2018 NFL Draft Day 2 Preview

By Walt – @walterfootball
April 27, 2018

2018 NFL Draft Day 2 Preview – Ten Observations:

1. The Browns walked away from the first round with two very talented players, but that doesn’t mean that they were successful. They could have, as one NFL Hall of Fame running back once said, had their cake and had it, too.

Could Cleveland have selected Baker Mayfield fourth overall after choosing Saquon Barkley first? I think so! Let’s take a look…

New York Giants: Dave Gettleman could have traded down with the Broncos with Barkley off the board. However, he has never traded down in the first round as a general manager in the NFL. Gettleman, as media members said of him, “likes to stay in his lane.” There were reports that the Giants were considering Bradley Chubb over Barkley, so I believe they would have just stayed put and taken Chubb.

New York Jets: Reports leading up to the draft said that the Jets would select Mayfield – unless Sam Darnold was on the board. Thus, I believe Darnold would have been the choice.

And that’s it. I don’t know why I included small logos for just two teams, but I thought it would look pretty.

At any rate, the Browns absolutely could have walked away with both Barkley and Mayfield. I thought it was crazy that they would pass on Barkley. They were the first team since the 1992 Colts to have the top selection as well as another one in the top five. They had more top-five picks in this draft than wins over the past two seasons! They had to think outside the box (heteroclitically) to become a winner, and I will go to my grave believing that Barkley was the right decision. Had the Browns owned, say, the first- and seventh-overall picks, quarterback would’ve been the correct play. However, having the cake and having it too was a very realistic option for them.

2. Speaking of the Browns’ option of going with Mayfield, I found it interesting that general manager John Dorsey was so secretive about it. The media members joked how he hadn’t even told his wife. Head coach Hue Jackson was informed just 48 hours beforehand. No one in the media really knew either until the night before when things began leaking out among staffers.

I wonder why this happened. Charlie Campbell theorized that this was Roger Goodell putting a gag order on teams for TV ratings. As someone who makes mock drafts for a living, I hope this is not the case. It’s always nice to get the top pick right!

I could see Goodell putting a gag order on teams. Then again, the last time we didn’t know who the top selection was for sure was 2013 when Dorsey was general manager of the Chiefs. If you didn’t follow the draft back then, no one knew whom Kansas City would decide among Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel.

I don’t know why Dorsey would be so secretive about his decision at No. 1. It didn’t matter that no one knew that he preferred Fisher over Joeckel, and it won’t matter that no one knew that he liked Mayfield over the other quarterbacks.

My theory if there is no gag order? Dorsey just hates mock drafts. If so, I’d like to declare that he and I are mortal enemies. I vow that my mock drafts and I will defeat him one day.

3. As for two other teams that selected quarterbacks in the top half of the opening round, I have to say that it was incredibly intelligent of both the Bills and Cardinals not to surrender any first-round picks to do so. Buffalo gave up two seconds to acquire Josh Allen, while Arizona sent away third- and fifth-round choices to get Josh Rosen.

Even though the Bills lost per the trade value chart, as I pointed out in my 2018 NFL Draft Trade Grades, not giving up next year’s first-round pick was absolutely crucial. The 2019 NFL Draft class is going to be epic. It may not have lots of quarterbacking talent, but the class seems stacked at almost every other position, mainly defensive line. Just look at our 2019 NFL Mock Draft. Clemson’s defensive line alone accounts for 30 percent of the top 10!

Clemson’s defensive line is part of the reason why the 2019 NFL Draft class will be so great. Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell would have been two top-10 picks Thursday had they declared. The same goes for Washington tackle Trey Adams, who returned to school because of injury. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson may have been a first-round pick as well.

How could the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft have gone if these players declared (and Adams remained healthy?) Let’s take a look!

    1. Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield, QB
    2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB
    3. New York Jets – Sam Darnold, QB
    4. Cleveland Browns – Christian Wilkins, DT
    5. Denver Broncos – Bradley Chubb, DE
    6. Indianapolis Colts – Clelin Ferrell, DE
    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson, G
    8. Buffalo Bills (trade) – Josh Allen, QB
    9. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Adams, OT
    10. Oakland Raiders – Mike McGlinchey, OT

That means Denzel Ward, Josh Rosen and Roquan Smith all would have been available for the teams in the 11-15 range. Crazy.

4. You may have noticed that in those top 10 picks, I didn’t have the Buccaneers or Raiders trading down, like they did in the 2018 NFL Draft. That’s because the players they coveted, Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, respectively, were off the board.

These are just two examples of picks being just one spot off. This happened so many times Thursday night! Take a look:

Indianapolis Colts: Wanted Bradley Chubb sixth overall; Chubb went fifth.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Wanted Quenton Nelson seventh overall; Nelson went sixth.
Oakland Raiders: Wanted Mike McGlinchey 10th overall; McGlinchey went ninth.
Washington Redskins: Wanted Vita Vea 13th overall; Vea went 12th.
Baltimore Ravens: Wanted Kolton Miller 16th overall; Miller went 15th.
Cincinnati Bengals: Wanted Frank Ragnow 21st overall; Ragnow went 20th.
Philadelphia Eagles: Wanted Sony Michel 32nd overall; Michel went 31st.

There might be some other examples I’m not aware of, but I know those to be true.

I hope this doesn’t lead teams to be more secretive going forward. I don’t think it should. If the Broncos didn’t know the Colts liked Chubb, would they not have selected him fifth overall? If the Colts, in turn, didn’t know the Buccaneers liked Nelson, would they not have chosen him sixth overall? I think this is just a major coincidence that we hopefully don’t see again moving forward.

5. Of all the “one pick missed” teams, I find the Raiders’ inability to land McGlinchey to be the most tragic.

Not only did Oakland lose McGlinchey to one of its most-hated rivals, but it occurred because the team lost the coin flip at the combine! Remember, the 49ers and Raiders flipped a coin to see which team would own the ninth pick. The 49ers won the flip, and that’s exactly why they were able to land the top tackle in the class.

I wonder if the Raiders could have done more here. I’m not talking about trading up, or any of that nonsense. If I were running that team, I would have snuck a two-headed coin into the proceedings. If it worked, great. If I got caught, I could just brush it off as a joke. “Haha, I’m not serious, guys,” I’d say. Shame on the Raiders for not doing this. I mean, if Edgar can win an entire freaking kingdom from his brother Sabin because of a rigged coin flip (spoiler alert), Oakland could have secured the ninth pick with one.

Speaking of McGlinchey, I didn’t understand San Francisco’s pick of him at all. The strength of the 49ers, prior to Jimmy Garoppolo starting, was the tackle play, as both Joe Staley and Trent Brown were terrific last season. So, where does McGlinchey fit in? Well, there were reports today suggesting San Francisco could trade Brown, who happens to be entering his contract year. If Brown is dealt, McGlinchey will start at right tackle, potentially moving over to the blind side once Staley retires. It’ll be interesting to see what the 49ers get for Brown.

(Update: The Patriots have acquired Brown for a swap of third- and fifth-round picks.)

6. Getting back to the Rosen trade, I have to give major credit to Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki for the tip. I had Arizona moving up specifically for Rosen in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft because of what Jurecki said. Not only did Jurecki call that Arizona would move up for Rosen, he specifically said the Cardinals would do so in the bottom half of the top 10.

That’s one hell of a call, especially when the national media was touting Lamar Jackson as a strong possibility to the Cardinals.

7. Now, to the horrible trade. When the Saints moved up from No. 27 to 14, I assumed it would be for a quarterback. I actually projected New Orleans to move up (to No. 16) in my mock for Lamar Jackson. Everyone on TV seemed to believe it would be for Jackson as well, given that the Saints surrendered a 2019 first-round pick to do so.

And yet, the Saints selected Marcus Davenport. It was an absolute shocker, and it was also the worst pick in the entire first round.

By giving up such a great commodity, the Saints reasoned that they were just one player away from winning the Super Bowl. The problem is that Davenport is raw and will need a year or so to develop into a consistent pass-rusher. Thus, the trade doesn’t make sense from a “one player away” perspective.

Also, I found it extremely odd that the Saints gave up a 2019 first-round pick for a defensive end when the 2019 NFL Draft class is absolutely loaded with defensive line talent. Again, take a look at my 2019 NFL Mock Draft. I have six defensive linemen going in the top 10 alone. Nine defensive linemen in the top 21. Eleven in the entire first round! Why use multiple resources on a talented defensive lineman when a better one can be obtained just 12 months later!?

8. New Orleans had the worst pick, while Chicago may have had the strangest one.

I’m not saying what the Bears did was poor. I love Roquan Smith. He fills a need, and he was arguably the top player remaining. If I were running Chicago, it’s the choice I would have made.

So, why is it strange? Because taking Smith went against everything general manager Ryan Pace has done thus far. Pace has always gone with the high-upside, super-athletic players. Think Kevin White, Leonard Floyd, Adam Shaheen, etc. That’s why I thought Chicago would choose either Tremaine Edmunds or Marcus Davenport. Instead, he went the correct direction and opted for Smith.

The Bears continue to mystify me. I never have any idea what they’re going to do, and I don’t know of anyone who does either.

9. I say stupid things without thinking them through sometimes. On the most-recent podcast episode, I predicted that there would be three receivers in the opening round, and maybe even four or five. This statement had nothing to do with the talent in the class, but more of how early wideouts have gone recently (three in the top nine last year) and how much they’ve been paid in free agency.

Despite this bold and stupid prediction, I ended up mocking just one wideout in the opening round of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, slotting D.J. Moore to the Panthers (I had Calvin Ridley at No. 33 to the Browns.)

I’m pointing out Moore because he was the one pick I had correct in my 2018 NFL NOT Draft (which is a bad thing.) So, in a span of week, I declared Moore would absolutely not be taken by the Panthers, only to predict that Moore would be Carolina’s pick. Whoops. Like I said, I say stupid things without thinking them through sometimes.

Oh, and for those wondering if Carolina should have chosen Ridley over Moore, I can tell you this: Two teams drafting in the teens were set to draft Moore, but players they didn’t expect to be there were available.

10. Receivers have been valued highly in recent years, but this year’s crop just wasn’t very good. Conversely, we saw four non-pass-rushing linebackers taken in the top 22.

This is not a surprise in the slightest. I spent the entire NFL season harping on how important players like Luke Kuechly, Sean Lee, Danny Trevathan and Ryan Shazier were to their teams. From a handicapping perspective, you only see spreads move several points when a quarterback is out, but I argued that the same movement should be applied when stud linebackers like these are missing as well. They are effectively the quarterbacks of their defense, so it was not surprising at all to see the Cowboys struggle immensely without Lee, or Pittsburgh’s defense completely fall apart without Shazier. I think teams taking linebackers early is a trend we’ll see moving forward, as teams discover how utterly important these sorts of players are.

And speaking of Shazier, it was great to see him walking around Thursday night when he was announcing the pick. He said he would walk again, and his prediction was correct. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he took the field in a couple of years, which is something else that he predicted.

Fantasy Football Perspective:

For a fantasy football perspective, there were just nine players chosen in the first round. Here they are, ordered by dynasty value:

  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
  2. Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
  3. Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
  4. D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
  5. Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
  6. Josh Allen, QB, Bills
  7. Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals
  8. Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
  9. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
It’s not an exciting fantasy class thus far, but there should be plenty of talented running backs taken on Day 2. Check out the 2018 NFL Mock Re-Draft for Rounds 2-3 to see where these backs could be chosen.

I’ll have more definitive fantasy rankings following the NFL Draft.

Best Players Available for Day 2:

My top-25 available players for the second round (with links to their scouting reports):

  1. Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
  2. Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
  3. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
  4. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
  5. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

  6. James Daniels, C, Iowa
  7. Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
  8. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  9. Ronald Jones, RB, USC
  10. Lorenzo Carter, DE/OLB, Georgia

  11. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
  12. D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
  13. Maurice Hurst, DE/DT, Michigan
  14. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
  15. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

  16. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
  17. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
  18. Josh Sweat, DE/OLB, Florida State
  19. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
  20. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

  21. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
  22. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
  23. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
  24. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
  25. Austin Corbett, C/G, Nevada

National Media – Winners and Losers:

I have thoughts about members of the ESPN and NFL Network broadcast from last night, and which ones were the “winners” and “losers.” I watched both telecasts – NFL Network live, then ESPN on DVR – so I have a good idea of which media members did well and poorly.


1. Rich Eisen, NFL Network – Eisen was the top winner last year, and he remains on top once again. Eisen as entertaining and witty as usual, which came as no surprise. It was a stark reminder of what ESPN is lacking. Chris Berman was the best for a very long time, but ESPN has failed to fill his shoes. Trey Wingo is now the lead anchor, and he was one of the losers from Thursday night (analysis below.)

As written last year, I have no idea what ESPN was thinking by allowing Eisen to walk. They had to have known that Berman wouldn’t be around for much longer following Eisen’s departure, so they should’ve done everything to keep Eisen around. Letting great talent leave is one of the many reasons ESPN has been leaking oil for a while.

2. Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN – I’m not completely anti-ESPN. Herbstreit was a great addition to ESPN’s panel. He replaced Jon Gruden, who did nothing but call people nicknames during draft telecasts. Herbstreit provided some great insight on prospects, and he also challenged Mel Kiper on a few occasions. I found their argument about Baker Mayfield pretty captivating.

3. Jane Slater, NFL Network – Neither of the ESPN guys mocked Leighton Vander Esch to the Cowboys. Mike Mayock didn’t. Daniel Jeremiah didn’t. Peter King didn’t. Perhaps everyone should have listened to Slater, who reported several days prior to the draft that Dallas was absolutely in love with Vander Esch. That’s some great reporting.


1. Mel Kiper, ESPN – Kiper is the godfather of the NFL Draft, and I’ll always appreciate everything he’s ever done by making this a thing. Without him, I might not have been able to run this Web site as my full-time job.

Unfortunately, Kiper has declined in recent years, and he appeared to be clueless this year when analyzing Baker Mayfield. He said this on why he didn’t like the Browns’ choice of Mayfield:

“I don’t like the pick; 4.84 is his 40 speed.”

Uhh… what? Who cares about Mayfield’s 4.84 40? If Mayfield busts as a pro, is Kiper going to shake his finger at us and say, “I told you he’d bust; his 40 was too slow.”

With Al Davis no longer with us, Kiper might just be the only person who cares about 40 times, apparently.

2. Trey Wingo, ESPN – Wingo was way worse than Kiper, but I expect more out of Kiper, which is why he’s atop this list.

Wingo made several mistakes during the draft telecast. He reported that the Redskins traded up from No. 13 to No. 13 – if you can somehow re-watch this, look at the confused faces of the rest of his panel; it was hilarious – and then he referred to Tremaine Edmunds and Terrell Edmunds as “Tremaine and Terrell Edwards.” He also said that the Vikings had the “first walk-off touchdown in NFL playoff history,” yet the Broncos had one with Tim Tebow in 2011; not to mention Matt Hasselbeck’s pick-six. Wingo followed that up by calling Ozzie Newsome “Ozzie Smith.” Good lord.

People loved to hate on Berman because of the old jokes, but he was great. I can’t believe ESPN hasn’t properly replaced him.

3. Red Carpet, NFL Network – What I wrote the past three years still applies:

“What the hell was this all about? Who does the NFL Network think is watching the draft, 60-year-old women? No football fan cares about what sort of clothes and shoes prospects were wearing. If the NFL Draft happened to be a mass spectacle like the Super Bowl, I could understand it, but there’s no one watching it and thinking, OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE HE WAS WEARING THOSE SHOES WITH THAT JACKET OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!

2018 NFL Draft Mailbag:

From Brendan S.

Do the Redskins trade up for Derrius Guice or Will Hernandez?

–> I wouldn’t because there are so many options at these positions. In fact, I think the Redskins might like Ronald Jones better than Guice, so I think they’ll stay put.

From Shane W.

Can you rank which QBs from the first round will be most likely to be good in 3-5 years from now?

–> My guess: Baker Mayfield, then Sam Darnold, then Josh Allen, then Lamar Jackson, then Josh Rosen. I’m concerned about the injuries and off-field problems with Rosen. Meanwhile, Mayfield is the polar opposite of Rosen. He just wants it more.

From Andrew B.

When will the QBs taken end up starting for their respective teams? Before game 1, during the season, or afterwards?

–> I think Mayfield, Darnold and Allen all start by October. Rosen, too, though it depends on when Sam Bradford gets hurt. I don’t think Jackson will see the field until 2020, barring a Joe Flacco injury.

From Dennis C.

Should the Broncos take a RB or OG with their next pick?

–> Both make a lot of sense, but I wouldn’t count out a quarterback or cornerback either. Denver was interested in Denzel Ward, and Joshua Jackson is an intriguing option. Jackson actually resembles Aqib Talib a bit, and Denver needs to replace Talib. That said, I liked Ryan M’s answer: “I hope we get a Chubb for the second night in a row, giggity.”

From Chuck L.

Why does asparagus make my urine smell funny?

–> Ummm… why are you smelling your urine?

From Dan T.

Where do Eagles go with first pick in round 2?

–> Mike Gesicki is my best guess. The Eagles want to run a two-tight end offense, and they need to replace Brent Celek. I’ve heard they like Gesicki.

From Nathan T.

What positions had runs in the first round? And which positions will have a run in the early 2nd round?

–> Off-LOS linebackers did when four were chosen between Nos. 8 and 22. Quarterbacks did in the top 10. In the second round, I think we’ll see plenty of running backs come off the board early.

From Clint G.

Do Raiders move up to take some defensive talent like Harold Landry, Josh Jackson?

–> The Raiders had interest in Denzel Ward, so I could see them targeting Jackson. I don’t think they need to trade up. There are plenty of talented players still available. There’s no reason to surrender resources.

From Nick V.

What trade had the biggest impact on the draft?

–> It has to be the Bills-Buccaneers trade. Not only did Buffalo get a franchise quarterback, but Tampa, in moving down, took Vita Vea. The Redskins wanted Vea, so they had to take Da’Ron Payne instead. That means the Chargers, who had their eye on Payne, went with Derwin James as a result.

From Adam D.

What you think of Green Bay getting their guy and another first-round pick next year?

–> I’d say the Brian Gutekunst era is off to a great start in Green Bay!

From Sam B.

How are the Browns so inept that they blew the draft even though they had all the right cards in their hand?

–> Because they’re the Browns! It’s what they do. Again, I don’t understand how they didn’t grasp the logic of taking Saquon Barkley first overall. It seems very likely they could’ve gotten both Barkley and Baker Mayfield.

From Nathan H.

Why do the Seahawks get a D for selecting their top guy who has basically no red flags, and the Patriots get an A for selecting the injury prone No. 2 RB from Georgia who ran behind a line with NFL talent? Also is it possible they couldn’t work a trade in so they were forced to take their top guy?

–> Yeah, I have to believe the Seahawks couldn’t trade down again. I think it’s something they wanted to do. As for the grades, it’s just a matter of where I and teams we’ve spoken to have slotted the running backs. Sony Michel was widely considered a late first-round prospect, while Rashaad Penny was rated as a Round 2-3 guy. The highest grade we saw from Penny was mid-Round 2. It was a reach.

From Jason B.

Agree or disagree… The Raiders made two poor trades but the Steelers took the biggest reach by far. The biggest steal was Derwin James to the Chargers but the Packers made the best trades.

–> I don’t think the Raiders made two poor trades. It made sense to move down from No. 10 once Mike McGlinchey was off the board, so one of the trades made sense. I agree with everything else, though. Terrell Edmunds was considered by some to be a third-round prospect. Derwin James could’ve gone as high as No. 7. And the Packers absolutely killed it.

From Bryan B.

Need a Millen grade on Giants 2nd overall pick in the draft.

–> Why? Saquon Barkley is going to be great! He’ll have the same impact Marshall Faulk had for the Rams. I wish the Giants would’ve traded down, but Barkley was the right choice there if a trade wasn’t considered.

From Brian B.

Should Cleveland draft Harold Landry at 33?

–> I’m not sure about his fit in a 4-3. I think he’s a 3-4 edge rusher. The Browns need a left tackle and a running back, anyway.

From Bruno F.

Who is gonna advance between Jazz and OKC, and why it’s the Jazz?

–> I think the Jazz win tonight, but I can’t handicap my way out of a paper bag when it comes to the NBA.

From Joshua J.

Denzel Ward????

–> I thought the Browns would trade down for him, but Ward makes more sense than Bradley Chubb. The Browns couldn’t afford to give out three $100 million contracts in a span of 12 months in 4-5 years, which is why they passed on Chubb.

From Joseph A.

What’s the point of mock drafts?

–> I don’t like this attitude. I can ask you this: What’s the point of anything? What’s the point of watching a TV show? What’s the point of listening to music? What’s the point of hanging out with friends? We do those things because we like those things. I love writing mock drafts, and people love reading mock drafts. It’s fun. Why question it?

From Bruno F.

If the Colts want a RB, Rice or Chubb?

–> Who’s Rice? Ray Rice? I guess Chubb of those two choices. (I suppose Bruno means Guice. I’d rather have him.)

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