The first round of the most anticipated draft of the decade did not disappoint. From a No. 1 overall pick in quarterback Baker Mayfield that nobody projected last week to the Ravens taking the draft's most energetic player in Lamar Jackson at No. 32, turned out to be virtually nothing to expect. Here's a look at our first winners and losers:
Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan: It was a night of new epochs and immediate hope in the five cities that designed quarterbacks in the first round. But nobody should be happier than Maccagnan, and no fanbase should be more excited than the ever-hopeful supporters of Gang Green. When #ScamforSam first caught fire more than a year ago, Jets fans figured they would go 2-1
The way to his landing ended very differently, a costly and risky trade of Maccagnan with the Colts to enter the third overall place. But the ends justify the means. The Christian Hackenberg mistake will quickly be forgotten when Darnold, the top quarterback on many draft boards, turns into the player predicted by many. Darnold is the third youngest quarterback to have been drafted in the first round since the 1970 NFL Fusion and has the temperament and ability to survive in New York. This was the kind of trade and selection of Maccagnan, helped with a little luck, who could pay for a new mortgage.
Baker Mayfield and New NFL think: It's hard to see a Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma as an outsider, but it's really notable that a former walk-on that is not quite 6-foot – is. I was just elected number one. Time will tell if the Browns made the right choice, but Mayfield's accuracy is an unforgettable sight when it's in rhythm.
I appreciate the willingness of the Browns to ignore old NFL bids on height and college quarterbacks from spread offenses. Cleveland saw a quarterback whose skills due to pace, distance and defense fit perfectly in this new league. They also saw a player who was not intimidated by the challenge of shooting the Browns franchise. Mayfield already works outside the NFL standard, and his selection is published on his Instagram live feed.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome: What a swan song from the Hall of Famer in his latest draft, which leads the Ravens. Newsome lost the first close end of the board twice in the first round before finishing in 25th place for Hayden Hurst. Then the ravens used some of this drafting capital to go back to the first round to put Jackson in 32nd place.
I claim that there never was an NFL player like Jackson. It will take some time and creativity for the Ravens to move their offensive from Joe Flacco to their new QB in the first round, but this is not a transition that needs to happen this season. Talent is rising in the NFL, and no player drafted on Thursday night has the potential to embarrass opponents like Jackson on a regular basis. Much of Newsome's term in Baltimore was wasted trying to remedy a cumbersome offense. With Jackson Newsome has a chance to improve his legacy for the years to come.
Eli Manning and Case Keenum: Giants Brass has spent the entire offseason saying how much they believe Manning can play at a high level for years to come. They supported it by leading Darnold and Josh Rosen back in favor of Saquon Barkley, who was to make Manning's life much easier.
This will be a pick, debated in New York for years to come, especially if Manning can not deliver more playoff appearances for the Giants.
"If you have to fall in love with a guy, make a mistake," Giants GM Dave Gettleman said in defense of the quarterbacks.
It will be hard to criticize Gettleman for his decision when Barkley starts to toil with 2,000 feet of scrimmage like New School's version of LaDainian Tomlinson's Seasons. The Giants have a dynamic group of playmakers who help Manning, with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Now they only need a young quarterback, but that will have to wait.
Keenum is another QB veteran who should celebrate his team's first choice. With Josh Rosen and Josh Allen still on the board, the Broncos showed some confidence in Keenum by selecting defensive end Bradley Chubb. From Miller and Chubb have the chance to form one of the best pass duos in football. While many people said something similar when Elway designed Shane Ray a few years ago, Chubb is the type of high-motor, well-rounded player who seems to have a very low breast potential.
The Arizona Cardinals: General Manager Steve Keim has admitted that he coveted Patrick Mahomes a year ago just to become flat-footed as the Chiefs floated in front of the cards to make Mahomes their quarterback of the future close. Arizona made sure it had not happened this time, and moved up to No. 10 in order to design Josh Rosen.
There was a crazy separation between the analysts who dealt with roses. So many of them called him the best pure passers-by in the design, but few of them called him the best quarterback. His timing, his anticipation, and his ability to play drama under duress, settle so well on the NFL level. Rosen is perhaps the most suitable quarterback in the class, even if he does not have to play under Sam Bradford in the city. (Backup Mike Glennon, by the way, saw that a quarterback was drafted to do his job for a second year in a row.) Rosen says he knows his place.
"I will not come in and be a —- – and think that my s – do not stink," Rosen told reporters Thursday. "I understand the situation, I will come in and I will be respectful."
Germ and all cardinal fans must be thrilled. They met with my favorite quarterback in this class, and it did not cost much to get him.
Los Angeles Chargers: Florida State Security Derwin James is the kind of all-rounder in the position that every team craves, especially a Chargers troupe that had a great need for position. That James has fallen all the way back to 17th place is a huge theft for the Bolts.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst: The Packers made a few moves on Thursday night and are down to No. 27 and then back to No. 18 where they selected Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander. Green Bay essentially went four places down to get the desired cornerback. He won the first round of the Saints 2019 and their 2018 round (and a Seahawks 7th rounder) in exchange for a third and a sixth round. This is an incredible value and a strong opening speech by Ted Thompson's successor.
Oakland Raiders: I first had the Raiders in the category down after attacking UCLA with Kolton Miller at No. 15 after a trade had fallen in the round. Mike Mayock of NFL Network stated that the Raiders were very interested in Mike McGlinchey, who won one point ahead of Oaklands selection by crossover rival 49ers. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie quickly turned around and traded with the Cardinals to cover five places, where the Miller pick at the age of 15 still felt calm and need help.
I do not trust Tom Cable to develop Kolton Miller. Not at all.
? Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz)
April 27, 2018
That was a rough start to the night for the Raiders, but McKenzie added serious juice to the offensive as they used the third round acquired in the Arizona trade to supply the broad receiver Martavis Bryant acquire from the Steelers. Bryant is an extraordinary vertical talent that appears in silver and black as a natural phenomenon. The Jon Gruden Raiders will not be boring!
Buffalo Bills: The Bills were swapped from their 10's pick a year ago, giving Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson the privilege of raising draft funds. This season, the Bill used a sizeable draw capital to qualify for quarterback Josh Allen (who moved from 12th to seventh place). The kids would call this backward, especially if Allen has an uptrend just to surpass the production level of Bill's quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Bill's fans will point out that this was the first draft for GM Brandon Beane to be discontinued in May, but this only underscores how difficult it is to develop a coherent roster when the GM and coach are always in the game.
Are movement. Allen was able to prove that his skeptics are wrong, and his athleticism is undeniable, but Josh Rosen has clearly shown a more obvious NFL ability. Allen is reminiscent of a souped-up version of another Bill First-Round quarterback: J.P. Losman, a player with accuracy issues who was a star in the pre-draft season due to his measurable size. Losman was 22nd in the 2004 NFL Draft, earning a 10-23 record in Buffalo.
Give Beane some credit for his conviction in Allen and the talented all-round linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (picked up by the Bills at No. 16 in total), who should be a tackle machine in coach Sean McDermott's system. I hope I'm wrong about Allen because a happy Bills fan base is making for a better NFL.
Fans of New Orleans Saints: One of the most tense moments on Thursday night was shortly after the NFL announced that the Saints had climbed a first and a fifth round in 2018 and ] a 2019 first round pick to the packers, only to increase 13 points in the first round (from 27 to 14). In the following minutes, it was hard not to imagine a future in New Orleans where Sean Payton broke through the brains of the opposing defense for the next decade and Lamar Jackson threw the ball to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas
Saints gave this whole draft Capital on to seize a pass-through project in UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport. Considering that the Saints had an incredible Draft Haul a year ago (including Kamara, Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk and Security Marcus Williams), then New Orleans should be in doubt. But the track record of GM's team under GM Mickey Loomis has many more failures when it comes to finding pass-rush help. This smells of a "a bit further away" type from a team trying to win everything while the franchise quarterback (Drew Brees) is still able to. These movements rarely work.
Miami Dolphins: While Minkah Fitzpatrick's security is likely to be a good 11th place overall, dolphins fans who have roses sitting on the board to No.10 must be let down. Given that it feels like this team is in quicksand, an uncertain future with Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback is hard to get excited about.