Draft Winners

Mat MCclanahan, Senior Staff

Roughly a week after the NFL draft, I have been able to let the picks marinate in my mind.

Last month, if I would have told you that Baker Mayfield was going to go first overall to the Cleveland Browns and Denzel Ward would be the fourth overall pick, you would have scolded me. However, all that did happen, I am here to tell you my favorite picks and my not so favorite picks from the 2018 NFL Draft.

Since I am a nice guy, I will give you the good news, a.k.a. my favorite picks, first. The first winning team from the draft has to be the New York Jets. In my lifetime, the Jets have predominantly been awful; think about it, the best span that the team had was with butt-fumble himself, Mark Sanchez. In Sanchez’s first few years in the league, he took the Jets to a pair of AFC championship games, but then it all fell apart. The Jets stole one of the top two players in the draft because Cleveland’s last good pick was LeBron James. Sam Darnold will carry New York to a near playoff birth in his first year, great job New York.

Another winner from day one of the draft was the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins somehow got Minkah Fitzpatrick to fall all the way back to them. Minkah is going to be a better version of Tyran Mathieu in the league. He has been playing for Nick Saban since he was a freshman and when the Dolphins hit a home run.

Heading up to Baltimore, the Ravens had one of the best steals of the draft. The 83 overall pick was not the sexiest, but it’s going to pay off for their sexy first round pick that capped the first round. Orlando Brown, who I thought was a top-five lineman in the draft, fell to the third round because his combine numbers were in the same conversation as Rich Eisen, an ESPN reporter for those of you who don’t know. Brown is going to lose about 20 pounds of fat and be a dominant lineman for the Ravens in the future years to come.

Lastly, the most obvious winner, was the Los Angeles Chargers. They were able to get the best safety in the draft at 17. Just like everybody else, I thought Derwin James was going to get drafted by the Buccaneers seventh, but they passed on him at seven and also at 12. Passing on James two times was the worst decision that franchise has made in a long time.

On the flip side of all the winners, there were just as many losers in this draft. A sneaky loser that a lot of people will hate me for is the New York Giants. The Giants lost when they took Saquon Barkley, not because he is going to be a bad player, but because he was not what they needed. Running backs are interchangeable, you can find ways to use running-backs’ strengths and make them versatile. The Giants should have taken Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen; if one of those two had been drafted, they would have gotten one comfortable year to sit behind Eli Manning to develop and learn how to be a quarterback in the NFL. The future quarterback draft classes will not be as bright as this one, and the Giants will pay.

Another team that just missed was my beloved 49ers. San Francisco drafted Mike McGlinchey, which was not a dire position needed for them. I thought that the 49ers should have taken Minkah Fitzpatrick or traded back. After one of the best drafts I have seen in a long time in 2017, the 49ers dropped the ball in 2018.

Lastly, the biggest loser was once again the Browns. Cleveland makes it extremely hard to feel bad for them. The Browns have yet to learn, college skill does not always translate to the NFL, and there is absolutely no reason that they should have taken Baker Mayfield before the rest of the quarterbacks in the draft.

The Browns are shooting their shot and hoping they get Russell Wilson out of their first pick, but unfortunately they might get Johnny Manziel.