Winners and Losers - Day 1
| Winners and Losers - Day 3
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
May 2, 2018
Late in the second round, I think Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams made the best pick of the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft when he took Guice. Not only was Guice a steal in Round 2, but Williams was able to trade down before selecting the talented back. It was a genius move by Williams, and one that could reward the Redskins for many years to come.
I know of multiple teams that had Guice rated as the second running back prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft behind only Penn State's Saquon Barkley. Guice is a tough runner with speed, size, and natural running skills. If it weren't for an injury, he probably would have been graded as a consensus first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Guice slipped some because of team concerns about his personal makeup. After a tough upbringing, Guice has an edge to him, but he landed with a perfect team as Williams and Reskins president Bruce Allen have had a history of helping these kind of players avoid trouble. Guice should quickly become a three-down starter, and he has Pro Bowl potential. There isn't a huge dropoff from Barkley to Guice, so getting Guice late in the second round after Barkley went second overall is a massive steal for Washington.
The Redskins continued their big upside selections with Louisville offensive tackle Geron Christian in the third round. Christian is an excellent athlete who has quick feet, speed and agility. However, he is a raw player who needs a lot of development in his technique. Fortunately for Washington, the organization has one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL with Bill Callahan. The Redskins have a hole at guard, and Christian could compete there quickly once Callahan starts working with him. With his natural skill set, Christian could develop into a Pro Bowl guard and might be the eventual replacement for Trent Williams at left tackle.
Just like in 2017, the Redskins had an excellent draft, but they don't get a lot of credit for it because their staff doesn't lobby the national media to give them praise like other teams and general mangers do. Williams is building the Redskins into a hard-nosed and talented football team.
John Elway had an excellent second day of the 2018 NFL Draft. He started it off by selecting SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton, and that set the tone for the Broncos to really build up the talent on their roster via the 2018 Draft. Many around the league felt that Sutton would be a pick in the back half of the first round, so landing Sutton in Round 2 was superb value for Denver. He gives the Broncos a talented trio at wide receiver, and before long, he could be their No. 1 receiver once Demaryius Thomas ages out of Denver. Sutton has mismatch size and could give defenses a lot of problems with their coverage focused on Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Early in the third round, Elway took another upgrade to the Broncos' offense in running back Royce Freeman. The thick power back had an excellent career at Oregon, showing off the ability to be a bell-cow back with three-down starting potential for the NFL. In the thin air at Mile High, Freeman could be a force who runs over worn-down defenses in the second half of games. Freeman was underrated in a strong class of running backs and could easily be a steal for Denver.
Later in Round 3, Denver got some cornerback depth in Isaac Yiadom. That was the only pick of the Broncos who I wasn't a fan of as there were better cornerbacks available like Wisconsin's Nick Nelson. However, Nelson comes with a minor knee injury, so it is somewhat understandable why Denver felt Yiadom was safer. Yiadom is a big outside corner who could compete for playing time to be the Broncos' third corner.
Between Sutton and Freeman, the Broncos really improved their offensive talent on Day 2, as both players could provide immediate contributions. With Yiadom, Denver added depth at a critical position, plus he has the potential to grow under the tutelage of Vance Joseph.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, one wouldn't have thought that the Buccaneers would be among the second-day winners considering they only had one selection on Friday night after the Jason Pierre-Paul trade, but they were able to acquire two second-round picks from Buffalo when they moved down from the seventh selection to the 12th. In the second round, the Bucs addressed some pressing needs with quality talent.
Tampa Bay's first selection was its own, and the team used it on USC running back Ronald Jones. The Bucs needed a replacement for Doug Martin, and Jones was a suitable second-round pick for that. Other teams had him graded in Round 2, so he wasn't a reach by the Bucs.
The next two picks were used on cornerbacks with North Carolina's M.J. Stewart and Auburn's Carlton Davis. Stewart is a competitive cover corner who fits well working out of the slot. Davis is a big, long, outside corner who is adept at playing zone or press man. The two should work well in tandem, as Stewart is capable of defending speed receivers while Davis has the ability to handle big wideouts. If they pan out and Vernon Hargreaves III gets straightened out, the Buccaneers could have a talent young starting cornerback trio.
The Steelers made three second-day picks, and I was not a fan of any of them. To lead it off, Pittsburgh took Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington in the second round. Other teams had Washington graded lower in the mid-rounds, so he was bit of a reach. Washington is a deep-threat receiver who is short and has a running back build. Given his lack of height, Washington won't be able to make receptions over NFL defenders downfield. He also has buildup speed, and in the NFL, I don't think he will be as effective at generating separation. The speed of the pro game requires receivers to get open rapidly, and I think Washington could have issues with that in the NFL.
In the third round, the Steelers took Washington's college quarterback, Mason Rudolph. I had Rudolph as one of the potential busts for the 2018 NFL Draft, and this pick reminds me of Pittsburgh taking Landry Jones out of Oklahoma. As a senior, Rudolph struggled to throw into tight windows, and a lot of his best throws came from him rainbowing the ball downfield rather than driving it to his receiver. His anticipation will have to improve for the pros, or he could be taking a lot of sacks from holding onto the ball too long. Routinely, Rudolph wouldn't pull the trigger on a throw until his receiver had long since gotten wide open rather than anticipating the play to get the ball out faster. The length of time Rudolph holds the ball in the pocket is going to be a problem in the NFL, but in the Big XII, he could get away with it, as he had all day to throw. There were plays when he got the ball out quickly with anticipatory throws, but it was inconsistent and he has to quicken the process for the NFL. Rudolph will have to work on his accuracy and field vision as well, plus get used to playing under center and calling plays in the huddle. Going through progressions and reading the field can be problems for Rudolph, and he has to improve there. I think Rudolph could be a weaker-armed Landry Jones or Mike Glennon-caliber backup in the NFL.
Pittsburgh finished Day 2 with another reach in Wester Michigan offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. Other teams had him graded on Day 3, so that was not a good value for Pittsburgh. Years from now, I think this second-day haul from Pittsburgh could end being very disappointing.
The Cowboys took a couple of risky products on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft. Starting with Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams, the Cowboys got a lot of praise, but teams across the league never had Williams graded as high as the media hype suggested.
Williams was projected by many media members to be a first-round pick, but I know teams that has him graded as low as the fourth or fifth round, and I share their opinion. There are a lot of problems with Williams for the NFL. The biggest issue is that he is not strong at all. He plays soft and gets pushed around. Williams lacks strength in his base, plus speed rushers can give him problems. He has an issue with sustaining blocks as defenders can break away from his blocks. Williams is also a tweener guard/tackle. His height and lack of length would make him fit better at guard. However, his lack of strength would be very problematic on the inside, where strong or heavy nose tackles would give him problems. His feet and athleticism would fit better at tackle, but he lacks strength there and has issues with speed rushers. I think Williams is a smaller and weaker version of Luke Joeckel. Thus, I think Williams has a real shot at being a bust.
In the third round, the Cowboys took a quality receiver Michael Gallup. However, Gallup's college coaches gave NFL teams some poor feedback on working with him. Thus, I could see some issues with Gallup transitioning to the pro game, where it gets a lot harder to get by on just natural ability.
I think there is a serious possibility that Dallas ends up having little to show for its 2018 second-day selections.
Go to Winners and Losers - Day 3
Back to Winners and Losers - Day 1
NFL Picks - Dec. 1
2022 NFL Mock Draft - Dec. 1
NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 30
Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 8