Winners And Losers Of The 2018 NFL Draft
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Winners And Losers Of The 2018 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is like Christmas in April for football fans, and some of the teams came out much better than others.

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Winners And Losers Of The 2018 NFL Draft
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The NFL Draft is one of the largest events of the year for football fans, and this year was no different. Held in Arlington, Texas in the monstrous AT&T Stadium, the draft had a plethora of big-name college talent go to prospective NFL teams.

Some teams however did much better than others on their first step in chasing a potential Super Bowl title. Here are the winners and losers from the 2018 NFL Draft.

Winners:

Baltimore Ravens (Grade: A)

This pains me to write as a Steelers fan, but the Ravens stole the draft during their first round with some masterful maneuvering by General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Baltimore traded down and acquired more draft capital and still got the best tight end on their board in Hayden Hurst from South Carolina.

They then used that capital to trade back up into the first round to take former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who can sit and develop behind Joe Flacco.

To add to that, they added the son of legendary Ravens tackle Orlando Brown to solidify their offensive line, and the John Mackey Award (Best Tight End in Division I college football) winner in Mark Andrews from Oklahoma.

Finally, the team took a solid center in Bradley Bozeman from Alabama in the sixth round, who could easily turn into a starting-caliber player for them down the line. The Ravens hit a potential home run with this class and Coach John Harbaugh is probably as happy as it gets.

New York Giants (Grade A+)

People can harp on the pick of running back Saquon Barkley at number two, but after I have watched him during his career at Penn State, I can say this guy is the real deal and will be one of the best in the league for years to come.

The addition of Will Hernandez in the second round was an absolute steal, and pairing him on the left side of the offensive line with Nate Solder solidifies that line, at least on the left side. Barkley will have more running room and quarterback Eli Manning will have more time to throw.

At this point, the Giants had already done well but then they added Lorenzo Carter, who was considered a possible first-round pick a few months ago, in the third round, and a developmental quarterback in Kyle Lauletta out of Richmond to sit behind Manning.

Lauletta in my opinion has much more potential than current backup Davis Webb, and can use his time behind Manning to get up to NFL speed much like current 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did when he sat behind Tom Brady in New England.

These first three picks will all be quality starters in the NFL, and some General Managers even said that Barkley has gold-jacket potential (aka Hall of Fame possibility).

If Lauletta works out, this team hit solid gold, and even if he does not turn out to do anything, the first three picks alone make this a solid class.

Denver Broncos (Grade: A)

The mile-high team had a draft worthy of that name. They basically stole the best defender in the draft in Bradley Chubb at five after Cleveland passed on him in favor of cornerback Denzel Ward, and now offensive lines have to deal with him and Von Miller on the edge.

If you remember a few years ago, the Broncos kind of won a Super Bowl because of edge pressure from Miller and future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware.

Add this pick to the addition of receivers Courtland Sutton from SMU and DaeSean Hamilton from Penn St. and you have a pair of young receivers to add to the already dangerous duo of Emmanuel Sanders and DeMaryius Thomas.

Hamilton was the best route-runner in the draft in my opinion behind Calvin Ridley and Sutton is a big receiver that can help out downfield. New quarterback Case Keenum should have plenty of targets to throw at.

The team even addressed their poor depth at running back by drafting Oregon bruiser Royce Freeman in the third round, and added a high motor guy in Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, who I think will end up starting for them at some point and will outperform scouts’ expectations.

John Elway and company did quite well for themselves this year.

Green Bay Packers (Grade: A-)

The Packers had terrible holes in the secondary and decided to build upon last season’s draft with the addition of two more corners in Louisville’s Jaire Alexander in the first round and Iowa’s Josh Jackson in the second round.

They now have two physical corners on the outside in Kevin King and Jackson to deal with the larger and more physical receivers, while Alexander can be thrown into nickel packages to deal with shifty shot receivers or thrown outside to deal with burner-type receivers.

The team also added an excellent punter in JK Scott from Alabama, who will more than likely turn out to be one of the best punters in the league.

Green Bay also added a monster four-year starter at right tackle in Cole Madison from Washington State, who will probably slide inside to play right guard, but could stay at tackle if Brian Bulaga does not rebound well from his season-ending injury.

Aaron Rodgers has not had a lot of help on the defensive side of the football since winning the Super Bowl a few years ago, but the team is slowly building it back up. With the secondary now solidified and filled with youth, we might see a Packers resurgence in a few short years.

Cleveland Browns (Grade: B+)

The Browns did well this time around and locked up a lot of future pieces that could end up starting for them down the line.

Holding two of the first four picks, people expected them to go with Sam Darnold out of USC and then Bradley Chubb. Instead, they opted for Heisman Trophy-winner Baker Mayfield with the first pick and Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward at four.

Ward was my top-rated corner on the board but the earliest I had him going was seven to Tampa Bay. Still, both of these picks are strong overall and I really like Mayfield because of the chip on his shoulder.

The man had to work for everything to get to where he was and I cannot see him losing that "I have to earn this" mentality despite going number one overall. Plus, he can sit behind Tyrod Taylor and when he does take over, he has a number-one receiver to throw to in Jarvis Landry. Not a bad situation at all.

The pick of Nick Chubb out of Georgia does not make much sense to me, especially when Derrius Guice was still on the board. Chubb is very similar to Carlos Hyde, who the Browns already have on their roster, and he will not be a third-round back because they have Duke Johnson for that.

The pick of Austin Corbett will help fill the need after Joe Thomas decided to retire this year.

Chad Thomas in round three is a great pick and I think he will develop into a very good player in the NFL. He will pair up pretty well with Myles Garrett and the Browns front four looks a little bit better.

Hue Jackson will have to prove himself this year if he wants to keep the starting coaching job in Cleveland, and these moves will likely make or break it. I think he did pretty well for himself, but only time will tell what Cleveland has in store for the NFL.

San Diego Chargers in the first round (Grade: A+)

The Chargers got a top five player in the draft in Derwin James, who was one of the best safety prospects in years in my opinion at pick 17.

They did not trade up, they did not give up a ton of draft capital, but instead just let the second-highest player on my draft big board fall into their lap. Does not get much better than that.

Losers:

Pittsburgh Steelers (Grade: C+)

As a Steelers fan, I can say that our drafts have been highly inconsistent over the years in the Mike Tomlin-era.

For every TJ Watt and Sean Davis, there is a Jarvis Jones and Senquez Golson. They spent their first pick on a safety that could end up converting to play linebacker in Terrell Edmunds from Virginia Tech.

While I like the pick and it gives Pittsburgh versatility, it was a pick they could have gotten later on in the draft, especially while Josh Jackson, Mike Hughes and Harold Landry were still on the board.

Jason Alexander is a good receiver and can thrive in slot packages, but it was a bit of a luxury pick instead of addressing linebacker concerns. What saved this draft though is the late-round picks.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph is a great value in the third round where Pittsburgh desperately needed a backup and potential heir to Ben Roethlisberger’s throne, and having not reached on him is a great plus. Running back Jaylen Samuels from NC State is an excellent third-down back, having caught 201 passes in college.

The biggest pick that will probably surprise people in a few years is Marcus Allen out of Penn St. While he played safety in college, Allen has the tool set to be a linebacker similar to Shazier. He has decent size at 6-2, 215 pounds, and is the best tackler out of any prospect in the secondary.

His poor ball skills can be covered up at linebacker where he can fully shine, although it will probably take him a few years to adapt to a new position. Think of him as a Shaq Thompson-type player.

A safety-linebacker hybrid that many defenses are starting to adapt. I watched him a lot during his time at Penn St. and he is a born leader that will do well. Plus, he is already good friends with current Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, who he hung out with a lot in the off-season, so that synergy is already present.

With a reach in the first round (even with it being a good scheme fit), and not addressing linebacker early, this draft left something to be desired as a Steelers fan. The thing that saved this class were the picks in rounds three and up, where there are a few prospects that could make this a very good class in due time. For now though, I have to be left disappointed.

New Orleans Saints (Grade: D)

The Saints made a splash when they traded up to the 14th pick in the draft, where many people, including myself, thought they were to take Drew Brees’ successor in Lamar Jackson. Instead the Saints traded away their pick from this year and their first rounder next year to take a developmental and raw edge rusher in Marcus Davenport.

Not the type of move you want to see.

If you trade up in the first round of the draft you best be damn sure it is for someone you know can deliver right away and Davenport will need time to do so.

All of the other picks they made did nothing to stand out to me when scouting them, and they lost capital for next year. This is a note on how not to run a draft.

Joe Flacco and Dak Prescott (Grade: OH GOD PLEASE HELP US)

While obviously this is not a team, these two quarterbacks are not happy to say the least after draft day.

Flacco got invited to a Ravens draft party only to watch his team trade back into the first round to take his successor in Lamar Jackson, and Dak Prescott got absolutely no help from the draft and is now stuck with a heaping dumpster fire of receivers.

The Cowboys may have drafted the aptly-named Michael Gallup, but let us be honest here, he is no Dez Bryant. Not to mention they lost Jason Witten after the future Hall of Famer decided to retire and move to the Monday Night Football booth.

To make matters worse for Flacco, his contract is up after this season and the Ravens can probably save around 10 million dollars or so in cap space my dumping his massive contract into the Baltimore Harbor.

Meanwhile, Jackson will still be on his rookie deal.

The Ravens can then use that extra cap space and lock down other areas in part to building an absolutely terrifying team like the Seahawks did with Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom.

Give it three years, the Ravens will go to the Super Bowl, and Jackson will raise a Lombardi Trophy thanks to his elite defense and his playmaking ability. Flacco will probably then end up somewhere like Miami after Ryan Tannehill once again underperforms this season and they finally give up on him.

The Flacco-led Dolphins will then sail away into mediocrity by going 8-8 where they will still refuse to draft a quarterback and fans will be as salty as the Atlantic Ocean.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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