With all this commotion about the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, it seems like the perfect time to look back at last year’s first round and see how much has changed.

1st Overall, Cleveland Browns – Deshaun Watson, QB 

Actual pick – Myles Garrett, DE

After an invigorating seven games where Deshaun Watson set the football world on fire he deserves to be the first quarterback taken. Leading the NFL in touchdowns with 19 through 7 games while playing as a rookie is no small feat, in fact, it’s almost unheard of.

2nd Overall, Chicago Bears – Myles Garrett, DE

Actual pick – Mitch Trubisky, QB

With no quarterbacks worthy of the second overall pick left, the Chicago Bears settle for the best player available and take the most talented player in the draft. Garrett was limited last year by injuries but when he was on the field he showed the special talent that made him first overall last year. He had seven sacks and a forced fumble in just 11 games played last season.

3rd Overall, San Francisco 49ers – Alvin Kamara, RB  

NFL Draft

Alvin Kamara splits two Green Bay defenders for a big gain. Photo by Sports Illustrated

 

Actual pick – Solomon Thomas

Sure, this is early for a running back, but with Alvin Kamara in the fold it opens up a lot of options for Kyle Shanahan to exploit in his offensive attack. Kamara had 1,500 yards from scrimmage while spliting time with Mark Ingram and as the year progressed he appeared to take the mantle of starter from Ingram as well.

4th Overall, Jacksonville Jaguars – Patrick Mahomes, QB

Actual pick – Leonard Fournette, RB

Yes, I know that Leonard Fournette had a great year and rushed for over 1000 yards. However, he was injured for three games and this seems like the perfect time for a team loaded with talent to grab a very talented quarterback to compete with and later replace Blake Bortles.

5th Overall, Tennessee Titans – Juju Smith-Schuster, WR

Actual pick – Corey Davis, WR

Worries about Juju Smith-Schuster’s long speed are no longer a problem after he was shown to be a blazer last season, even scoring a 97 yard touchdown where he outran the whole Lions’ defense. He would step in and make an immediate impact for the Titans.

6th Overall, New York Jets – Marshon Lattimore, CB

Actual pick – Jamal Adams, S

The Jets get the best corner in the draft with the sixth pick, Lattimore, a lockdown corner who will help sure up the Jets defense for a long time. Lattimore was a big part of the reason the Saints defense jumped from 31st to 10th in scoring defense and 32nd to 15th in passing yards allowed. He could have a similar impact with the Jets.

7th Overall, Los Angeles Chargers – Jamal Adams, S

Actual pick –  Mike Williams, WR

The Chargers needed a safety and luckily the best one fell into their lap at 7th overall. Adams is a safety that you can keep single back or move him up into the box and either way he will make an impact.

8th Overall, Carolina Panthers – Dalvin Cook, RB

Actual pick – Christian McCaffrey, RB

Cook had a very promising rookie season for the Vikings until his season-ending injury. Cook looks to be the best running back left in this draft in terms of running and catching out of the backfield. Some would say that Kareem Hunt belongs here but I believe Dalvin Cook has a higher ceiling. He would provide the Panther’s offense with what they thought they were getting when they drafted Christian McCaffrey.

9th Overall, Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Ramczyk, OT

Actual pick – John Ross, WR

The Bengals deal with their biggest problem on offense by drafting a big guy to help them win in the trenches. Ramczyk would shore up a line that was terribly leaky last season which caused many of their offensive issues. They allowed 40 sacks last season and had the second worst rushing attack in all of football last season. With most of the issues coming from the offensive tackle position it makes this pick easy.

10th Overall, Kansas City Chiefs – Mitch Trubisky, QB

Actual pick – Patrick Mahomes, QB

The Chiefs wouldn’t have traded up for anything else, they still need a rookie to develop behind Alex Smith and they get theirs in Trubisky. He had some promising moments in his first year as a starter, but clearly still needs the right situation to thrive. Andy Reid is a play calling magician and a quarterback whisperer if he cant make Trubisky work, no one can.

11th Overall, New Orleans Saints – Tre’Davious White, CB

Actual pick – Marshon Lattimore, CB

The New Orleans Saints needed defensive help and with Lattimore off the board, they grab the next best corner in White. Rated by Pro Football Focus as the second best corner in the league last year, the Saints are getting some serious value.

12th Overall, Houston Texans – O.J. Howard, TE

Actual pick – DeShaun Watson, QB

With all the potential quarterbacks worthy of a first-round pick gone, the Houston Texans go with someone who will help out the running and the passing game in O.J. Howard.

13th Overall, Arizona Cardinals – Corey Davis, WR

Actual pick – Haason Reddick, LB

The Cardinals finally find someone to pair up with the great Larry Fitzgerald to create a truly dominant receiving duo. Davis struggled with injuries in year one but started to come on towards the end of the season. Year two will be a more accurate measure of where he is developmentally, he lands here with the Cardinals based on potential.

14th Overall, Philadelphia Eagles – Derek Barnett, DE 

NFL Draft

Derek Barnett sacks Dak Prescott. Photo by Hunter Martin

Actual pick – Derek Barnett, DE

Barnett was the right choice for this team. That, coupled with the fact that there are no glaring needs on Philadelphia’s roster make Barnett the perfect choice. Edge rushers are the second most important position on the team and with Barnett in line for an even bigger role in 2018 this pick seems like a huge success.

15th Overall, Indianapolis Colts – Cam Robinson, OT

Actual pick – Malik Hooker, S

The Colts are a team with many holes, none of them as poor as the offensive line, which is truly offensive to football fans. They draft Robinson and he can help keep whoever is quarterbacking the Colts (hopefully Andrew Luck) safe for years to come.

16th Overall, Baltimore Ravens – Cooper Kupp, WR

Actual pick – Marlon Humphrey, DB

It feels like the Ravens haven’t had a competent receiving corps in years, drafting Cooper Kupp to play with Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace might give them the firepower they need on offense. Kupp had 865 yards and 5 touchdowns as a rookie and really helped elevate the Rams recieving corps.

17th Overall, Washington Redskins – Kareem Hunt, RB

Actual pick – Jonathan Allen, DE

Hunt would add a new layer to the Redskins already multifaceted approach. He might just be the piece that could have made the Redskins’ offense elite. Hunt finished with almost 1800 yards from scrimmage on the season as the focal point of the Chiefs attack and earned the rushing title with 1327 yards in his rookie season.

18th Overall, Tennessee Titans – Rueben Foster, LB

Actual pick – Adoree’ Jackson, CB

A crazy athlete that also fills an important need in the Titans defense. Foster would step in and be an immediate starter in Tennessee’s defense. His range is his biggest asset and would help a Titans defense that struggled with its linebacking corps in 2017. His only downside has been off the field issues.

19th Overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Solomon Thomas, DL

Actual pick – O.J. Howard, TE

A slightly below than expected season performance from Thomas causes him to slip until here. That being said, the Buccaneers would run this pick up to the table. The talent and potential have made him a top-five prospect and he fills a need on Tampa’s desolate defensive line.

20th Overall, Denver Broncos – Malik Hooker, S

Actual pick – Garrett Bolles, OT

The Broncos look to keep their defense at the top of it’s game with this pick, which truly solidifies Denver’s defense. Hooker is a safety with incredible range, he has the ability to truly shut down the middle of a football field.

21st Overall, Detroit Lions – Christian McCaffrey, RB

Actual pick – Jarrad Davis, LB

The Lions need a running back. The last time a running back rushed for 100 yards on the Detroit Lions was Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving, in 2013! Lion’s fans know this after hearing it in pretty much every game last season. McCaffrey is a good pick at 21st overall and although he made less of an impact than expected in year one he still has the talent that made him the eighth overall pick last year.

22nd Overall, Miami Dolphins – Haason Reddick, LB 

Actual pick – Charles Harris, DE

Reddick is a really good player who would get some playing time almost immediately in Miami, they definitely need him. After playing defensive end in college he gained attention by showing that he can also be an inside linebacker in the NFL. He would be a great fit for the Dolphins with their need for both a pass rusher and a linebacker.

23rd Overall, New York Giants – Garrett Bolles, OT

Actual pick – Evan Engram, TE

The Giants take steps to help out Eli Manning by drafting an offensive lineman. Needs meet best player available again.

24th Overall, Oakland Raiders – Gareon Conley, CB

Actual pick – Gareon Conley, CB

The Oakland Raiders had a huge hole at cornerback, Conley is a over 6 feet tall and showed immense potential in his time at Ohio State. The Raiders wouldn’t let this opportunity slip by.

25th Overall, Cleveland Browns – John Ross, WR

Actual pick – Jabrill Peppers, S

Ross did not have a good first year in the NFL but he will surely develop in year two and his speed is a huge asset. After all he does have the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine ever. The Cleveland Browns seem like the team that would draft him here.

26th Overall, Atlanta Falcons – Takkarist McKinley, DE

Actual pick – Takkarist McKinley, DE

The Falcons made the right pick as far as I’m concerned, McKinley looked good last year and seems to fit the scheme well.

27th Overall, Buffalo Bills – Jonathon Allen, DE

Actual pick – Tre’Davious White, CB

Jonathan Allen slipped on draft day because of health concerns, now he’s slipping again because of them. Jonathon Allen looked good last year but how long can he stay healthy? You can’t make an impact if you’re not on the field.

28th Overall, Dallas Cowboys – T.J. Watt, OLB

Actual pick – Taco Charlton

T.J. Watt showed explosion at times last year, I just don’t believe he was as consistent as I would have liked, but, despite that, and his size concerns, he rose two spots. The Cowboys were disappointed by Taco Charlton last year they wouldn’t be disappointed with this pick. I believe Watt could be an effective pass rusher for the Cowboys.

29th Overall, Cleveland Browns – Marlon Humphrey, DB

Actual pick – Deshone Kizer, QB

Marlon Humphrey is a big, fast, and strong corner. His biggest question mark was his ball skills but his two interceptions last season in Baltimore showed that it probably will not be too much of a problem.

30th Overall, Pittsburgh Steelers – Shaquill Griffin, DB

Actual pick – T.J. Watt, OLB

Shaquill Griffin showed off some real potential in his rookie season earning himself the corner spot opposite Richard Sherman. He would be a great asset for Pittsburgh to have as they reshape their defense.

31st Overall, San Francisco 49ers – Evan Engram, TE

Actual pick – Rueben Foster, LB

Engram is not the best at blocking, but he is a good reciever, with good hands and good speed for a tight end. Exactly the kind of player coach Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch would want to add to his team.

32nd Overall, New Orleans Saints – Marcus Williams, S 

NFL Draft

Marcus Williams misses a tackle in the NFC Championship game. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Actual pick – Ryan Ramczyk, OT

Williams has shown to be a great fit in the Saint’s defense, a good tackler who makes good decisions (except that one play in the NFC divisional round). Why not take the same guy since he worked out so well.

 

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