To many fans, the National Football League (NFL) is essentially an all-year long lifestyle. In a nutshell, the NFL represents America. It exemplifies our passion of sports, competition, and our love & praise of high-profile athletes.
Here in the United States, people eat, sleep, breathe, and formulate many weekend plans around their team’s Sunday games. Even in the off-season, the grid iron stays top of mind for many people and it certainly doesn’t shy away from any media coverage with constant stories looking to be told.
Well, although fans mean a lot for this league, it is the staff and actual athletes that drive the NFL. This past week was the pinnacle of the NFL off-season as we witnessed many young men’s lives change as their names were called during the 2018 NFL Draft. As a perfect metaphor, this grandiose sporting event was hosted inside ‘America’s Team’ home arena, the Dallas Cowboys’, AT&T Stadium. It was in this setting of ‘Jerry’s World’ that the world changed for many people & many NFL organizations as they chose the next generation of players to suit up for their squads. Since we love to debate and come to conclusions in sports, here is our immediate review of the 2018 NFL Draft to understand some of the winners and losers and which player’s we think can have immediate impacts & have lasting careers.
2018 NFL Draft Surprises
- Baker Mayfield – His name being called was never going to be a surprise, but it being called at number one was a surprise to many. His off-field antics & overall extravagant personality, although assertive & confident, also poses some worries. In addition, his small stature and average athleticism leads to many skeptics. With that said, his accuracy, arm strength, and desire to be great is something you can’t knock. Let’s see if he can live up to the hype as he may end up being the 30th different starting QB for the Browns since 1999!
- Saquon Barkley – Arguably the best athlete in the Draft, it was still a surprise for many that the Giants did not go with a QB as Eli Manning, now 37, is certainly on the downward part of his career. With three other big-time QB’s on the board, many insiders felt the Giants would either shop the pick or go with someone who they hoped would turn into their next franchise QB. In the end, Saquon appears to be very professional & this pick appears to be safe, at least in the short-term.
- Bradley Chubb – With Sam Darnold going to the NY Jets at #3, many felt Chubb would be perfect for the Browns’ second pick at #4. Well, instead of going with Chubb, who was granted the best defensive player of the year award, they chose another defensive player, CB Denzel Ward. No disrespect to Ward, but it seemed clear cut that Chubb would be the man next up for the Browns. Instead of the Browns’ orange, Chubb will be donning Denver Bronco’s orange.
- Shaquem Griffin – As a more positive surprise, this young man was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. He lost his left hand due to a prenatal condition, however, has developed into an outstanding athlete and football player. The best part, he joins his brother on the Seahawks who they drafted the year prior.
NFL Draft Winners & Losers
Deciding Winners & Losers is usually a very gray area and with no real evidence, it is very subjective. With that being said, here are some of our instantaneous reactions:
- Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward may not become great, but they should be solid professional football players in the NFL. Cleveland could turn out to be a massive winner due to their pick of RB Nick Chubb. He is second all-time in rushing in the SEC, only behind someone named Herschel Walker, one of the greatest college football players of all-time.
- Denver Broncos – Pairing Bradley Chubb with Von Miller is all you need to know. Their defense is immediately upgraded. WR Courtland Sutton out of SMU could be a nice pick as he has decent size and their other WR pick of DaeSean Hamilton impressed John Elway very much so that is saying a lot.
- Arizona Cardinals – Snagging Josh Rosen at #10 could be a sneaky pick when all is said and done. He might be the most NFL-ready QB and having him learn behind Sam Bradford will only help him grow.
- Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens filled immediate needs with Hayden Hurst at TE and then picked up Heisman Trophy winner, QB Lamar Jackson, who will certainly be groomed to be their future quarterback.
Honorable Mentions: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Seattle Seahawks – With their roster being overhauled, especially on the defensive end, it appears they didn’t really fill many holes. They picked up some nice players, but it appears the ‘Legion of Boom’ is officially over.
- Oakland Raiders – They chose good players, but they don’t appear great, especially considering some of the injury prone characteristics of some of their picks. With John Grudden taking the helm, we were picturing some more ‘wow’ type players being picked.
- Los Angeles Rams – They traded away their 1st and 2nd round picks for Brandin Cooks and Sammy Watkins so let’s see if those moves will pay off.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Again, they picked up some nice players, but none that take our breath away. Considering the moves some of their AFC North rivals made, Bengals seemed to have whiffed a bit.
Immediate Impact Players
- Quenton Nelson – With the Colts in desperate need to protect Andrew Luck (if he ever comes back), Nelson can provide an immediate impact on the offensive line. This guard from Notre Dame appears to be a sure-fire pro for many years to come.
- Bradley Chubb – As the best edge rusher in this year’s Draft, Chubb will team up with Von Miller. This combo will scare many opposing sides & leave them in sorts.
- Vita Vea – He will provide much needed aggression and size for Tampa Bay on the defensive side. Specifically, look for Tampa Bay’s run defensive to be one of the best next year with his addition.
Honorable Mentions: Saquon Barkley, Josh Rosen, Raquan Smith
2018 NFL Season
A lot can be said and predicted, but we all need to but debates aside until these young men hit the field. This was certainly an exciting draft with many stories so let’s see what happens next year. Which of the 4 QB’s taken in the top ten will do the best? Will Barkley be the savior for the Giants? Will the Patriots continue their dynasty? Much is up for debate, so we will see in a few months what comes next in the NFL.
(Photo Image Source: NFL.com)