2018 NFL Draft First Round
By Chris Malumphy
With the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select quarterback Baker Mayfield from the University of Oklahoma. The Browns surprised pundits who had long believed Cleveland would choose either Sam Darnold of USC or Josh Allen of Wyoming. New Cleveland general manager bucked popular opinion to select perhaps the most accurate passer available in the draft, with one of the strongest arms, whose detractors pointed to Mayfield playing in a conference where defense is a second thought, his lack of height and the possibility that despite being the oldest of the top quarterbacks, he may be the least mature. Undoubtedly Dorsey would respond that Mayfield has battled the odds walking on at both TCU and Oklahoma to win jobs and big games, earning a Heisman Trophy, and playing well on the field even in defeat. The proof will be in the pudding, but no matter the outcome, the Browns can't get much worse than 0-16 and if not for his lack of height Mayfield meets all the analytic criteria.
The New York Giants passed on the opportunity to draft the heir apparent to quarterback Eli Manning, believing that he still has the ability to make at least one more Super Bowl run, to draft perhaps the best player in the draft, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
A day ago USC quarterback Sam Darnold was expected to be the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the Browns opting for Baker Mayfield, the Jets snapped up Darnold. Darnold is the youngest of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft at 20. He also has the size and an impressive record on the field. Darnold will have the opportunity to learn from Josh McCown, an ultimate pro. This is a great pick for the Jets who have now filled their greatest need.
In a second surprise move, John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns did the unexpected by selecting Ohio State corner back Denzel Ward rather the defensive end Bradley Chubb. Defensive backfield is a big weakness for the Browns who haven't had a top corner since the early days of Joe Haden's career so there can be no real criticism of the pick. However, it had long been expected by the experts that the Browns would select Chubb to improve its pass rush.
The Denver Broncos wasted no time in taking North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb to add another weapon to its defense. The Indianapolis Colts didn't look far from home when the team added guard Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame to help protect Andrew Luck.
The Buffalo Bills, seeing that the top quarterbacks were going off the board, traded the 12th pick in the first round and two second round picks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the seventh pick in the draft. The Bills then drafted Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who earlier in the day was reminded of some inappropriate tweets he made several years ago. Allen is mobile and has great size and the strongest arm in the draft. His accuracy is of great concern but many have thought for months that he was a reasonable option to be selected with the first pick in the draft.
The Chicago Bears have a tradition of loving inside linebackers. Georgia's Roquan Smith will add to that tradition. The San Francisco 49ers picked the second offensive lineman from Notre Dame by picking tackle Mike McGlinchey who will make Jimmy Garoppolo's job a bit easier.
Josh Rosen is motivated, he just wants to get to work and play ball. He'll be doing it with the Arizona Cardinals who pulled off a trade with the Oakland Raiders by sending them a first, third and fifth round pick. It will be a new era for the Cardinals who lost both coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer to retirement. This was the first time four quarterbacks had ever been selected in the first 10 picks of the draft.
Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was taken by the Miami Dolphins with the 11th choice in the draft. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback so it will be interesting which position the Dolphins ask him to play. With the pick they obtained from the Raiders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted University of Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea. Many mock drafts had Vea headed to the Washington Redskins, but after the Bucs took him, the Redskins selected defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne from Alabama.
The Miami Dolphins moved up through a trade with the Green Bay Packers to select Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport. The Los Angeles Chargers drafted strong safety Derwin James from Florida State.
The Green Bay Packers drafted defensive back Jaire Alexander with a pick obtained from the Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys took 8-man football phenom Leighton Vander Esch, a linebacker, from Boise State. Center Frank Ragnow from Arkansas will be snapping the ball to the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford in the near future. Another center, Ohio State's Billy Price was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Tennessee Titans drafted linebacker Rashaan Evans from Alabama. The New England Patriots selected versatile offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn who is listed as a guard but who some think is good enough to play left tackle. D.J. Moore became the first wide receiver drafted in 2018 when he was picked by the Carolina Panthers with the 24th pick. Hayden Hurst, tight end from South Carolina, will play with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Atlanta Falcons can't get enough receivers, especially from Alabama. Calvin Ridley will be joining Julio Jones as a target for Matt Ryan. The Seattle Seahawks reached for running back Rashaad Penny from San Diego State. Some project Penny as a fourth rounder. Ryan Shazier walked to the stage to introduce the Pittsburgh Steelers' choice of Terrell Edmunds of Virginia Tech. Edmunds joined his brother Tremaine as the first brothers drafted together in the same first round. The Minnesota Vikings picked defensive back Mike Hughes from Central Florida. Hughes may have gone much higher in the draft if not for his past legal issues.
Georgia running back Sony Michel will be taking handoffs from Tom Brady in New England. The Baltimore Ravens moved up into the first round with a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to draft Louisville quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Jackson is the fifth quarterback selected in the first round.
The 2018 NFL Draft first round started and ended with the selection of Heisman winning quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. Five quarterbacks, the most of any position, were drafted in the first round. More running backs (3) were selected than wide receivers (2). The Edmunds, Tremaine and Terrell, became the first brothers ever drafted in the first round. The Browns, Bills, Patriots and Ravens each had two selections. The Eagles, Chiefs, Rams and Texans didn't have any picks on day one.
|2018 NFL Draft First Round|
|1||2||2||Saquon Barkley||Giants||RB||Penn State|
|1||4||4||Denzel Ward||Browns||CB||Ohio State||Texans|
|1||5||5||Bradley Chubb||Broncos||DE||North Carolina State|
|1||6||6||Quenton Nelson||Colts||G||Notre Dame||Jets|
|1||9||9||Mike McGlinchey||49ers||T||Notre Dame|
|1||12||12||Vita Vea||Buccaneers||DT||Washington||Bengals through Bills|
|1||14||14||Marcus Davenport||Saints||DE||Texas-San Antonio||Packers|
|1||16||16||Tremaine Edmunds||Bills||ILB||Virginia Tech||Ravens|
|1||17||17||Derwin James||Chargers||SS||Florida State|
|1||19||19||Leighton Vander Esch||Cowboys||OLB||Boise State|
|1||21||21||Billy Price||Bengals||C||Ohio State||Bills|
|1||22||22||Rashaan Evans||Titans||ILB||Alabama||Chiefs through Bills|
|1||25||25||Hayden Hurst||Ravens||TE||South Carolina||Titans|
|1||27||27||Rashaad Penny||Seahawks||RB||San Diego State||Saints through Packers|
|1||28||28||Terrell Edmunds||Steelers||FS||Virginia Tech|
|1||30||30||Mike Hughes||Vikings||CB||Central Florida|