Published On: Sun, Apr 29th, 2018

Winners and losers from the 2018 NFL Draft

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The 2018 NFL Draft was certainly among the most-hyped in the history of the event and, after three action-packed days, it’s safe to say it did not disappoint.

With all seven rounds now in the books, let’s evaluate which teams and individuals benefited most, and who received our lowest marks.


Baker Mayfield

Mayfield‘s climb to the top-overall selection was unique, and the former Oklahoma Sooner also finds himself in a (surprisingly) good scenario with the Cleveland Browns.

General manager John Dorsey had already added a number of offensive weapons, including trading for Jarvis Landry and signing Carlos Hyde. After drafting Mayfield, he continued the trend, adding offensive lineman Austin Corbett, running back Nick Chubb, and receiver Antonio Callaway.

With Josh Gordon, Duke Johnson, and 2017 first-round pick David Njoku already on the roster, there will be few excuses for Mayfield to succeed once he sees the field. – Alessandrini

Arizona Cardinals

Looking to build an exciting future for new head coach Steve Wilks, the Cardinals traded up for quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round, moving up five spots by surrendering just a third- and fifth-round pick (in addition to their 2018 first-rounder).

Arizona also added impressive slot receiver Christian Kirk in the second round and potential Week 1 starting center Mason Cole in the third, clearly prioritizing its new quarterback. With the team already boasting a strong running game led by David Johnson, most pieces are in place for Rosen to succeed. This is how a roster should be built. – Alessandrini

Green Bay Packers

As long as Aaron Rodgers is dressed in Packer green, the offense is going to be among the league’s best. Operating under that assumption, new general manager Brian Gutekunst focused on the defensive side of the ball, snagging Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, two of the top corners on the board, in the first two rounds to strengthen the secondary.

Perhaps Gutekunst’s best move was trading back in the first round with the New Orleans Saints to get the Packers an extra first-round pick for next year. When you also add the fact Green Bay gave Rodgers another weapon with receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in the sixth round, it’s safe to say the Packers are winners. – Belbeck

Andrew Luck

Prior to Luck missing last season due to shoulder surgery, the star quarterback took a pounding on an annual basis as the Colts’ offensive leader. As Luck works diligently to return, the club added a couple bodyguards to ensure his safety for the 2018 campaign: offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith in the opening two rounds.

The Colts also added running backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, as well as receiver Deon Cain in the later rounds to give Luck additional weapons. – Belbeck

Shaquem Griffin

The best story in the draft is one-handed linebacker Griffin being reunited with his brother Shaquill as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

The pair starred for UCF in college, and with his fifth-round selection, Shaquem will have the opportunity to make his name as part of a dominant linebacker core for the NFC West club. – Belbeck

Matt Nagy

The Chicago Bears entered the 2018 offseason with a clear plan: surround Mitchell Trubisky with good players. They fulfilled that on draft day, selecting center James Daniels and receiver Anthony Miller. Daniels will solidify Chicago’s offensive line, while Miller is a nice addition to the recently signed Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel.

Chicago also bolstered its defense, adding linebacker Roquan Smith with their first-round pick. New head coach Matt Nagy has to be thrilled, as he will enter Year 1 with a stronger roster than most new hires. – Alessandrini


For the first time since 1982, punters were selected in back-to-back picks during the draft. After the Packers selected Alabama standout J.K. Scott with the 172nd overall pick, the Raiders grabbed Florida‘s Johnny Townsend at No. 173.

Michael Dickson going to the Seahawks at No. 149 and Logan Cooke being taken by the Jaguars at No. 247 made it a total of four punters taken. – Belbeck


New York Jets

To move up from No. 6 to No. 3 and draft Sam Darnold, the Jets had to give up three second-round picks. Whatever your thoughts are on the former USC quarterback, that’s a ton to relinquish to move up just three spots. The Jets have talent issues all over the field and could have gotten a very strong player at No. 6, along with two second-round picks in the draft. Instead, they came away with only Darnold and defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd from the top 100 picks.

Darnold might end up a franchise-level quarterback, but after this year’s draft, the Jets appear destined to get worse before they get better. – Belbeck

New Orleans Saints

The Saints easily had one of 2018’s poorest draft classes. They addressed their biggest need in the first round by selecting UTSA pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, but paid a hefty price in the process, moving up 13 slots to select the raw but talented defender and surrendering next year’s first-round pick to the Packers. Trading a future first-rounder for a non-quarterback is a risky and inadvisable draft strategy.

Their questionable decisions didn’t stop there, however, as the Saints selected Florida State offensive tackle Rick Leonard in the fourth round, who could very well have been drafted in the seventh. – Alessandrini

Recently-signed quarterbacks

The 2018 draft was ripe with potential starting signal-callers, making a number of incoming veterans expendable, especially in the AFC where AJ McCarron, Teddy Bridgewater, Robert Griffin III, and Tyrod Taylor are all in jeopardy. The Buffalo Bills traded up for Josh Allen in Round 1 and could unseat McCarron despite Allen’s raw traits, while the Jets selected Darnold third overall. With Joe Flacco and first-rounder Lamar Jackson on the Ravens‘ roster, Griffin could exit camp as a third-stringer, if he makes the team at all. Finally, the Browns seem committed to Taylor as their 2018 starter, but No. 1 overall picks rarely spend too long on the bench.

In the NFC, the Cardinals looked to the future when trading up to select Rosen, putting the status of both Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in question. There’s no guarantee both make the team, and Bradford will be on a short leash with Rosen on his tail. – Alessandrini

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs, without a first-round pick thanks to the Patrick Mahomes trade last year, decided to focus mainly on defense after that unit took a massive step back last season. The AFC West club opted mostly for potential rather than production in college, and the picks of Breeland Speaks (No. 46), Derrick Nnadi (No. 75) and Dorian O’Daniel (No. 100) can certainly be described as reaches.

Then there’s sixth-rounder Kahlil McKenzie, the son of Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. While it may be entertaining to grab the son of a rival GM, Kansas City could have simply taken a player still on the board who already has experience on the offensive line. – Belbeck

Dallas Cowboys

Full disclosure: The Cowboys had a decent draft class but a disastrous weekend overall, despite hosting the event.

It began Friday afternoon, when rumors circulated that veteran tight end Jason Witten would retire to join Monday Night Football’s broadcast team. Jones was caught off guard by the report, so it doesn’t seem like the longtime owner has much control over the situation. Regardless, Dallas entered Day 2 with glaring needs at both wide receiver and tight end. They were unable to fill the latter with a blue-chip prospect, selecting Stanford‘s Dalton Schultz in the fourth round.

And how could we forget David Akers? – Alessandrini


After the Buccaneers made it public that a parrot would announce the team’s fourth-round pick, the internet was full of anticipation to hear the bird squawk out the selection on national television. Then, this happened …

Yup, not a syllable from the parrot. Further research would find the parrot was only supposed to fly the pick to his handler to make the announcement, but we didn’t get to see that, either. All in all, a failure and a major indictment of the ability of parrots everywhere to perform in the clutch. – Belbeck

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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