Home / Uncategorized / NFL Draft 2018: Round 1 of qualifications for each selection | Bleach report

NFL Draft 2018: Round 1 of qualifications for each selection | Bleach report

0 of 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    For a team that draws well, the future does not have to be five years away. It could practically be the day after tomorrow.

    Two years ago, the Rams and Eagles used the first two picks in the NFL draft over Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, a pair of talented but defective quarterbacks not unlike Josh. Allen, Sam Darnold and the others at the top of this year's class. Now the Rams have erased years of 7-9 punchlines to become one of the most dynamic and dangerous teams in the NFL. The Eagles? Well, they are just the reigning champions of the world.

    The Browns and the Jets could be a few smart decisions to change the course of history. The Giants and the Broncos can be one or two sagacious movements of a quick return to the top. All teams had the opportunity to write Chapter 1 of their Super Bowl success story on Thursday.

    Pick-by-Pick analysis of the first round of the 2018 draft is here. Check out the ratings and check tomorrow for Day 2.

1 of 32

    Deadly Quarterback Comparison: Healthy Jim McMahon, Eared Mirror Universe Drew Brees.

    The following people think that Baker Mayfield is just another Johnny Manziel:

    · His bartender.

    · That guy on Facebook does not remember getting married. [19659004] · His brother-in-law (the one who bought a T-shirt from Nathan Peterman Bills last October).

    · Various NFL regional columnists (usually the most veteran try too much to sound nervous)

    The following people do not see significant similarity between Mayfield and Manziel: ]

    · Baker Mayfield.

    · Johnny Manziel.

    · Anyone involved in the NFL with whom he has ever spoken.

    · Anyone who watches the movie carefully.

    · Anyone who rejects vague false equivalences. [19659004] Browns fans can be forgiven for having some anxiety related to Manziel. But Mayfield is not that guy. He has an arrest for public intoxication on his record along with a history of hatred in the field, but some isolated incidents only form a narrative, not evidence of a real problem. In the field, Mayfield has one of the best statistical lines of the NCAA, a Heisman Trophy and a magnificent game film that shows him operating without problems an offensive, instead of generating highlights in the playground like Manziel.

    Instead of Worried that Mayfield is Manziel, Browns fans should consider Mayfield as the quarterback they thought they were receiving in Manziel.

    Now it's up to general manager John Dorsey, head coach Hue Jackson, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Mayfield to coexist and prosper, although Robert Klemko of MMQB and others speculated that The Browns GM did not trust Jackson with the knowledge that he was writing Mayfield until the last minute. That suggests that Jackson may not be 100% on board with the national team, which could lead to all kinds of Game of Thrones craziness in the coming weeks.

    That's something to worry about later. But a little nervousness could actually help Mayfield if the Browns fall back into soap opera mode.

    Grade: B [19659007] 2 of 32

      This is the best running class in years! To help keep things in order and minimize jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents our first installment of our Field Guide for 2018 runners.

      Athletic: Outstanding. I like it, Avengers -franchise worthy.

      At full speed: Very good, although with a tendency to rely too much on the highlighter when it can not find running room.

      Open field currents: Excellent, due to all the combined movements in said highlighting stick.

      Reception value: Excellent. Saquon Barkley has soft hands and is deadly on the wheel routes.

      Pass protection: It's not terrible, although Barkley often does not pick up the correct blitzer until it's too late. [19659004] Opposite view of a "source" who has an anxiety attack: Barkley is secretly Trent Richardson 2.0. He lacks vision and will become tentative after a few statistical lines 21-44-1 (those were his numbers against Ohio State last year) at the NFL level. This is a one-way ticket to Bust City; population: overdraft runners!

      Bottom line: Barkley will immediately improve the Giants, take pressure off Eli Manning and help the offensive work-in-progress line meet. But while Barkley is more of a Todd Gurley than a Richardson, it's important to note that Pat Shurmur trained Richardson to a 3.6-yard-per-carry season in 2012, and that Gurley demonstrated in 2016 that even a great runner can only do so much when the system around you goes kablooey. If the Manning game continues to slide, the line does not crack or the defense does not bounce quickly, the Giants will want them to go in a different direction with this selection.

      The Giants could have addressed more difficult needs to fill here. It's hard to object to the selection of such a good (and exciting) player as Barkley. But the question is what the preliminary qualifications are about.

      Grade: B-less

3 of 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    Screening Deadly Accurate Quarterback: Less Exciting Matt Ryan.

    Oh, look, Sam Darnold was not selected first in general. That's slightly surprising, because Darnold is the cleanest quarterback prospect on the draft table, if not the best quarterback in one thing.

    Darnold is not a long-range hyperintense project like Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson. He lacks the vanguardist personality traits of Josh Rosen-Baker Mayfield that may sound like the bottle cap in the garbage bin when the trainers are in the hot seat. Darnold is the luxury sedan of the prospects of quarterbacks: the ads say that "you will stand out from the crowd" selecting it, but it will be difficult to get it out of the others in the supermarket parking lot. [19659004] Luxury sedans are wonderful, of course, especially if you've been driving old hatchbacks from the 1980s for years. Darnold checks all the boxes as a field marshal of the future, and there are no coaches, scouts and executives as anything more than checking all their boxes. Darnold should become a very good quarterback and could become an excellent quarterback, but there is nothing in him that can dismiss an NFL manager for this selection, which is the best attribute that any NFL prospect can take part.

    The Jets played the predraft market incredibly well in the offseason. (There is a sentence I never thought I would write.) They changed second-round picks to jump on the Broncos and the Browns' potential trading partners for the fourth pick, and then correctly bet that the chips would fall in a certain way with the first two pieces. chosen. A new era of the Jets that should have started three years ago is finally beginning. There is much more work to be done, but at least the team finally acquired the piece that should have started with.

    Grade: A

4 of 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    Strengths: Man coverage skills, confrontation / hardness for its size.

    Weaknesses: Size.

    Denzel Ward is very similar to Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. He is a bit small but makes up for it with a physical style. Ward is better in male coverage but has good eyes in the area and reacts quickly to pattern combinations.

    Ward plays out in college but is projected as a starter that will slide into the slot or move to avoid 6 Receptors & # 39; 4 & # 39; in the NFL. It is not adequate to cover Julio Jones, but no cornerback in this class has a better chance of covering Antonio Brown.

    Statistical Fact: Ward allowed a completion rate of only 32.8 percent on passes to its receivers in 2017, according to Sports Info Solutions.

    Whenever the Browns choose the first three rounds, we'll go back to our Hot Take Team of Browns experts in conflict for instant analysis. Take it off, guys:

    OLD SOCCER FOOTBALL SKOOL: You can not argue with this election, right, Math Geek? It satisfies a need in an important position. And the defense wins championships.

    EXTREMISTA DEL MONEYBALL: We prefer that you do not use the phrase "defense wins championships". It is a micro-aggregation against those who respect the fact that the defense is important but do not believe it, only wins championships. In addition, the politically correct term is not "Math Geek", but "Sabermetrician" or "Dungeon Master".

    OLD SKOOL: Just tell people if you like to pick up or not, Nerdlinger.

    MONEYBALL: Yes, it's great. But it feels like a small reach here, with so much top-tier talent on the board.

    Grade: At least

5 of 32

    Strengths: [19659009] Athletic, variety of movements, use of the hand.

    Weaknesses: Minor resistance to half the game and defense problems.

    Bradley Chubb has a 97 percent chance of becoming a dangerous and productive NFL rim runner, unless major injuries occur or the sweet release of a meteor collision / alien invasion . But what about those other three percentage points?

  • Theft of towels could turn into a big controversy that swallows his career, with the same angry sports fans who talk and hate playing, acting like Chubb selling expired milk to orphanages when he dares to soil the dignity of AJ McCarron, the commissioner who puts his ascot on a rumple about it, and so on. On the other hand, Aqib Talib is doing well. (1 percent chance of failure)
  • The analysis could affect Chubb, whose projection of Football Outsiders SackSEER is below the types of Von Miller / Myles Garrett and among the latest bloomers such as Dion Jordan and Dante Fowler. On the other hand, Joey Bosa was also down among those guys. (1 percent chance of failure.)
  • Chubb could become a product of the great Wolfpack defensive line that also featured B.J. Hill, Justin Jones, Kentavius ​​Street and young Darian Roseboro. That's a bit like saying that Earl Thomas is a product of the Legion of Boom. Look at the tape: Chubb is much more likely to work through a double team to apply pressure than to be forgotten because the opponent is concerned about his teammates. (1 percent chance of failure)

The only real "concern" with Chubb is his potential to be a specialist in boom and bust sacks that will mix bags of three sacks with long disappearances, because it is not a great career defender and it can wear when it is blocked by some series. The Broncos will take the three-bag games to the bank and worry about the rest later; Chubb and Miller are going to be a terrifying combination.

The only problem with this choice is pretty obvious: the Broncos still need a full offense, and some incredible offensive weapons are on the board. So we balance a player A plus with a bit of D-planning in the grade.

Grade: C

6 of 32

    Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

    Strengths: Raw power, career blocking, pass protection, attitude / tenacity.

    Weaknesses: Er, your arms are a bit short, maybe? [19659004] The guard has unquestionably the least valuable position on the field since the NFL became a league-oriented pass in 1978. But that may be changing, as noted by Quenton Nelson himself at the combine.

    "They have guys who dominate the NFL right now in Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox, who have been working inside men, and they need men to stop them," Nelson said. "You talk to the quarterbacks, and they say that if a D-end gets on the edge, it's okay, they can get in their pocket and they can pitch in. That's what I give them: a pocket to intervene in. And I think it also helps that the offense establishes my evil, and establish the race also opens the air game "

    The closest comparison to Nelson is not Zach Martin or Larry Allen, not even the legendary guard of the Patriots John "Hog" Hannah. It's Juggernaut, the Marvel Comics character that is as strong as the Hulk but less random. Like Juggernaut, nothing stops Nelson, so he can erase everything in his path when he blocks the race. And yes Andrew Luck will be able to climb in his pocket, knowing that there is an almost invulnerable force of nature that protects him. (We are assuming that luck will one day throw a real soccer ball, because assuming anything else leads almost immediately to a gibbering madness.)

    The only real weakness of Juggernaut is telepathy; Professor X is his stepbrother, and (50,000 words from the discontinued comic strip continuity.You can thank us later. -Eds) . Nelson's only real weakness is the perception that his position is worthless. But it's an instant improvement for the Colts line, which makes it a great choice.

    Grade: A

7 of 32

    Eric Gay / Associated Press

    Mortal Accurate (LOL) Quarterback Comparison: Donovan McJakelocker.

    Bleacher Report proudly presents Every Josh Allen Argument Ever, a one-act play.

    VOICE OF REASON: Josh Allen has real precision problems.

    DRAFTNIK WAS IMMEDIATELY UNSAFE: You only say it because of its 56.2 percent completion rate. That is just a statistic. The statistics are for losers. You are a loser. NERRRRD.

    REASON: Allen's completion rate is terrible. But I also saw his movie of the game. Misses the receivers by a mile, in long and short shots.

    DRAFTNIK: You do not know what you're looking at. You did not take into account how bad their receivers were. You do not appreciate football on as many levels as I do.

    REASON: Yes, he suffered some failed passes and badly calculated balls in the air. But his accuracy was bad in 2016, when he had a better cast of support. And Wyoming does not face many great defenses either. He only completed 50 percent of his passes against winning teams last year, with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

    DRAFTNIK: But his arm is amazing! And he is a guy with a lot of character! All the NFL connoisseurs love it! Who are you to question the informants of the NFL?

    REASON: NFL informants constantly overvalue high quarterbacks, strong arm and character, because NFL connoisseurs believe they can fix everything else. Allen can be the perfect example of the type of quarterback who is always recruited too high.

    DRAFTNIK: Look! I made a GIF of one of the Allen bombs. Here is another! And this pass is incomplete, but only because his receiver was not fast enough to reach the arm of his rocket. I'm starting a thread of 283 GIF tweets that will prove that Allen is Brett Favre.

    REASON: Allen has the tools to improve if he spends a year getting a top-notch quarterback training, as Patrick Mahomes did. And maybe he'll become a Donovan McNabb guy who completes enough 60-yard bombs to make you forget that he loses passes of five yards for 10 yards. But it takes a lot of effort to explain all the bad releases in the Allen tape and the statistics sheet. The tools should yield results, especially at the upper middle level. When they do not, it is wise to admit that there is an extreme level of risk associated with that quarterback instead of excuses and rationalizations and complaining about the arm.

    DRAFTNIK: Oh, then you hate this choice, then. Here comes the good of someone who will say anything for the clicks.

    REASON: The Bills have a weak supporting cast: a thin reception body, an offensive line in transition due to retirements. They have a current quarterback, AJ McCarron, who is a short-term solution at best. And they just exchanged part of the capital project they need to improve to acquire Allen. And offensive coordinator Brian Daboll does not have a record of accomplishing much of anything. The bust potential with this selection is terribly high. Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have just defined their era, for better or for worse.

    Rating: C-minus

8 of 32

    Strengths: Everything about being a linebacker in space.

    Weaknesses: He's a linebacker in space.

    The Bears recruit a linebacker, and suddenly everything feels good in the world.

    Roquan Smith wins the most distracting Perspective award this year, awarded to the player who outshines other players in their own tape cuts. Try to focus on some offensive SEC brochures so you can break your game and whammo ! Smith is firing like a missile, or cutting a pass in the middle of the field, or evading blockers and meeting the runner in the line of scrimmage in 3rd and short. He steals the scene from the star every time he appears. It's like all the characters except Black Panther in Black Panther .

    Smith is also one of the safest selections in this draft. Calling a "safe" selection is almost an indirect compliment, because the teams are supposed to be bold and daring and find players with a five percent chance of becoming Lawrence Taylor instead of just getting the experienced, productive and obvious option. . Smith is almost certain to become a productive starter, probably as a rookie, and will likely become a perennial Pro Bowler.

    Of course, Smith plays a role where talent is plentiful and the difference between an All-Pro player and a useful starter does not have as much impact on the win / loss column. But thinking too much about draft economics is a great way to leave holes in the middle of the depth chart. Chicago has just won a three-way linebacker with a great playing ability, who should be a high-level starter for the next decade. Look for Smith to soon start overshadowing some of the boys recruited before him on his own reels. This is an excellent selection for the sleeper team that no one is talking about.

    Grade: A

9 of 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    Having lifted the Lombardi Trophy last year, the 49ers … oh Wait, that did not happen.

    After having won 11 games and settled down as … hmm, that did not happen either.

    Wait, do the 49ers still stink? Wow. It turns out that winning an exchange with the Patriots is not the same as winning a Super Bowl. The exaggeration of Jimmy Garoppolo last season overshadowed how weak the roster was around him and how much work the Niners must do in this draft. Start with making sure Garoppolo has the protection he needs to reach his supernatural potential.

    Now, this year's tackle class is … unspectacular. To help you get an idea of ​​what you're looking for, Bleacher Report proudly presents a good, bad and scary breakdown of this year's tackles.

    Well : Mike McGlinchey is Matt Ryan's cousin. He has a nice and winning personality, like Jason Kelce without the atmosphere of "deranged Batman villain". He is also a punishing execution blocker with an excellent technique that did a great job of clearing the devastation left by his teammate Quenton Nelson. And unlike tackles that played on open offenses, you can line up in a three-point position without looking like a fat middle-aged guy in your first yoga class.

    Bad : McGlinchey does not fit into the left tackle prototype. The best rushers are going to win against him.

    Terrifying : There's nothing terrifying about McGlinchey, which can make him the best prospect of this class. He will not make unexpected mistakes, and the coaches know he will need help against Von Miller's guys.

    So the 49ers have a tough pass protector. It is not a bad choice. But there is still a lot of work to be done.

    Grade: B-plus

10 of 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Millennial Jay Cutler , Joey Harrington.

    Josh Rosen's biggest problem is that he's overprepared.

    The sewing circle of the NFL to those with inside information do not like Rosen. And they want all of us to know. You could not have a beer during the combine without a hostess asking, "Would you like to see our refreshment menu, and did you know that Josh's teammates REALLY hate it?"

    The displeasure -proclaimed Real Football Guys for Rosen were aired 24/7 this season in Rumors and Scuttlebutt Network, with stories about politics, angry teammates and jacuzzis deployed as indirect arguments for [19659033] he is not our kind of person [19659034].

    Rosen is an extremely qualified franchise quarterback prospect, physically and mentally, but rubs the mind of the NFL in the wrong way. The problem for Rosen and the Cardinals is that the hivemind is persistent and consistent, and makes sure that their prophecies are fulfilled by themselves. If the Real Football Guys decide that a tall guy with good hair deserves 75 chances, the tall guy with good hair has 75 chances. If someone else "does not fit into the culture," you should better act like Randy Moss immediately.

    Then Rosen must be undeniably successful as quickly as possible. Otherwise, he will be haunted by hive's mind and find second chances hard to come by, while less skilled marshals who act more like the anxious young lieutenants of old war movies have opportunities.

    That's just how the NFL works, and challenging it makes you even more of a stranger.

    Arizona may be Rosen's best landing spot: a silent media market, an organization that is not absorbed by histrionics, a new coach who will not be in the hot seat soon and a board depth full of tall guys with good hair that will climb easily once Sam Bradford is injured (Labor Day) and Mike Glennon generates his 15th rotation (Columbus Day). In three years, we may be wondering what other teams thought when they let Rosen fall to the Cardinals. Hopefully. Because the living mind of the NFL could always use another kick in their complacency.

    Grade: A

11 of 32

    Butch Dill / Associated Press

    Strengths: Blitzing, big-play ability, awareness, leadership.

    Weaknesses: External coverage of man.

    Most of the offensive tactics of the NFL are designed to isolate and attack nickel.

    The teams place sprinters like Tyreek Hill and big, athletic guys from Rob Gronkowski in the slot specifically so they can create maladjustments against nickel. They build formations and groups of personnel to intentionally place the nickelback in a bind.

    The RPO is the beloved strategy of the NFL at this time: your smarty friends like to explain the design of the play; his friends even more like to say that everything is just a game action with an elegant name, because the Eagles used pass options to win the Super Bowl. In its most basic form, the RPO attacks the nickel by backing up forcing it to guess running or passing and then doing the opposite.

    Nickelback has been a starting position in the NFL for years and is one of the most critical positions in the field. But because teams use the same depth charts that they have mimeographed since the 1970s, nickelbacks are still considered role players or filler niches. That outdated thinking even extends to the draft, where there are still great nickel advocates like Minkah Fitzpatrick, My God, I'm not sure if he's a safety or a corner .

    Fitzpatrick is the best nickel prospect in the history of the NFL. (Tyrann Mathieu had character problems and was also used in attack, confusing his draft profile.) He is exactly the defender teams need to counter the RPO and mix tactics in the slot, because their ability to attack the backfield will make offensives. it counts for him, instead of vice versa. He also has excellent game recognition skills and the quickness to regroup after playing fakes. While no human being can cover both Tyreek and Gronk in the slot, Fitzpatrick has the size and speed to move to the outside or to a deeper security so that a faster defender can slide to nickel. Fitzpatrick never has to leave the field in defense.

    Fitzpatrick is a cross between Honey Badger and Malcolm Jenkins. It's the vanguard of a new kind of defender the NFL needs more of. I should have been recruited higher. The Dolphins, despite being ostensibly strong in "safety," will be happy to have fallen on them.

    That's right: the Dolphins did something right. We are as shocked as you are.

    Grade: A

12 of 32

    Strengths: Massiveness, athletics for someone who possesses so much mass.

    Weaknesses: Leverage, creativity of pass fever.

    First of all: intelligent movement of the Bucs to negotiate. Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson and Bradley Chubb, the three players who could help them the most, were off the board. Los Bucs obtuvieron un poco más de valor al hacer poco más que dejar que el mariscal de campo les cortara el frente.

    Vita Vea comenzó su carrera en la escuela secundaria como un mariscal de campo de Wildcat de 260 libras. Piense en eso por un momento: un mariscal de campo de primer año de la escuela secundaria de 260 libras. Si fuera uno de los padres en las gradas y viese a Vea corriendo directamente cuesta abajo hacia un grupo de 15 años, sacaría a mi hijo del campo y lo inscribiría para el equipo de campo traviesa.

    Vea siguió siendo un jugador de dos vías durante toda su carrera preparatoria, corriendo para 578 yardas y 11 touchdowns en su último año y, como lo indica este video, eludió a casi todos los posibles tacleadores que borró.

    Vea es un humano atleticamente raro, ambos más grande y más ágil que incluso el mejor prospecto de tackle defensivo típico. La vieja teoría del planeta de Bill Parcells dicta que no objete pequeños detalles sobre el informe de exploración cuando aparece un jugador como Vea, porque muy pocos de ellos existen. Así que no te preocupes por el hecho de que Vea comienza a jugar demasiado erguido cuando está cansado de enfrentarse a 40 dobles equipos consecutivos, porque los Bucs deberían proporcionarle más descanso y más soporte de línea que los Huskies, y el acondicionamiento de la NFL también ayudará mantenlo fresco.

    Tal vez los Bucs incluso pueden dejar que Vea juegue un poco, como en los viejos tiempos. Porque el cielo sabe que necesitan la ayuda allí también.

    Grado: A

13 de 32

    David J. Phillip / Associated Press

    Fortalezas: Atlético, preparación, esfuerzo.

    Debilidades: Técnica de la técnica del pase.

    Washington permitió 134.1 yardas terrestres por juego la temporada pasada, el peor total en la NFL Los equipos se metieron la pelota por la garganta, particularmente en la segunda mitad de la temporada. Las lesiones fueron parte del problema, pero las lesiones formaron parte de todos los problemas en Washington: toda la lista debe ser más profunda, no solo más saludable.

    Da'Ron Payne es un interior de Marea Crimson Tide estándar liniero, lo que quiere decir que es increíble: un 310 libras natural con atletismo sorprendente, una ética de trabajo tenaz, técnica de apalancamiento adecuada y un pequeño pero útil arsenal de sorpresas de pase de velocidad. Es más probable que Payne apure o derrame al quarterback del bolsillo que para despedirlo, pero será un defensor de alto impacto que puede permanecer en el campo y causar congestión en terceros intentos.

    Payne es un buen jugador y se adapta bien, pero parece que Washington se limitó a sentarse aquí y dejar que un grupo de defensores de mayor impacto sean eliminados antes de esto.

    Grado: B

14 de 32

    Gregory Payan / Associated Press

    Fortalezas: Atlético, upside.

    Debilidades: Técnica, preocupaciones sobre el nivel de competencia.

    Informe del blanqueador perfilado Marcus Davenport a principios de abril. La versión corta: maravilla atlética y bloomer tardío; obliterated blockers at the mid-major level; looked lost at the start of Senior Bowl practices but caused sacks and turnovers in the game; mild-mannered “Silent Storm” personality off the field.

    One thing to point out about Davenport’s level of competition is that UTSA plays in Conference USA, which may not be the conference it was 15 years ago, but it ain’t the Division VI East Prairie Nowhere Conference, either. The offensive linemen Davenport tossed around like bags of flour were FBS athletes. So the ramp-up to NFL competition won’t be as extreme as it’s made out to be, though he’s still fundamentally very raw.

    A good comp for Davenport is Ziggy Ansah, who was also insanely athletic but raw (and mellow of disposition) coming out of college.

    The Saints clearly think they are one player away from the Super Bowl. But is Davenport that player? New Orleans just gave up a first-round pick next year to get a project pass-rusher, albeit a good one. For a team counting on a 39-year-old quarterback to lead it to glory in a tight window, that’s a steep price for a player who may not pay immediate dividends.

    Grade: C

15 of 32

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Fuller House. The Roseanne reboot. The all-new X-Files. And now Gruden Trek: The Next Generation.

    Jon Gruden’s 2002 Super Bowl success was so long ago that we thought superhero movies were lame and CGI effects were awesome. The Simpsons were still relevant, and no one blinked at the show’s racial stereotypes. Most of us still used dial-up modems and watched low-def televisions; our cellphones still had buttons on the front of them and were not smart. Gruden was a wizard in the days when Jeff Fisher and Mike Martz were among his toughest rivals. It was a different era. And Gruden, with his Old Boy Network Dream Team coaching staff and analytics are for nerds rhetoric, is strangely eager to take us back to it.

    At least Gruden realized 35-year-old tackle Donald Penn is a little too old-school for even his old-school plan. And he was wise to trade down for some extra value instead of reaching too quickly for Miller.

    Because this year’s tackle class is…unspectacular, Bleacher Report proudly presents a Good, Bad and Terrifying breakdown of Miller:

    Good: Miller is tall, long-armed and quick. He has sound footwork, slides well in pass protection and can be a factor on the second level.

    Bad: Miller absorbs more contact from defenders than he dishes out. His technique is inconsistent, though inexperience at left tackle (he moved there in 2017) could be a factor.

    Terrifying: Prolonged exposure to Josh Rosen may have turned him into an uninspired clump of sod. That’s what I heard from the anonymous scout who earholed me during last call at The Royal Scam in Mobile, Alabama, anyway.

    Bottom Line: Miller is your typical toolsy left tackle prospect. The athleticism is there, but the tendency to get rocked by initial contact is worrying. The Raiders addressed a need, but they may not have gotten the type of throwback dude Gruden really craves.

    Grade: C 

16 of 32

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Strengths: Athleticism, range, upside.

    Weaknesses: Instincts, pass coverage.

    If you tried to make an inside linebacker version of Jadeveon Clowney, you might end up with Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds is blessedly athletic, with a powerful base and arms that look like he borrowed them from a 6’7” power forward. He’s aggressive when attacking the ball or playing perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, and Edmunds has the potential to be a three-down defender who plays in space on early downs and rushes the edge on 3rd-and-long.

    But Edmunds loses track of receivers in coverage and gets caught staring into the backfield on play action, making him a frustrating player to watch in pass coverage, and he will sometimes overrun holes and cutback lanes in run defense. He’s raw, and he’ll be a liability if forced to play a major role right away.

    Edmunds doesn’t even turn 20 until May 2, making him one of the youngest players in draft history. Young prospects prompt conflicting opinions from NFL types:

    SCOUTING DEPARTMENT: He’s still growing! His upside is off the charts!

    COACHING STAFF: We aren’t running a developmental academy. He had better be able to help right away. All of us could be fired by the time this kid reaches his potential.

    FRONT OFFICE: We don’t pay first-round prices for long-range projects at any position but quarterback. If he needs two years to develop, let some other team develop him. Then we’ll sign him in free agency.

    So Edmunds could be a cross between Bobby Wagner and Justin Houston by 2020. Or he could hit the free-agent market before his 23rd birthday because the Bills didn’t deal well with his growing pains or he was lost in the shuffle.

    Sean McDermott loves him some linebackers, so Edmunds is in a good spot. But the Bills have so many needs on offense that selecting Edmunds—just minutes after investing the future in Josh Allen—is downright reckless.

    Grade: C 

17 of 32

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Strengths: Explosiveness, range, playmaking ability.

    Weaknesses: Polish.

    The Chargers allowed 18 runs of 20-plus yards and six runs of 40-plus yards last season, both the highest totals in the NFL (the Jets also allowed six 40-plus-yard runs). Safety was a pressing need entering the draft, and Derwin James is an excellent value here.

    He has Kam Chancellor potential. He has tremendous open-field speed and range, reads plays quickly, attacks downhill with authority and hits hard enough to dislodge the ball. He excels in deep zone coverage but is tough enough for run defense and can be a weapon when blitzing off the edge.

    Most of James’ flaws are minor and technical: He takes some bad angles to the ball (and will miss tackles when he comes in at the wrong trajectory) and can get turned around in man coverage. Once they iron out the wrinkles, the Chargers should have a Pro Bowler.

    Grade: A

18 of 32

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Strengths: Speed, instincts, return value.

    Weaknesses: Physicality.

    Meet the new Packers!

    Head coach Mike McCarthy and his Pamphlet O' Plays aren't new. There's a new offensive coordinator, but he's actually old offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.

    But Ted Thompson is no longer GM! Except…he's still involved in the organization, guarding the Jedi Texts on some island in Lake Michigan or something. And the front office is run by his disciples; the ones who didn't flee to Cleveland during the power struggle, anyway.

    Aaron Rodgers is still around, too, which is good news! Except he is getting a little impatient about earning some of that sweet, sweet Kirk Cousins cash. And he's still expected to take on the whole NFL with a laser sword, or something.

    Wow, the new Packers are a little like the new Star Wars films: mostly predictable but unpredictable in ways that don't necessarily make them better. Maybe this draft will chart a new course for the organization. Or maybe it's just gonna keep flying until Rodgers runs out of fuel.

    Case in point: The new Packers just traded up to fill a need. They ranked last in the NFL at covering No. 1 wide receivers in 2017, according to Football Outsiders. But they selected an undersized cornerback with some injury concerns.

    Jaire Alexander missed a chunk of last season with a sprained knee. Opponents wouldn't go near his receivers when he was available—he allowed just five completions, according to Sports Info Solutions—and he burned a 4.38-second 40 at the combine.

    Alexander was not nearly as effective in 2016, with six touchdowns allowed, most of them in the red zone. He's not a bump-and-run enforcer or mauling tackler. But mix speed, experience returning punts and good eyes in zone coverage, and the Packers are at least getting a player who can play several roles right away.

    Grade: B   

19 of 32

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Strengths: Size, athleticism, upside, instincts.

    Weaknesses: Experience.

    Leighton Vander Esch's parents painted his name, uniform number and some Boise State logos on the side of a full-sized transit bus and drove from Idaho to Las Vegas to see their son play in a bowl game last year.

    It was a fun way to demonstrate parental pride, but the color scheme was rather subdued. If one of my kids were playing in a bowl game, I'd paint him riding a unicorn and slaying frost giants with a vorpal sword while racing down the freeway. It would look like six different Rush album covers threw up on the side of that bus. Because I am that proud a parent.

    (Actually, my sons prefer it when I don't attend their athletic events and didn't even want to be mentioned in this write-up. Joke's on them.)


    Vander Esch combines many of the strengths—and a few of the minor weaknesses—of top linebacker prospects Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds. He's almost as athletic as Edmunds, and he is as effective at knifing through the line of scrimmage to make tackles or hurry throws as Smith. But Vander Esch was just a one-year starter at Boise State, and it shows when he is late to diagnose pass patterns, has a hard time disengaging from blockers or fails to protect his legs from cut blocks.

    Vander Esch is an old-fashioned inside linebacker with just enough range to stay on the field on third downs. But the Cowboys are so needy at so many other positions that this is a luxury selection. Jerry Jones, as he so often does, drafted a guy with a lot of buzz instead of drafting the player the Cowboys really need.

    At least the famous Cowboys bus and the Vander Esch bus can park side-by-side at team headquarters. Maybe they can even have bus races? The busses will be much quicker and faster than the Cowboys' current batch of wide receivers.

    Grade: C-minus

20 of 32

    Danny Johnston/Associated Press

    Strengths: Size, power, experience.

    Weaknesses: Leverage, injury concerns.

    The Lions offensive line ranked last in the NFL in adjusted line yards, according to Football Outsiders. Their running back play was terrible, but often there was simply nowhere for them to run.

    Frank Ragnow missed much of the 2017 season with an ankle injury. He could not participate in the Senior Bowl and only lifted at the combine, but he was a full participant at Arkansas' pro day. Ragnow is a big mauler with pretty good balance and awareness. He adjusts to blitzes well, peels off to engage linebackers and finishes his blocks with hostility. Ragnow lets some defenders get low on him, negating his power, and may have trouble against quick, cagey interior defenders. But assuming his bill of health is clean, Ragnow is a likely starter and a potential steal.

    This is a solid pick, though with Harold Landry and others on the board (including a pair of centers who may be as good or better than Ragnow), it may not have been the Lions' best selection.

    Grade: B    

21 of 32

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Strengths: Experience, technique, size.

    Weaknesses: Elite athletic attributes.

    A center run? Why not?

    Three years ago, when the Bengals were building a dynasty they thought would lose first-round playoff games until the sun went supernova, they tried to address their long-range needs at tackle by selecting Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher with their first two picks. Alas, both players turned out to be reaches, but the Bengals not only ignored the warning signs while both players failed to develop, but the rest of their offensive line also deteriorated from neglect while they waited for the tackles to come around.

    It eventually got so bad that they were forced to trade a first-round pick they acquired from the Chiefs for Cordy Glenn and turned to the Giants—the Giants!—for help from Bobby Hart at right tackle. But the interior line remained a shell of its former self.

    Billy Price is everything an NFL team wants from a center. He started 55 consecutive games at center or guard for the Buckeyes, so he has both ideal experience and a clean health history. He’s a high-effort, high-intensity player who should excel at making adjustments and calls. He’s a solid run defender and capable pass protector, and he can get the job done on second-level blocks and when moving laterally on stretch runs.

    Price isn’t a Travis Frederick-level prospect, but teams rarely look for centers of that caliber unless they fall into their laps. Price is a safer selection than Frank Ragnow (selected with the last pick by the Lions), and he’ll provide a quick upgrade for a team looking to get back to the first round of the playoffs again.

    Grade: B-plus

22 of 32

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Strengths: Size, athletic potential, fundamentals.

    Weaknesses: Experience.

    The Titans ranked dead last in the NFL at covering opposing running backs on passing plays, according to Football Outsiders. That’s not a stat you want to finish at the bottom of the league in when you are trying to overtake the Patriots. (You shouldn’t rank last in anything if you are serious about overtaking the Patriots, but you get the idea.) The Titans need help in the middle of their defense.

    Crimson Tide Defender Fatigue has set in for Alabama draft prospects. (You know it’s bad when Ozzie Newsome keeps trading down so other teams can draft Tide defenders instead of him!) A projected NFL starter like Rashaan Evans would get rave reviews if he came out of most other programs. But as an Alabama linebacker, he is: a) compared to C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower and the on-field Reuben Foster, and doesn’t always measure up to our memories of them; and b) downgraded for playing on a defense full of other top prospects, which means everyone benefits from everyone else’s presence but only the absolute top-tier players really stand out.

    Evans was stuck behind Foster until last year. He displayed all the usual Nick Saban linebacker traits when he finally reached the field, including fluidity, the ability to handle complex assignments and willingness to do the little things. But as a one-year starter on a superhero team, Evans didn’t have to flash his sideline-to-sideline range or big-play capability very often, and all of his little mistakes (he still gets flat-footed by play action and misdirection) get magnified because we expect the Tide defense to consist of 11 psychics.

    Evans is a notch below the Roquan Smith-level linebacker prospects in this year’s class, but he could easily develop to be as good as Mosley. Oh, there we go comparing Alabama defenders again. Excellence really can get wearying.

    Trading up for Evans feels like a little bit of a reach, but the Titans have plenty of young talent from past drafts that needs to be developed, so spending a little capital to get the player Mike Vrabel really wants won’t cripple them.

    Grade: B-plus

23 of 32

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Strengths: Run blocking, athleticism, orneriness.

    Weaknesses: Height.

    (An excerpt from the upcoming book The Decline of Western Civilization: The Patriots Years, by Professor Otto T. Overreactor):

    "The Patriots were spiraling into chaos. They were outsmarted in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady was dropping hints about retirement. Rob Gronkowski's future was uncertain. Even Bill Belichick's brilliance was beginning to fail him! But armed with an emergency reserve of extra picks, Belichick made a last-ditch effort to preserve Earth's mightiest dynasty![19659343]As madness descended on both Patriots headquarters and the TB12 facility, Belichick found himself losing track of the kind of details that never escaped him in his glory years. Overcome by Super Bowl remorse, the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo and the strained relationships with Brady and Robert Kraft, Belichick let left tackle Nate Solder slip away in free agency, then began searching for a replacement among a thin talent pool at the position. Weary from the drama, he settled on a dubious fit for both his need and his scheme."

    Isaiah Wynn won a Best Supporting Actor award for his outstanding work on both the Sony Michel and Nick Chubb highlight reels. He was the mauling tackle who paved the way for the Georgia running game, but at 6'3", Wynn lacks ideal left tackle height. He worked out as a guard—a position he handled well early in his Bulldogs career—during Senior Bowl week, devastating just about every defender he faced in pit drills.

    Wynn has the quickness to excel as a pass protector, particularly on the interior, and Patriots coaches will love the way he finishes his blocks. This is a safe, minimal-risk, instant-upgrade selection. But it is strangely un-Patriots-like.

    Grade: B-minus      

24 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Strengths: Concentration, catch radius, toughness in traffic.

    Weaknesses: Initial quickness.

    Norv Turner is not a great offensive coordinator, but he's great at being an NFL offensive coordinator. His specialty is pounding pegs of all shapes into the Aikman/Emmitt/Irvin-shaped holes he drilled in the early 1990s. Turner's offenses are rarely terrible but only really good when laden with Hall of Famers who could call their own plays and still win. He believes his job is to stay within the safe middle of the herd so he can earn his next job, and his arrival in Carolina is further proof that he's not wrong.

    Turner needs wide receivers to turn the Panthers from a Cam Newton offense (inconsistent but fun!) into a Turner offense (Turnerish!) Frankly, Newton has never had a full complement of weapons. Teaming Moore with fellow Maryland alum Torrey Smith and Devin Funchess will upgrade the Panthers offense, no matter how drab the scheme.

    D.J. Moore was a late riser on the draft board. He played in a Terrapins offense that didn't throw the ball much and suffered from some scattershot quarterbacking. When not run-blocking—he's OK at that—Moore specialized in tracking down deep passes, snatching end-zone 50-50 balls and catching lots of shallow crosses in the middle of rush-hour traffic. He ran a 4.42 40 with good shuttles at 210 pounds at the combine, indicating that he can be more than just a possession receiver.

    All of this year's receiver prospects come with a big knock. Moore's is that he doesn't have a lot of tricky releases off the line of scrimmage and rarely gets himself open. Too many of his catches, whether on deep jump balls or comebacks, are contested. Moore will have to learn the craft of getting open at the NFL level.

    The workout results suggest there's plenty of untapped potential there. Maybe Turner (who, kidding aside, works well with receivers) and Newton can help him find it.

    Grade: B-plus    

25 of 32

    Sean Rayford/Associated Press

    Strengths: Hands, short-pass catching ability, versatility.

    Weaknesses: Age, blocking.

    Since 2013, the Ravens have used 17 draft picks in the first three rounds to select:

  • 10 players along the defensive front seven
  • Three defensive backs
  • Two tight ends
  • One offensive tackle
  • One permanently injured wide receiver (Breshad Perriman).

In other words, the Ravens are the way they are by design. They want you to cringe in disgust at their victories and lapse into a boredom coma during their losses. They enjoy success but hate joy.

Now they are once again selecting a tight end. And they made the wrong choice.

Hayden Hurst spent two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system coming out of high school, batting .245 (and slugging .245) as a rookie-league first baseman before returning to college and walking on at South Carolina. He eventually became a soft-handed move tight end who worked underneath zones well, catching 100 career passes from all over the formation.

Hurst was the top tight end on many draft boards, but he comes with a host of yellow flags. He turns 25 before the start of the season, possesses minimal seam-stretching big-play ability and blocks like someone whose first choice was a non-contact sport. He projects as a Trey Burton type, and while Burton is a useful contributor and swell guy, he’s a) only two years older than Hurst but is an established NFL veteran; and b) the type of player good teams develop out of late-round or undrafted talent.

We’ll give the Ravens bonuses on their grade for trading down twice and for not just drafting another defensive tackle. They’ll need all the extra credit they can get.

Grade: C-minus

26 of 32

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Strengths: Quickness, speed, big-play potential.

    Weaknesses: Size, productivity.

    (Note: The following is either insightful against-the-grain analysis or classic draftnik analysis paralysis. It’s often hard to spot the difference.)

    Calvin Ridley averaged just 12.4 yards per reception in his career and caught just 19 touchdown passes in three seasons, five of them last year. Those are low figures for someone touted as a DeSean Jackson-like home-run threat.

    The Crimson Tide didn’t throw the ball that often in the Jalen Hurts era, and Hurts wasn’t on the field for his pinpoint deep accuracy, so the low touchdown rate and yards per attempt can be partially explained by circumstances. But Ridley’s dossier is full of other little question marks. Ridley dropped eight passes last season, according to Stats and Info Solutions. His 4.43 Combine forty and other drills were great, but not jaw-dropping for a 189-pounder who will need every millisecond of speed to thrive in the NFL.

    Ridley’s a joy to watch in the open field and has the sudden acceleration to eat up a cushion or glide away from a defender.

    The Falcons have not selected a wide receiver in the first three rounds since they traded up for Julio Jones in 2011. Depth behind Jones and Mohamed Sanu is an issue with Taylor Gabriel gone. The last thing the Falcons need is a reason to make Steve Sarkisian even more predictable. Ridley may not be a great wide receiver. But he’s almost guaranteed to be a good one, and with Jones occupying the defense’s attention and Matt Ryan getting him the ball, he’s going to be a blast to watch.

    Grade: A-minus

27 of 32

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!

    Athleticism: Excellent. Rashaad Penny has an ideal size-speed package.

    Every-down running: Excellent. Penny is a workhorse who ended his career with five straight 200-yard games. He follows his blocks, runs with patience and doesn't go down easily.

    Open-field running: Excellent. Penny was a highlight machine for the Aztecs, particularly late in 2017. He lacks the extra gear of a top NFL playmaker, but Penny always seems to find his way to the second level.

    Receiving value: Fair. Penny has soft hands and some receiving experience. He's also a dangerous return man.

    Pass protection: Fair. The effort and aptitude are there, but Penny can get blown back into the quarterback by pass-rushers.

    Contrary opinion from a "source" having an anxiety attack: Oh goodie, we got the mid-major wonder who played behind Donnel Pumphrey, that 97-pound twig who got hurt the moment he arrived in Eagles camp last year.

    Bottom Line: Penny may not be the human highlight reel for the Seahawks that he was for the Aztecs, but he's a high-effort runner coaches are going to want to give carries to.

    Still, this selection is…inscrutable. Many experts assumed the Seahawks would seek reinforcements for what's left of the Legion of Boom, but they drafted heavily in the secondary last year. Offensive line is always a sinkhole, but the Seahawks decided years ago that they were going to pretend not to notice. Penny feels like a luxury for a team that entered the draft with just one pick among the top 100 and is clearly doing some renovations, if not a rebuild. And there may be better running backs on the board. Sorry, Penny: Don't take this grade personally. It's not you, it's them.

    Grade: D-plus    

28 of 32

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Strengths: Athleticism, upside.

    Weaknesses: Technique.

    Terrell Edmunds is the older brother of Tremaine Edmunds (drafted earlier by the Bills) and the son of former Dolphins and Seahawks tight end Ferrell Edmunds. Like his brother, Edmunds is an exceptional all-around athlete: a natural 220-pounder with long arms who can fly around the field. Also like his brother, Edmunds is fundamentally raw and lacks top play-recognition instincts. But Tremaine is bigger and a year younger, and he plays a position where he can fly around banging bodies until his instincts develop, so he’s a top prospect, while his brother projects as a special teamer at the start of his career.

    The Steelers have drafted four defensive backs in the first three rounds since 2015 but have had rotten luck. Artie Burns has become a good starter, but Sean Davis cannot find a position, Senquez Golson is now in Oakland and Cameron Sutton played just one game last year. Terrell Edmunds could become a playmaker if his instincts develop, but the Steelers are taking on another project at a position where their need is immediate, and he would have been a better value as a middle-round pick.

    Grade: C

29 of 32

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Strengths: Athleticism, quickness.

    Weaknesses: Readiness.

    Taven Bryan drew J.J. Watt comparisons at Florida, which is pushing things a wee bit. (In fairness, the comparisons were more popular among broadcasters spicing up the play-by-play than anyone in the scouting community.) He's an athletic, raw defender with two signature traits: a first-step get-off that rivals that of Michigan's Maurice Hurst and the ability to get skinny when penetrating the line of scrimmage.

    Everything else is hustle and projection: Bryan doesn't find the ball well on misdirection, he lacks a plan when blockers latch on, and he can be steered away from the quarterback because he doesn't control his momentum once he blasts through the line. Bryan's combine results were yummy, but his collegiate production (5.5 career sacks and just 30 solo tackles in three years, one as a starter) are low, even by the standards of interior linemen.

    Bryan won't generate many sacks for the Jaguars, either. There won't be anyone left to sack once Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson and others get their fill. Seriously, this is a terrifying defensive line. The Jaguars may end up winning games by 13-10 final scores, but they are going to win a bunch of them.

    Grade: B-plus    

30 of 32

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Strengths: Quickness, ball skills, return ability.

    Weaknesses: Size, character concerns.

    Apparently, the end of the first round is all about great defensive teams getting better on defense while ignoring their offensive issues. First, the Jaguars added a defensive tackle to cut the time opposing quarterbacks have to throw from 0.0004 to 0.0003 seconds. Now the Vikings—whose offensive line is really spotty—are setting themselves up with even more secondary depth.

    Mike Hughes is a tough, alert underneath defender who gets a quick break on the ball. He’s dynamic with the football in his hands. He lacks ideal size but compensates with toughness and quick feet.

    Hughes transferred from North Carolina to a JUCO to Central Florida amid a sexual assault allegation, which only became public one week before the draft. No charges were filed, and Hughes has been forthright with teams. He was suspended for an unrelated incident in 2015.

    Assuming Hughes has put character concerns behind him, he’s a potential starter as an underneath defender and could be a weapon on punt returns. Not a bad pick for the Vikings, but they may end up regretting it the first time Kirk Cousins gets hurried into an interception.

    Grade: C-plus

31 of 32

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!

    Athleticism: Very good. Sony Michel arrived at the combine bigger than anticipated (220 pounds), if just a few milliseconds slower and less agile.

    Every-down rushing: Very good. Teammate Nick Chubb did most of the grinding at Georgia, but Michel gets low and drives through holes.

    Open-field rushing: Excellent. Michel combines moves with a nasty finish once he reaches the second level.

    Receiving value: Very good. Michel has lots of third-down experience, though he isn't as crisp a pass-catcher as teams might like.

    Pass protection: Very good. Michel is the best and most experienced pass-blocker among the top backs in this class, which is a big deal when predicting his rookie playing time.

    Contrary opinion from a "source" having an anxiety attack: We just drafted the second-best back for a team with a great offensive line and a "third-down back" with nine catches last year! Maybe we should just set our picks on fire instead!

    Bottom Line: (An excerpt from the upcoming book The Decline of Western Civilization: The Patriots Years, by Professor Otto T. Overreactor):

    "In those dark days after the Super Bowl, Belichick abandoned his values. He had typically found running backs in late rounds or by scouring the veteran free-agent market. But desperation led him to select a running back in the first round for the first time since Laurence Maroney in 2006. Michel fit the Patriots' system, but what of the team's critical needs elsewhere? What of the depth of the draft class? Whatever happened to plucking someone from the Bills or Jets practice squad and using that back to humiliate his AFC East foes?

    Belichick was clearly grasping at straws. Luckily, the Bills had anointed Josh Allen their quarterback-of-the-future earlier, so he knew he had some breathing room."[19659315]Grade: C    

32 of 32

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Marcus Mariota

    Wow. Ozzie Newsome's final first-round pick will chart a new course for the future of the franchise. Just wow.

    There's no big mystery about Lamar Jackson's scouting profile. He's the most gifted quarterback in this class. His college production speaks for itself. He suffers from glaring accuracy lapses which sometimes lead to protracted slumps, but his mechanical issues are easy to spot on film (his feet and body get really wonky when he's missing targets) and should be correctable.

    Contrary to much draft prattle, Jackson operated effectively from the pocket and consistently identified second and sometimes third reads. The Louisville offense he ran was no more gimmicky than any other modern college offense. Jackson was responsible for mastering complex terminology and making pre- and post-snap decisions. He's roughly as “NFL ready,” from a mental standpoint, as the typical first-round quarterback prospect.

    Just about every aspect of modern culture now drips with inflammatory racial semiotics, for reasons we probably shouldn't get into when trying to assign draft grades. Quarterback scouting has always had an oily layer of racial stereotyping right on its surface. Jackson was the lone high-profile African American quarterback in this class, so all of the toxicity was funneled directly onto him. He became a repository of idiotic takes, often by people who should know better. It became impossible over the last two months to drill down and just talk about Jackson as a quarterback without reaction to someone's overreaction to a reaction. We all got a little dumber, and Jackson bore the brunt of it.

    Hopefully, this selection ends all of that. Jackson will get every opportunity to be the quarterback of the future for the Ravens. It should not take him long to overtake the fading, lumbering Joe Flacco. Baltimore is among the league's most stable, patient franchises, so Jackson is unlikely to get sucked into any unnecessary drama.

    The Ravens waited until the end of the first round to get a potential franchise quarterback, acquiring a player they like (Hayden Hurst), even if we don't, along the way. Excellent, excellent work.

    And it was great to see Jackson handle himself with so much grace as the draft wore on without his being selected, and to finally hear his name called. The racially charged maelstrom surrounding Jackson's arrival in the NFL has been wearying to both read and write about. Imagine how it must have been for him.

    Grade: A-plus    

    NEXT UP: No. 33 Cleveland Browns (Round 2 tomorrow)


Source link