2018 Draft Class Ratings


Story by TJ Wall, staff writer

The highly anticipated 2018 NFL Draft definitely did not disappoint. It turned out to be just as thrilling as expected. Some teams made better picks than others, but here are the best picks from each team.

Cleveland Browns

Best Pick: Baker Mayfield/QB/Oklahoma

Runner-Up(s): Denzel Ward/DB/Ohio St. and Nick Chubb/RB/Georgia

Analysis: The Browns are looking for Baker Mayfield to finally be the answer to their quarterback woes, and with his competitive spirit, I believe he’s up for the challenge.

New York Giants

Best Pick: Saquon Barkley/RB/Penn. St.

Runner-Up(s): Will Hernandez/OL/UTEP and Kyle Lauletta/QB/Richmond

Analysis: Barkley is probably the best running back to come up in the draft in years. How could the Giants possibly pass up on this kind of talent? Barkley adds a whole new aspect to this already strong offense. Also, quarterback Kyle Lauletta is a big-time sleeper that could end up being the next franchise quarterback in New York.

New York Jets

Best Pick: Sam Darnold/QB/USC

Runner-Up(s): Nathan Shepherd/DL/Fort Hays St. (I guess)

Analysis: The Jets really needed a quarterback, so they chose a guy who is seen by many as the best quarterback in this draft class who just happened to be available with the third pick.

Denver Broncos

Best Pick: Bradley Chubb/DL/N.C. State

Runner-Up(s): Courtland Sutton/WR/SMU and Josey Jewell/LB/Iowa

Analysis: Intimidation. That’s exactly what the Broncos were shooting for when they decided to pair a stellar defensive talent in Bradley Chubb with All-Pro linebacker Von Miller.

Indianapolis Colts

Best Pick: Quenton Nelson/OL/Notre Dame

Runner-Up(s): Darius Leonard/LB/South Carolina St., Nyheim Hines/RB/N.C. State and Jordan Wilkins/RB/Ole Miss

Analysis: Andrew Luck has not been able to stay healthy for the past few seasons, and the best way to prevent him from getting injured is by getting the best offensive lineman in this draft. After that, the Colts made a good move by getting a good tandem of running backs.

Buffalo Bills

Best Pick: Tremaine Edmunds/LB/Virginia Tech

Runner-Up(s): Josh Allen/QB/Wyoming and Harrison Phillips/DL/Stanford

Analysis: The Bills had a defensive need, and they wanted to fill it by picking the second best linebacker in this draft. While some may see Josh Allen as the Bills’ best pick, I disagree. He has a high upside, but he is still a work in progress and is not guaranteed to pan out.

Chicago Bears

Best Pick: Roquan Smith/LB/Georgia

Runner-Up(s): Anthony Miller/WR/Memphis and James Daniels/OL/Iowa

Analysis: Chicago loves a good linebacker, and they acquired the best one in this draft. They also acquired a receiver who I believe is highly underrated named Anthony Miller.

San Francisco 49ers

Best Pick: Mike McGlinchey/OL/Notre Dame

Runner-Up(s): Dante Pettis/WR/Washington and Kentavius Street/DL/N.C. State

Analysis: Since the ‘Niners now have a solid quarterback for the next few years in Jimmy Garoppolo, they needed to give him some protection, and that’s exactly what they did. The 49ers also went out and got another weapon for Garoppolo to throw to. Overall, San Francisco got some pretty solid upgrades.

Arizona Cardinals

Best Pick: Josh Rosen/QB/UCLA

Runner-Up(s): Christian Kirk/WR/Texas A&M

Analysis: To me, the Cardinals got the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft in Josh Rosen. He will be the franchise quarterback for this team and will get his chance to play very soon. The Cardinals also complemented their Rosen pick by adding receiver Christian Kirk. However, Arizona will have to address their offensive line real fast if they want to have success in the near future.

Miami Dolphins

Best Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick/DB/Alabama

Runner-Up(s): Mike Gesicki/TE/Penn. St. and Kalen Ballage/RB/Arizona St.

Analysis: Fitzpatrick is an elite talent who will be an All-Pro talent early on in his career. Gesicki is a nice receiving tight end who is very athletic. Kalen Ballage is an underrated running back who looks to have the potential to be a nice starting running back in the league.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best Pick: Vita Vea/DL/Washington

Runner-Up(s): Ronald Jones II/RB/USC and Carlton Davis/CB/Auburn

Analysis: The Bucs’ defensive line, with the addition of Vea, should be a solid threat against the run. Also, Ronald Jones II should be a nice speedy addition to an offense who desperately needed a running back.

Washington Redskins

Best Pick: Derrius Guice/RB/LSU

Runner-Up(s): Da’Ron Payne/DL/Alabama and Geron Christian/OL/Louisville

Analysis: How Washington will use the many running backs they have, I am honestly not sure. However, as good of a back as Guice is, I believe he was a steal this late in the draft. Could the Redskins have used this pick to address more substantial needs? Probably so. However, I don’t think many Redskins fans are disappointed with this pick.

New Orleans Saints

Best Pick: Marcus Davenport/DL/UTSA

Runner-Up(s): Tre’Quan Smith/WR/UCF and Will Clapp/OL/LSU

Analysis: The Saints stretched quite a bit to get Davenport. I guess New Orleans’ staff saw something special in him. Either way, Davenport is a dynamic threat off the edge and could potentially be exactly what the Saints were looking for.

Oakland Raiders

Best Pick: Kolton Miller/OL/UCLA

Runner-Up(s): Arden Key/DL/LSU, P.J. Hall/DL/Sam Houston St. and Maurice Hurst/DL/Michigan

Analysis: Jon Gruden’s first draft with the Raiders consisted heavily of linemen on both sides of the ball, all of which I believe were great picks.

Los Angeles Chargers

Best Pick: Derwin James/DB/Florida St.

Runner-Up(s): Kyzir White/DB/West Virginia and Scott Quessenberry/OL/UCLA

Analysis: With the addition of the best safety in this draft along with another solid safety in Kyzir White, the Chargers’ secondary got a major upgrade.

Green Bay Packers

Best Picks: Jaire Alexander/DB/Louisville and Josh Jackson/DB/Iowa

Runner-Up(s): J’Mon Moore/WR/Missouri, Marquez Valdes-Scantling/WR/USF and Equanimeous St. Brown

Analysis: Coming into this draft, Green Bay’s metaphorical mouth was watering at the selection of defensive backs they were expecting to have at pick 14 before trading down. If they could’ve gotten just one, they would have been happy, but they ended up getting not one but two defensive backs who were both seen by many as first-round-caliber players.

Dallas Cowboys

Best Pick: Leighton Vander-Esch/LB/Boise St.

Runner-Up(s): Connor Williams/OL/Texas, Michael Gallup/WR/Colorado St. and Bo Scarbrough/RB/Alabama

Analysis: With the loss of linebackers the Cowboys suffered this offseason and the fact that Sean Lee is not always reliable health-wise, Vander-Esch was a solid pick. Additionally, the other three runner-up picks were some nice acquisitions to the offense. It wasn’t flashy, but these picks could be highly effective.

Detroit Lions

Best Pick: Kerryon Johnson/RB/Auburn

Runner-Up(s): Da’Shawn Hand/DL/Alabama and Frank Ragnow/OL/Arkansas

Analysis: The fact that the Lions passed up on Guice here kind of baffled me. Instead, they took a running back who has a nice upside but lacks the skills that other backs in this class have. However, the two runner-up picks were nice additions to the offensive and defensive line.

Cincinnati Bengals

Best Pick: Billy Price/OL/Ohio St.

Runner-Up(s): Jessie Bates/DB/Wake Forest, Sam Hubbard/DL/Ohio St. and Malik Jefferson/LB/Texas

Analysis: Billy Price was one of the better offensive linemen in this draft. The Bengals really needed someone to protect Andy Dalton and to improve their run game. The next three runner-up picks were all on defense, and they were really good defensive picks too.

Tennessee Titans

Best Pick: Rashaan Evans/LB/Alabama

Runner-Up(s): Harold Landry/DL/Boston College and Luke Falk/QB/Washington St.

Analysis: After Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds were taken off of the board, it was kind of a toss-up between Leighton Vander-Esch and Rashaan Evans. Since Vander-Esch was already off the board, the Titans really didn’t have much of a choice. However, this pick wasn’t bad by any means. Harold Landry will be a nice addition to Tennessee’s defensive line, and Luke Falk will be a great backup and fallback option if things go south for Marcus Mariota.

New England Patriots

Best Picks: Isaiah Wynn/OL/Georgia and Sony Michel/RB/Georgia

Runner-Up(s): Duke Dawson/DB/Florida and Braxton Berrios/WR/Miami

Analysis: The Patriots picking Wynn and Michel was exactly what they needed on offense. Dawson should eventually be a key player in New England’s secondary, and Berrios is exactly the kind of receiver that Tom Brady utilizes in that system.

Carolina Panthers

Best Picks: D.J. Moore/WR/Maryland and Donte Jackson/DB/LSU

Runner-Up(s): Marquis Haynes/DL/Ole Miss and Ian Thomas/TE/Indiana

Analysis: While D.J. Moore needs to greatly improve his route running, he will still be a top receiver for Cam Newton. Donte Jackson was solid at LSU and should aid Carolina’s secondary. Marquis Haynes was a great pick considering where they got him. Overall, the Panthers had a decent draft.

Baltimore Ravens

Best Picks: Hayden Hurst/TE/South Carolina and Orlando Brown/OL/Oklahoma

Runner-Up(s): Lamar Jackson/QB/Louisville, Mark Andrews/TE/Oklahoma and Jordan Lasley/WR/UCLA

Analysis: Baltimore likes to play with two-tight end sets, and that’s why they got two of the top five tight ends in this draft. Orlando Brown is a good offensive lineman that will definitely upgrade their offensive line. Lamar Jackson is a quarterback that has a very high upside. However, Jackson’s mechanics and throw accuracy are very shaky. If he can work around that, he has the potential to be an elite franchise quarterback for the Ravens in the near future. Lasley is one of the best receivers talent-wise in this draft. However, his many off-the-field issues are what scares many teams away. Basically, Lasley is a hit or miss.

Atlanta Falcons

Best Pick: Calvin Ridley/WR/Alabama

Runner-Up(s): Isaiah Oliver/DB/Colorado

Analysis: The Falcons are looking to have the Roddy White-Julio Jones situation all over again. Ridley was a great pick by Atlanta and will definitely keep their pass game going strong. Oliver is a nice pick from Colorado. Lately, Colorado has been producing some decent defensive backs, so maybe Oliver can be more of the same.

Seattle Seahawks

Best Pick: Shaquem Griffin/LB/UCF

Runner-Up(s): Michael Dickson/P/Texas, Rashaad Penny/RB/San Diego St. and Jamarco Jones/OL/Ohio St.

Analysis: Shaquem Griffin dropped way further than I believe he should have. The Seahawks got a steal with this pick, and I can guarantee that you’ll hear his name on Sundays plenty of times. Michael Dickson is one of the very few punters that you’ll ever hear of getting an MVP award in a bowl game. Rashaad Penny is yet another hopeful to be the running back to replace Marshawn Lynch. Jamarco Jones is a pick the Seahawks had to make because they are in desperate need on their offensive line.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best Pick: Mason Rudolph/QB/Oklahoma St.

Runner-Up(s): James Washington/WR/Oklahoma St.

Analysis: Mason Rudolph also dropped further than I expected. I believe he is a top five quarterback in this class and will be a great future replacement for Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers also did a good job at replacing Martavis Bryant by getting Rudolph’s partner from Oklahoma State named James Washington.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best Pick: Taven Bryan/DL/Florida

Runner-Up(s): D.J. Chark/WR/LSU and Ronnie Harrison/DB/Alabama

Analysis: The Jaguars added even more talent to their already stacked defense by adding Taven Bryan and Ronnie Harrison. Also, by adding the speedster D.J. Chark, Jacksonville helped out Blake Bortles a lot especially since the Jags lost two of their top receivers in free agency.

Minnesota Vikings

Best Pick: Mike Hughes/DB/UCF

Runner-Up(s): Tyler Conklin/TE/Central Michigan and Daniel Carlson/K/Auburn

Analysis: Minnesota already had a stacked secondary last year, and with the addition of Hughes, it’s almost guaranteed to get even better.

Houston Texans

Best Pick: Justin Reid/DB/Stanford

Runner-Up(s): Martinas Rankin/OL/Mississippi St. and Keke Coutee/WR/Texas Tech

Analysis: The Texans got Reid to add depth to their defense, and if he can impress the coaches, he may end up starting soon. Keke Coutee will definitely help improve the offense and will give Deshaun Watson another weapon to utilize.

Kansas City Chiefs

Best Pick: Breeland Speaks/LB/Ole Miss

Runner-Up(s): Derrick Nnadi/DL/Florida St. and Armani Watts/DB/Texas A&M

Analysis: Speaks should make a very positive impact on Kansas City’s defense even though he will most likely be a backup for a little while. Armani Watts has a lot of potential but also has some flaws in his game that he’ll need to address quickly if he wants to eventually be a leader on this defense.

Philadelphia Eagles

Best Pick: Dallas Goedert/TE/South Dakota St.

Runner-Up(s): Josh Sweat/DL/Florida St.

Analysis: Goedert is a beast of a tight end. I believe that out of all of the tight ends in this draft, Goedert is the most like a Rob Gronkowski. He can make some crazy catches and will be a weapon that is heavily utilized by Carson Wentz.

Los Angeles Rams

Best Pick: Joseph Noteboom/OL/TCU

Runner-Up(s): Ogbonnia Okoronkwo/LB/Oklahoma and Micah Kiser/LB/Virginia

Analysis: There is not much else the Rams can do to improve their team. They already have a stacked defense and with the two runner-up picks, they’ll have even more depth. You can’t really go wrong choosing an offensive lineman to give your offense more opportunities to make big plays, so that’s what the Rams did by picking Noteboom.