NFL Draft Grades 2018: Full Results, Analysis and Reaction from Round 1

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks past a video board displaying an image of Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma after he was picked #1 overall by the Cleveland Browns during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After months of analyzing and prognosticating who would go where in the 2018 NFL draft, we finally have our answers.

Well, for the first round anyway.

If you continue to scroll, you will find the complete order and results of Thursday's first round along with grades and commentary on the picks.

It's important to remember these grades reflect the value of the prospects and where they were drafted. It also takes into account whether the position was a greater need for the team than the players they passed on who could have made them better.

                        

1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Grade/Analysis: A-. The Cleveland Browns are fine taking Baker Mayfield here. Some people would have gone with Josh Rosen, but Mayfield will bring a dynamic to the Browns offense that will allow them to do many things because of his mobility and his ability to throw the ball downfield.

Mayfield may have some issues with his footwork and related mechanics, but he will be ready to go in Week 1. This all but spells the end of the Tyrod Taylor era in Cleveland after 2018. Great pick, but it was not the best.

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2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Grade/Analysis: A+. Some may think taking a running back at No. 2 overall might be a horrible idea, but the New York Giants have made it clear they want to win this year. There hasn't been a 1,000-yard rusher for the G-Men since Ahmad Bradshaw since 2012. An offense of Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram will be one to watch in 2018. Now it's up to the offensive line.

The Giants are not as bad as their 2017 record suggests. Buckle up.

                     

3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Grade/Analysis: B+. Again, another team passes on the best quarterback in the draft in Rosen. However, Darnold is fine. The New York Jets needed a quarterback desperately, and they got one. Darnold can make all the NFL throws, especially those in tight windows, but he was extremely turnover prone in college (35). That will need to change at the next level, and maybe being in a quarterback room with Josh McCown will help.

                  

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Grade/Analysis: A-. This is a tough one to grade. It is a fine selection, but with Bradley Chubb on the board—that's tough. Denzel Ward is an excellent cornerback who makes up for his lack of height with his elite press-corner ability. This was definitely a need for the Browns, and they fulfilled it.

               

5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Grade/Analysis: A+. What. A. Pick. The Denver Broncos may have passed on a quarterback, but a pass rush consisting of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb is going to result in pure carnage for opposing offensive lines. Quenton Nelson was another option here, but this is wonderful.

                

6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Grade/Analysis: A+. Finally, the Indianapolis Colts have made a first-round selection that is not only smart but makes the most sense given their roster. Quenton Nelson was many people's top overall prospect heading into the draft, and the Colts got him at No. 6. It's a phenomenal pick to help protect quarterback Andrew Luck when he comes back from injury.

                

7. Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Grade/Analysis: B+. The Bills needed a quarterback and they got one in Josh Allen. The signal-caller was by far the most polarizing prospect in this draft class. He possesses the tools needed to be an elite quarterback, but will he put them all together? Or does he stick to his inaccurate, low completion ways?

With just A.J. McCarron on the roster, Allen has a strong chance to start Week 1, though he would probably benefit from redshirting at least half a season. Hopefully the Bills add some weapons for the young signal-caller. If not, expect a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy in 2018.

              

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Grade/Analysis: A. The Chicago Bears continued to beef up their already great defense adding Roquan Smith. The linebacker joins a group with Leonard Floyd and Danny Trevathan to give the Bears a three-headed monster in the front seven. He's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who will be tested consistently playing in the NFC North.

                

9. San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Grade/Analysis: B. A fine pick, but with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds on the board, it's bittersweet. McGlinchey will join an offensive line that could use his services in protecting Jimmy Garoppolo for what could be a memorable 2018 season. And oh yeah, they will need to deal with the Los Angeles Rams' pass rush at least twice this season.

             

10. Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland Raiders): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Grade/Analysis: A+. The top quarterback in the draft dropped to No. 10, and the Arizona Cardinals traded up to get him. While they may have Sam Bradford, there are concerns about his health every year. Josh Rosen is the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft and joins a team equipped with Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. A great situation all around for the best quarterback in his class.

                 

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Grade/Analysis: A-. Some would have preferred Tremaine Edmunds here, but Minkah Fitzpatrick will instantly bolster the Miami Dolphins secondary. The Dolphins did need to improve their defense heading into the draft, but Fitzpatrick paired with Reshad Jones will be quite the duo for the foreseeable future.

                    

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via Buffalo Bills from Cincinnati Bengals): Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Grade/Analysis: B+. It's hard to say no to a player of Vita Vea's caliber, but it's surprising they didn't take Derwin James here. However, on a defensive line with Gerald McCoy, it's going to immediately bolster their pass rush and run stuffing. Some would have elected for James because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are horrendous on defense in terms of allowing passing yards, but Vea is a fantastic player.

                 

13. Washington Redskins: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Grade/Analysis: B. With Vea off the board, the Washington Redskins took arguably the next best defensive tackle in the class. The Redskins desperately needed a player to help stuff the run and Da'Ron Payne will do just that. He is reminiscent of former Crimson Tide teammate A'Shawn Robinson. Solid pick.

                 

14. New Orleans Saints (via Green Bay Packers): Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Grade/Analysis: B-. The New Orleans Saints definitely needed another pass-rusher, but they gave up quite a bit to get Marcus Davenport, including a 2019 first-round pick. Davenport dominated the competition coming out of UTSA, and he should be fine in the NFL, but with Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds on the board, coupled with the capital given up to get him, it's a bit of a questionable call. It's easy to love the player, but the circumstances surrounding his selection? Not so much.

            

15. Oakland Raiders (via Arizona Cardinals): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Grade/Analysis: C+. Kolton Miller is a heck of an athlete, but he's going to require plenty of grooming to be ready for the left tackle position. With Donald Penn on board, he will be able to play right tackle in the interim. The Raiders could have traded out and taken the 6'9" former UCLA Bruin a bit later. This is a reach for a player with more question marks than answers.

                   

16. Buffalo Bills (via Baltimore Ravens): Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Grade/Analysis: A+. An excellent player who fell far too far. He's not even 20. Tremaine Edmunds profiles as an incredible player with a rare combination of size and speed. He will need to hone in that athleticism to football production, but that shouldn't be a problem. He's a sideline-to-sideline player and, at No. 16, is a steal for the Bills.

                 

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

Grade/Analysis: A+. Like Edmunds, Derwin James is another player who fell way too far. A force on the interior of the defensive line would have been an excellent choice here, but with James on the board, it was too hard to pass him up. He will join a secondary with Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Jahleel Addae. Fantastic. Comparisons to Eric Berry are warranted.

                 

18. Green Bay Packers (via Seattle Seahawks): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Grade/Analysis: B. The Green Bay Packers added extra draft capital, but they missed out on the top three defensive backs in the draft. However, they still get a guy who is going to play tough and will be willing to go toe-to-toe with any receiver you match him up with in Jaire Alexander. Defensive back was in dire straits heading into the draft, and Alexander helps Green Bay's situation immediately—especially if he cuts back on the mental mistakes to want to try to make a big play.

                

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Grade/Analysis: A+. Leighton Vander Esch to the Dallas Cowboys was the expected pick all along. The Cowboys did have a need at receiver, but they recognized they can wait. Vander Esch may have some play strength issues, but they will work themselves out in time. He may only have one year of starting experience, but Vander Esch can play all over the field and changes direction on a dime. He joins Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee in the Cowboys front seven. This pick felt etched in stone weeks ago.

                  

20. Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Grade/Analysis: B. Not a sexy pick whatsoever, but Frank Ragnow can play football. He performed exceedingly well in important games for Arkansas, such as against Alabama. The Detroit Lions are looking to help keep quarterback Matthew Stafford protected. Ragnow is a tough guy who will display his strength on every snap. Maybe Harold Landry would have been the better pick here, but Ragnow works too.

              

21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): Billy Price, OL, Ohio State

Grade/Analysis: C+. There were better options here along the offensive line, but the Cincinnati Bengals addressed a strong need in attempting to overhaul their offensive line. Billy Price, like Ragnow, is as strong as an ox and will help secure the middle of an offensive line that will also welcome Cordy Glenn. A solid pick that will serve as an instant upgrade, but it's a bit of a reach.

             

22. Tennessee Titans (via Baltimore Ravens from Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Grade/Analysis: B+. This is a definite need for the Tennessee Titans. In drafting Rashaan Evans, they get an explosive player who is extremely versatile. He will be able to attack the passer too. Sometimes, he may have issues with taking on blocks, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Head coach Mike Vrabel should be able to find all kinds of ways to use Evans.

                

23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Grade/Analysis: B. A definite need for the New England Patriots. Isaiah Wynn excels in pass protection and can hold his own opening run lanes. But that will be his biggest question mark at the next level—can he bully opposing defensive linemen to open those lanes consistently? Under O-line coach Dante Scarnecchia, expect any issues to be rectified as soon as possible.

              

24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Grade/Analysis: B. A definite need pick here, and it was expected. Calvin Ridley would have been some analysts' pick at No. 24, but the Carolina Panthers pulled the trigger on D.J. Moore who is reminiscent of former Maryland teammate Stefon Diggs. However, unlike Diggs, Moore can play all over the field and is a bit bigger. This will help bolster the receiving corps for Cam Newton.

                

25. Baltimore Ravens (via Tennessee Titans): Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Grade/Analysis: C+. It's hard to endorse drafting a tight end in the first round. However, Hayden Hurst ran well at the combine and acts as a receiver. He runs routes exceedingly well and can line up anywhere on the field. This adds another pass-catcher for quarterback Joe Flacco, who needs any help he can get.

                

26. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Grade/Analysis: B+. The rich get richer. This is definitely a luxury selection. There were other needs the Atlanta Falcons could have addressed, such as with Maurice Hurst or Harold Landry, but Ridley joins an offense that is fully loaded once again. They have a three-headed monster at receiver in Julio Jones, Ridley and Mohamed Sanu. He should be able to put up some quality numbers his rookie season.

                 

27. Seattle Seahawks (via Green Bay Packers from New Orleans Saints): Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Grade/Analysis: D+. Rashaad Penny is a fine player, but this was way too early. In fact, there are three other running backs who should have been taken before him. He can definitely be a workhorse back—something the Seattle Seahawks need—but he's not exactly the home run hitter type of running back. He will run hard and force missed tackles. However, this is a reach.

               

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Grade/Analysis: D. This makes Penny's selection look like a steal. Terrell Edmunds is more of Day 3 pick. His brother Tremaine is fantastic, but Terrell has plenty of issues. He can pack a bunch on tackles, but he fails to find the football when he's running with his back to the ball and can be fooled on route fakes. It's hard to see why the Pittsburgh Steelers took him here when they could have taken him much later. More of a project than a finished product.

                        

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Grade/Analysis: A. The Jacksonville Jaguars already have an incredibly impressive defensive line, and it got even better Thursday. Taven Bryan is explosive and has a ton of athleticism. He's going to a great spot where he won't be asked to start Week 1 and will this have time to hone his craft on a team that is filled with a ton of defensive line talent. Bryan needs to get more consistent at making plays and stuffing the stat sheet, but that will come. This is a depth pick, and it's a fantastic get for the already deep Jaguars.

                  

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Grade/Analysis: B. A definite need for the Minnesota Vikings, but Mike Hughes is a little bit away from being a No. 1 cornerback. Fortunately, the Vikings won't need that right away. Hughes is a bit raw but is physical in press coverage and can contribute on special teams too. Still, Will Hernandez or Harold Landry should have been the pick here.

               

31. New England Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Grade/Analysis: B-. Not a bad pick, but it's surprising three running backs went in the first round. Sony Michel bone-on-bone concerns in his knee, but looking at his film, he shows off plenty of potential with his vision, physicality and ability to accelerate. He's well-built too. Michel will also do well in one area that is important to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick: pass protection.

                  

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

32. Baltimore Ravens (via Philadelphia Eagles): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Grade/Analysis: A+. When the Ravens passed on Lamar Jackson with the 25th pick, many heads would have been scratched. But they made up for it by trading back up into the first round to get the Louisville product. Flacco's time in Baltimore could be coming to an end, and Jackson is the successor. The 2016 Heisman winner is an electric talent who will benefit from sitting behind Flacco. An excellent situation all around.

                    

Notable Selections

Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

This was perhaps the best, safest pick of Thursday night. This draft pick checked all the boxes—need and best player available value.

The Colts have been yearning for help on the offensive line to keep Luck upright, and they found their left guard for the next decade or more in Round 1.

Nelson was a candidate to go No. 2 overall to the New York Giants.

It's not too often you can say this about a player, but he is a potential future Hall of Famer without even having played an NFL snap.

He's that good. Nelson will not allow much of any pass rush and will help open up lanes in the running game immensely.

                      

Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The Cardinals moved up from No. 15 to No. 10 and got the best quarterback in the draft.

There were some concerns about his attitude coming into the draft, but Rosen is ready for go Week 1 if he needed.

There are few concerns from a playing standpoint. Sam Bradford is projected as the Week 1 starter, but you have to keep his injury history in mind.

Fortunately, they have Rosen should the Bradford experiment go south. With Fitzgerald and Johnson as weapons, Rosen landed in the best possible spot he could if asked to play Week 1.

                   

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Trading back up into the first round for the No. 32 overall pick, the Ravens got the most athletic quarterback in the draft.

Jackson can make the necessary throws and possesses traits that will make any offensive coordinator's job easier.

Having featured under Bobby Petrino at Louisville, Jackson is used to pro-style playing, so don't get confused by his knack for wanting to run with the football.

This was a shocker. Not that the Ravens were the final landing spot, but how it went about.

Jackson will have plenty of time to sit behind Flacco and Robert Griffin III, learn the game and work out the kinks.

When the time comes, Jackson is going to take the NFL by storm.

A phenomenal pick.

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