The highlight of the NFL off-season is finally here.
The NFL draft is the event that gives the 31 teams that didn’t win the Super Bowl a glimmer of hope for the future while making draftees’ boyhood dream come true.
Here’s a look at some of the more notable picks of the first round.
The draft got off to a surprising start when Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield went number one overall to the Cleveland Browns.
The pick was so shocking because Mayfield had never been projected as the top pick for the Browns, and he doesn’t fit the mold of your typical NFL signal-caller; Mayfield is only a hair over six-feet-tall, doesn’t possess a cannon arm, and doesn’t do most of his damage from the pocket.
Nevertheless, the Browns fell in love with his production and intangibles.
Here’s a closer look at some of the other high-profile picks from the first day.
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Powerful. His lower body is unbelievable. At 233 pounds, he runs a 4.4 40. Talk about a powerful man. The only thing you can possibly say on the negative side is he tries to make too many big runs. The New York Giants just got better because of this guy.
3. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets
They can play him when he’s ready to play. It’s a little bit like Carson Wentz a couple years ago with the Eagles. He’s the consummate playmaker, keeps his eyes up to extend the plays. The only downside: Ball security is an issue.
4. Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland Browns
This was a need. This was a big need more than defensive end was a need for them, and even though I still think the better football player is Chubb, they fit a need with a big-time athlete. Wow.
5. Bradley Chubb, DE, Denver Broncos
The three of them getting after quarterbacks in a sub-package, wow. I believe this team’s closer to the Super Bowl team of three years ago. He sets a physical edge in the run game. Violent hands. I think he’s going to have a similar rookie impact as Joey Bosa did as a rookie.
6. Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis Colts
Elite guard prospect with outstanding size, rare power and a block finisher who can make tape room sessions uncomfortable for most opponents. Nelson is technically sound and is unlikely to face a long adjustment period once he gets into the league. –Lance Zierlein
7. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
I give them a lot of credit for being patient, not going all the way up to No. 2. They got their guy. Think about the culture in that locker room. This is their kind of player. He’s got crazy arm talent. This issue with him: Sometimes he throws the ball late. I think he’s a project.
8. Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears
They need this kind of talent infusion. He’s today’s NFL off-the-ball linebacker. He can be a four-down player in the NFL.
9. Mike McGlinchey, T, San Francisco 49ers
He is a flat-backed pile driver in the run game. He’s got the work ethic and passion of his cousin Matt Ryan. Heavy hands. When he gets his hands locked on you and anchored down, it’s over.
10. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals
I get a little tired of all the off-field stuff with him. I liked his intelligence, he embraces conversations, he’s curious. He can be inquisitive and demanding, but (needs to) earn it first.
17. Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers
You expect bigger safeties to have hip tightness, but you don’t see it with him. He can open his hips and drive to a deep half or deep third, cover tight ends man to man, and when he gets there, he’s arrives in a bad humor.
18. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers
I like this pick. Alexander has some swag about him. He’s the No. 1 corner on my board. In addition to being competitive, tough, he tackles, he finds the football in the air and he also adds value in the punt return game. Historically, Green Bay only takes corners who can find the ball in the air, and this kid does it.
19. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Understand this dude is 20 pounds heavier than the rest of the upscale linebacker class, In the pass game, I think he’s special. He’s got eyes everywhere. Just an outstanding football player. I hope the cervical neck issue is OK. I couldn’t be happier for the young man.
31. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
Reminds me of Alvin Kamara. He’s a violent runner, yet he’s a make you miss guy. He’s more powerful than people think. I think with the ball in his hands, he’s as talented as Kamara. I don’t think he’s quite as advanced in the passing game, but he’s got an opportunity with Tom Brady in that offense to be special early.
32. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
We talked about electrifying upside, a little bit raw in the pass game but the first time I threw the tape on, with the whippy arm and unbelievable speed, I thought Michael Vick. It’s a commitment, philosophically and schematically it’s a completely different type of football and that whole building has to embrace it.
Here’s the full list of first-round picks:
- Cleveland — Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
- New York Giants — Saquon Barkley RB Penn State
- New York Jets — Sam Darnold QB USC
- Cleveland — Denzel Ward CB Ohio State
- Denver — Bradley Chubb DE NC State
- Indianapolis — Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
- Buffalo — Josh Allen QB Wyoming
- Chicago — Roquon Smith LB Georgia
- San Francisco — Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
- Arizona — Josh Rosen QB UCLA
- Miami — Minhaj Fitzpatrick CB Alabama
- Tampa Bay — Vita Vea DT Washington
- Washington — Da’Ron Payne DT Alabama
- New Orleans — Marcus Davenport DE UT San Antonio
- Oakland — Kolton Miller OT UCLA
- Buffalo — Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech
- LA Chargers — Derwin James S Florida State
- Green Bay — Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
- Dallas — Leighton Vanderbilt Esch LB Boise State
- Detroit — Frank Ragnow C Arkansas
- Cincinnati — Billy Price C Ohio State
- Tennessee — Rahsaan Evans LB Alabama
- New England — Isaiah Wynn OT Georgia
- Carolina — DJ Moore WR Maryland
- Baltimore — Hayden Hurst TE South Carolina
- Atlanta — Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
- Seattle — Rahsaad Penny RB San Diego State
- Pittsburgh — Terrell Edmunds S Virginia Tech
- Jacksonville — Taven Bryan DT Florida
- Minnesota — Mike Hughes CB Central Florida
- New England — Sony Michel RB Georgia
- Baltimore — Lamar Jackson QB Louisville