The 2018 NFL draft kicked off in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, April 26. For the second time in as many years, the Cleveland Browns found themselves with the first overall selection in the draft. With quarterback once again being a need, the team took a chance on Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, whose stock climbed in the days leading up to the draft. A lot of last-minute mock drafts had Mayfield going first overall, and perhaps finally the Browns have found a quarterback to build around. General Manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson both love Mayfield’s attitude and competitiveness, and feel that he can morph into a great team leader.
On top of Cleveland finding its quarterback, the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens all went with quarterbacks in the first round. The Jets once again took a chance with a University of Southern California (USC) quarterback, this time in Sam Darnold. The team hopes to see better results than the last time they drafted a USC quarterback, which was Mark Sanchez in 2009. Sanchez led the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games, but never showed the development the team wanted to see and was released after just four years with the team. Darnold will be in a better position than Sanchez was, though. Unlike Sanchez, Darnold will likely sit on the bench and learn from veteran Josh McCown for at least a season. McCown is coming off a career year that saw post-career highs in touchdown passes (18) and passing yards (2,996).
The Buffalo Bills got their guy in Josh Allen, who many thought was the best fit for them. Allen came under fire in the hours leading up to the draft due to a series of tweets from 2013, which contained racial slurs. He has since apologized, saying he was “young and dumb” at the time he sent out the tweets. Regardless, Buffalo has seemed to move on from the incident and is excited to see what Allen can bring to the table. The 21-year-old is built to play in bad weather games, having played at Wyoming, and has an incredibly strong arm, giving him the ability to make throws many others can’t. Allen will definitely have some growing pains, but this is a good move for Buffalo, who has hopefully locked down their franchise quarterback.
Arizona landed UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th pick. Rosen quickly expressed his anger toward not being picked earlier, but should be happy overall where he ended up. He’ll compete with newly acquired Sam Bradford, who is the Cardinals’ projected opening day starter.
The last quarterback who was projected to go in the first round by most went with the final pick of the round. Louisville standout Lamar Jackson was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, who traded up to get him. Overall this was a good move by Baltimore. Jackson’s not the most NFL-ready quarterback, so sitting behind Joe Flacco for a year or two will be good. Once he has some experience he could turn into a dynamic player for years to come.