The 2018 NFL Draft ended this past saturday night (Apri 28) in Dallas, Texas, with another 256 players being selected to compete for 53 eventual roster spots on 32 NFL Teams. Currently, NFL rosters are set at 90 players, so all NFL teams can add their draft choices, sign Undrafted Free Agents (teams may sign 10 or more players, players not selected this past weekend, as UDFAs, depending on how many players were drafted, how many free agents were signed, and who teams want to invite to their rookie mini camp). The Draft is only one of the ways NFL organizations construct a valid NFL roster and America’s fascination with this particular NFL process is worth an entirely different essay.
Maybe you were thrilled with your team’s draft choices, maybe you absolutely hated your team’s draft choices, maybe you’re a Cleveland Browns fan and hoping for a single win in 2018. Who were some winners in this year’s draft?
Shaqueem Griffin and The Edmunds Brothers
A one armed linebacker and 5th round selection by the Seattle Seahawks, Shaqueem Griffin lost part of his left arm, including the entire hand, to amniotic band syndrome, a congenital disorder, causing his fingers to be under developed and at times, extreme pain. The condition led to an amputation at age 4. He first gained national attention [VIDEO] by bench pressing 225lbs (100 kilo) twenty times while wearing prosthesis. The draft pick by the Seahawks reunites Griffin with his twin brother Shaquill, drafted in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, currently playing cornerback for the Seahawks.
His story has brought forth other inspirational stories regarding amputees. I am Shaqueem Griffin has swept America. Virginia Tech teammates and brothers Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds became the first brothers in NFL History to be drafed in the first round, Tremaine taken 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills and Terrell taken 28th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers
The spectacle of the draft is increasing at an exponential level each year, with cities in the United States now submitting Olympic type “bids” to the National Football League, for millions of dollars, to secure the “rights” to host future drafts with Cleveland, Kansas City, and Las Vegas among the finalists to hold next year’s event. The popularity of the sport is growing internationally and revenues of the sport are increasing, surpassing $14 billion (US), growing closer to the Commissioner’s goal of a $25Bn Sports League by the year 2027.
As the popularity grows, so does the spectacle. Fans are treated to a luxurious experience coupled with awesome American Parking Lot Parties “tailgating”, conducted to celebrate and watch who is going to be selected from the American University ranks in the draft and have an opportunity to compete for an NFLroster spot.
To my European compatriots, it’s all about the party. And, as we watched Ryan Shazier [VIDEO], walking across the stage to announce a draft pick, and other incredible player reactions and stories, we had the opportunity to be inspired.
And not just university players, an Australian rugby player, Jordan Mailata, who’s never played a down of American rules football, was drafted in the final round by the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles Hey Americans, sometimes it’s difficult for a European or Australian, to understand a game called football when, in America, the game doesn’t use a ball and players don’t use their feet. … it’s foreign and counter-intuitive, although not as foreign in years past because of the games growing popularity. First Overall choice Baker Mayfield is expected to sign a 4 year contract with a fully guaranteed amount in the neighborhood of $35 million. Undrafted Free Agents are offered a contract in the neighborhood of $500,000 for their service. Instantaneous wealth was created with young men from diverse backgrounds realizing a life long dream in sometimes very emotional fashion. How can you not be inspired?
The Cleveland Browns
They have zero opportunity to be any worse than 2017s 0-16 record. The sky is the limit. Unfortunately, the schedule is tough, the Browns were already the youngest team in the NFL by 1.5 years on average, the draft made them even younger, and adding a quarterback, cornerback, and left tackle candidate with their first three choices gives their fan base new hope, although the hope must be tempered. The Browns, using their first three picks to address these three positions have opened a 10 year window to win a title, provided Baker Mayfield is a Pro Bowl QB, Denzel Ward is a “shutdown” corner, and Left Tackle can be played at league average level. Joe Thomas retiring created an unfillable void, Thomas is a Hall of Famer and teams can spend years trying to adequately replace Hall of Fame Players plus he played the all important position of left tackle.
As your team continues Organized Team Activities and moves closer to the opening of training camp, we’ll have a lot of time to evaluate how well teams did or didn’t do in the 2018 NFL Draft. Until then, we can relish in hope our team improved.
Currently, 6 days before the draft, as the roster is currently constructed:
- Who’s playing LT? Shon Coleman? Spencer Drango? Chris Hubbard?
- Who are the 3 starting corners? Boddie Calhoun, Damarious Randall, and EJ Gaines? Travis Carrie?
- Who’s playing on the interior defensive line besides Ogunjobi? Caleb Brantley? Trevon Coleman?
- Who’s playing Free Safety? Randall? He was drafted as a safety, making Howard Wilson next man up at CB
- What happens if Josh Gordon has trouble or Coleman gets hurt (again) Ricardo Louis? Rashard Higgins?
- Pretty sure Louis and Higgins had every chance in 2017
- How many “edge” defenders in the front 4 of a 4-3 base defense are on the field for a given play?
- a rotation of Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, and Chris Smith
These are your team needs. You’re taking a QB who isn’t going to play this season #1 overall. And apparently a RB or an “Edge” defender with the #4 overall because trading down and acquiring draft picks is too analytical for a guy like John Dorsey and it makes perfect sense to address Need 6 with the #4 pick overall. Or draft a RB at pick 4 overall and be paying $45MM+ to the RB position over the next 3 seasons after signing Carlos Hyde in the off season.
Three selections in the second round to address the remaining 5 needs. The prognosticators like OT, CB, and WR, maybe John Dorsey and his crew pick pro bowlers with every second round pick.
After the initial 5 selections, you’re going 4th round and beyond to find impact starters on the defensive interior and secondary because you’re drafting under a flawed, ancient, vague principle … drafting the best player available … what? Cleveland needs corners, a safety, defensive interior and a legitimate LT prospect (none of this Shon might be able to play it or maybe Hubbard can play LT and Stephenson can play RT) way more than they need a RB or an “edge” defender. Do you, as a Browns fan, recognize these names as your new Tackles on the right and left side of the offensive line? Joe Thomas retired and I haven’t heard one legitimate conversation on how the Browns are going to address the loss in the 2018 NFL Draft.
In the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns and their 5 selections in the first 64 overall make all the headlines. The Buffalo Bills also have 5 selections in the first 65 after the Tyrod Taylor Trade but the only news they’re making is how they are going to trade up into the Top 5 and select their “franchise QB”. New England has 5 in the first 96 from the Garopollo and Cooks trades. The New York Giants have 4 in the first 69. The Cleveland Browns are not alone when it comes to acquiring draft capital.
On the Bills, here’s a decent opinion on the Bills Hanging Onto Their 2018 Draft Picks.
Also, an opinion piece on the on the New York Giants Trading Down to acquire More Draft Capital.
So, who are 5 teams lacking in draft capital with these teams listed above and their “massive amount
- The Houston Texans. Outside of the trade with Kansas City to draft DeShaun Watson, in the hands of the Cleveland Browns (4th overall), 2018s second round selection (35 overall) was sent to the Browns, part of the deal for Osweiler in 2017. Houston’s first selection in the 2018 NFL Draft? 68 overall. There’s another pick at 80, acquired from Seattle as part of the Duane Brown trade (Houston owns Seattle’s 2019 second round pick, no fifth round selection this year, it went back to Seattle as part of the deal). There’s a compensatory pick at 98 overall (AJ Bouye), a pick in the fourth, 103 overall, three 6th round picks (two compensatory) and a 7th rounder. 8 picks total … the same amount as the Browns, but it’s where the picks fall and their value. Three 3rd round selections between picks 68 and 98 overall puts pressure on the Houston front office. Who’s playing LT in 2018? Who are the three starting CBs? Do we agree there’s a need at TE? What about depth on the DL? The Texans can find help on the defensive line, help at corner, a backup for DeShaun Watson?, are the Texans Really going with Brandon Weeden because Nobody wants to rush Watson back in to service, Game 1 of the 2018 NFL Season? with these 3rd round selection, the Texans could find contributors to help make the team Better, nice and ready for Watson to return fully healthy, and in 2019 we’ll really have a chance to add what the Texans need through the draft and free agency ($62MM in projected cap space). Don’t rush your Hall of Fame QB back into service #TexansNation
- The Los Angeles Rams. They start their 2018 NFL Draft at pick 87 overall. No first rounder this year, part of acquiring Brandin Cooks from the Patriots. The Bills own their second round pick this year thanks to the trade for Sammy Watkins. There’s a fourth rounder at 111 overall, acquired from Miami as part of the Robert Quinn trade, the Rams personal fourth round selection in 2018 was sent to Kansas City as part of the Marcus Peters trade (KC owns the Rams’ second round selection in 2019). There’s no 5th round selection this year, sent to Denver for Aqib Talib. Then there’s the sixth round for #RamsNation. 5 selections between 176 overall and 196 overall, including three draft picks in a row. Let’s see what kind of prospect evaluation skills Sean McVay demonstrates in 2018 and have two seasons of data regarding McVay’s draft picks. 5 of his 8 draft picks in 2017 played in 16 games while Cooper Kupp (drafted by McVay in the third round) … do you have any doubt who’s running the show in Los Angeles? Oh that’s right, the front office makes all the decisions on exactly Who gets drafted … played in 14 games. The Rams are all in this year, they’ve been said to be having “the best off season”, but it comes at a price. 3rd round and beyond talent in 2018.
- The Kansas City Chiefs. They begin their draft on day two at pick 54 overall, their first round selection belongs to Buffalo as part of the trade to acquire Patrick Mahomes in 2017. KC liked Mahomes better than DeShaun Watson. There’s pick 78 overall in the third round, acquired as part of the Alex Smith trade, pick 86 overall, also in the third round. Picks 122 and 124 (Peters trade) in the fourth. Two 7th round picks, 233 and 243, both acquired in trades … and i can tell you right now the theme of the 2018 draft will be all the trading? 7 Draft Picks total for the Chiefs.
- The Washington Redskins. Despite holding onto their own first and second rounders in 2018, 13 and 44 overall, the Redskins only have four draft picks remaining after these selections are made. No third round pick, part of the Alex Smith deal. The next two slections at 109 and 142 overall are place swaps with Denver as part of the Su’a Cravens deal … an interesting note on this trade, a “clause” was written stating Washington will get Denver’s 2020 fifth round selection if Cravens appears in a playoff a game in the next two seasons … perhaps we’ll start seeing more creative trade clauses in the future. Another 5th rounder, 163 overall, comes from Atlanta, exchanged for OT Ty Sambrailo. There’s pick 206 overall in the sixth round, a considerable move down was made to acquire Kevin Hogan (18 slots). Two selections in the 7th round. 8 selections total.
- The Seattle Seahawks. They own the 16th pick overall in the first round, there’s no second rounder this year because of the trade for Sheldon Richardson. There’s no third round pick from the Duane Brown trade. Seattle’s second pick is scheduled for Day 3 at 120 overall. Two selections in the fifth round relatively close together at 141 (Brown trade) and 146 (the Marshawn Lynch pick), and another 5th round selection at 168 overall, acquired from New England for DE Cassius Marsh. Three selections in the 7th round, including Mr. Irrelevant, the last Scheduled draft pick, i.e., not counting compensatory picks.
What do four of these 5 teams have in common? They all made moves for “franchise QBs) over the past three seasons. If I had to add a 6th team to this list, it would be the Philadelphia Eagles, they have 6 draft picks overall, a first rounder, two fourth rounders, plus one in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds.
Teams have traded away their draft capital and when you can’t add first or second round talent in a draft year, well, it can start to show down the road. Great Houston, you have DeShaun Watson. Well, this year, you can’t add any of the talent Needed around him, especially on defense and can you ever really have too many offensive lineman on the roster capable of starting?
And a final note … there is no player in the 2018 NFL Draft that can be selected at Number 4 worth more than three first round draft picks (two this year) and the first pick of the third round in 2018. You’re foolish not to pick up 5 future draft picks for the #4 overall because I’m standing by my prediction the first 5 selections in the 2018 NFL Draft will be Quarterbacks. Make sure we get in on the crazy trade action and acquire More Draft Capital because we already took our guy at QB #1 overall.
Draft Capital wins championships.
This scenario Assumes Odell stays and the Giants don’t trade the #2 pick.
- The Cleveland Browns get it wrong. Because they’re a cursed organization. The QBs passed on by the Browns will all have Hall of Fame careers. At least Pro Bowlers. Because that’s how things work And what happens when you select a Quarterback with 23 collegiate starts, a QB with Turnover issues.
- The Giants take Saquon Barkley. They’re all in this season with a Hall of Fame QB in his twilight. The New York Football Giants are in a 2 year window to win a title and Barkley fills a HUGE need for them and is being called the best prospect at the position in a decade with comparisons to Marshall Faulk.
- Shit starts to get crazy after the Jets pick. They moved up to 3 to take a QB and with Barkley taken second, they get whatever QB the Browns didn’t want. Josh Rosen. Hall of Famer. It’s how things work with the Browns. With the Browns picking at 4, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen still on the board, a team Will call to move ahead of Denver because they’re in the market for a Franchise QB of the future, even though they signed Case Keenum. Elway’s goal is to NEVER pick this high in the draft again, ever … I think Josh Allen is his guy and could see Denver moving up 1 spot just to make sure they get their guy. Many pundits expect a trade at 4 … most agree Buffalo makes the most sense … I offer two other contenders … Washington and Arizona. What? Washington signed Alex Smith … Arizona signed Sam Bradford … those names aren’t the future in those places and with Allen and Mayfield still available … In short, the Browns are in a position to acquire future Draft Capital. The names associated with the pick … Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley (not available at 4), Minkah Fitzpatrick (sliding) … Quenton Nelson … they don’t make sense for the Browns for various reasons and picking twice in the first round next year is Better.
- 6 QBs in the first round … Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, Allen, Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph … and they’re All gone earlier than expected … 6 QBs in the first 15 picks? Talk about a time to be trading down. And speaking of Trading, wow, I sure don’t remember this many NFL trades EVER … 2018 has been the year of trading players for draft capital … #analytics are here to stay fellas. The MORE you Try and Rebel against it, the quicker the analytics will eat you up and cost you your job.
- The ripple effect … with 6 of 32 picks being QBs … since 2001, the most QBs to go in the first round is 4 … there’s first round talent available picks 33-35. The Browns will get these picks wrong as well because they’re a cursed franchise AND they’re making sure Everyone Knows, whatever this #analytics thing is, we’re doing the EXACT opposite of it … Dorsey and his crew of nonwinning flunkies are going to do it the traditional old school football way … and ruin the franchise if they get these first 4 draft picks Wrong … starting with the first overall pick … if they pick the wrong QB, we will have set the franchise back another 5 years … and what football geniuses, we’re going to go ahead and make sure the #1 overall pick at QB doesn’t see the field in 2018. Hue Jackson calling Tyrod Taylor the starter sounds like Alexander Haig running around saying “i’m in charge here”.
At what point does Hue Jackson get fired? 0-1? 0-2? 0-3? 0-4? 0-5? When does Darnold Start? 0-6? 0-7? 0-8? after the bye week? Because we’re a cursed organization, we were dealt a tough hand when it comes to teams scheduled … The NFC South, Tampa, New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta … We haven’t had any recent success against Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh so why should we expect success against these teams in 2018? The coaching, on our end, will the be the same and the difference in this league Paul is Coaching.
Luckily for us, I believe this to be down years for all 3 of those AFC foes but Hue will find a way to lose those games.
From a strategy perspective, how do we build the New NFL Coaching Staff? We look for examples, examples where success has been achieved. Like the LA Rams.
… i so admire you’re sexy evil genius … None of the pressure on these 2018 picks is on you, you’re just the guy who put the organization in this position when it comes to the 2018 NFL Draft ….
The LA Rams … look at the coaching titles … run game coordinator, pass game coordinator … McVay, a Miami of Ohio Kid … schooled Hue Jackson all year long calling plays. When Hue gets fired, Strategy should have some ideas put together for big man on how we should adapt our next coaching staff. Notice how they have a couple of true coaching vets with their 30 year old head coach … Wade Phillips, John Fassell … he’s surrounded by 20 year coaching vets.
Interior Lineman, Free Safety, Corner, Wide Receiver … Left Tackle … these are Team Needs. Trading down at 4 gives us even more capital to address those Glaring Team Needs. Best Player Available philosophy doesn’t work with me … Bradley Chubb at #4, he might be the best player available but DE in Williams 4-3 set, DE ranks behind those 5 needs listed at the beginning of the paragraph … people want to act like we’re building rocket ships or something, it’s football, we have 5 draft picks in the first 65 selections and 5 huge needs (RB and DE NOT being ONE of them). Does coaching care to weigh in with an opinion? Is there any disagreement on this list of the Top 5 Team Needs?
Did you go to big man about the possibility of switching to a 3-4 defense because it better suited personnel, especially with the emergence of Joe Schobert and James Burgess (Collins returning) and especially especially Danny Shelton playing 3-4 NT? a guy we needed to extend? So the front office traded Shelton? It’s like Tony Pena all over again.
From a Strategy Perspective, hiring “football” guys in the front office was always the plan. However, the organization might have to go through the process of hiring the Right “football guys”. All that pressure Mr. Dorsey to get these first 5 draft picks right.
Rosen – which QB is the Most Likely to be a Hall of Famer? Mayfield – which QB is the “safest” selection. Mitigate risk. Perhaps a principle of drafting.
1.1 – Rosen
1.4 – Traded. Even if You personally had to call teams and be like, “look, I don’t really want this pick at all, so hey buffalo, it will only cost you 1.12 and 3.1 plus your 2019 first rounder.” It’s like picking up a guaranteed top 15 pick, in addition to our own pick, Top 5, guaranteed. Buffalo could go 2-14 this season. Buffalo plays the NFC North this year … Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay .. Chicago … Things are so much easier if we had Trubisky on the roster, it really was the best call … plus the Chargers, Baltimore, and Houston …. I wonder when DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz will return in 2018? The guys we passed on are rehabbing ACLs … and we’re picking 6 times in the top 65. Who’s ahead? Time will tell … injury makes the model Invalid.
1.12 – Vita Vea or Da’Ron Payne – Interior Linemen was a need before the Shelton Trade … it’s not hard to read between the lines, the decision to trade him doesn’t make a lot of sense, and we didn’t get That much for him … with the 2019 third rounder, we have a 50/50 shot of finding a cheaper replacement. A house cleaning move? Now, all the draft picks before 2016 are gone?
2.1 – Isaiah Oliver, Carlton Davis, Mike Hughes, Jaire Alexander, and Donte Jackson could All be first round picks. If there’s one of these guys available at pick 33 overall, we should jump all over them because they’re first round talents, with a priority on 6’0″ and above.
2.4 – Best Available LT tryout candidate … we have needs at LT and RT. One of these first 3 picks has to address the need. The model Loves guys who can play T/G or G/C – or T/G/C but I don’t see many prospects listed at those positions. Connor Willams, Brian O’Neill .. Orlando Brown and especially Isaiah Wynn … listed at T/G/C as a prospect ..
2.32 – Best Available safety. The model loves a prospect listed as S/CB. Hey Paul, can the guy I pay $4MM annually to kick the football also “punt” the football? Can the 2 centers (guys who snap the football?) on the roster also Snap the football to my holder (hopefully a backup QB) on a Field Goal Try? It would free up 2 roster slots I can use on Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman. Ronnie Harrison and Justin Reid are a couple names of safeties who could be available at the end of the second round.
If we keep 4, Minkah Fitzpatrick is the only prospect worth this selection because he can play Free Safety or Corner, including the opponents route running TE, and he’s tough on the run. When do we put Fitzpatrick on the opponents best receiver? 0-1? 0-2? 0-3? 0-4? 0-5? After the bye week?
3.1 Best Interior Defensive Lineman. With a 3rd round defensive lineman selection, we have a 50/50 shot of finding a 3 year starter. Rasheem Green, Trenton Thompson, Harrison Phillips, Maurice Hurst … Hurst is a guy who would offer tremendous value if he’s available at this selection, one of the analytics houses has Hurst at 1.4 … he’s that talented but teams are going to shy away from him because of his medical issues.
4.14 Best Available OT. The needs are at RT and LT … the first principle of our playoff football team is protect our quarterback. Austin Corbett, Jamarco Jones, Brandon Parker.
5.14 Best Available RB. Priority on prospects who did “poorly” on the 40 yard dash. Mark Walton, Josh Adams, Royce Freeman … which RB, on the board in round 5, pick 14, can play every down? New England, and Belichick, they’re creating a model on RB rotation and Usage .. how they’re used … the formations they’re used …
6th round (174 overall) … best available WR. Of these names, Allen Lazard, Jake Wieneke, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Dylan Cantrell, and Chris Lacey scored the highest in “route running”. Scouting’s list should be easy to sort and filter. Let’s go with WR prospects available in the sixth round based on size … 6’3″ or taller ….
6th round (205 overall). Best Defensive Tackle available.
We traded away a lot of our mid round draft capital … Joe Schobert home run opportunities, it makes the pressure of the first 4 selections even greater. What’s scounting say about Nathan Shepherd?
This draft #scenario is brought to you by one of your strategy lackies. I’d like coaching to make a constructive argument against this scenario and philosophy of drafting based on Team Needs as priority one. Does coaching disagree these positions are of the most need? The actual player selection, that’s on the front office. And I already know the front office crew isn’t open to suggestions … they’re going to do it their way and take all the input they Want to take in and consider, not necessarily All of the Input available on not selecting the best available player, selecting the player Most Likely to become a league average starter for 3 years at a position where we need a different option than we had in 2017. 0 wins.
Maybe set the bar higher. Which of these players at this particular selection at this particular point in the draft are most likely to be a Hall of Famer at this position on the field, a Huge Need for our team in 2018? This could be the standard for first round picks. Rounds 2-3. All Pro. Who’s most likely to be all pro at this position with this selection in the second round, again, based on our 2018 Team Needs? Rounds 4-6. Pro Bowlers. Who’s most likely to be a Pro Bowler with this selection in rounds 4-6. Round 7, 3 year league average starter … who’s most likely to become a league average starter with this 7th round choice?
UDFA? Who’s most likely to make the team and contribute as a league average starter?
Did Hard Knocks call yet? You could so help them handling publicity with your experience. Let them eat cake.