Draft Grades:First Round

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Updated: April 28, 2018

The most anticipated first-round draft in the past 5-10 years did not disappoint. There were highs, lows, & of course Roger Goddell getting booed!! A flurry of trades, surprises, steals, & reaches. I am here to grade for every division’s first-round selections. Here are my Draft Grades.

 

AFC North

Cleveland Browns

Picks: QB Baker Mayfield (1st overall), Denzel Ward (4th overall)

Day 1 grade: B+

Thoughts: The opening pick in the draft was a shocker to many fans at the draft & around the league. Baker is a confident playmaker. He has an infectious attitude and leaves it all on the field. Everyone wanted Sam Darnold or Josh Allen, but GM John Dorsey drafts HIS GUY. The Ward selection was a surprise as well but he was the top corner on the board and a position of need. He is possibly the best man cover corner in the draft. With AJ Green & Antonio Brown in the division having a potential shut down corner is important.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Picks: C Billy Price (21st overall)

1st round grade: B-

Thoughts: One offseason after losing LT Andrew Whitworth & Kevin Zeitler, this Bengals retooled their line. Adding LT Cordy Glenn via trade with the Bills, & Price helps solidify the left side of their line. Price has experience playing all three interior offensive line positions. Price is a day one starting caliber lineman.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: S/LB Terrell Edmunds (28th overall)

1st round grade: B

Thoughts: Truthfully a surprise selection, the player not the position. Edmunds followed his brother Tremaine as the first brother duo as first round picks. Terrell is a physical player & explosive athlete. He has the ability to cover rbs & tight ends in dime coverages. He’s a hybrid player that has good versatility.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Picks: TE Hayden Hurst (25 overall) & QB Lamar Jackson (32nd overall)

1st round grade: A

Thoughts: The Ravens traded down & back up to select Hurst/Jackson. Hurst is a good tight end that can play all over the formation. Flacco should love this pick, but despise the next selection. Adding the pyrotechnic QB Lamar Jackson will put pressure on Flacco to perform well this season. Jackson makes the Ravens future very bright.

 

AFC East

New York Jets

Pick: Sam Darnold

Day 1 Grade: A-

Thoughts: The Jets have been searching for a quarterback for a very long time. The last semi-successful drafted signal caller was another Trojan Alum Mark Sanchez (record 33-29). Sam Darnold is a good quarterback with some quirky issues with his accuracy and decision making. IF given time to sit a refine his skills, NYJ should have their QB of the future.

 

Buffalo Bills

Picks: QB Josh Allen (7th overall) & ILB Tremaine Edmunds (16th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: The Bills were rumored as a team willing and ready to trade up for a signal caller. As the board shaped up inside the top 5, the bills saw their opportunity. They decided to trade w/Tampa Bay for quarterback Josh Allen. Selecting the prototypical big armed QB & one of the freakiest athletes in the draft (Edmunds) is a huge win for the bills.

 

Miami Dolphins

Pick: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (11th overall)

1st round Grade: B

Thoughts: When you have to face Gronk, Edelman, & Brady twice a year, having a versatile defender is prevalent. Inserting Fitzpatrick gives the dolphins a free safety/nickel combo. He can roam the deep center, cover in the slot, and impact in the box. This selection gives a nice boost to that defensive backfield.

 

New England Patriots

Picks: OG Isaiah Wynn (23rd overall) & RB Sony Michel (31st overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: The Patriots chose to stay draft towards a win now attitude, instead of grabbing a first-round quarterback. Adding a versatile athletic OL Wynn & his UGA roommate Michel gives this offense a nice shot in the arm. They’re fine tuning the offensive line to protect their elder signal caller as well as becoming more physical in the run game.

 

AFC South

Houston Texans

Picks: None

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: After trading their first-round selection to the browns, in order to draft Deshaun Watson. He caught fire before tearing his ACL in practice last season. That pick was trending towards slam dunk category.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Draft Pick: OG Quenton Nelson (6th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: After receiving three second-round picks with the Jets trade, the Colts landed the best offensive lineman in the class. It was the best pick available considering Andrew Luck is getting healthier. Previous GM Ryan Grigson allowed Luck to continually take beatings. Protect your investment and look forward to an improved run game.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft Pick: DT Taven Bryan (29th overall)

1st round Grade: B+

Thoughts: This pick was another surprise because it was not a position of need. With that being said, the Jags are attempting to replicate the SB Champ Philadelphia Eagles defensive line rotations. Bryan adds the incredible potential of power and quickness on the interior defensive line.

 

Tennessee Titans

Draft Pick: LB Rashaan Evans

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: Linebacker & pass rusher were the top needs for this Titans team. They added a well-rounded versatile defender in Evans. He can play inside & outside as a rusher. He’s athletic enough to drop into coverage and physical enough as a downhill thumper.

 

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Draft Pick: ED Bradley Chubb (5th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: This was purely a “best player available” selection. Chubb wasn’t a need for Denver, but he fell into your lap & their star rusher is a huge fan of the kid. Chubb will bring the power, quickness, and size needed on the edge. He will pair with Von Miller to hopefully replicate the production & fear Miller/Ware struck in opposing offenses.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Draft Pick: None

1st round Grade: B+

Thoughts: The Chiefs traded this selection last year in order to draft QB Patrick Mahomes. He eventually made Alex Smith expendable. He played well albeit in one start, but Andy Reid saw enough for him to be the incumbent starter for the 2018 season.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Draft Pick: S Derwin James (17th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: The Chargers have a rising defense that is hoping to have two “healthy” lockdown corners next season. Adding the versatile safety James solidifies that backfield. James is a box safety that has potential to cover tight ends and backs. He will add toughness & athleticism to the Chargers defense.

 

Oakland Raiders

Draft Pick: OT Kolton Miller (15th overall)

1st round Grade: C

Thoughts: One of the more head-scratching picks so far in the draft, Gruden did not address the failing defense. Miller is a solid tackle and should benefit from a year to sit behind veteran Donald Penn. This pick did not sit well with the fans in Dallas or raider nation.

 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Draft Pick: LB Leighton Vander Esch (19th overall)

1st round Grade: B

Thoughts: While the majority of the league believed a receiver would’ve been the selection, LVE was a good pick. He is a big athletic off the ball linebacker, that tracks the ball well. He brings coverage ability and sure tackling as well.

 

NY Giants

Draft Pick: Saquon Barkley

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: Barkley was the consensus No. 1 running back and even prospect on many draft boards. His athletic prowess and playmaking ability should extend Eli Manning’s career a bit. Pair him with OBJ, Engram, & Sheppard creates an offense you could only dream of.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Draft Pick: None

1st round Grade: 52 SB Champs decided to trade back and garnish more draft capital. They did not possess a second-round pick until the trade with the Ravens. They also received the Raven’s 2019 second round pick.

 

Washington Redskins

Draft Pick: DT Da’Ron Payne (13th overall)

1st round Grade: B-

Thoughts: Payne offers some potential as a three-down defender, but will be an immediate impact on the league’s worst rush defense. Former Alabama teammate was lobbying earlier in the process for Payne.

 

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Draft Pick: LB Roquan Smith (8th overall)

1st round grade: A

Thoughts: Roquan is an uber-talented player. He brings the needed speed, intelligence, and abilities this defense needs. The Bears defense was already one to watch out for in 2018, adding this type of player will boost their front seven tremendously.

 

Detriot Lions

Draft Pick: C/OG Frank Ragnow (20th overall)

1st round grade: B+

Thoughts: Matthew Stafford needed two huge holes to be address in this off-season, the offensive line & a running back. Ragnow address the interior line to protect the star signal caller and move bodies in the ground game. I believe happy QB’s can win games leading into January.

 

Green Bay Packers:

Draft Pick: CB Jaire Alexander (18th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: A year after selecting CB Kevin King, Green Bay adds another capable cover guy. Alexander is athletic, fast, and makes plays on the football. After trading Randall to the Browns this offseason the cornerback position was a clear-cut need. Rodgers needs help and it starts with an improved defense.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Draft Pick: CB Mike Hughes (30th overall)

1st round Grade: B+

This selection is much underrated. This defense is one of the best in the league right now, but adding Hughes helps push them higher. Pairing him in the slot alongside Xavier Rhodes & Trae Waynes until he grows into the outside defender. He also adds kick/punt return ability as well.

 

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Draft Pick: WR Calvin Ridley(26th overall)

1st round Grade: A-

Thoughts: This team needs to replace interior defensive lineman Dontari Poe, but they selected to add an explosive receiver. Ridley is believed to be the best receiver in the class by many. He offers elite route running, separation, & playmaking. He will join Julio Jones, Sanu, Coleman, & Freeman. Matt Ryan must be a happy man right now.

 

Carolina Panthers

Draft Pick: WR D.J. Moore (24th overall)

1st round Grade: A

Thoughts: FINALLY! For most of Cam Newton’s career, his front office has decided to deliver with a dynamic receiver. Moore is fast, strong, & tough. He can play anywhere on the offensive formation. He will bring the explosive plays and swag this offense missed from the departure of Steve Smith.

 

New Orleans Saints

Draft Pick: ED Marcus Davenport (14th overall)

1st round Grade: C+

Thoughts: The reigning NFC South Champs decided to jump from the 27th spot to 14. They wanted to add a pass rushing presence opposite of all-pro end Cameron Jordan. Davenport offers a high-risk, high reward potential as a prospect. The trade up and picks given up is the reason the grade is lower than expected.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Pick: DT Vita Vea (12th overall)

1st round Grade: B

Thoughts: The Bucs attacked a position that was not desperate for an upgrade. There were bigger holes on this defense & team. Vea is an athletic monster in the middle that will be paired with pro bowl DT Gerald McCoy. He isn’t just a massive body because he offers interior pressure as well.

 

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Pick: QB Josh Rosen (10th overall)

1st round Grade: A+

Thoughts: I couldn’t think of another team more desperate for a QB than the Cardinals. With Josh Rosen the best “pure passer” falling into their lap, this is a great pick. He doesn’t have to play immediately with Sam Bradford in-house. The pressure isn’t heavy on his shoulders like some of his draft counterparts.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Draft Pick: None

1st round Grade: B-

Thoughts: The Rams traded their first-round pick to the Patriots (Isaiah Wynn) for receiver Brandin Cooks. Albeit, Cooks is a legit deep threat that will take the top off a defense, he is not a game changer. He also wasn’t worth a first-round selection.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Draft Pick: OT Mike McGlinchey (9th overall)

1st round Grade: C+

Thoughts: This was another shocker selection because OT wasn’t a position of need at the time. The Niners decided to trade RT Trent Brown to the Patriots earlier today for a 3rd round pick. McGlinchey is a big athletic tackle with long arms and strength. He has to work on his lower body and leverage due to his height. The pick makes sense now, but I’m not a fan of it.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Draft Pick: RB Rashaad Penny (27th overall)

1st round Grade: D-

Thoughts: This was the WORST selection by far, especially after trading back. Penny isn’t the second or third best running back in this class. I believe he is a good quality back, but he is the biggest reach of the draft so far. He was selected over the likes of, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, & Derrius Guice. The offensive line would’ve been a better selection here, even if you were going to reach!

 

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