15 Takeaways from NFL Draft
“1. New York Giants stood their ground
It looked like for a while there leading up to the draft that New York was going to be choosing between three quarterback prospects it probably didn’t have rated extremely high and a running back in Saquon Barkley who the team became smitten with during the pre-draft process. That all changed once Cleveland selected Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall. This made the Giants’ decision a bit more difficult. At the very least, that’s what we thought. Barkley or USC quarterback Sam Darnold were now the options.
Instead of a last-minute change of heart, GM Dave Gettleman and Co. made the pick they wanted to make all along. Barkley was their guy. He’s now going to join Odell Beckham Jr. as the face of the franchise. Questions will continue to be raised about the decision to select a running back over that franchise quarterback. As they should. But the Giants stayed true to their process. They committed to Eli Manning for a couple more seasons. And by adding guard Will Hernandez in the second round, the Giants have now built a bully on the ground.
2. Denver Broncos soar
GM John Elway and Co. had to be licking their chops when they saw Cleveland select Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward No. 4 overall. It meant that the best defensive player in the draft, North Carolina State EDGE rusher Bradley Chubb, would be available at five. Having already said they were open for business in a trade down, the Broncos made the wise decision to stand pat and select Chubb. He now teams up with Von Miller to form the best pass-rush tandem in the entire NFL.
Then in the second round, Denver stood pat at 40 to watch SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton fall on to its laps. At 6-foot-3, Sutton will provide a massive outside target for Case Keenum moving forward. Considered by some to be the best receiver in the class, he also boasts a huge catch radius. It was a perfect pick that combined both need with value. Later on Day 2, Denver picked up a potential starting running back in Oregon’s Royce Freeman. No matter what how the rest of the Broncos draft played out, their 2018 class will be defined by these three picks.
3. Patriots ace the process, again
If there was ever any question about Bill Belichick somehow being past his prime, that was answered and a whole lot more during the three-day draft. Despite speculation that the Pats might move up for a quarterback, they didn’t bite. Instead, the two-time defending AFC champs stood pat to add offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel in the first round. These were two major needs after New England lost Nate Solder and Dion Lewis in free agency. They also represented a nice amount of value with the former Georgia teammates having jumped the draft board in recent weeks.
Before Day 2 even got started, New England then worked out a trade with San Francisco to bring in right tackle Trent Brown. In doing so, the team yielded a low third-round pick in exchange for a high fifth-round pick. Conditioning issues aside, Brown is an upgrade for New England. If that wasn’t enough, Belichick and Co. found a way to add the top slot corner in the draft, Florida’s Duke Dawson, in the second round while picking up a 2019 second-round selection from Chicago. Staying true to form, the Pats were then able to turn a fourth-round selection into a sixth-round pick and another third-rounder next year. Whew.”
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