Christmas for hardcore football fans has concluded.
The NFL draft is the yearly event where even the most pessimistic fans can daydream about their teams making a franchise-changing pick.
Here’s a look at some of the teams who fared well (and poorly) during the 2018 edition of the draft.
It’s unfair to judge a team’s draft until a few years have passed, but football fans aren’t that patient. The following is a list of teams that look to be the early winners of the 2018 draft.
From Yahoo! Sports:
Picks: DE Bradley Chubb (1); WR Courtland Sutton (2); RB Royce Freeman (3); CB Isaac Yiadom (3); LB Josey Jewell (4); WR DaeSean Hamilton (4); TE Troy Fumagalli; C Sam Jones (6); LB Keishawn Bierria (6); RB David Williams (7).
Analysis: The Broncos had a pretty easy pick when Bradley Chubb fell to them at No. 5. Home-run pick. The draft might turn, good or bad, on whether size-speed receiver Courtland Sutton develops into a No. 1 receiver out of the second round. That could happen. I really liked the third-round pick of running back Royce Freeman, who seems like a safe bet to be a very productive early down back for Denver. There were other picks who were college stars: Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton and Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli. Just because the Broncos drafted a lot of big names doesn’t mean they’re good picks, but the Broncos got plenty of players who we know can play well on a high level. This group should be ready to contribute immediately.
Picks:LB Roquan Smith (1); C James Daniels (2); WR Anthony Miller (2); LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (4); DL Bilal Nichols (5); DE Kylie Fitts (6); WR Javon Wims (7).
Analysis: The Bears spent free agency fixing their offensive skill positions, so it made sense to invest in a defensive difference maker in the first round. Roquan Smith will make an impact from Week 1 on. Then it was back to the offense. Center James Daniels was a borderline first-round talent. Receiver Anthony Miller was highly productive at Memphis and will be another target for Mitchell Trubisky. That could turn out to be a great pick. The Bears did very well with those three picks in the first two rounds.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: CB Jaire Alexander (1); CB Josh Jackson (2); OLB Oren Burks (3); WR J’Mon Moore (4); G Cole Madison (5); P JK Scott (5); WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5); WR Equanimeous St. Brown (6); DT James Looney (7); LS Hunter Bradley (7); LB Kendall Donnerson (7).
Analysis: I like how the Packers played the first round, practically moving back four spots to take CB Jaire Alexander – a very good player who fills a big need – while picking up a 2019 first-rounder from the Saints. Doubling down on cornerback to take Josh Jackson in the second round was a strong move. The Packers had a pass-rush need, but the cornerback need was apparently more pressing. Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, a 6-foot-5 speedster who had nine touchdowns with Notre Dame in 2016 before slumping last season, seems to be a nice fit in the sixth round. The Packers will be fine if one of the three receivers they took pan out. Taking a punter and long snapper seemed odd, but the Packers had a lot of picks.
Again, it’s early to throw organizations under the bus for their 2018 draft results, but some teams made puzzling picks both in terms of need and value that appear to be mistakes, even at this juncture.
More from Yahoo! Sports:
New Orleans Saints
Picks: DE Marcus Davenport (1); WR Tre’Quan Smith (3); OT Rick Leonard (4); S Natrell Jamerson (5); CB Kamrin Moore (6); RB Boston Scott; C Will Clapp (7).
Analysis: Marcus Davenport might be an exceptional pass rusher but you can’t ignore that the Saints gave up an extra first-round pick next year to take him. That’s a bad value proposition. The next pick was in the third round, and it was receiver Tre’quan Smith. There are better receivers in this class, but Smith lands in a fantastic offense. Offensive tackle Rick Leonard switched from defense to offense during his college career, so he should be a developmental pick. It’s hard to get past the overpayment for Davenport. He needs to make multiple Pro Bowls for that trade to make sense.
New York Giants
Picks: RB Saquon Barkley (1); G Will Hernandez (2); OLB Lorenzo Carter (3); DT B.J. Hill (3); QB Kyle Lauletta (4); DT R.J. McIntosh (5).
Analysis: A running back early in the first round needs to be a luxury pick, not one you make when fading quarterback Eli Manning is 37 years old. Saquon Barkley needs to be unbelievable to justify the Giants taking him at No. 2 (and to not even consider offers to trade down?), but the good news is he’s the best RB prospect in many years. The Will Hernandez pick helps an offensive line that needs it, and Lorenzo Carter is a freaky athlete and a good pick in the third. The Kyle Lauletta pick seems like a waste (or, last year’s Davis Webb pick was a waste … probably both). I love Barkley as a player but I just can’t buy into the Giants taking him when they had a chance to address the quarterback situation.
Picks: RB Rashaad Penny (1); DE Rasheem Green (3); TE Will Dissly (4); LB Shaquem Griffin (5); S Tre Flowers (5); P Michael Dickson (5); OT Jamarco Jones (5); LB Jake Martin (6); QB Alex McGough (7).
Analysis: I’m not sure what the Seahawks were doing. Pete Carroll told ESPN’s Louis Riddick the Seahawks want to “reset” and get back to running the ball (h/t to Mike Clay of ESPN) which seems like a bad idea in a pass-first league when Seattle has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But the picks of Rashaad Penny in the first round and blocking tight end Will Dissly in the fourth align with that philosophy. This probably sums up the Seahawks’ draft: They picked a punter before an offensive lineman, and they desperately need help on the line. And the Seahawks traded up for that punter (though Michael Dickson is a good one). Penny might have been the most surprising pick of the first round, Seattle was drafting to be a ground-and-pound team instead of getting help for Russell Wilson in the pass game, and in general it treated the draft like it could make luxury picks instead of filling holes on a roster that is suddenly in decay. Though I do love that Seattle gave us a wonderful moment with the Shaquem Griffin pick (and I do like that pick strictly from a football standpoint), I’m stunned by its approach this offseason.