2018 NFL Draft

Erik Hultgren, News Reporter

The single most hyped up event of football’s long off season is undoubtedly the NFL Draft. The event carries the capacity to irreversibly alter the fate of a franchise- for better or worse.
The buildup to this year’s draft, like the many before it, was long and at some points lacking in entertainment. The same pool of prospects can only be looked at so many times before analysis becomes redundant.
Despite this, the draft itself did not disappoint. From blockbuster trades to surprise selections, 2018’s first round demonstrated the chaos- and sometimes calamity- that defines the National Football League.
With thirty-two picks set to be made on the first day of the draft, the Cleveland Browns were the first on the clock.
Mere months removed from the conclusion of a rare winless season, general manager John Dorsey was tasked with choosing the player best suited to turn a historically bad franchise into a Super Bowl contender.
In a polarizing move, Dorsey opted to take Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the opening pick. Mayfield, despite coming off one of the most impressive individual careers in college football history, already has many doubters to silence in Cleveland.
The second selection of the night went to the New York Giants. In a controversial yet predictable move, the Giants took running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State.
Barkley, arguably the draft’s best athlete, checks all of the boxes for a team looking for a modern, do-it-all back.
The pick has faced so much scrutiny not due to Barkley’s perceived talent, but rather due to the league-wide shift away from rushing centered offenses.
Even if Barkley is immediately the best player at his position in the NFL, the value of running backs had dramatically decreased in recent years.
With the third pick in the draft, the New York Jets selected USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
One of the most well received selections of the night, Darnold projects as one of the most safe prospects. At twenty years old he will have a lot of time to develop and has the potential to be a franchise quarterback in the mold of former Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo.
Other notable moves on a night packed with surprise consisted of the Buffalo Bills trading up in the draft for the seventh pick, and highly touted quarterback Josh Rosen falling all the way to the tenth pick.
The Bills, despite making the playoffs in 2018, went into the draft lacking any standout talent at the quarterback position. When Wyoming’s Josh Allen was still on the board at number seven, the New York team knew that they had to have him.
Many consider him the biggest boom-or-bust prospect of the draft, Allen possesses size and strength that simply cannot be taught. The trajectory of his career is likely to depend on whether or not his skill-level can catch up.
As a result of the Allen selection, former UCLA Bruin Josh Rosen became the odd man out of the consensus top four quarterbacks in the class.
Considered by some to be the most talented passer in his class, he was selected tenth overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Following the pick, Rosen was equally irritated and confident, saying that there were “nine mistakes” made by teams that didn’t pick him, and that he intends to spend the next “decade or so” making sure those teams know they made a mistake.
While the quarterbacks of the draft garnered the most attention, the Chicago Bears picked linebacker Roquan Smith out of Georgia at number eight, while the Indianapolis Colts selected Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson with the sixth pick.

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