By Matt Meyle – Collegiate Staff
The first round of the 2018 NFL draft is complete. Former Oklahoma Sooner quarterback and 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Penn State’s former running back, Saquon Barkley, was selected second by the New York Giants and former University of Southern California quarterback, Sam Darnold, was taken third by the New York Jets after they traded picks with the Indianapolis Colts, moving from the sixth overall pick.
This was the first NFL draft to take place in Arlington, Texas and also the first draft to feature four quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks. Mayfield was the first to have his name called and Darnold was selected only two picks later at third overall.
The Buffalo Bills traded up in the draft order to select former Wyoming quarterback, Josh Allen, to replace Tyrod Taylor, who was traded away during the offseason. The Bills moved up from the 12th pick by trading with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Josh Rosen, former University of California Los Angeles quarterback, was selected by the Arizona Cardinals to round out the top 10 picks. The Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders for the 10th pick, moving up from the 15th overall pick in fear that Rosen would have been drafted before the Cardinals were on the clock. The Cardinals hope Rosen can replace Carson Palmer who suffered a season ending injury in 2017 and elected to retire after the season.
Other notable skilled position players taken were Calvin Ridley, former wide receiver from Alabama, who was taken at pick 26 by the Atlanta Falcons to play alongside another former member of the Crimson Tide and NFL all-pro receiver, Julio Jones.
The Seattle Seahawks selected former San Diego State running back, Rashaad Penny with the 27th pick and the New England Patriots drafted former Georgia running back, Sony Michel, 31st overall.
The last player taken in the first round was the 2016 Heisman winning quarterback from the University of Louisville, Lamar Jackson, by the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson was the fifth quarterback that was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft. The last time five quarterbacks were selected in the first round was 1999.
As for the Detroit Lions, the franchise is looking to build an offensive line that can help get the running game back on track. The Lions have been a perennial bottom feeder when it comes to rushing statistics since the departure of the legendary Barry Sanders at the turn of the century.
The Lions selected Frank Ragnow, former center from Arkansas, with the 20th overall pick to help improve the run game and to better protect their quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
Ragnow played in nearly every game during his four years at Arkansas and chose to return for his senior year. A decision he would not regret since he was drafted 20th overall on April 26 by the Lions.
The Lions believe Ragnow is a player who “fits the vision” the Lions’ coaching staff wants to put in place and the franchise hopes the newest addition to the team can make an immediate impact.
Draft experts have given mixed ratings on Detroit’s first round pick. Many mock drafts had the Lions taking former Louisiana State University running back, Derrius Guice, who was still available, as well as, the Lion’s need to fill in a gaping hole in the defensive line.
Detroit fulfilled a need of drafting a center, but Ragnow was projected to be taken in the second round, resulting in mixed grades by draft experts.
The draft is deep at the running back position, however, three were already taken in the first round. Detroit should still have a quality running back available with the 19th pick of the second round, but don’t be surprised if the Lions focus on filling holes on the defensive side of the ball.
Detroit has six picks all together in the 2018 draft, with needs at running back, defensive line, linebacker and tight end still needing to be addressed. This is Matt Patricia’s first chance at building his team through the draft as the Lion’s head coach. Given the Lion’s drafting history and numerous first round busts, Patricia has a lot of wiggle room with criticism among Lions fans. In a couple years when the players have a chance to prove themselves, only then will football experts know if the Lions made the right moves in 2018.