The week of April 26th was an eventful one as surprises abound during the 2018 NFL draft. Speculation went out the window once the draft was underway and the first pick was chosen. With all the anticipation and excitement leading up to the draft, expectations were at an all-time high, and it did not disappoint. Before you gear up for the NFL season and watch NFL Network and NFL RedZone all season on DISH, here are 5 highlights of the draft that stood out:
1) Quarterbacks are the theme of the first round: If you like to watch the NFL Draft, then this year’s first round was an exciting one. 5 quarterbacks made their way off the board in the first round, the most since 1999. The surprises started when the Browns took Baker Mayfield with the number one overall pick. Following in the next 12 picks were fellow QB’s Matt Barkley to the Jets at three, Josh Allen to the Bills at seven, Josh Rosen to Arizona at pick ten, and Lamar Jackson to the Ravens as the last pick of the first round at thirty-two.
2) Needs don’t always mean wants: Some teams that were projected to take quarterbacks buck the trend and went in other directions. The two teams that stand out are the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. The Broncos quarterback situation has been a carousel lately and have been searching for a franchise quarterback since the retirement of Peyton Manning and the Patriots must start looking towards life without Brady and plan for the future sooner than later, especially with their legendary signal caller entering the final stage of his career and the Patriots trading away both their back-ups last season. Neither team took a QB and opted to fulfill other needs. Only time will tell if the direction these club will head and if the pieces chosen will bring Denver back to a premier team or keep the Patriots on top.
3) The Brothers Griffin Join forces: The feel-good story of the draft was Seattle drafting UCF cornerback Shaquill Griffin in the 3rd round and then following with selecting his twin brother, linebacker Shaquem in the 5th round. An all-American, Shaquem had been a force at the college level and did it all without a left hand, as Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome, causing his fingers on his left hand not to fully develop and causing so much pain that amputation was chosen at an early age. Even if you’re not a Seahawks fan, you’ll been cheering for the success of these football brothers as they start what is hopefully a long career.
4) The fall of Derwin James: James has been viewed as one of the most versatile defensive players in the draft and was projected by many to go as early as number 7 to the Tampa Bay. But after Tampa took defensive tackle Vita Vea at number 7, James began a slide that saw him fall ten spots in the draft until the San Diego Chargers took the hard-hitting safety with the number 17 pick. James has used the fall as motivation to prove that the 17 teams that passed on him made a mistake, which is good news for a Chargers team that has been looking for a dominant safety since Eric Weddle moved to the Baltimore Ravens in 2016.
5) Priceless Penny: The move that had most fans scratching their head in the 2018 draft is the selection of Rashaad Penny by Seattle in the first round with the 27th pick. A dynamic player out of San Diego State, Penny was an existing college player but seen by most pundits as the 4th or 5th best running back in the draft. Lauded for his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make players miss in open space, Seattle views Penny as a 3 down player and believes the pick is worth a first round pick. Watch in the fall and see if Penny can “cash in” in on his talent and help Seattle make it to the top of the NFC.