Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma C Grade
*** All reports indicate the Browns will select Baker Mayfield first overall, so I'm going to publish a grade for it. If Mayfield is not the pick, I'll change this grade. ***
This "C" grade doesn't have much to do with Mayfield, as it does the position Cleveland is selecting. The Browns are the first team since the 1992 Colts to have both the top pick and another choice in the top five. They have more top-five selections in this draft than wins over the past two years! They needed to do something special with this pick, and this is not it.
I really like Mayfield. He's a great leader and a hard worker. He's very accurate and mobile. He fits what the Browns want. However, the Browns legitimately liked three quarterbacks in this process. Considering the amount of time it took them to make this decision, there can't have been much of a difference between Mayfield, Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. Thus, the correct move would have been selecting Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall. Barkley would have completely transformed Cleveland's offense, much like Marshall Faulk did with the Rams in 1999. Passing on a special player like Barkley is a mistake.
There's a very small chance Barkley will be available at No. 4 (the Giants will need to trade down or select a quarterback.) However, if the Browns take Barkley first, there's a 100-percent chance one of their three preferred signal-callers would be available at the four spot. This would be a completely different situation if the Browns had, say, the first and ninth picks. They would absolutely have to take a quarterback in that scenario. But they're in such a unique situation, and their inability to take advantage of it seems like an egregious error.
New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State B- Grade
I can't fault the Giants for selecting the best player in this class. Saquon Barkley is a terrific talent, and he's not just a running back. He's going to transform New York's offense, much like Marshall Faulk did with the Rams in 1999. He's that special.
So, why the B-? The Giants had an opportunity to trade down. Normally, teams will be chided for not doing so, but they sometimes can't find trading partners. The Giants had them. They could have moved down to acquire more draft capital, which they need when considering all of the holes on their roster. Eschewing that possibility is a mistake.
That said, I don't want to criticize the Giants too hard because I can understand how difficult it is to pass on someone like Barkley.
New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC A Grade
Wow, the Jets had Sam Darnold fall into their laps. They traded up to No. 3, but they could've panicked. When the Broncos were rumored to move up to No. 2, they could have pulled the trigger, but they did not. They were patient, and they selected someone who many believe is the best quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft.
This has to be an "A" grade. The Jets finally found their quarterback of the future, but hopefully Darnold is much better than the previous USC signal-caller New York selected.
Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State D Grade
I have no problem with Bradley Chubb as a prospect. He should be terrific as a pro. The problem is financial. The Browns will have to give three $100 million contracts in five years. Thus, it made no sense for him to be the pick, so I'm not giving the Browns a "D" for Denzel Ward.
I like Ward as a prospect as well. My issue with this is that the Browns did not trade down. They had offers from the Bills, and they may have been able to take Ward at No. 12. Cleveland surrendered way too much value by not moving down.
Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State A+ Grade
I think Saquon Barkley is the best player in this class, but some people whose opinion I respect believe Bradley Chubb is the top prospect. Either way, he's the best defensive player. Considering that the Broncos were able to land him at No. 5, that's amazing value. I can't give this anything other than an A+. Chubb and Von Miller are going to create major havoc for quarterbacks in the AFC West.
Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame A Grade
There are three non-quarterback blue-chip prospects in this class. Bradley Chubb and Saquon Barkley were the first two. Quenton Nelson is the third. The Colts could have taken Roquan Smith, and I would've been fine with it, but Indianapolis absolutely needs to protect Andrew Luck whenever he's able to come back from injury. Nelson should be an elite guard in the NFL, and he'll keep interior rushers from putting heat on Luck.
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming A Grade
What a great job for the Bills. They wanted to trade up all along, but the problem was surrendering No. 22 or a 2019 first-round pick. They didn't want to give up either, and they didn't. They dealt their two second-rounders instead.
As for the actual player, it's nice to see that Josh Allen's actions from when he was 14 didn't impact his draft standing. Allen is raw, but he has great arm strength and mobility, which will work well in Buffalo. He also works very hard, so I think he'll be able to work on his accuracy woes.
Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia A Grade
I thought the Bears would want Tremaine Edmunds over Roquan Smith because Edmunds fits the sort of prospect Ryan Pace has drafted in the past. Smith has less upside, but I think he's a much better player, at least the moment. Smith is a very intelligent linebacker who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Chicago really struggled defensively when Danny Trevathan was hurt, so I love adding arguably the top player available who fills a need.
San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame C Grade
I don't know about this pick. The 49ers are ready to win now, so where is Mike McGlinchey going to play? San Francisco has two stellar tackles in Joe Staley and Trent Brown. McGlinchey gives them some great depth for sure, and a potential replacement for Staley down the road, but barring injuries to Staley or Brown, I don't know how McGlinchey helps San Francisco win now.
Also, there are questions about whether or not McGlinchey can even play left tackle. Some believe McGlinchey would be better suited on the right side, and he's not going to displace Brown.
Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA B Grade
I worry about Josh Rosen. There are stories about his lack of dedication to football. There are partying issues as well, which is why I thought his fit in New York would've been a disaster. He also has an injury history. There were also some unreported things about him that I found troubling as well.
That said, I can't hate on this pick. Rosen is the last of the "top" quarterbacks available, and Arizona's only viable player at the position is Sam Bradford, who may not make it to Week 2. All the Cardinals surrendered were third- and fifth-round picks, so this is a good deal.
Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama A- Grade
Over Tremaine Edmunds? That's kind of a surprise. This is a solid pick, however, as Fitzpatrick will be able to solve the same sort of problems Edmunds could have. The Dolphins have been miserable against tight ends and pass-catching running backs for years, which is obviously a huge issue when going up against the Patriots. Fitzpatrick will be able to help immensely in that regard, so that helps. There is some concern about Alabama players' durability - which is why they've dropped in recent drafts - but considering Fitzpatrick could have been chosen at No. 9, I think this is a good choice for Miami.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, NT, Washington B Grade
I don't hate this pick because Vita Vea is a talented player. Also, the Buccaneers traded down to get him, which was nice. However, I just don't know about taking a two-down player like Vea when a player like Derwin James is available. James, arguably a better prospect, fits a much bigger need, especially after Tampa signed Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein in free agency. Again, I don't hate this selection, but the Buccaneers could've done better.
Washington Redskins: Da'Ron Payne, NT, Alabama B Grade
The Buccaneers broke the Redskins' hearts by selecting Vita Vea oen pick before them. Fortunately, there's one other stud nose tackle in this class, and Washington was able to obtain him.
Payne is a solid choice for the Redskins, as he reunites with Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. The Redskins were woeful versus the run late last year, and Payne will definitely be able to help in that regard.
New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA MILLEN DAVENPORT Grade
What...??? You don't trade a future first-round pick for a non-quarterback, especially in a draft class that is absolutely loaded on the defensive line! This is absolutely atrocious. I wouldn't have minded this pick at all if the Saints were stationed at No. 14, but to give up this much for a raw edge rusher. Ugh.
I don't get it. The Saints had such a great 2017 NFL Draft class. How could they screw up this much? The only way this makes any sense is if the Saints know the world is going to come to an end before the 2019 season. This is a Millen grade all the way.
Oakland Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA C+ Grade
Meh. This is kind of a reach but not an overly egregious one. Kolton Miller is an athletic tackle who should be able to start on the blind side one day. In the meantime, he can play right tackle, and he'd be a big upgrade over what the Raiders had there last year. Miller won't have to wait long to start on the blind side, given Donald Penn's age and health concerns.
I'm not a fan of this pick, but I don't hate it. The Raiders really wanted Mike McGlinchey. He was snatched off the board one pick earlier, so the Raiders did the right thing and moved down, so I think they should be credited for that.
Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech A Grade
It's a bit shocking that Tremaine Edmunds fell this far. He could have gone as high as No. 6, though more realistically No. 8, so credit the Bills for taking advantage of the opportunity and trading up.
Edmunds' athleticism is off the charts, and he has immense potential. He has great versatility as well. The Bills had just one viable player at the position last year (Matt Milano), and Edmunds will certainly change that.