Photo Source – http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/patriots/2018/04/patriots_scouts_liked_what_they_saw_at_georgia
Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, it’s ridiculous to crown anybody a “winner” before players even step on the field. However, there were a few teams that I felt addressed their needs particularly well. Other teams simply took advantage of great talent when it fell to them. All in all, here are my favorite classes of the 2018 Draft.
1st Round Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
2nd Round James Daniels (C, Iowa)
2nd Round Anthony Miller (WR, Memphis)
4th Round Joel Iyiebuniwe (LB, Western Kentucky)
5th Round Bilal Nichols (DT, Delaware)
*6th Round Kylie Fitts (DE, Utah) – Sleeper Alert
6th Round Javon Wims (WR, Georgia)
The Bears did a fantastic job of adding talent on both sides of the ball. Anthony Miller was my favorite WR in this class, and I was also a big fan of Javon Wims (I had a 3rd round grade on him). Pairing them up with Allen Robinson will make Trubisky’s life a lot easier. Roquan Smith feels like the safest linebacker in this class; he’s smart, athletic, and he’s always making plays. James Daniels is already a starting caliber center, he’ll add an immediate boost to this offensive line. I’m also surprised Kylie Fitts fell to them in the 6th; he looked like a 3rd rounder to me.
3rd Round Justin Reid (S, Stanford)
3rd Round Martinas Rankins (OT, Mississippi State)
3rd Round Jordan Akins (TE, Central Florida)
4th Round Keke Coutee (WR, Texas Tech)
*6th Round Duke Ejiofor (DE, Wake Forest) – Sleeper Alert
6th Round Jordan Thomas (TE, Mississippi State)
6th Round Peter Kalambayi (Edge, Stanford)
7th Round Jermaine Kelly (DB, San Jose State)
The Texans did a phenomenal job, especially when you consider that they didn’t pick until the 3rd round. Martinas Rankins could be a starter at left tackle on day 1. Justin Reid will be a fantastic complement to Tyrann Mathieu, and if things don’t work out with the honey badger, Reid could fill his role as well. Keke Coutee is one of the most dynamic receivers in this draft, and Duke Ejiofor was a top 12 player in my opinion (clearly, other teams disagreed with me), making him the biggest steal of the draft.
New England Patriots
1st Round Isaiah Wynn (OL, Georgia)
1st Round Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
2nd Round Duke Dawson (CB, Florida)
5th Round Ja’whuan Bentley (LB, Purdue)
*6th Round Christian Sam (LB, Arizona State) – Sleeper Alert
6th Round Braxton Berrios (WR, Miami Fl)
7th Round Danny Etling (QB, LSU)
7th Round Kelon Crossen (CB, Western Carolina)
7th Round Ryan Izzo (TE, Florida State)
The Patriots kicked off Day 1 by selecting two studs out of Georgia. Sony Michel might be the best running back in this draft (yes, even above Saquon), and Isaiah Wynn is a rare tackle/guard hybrid that can line up anywhere and be a physical force for an offensive line. Christian Sam doesn’t jump off of the screen athletically, but he’s got high football IQ. Duke Dawson is a physical corner who could toughen up the defense. Braxton Berrios is the typical 5’9″ future slot WR for the Patriots also, and Ryan Izzo looks like he could be a nice value pick as a future solid TE2.
New York Jets
1st Round Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
3rd Round Nathan Shepherd (DT, Fort Hays State)
4th Round Chris Herndon (TE, Miami FL)
*6th Round Parry Nickerson (CB, Tulane) – Sleeper Alert
6th Round Foley Fatukasi (DT, Uconn)
6th Round Trenton Cannon (RB, Virginia St.)
They got Sam Darnold. That could be the end of their draft class, and they’d be winners. But then they go ahead and add Nathan Shepherd, who could be an absolute force on the defensive line. I was also a huge fan of their back to back 6th round picks; Parry Nickerson is an athletic, instinctive CB and Foley Fatukasi is surprisingly agile for somebody of his size.
San Francisco 49ers
1st Round Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)
2nd Round Dante Pettis (WR, Washington)
3rd Round Fred Warner (LB, BYU)
3rd Round Tarvarius Moore (S, Southern Mississippi)
4th Round Kentavius Street (DE, NC State)
*5th Round D.J. Reed (CB, Kansas State) Sleeper Alert
6th Round Marcell Harris (S, Florida)
7th Round Jullian Taylor (DT, Temple)
7th Round Richie James (WR, Middle Tennessee)
Throughout his two year tenure, John Lynch has proven that he has a chance to be a top tier GM for years to come. The 49ers nailed their first four picks. Mike McGlinchey looks like a cornerstone left tackle, and Dante Pettis is a phenomenal route runner who will mesh well with Jimmy G. Tarvarius Moore and Fred Warner are both athletic, versatile players who fit the new NFL very well; San Fran will be able to plug them both all over their defense. I wasn’t super high on Kentavius Street or DJ Reed, but they were both solid 5th round talents in my book. Reed is quick and fluid, and Street has a nice initial burst when rushing the passer. I trust the 49ers coaching staff to get the most out of them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Round 1 Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
Round 2 Ronald Jones (RB, USC)
Round 2 MC Stewart (CB, North Carolina)
Round 2 Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)
Round 3 Alex Cappa (OG, Humboldt St.)
*Round 4 Jordan Whitehead (S, Pittsburgh) – Sleeper Alert
Round 5 Justin Watson (WR, Penn)
Round 6 Jack Cichy (LB, Wisconsin)
The Bucs kicked off the night by trading back a few spots to gain two additional second round picks. I love this move; if there isn’t a franchise QB available, or an absolute can’t miss pass rushing or OT prospect, trade back and gain more capital. The Bucs then STILL managed to get their hands on my favorite prospect, Vita Vea, who will make everybody on this front 7 better. The Bucs doubled down on CB in the 2nd round; I was a huge fan of MJ Stewart, and Carlton Davis is a physical, smash-mouth CB who will toughen up this Bucs defense. Ronald Jones was one of the better RB prospects in this draft, and Alex Cappa was a small school prospect that many smart draft analysts liked. Jordan Whitehead is a nice rangy safety as well. Watch out for the Bucs defense next year.
Here are some of the other teams that drafted particularly well.
Green Bay Packers