By: Jason Feiner
(Round 1, Pick 10) QB Josh Rosen, UCLA- The Cardinals were in dire need of a quarterback after Carson palmer retired, and it was almost a certainty they would look to the draft. With the Injury prone Sam Bradford signed to a 1-year deal, and Josh Rosen sliding in round 1, Steve Kiem pulled the trigger and traded ahead of the Miami Dolphins in order to acquire the UCLA product. Although Rosen was my fourth ranked quarterback, I really like this move. The Cardinals needed to make a big move, and they acquired a player that may turn out to be the most pro-ready quarterback in the 2018 Draft. Sam Bradford is expected to be the starter week 1, but don’t be fooled, we all will see Rosen on the field sooner than later.
(Round 2, Pick 15) WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M- The A&M receiver was my favorite prospect in this class. He is the toughest prospect with elite athletic ability, speed, quickness, strength and technique. It is dumbfounding that he managed to fall out of the first round let alone to the 47th overall pick. He now gets to learn from a first ballot hall of famer and catch passes from a quarterback he has known since high school. Although he slipped out of round 1, this may have been the best place for him in the end.
(Round 3; Pick 33) C Mason Cole, Michigan- Cole is a smart and versatile interior offensive lineman, who will be best suited as an NFL center. He displays excellent technique and was an important chess piece in Arizona with two quarterbacks on the roster that have durability concerns.
(Round 4, Pick 34) RB Chase Edmunds, Fordham- Let’s cut straight to the point, Edmunds is a backup who will serve as a quality zone scheme runner behind starter and offensive leader David Johnson. Edmunds provides excellent depth to the running back position that certainly lost its gas when DJ was lost for the season. He will get some touches when DJ comes out of the game, and he could provide a nice 1–2 punch compliment behind their star runner, but he won’t be taking snaps away from a player who is eyeing 1000 rushing yards and receiving yards this year.
(Round 6: Pick 8) CB Chris Campbell, Penn State- The first and only defensive player drafted by the Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft, Campbell possesses outstanding size and athleticism at the cornerback position, but will need time to learn the intricacies of an NFL scheme. Campbell will be a developmental player with the opportunity to compete early. Although he is not expected to start, he has a chance to make the 53 man-roster and be in the mix at cornerback.
(Round 7, Pick 36) OT Korey Cunningham, Cincinnati- Possessing rare athleticism for a man his size, Cunningham is a raw tackle prospect who may need to move inside to be a capable player in the league. He will act as a camp body with a steep hill toward the final roster, but if he can learn quickly he could provide depth to Arizona’s offensive line.
Appearing to be out of range for the one of the top signal callers on the board, Steve Keim saw an opening and fired, trading up five spots for only the 79th pick in return. He secured his potential franchise quarterback in a draft day trade with the Oakland Raiders; a player who is widely viewed as the most pro-ready signal caller in the draft. Rosen has gone under scrutiny for his cocky attitude and durability concerns, but the potential and value was well worth the risks. Although this trade boosted their overall draft grade, Keim wasn’t finished as he grabbed two potential impact players on day 2 starting off with Blitzalytics top ranked wide receiver in Christian Kirk and ending the day with a potential center piece on the offensive line. Kirk will now have the opportunity to learn from one of the all time greats, with the potential to take over his legacy once he steps away from the game. Lets Just say Keim knew what he was doing this time around.
Draft Grade: A
Los Angeles Rams
(Round 1, Pick 23) (Trade) WR Brandin Cooks- Although this isn’t an official draft pick, it is well worth mentioning. Cooks has been an efficient and effective receiver since the day he stepped onto an NFL field. Cooks has secured three consecutive 1000 yard seasons while obtaining at least 7 touchdowns in each year. He will be a nice compliment in the Rams high flying offense.
(Round 3, Pick 25) OT Joseph Noteboom, TCU- With their first official pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the rams selected the OT out of TCU. He is an athletic but raw prospect with excellent length for the position. Andrew Whitworth is still playing at an elite level, but he is turning 37 this season, and the Rams are looking to mold their next blind side blocker.
(Round 4, Pick 11) C Brian Allen, Michigan State- It was a surprising move to see Les Snead opt to take another offensive lineman with quality linebackers and edge rushers still on the board. He is setting his offensive line up for success, adding depth in key areas to fortify a once plagued unit. If I were to guess, Les Snead still has nightmares of the beating his star running back took in 2016.
(Round 4, Pick 35) DE John Franklin Meyers, Stephen F. Austin- A position of need for the Rams and the first defensive player to come off the board for Los Angeles, Meyers offers good depth to the pass rushing unit. Although he wasn’t a highly productive player at the collegiate level, he is a high upside player for the Rams.
(Round 5, Pick 10) LB Micah Kiser, Virginia- The Rams ranked 30th in yards allowed against the run last season, and area that Kiser excels at. He was one of the best run defenders at the collegiate level and should provide immediate support in that area. He is a tough player who will have the opportunity to compete right away, but it would have been nice to see the Rams attack the linebacker position with an earlier selection.
(Round 5, Pick 23) Edge Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma- This may turn out to be the rams best pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Ogbonnia is an undersized edge rusher with a high motor and excellent aggression. He will be a developmental player, but his potential is sky high. His underwhelming speed and lack of size will work against him, but if he can build upon his technique, Okoronkwo could provide support as a high impact situational pass rusher.
(Round 6, Pick 2) RB John Kelly, Tennessee- A nasty runner with an ability to impact the passing game, kelly is a great late round running back to play behind offensive player of the year, Todd Gurley. He most certainly won’t take any touches away from the All-Pro (Don’t hold your breath fantasy player), but Kelly could provide a change of pace attitude when Gurley does come off the field.
(Round 6, Pick 18) OG Jamil Demby, Maine- Demby was one of the rams pre-draft visitors, so this selection doesn’t come as a surprise. Snead certainly sees something in the collegiate tackle who will almost certainly need to kick inside to Guard. He is a raw prospect, but could provide depth to their interior down the line.
(Round 6, Pick 21) DT Sebastian Joseph, Rutgers- Joseph was the player of the week at the College Gridiron Showcase, and could prove to be more than just a camp body. The undersized nose tackle will have a tough time finding playing time with the Rams Defensive line set in stone.
(Round 6, Pick 31) Edge Trevon Young, Louisville- Trevon Young has an uphill battle toward the 53 man-roster, but with the rams lack of edge defenders, a switch to linebacker could greatly improve his chances. Wade Phillips will have a hardworking and energetic mind to evaluate, but young has limited upside in the NFL.
(Round 7, Pick 13) LB Travin Howard, TCU- Howard is an undersized linebacker with excellent versatility. If he wants to stay at linebacker, he will need to put on a lot of muscle and weight before the season, but a move to safety may be a better choice. Howard played safety and linebacker at TCU, and the opportunity to learn from swiss-army-knife lamarcus Joyner could greatly enhance his development. Howard has great special teams potential.
(Round 7, Pick 26) DE Justin Lawler, SMU- Lawler is an underrated prospect who will prove to be more than a camp body in 2018. A strong and resilient with a passion and drive for the game, Lawler will be thrown into the fire early. time will tell if he is ready to step up and cease his opportunity.
After trading their 2018 first rounder for Brandin Cooks and their second rounder in a 2017 trade that netted the team Sammy Watkins, the Rams didn’t make their first selection until pick 89. Although Brandin Cooks is one of the premiere receivers in the league, he is undersized, and lacks the true makeup of a number 1 receiver. On the last year of his rookie deal and a large contract looming on the horizon, I don’t believe Cooks was worth their first round selection. If he can provide the same burst and dimension we have come to know from the speedy outside receiver, I may just eat thoughes words, as the Rams seem content with buying the 2018 season with uncertainty to follow into 2019. Les Snead made no rush to build upon the departures of Robert Quinn, and Alec Ogletree, electing to take two offensive lineman with their first two picks; players who may not see the field in their first year in LA. Although they will provide depth to an aging line, they don’t help their cause in what is looking like a win or go home season for the Rams. It would have been much more beneficial for the Rams to attack the linebacker and edge rusher spots early, rather than opting to take situational and two down players later in the draft. Their selection of linebacker Micah Kiser did soften the blow however. Kiser has a the opportunity to compete, and will be presented with the opportunity to start week 1 next to mark Barron. It is unknown if Kiser will rise to the challenge, but his potential is there. Snead has clearly put an emphasis on draft gems and underrated talent on day three of the draft, and he may have found some role players he can polish up. Overall, the Rams made some questionable calls throughout the draft, and their draft selections did not match their win now persona.
Draft Grade: C
San francisco 49ers
(Round 1, Pick 9) OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame- With the signing of Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers are determined to set up their signal caller to succeed. Although their first overall selection may have been better suited for a linebacker or defensive back, Mike McGlinchey is a starter level talent that will slot in opposite of offensive stalwart, Joe Staley. McGlinchey is an improvement over oft injured right tackle, Trent Brown (now with the New England Patriots).
(Round 2, Pick 12) WR Dante Pettis, Washington- Sticking with the offensive side of the ball, Pettis is a pro-ready slot receiver with the speed, route running ability and talent to be a dangerous weapon in Kyle Shanahan system. Jimmy G certainly loved this selection, as they will continue to build around the young signal caller and help him succeed in each area of the game. Pettis will be an impact player earlier rather than later.
(Round 3, Pick 6) LB Fred Warner, BYU- Linebacker is a need for the 49ers, and they certainly addressed it with their first third round selection. Warner may be the 49er’s best pick based on value and positional need. He is a versatile playmaker with the ability to cover the pass and defend against the rush. He is a representative of the “new age” of linebackers and will act as an every down linebacker at the next level.
(Round 3, Pick 31) S Tarvarius Moore, Southern Mississippi- Moore will come into camp looking to compete for the free safety spot on the back end of the defense. He is an athletic prospect with elite deep speed and the talent and fluidity to undercut routes and mirror receivers. Moore is one of the more polished defenders in the draft and will head to San Francisco looking to improve a secondary that battled injuries throughout the 2017 season.
(Round 4, Pick 28) DE Kentavius Street, NC State- Street was the third NC State defensive lineman to be drafted in 2018, and his draft stock was on the rise until tearing his ACL at his Pro-Day. He has impressive power and length with the ability to gain leverage at the point of attack. He is a wildcard after his injury, but if Street can fully recover the gamble may be worth it.
(Round 5, Pick 5) CB D.J. Reed, Kansas State- Is an undersized defensive back with average athletic ability and speed. He will serve as a nickelback in some defensive formations with some special teams and return skills. He is a developmental player, that won’t be an impactful player early on.
(Round 6, Pick 10) S Marcell Harris, Florida- Harris will serve as a depth player in the defensive backfield, but will find his best opportunity to come on special teams. If he can’t find a spot on the kicking team, he more than likely won’t find a spot on San Francisco’s 53 man-roster.
Round 7, Pick 5: DT Jullian Taylor, Temple- Taylor was a productive defensive tackle at Temple nabbing 40 tackles and 10 for a loss, but he is an undersized prospect and may struggle to find a place on the 53 man-roster. He will be a camp body that will need to impress his coaches early on.
(Round 7, Pick 22) WR Ritchie James, Middle Tennessee- James is an athletic prospect with outstanding playing speed, but vastly underwhelming technique and route running ability. He has return ability and could find a spot on the final roster just for his athleticism alone. If he can show any promise in camp, he may become one of the late round gems in the NFL; however, he certainly has an uphill climb.
The 49ers brass is committed to building their roster around Jimmy Garoppolo. Although their offensive line was solid last year, they jumped at the chance to bring in the top offensive tackle prospect in the draft, Mike McGlinchey. He is a tackle who will immediately improve the right side of the line, as injuries and age is starting to creep into their ranks. With Joe Staley is turning 34 and Trent Brown’s ongoing injury history, John Lynch’s hand was forced. Although they may have reached for McGlinchey’s services, He will help keep Jimmy G upright for the foreseeable future, while also flipping Brown for New England’s 3rd round selection. That 95th overall selection netted them the speedy cover safety, Tarvarius Moore. Safety was a need for the 49ers and they certainly took care of it. After letting Eric Reid walk in free agency, the 49ers secondary looked bleak, but with the arrival of Richard Sherman and the new acquisition of Moore, the injury plagued and depleted secondary in San Francisco may finally be worth watching. San Francisco also came away from day 2 of the draft with two players who will come in and compete immediately. Warner is a versatile linebacker who has the potential to play on all three downs, while Pettis will serve as a reliable target for Jimmy Garoppolo over the middle. Pettis is an elite route runner with great quickness and excellent speed. He will add another dimension to Shanahan’s scheme while serving as the safety blanket for the franchise quarterback. Although I would have loved to see John Lynch attack the defensive side of the ball with an early round linebacker or a physical corner, it is hard to complain as the attained players that have the potential and talent to compete right away.
Draft Grade: B
(Round 1, Pick 27) RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State- Penny is a perfect fit for the Seahawks offensive scheme, and will serve as an immediate improvement over their stable of running backs that managed a total of 1 rushing touchdown throughout the 2017 campaign. The glaring issue with this pick was the talent that was left on the board when the Seahawks went on the clock, including Harold Landry, Josh Jackson, and three higher ranked rushers including Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, and Ronald Jones. Penny will be an impact player in Seattle, but it was a head scratching move and not far from a stretch. .
(Round 3, Pick 15) DE Rasheem Green, USC- Seattle has looked like the host city for the “Purge” over the past few months, and will need to rebuild their once dominant defense. Green was an excellent value pick in the third round, as he has the versatility to play inside and disrupt in the middle of the defense or rush from the outside playing the edge. He will be a developmental player in the Seahawks defense, but his upside is obvious.
(Round 4, Pick 20) TE Will Dissly, Washington- Seattle has had trouble on their offensive line (understatement) for the past few years, and have ultimately refrained from getting the talent necessary to keep Russell Wilson off the ground. With their third pick, Seattle picked the tight end out of Washington, who all though won’t wow you with stats as a receiver (and will most likely never lead the team in any statistical category), Dissly’s abilities lie in the blocking game. Dissly will be involved in two tight end sets where he can line up tight off the tackle and play as a run and pass blocker. He dropped into pass protection on 78 snaps in 2017, and did not allow a single pressure. Although he won’t add depth to the offensive line, Dissly will certainly improve their blocking in each area of the game.
(Round 5, Pick 4) LB Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida- This was one of my favorite picks of the draft, let alone in Seattle. Griffin was the feel good story of the draft with an infectious attitude and fills an immediate need in the Seahawks defensive scheme. Griffin is an athletic prospect with elite speed and strength who will serve as a situational pass rusher early in his career. Not to mention he was paired with his brother; talk about an ideal situation.
(Round 5, Pick 9) S Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State- The Seahawks intend to play Flowers at cornerback, and with his size (6’3” 203 pounds) grit and athletic ability he may just be able to pull off the difficult shift Seattle has made famous. Flowers checks off each box Seattle covets in their CB’s. If he can Successfully transition, Seattle may have just struck gold once again in the later rounds of the NFL Draft.
(Round 5, Pick 12) P Michael Dickson, Texas- Special Teams is an important aspect of every football game, and field position can win and lose a team the game. A five yard roll on a punt or pinning a team inside their own 20 yard-line could be the difference between 3 and 7 points. Dickson led every punter in the nation with an average of 44.2 net yards with 47.5 yards per punt. He was also in the top five with 42 punts pinned inside the 20 yard-line. Dickson will provide quality competition to Jon Ryan a player who average 45 yards per punt last year with only 29 pinned inside an opponent’s 20.
(Round 5, Pick 31) T Jamarco Jones, Ohio State- Jones is a raw tackle prospect with the athleticism and strength to play on the right side of their offensive line. I love this pick, as I was surprised to see Jones fall to the end of round five. It was sensational value pick and should provide quality depth to the tackle position if not a starter opposite Duane brown.
(Round 6, Pick 12) DE Jacob Martin, Temple- Jacob Martin will serve as a developmental defensive player who has the versatility to play as a hybrid linebacker and defensive end. Martin is undersized, but has displayed quality athleticism and should serve as a perfect scheme fit in Seattle. Martin will provide much needed depth along the defensive line
(Round 7, Pick 2) QB Alex McCough, Florida International- McCough is a developmental quarterback who will serve as a body in camp. With Austin Davis slotted in as the backup in Seattle, McCough has an upward climb if he wants to make the final 53 man-roster.
The Seahawks started off strong by trading out of their 18th spot in order to attain more draft capital, as the twelves would have been waiting a long time for their second pick with only one pick in the top 119 selections of the draft. However, it was with the 27th pick that left a lot of viewers at a loss for words. Instead of drafting a defensive player to help rebuild some of the pieces they lost, or an interior offensive lineman to keep the team’s MVP from hitting the turf, John Schneider elected to go with a running back, Rashaad Penny. Although I love Penny as a player, there were other players that were passed by with this selection including Iowa’s cornerback, Josh Jackson, Auburn’s physical prospect, Carlton Davis, and UTEP’s guard, Will Hernandez. The Seahawks offense were at their best with the “beast” running up the throat of defenses; maybe Penny can emulate that. With Penny’s scheme fit in Seattle’s system, there is a large possibility that a confusing round one selection may prove to be one of the best picks in 2018.
John Schneider has always made a living in the later portions of the draft, and he may have found hidden gems in the fifth round this year. Shaquem Griffin has the most infectious personality in the draft and with his athleticism, drive and motor, he has a chance to succeed early as an impact player. With a resume full of late round defensive backs who prospered under the guidance of Pete Carroll, John Schneider may have found his next draft steal. If Trey Flowers can make a successful transition as a physical outside corner, he may have a large role on the roster earlier than most originally thought. Jamarco Jones figures to add depth to a struggling offensive line, and could serve as the right tackle opposite blind side blocker Duane Brown. It was in the fifth round that Seattle won the draft. .