The dust has settled on another dramatic NFL draft, and fans and pundits have been busy debating who won and who lost. Of course, it will be years before we can make a definitive judgement on the success or failure of this year’s draft endeavors, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t speculate a little right now – so, which players and teams have had a good draft, and what does it mean for the new season?
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns
In the winners column is Baker Mayfield. The Oklahoma star ended up as the first draft pick, and while this means that he will be heading to the Cleveland Browns, being the pick of the class of 2018 is an honour that no one can ever take away from him.
He will be joining a franchise that had an excellent draft. The Browns also grabbed Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward and piled up a host of young talent and potential assets in subsequent rounds. Versatile offensive lineman Austin Corbett, defensive end Chad Thomas, and running back Nick Chubb were all shrewd acquisitions, and they also picked up Antonio Callaway, who could be the best receiver in the draft. Browns fans won’t be getting ahead of themselves, but Cleveland could be a smart pick with bettors at www.Stakers.com.
The Broncos had a poor year, but outside linebacker Bradley Chubb looks like one of the picks of the first round. He could form a deadly combination with Von Miller, and with a back end of Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, and Justin Simmons, together with Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis at linebacker, the Broncos defense looks close to impregnable.
Denver also made some smart moves on offense. Courtland Sutton from SMU is a powerful receiver who can make serious yards, and DaeSean Hamilton looks like another strong, reliable catcher. Bank on the Broncos to improve on their 5-11 score next time.
Green Bay Packers
Like Denver, the Packers focused on defensive strength, picking up highly rated corner Jaire Alexander in round one, followed by Josh Jackson in the second, and linebacker Oren Burks in the third. For good measure, they also managed to grab Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in round six to add to an already impressive offense.
The Cardinals pulled off a great draft maneuver in snaring UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen without giving up any future first or second-round picks. GM Steve Keim followed that up by landing the hugely talented receiver Christian Kirk, who could develop into a franchise star, and Mason Cole, a versatile, dependable center who will give the Cardinals plenty of options.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens
So much for the winners – now what about the losers? Though he eventually went in the first round, it was a surprise and no doubt a disappointment for Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to end up as the number 32 pick. His unexpected arrival at the Ravens does not appear to have gone down well with Joe Flacco. Using their first-round pick on a quarterback is a pretty clear signal from Baltimore that Flacco’s time is running out, and while that makes sense from a business perspective, it won’t do much for team cohesion.
New England Patriots
It’s perhaps harsh to say that the Patriots were losers at the draft, but they didn’t make the impact that many of their fans were hoping for. The need for a high-grade quarterback with potential was obvious after they traded away Jimmy Garoppolo, but instead the Patriots stuck to their usual formula, swapping picks frenetically in the single-minded search for value. Time will tell whether they got it right, but there’s no doubt that a lot of fans were hoping for some eye-catching picks as the Patriots bid to return to the top of the NFL pile.
Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott
All the talk around Dallas during the first few weeks of the offeason was that the franchise was focused on giving Dak Prescott more passing options. Instead, they’ve lost Jason Witten and brought in third-round pick Michael Gallup and sixth-round option Cedrick Wilson Jnr. They might turn out to be shrewd choices, but right now it looks as though Prescott is going to have to work even harder next year than he did last time.
With the new season still four months away, there is plenty of time to pore over the details of this year’s acquisitions. However, at this stage, it looks as though Cleveland, Arizona, Green Bay, and Denver did the best business, while Dallas, New England, and Baltimore may have been the losers at the 2018 NFL draft.