Round 1 is in the books- there were a few trades and players sliding down along with five quarterbacks drafted in the first round, a pair of brothers selected for first time ever in the first round, two Irish offensive lineman in top ten picks, and an appearance from a defensive superstar on an inspiring road to recovery. The wait is finally over- here is my recap of round 1!

Round 1, Pick 1              Cleveland Browns                      Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

            The first pick was kept as a surprise and after all the smoke screens faded, the Browns took the talented and enigmatic quarterback to be the new face of the franchise. Mayfield is talented- an accurate passer and undeniable winner- and will benefit from not having to play from Day 1. Baker had been emerging as the top quarterback throughout the offseason and will get a chance to turn the franchise around.

Round 1, Pick 2              New York Giants                       Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

            The Giants were projected to take a quarterback by most sources but lately it had been emerging that the Giants would take the top overall prospect. Saquon is a complete back and played most of his college career behind a shoddy offensive line. Saquon should take pressure off Eli Manning and also extend offensive drives, helping the defense. Hard to nitpick the top overall prospect in the draft but QB need seemed to be the right direction for the franchise.

Round 1, Pick 3              New York Jets                            Sam Darnold, QB, USC

            The need for this New York franchise was similar and they answered the need by taking the Trojan quarterback. Darnold will also likely benefit from not having to play on Day 1, unless Josh McCown breaks down again. Darnold needs to work on turnovers but has ability to make all the throws and possesses all the tools required of a NFL quarterback.

Round 1, Pick 4              Cleveland Browns                      Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

            Another surprise selection here, the Browns addressed another big need though and selected the top cornerback in the draft. Denzel should be a Day 1 starter- he is a physical corner with great speed and closing ability, he will help the Browns secondary immensely versus a league that throws more than ever. Denzel is a great fit for Cleveland, great addition to the team. 

Round 1, Pick 5              Denver Broncos                          Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

            John Elway was listening for offers to move the pick but ultimately benefitted here at pick five by selecting one of the top edge defenders in the draft. Bradley should rotate into the aging Broncos defensive line and provide instant impact, he is one of the most complete defensive lineman prospects in years. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb- this pass rush combo should help the defense overall immensely. 

Round 1, Pick 6              Indianapolis Colts                      Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

            A successful draft is often quantified by addressing a team’s biggest need with the best player to fill that need- the Colts got the draft started right by drafting the best offensive lineman. Quenton is a mauler and plays with intensity, he will bring a great attitude to an offensive line that has needed help for years and will be an impact player from his first snap. Quenton will be a mainstay on the Colts line for years to come. 

Round 1, Pick 7              Buffalo Bills (from TB)             Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

            Everyone knew the Bills were going to get a QB in the first round, they sent pick 12 along with two second round picks to move up and take the young gunslinger. Josh Allen was very polarizing- undeniable talent but accuracy concerns against mostly smaller schools had people either loving or hating him as a prospect. Time learning the pro game would be optimal but it’s not likely in the situation Buffalo is facing. Questionable pick with Josh Rosen still on the board as well. 

Round 1, Pick 8              Chicago Bears                            Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

            The next great linebacker to man the middle of the Midway, Chicago drafted possibly the best defensive talent in the draft at pick 8. Roquan will start immediately and upgrade a shaky linebacker corps. Roquan can cover, tackle, provide the big hits, and is a natural born leader. I love the pick here- he will make an impact for many years to come. 

Round 1, Pick 9              San Francisco 49ers                   Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

            John Lynch surprised some with this pick as well, going with the top tackle available in the first round. McGlinchey should start early and will be groomed to take over for Joe Staley protecting Jimmy Garopollo’s blind side. He is a smart lineman with athletic ability and balance, although many projected him to go quite a bit later. It’s a sound pick to protect their new franchise QB. 

Round 1, Pick 10            Arizona Cardinals (from OAK)           Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

            Arizona filled a big need, moving up five spots and pouncing on a player many thought to be the top quarterback. Josh Rosen is smart and an efficient passer that makes all the throws- some minor character issues likely causing his fall. Josh appeared to be the most pro-ready quarterback which is essential having Sam Bradford ahead of him on depth chart. The frustration from falling in the draft may fuel the young quarterback- or could be detrimental. 

Round 1, Pick 11            Miami Dolphins                          Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

            Slightly surprising pick here- Miami has two good safeties and Minkah was projected to be second safety selected. Nevertheless, the Fins have many needs and an upgrade to defensive backfield will help. Minkah is versatile and could play many spots on the defense, he is an excellent cover man and could play slot corner or hybrid linebacker/safety type of position. 

Round 1, Pick 12            Tampa Bay Bucs                        Vita Vea, DT, Washington

            A puzzling choice here, the Bucaneers have a solid defensive line and many needs, but Vita Vea will be a great addition to the defensive line. Vita is strong and great against the run, plus able to provide pass rush and should fit well next to Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre-Paul. Vita Vea is a strong football player and has an infectious personality- should be a fan favorite. 

Round 1, Pick 13            Washington Redskins                Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

            Many projected Vita Vea here, the Redskins took the next best available defensive tackle here to help their rushing defense that allowed the most rushing yards in 2017. Da’Ron will plug into the middle and give the Redskins a great anchor and help the rushing defense from Day 1. Da’Ron is primarily a run defender and will most likely not provide any pass rush help. 

Round 1, Pick 14            N.O. Saints (from GB)               Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

            Perhaps the biggest trade and surprise of the first round- the Saints moved pick 27, a fifth round pick, and a 2019 first round pick to move up to pick 14 and then selected a talented pass rusher with questions. Marcus absolutely dominated lower level college competition and has all the raw tools to succeed and will likely need time to learn the small things to help him be a truly dominant defensive end. 

Round 1, Pick 15           Oakland Raiders                        Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

            Adding to a stellar offensive line to protect Derek Carr, the Raiders selected a tackle to solidify their aging offensive line. Kolton is a huge tackle with great size but will need some time to develop – a luxury the Raiders have currently. The selection seemed early and some other needs seemed more pressing, but Kolton will have time to develop and potentially replace Donald Penn in time. 

Round 1, Pick 16            Buffalo Bills (from BAL)          Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

            Buffalo moved up from pick 22 to fill another big need- grabbing the athletic linebacker to fill a huge hole in their defense. Their leading tackler from 2017 is gone, and Tremaine should easily fill the huge shoes left empty. Tremaine is big, fast, and a linebacker that can do it all- pass rush, cover backs and tight ends, and also lay down some big hits. He will be a starting linebacker in Buffalo for years. 

Round 1, Pick 17            Los Angeles Chargers               Derwin James, S, Florida State

            The slide for the talented defensive back finally ended, projected to be a top 10 pick- he fell into the Chargers’ lap here at 17. Derwin is a ferocious tackler and has elite speed and range, he fills a need on a defense that is already forming to be one of best in the NFL. Derwin will play from the first day and could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. 

Round 1, Pick 18            Green Bay Packers                    Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

            Jaire Alexander fills the biggest need for the Packers and is the best cornerback available after Ward was selected at pick 4. Jaire is fast and can cover from many spots in the secondary- he has great instincts and footwork and will start for Green Bay Week 1 against the Bears. Jaire is a young, exciting cornerback with great potential. 

Round 1, Pick 19            Dallas Cowboys                          Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

            The Cowboys were expected to address the glaring hole at WR but they wisely selected a defensive player. Leighton was a one year starter at Boise State and vastly improved as season projected- he’s a great tackler with range to play sideline to sideline and cover backs as well as tight ends. Leighton should play alongside Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, giving the Cowboys a strong linebacker squad. 

Round 1, Pick 20            Detroit Lions                               Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

            There were some great choices available on defense and Detroit surprised by taking the top center available to help protect Matthew Stafford. Frank is a leader with great work ethic and faced the toughest competition in the SEC, he will be ready to start early in his career. A solid pick at this point in the draft but there were some potentially game changing defenders available. 

Round 1, Pick 21            Cincinnati Bengals                     Billy Price, C, Ohio State

            Offensive line has been a thorn in the Bengals’ paws for years and taking one of the best centers left to replace Russell Bodine was a solid choice. Billy Price played all interior spots just up the road in Columbus but projects best as a center. He has good strength, feet, and intelligence- Billy should start for the Bengals early in his career. 

Round 1, Pick 22            Tennessee Titans                        Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

            Tennessee was projected to address linebacking needs and they grabbed the best available at pick 22. Evans will be a three down starter in the middle- he is versatile enough to stop the run, blitz, and cover. He played on a defense that faced top talent and had great coaching- Evans should start Week 1 and will man the middle of the Titans defense for many years. 

Round 1, Pick 23            New England Patriots                Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

            The Patriots addressed a need by selecting the best offensive guard available. Isaiah played at tackle and guard, the Pats have biggest need at tackle and Isaiah may slide in better in that role. He is slightly undersized but has good technique, power, and balance and will likely rotate in and help the AFC champions early in 2018. 

Round 1, Pick 24            Carolina Panthers                      D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

            Carolina had a glaring weakness at the wide receiver position and filled it with a prospect that has climbed boards all winter. D.J. is a physical wide receiver but also has good acceleration and ball-tracking. He is also intelligent and sets up defensive backs as well as reading defenses well. D.J. will need to work on route running but will give Cam Newton a legit WR1 option. 

Round 1, Pick 25            Baltimore Ravens                       Hayden Hurst, TE, S. Carolina

            The Ravens traded back twice and still filled it’s most pressing need- a pass-catching tight end. Hayden is a versatile tight end that lined up all over in college and was likely the most complete tight end prospect. The Ravens have tried to draft one for several years and Hayden will fill that need, providing mismatch opportunities and filling a huge Ravens void. 

Round 1, Pick 26            Atlanta Falcons                          Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

            Atlanta has been searching for the right compliment to Julio Jones and found it by drafting the talented Mr. Ridley. Ridley is a refined route runner and has really good footwork, he possesses many traits to be a complete wide receiver. Ridley will likely start right away in three WR sets and should quickly gain the trust of Matt Ryan. 

Round 1, Pick 27            Seattle Seahawks                       Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

            Seattle has struggled to find an answer in their rushing attack and they reached in round 1 to grab Rashaad Penny. Penny is a bigger back with burst and speed, also possessing good vision and can also catch out of the backfield. He had a phenomenal season in his one season starting at the NCAA level- yet he was projected to go well later in the draft and behind at least three other running backs. He will receive the volume and opportunity to be successful. 

Round 1, Pick 28            Pittsburgh Steelers                     Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

            Ryan Shazier provided a heartfelt and inspiring moment, delivering the Steelers first round choice to the stage. The ‘other’ Edmunds brother- Terrell is a size-speed combination freak and is a raw talent that has immense potential. The Steelers needed secondary help but there were options available that seemed better. Terrell will need time to develop but the talent is there and the Steelers develop players well.  

Round 1, Pick 29            Jacksonville Jaguars                  Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

            Some teams draft into strengths, and that was certainly the case at pick 29. Jacksonville possesses one of the best defensive lines and added a raw but talented Taven Bryan. Taven started one full season and flashed potential with an explosive first step and versatility to play different spots on line. Taven will be able to rotate in for Jacksonville and add some more options for them to ‘bring the heat’.

Round 1, Pick 30            Minnesota Vikings                     Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

            The Vikings also added to one of their strengths by drafting the best cornerback left on the board here at pick 30. Mike Hughes is a little smaller than most corners, but he is not afraid to get physical and held up well versus larger receivers. Hughes will challenge for a starting role early and should slide in early as a slot corner as well. 

Round 1, Pick 31            New England Patriots                Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

            The Patriots haven’t selected a running back in the first round since 2006- and they surprised many by taking the talented Sony Michel here. New England has a cluttered backfield but Sony will likely get the chance to lead due to his pass catching ability and explosive ability. Sony also cuts well and is tough to bring down. Interesting pick here- but can he separate from the pack and be a fantasy viable option?

Round 1, Pick 32            Baltimore Ravens (from PHI)          Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

            Watching the frustration build in the Heisman winner’s face was tough- Baltimore traded into the last pick and finally selected Lamar Jackson. Lamar is talented and dynamic, he doesn’t fit the mold of a ‘traditional’ QB but possesses so much raw and rare ability. Lamar should benefit from time behind Joe Flacco and an offensive coordinator that maximizes his strengths. I love the pick and seeing the fire in his eyes- he could use it to fuel him for years in Baltimore. 

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