compiled by Andrew Potter
For this special NFL draft edition of Audibles, as with our regular Audibles feature, the FO staff sends around e-mail comments about the draft. We share information, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed as we watch. We then compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.
While these e-mails are written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of the draft. That means we aren't going to discuss every pick, or every talking point. We watch the draft as fans as well as analysts, so the discussion may be colored by our rooting interests and aspects of the draft may not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all.
2018 NFL Draft: Round 1
Vince Verhei: Before Football Outsiders I rarely watched the draft. Once I started working here I would watch it, but usually out of the corner of my eye, with something else going on. The last three or four years I really started getting into it. But this year, when it seems like every trade and every pick could be a complete shocker, I am totally jazzed for this. Just giddy to see how it works out.
Dave Bernreuther: I'm with Vince. Other than the drafts I got to watch from inside an actual war room, I've never found the draft to be all that exciting live; In fact, I thought putting it in prime time was a stupid idea, and I was perfectly content to just read a list of players afterwards, similar to when I was a kid and didn't have cable and just checked the box scores in the paper the next day.
But this year is different. I think we owe a lot of that to the fact that the Browns have two premium picks, which gave John Dorsey extra incentive not to let anything about No. 1 leak. Obviously, there's lots of extra intrigue because of all the quarterbacks and the trades. I'm in the camp that thinks it's possible that none of these guys is really worth the resources required to get him, but I also think that in the right situation, five of the six possible first-rounders could succeed. But I think it's also likely that general managers will demonstrate that they're not that great at reading people and situations, and so it will be thrilling to see what fun and clever ways these guys -- including quite possibly all three non-Belichicks in the AFC East -- find to screw this all up.
It's also different because I tend to enjoy being the stubborn pessimist about college quarterbacks (which doesn't even make me a contrarian or smart, as obviously they're much more likely to fail than to become a superstar) who also roots for being right. I know, how nice of me. But oddly I find myself hoping for the best for all of the quarterbacks.
Sadly, though, one of them is likely to end up in Cleveland. And after months of wondering, we will finally get to find out who. And then what will happen at No. 2. Man this is going to be an interesting first round.
Tom Gower: We're eight minutes, 20 seconds to the draft according to the clock on ESPN, and we're still not sure who's going No. 1. We think we know who's probably going No. 2, but we're not sure of that either. No. 3 depends on No. 1 and maybe No. 2. No. 4 is a trade candidate. Ditto No. 5. And No. 6. Weird feeling. Then again, there seemed to be a broad consensus for the top picks last year, and that broke down a lot at No. 2, so maybe this won't be as exciting as we're hoping it will be.
Rivers McCown: Hello, I too am here to point and laugh at whoever picks Josh Allen.
Bryan Knowles: And the ceremonial booing of the commissioner kicks off one of the most unpredictable drafts we've seen in years. A real chance we could see it open QB-QB-QB-QB. Like, only a 10 percent chance or so, but that would be something.
Vince Verhei: Some thoughts on the pre-draft rumors that the Broncos might trade up to No. 2 for Josh Allen: John Elway was, at best, a scatter-armed quarterback. He was below league average in completion percentage seven times, above average nine times. (At Stanford, weirdly, he twice led the Pac-10 in completion percentage.) But he won in the NFL as a guy who could avoid turnovers and make big plays with his arms and legs. That sounds like Josh Allen's ceiling, honestly -- a lot of clunky performances that turn into late victories on a small number of big plays. I can see Elway seeing himself in Allen, and it makes sense he'd look at him with a glass-half-full view.
Scott Kacsmar: Wait, which channel should I watch? FOX seems to be showing the same NFL Network broadcast while ESPN is doing its own thing. I don't really care for Mel Kiper though.
Vince Verhei: I am all NFL Network, all the time.
Dave Bernreuther: We're now starting to hear rumors that the Broncos want to trade up to No. 2. Because John Elway is good at choosing quarterbacks.
Is anyone else depressed by the fact that someone in in this league is making a million or more dollars this year to make decisions as smart as drafting Josh Allen?
I will laugh for the next several hours if it ends up being Allen that Elway covets.
Just look at this first play. That ball should be thrown when the slot guy is at the 40. It's an easy touchdown. Forget his accuracy; it's his decision-making and processing that are the reasons he will never succeed. If he runs himself out of touchdowns and into sacks against Eastern Michigan, he's not going to suddenly become more composed against NFL defenses. Ever.
Vince Verhei: BAKER MAYFIELD GOES FIRST OVERALL. ANALYTICS LIVE IN CLEVELAND!
Rob Weintraub: Well I gotta root against Baker now....
Carl Yedor: As the guys on NFL Network are saying now, Scot McCloughan (serving as a consultant for the Browns) was high on Mayfield as well. But it's more fun to think that QBASE was the driving force. Maybe the fact that the model agreed with McCloughan will lend it more credibility in league circles. Not saying that's how it should be, but it can't hurt.
Rob Weintraub: First walk-on ever to go No. 1 overall. Incredible journey; gotta give him credit.
Tom Gower: So Baker did go No. 1. Kudos to him. Like Doug Farrar mentioned on Twitter today, getting him to perform at his best is probably more about putting him into the right scheme than it would be for Darnold or Rosen, which is why I thought his fate depended on his destination more than theirs did. And Hue Jackson's the guy who basically said quarterbacks under 6-foot-2 can't play. It's hard to see it taking long for him to join the very long list of incumbent (non-new) head coaches who were quickly fired after their team selected a quarterback in the first round.
Bryan Knowles: And Saquon Barkley goes two.
In a world where all positions were equally valuable and equally scarce, Barkley's an easy choice for the top pick in the draft. This, uh, isn't that world.
I think Barkley's going to be a great player, but I don't think a running back is what the Giants need to get back over the hump. Is Davis Webb really the future at quarterback for the Giants? It's too bad the Giants weren't really bad last year and couldn't see what Webb had under center...
Rob Weintraub: Saquon to NYG, no surprise. Now the Jets -- I'm sitting next to a huge Jets fan who can't decide between Rosen and Darnold. For me the choice is clear -- Jewish Jesus!
Vince Verhei: (Wasn't Jesus the Jewish Jesus?)
Rivers McCown: The defense against the Giants this year is "Eli Manning is 37."
Tom Gower: Saquon Barkley goes No. 2. That was expected. Here's the thing: with draft picks, you get (1) the rights to a player of your choice at a pre-determined contract for a set length of time (four years, plus the one-year option for first-round picks) and (2) right of first refusal to pay that player "market" value after the expiration of his rookie contract. By spending the No. 2 pick on him, you're not getting any value from (1) because you're paying Barkley at a top-five value for entirety of his rookie deal or from (2) because running backs are hardly ever great on second contracts. Yeah, he's great. He should've gone seventh to the Bucs.
Ben Muth: The Giants offensive line was bad last year. Adding Nate Solder (who is OK but not a stud) probably won't help it as much as the price tag would lead you to believe. They will also have a new center and Ereck Flowers changing sides, so continuity will be rotten. I just don't see this as a great situation for a back to step into and make a huge difference.
Dave Bernreuther: I'm watching ESPN, not so much by choice but because it's convenient. I'm already annoyed by Mel Kiper, but am impressed by Kirk Herbstreit. He's doing a great job, and I really enjoy that he used college-era tape of Brett Favre and Drew Brees. That's one thing that quarterback cynic me wants to take a closer look at some day: film of stars and how they looked in college. I set a really high bar for quarterbacks, but that's based on the time I have spent watching Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Brees, Tom Brady, etc., as stars in the NFL. I'd love to go back in hindsight and see what the holes in their game were in college.
I feel bad for Tyrod Taylor. Not that I thought he'd have been destined for success or a fair shake under Haley and Hue, but what a raw deal. Now he'll be 30 and thrice discarded. I could've said that weeks or months ago too, of course. But now it's official.
The more I've watched of Mayfield, the more my opinion lines up with the numbers. I really do think he has a great chance to succeed. Even with Hue Jackson and in Cleveland.
Bryan Knowles: Jets take Sam Darnold, who they'll claim was the guy they wanted when they traded up weeks ago.
Christian Hackenberg, 2016 Jets second-round pick: zero career pass attempts.
I might be alone here but ... Darnold might be the third-best quarterback on the Jets in 2018, behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. I get that they needed to get a quarterback because they had no long-term plan at the position, but I don't think they needed to give up a trio of second-rounders to make the pick.
Scott Kacsmar: It's a huge night for Cleveland, but I think we could be spending years talking about what the New York teams just did. I think the Jets can feel very good about getting a guy a lot of people had going first overall, and Darnold should have been the pick for the Giants. It makes no sense to think you still have a contender here with Old Eli. This was the draft and opportunity to get a quarterback and they went with the easiest position to find with a No. 2 pick.
Dave Bernreuther: If the Giants didn't love any of the non-Baker QBs, I agree with David Gettleman's "gold jacket" logic. Nothing wrong with taking a sure thing.
But Scott's right. Expecting to be any better than 8-8 next year is ridiculous, and by the time that team is any good again, they'll be at the end of Barkley's shelf life.
Vince Verhei: I get all the criticism about the Giants passing on a quarterback. I wrote in the ESPN draft guide that it would be the wise thing to do. But their whole focus this offseason has been to cash in on whatever Eli has left. They have gone all in on winning now. Taking a quarterback would have put that all to waste. So as much as I disagree with their choice, I do credit them for having a plan and sticking to it.
Rob Weintraub: Here's what being a Jets fan means: my buddy figures they screwed up the Darnold pick, just because they're the Jets. Of course we all favor Rosen, for several reasons.
Carl Yedor: Denzel Ward at No. 4? I'm a little surprised. I hadn't seen any mocks that had him going that high. Whether that helps Gregg Williams put together a pass defense is a whole different question.
Aaron Schatz: The Browns have turned over so much of the secondary this offseason, but if you think the guy can be a No. 1 corner, you don't pass on him just because you signed a bunch of free agent No. 2 and 3s. So if they think he's that good, I understand the pick.
Dave Bernreuther: At No. 5 Elway grabs Bradley Chubb. I'm stunned. After the Browns passed on him I was almost certain he'd fall to the Colts. Damn. Now I can't make fun of Elway for screwing up a quarterback pick again. I was really looking forward to that.
Vince Verhei: Hey, Allen's starting to slide. There's still time for Elway to trade back into the first.
Bryan Knowles: Quenton Nelson to the Colts feels like such a no-brainer, like you could have penciled it in months ago. Worst pass protection in the league last season, and they need to try to keep Andrew Luck healthy, assuming he's not currently held together by duct tape and hope.
It's a bit too bad for them that there's no elite tackles this year, but I think they'll be very happy with Nelson.
Dave Bernreuther: Similar to the Barkley argument, it's hard to fault a team for taking a sure thing. (If Nelson is, in fact, a sure thing.) That's a guy you can keep for over a decade, though, as opposed to one contract.
Still, I hate what taking a guard at No. 6 says, and I don't think it helps them nearly as much as the gushing analysts do. The Colts were last in sacks last year because Jacoby Brissett took too many sacks. Andrew Luck takes too many sacks because he's Andrew Luck, not because the interior line is terrible. And having a mauler in the run game isn't what wins games. For six years smart Colts fans rolled our eyes at the "run the ball and stop the run" mantra. It's upsetting to think that this indicates perhaps more of the same. And need-wise, it doesn't help them stop a good quarterback, which is far and away the most important (non-Luck) thing that'd help get that team back to the playoffs.
That said, dominant players are nice. And once the Broncos took their guy, the demand for the sixth pick ahead of Tampa Bay probably disappeared too, trade-wise.
Bryan Knowles: We've got a trade! Buffalo's jumping up to No. 7, presumably for one of the Joshes.
Considering their past handling of the quarterback position, I'm guessing it's for Allen. That may be me being overly cynical though.
It is indeed Allen. Two second-round picks to move up and take QBASE's worst quarterback. Analytics are for chumps!
Vince Verhei: The Bills got rid of Tyrod Taylor and traded up for Josh Allen.
Tom Gower: No words. No words.
Vince Verhei: The Bills gave up the 12th and two second-rounders for a below-average quarterback in the Mountain West (and a seventh). I frown on this move. I frown on this move sternly.
Rivers McCown: Given that Buffalo is basically implementing the entire Carolina blueprint and Carolina loved Derek Anderson I'm not surprised by this at all. We're about to see just how bad the Panthers would be on offense without Cam Newton.
Dave Bernreuther: Sadly, the Bills out-stupid everyone.
How can you give all that up to draft a terrible quarterback when other NFL-ready QBs are still on the board? How do you run Tyrod Taylor out of town so you can bring in the next Jake Locker? (And why jump up ahead of a team that's not going to draft a quarterback?)
I am so, so, so sad for my Buffalo fan friends.
Bryan Knowles: As a 49ers fan, my reaction to the Bears drafting Roquan Smith one slot before San Francisco gets on the clock is a series of expletives.
Huh. The 49ers take tackle Mike McGlinchey. I'm pretty sure no one on Earth had that one penciled in.
Earlier today, there were rumors that the Broncos were looking to trade a second-round pick for 49ers right tackle Trent Brown, which were promptly denied. Maybe there's some truth to the story.
And here come the Cardinals, presumably for Josh Rosen.
Rob Weintraub: Let's not forget the Bills also gave up Cordy Glenn to get to 12 in the first place.
As for Roquan to Chicago, great place for him there. If Mitchell Trubisky gives them anything they are my dark horse to come from the depths and contend a la the Rams.
McGlinchey at No. 9 strikes me as awful high for a right tackle.
Now the Jew goes to the shiksa retirement community and not Miami? Oy.
Ben Muth: I think Nelson is going to be a really good player. He is the only Notre Dame offensive lineman I would've taken in the top 25. I think McGlinchey could struggle. Stops his feet when he punches and doesn't play with a ton of natural strength.
Tom Gower: McGlinchey to the 49ers was one of the picks that really stood out to me in Daniel Jeremiah's mock drafts. He has nailed a few in the mid-teens the last couple years, so I pay attention to his unusual choices. McGlinchey and Roquan to the Bears were perfectly sensible picks, unlike a talent-deprived team spending their second first-round pick in three years on an interior offensive lineman and the Bills trading up to take a bad Mountain West quarterback.
Scott Kacsmar: The New York teams are controlling this draft and taking us into some dark places in the process. I can't imagine Allen is the long-awaited successor to Jim Kelly. He shouldn't even outdo Tyrod on a roster that has been so stripped down in the last two years.
Dave Bernreuther: Honest question: How much of McGlinchey's performance was because he played next to Nelson? Is it possible for a guard to elevate a tackle the way double-team-eating defensive tackles open things up for other edge guys on their team?
Reading through Nate Dunlevy's timeline, which has the response I expected: despair. I can't be quite that negative. Like I said ... a sure thing is a sure thing.
But this is a damn good point:
Joe Thomas, a tackle, was arguably one of the best linemen of all time. A nearly perfect top-ten pick. How many playoff games did he play in? Tackles and guards don't change teams. Even incredible once-in-a-lifetime ones.
— Nate Dunlevy (@NateDunlevy) April 27, 2018
There's no downside to Nelson if he stays healthy and meets expectations. But there's pretty much no upside either.
Derrik Klassen: The Cardinals just stole a quarterback. Only moving a third- and fifth-round pick to go get a franchise quarterback (hopefully, anyway) is incredible value. I was a fan of Jackson, Mayfield, Darnold, and Rosen quite equally, so I like this pick for Arizona. Believe my comparison for him in the Optimum Scouting draft guide was even Carson Palmer.
Vince Verhei: Cardinals trade up for a quarterback, but it's Josh Rosen, not Lamar Jackson. That's ... well, boring. Not good, not bad. Just boring.
As for the 49ers, Joe Staley will be 34 this season and his contract is up in two years. If they have faith in McGlinchey to be a good player, I have no problem with that pick in that slot.
Carl Yedor: Seems like Miami would have picked Rosen had he gotten to them. Otherwise, not sure why Arizona moved up ahead of them, but then again who were the Bills competing with for Allen?
The last time the Cardinals took a shot at an early-round quarterback was Matt Leinart in 2006. They were slightly overdue.
Dave Bernreuther: I like Rosen. A lot. I was really kind of hoping he'd end up in New York. Being sort of anonymous in Arizona might not be a bad thing, however.
What a missed opportunity to see him paired with Bruce Arians, though. That would've been fun.
Vince Verhei: Our old buddy Bill Barnwell has a fun note about Sam Bradford:
For the second time in four years, Sam Bradford's signed a contract with a team to start and subsequently saw that team move up to draft a quarterback in the first round. Last time, it was Carson Wentz; this time, it's Josh Rosen. https://t.co/SY5w7m4c89
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) April 27, 2018
Aaron Schatz: Vita Vea's flowers were a big hit over here.
Vince Verhei: Vita Vea was a running back in high school. He ran a 5.1 forty at 347 pounds -- that's a Speed Score of 102.6.
Derrik Klassen: Man, Vita Vea just does not make sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bolstering the defensive line is a safe bet, sure, but that team does not have a secondary *at all*. Taking someone like Derwin James would have been more appealing.
Bryan Knowles: Saints moving up to 14, and I'd guess it's NOT for a quarterback this time? Derwin James is still hanging around...
Rob Weintraub: All of us in Georgia recall the Notre Dame-Georgia game, when McGlinchey was grinched by pro-level players like Roquan Smith and Carter. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Rob didn't specify which Carter he was talking about. Georgia had three defenders named Carter last year: Lorenzo, Reggie, and Michail. Take your pick.) Just one game, sure, but telling I thought.
Vince Verhei: Washington's biggest need was defensive line, so they take the best interior lineman available in Da'Ron Payne. Might have preferred Vea, who looks like a rare kind of nose tackle, but still a smart pick.
Rivers McCown: I thought Washington's selection of Da'Ron Payne was quietly kinda silly. Their front was already pretty good last year, now they add a non-pass rusher with a high pick?
Vince Verhei: Their pass-rush was very good last year. Their interior line was a horror show.
Rivers McCown: My disagreement with it is more about how easy it should be to fix an interior defensive line in today's NFL. It can be a need and still not be a need you spend a first on.
Vince Verhei: That is certainly a fair argument.
Rob Weintraub: And the Saints move up to 14 for ... Lamar Jackson?!?!?
(Probably defense like Derwin James, but...)
Carl Yedor: Packers get a ton of value for No. 14. Ted Thompson may be gone, but Green Bay is still trading down
Aaron Schatz: Remember the rumors before the draft that the Packers wanted to trade up? That was fun.
Vince Verhei: Saints give up this year's first, next year's first, and another late-round pick for the Packers' pick. NFL Network set spends five minutes talking about how great it's going to be to watch Lamar Jackson in New Orleans. Saints take Marcus Davenport. Laughter erupts on the set and in my living room.
Aaron Schatz: I realize that SackSEER really liked Marcus Davenport, but how do the Saints trade NEXT YEAR'S first-rounder to move up 13 spots for an edge rusher when there are going to be lots of other edge rushers available?
Rob Weintraub: Vea and Payne gone, does that make the Falcons more urgent to move up for Taven Bryan?
Davenport! Not James or Lamar. Couldn't really picture them giving up next year's No. 1 for a quarterback who is not likely to see the field until 2020.
Bryan Knowles: If the Saints had just been at No. 14 and grabbed Davenport? Fine and dandy. Sliding up so far to get him and handicapping your draft next year? I don't really understand that at all.
Derrik Klassen: I was so certain that New Orleans Saints trade was for Lamar Jackson.
Charles McDonald: Yea … didn't get that one at all. Davenport is a fine player, but that's a lot of draft capital. I was CERTAIN Lamar Jackson was going to be the pick.
Tom Gower: There are enough teams between now and 27 the Saints needed to move up if they wanted to get a top pass rusher because depth of the class falls off quickly, but that's a lot to give up. With an old quarterback, mortgaging the future somewhat makes sense from an organizational perspective, but it's hard not to see this crashing and burning eventually. Taking Lamar Jackson would have been a lot more fun.
Bryan Knowles: Oakland takes offensive tackle Kolton Miller at No. 15, and that feels like a reach for me. Tremaine Edmunds is on the board still, and there are other linebackers and corners available, too. I get that they traded back to get here, but they probably could have opted to go back even further if they wanted Miller.
Carl Yedor: Glad to see Tom Cable is still doing his thing with the Miller pick.
Aaron Schatz: Wait, I thought Cable's thing was trying to turn defensive linemen into offensive linemen? Shoot, at least Miller's actually a tackle.
Vince Verhei: No, Cable's thing was to take college basketball players and turn them into offensive linemen.
Tom Gower: Cable loves super-athletic players at offensive line, and he can teach them how to block well. That's Miller.
Vince Verhei: He can? Do you have evidence of this?
Tom Gower: That's what Cable thinks. NFL coaches think they can teach players how to play better, because that's their job, regardless of what other people think of their results.
Dave Bernreuther: The Bills trade up to No. 16. One can only hope it is to draft Lamar Jackson and give themselves some hope at the quarterback position...
Vince Verhei: The Bills have traded up for the biggest risk at quarterback, and because of that, they have to trade up for a linebacker. I do not like their draft.
Bryan Knowles: Mike Silver has said that the Raiders would have taken Miller at No. 10 (and would have taken McGlinchey if the 49ers hadn't grabbed him). They must love the guy.
Carl Yedor: Cable was also the coach in Seattle when they drafted James Carpenter well in advance of when anyone (including Nick Saban) expected Carpenter to get drafted.
Rob Weintraub: Saints big move up for Davenport followed by Raiders taking Miller made for 10 head-scratching minutes.
Then the Bills kinda make up for the Allen move by trading up for Edmunds. Secretly hoped Cincy would sneak in there for him.
Bryan Knowles: And Derwin James' slide is over, as the Chargers take him at No. 17. Not their biggest need, but James is a top-10 player in this draft. Really surprised he lasted this long.
And the Seahawks are on the clock. I can't imagine they actually use this pick, considering they have no other picks until the fourth.
Carl Yedor: From the Seahawks' perspective, the question for me was always how far they were going to trade down, not if they were going to at all. Seahawks trade back with Packers, picking up the No. 27 pick that New Orleans had sent to Green Bay.
Vince Verhei: This is just guessing, but I think the Seahawks were hoping Derwin James would fall to them as a replacement for Earl Thomas. When the Chargers took James one pick earlier, they did the obvious thing and traded down. Now they still have a first-round pick, and pick up a third. With no picks in the second or third coming in, they desperately need more picks.
Bryan Knowles: Jaire Alexander is a great fit for the Packers. I'm not sure if I'm buying the Deion Sanders (or "Deion-Lite") comparisons ESPN is going on about, but if Alexander can stay healthy, he's a shutdown corner and a weapon as a punt returner. Nice pickup.
Bryan Knowles: Trade news:
Oakland has sent a third-round pick (I think it's not the one that they got from the Cardinals, but it's not clear) to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant.
I'm surprised the Steelers got that much value out of him, frankly.
Rob Weintraub: OK, there have been lots of rumors the Panthers would slide into Detroit's spot to swipe Frank Ragnow but if Cincy has to settle for James Daniels I'm good with it.
Meanwhile Oakland trades a third-rounder to take Martavis Bryant and his fine brand of crazy out of Pittsburgh.
Scott Kacsmar: Wow, not sure what to think of the Bryant trade for Oakland. Obviously nice value for Pittsburgh, which has the receiver talent still there and wasn't looking to keep him long-term anyway. But with Michael Crabtree gone, there's a real opportunity there for Bryant to do something big in Oakland. At his peak, he's an absolute freak, but we're talking 2015 as the last time we really saw him at that level with any consistency. Still, probably worth the gamble for Oakland's 75th pick.
Vince Verhei: I think it's a win-win for both teams. In Pittsburgh, Bryant was, at best, a third receiver with no long-term value. In Oakland, it's a bit of a gamble, but if he hits he's their best wideout.
Aaron Schatz: Everyone who needs a center gets a center! Detroit gets a center! Cincinnati gets a center! Yay centers!
Rob Weintraub: Of course the Bengals lose out on Ragnow and take Billy Price over Daniels. Not sure I agree with that -- yet another injury risk player with far less athleticism.
Rivers McCown: I'm with Rob. I think that's an overreaction to seeing their guy go off the board one pick ahead of them.
Rob Weintraub: Would've preferred Isaiah Wynn or Will Hernandez to Price. Natch we go with the less athletic injury risk.
Cincy will be in good shape if (Tyler Eifert/Cordy Glenn/John Ross/Billy Price/Vontaze Burfict) can stay healthy and play...
Derrik Klassen: Kind of surprised about how many teams are moving up for linebackers. Could be that the wave of RPOs and need for versatility is forcing teams to get high-quality players at linebacker.
Aaron Schatz: As a Patriots fan, I am sad. Harold Landry is still available. Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore are still there. A couple of good cornerbacks are there. Lamar Jackson. I know they need a left tackle but they took ... Isaiah Wynn, a guy who most scouts think needs to play guard? In Belichick we trust, I guess.
Bryan Knowles: Yeah, if Wynn is a tackle (as announced), it's a better pick than if he's a guard (as scouts seem to think). Maybe I'm just down on this year's offensive line class in general, but that feels like a reach.
Tom Gower: I would have more faith in the NFL if it turns out that there's some reason other than an evaluation of his play on the field and his potential to be an excellent NFL player that Harold Landry has not yet been selected, because I don't see a logical reason a player with elite demonstrated on-field production AND elite athletic ability as demonstrated at the combine to still be available.
Charles McDonald: Love the D.J. Moore pick to the Panthers. Norv Turner was all over him at the Maryland Pro Day, so this isn't too surprising.
Derrik Klassen: I like the D.J. Moore pick for the Carolina Panthers. It seemed as though Hayden Hurst was going to be the pick, and I'm not sure I could have stomached Cam Newton being "gifted" a 25-year-old, three-career-touchdown tight end.
Rob Weintraub: D.J. Moore has a lot of Steve Smith in him, so nice he went to Carolina.
Hope Baltimore doesn't pick Lamar...
Phew, Hayden Hurst.
Dave Bernreuther: Well now we all get to experience the joy of Joe Flacco and a three-career-touchdown tight end.
That'll be exciting!
Rob Weintraub: Falcons have been mocked to Taven Bryan forever, and he falls to them. Typical.
Aaron Schatz: And they don't take him! They get Calvin Ridley to stick opposite Julio Jones.
Rob Weintraub: So instead they take Ridley. Shows what the mocks know. Ridley means they can get rid of Mohamed Sanu sooner rather than later.
Vince Verhei: Step 1: Julio Jones deletes all Falcons references from social media.
Step 2: Atlanta drafts Calvin Ridley in the first round.
Step 3: ???
Rob Weintraub: Step 3: Atlanta replaces Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator with Lane Kiffin...
Bryan Knowles: Rashaad Penny?! With no offensive line to speak of, and no pick in the second round, the Seahawks take Rashaad Penny in the first round? Did Chris Carson explode last week when I wasn't looking? Yeah, Seattle needed someone else in the backfield, but that's something they could have taken care of on Day 3. Rashaad Penny over Will Hernandez, or Connor Williams, or Harold Landry or Mike Hughes? I'm very confused.
Aaron Schatz: On the FOX/NFLN broadcast, they were talking about how Rashaad Penny is one of the best kick returners in the country. Sure, that will be occasionally useful for another year or two. Maybe.
Vince Verhei: When the chips are down, the Seahawks are going to take defensive linemen or running backs. Been that way for years.
There was a point last offseason where they literally had more running backs than offensive linemen under contract. They just LOVE running backs, I tell ya.
Carl Yedor: Honestly surprised they didn't trade down again. Don't know their board, but it seems like there are several guys out there that would still make sense for them in this range.
Rivers McCown: Boy, this Seattle offseason has been completely uninspiring.
Aaron Schatz: Actually, Carl's right. Teams are trying to trade back into the first round. Seattle could have easily dealt down and gotten either Penny or Sony Michel somewhere near the top of the second.
Bryan Knowles: Or Nick Chubb, who basically is the exact type of back the Seahawks have drafted over and over in recent years (in terms of size, athletic benchmarks at the combine, etc.)
Tom Gower: Somebody reported the Browns LOVED Penny, so he probably wouldn't have been there had they moved back. And when you want a player, you want a player. The weird thing about the pick is there was zero first-round buzz that I saw on him. It's not a worse pick than Allen in any way, just more unexpected.
Rob Weintraub: Back to the N.Y./N.Y. thing for a second -- many eons ago the Giants passed on a quarterback named Namath to take a running back named Tucker Frederickson. Just sayin'...
Vince Verhei: Jacksonville takes ... Taven Bryan?! Was this any kind of need for them? At all?
The end of this first round is just ... go home, NFL. You're drunk.
Rashaad Penny is the ninth running back the Seahawks have drafted since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010.
In that same timeframe, the Patriots have drafted three running backs.
Ahem. Four running backs.
Aaron Schatz: The Patriots take Sony Michel at No. 31. This is a bad pick. Stop taking running backs in the first round, people. Do the Patriots think that they get great running back production because they're drafting guys in the first round? Guys, you took Dion Lewis off the scrap heap. You spent money on Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee. You've still got James White to be the James White in this offense. What are you doing?
Harold Landry's injury issues must be really serious. I can't believe he's still on the damn board.
Dave Bernreuther: I'm pretty surprised by both New England picks. Neither one makes much sense to me. Michel especially. Not that he's not good, but as Aaron pointed out, they've been among the most successful teams at plugging in cheap discarded running-back talent.
Derrik Klassen: If you told me there would be three running backs selected in the first round, but that Derrius Guice would not be one of them, there is a 0 percent chance I would have believed you.
Rob Weintraub: Hey I made it all the way through the first round without bitching about the A.J. McCarron trade screw-up costing Cincy 35 and 65.
Ooops, I guess I didn't.
And now the Ravens trade back in for Lamar?
Bryan Knowles: Ayyyy! Finally, FINALLY, Lamar Jackson comes off the board.
The long national Flacco nightmare may be coming to a close. Maybe not in 2018, per se -- but someday soon.
Rob Weintraub: Well now it's guaranteed: Lamar will be awesome, and will torture my life for the next decade.
Vince Verhei: Wellllllllll then. Baltimore just got intriguing. For a long time.
Charles McDonald: Glad the Ravens are finally getting a good quarterback.
Scott Kacsmar: A beautiful ending to the night. Let the reign of terror of failed completions in Baltimore come to a swift end.
Bryan Knowles: Plenty of talent on the board headed into Day 2. Not just Landry, but James Daniels, Will Hernandez, Josh Jackson ... Pretty good spot to be in for the Browns and Colts and their pair of picks in the first five tomorrow.
Tom Gower: Getting Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick, and that fifth-year option to cut down on the cost, was a nice move by Baltimore. I still don't get why they took a 25-year-old tight end with three career touchdown catches earlier, but at least they got a bunch of extra picks instead of taking him at No. 16.
The thing I don't get about the Bryan selection is I'm not sure how much it improves the Jaguars in either the short term or the long term. They had a need at defensive line, because they won't be able to keep everybody and they'll need him. But I don't think it makes them better this year and it would have made more sense to me to act aggressively to win as many games as possible this year. Houston needs more talent. Indy is probably down again. Tennessee is your competition for the division and maybe the third spot in the AFC beyond Pittsburgh and New England. I think they could have done more for 2018.
Vince Verhei: Winners of the night:
Cleveland gets their latest new franchise quarterback and a starter at cornerback and still has three picks in Round 2, including two of the top three.
Arizona, for getting their quarterback without giving up too much in the deal.
Baltimore, for finally signaling an end to the Flacco era and getting their quarterback at great value, but let's not let them totally off the hook -- they took a tight end seven picks earlier.
Losers of the night:
Most of the teams at the back end of the round. Seattle, New England, and Jacksonville especially left me scratching my head.
Derrik Klassen: Lamar Jackson to Baltimore is a perfect pick. Can sit him if they want, has a good coach in John Harbaugh. Probably one of the best picks of the night.
Tom Gower: A lot of second-guessing is second-guessing evaluations of players, by NFL teams who may know more and better about various things (like Harold Landry's potential knee/back/ankle issues that may have him medically red-flagged or Maurice Hurst's heart condition), and if we know what they did we wouldn't have taken them in the first round either. If we want to be circumspect about those kinds of decisions:
- Cleveland, spending premium picks on premium positions. They got their choice of the quarterbacks and the cornerbacks, both hard-to-find positions where top players get paid well.
- Denver, getting a consensus top pass-rusher without trading back.
- Arizona, paying a relatively modest price (compared to other trades) to move up and secure a quarterback.
- Green Bay, for getting a first-round pick and still getting the player they wanted.
- Baltimore, for trading back repeatedly and still getting the player they wanted, and also securing a quarterback at No. 32.
- New York Giants, for taking a running back at No. 2, as I noted.
- Indianapolis, for taking a guard at No. 6
- Buffalo, for trading up twice.
- Seattle, for taking a running back in a deep running back draft when they have many holes and few draft picks.
- New England, for taking a running back in a deep running back draft when they've shown they can find running backs for much smaller investments.
Also a loser: New Orleans for giving up next year's first-round pick, as previously noted.
Also a winner: Ryan Shazier. Ovation from my couch for that one.
Rivers McCown: To respond to Tom's list, here's where I'd differ.
- I like Chubb, but agree with SackSEER and a few other people I've read that he's not your traditional "must-draft EDGE." I'd have preferred to see Denver take a quarterback because I don't believe Case Keenum is going to bring much of it back.
- I would add the Chargers as winners because I think they got the best defensive player in the draft at 17.
- -While I normally would agree about No. 6, I think Nelson truly was the best player available at that point and if I get struck down by that, I'll take it. The Colts can't take a quarterback so long as they believe Luck is coming back.
- -The Raiders are another draft I didn't get. Kolton Miller is an all-athleticism lineman who needs to develop power and I don't trust Gruden to find it. Nor do I trust Martavis Bryant to adequately replace Michael Crabtree.