It is crazy just how fast the the 2018 NFL Draft is moving. A wild round one opened up the draft last night and the National Football League just put the second and third round in the books.
As of now, there are several teams that have emerged as winners so far with their first three selections. Some teams were aggressive while others just so happen to have their guy fall right into their lap.
These are the NFL Draft’s biggest winners so far.
With the first two picks, the Arizona Cardinals crossed off two major needs that franchise so desperately needed. Josh Rosen could possibly emerge as the franchise quarterback going forward and Christian Kirk at some point be the Arizona’s go to receiver.
Rosen is determined to prove he is the best quarterback in this draft class. "There were nine mistakes ahead of me," Rosen said. Three quarterbacks were chosen before Rosen was finally selected 10thoverall by the Cardinals.
“I thought I should've been picked at 1, 2 or 3," Rosen said. "I dropped, and I was pissed. I was really, really angry. I wasn't really showing it. I was trying to keep calm, cool, composed. But I thought I was going to get picked, and I thought I was going to have to put on a face and try and fake happiness. But for some reason, right when I got that call, that's not what happened. I got really happy and really motivated.”
When asked if he’d like to play in Arizona Kirk went on to say, “Oh, without a doubt. I love the state of Arizona, born and raised a Valley kid. I actually had a private visit with them already. Got to sit down with the GM, wide receiver coach, the offensive coordinator, have dinner and what not, and definitely really like their staff and what they have going on over there. It would definitely be surreal if I could go and play there.”
The Cardinals added Michigan center Mason Cole with their third round (97thoverall) selection. Cole was rated as the fifth-best center in the 2019 draft by ESPN. Cole is much needed depth to the Cardinals offensive line. He will need to improve in his pass protection if he wants to be successful at the next level.
In his final draft as the Baltimore Raven general manager, Ozzie Newsome has made quite the statement.
In the first round, Baltimore added the No.1 ranked tight end Hayden Hurst and the fifth best quarterback Lamar Jackson to close out the first round. In the third round, they Ravens took a flyer on offensive tackle Orlando Brown and also selected the fourth ranked tight end Marcus Andrews, both out of Oklahoma.
With their first two picks, Baltimore took care of two of their five biggest needs. Looking at the group of tight ends on the Ravens roster, Hurst could be the starter at tight end going into training camp. The Jackson pick could be the organization’s way of putting the time clock on Joe Flacco. It could also be an insurance policy as the backup to Flacco is the injury riddled quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Even if he doesn’t start right away, the thought of Brown playing at right tackle and Ronnie Stanley protecting Flacco’s blind side is very promising. It also doesn’t hurt having another tight end like Andrews. Compared to Coby Fleener, Andrews is a red-zone threat that will win mismatches and could possibly become the quarterbacks favorite target due to his athleticism.
The Ravens should show some offensive improvement during the 2018 season.
The goal for the Carolina Panthers in this draft was to add some weapons for quarterback Cam Newton and find some players to strengthen the defense. In their first three picks, they did just that.
Up to the 24th selection, no wide receiver was off the board yet. The Panthers selected D.J. Moore and was the first wide receiver taken off the board. In time, Moore can develop into a wide receiver like Stefon Diggs. Moore has a good combination of size and speed, his quick feet allow him to blow by press coverage defenders and will fit well with Russell Shepard and Devin Funchess.
In the second and third round, the Panthers added cornerbacks Donte Jackson (LSU) and Rashaan Gaulden (Tennessee). Jackson is one of the fastest corners in the draft. Jackson will most likely find success in the slot, he is a plug-and-play corner from day one.
Gaulden is a versatile defensive back that can cover receivers and play in the box. He has excellent timing and awareness on 50-50 balls and has the length to affect routes with his hands while maintaining good position to fight for the ball in the air. Gaulden is a great addition to a cornerback unit that needs some help.
The Cleveland Browns were just one of a few teams that controlled the destiny of the other teams in the draft. The biggest question on day one was which quarterback was is going to be? Baker Mayfield was the answer.
Mayfield has been drawing the comparisons to Brett Farve. Mayfield will bring a new sense of toughness and competitiveness to the Browns. Teammates will rally around him which will eventually lead to the turn around of the Browns. How did the Browns follow up with the No. 4 pick? Cleveland would select Denzel Ward, in the process finding a true number one corner. Ward is a defensive piece that they could build around. Ward today is what Joe Haden was to the Browns eight years ago.
On day two, the Browns selected offensive guard Austin Corbett, running back Nick Chubb and defensive end Chad Thomas. Chubb has maybe the toughest path infant of him of the three. On the depth chart is veterans Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson Jr. Both Corbett and Thomas could go into training camp with the opportunity to earn quality playing time.
Green Bay Packers
The NFC North is tough. The Minnesota Vikings have improved. The Detroit Lions have improved. When the Packers sent Damarious Randall to the Browns, it became apparent that Green Bay wanted to retool their defense.
With the first two picks, the Packers selected cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. Looking at the cornerback depth, there is plenty of talent to go around. Quinten Rollins, Kevin King, and Josh Hawkins are leading the young group while veterans Tramon Williams and Davon House will teach and make everyone better.
In the third round, the Packers selected Oren Burks from Vanderbilt. A former saftey turned linebacker, Burks’ coverage skills will come in handy in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme. Burk can move from sideline to sideline and is comfortable bringing the heat and tackle people. If developed properly, Burks can be apart of the next group of linebackers that bring success to the Packers.
New England Patriots
In the Bill Belichick era, the chance of the Patriots drafting in the first round since 50/50. For the first time since 2015, New England made a selection in the first round of the draft. They didn't stop there, the Patriots made two draft selections in the first round. And they are quite familiar with each other.
Both Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel hail from Georgia. With the blocking of Wynn, Michel would rush for 3,613 yards and 33 touchdowns in four seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs. Wynn also contributed for the success of three different quarterbacks while at Georgia. The duo will look to help Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense in the quest for another Super Bowl.
In day two of the draft, the Patriots added Duke Dawson in the second round. Dawson is best when he can play press coverage in the slot. In today's NFL, a corner can have some success at 5'11 inches in height. He might need to add some muscle as he will be going up against some of the best wide receivers the NFL has to offer.