2018 Day 1 Grades

Credit: Notre Dame Athletics

Early on draft day, information leaked from the Browns front office revealing that Baker Mayfield would be the first player taken. While this was a shock to many fans, Mayfield was Browns general manager John Dorsey’s guy for weeks. Dorsey explained that he chose Mayfield over the other top quarterbacks because he “wins the game of football, is ultra-competitive, and revered by his teammates”.

In 2005, I mocked Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith. In the final days leading up to the draft, almost everyone switched their mocks to Alex Smith. The only person I know who stayed with me on Aaron Rodgers was Pat Kirwan. Both of us had plenty of time to change our mocks, but we did not. While I cannot speak for Pat, I can tell you that I stayed with Rodgers going first overall on sheer principle.

In a few years, we will see if Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold was the right choice. Hopefully both have long and excellent careers. While I like Baker Mayfield, I would have turned the card in for Sam Darnold.

The Jets gave up 3 second round picks to move up 3 spots and then won the 2018 quarterback sweepstakes. Darnold not only slipped past the Browns, but also the Giants.

The Colts moved back 3 spots and still got a premier player. Quenton Nelson is my third ranked player in this draft, behind only Darnold and Barkley. The Colts own 3 of the next 17 picks and 4 of the next 35. Chris Ballard has put the Colts in excellent position to own Day 2 of the draft.

In a brilliant move by general manager Steve Keim, the Cardinals traded up with the Raiders to select Josh Rosen. Months ago, when I wrote Rosen’s scouting profile, I predicted he might fall. However, his upside is tremendous.

The Falcons got excellent value in Calvin Ridley. I thought he would go in the middle of the first round, but he fell to near the end of it.

Rashaad Penny and Terrell Edmunds were the only real surprises to get drafted in first round.

The Chargers had to be beside themselves when they saw Derwin James sitting at 17 overall.

The Jaguars continue to win NFL drafts. David Caldwell selected Taven Bryan at 29 overall, adding his disruption to a defense already amongst the best in the NFL.

The Ravens moved back to select tight end Hayden Hurst, and then moved into the end of the first round to select Lamar Jackson. Well done Ozzie Newsome!

The Packers were smooth movers. General manager Brian Gutekunst moved out of 14 overall, picking up the Saints 2019 first round pick. The Packers then moved back up to 18 and selected Jaire Alexander. The Saints used the 14th overall pick to select Edge rusher Marcus Davenport.

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