By Adam Hensley
Another NFL Draft is finally in the books, and now that the madness has died down a bit, we can finally sit back and analyze as the dust settles.
I present to you the best draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
1st round, pick No. 10 — Josh Rosen (Arizona)
Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen all walked the stage before Rosen. With ESPN’s “best pocket passer in the draft” still remaining, Arizona traded up and pulled the trigger for my favorite move on day No. 1 of the NFL Draft.
The Cardinals didn’t have their franchise signal caller before the draft — quarterbacks Sam Bradford, who may have been born with glass bones, and Mike Glennon, a capable backup, led the position — but they just might have found one. Rosen commanded a 147.0 passer rating during his third season at UCLA. He threw for 3,756 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
2nd round, pick No. 42 — Mike Gesicki (Miami)
Gesicki is, at least in my opinion, the most athletic tight end in this year’s draft class, if not in the past few years’ drafts. He’s another Rob Gronkowski (OK, maybe not the same type of player. Gronk is a very solid blocker, while blocking is on Gesicki’s to-do list of improvements at the next level). Only one Dolphin tight end caught more than 12 passes last season, and that was Julius Thomas (who has a similar play style), but he was cut by Miami this offseason, leaving a void. Gesicki will contribute immediately.
2nd round, pick No. 45 — Josh Jackson (Green Bay)
I think we can all agree that Josh Jackson slipping out of the first round was a huge surprise; in some mock drafts, he was selected as high as No. 8. The main knocks on Jackson were his experience (only one year of consistent production and 14 starts over his Hawkeye career), his shakiness in bump-and-run coverage, and his speed.
Regardless, Jackson fell to Green Bay and into a secondary desperate for help; the Packers’ secondary gave up an average of 236.8 passing yards per game (10th-worst in the league), allowed completions at a 67.8-percent rate (third-worst), gave up 30 passing touchdowns (second-worst). Quarterbacks facing Green Bay commanded an average rating of 102, the second-worst mark in the NFL.
Jackson, combined with Green Bay’s first-round selection and fellow corner Jaire Alexander, will certainly boost a sometimes nonexistent secondary in Titletown.
3rd round, pick No. 93 – Ronnie Harrison (Jacksonville)
The Jaguars’ outstanding secondary just beefed up, snagged the biggest steal in round three.
Chris Sprow of ESPN categorized Harrison as coming from a “defense defined by aggressiveness and swarming to the ball” in his analysis of the safety. Jacksonville’s defense closely resembles that of his Alabama squad — a unit that thrives on constantly pressuring passers and forcing turnovers.
“Sacksonville” allowed the fewest passing yards per game last season (169.9, the only team below 192 yards in the league). Harrison can play both strong and free safety, giving the Jaguars the freedom to rotate him in and out of the defense. He’s a plug-and-play guy coming right out of college.