By: Addison Willmon
Opinion — In the 2018 NFL Draft, a few teams made some rather… “questionable” first-round decisions. Of course, it’s all just speculation until the season starts. Let’s look at what those teams gained or lost by selecting those players. (All statistics were obtained from sports-reference.com)
New Orleans Saints – Marcus Davenport (14th overall)
This year, the Saints traded away their 2018 fifth-round pick and 2019 first-round pick to Green Bay to move up 13 spots in the draft. With it, they chose Marcus Davenport out of the University of Texas-San Antonio.
This was a very hefty price, and many people expected the Saints to choose a quarterback to be the successor to Drew Brees.
Instead, they chose to take a pass-rusher that wasn’t even the No. 2 DE on several teams’ lists. It’s also worth noting that Davenport would have likely been available at pick No. 27. He had above-average production in college, racking up 8.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles.
When you look at his opposition in 2017 though, it’s hard to say he will perform the same in the NFL. Unless proven otherwise in 2018, this was the least-valuable pick in the draft.
Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen (7th overall)
The Bills traded up this year, giving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two second-round picks and the No. 12 overall pick in exchange for Tampa’s No. 7 pick. With it, they chose Josh Allen, a QB out of Wyoming. A lot of people like to point out how big of an arm Allen has. He can easily throw the farthest out of any QB in the 2018 draft.
What people don’t like to mention is the fact that Allen only had a 56% and 56.3% completion percentage in 2016 and 2017 respectively. So yes, he can probably throw a football 100 yards. Does that really matter when he consistently overthrows receivers that are only 20 yards away? Probably not.
The coaching staff in Buffalo will have to work very hard on accuracy in the coming years for Allen to be worth anything relatively close to the seventh overall pick. As of right now though, this was easily the biggest reach in the 2018 draft. And let us not forget the QB’s that were still on the board – Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson, and Mason Rudolph.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Terrell Edmunds (28th overall)
This was a very tough decision. The Steelers didn’t really reach for this pick, and Terrell Edmunds is definitely not a bad player. In fact, he has a great chance to be a star in a year or two. My only qualm with the pick is that Edmunds is going to be a depth player, sitting behind Sean Davis. It’s obvious that the Steelers are in a “win now” situation. With star players like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown aging, the window to get a Lombardi Trophy will close relatively quickly. The loss of Ryan Shazier leaves a huge hole at the LB spot, and they could have upgraded at some other positions as well. While Terrell Edmunds might have been the best player available on their draft board, it is important to fill holes and improve your starting roster when your team is in this position even if it means reaching for a pick.