With the 2018 NFL draft come and gone so goes the fleeting feeling that every fan shares, “My team made some great picks, I think we can really be contenders this year.”
It would be an understatement at the least to say this year’s draft was by far the most exciting draft I’ve seen in the last ten years. The trades, the surprises, this draft was a barn burner for sure. So let’s take a look at this year’s top three winners and the top three stinkers.
Top Three Winners of the 2018 NFL draft:
New England Patriots
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 29, 2017
Surprised? ESPN gave the Pats a B grade and kept them middle of the pack. ESPN knows nothing and base talent upon combine times and practice reps. It’s all about what players do in crunch time: in the 4th quarter with two minutes left. The intangibles that can’t be taught or practiced. Bill Belichick is a genius; everybody knows that and he showed off during this draft again. He made 9 trades, gaining and losing picks up and down the board to find guys that fit within his system and yet again he succeeded. The Pats best selections were:
Round 1 pick 23: Isaiah Wynn, G. One of the top lineman in the draft who has experience at both tackle and guard and was a three year starter. Brings protection to Tom brady.
Round 2 Pick 31: Sony Michel, RB. The second RB taken in the draft and quite possibly the best RB. He split carries with Nick Chubb at Georgia, getting the majority of the reps in New England will allow the kid to flourish in that offense. And the upset pick of the Entire Draft?
Round 6 Pick 210: Braxton Berrios, WR. Do I hear rookie of the year? This pick was a steal at six, a very Wes Welker type of guy who can play the slot position. Kid was a beast at Miami and will be a beast in New England.
Grade – A
Whether it was luck or just bad picking by a team that will 100% be on the stinkers list (ahem… Browns) the Denver Broncos somehow seemed to make out like bandits in this year’s draft, snatching up some of this year’s top talent, much later then predicted. The Broncos best selections were.
- Round 1 Pick 5: Bradley Chubb, DE. Um? Three names, Von Miller, Shane Ray, Bradley Chubb, if that doesn’t strike fear into after just reading it. Give it about 5 more months because it will.
- Round 2 Pick 40: Courtland Sutton, WR. Widely considered one of the top WR in the draft, was projected to be taken first round but slipped all the way down to 40th and will now join the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
- Round 4 Pick 106: Josey Jewell, ILB. Skills can be taught, instincts cannot, and Josey Jewell knows what offensives are doing before the offensive even does. A 3 year starter at Iowa averaged over 120 tackles a year and won the Jack Lambert award his senior season. Pair him up with Brandon Marshall and this defense is going to hurt some people next year.
Grade – A
Los Angeles Chargers
This was the hardest of the three teams to choose as some other teams had some pretty good drafts. The only reason the Chargers made the top 3, as because they picked up Derwin James, the best safety in the draft at 17. That’s Highway Robbery. The chargers went defense heavy in the draft and it will show on the field next year when the Chargers are a forced to be reckoned with. The Chargers best selections were:
- Round 1 Pick 17: Derwin James, DB. Top defensive player on my board. Very likely will be very similar to Kam Chancellor in playing style. He can hit, he can cover, he can do it all. Absolute steal.
- Round 2 Pick 48: Uchenna Nwosu, LB. considered one of the best edge rushers in this year’s draft behind Chubb. Played in the 3-4 at USC will continue to play in the 3-4 in Los Angeles. Adding Derwin Jame, and Nwosu to the likes of Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Verrett. Offenses are not going to like playing in San Diego, whoops I mean LA, no matter how many fans are at the game.
- Round 7, No. 251 overall: Justin Jackson, RB. Jackson was the epitome of consistent during his years at Northwestern and after leaving as the all-time leading rusher in school history he should be a solid addition to Melvin Gordan in the Chargers backfield.
Grade – A –
Top Three Losers of 2018 NFL draft
New Orleans Saints
The Saints made one of the worst moves of the day and that is the main reason they are on this list. They traded up from 27th to 14th to pick Marcus Davenport, DE. This isn’t a knock on Davenport who has the tools to be a successful player in the NFL, it is a knock on what the saints gave up to get him. In particular next year’s 1st round pick and this year’s 5th round pick. They gave up two picks for a guy they probably could have still gotten at 27th. Trades like that are usually made for a franchise QB, not a defensive end.
Grade – C
Jerry Jones, you failed again, this time in the 2018 NFL draft. The Bandwagon boys made one good pick in this draft in the first round with Leighton Vander Esch, LB. A linebacker out of Boise St. He going to be a very good starter with great upside for the future. Beyond that, little value can be placed on the Cowboys selections, especially after an offseason of very questionable moves, like releasing Dez Bryant.
Grade – D
In the words of Charlie Brown: “Good grief.” The Browns ended up making the surprise pick at number one with Baker Mayfield, QB. I think he can be really good. He is undersized and Big 12 QB’s aren’t known for the prosperity at the professional level. Best of luck to Mayfield in Cleveland, but the real and only reason the Browns made this list as a stinker was because they passed up and the player who many believed to be the best player in a QB heavy draft by taking Denzel Ward, CB over Bradley Chubb, DE. Defensive backs work best when defensive lines cause havoc. The Browns already have some good DB’s. Ward does make them better but the combo of Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb in Cleveland could have given a whole new meaning to the “dog pound.”
Grade – F
Honorable Mentions of the 2018 NFL draft
Winners: Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins
Stinkers: Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals.
Who do you think the winners and stinkers of the 2018 NFL draft were? Let us know in the comments below.