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2018 NFL Draft: Winners and Losers

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft has concluded and some fan bases are rightfully scrambling while others are scrambling to convince themselves that life isn’t meaningless. Obviously the jury won’t be out on these prospects for at least another three years, but based on my pre-draft evaluation, here are the insta-take winners and losers.

WINNERS

CHICAGO BEARS

(8th Overall) Roquan Smith, LB Georgia

(39th Overall) James Daniels, C Iowa

(51st Overall) Anthony Miller, WR Memphis

(115th Overall) Joel Iyiengbuniwe, LB Western Kentucky

(145th Overall) Bilal Nichols, DT Delaware

(181st Overall) Kylie Fitts, EDGE Utah

(224th Overall) Javon Wims, WR Georgia

Bears general manager knocked this out of the proverbial park, adding top talent to both sides of the balls and most importantly, providing quarterback Mitch Trubisky with weapons all offseason. Roquan Smith falling to 8th overall is a slam dunk pick, bringing sideline-to-sideline run defense and excellent coverage skills to an already decent defense.

They followed up by bringing in a perfect fit for their zone running scheme in James Daniels, and added dangerous receiver Anthony Miller to round out the once barren receiver room. Towards the end of the draft they brought in the athletic Kyle Fitts, who could fight for pass rushing snaps by the end of the season. Couldn’t ask for much more from this haul.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

(12th Overall) Vita Vea, DT Washington

(38th Overall) Ronald Jones, RB USC

(53rd Overall) MJ Stewart, CB North Carolina

(63rd Overall) Carlton Davis, CB Auburn

(94th Overall) Alex Cappa, OT Humboldt

(117th Overall) Jordan Whitehead, S Pittsburgh

(144th Overall) Justin Watson, WR Penn

(202nd Overall) Jake Cichy, LB Wisconsin

The Buccaneers grabbed a team high 7 players from my top-100 big board in an impressive outing that adds pieces all over the roster. While I questioned the Vita Vea selection with Derwin James still on the board, Tampa Bay went to town on re-working their secondary. MJ Stewart will immediately challenge for nickel snaps, Carlton Davis is not quite the sum of his parts yet but projects as a physical outsider starter, and Jordan Whitehead could find himself starting beside second-year safety Justin Evans sooner than later.

Ronald Jones could finally be the answer the Bucs are looking for in the backfield, and would work best if they can incorporate more outside zone concepts into their offense.

Alex Cappa will gives Bucs fans Ali Marpet vibes and provide needed depth along the line. Justin Watson is a guy that I pounded the table for during the construction of the Inside the Pylon wide receiver rankings. With this much starter-potential talent in one draft, the Bucs have done well to set themselves up for future success.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

(21st Overall) Billy Price, C Ohio State

(54th Overall) Jesse Bates, S Wake Forest

(77th Overall) Sam Hubbard, EDGE Ohio State

(78th Overall) Malik Jefferson, LB Texas

(112th Overall) Mark Walton, RB Miami

(151st Overall) Davontae Harris, Illinois State

(170th Overall) Darius Phillips, CB Western Michigan

(249th Overall) Logan Woodside, QB Toledo

(252nd Overall) Rod Taylor, OG Ole Miss

(253rd Overall) Auden Tate, WR Florida State

With a bevy of picks, the Bengals continued to shore up their leaky offensive line with the selection of Billy Price, who brings center/guard versatility. Jesse Bates, Sam Hubbard, and Malik Jefferson infuse the defense with athleticism. Bates can play centerfield, Hubbard pairs beautifully with second-year rush demon Carl Lawson, and if Jefferson can figure out what his eyes are telling him, or at least to use his eyes, he brings a physical presence with very good athleticism.

Mark Walton will play the Gio Bernard role as best he can and will be valued for his chops in the receiving game while the play-making Darius Phillips could go down as one of the biggest steals in the draft not named Josh Sweat. The Bengals touched on nearly every aspect of the game in this loaded group.

LOSERS

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

(14TH Overall) Marcus Davenport, EDGE UTSA

(91st Overall) Tre’Quan Smith, WR UCF

(127th Overall) Rick Leonard, OT Florida State

(164th Overall) Natrell Jamerson, S Wisconsin

(189th Overall) Kamrin Moore, DB Boston College

(201st Overall) Boston Scott, RB Louisiana Tech

(245th Overall) Will Clapp, C LSU

I’ve touched on the Saints first round fumble in the initial Day One Winner/Losers article, but it’s worth revisiting. Marcus Davenport is a strong player with tons of untapped potential, but for a team that passed on taking Lamar Jackson, time is running out. Exacerbating that problem is the 2019 first round pick they gave up to make a move for Davenport.

For a team with a solid roster that drafted incredibly well the previous year, these moves and selections seemed desperate and void of ready contributors. Tre’Quan Smith is the biggest value and that’s where the praise ends. Saints fans are spending hours on social media convincing themselves Rick Leonard is an actual football player without ever having watched his film. Have fun with all that.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

(27th Overall) Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State

(79th Overall) Rasheem Green, DL USC

(120th Overall) Will Dissly, TE Washington

(141st Overall) Shaquem Griffin, LB UCF

(146th Overall) Tre Flowers, CB Oklahoma State

(149th Overall) Michael Dickson, P Texas

(168th Overall) Jamarco Jones, OT Ohio State

(186th Overall) Jacob Martin, DL Temple

(220th Overall) Alex McGough, QB Florida International

Not even reuniting Shaquem Griffin with his brother and drafting the best punter in the draft (they’re people too) could save this philosophically backwards draft strategy. The Seahawks needed upgrades at up to four offensive line spots, and instead of addressing their run game through the trenches, they selected Rashaad Penny.

It’s not that they just whiffed on taking a starting lineman to help get the run game going and protect their quarterback, they didn’t even take nearly the best one on the board. With Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and others I had ranked higher than Penny on the board, this pick rightfully baffled many. Will Dissly, the blocking-only tight end from Washington, will serve as a much needed OL6 for the Seahawks, so there is a sliver of sunshine peering through the clouds.

Perhaps it’s time to question if general manager John Schneider is as good as we’ve been led to believe.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

(46th Overall) Breeland Speaks, LB Ole Miss

(75th Overall) Derrick Nnadi, DL Florida State

(100th Overall) Dorian O’Daniel, LB Clemson

(124th Overall) Armani Watts, S Texas A&M

(196th Overall) Tremon Smith, CB Central Arkansas

(198th Overalll) Kahlil McKenzie, DL Tennessee

Reaching for a defensive lineman that didn’t crack my top-100 big board killed this draft from the jump. Speaks had flashes in college, but plays with abysmal leverage and never was able to put together long strings of decent play. Derrick Nnadi is a solid run-stuffer, which the Chiefs needed, but the biggest need was outside cornerback after the departure of Marcus Peters and Tremon Smith isn’t near that guy. Armani Watts testing at the NFL Combine combined with the fact that he can’t tackle made him nearly undraftable, but here we are. This class gives the Chiefs zero momentum heading into the 2018 season.