The 2018 NFL Draft starts tomorrow night. Four teams are choosing the first five picks of the Draft, and the audience can expect multiple QBs going in the beginning. This analysis contains my own DOs and DON’Ts for the teams picking in the top 5.
1. Cleveland Browns
Just draft Darnold
First, Josh Allen will be a total bust. Completion rates rarely increase in the NFL, so his low 56% completion percentage is a huge problem as a top prospect. Second, Sam Darnold’s turnover problem is the most minor issue among the top 4 QB prospects, as high turnover rates in college do not necessarily translate to high turnover rates in NFL, as low turnover rates in college do not translate to low turnover rates in NFL. In the past few years, there have been multiple examples of interception rates falling in a QBs transition from college ball to the NFL. For example, Jared Goff threw 13 INTs in his final season at CAL, but only accumulated 7 INTs last year. Jameis Winston averaged 14 INTs per season at FSU while only throwing 11 INTs in 2017 on the Bucs. On the flip side, QBs have also seen an increase in their INT rates between college and the pros. Deshone Kizer, threw only 9 INTs in 2016 at Notre Dame while throwing a whopping 22 INTs last year on the Browns. Cam Newton threw only 7 INTs at Auburn, yet has averaged over 13 INTs per season in NFL. These stats indicate that turnover rates can change depending on the system and coaching personnel QBs work with, thus Sam Darnold is the most logical pick.
2. New York Giants
Don’t get Barkly
Most importantly, the Giants can’t afford using the second overall pick on a 7-8 year RB. There is so much depth at RB. Guys like Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, and Rashaad Penny will definitely be options at the top of the second round. The G-Men will never be so high in the draft, so this pick is the best opportunity to build up. Therefore, finding 1) a franchise QB to sit behind Eli Manning for a year, 2) a 10+ year starter who can instantly make an impact, or 3) an O-lineman who can boost their offense will be essential tomorrow. Moreover, potentially, the Giants can trade away this pick for more early-rounders to help rebound from their 3-13 season.
3. New York Jets
The question is: does Baker Mayfield get too much hype? Baker is often compared to the NFL’s top QBs like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. He doesn’t have Brees’ insane pocket ability or Wilson’s freakish athleticism, but his 70% accuracy speaks for itself. Further, critics mistakenly compare him to notorious Johnny Manziel. Baker has some personality issues where his passion exceeds the limit, but he doesn’t have the party-attitude that Manziel did. Rather, Baker is very football focused, as displayed in his resume. He is a two time walk on and he will prove himself again when the lights get even brighter. Baker Mayfield will enter the League with a bang when he embraces the electrifying environment in NYC, as his unique QB dexterity will completely differ from those of his predecessors.
4. Cleveland Browns
If Barkley falls, taking him would not be a bad idea, but they have already signed Hyde in free agency and Duke Johnson isn’t a bad RB. An addition to the defensive end position would actually create a strength within the Browns; currently, the Browns don’t have a specifically strong area, but adding Bradley Chubb across Myles Garrett would make their defensive line their strongpoint.
5. Denver Broncos
Not a QB
Case Keenum is probably not the franchise QB, but a solid starter for now following his breakout 2017 campaign. There are too many questions for the QBs probably remaining at this point. Josh Allen has major accuracy issues, and Lamar Jackson doesn’t have the throwing ability. John Elway probably won’t love any of the remaining QBs. Instead, Denver’s O-line needs help, so the future star in Quenton Nelson is the most logical pick.
Overall, the four teams going in the top-5 have many needs. However, over-hyping certain prospects is dangerous for re-building clubs. Logical picks, rather than hopeful picks, will be paramount in the NFL Draft starting tomorrow.
“Baker Mayfield College Stats.” 2018. College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/baker-mayfield-1.html.
“Cam Newton Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/N/NewtCa00.htm.
“Cleveland Browns Depth Chart.” 2018. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Accessed April 26. http://www.espn.com/nfl/team/depth/_/name/cle/cleveland-browns.
“DeShone Kizer Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/K/KizeDe00.htm.
“Jameis Winston Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WinsJa00.htm.
“Jared Goff Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GoffJa00.htm.
BigTownBrown. 2018. “With the 4th Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft……” Dawgs By Nature. April 1. https://www.dawgsbynature.com/2018/4/1/17185674/with-the-4th-pick-in-the-2018-nfl-draft.