NFL draft grades 2018: Packers earn high marks for top picks
Favorite pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Overall grade: A
The Ravens made one of the best moves of the draft by trading up for Lamar Jackson. He is so lucky to end up there as he will have time to learn behind Joe Flacco and transition to the NFL game. The Ravens also benefit as they get a fifth-year option on him, as he was selected in the first round.
They reached a little on Hayden Hurst, but they were in bad need of a tight end. Still, rookie tight ends usually need a year or two to transition to the NFL, and I don’t think Hurst will be any different.
The Orlando Brown pick was also smart. He has some personality concerns but if he gets his act together, he could be a steal.
Favorite pick: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
Overall grade: A-
The Bengals had a rare tremendous draft. They vastly improved their interior offensive line by adding Billy Price, who I felt was the best interior lineman in this class not named Quenton Nelson. They also added a solid running back in Mark Walton who will be a good complement to Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon. The Logan Woodside pick was smart as well, especially since they lost AJ McCarron to the Bengals this offseason.
I love the Jessie Bates and Sam Hubbard picks on the defensive side of the ball. Bates will finally be a good safety for them. They haven’t had a true difference maker since Reggie Nelson left and Bates could be that guy. Hubbard was a bargain in the third round, and he will be great paired with Carl Lawson.
Favorite pick: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Overall grade: C
The Browns added two good players in Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward, but unfortunately they passed on a combination of Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen and Bradley Chubb.
Mayfield was worthy of a first-round pick but I don’t think he is as good as Darnold or Rosen. I don’t see him as a franchise quarterback. Big-12 quarterbacks do not have a good track record in the NFL, and Mayfield may be asked to do too much from the get go. That will be even tougher considering the fact that he played against vanilla defenses in the Big-12.
Ward is a good cornerback but I don’t really think he is all that different than Minkah Fitzpatrick, who went seven picks later. They also passed on Chubb, who is the best defensive player in the class. They gave up the opportunity to have a deadly pass-rushing combo of Bradley Chubb and Myles Garrett for the next decade.
I like the Nick Chubb pick and I think they were smart to take a chance on Antonio Callaway in the fourth. They already have a good receiving corps even if he can’t get his off-field issues together, so they won’t be too dependent on him being a full-time contributor this season.
Still, the Browns passed up far too many opportunities to warrant a high ranking.
Favorite pick: Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State
Overall grade: C+
The Steelers had a weird first-round pick. They reached on Terrell Edmunds who they may have been able to get in the second round. But they made up for it by making two very smart picks on day two. James Washington is a big receiver who will be able to contribute right away (plus Kevin Colbert hardly ever messes up when it comes to drafting receivers). Mason Rudolph needs of a lot of work, but he could be a promising player if he sits behind Ben Roethlisberger for 2-3 seasons.
They should have probably spent more draft capital on defensive backs as they have an aging Joe Haden.