Those boos aimed at Roger Goodell can only mean one thing?
DRAFT TIME BABY!
The fans at this draft are arranged like the state delegations at the Presidential Conventions, only drunker, more overweight and wearing the jerseys of guys half their age. Carry on.
Mel Kiper is trying to describe the last 12 months of quarterback machinations as if they are pieces to a puzzle that make sense. Mel. They don’t. There’s a reason they don’t. Because they don’t want you to know what’s going on.
Louis Riddick needs a job in the league. Yesterday. He and Herbstreit are two of my favorite analysts.
Flipping to NFL Network to see what’s cooking. It’s just refreshing not to have Chris Berman yelling at me, but at the same time, it’s like I’m missing part of my childhood. Like that weird uncle at family get-togethers when it’s more weird when he’s not there.
Steve Smith just proposed taking a quarterback at 1 and 4 and then trying to trade one and light me on fire.
- Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield/QB/Oklahoma (My Rank: 15th overall)
Oh man, it happened! Listen, he was the fourth quarterback on my board, but I had a mid-first round grade on him as he was bunched in with the other guys. I think the non-quarterbacks are better as players, but a franchise starved for a quarterback in a quarterback heavy draft needed to get one. There is certainly one thing the Mayfield era won’t be: boring. I don’t love the pick, but Mayfield can ball and they are trying to bring someone in with the confidence in to take the reins. That’s Mayfield.
- New York Giants – Saquon Barkley/RB/Penn State (My Rank: 4th overall)
How many jokes can I make about the value of running backs before you have an offensive line that can maximize his value? Barkley isn’t just a running back though. They go one-back on over 60% of their snaps and had nothing at the position before. Plus they can split him out at receiver. I can safely say, without looking at my records, two of the top 10 games by a college running back I’ve ever watched were Barkley against USC in the Rose Bowl and against Iowa last season. He’s explosive. He’s fun. I understand the concerns about dancing too much, but Giants fans should be excited right now. This team is not lacking playmakers to support Eli Manning. But will Eli Manning elevate his game to their level?
- New York Jets – Sam Darnold/QB/USC (My Rank: 14th overall)
That trade up was the right move by the Jets. They get the grandson of Dick Hammer, Sam Darnold. Darnold struggled mightily with turnovers last year, but one off year doesn’t make Sam Darnold. He’s going to make plays outside the pocket. He’s got the arm strength. He has some correctable technical issues and he’s still developing. He has the poise to handle the New York spotlight and they will have the chance to bring Darnold along at their leisure. Louis Riddick is preaching about Josh McCown’s ability to develop and that seems to be why he’s still hanging in the league. Is Josh McCown the most selfless quarterback ever? Discuss. Plus, sad trombone Teddy Bridgewater.
- Cleveland Browns – Denzel Ward/CB/Ohio State (My Rank: 13th overall)
This was an absolute need and Ward can play. Interesting to do it with Chubb out there, but they do already have Garrett and Ogbah so I understand. They don’t have a shutdown corner and Ward can be that. I mocked him at #1 overall when did an ITP Investment Analysis mock about a month ago which didn’t take into account positional value. Dan Hatman had him here in the final mock using the Inside the Pylon board. So it clearly makes sense, but not many people were on this. He’s sub six-feet, but can leap and has terrific ball skills.
I keep hoping for Quenton Nelson to get picked. I’m already 100% in on this guy. And he’s a guard.
Watch Austin get the microphone and start booing Goodell!
- Denver Broncos – Bradley Chubb/EDGE/North Carolina State (My Rank: 3rd)
I am all in on this pick. I am a huge Chubb fan and this pairing across from Von Miller is going to be terrifying. This team is ready to compete still and even if Case Keenum regresses to being just a serviceable quarterback, the Broncos could be in contention in the AFC West.
- Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson/OG/Notre Dame (My Rank: 1st)
Here. We. Go. Love the quote from Trey Wingo. “If you love watching a human being humiliate another human being, his tape is for you.” Nelson will help the Colts protect Andrew Luck and inject some nasty on that team. There’s no such thing as a sure thing, but he’s as close as you’re getting to one. Swoon.
- HAVE. A. TRADE. Buffalo to Tampa Bay’s spot. Josh Allen time?
Wow, trade talk hysteria as the Broncos backed out of a deal. Loving this now.
Oh, good christ it’s him….
- Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay) – Josh Allen/QB/Wyoming (My Rank: 63rd)
Listen. I don’t blame the kid. This is a guy who should be talked about as an intriguing second round prospect. But he’s being shoved into a franchise saving scenario and I just don’t see it. I hope the guy proves me wrong, but I just don’t see it. Good trade for the Buccaneers to move down and pick up two seconds. Is there a chance the weather and wind in Buffalo could actually blow the ball closer to his receivers?
STOP WITH THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION CRAP KIPER
- Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith/LB/Georgia (My Rank: 5th)
Bears fans aren’t going to love Roquan Smith. They are going to worship him. His 2017 season was possibly the most fun I’ve had watching an inside linebacker during a college football season. He dashes from sideline to sideline with ease, will contribute on three downs and will look to potentially add bulk while maintaining speed. He’s a killer. And I hate that I’m a Packers fan whose team is going to play against him.
- San Francisco 49ers – Mike McGlinchey/OT/Notre Dame (My Rank: 19th)
There’s the Top 10 appearance by Mike McGlinchey. People keep referencing his rough showing against Georgia and Miami speed rushers, but that doesn’t highlight all the good things he did. He’s huge, technically sound, well-coached, a hard worker, a mauler in the ground game, and boy this arms are huge. I trust John Lynch until he shows he doesn’t know what he’s doing which he hasn’t yet. McGlinchey pick is an iron down the middle of the fairway.
Cardinals trading up to the Raiders spot with my top two quarterbacks still on the board. Love this for Arizona either way they go. As long as it’s a quarterback. Rosen is my QB1, but lord tell me it’s Lamar!
- Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland) – Josh Rosen/QB/UCLA (My Rank: 7th)
This is a great spot for Rosen. The kid was unfairly maligned for being smart and confident. He got crap for not winning enough at UCLA. But you look at his entire portfolio, and he has everything you want in a quarterback. His intelligence is an absolute plus for me in today’s NFL and I believe he is going to thrive. Buying all the Rosen stock you have! Rosen says “I’ve met a lot of amazing people in this process and I’m going to remember all of their names so I can stick it up their ass!”
- Miami Dolphins – Minkah Fitzpatrick/S/Alabama (My Rank: 2nd)
My #2 player on the board goes #11. That’s value. He’s going to play everywhere on the field of the Dolphins and give them a defensive matchup nightmare for teams. My affection for Fitzpatrick knows no bounds. I’m just upset he won’t be doing his thing at Lambeau.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vita Vea/DL/Washington (My Rank: 21st)
Most people figured a safety would be the pick and when both Fitzpatrick and James were there at 11, you knew they had a chance to get one. But the draft rarely works the way we think it does. Vea will slot in next to Gerald McCoy and immediately improve that run defense. Anything on that defense at this point will help.
- Washington Redskins – Da’Ron Payne/DL/Alabama (My Rank: 23rd)
The Redskins desire was evident with most mocks giving them Vea and with Vea off the board the pick before, Payne was the choice. Payne never realized his potential in college due to a lack of consistency, but when he showed up, he often looked like the best player on the field. Exhibit A: last year’s National Championship game.
New Orleans trades up with Green Bay. Lamar???
- New Orleans Saints (via GB) – Marcus Davenport/EDGE/Texas-San Antonio. (My Rank: 31st)
I mean. You give up a heavy price like they did (including a future first) with an aging quarterback, you expect them to go big with Lamar Jackson. And then you get a shocker like this. Davenport’s upside is out of this world, but does he make an impact this year for a team that almost made the NFC Championship game? What are the chances he actually hits that ceiling? Too many questions for me for the price they paid.
- Oakland Raiders (via ARZ) – Kolton Miller/OT/UCLA (My Rank: 75th)
I had a third round grade on Miller so this was a bit of a reach for me, but the talk in recent weeks is that there were teams that liked him this high. He is a very moldable piece of clay as he has the body to be a devastating force, but it takes the right teacher to get him there.
I can’t keep up with all of these trades!
- Buffalo Bills (via BAL) – Tremaine Edmunds/LB/Virginia Tech (My Rank: 18th)
Everyone knows that this kid is 19 by now, but it really goes a long way about highlighting the potential he has. He doesn’t have the high level instincts you want in a linebacker, but he’s still learning. You can’t teach the athletic ability that he possesses. This makes up for the Allen pick earlier. Almost. But you can see what the Bills are doing. They’re not saying “Hey, we made the playoffs last year, let’s get instant impact guys and fill holes.” Last year’s playoff appearance was a bit of an aberration, they’re going to take a step back this year, but they’ve fortified themselves for the future.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James/S/Florida State (My Rank: 6th)
This is my favorite pick of the first round. James has a lot of growing to do, but he can be a playmaker right away for a team I believe can really take a huge step next year. He can play at the line and in coverage and adds to a secondary already chock full of talent in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Desmond King. I am genuinely excited to watch the San Diego…I mean Los Angeles Chargers next year.
Your man called it. Seahawks needed picks. Packers had to get one of the top tier guys still left.
- Green Bay Packers (via SEA) – Jaire Alexander/CB/Louisville (My Rank: 11th)
My #1 cornerback goes to a team sorely in need of help at the position. The Packers struggled against the pass last year, but with a healthy Kevin King now have two dynamic, young cornerbacks to solidify the position in new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense. Alexander was hurt on and off in 2017, but has a confidence and swagger at the position to take away one side of the field. The James and Alexander picks have been my favorites so far.
- Dallas Cowboys – Leighton Vander Esch/LB/Boise State (My Rank: 34th)
The entire ESPN group spends the pre-Cowboys pick conversation talking about what wide receiver it would be only for Vander Esch get the call. Medical concerns are there, but the Cowboys aren’t afraid to take risks. Vander Esch can flat out play as he filled the stat sheet at Boise State and killed the offseason workouts.
Someone tell me why Roger Goodell gets paid $31.7 million per year.
Wow, a player trade! Al Davis emerges from the grave to acquire Martavis Bryant from Pittsburgh.
- Detroit Lions – Frank Ragnow/C/Arkansas (My Rank: 40th)
The Lions got confused and thought this was a contest to get the player that most resembles their head coach. When I got done with my Top 100 list and gave it a final glance, I regretted not having Ragnow higher. The injury concerns are there and the athleticism/speed concerns are real, but he’s a killer. He’s the guy who meets a bear in the forest and the bear says “Oh, damn!”.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Billy Price/IOL/Ohio State (My Rank: 36th)
The Bungles regrouped nicely after having Ragnow, a player they supposedly love, get taken a pick ahead. Once Price’s injury concerns were essentially given the “Nothing to see here!”, all of his tape was validated. He can sometimes be overaggressive, but he doesn’t back down from anyone possessing outstanding strength, explosion and leverage. Like Pat Elflein last year, Price can slip right in at starter.
Tennessee trades up with Baltimore. Has to be a linebacker.
- Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans/LB/Alabama (My Rank: 30th)
Evans’ red suit was on point and he just looks like a grown adult. He always looks ready to hit the town. But Evans is one of my favorites in this draft for his versatility and ability to rush the passer and play off the ball. He still has some developing to do after limited early playing experience, but should fit what new head coach Mike Vrabel is trying to do.
Lamar to New England will break Twitter.
- New England Patriots – Isaiah Wynn/OT/Georgia (My Rank: 12th)
Sure, right when folks are postulating a Jackson to Patriots move, New England goes and does the sensible thing taking a guy who has positional versatility, probably fell further than he should have due to potential size concerns, and he’s probably going to be awesome. I like Wynn alot and feel he can stick at tackle. His footwork is tremendous and his technique make the size concerns irrelevant for me.
- Carolina Panthers – DJ Moore/WR/Maryland (My Rank: 28th)
Back in December, DJ Moore as the first receiver off the board felt like an impossibility. But as the draft process unfolded and concerns began to arise after Calvin Ridley’s testing while Moore killed the offseason workouts, the bright lights began to shine on the young man from Maryland. Many of the analytics folks love Moore. He has to develop a more diverse route tree, but it says something about the Terps offense that to do anything, they just tried to get the ball in Moore’s hands.
Great point by Louis Riddick about Ozzie Newsome’s blind spot: wide receivers.
- Baltimore Ravens – Hayden Hurst/TE/South Carolina (My Rank: 57th)
Of course Ozzie Newsome’s last first round pick as a general manager is a tight end. Hurst has quite the story after playing professional baseball before transferring back to football. So similar athletic traits to mine. (My mind is always blown when an athlete gets drafted into two sports. I mean come on. Let me good at something). This tight end class isn’t the best, but Hurst, even at the age of 25, has the chance to be pretty good.
- Atlanta Falcons – Calvin Ridley/WR/Alabama (My Rank: 17th)
Did Kirk just say Ridley is big with size? Well that’s not exactly accurate, but I’m on Team Ridley and think the similarities he possesses to Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt as far as being outstanding route runners is real. In today’s NFL, that’s gold. He is a dependable hands catcher and though his athletic traits may not wow, he has a chance to be a killer in that offense opposite Julio Jones.
- Seattle Seahawks (via GB via NO) – Rashaad Penny/RB/San Diego State (My Rank: 56th)
Well then. The biggest surprise of the night. Not because Penny isn’t a good player, but because Derrius Guice, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb were still on the board. Everyone has their type of runner and there’s a chance they like Penny’s . He only had one full year of starting experience, but he made the most of it leading the nation with 2,248 yards.
Watching Ryan Shazier walk makes me happy, but also makes me question the game of football.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Terrell Edmunds/S/Virginia Tech (My Rank: N/A)
Well then again. Tremaine Edmunds’ brother wasn’t in my Top 100 for the year but an organization like the Steelers gets the benefit of the doubt. Isn’t this the type of risk a team with trust in its decision makers should make? A high level athlete with all of the tools that needs refinement. If you can coach him up, you could get a steal. How the board fell though, I felt there were other directions they could do.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Taven Bryan/DL/Florida (My Rank: 44th)
I genuinely thought Bryan was going to run through the wall on the way up the stairs to the podium. Another guy like Edmunds with all of the tools to develop into something special. He’s so quick off the snap, but plays pretty high and could get washed out of the play by more intelligent NFL linemen. The depth on the defensive line at Jacksonville will allow them to develop him at their own pace.
- Minnesota Vikings – Mike Hughes/CB/Central Florida (My Rank: 49th)
Good on the telecast for addressing the concerns about Hughes off the field right away. The guy can play. He’s physical. He’s aggressive. He’s going to be a factor in the return game. And he’s going to help a team that was trotting out Terrance Newman at important points of last season.
- New England Patriots – Sony Michel/RB/Georgia (My Rank: 22nd)
Michel is the man. He’s explosive and versatile. In the open field, he’s terrifying. The Patriots now have James White, Rex Burkhead, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee, but are any of them better than Michel? No. The Patriots way has never been to have a true #1 back (at least since the Laurence Maroney, but Michel could fill the role for the departed Dion Lewis.
Uh oh! Lamar’s getting taunted right now! The Ravens trade back into the first with Philadelphia. It’s gotta be him right?
I need those sound effects from Mort right now!
- Baltimore Ravens (via PHI) – Lamar Jackson/QB/Louisville (My Rank: 9th)
What a cherry on the first round Sunday! Thanks to Trey for putting a bow on the first night with Heisman Trophy winners at #1 and #32.
You can have concerns about Jackson’s build. That’s fine. That’s one of mine. But if you have concerns about any other aspect of Jackson’s game, you didn’t do your homework. He played in an advanced offensive system and improved every year with questionable supporting casts. I hope Lamar goes on a mission!