Now that the dust has settled, and the 2018 draft is over and done with, I thought I would take a look at who benefitted the most and who suffered the most from their teams' picks. The 2018 NFL Draft was held between the dates of April 28th-28th. Held in the AT&T Stadium in Texas, all 32 teams came together to select the talents that they think will help take their team make it to the next level.
A total of 256 players were selected over 7 rounds of picks, with 32 being made on the first day. The Baltimore Ravens had the most selections in this year’s draft with 12, whereas the Tennessee Titans had the fewest, with just 4 new players added to their roster.
With numerous struggling teams desperate to find their franchise QB, this year’s draft was only the third draft in history where 5 Quarterbacks were selected in the first round. Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield were all chosen in the first round and all have a chance to top their team’s depth charts come to the end of the year.
The draft isn’t just about offense though, as this crop of players included numerous difference makers on defense. Bradley Chubb, Denzel Ward, Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick will almost certainly start from the get-go for their respective teams.
Here I take a look at my 3 Winners and 3 Losers from this year’s draft and look into the impact the new recruits may have on their teams.
The Cleveland Browns
First Round: 1.01 Baker Mayfield, 1.04 Denzel Ward
Second Round: 2.01 Austin Corbett, 2.03 Nick Chubb
Many people were shocked with the Browns first two selections in this year’s draft. The Browns were loaded with draft capital after acquiring picks from the Texans after they traded up for Deshaun Watson last year, and from the Eagles when they traded for Carson Wentz. After passing on those two Quarterbacks who look like they will become elite players in this league, the Browns were desperate to find a franchise QB of their own. They selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall selection.
Rumors got out on draft day that the Browns had Mayfield at the top of their board, ahead of the expert’s consensus pick, Sam Darnold. Mayfield, who was the Heisman trophy winner in 2017, will start the season learning the offense behind Tyrod Taylor. As soon as he’s acclimatized to this offense, I expect him to push Tyrod for that starting role. Mayfield has a great resume coming out of college. During his time playing for Oklahoma, Mayfield threw for 12,292 yards and 119 TDs, throwing just 21 interceptions in the process.
He had an impressive completion percentage of 69.8% and a 67% completion rate when on the run. He is accurate on short to mid-range passes but excels on passes over 20 yards. His main attribute is his competitive spirit and his leadership. Mayfield is a passionate leader who demands the best out of his fellow players.
Mayfield is walking into the ideal situation in Cleveland. He doesn’t have to be rushed into the offense like DeShone Kizer was last year. He can bide his time and grow more comfortable with the playbook, whilst Taylor leads the team for the first half of the season. When he starts, Mayfield will have a wealth of weapons at his disposal. Jarvis Landry was acquired from the Miami Dolphins and immediately signed to a long-term deal.
Landry is a great talent who creates good separation and demands high volume from the slot. Josh Gordon is back in the league and looking in phenomenal shape. If he can find his form from before his ban and stay on the straight and narrow, then the Browns have a top 5 receiver on their hands. They also drafted WR Antonio Callaway in the 4th round.
Callaway, like Gordon, has had his off-field issues. He was one of the most talented receivers in the league, so Browns fans will be hoping he behaves himself and develops into a genuine starter on the outside.
Not to mention, Sophomore Tight End David Njoku who is a premier athlete and could be a star at the position. In Mayfield’s hands, the Browns could have a powerful offense for years to come.
The Browns also selected Denzel Ward in the first round. This pick was questioned by many as most people thought they would select Bradley Chubb with that pick. Instead, the Browns decided to get the lockdown corner they needed to help solidify their secondary. Ward will come in immediately and be a difference maker in this defense.
In the second round, the Browns selected OT Austin Corbett, who has big shoes to fill after the retirement of Joe Thomas. I would have preferred to pick Will Hernandez here, but Corbett should be a solid starter from week 1. Running Back Nick Chubb was also selected in the second round.
After the Browns came to their senses and decided to pass on Saquon Barkley with the first overall pick, they chose Chubb to be their Running Back of the future. He should push Carlos Hyde for snaps this year, who will likely be let go after the season concludes.