft Josh Allen, to nobody’s surprise; after all, the Bills made no secret of their love for Josh Allen’s potential.
The Cardinals moved up to the 10th pick to grab Josh Rosen, whom nobody really expected to still be available at that point. Widely regarded as the most “pro-ready” quarterback in the draft, Rosen now has a chip on his shoulder about coming in 10th place.
The first round ended with a bang as the Ravens traded for the last pick of the night to draft Lamar Jackson, one of the best picks of the night. Jackson has raised many questions among NFL fans; while his potential is undeniably through the roof, nobody can say for sure those talents will translate to the NFL level. Fans of all these teams truly hope they have a new star quarterback to build on.
3. A Giant Oversight?
Skeptics wondered for months what the New York Giants were going to do with the second overall pick of the NFL Draft. However, all questions were answered when they chose running back Saquon Barkley for that slot. The pick has received mixed reviews from analysts; nevertheless, most Giants fans seem to love the pick.
Barkley is one of the most talented running backs to come out of the college game in years; already he is a polished pass catcher and a prolific runner, with a knack for big plays. He immediately adds a desperately needed spark to the Giants’s lethargic offense; by pairing Barkley with Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants now boast two of the top playmakers at their positions in the NFL.
The biggest question about this pick is that the Giants decided not to select a quarterback at the draft; instead, they’re sticking with 37-year-old Eli Manning. Giants fans will be watching Barkley very closely in the big lights of the Big Apple, and one can only hope he lives up to the billing.
4. Who Dat Draft Pick?
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints made one of the most puzzling moves of the night. First, they traded two first round picks to the Green Bay Packers to move up from pick 27 to pick 14. This move had many Saints fans dreaming of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas catching passes from Lamar Jackson and terrifying other teams’ defenses for decades.
Instead, Saints Nation was left scratching their heads after the Saints’ front office selected pass rushing project Marcus Davenport.
Davenport’s true skills are questionable; since he played at the University of Texas San Antonio, he faced competition that wasn’t even close to his skill level or athleticism.
Because of that, his numbers and film may provide an inflated idea of his actual skill. Needless to say, after what the Saints gave up getting him and what they left on the board, Saints fans may have little patience with Davenport, especially if Lamar Jackson or Derwin James turn into All-Pro players.
5. Falls from Grace
Speaking of Derwin James, his free-fall to the 17th overall pick was baffling. Team after team passed on taking the extraordinary talent, labelled by many scouts and draft experts as the third-best defensive back in the draft. Yet the Florida State playmaker had to wait until the Los Angeles Chargers selected him with the 17th overall pick of the NFL Draft to walk up onto the stage. The Chargers undoubtedly got a steal with their pick; they snagged a potential top-10 talent without even having to trade up to the top 15.
Another player who fell much farther than most viewers expected was cornerback Josh Jackson from the University of Iowa. Fans and analysts alike had expected Jackson to be a top-20 pick in the first round; however, he ended up not hearing his name called in the first round at all. This was without a doubt a massive disappointment for Jackson, who travelled all the way to Dallas to attend the draft, hoping to hear his name called early.
6. The Wrap Up
After the quarterback-heavy top ten picks, the next 10 picks were almost all defensive players. Then, after the first 20 picks, offensive skill-position players were popular selections.
The Carolina Panthers obtained a weapon for Cam Newton in wide receiver DJ Moore out of Maryland, a welcome addition to an offense with only one returning receiver who had more than 17 catches last season. With the next pick, the Ravens drafted tight end Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina, who promises to be a solid target in the middle of the field for years to come.
The Atlanta Falcons added wide receiver Calvin Ridley to an already-formidable offense featuring Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Look for Ridley to make an immediate impact as opposing defenses struggle to contain the vast firepower on that roster.
The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots selected running backs, surprising many; other than Barkley, no running back was projected in the first round. However, both the Seahawks and Patriots lack draft assets, and they were searching for long-term solutions in the backfield.
The night of the NFL Draft Round One was a night of hope for fans of all teams as they looked to their teams to add the player that would take them to the next level. There was drama and excitement all night, with a whirlwind of trades and quarterback selections.
As exciting as it was for fans, though, it’s even more exciting for the drafted players. After years of preparing, their NFL journeys have finally begun.