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Friday, April 27, 2018

2018 NFL Draft Takeaways: First Round Winners and Losers



Photo Credit: Tim Heitman- USA TODAY Sports

By: Jeff Hauser
Twitter: @radiohauser


The NFL opened their first-ever draft in Texas from AT&T Stadium on Thursday night with the world tuned in to an event that has rapidly grown in popularity. With all the hype and build up that started from the end of the college football season, the lone star state didn’t disappoint in bringing out the best in primetime. A pair of Heisman-winning quarterback went first and last in the first round, bringing a close to an unpredictable night from Dallas. Here’s a roundup of winner and losers from day one of the 2018 NFL draft.

Winners:

Denver Broncos

Most critics predicted that Broncos GM John Elway was eyeing a quarterback at the No. 5 position. That was until monster defensive prospect N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb perfectly fell right into place for Denver to take advantage of the Browns misfortune. Chubb hails as the Nagurski award winner and comes to Broncos as perfect addition to the heart of their defense that’s already stacked with Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and Shane Ray. Avoiding Wyoming’s Josh Allen and UCLA’s Josh Rosen, who were on the board when the Broncos were on the clock shows Elway’s loyalty to former Minnesota Vikings passer Case Keenum being a potential day one starter. Chubb is a high-octane type player, complete with a skillset to have an all-pro future.

Arizona Cardinals

Out of the top-five quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, the least hyped and undervalued was by far UCLA’s Josh Rosen . Having missed opportunities to draft future starters in past drafts, Cardinals GM Steve Keim took the opportunity to move up five spots to No. 10 and snag Rosen. The draft’s best pure passer was the fourth quarterback off-the-board, despite some scouts charting his abilities as the most “pro-ready option.” A prefect situation for Rosen and the Cards to develop the gunslinger into the next level behind seasoned veterans Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Rosen is a steal the Cardinals, who didn’t have to give up a ton in return for the future face of the franchise.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers didn’t expect Florida State safety Derwin James to be available at the No. 17 spot, but jumped at the opportunity build in the secondary. James is known as a physical workhorse, who contributes in all facets of the game as a pure athlete. A potential day one starter for the Bolts, who fill one of their biggest needs without trading up— a huge steal.

Baltimore Ravens

A final draft farewell to longtime Ravens GM and Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, who stuck to building on offense. Newsome traded back nine spots to No. 25 before drafting South Carolina’s blocking tight end Hayden Hurst, an unpopular move to many fans in attendance. The Ravens then traded back into the first round to acquire the Philadelphia Eagles’ No. 32 overall pick to draft Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Heisman trophy winning passer is a dynamic talent, who’s one of two players in NCAA history to throw for 9,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in his career. Jackson adds another dimension that helps Baltimore’s offensive struggles, and could force a transition away from Joe Flacco. A great move by Newsome all the way around.


Losers:

Buffalo Bills

The Bills record of picking the wrong player in the NFL draft continued on Thursday by skipping over Josh Rosen for Josh Allen, and trading up to do so by giving away multiple picks in the process. Although the scenario is unlikely, Allen could prove critics wrong by producing winning results. A feat prior quarterback drafted into Buffalo failed to accomplish several times. The first draft for new Bills GM Brandon Beane started off with a blunder, leaving fans with uncertain times ahead as Allen is about to be thrust into the thick of it all.

New Orleans Saints

One of the most confusing moments of Thursday night came with the Saints trading everything except the kitchen sink to move up 13 spots to draft UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport at No. 14 overall. A first rounder (27th overall), and a fifth-round pick for this year and another first-round pick in 2019 is the loot Green Bay received in return from New Orleans. An incredible gamble for Sean Payton to give up in hopes Davenport is the dominant prospect New Orleans faithful believes he can be. GM Mickey Loomis has a history of rolling the dice, even when snake eyes have been the result. The Saints need to start considering a transition plan with Drew Brees keeping in mind who might replacement the future Hall of Famer.

Oakland Raiders

A team with many needs especially in the secondary had an opportunity to pursue UCF’s Mike Hughes or FSU’s Derwin James, but instead felt protecting Derek Carr was top on the list by drafting UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller at No. 15 overall. A questionable move by Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie after trading down from the tenth spot to secure more picks in later rounds. Not such a bad move with Miller, and a need position for the Raiders on the offensive line, however the timing of the pick was flawed. Oakland also struck a deal with Pittsburgh to nab explosive wide receiver Martavis Bryant in-exchange for a third-round pick. Let’s see how the next two days play out for the Raiders.

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