When you own two of the top 4 Picks in the NFL Draft, have a new GM calling the shots and that GM goes into cliche’ mode refusing to disclose which prospects he luvs the most, it creates quite a dilemma for Draftniks and football fans in general. So let Pigskin put your mind at ease and tell you who I am advising GM John Dorsey to select in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 1 MATT DARNOLD QB SOUTHERN CAL 6’033/221 In reality I believe this pick is easier to make than many make it out to be. Take the best all-around QB you can get, and let him learn for a season under Hue Jackson and watching Tyron Taylor run the offense. DARNOLD, is that man, or should I say boy wonder?! While learning the playbook and carrying a clipboard on game day, they can also work with Darnold on ball security before they throw him to the wolves in 2019. In 2017, only his second year starting full-time, DARNOLD threw for 4143 yards, while completing 63.1% of those tosses. His TD/INT record is worrisome, if not a fatal flaw at 26/13. Perhaps most concerning of all is his D1 leading 37 turnovers in 26 career starts. Long term he’s the man! Work your magic Coach Jackson.
Round 1, Pick 4 QUENTON NELSON OG NOTRE DAME 6’5/325 When a future HoF hangs up his cleats at LT it is a big concern, especially when you just drafted a QB with the first pick of the Draft. NELSON may not play LT like JOE THOMAS did so well, for so long, but to me eyes he may make the best NFL OG since Larry Allen in Dallas. Take the overall talent and put him somewhere along that OL. It will work out.
Round 2, Pick 33 D.J. CHARK WR LSU 6’027/199 Like many LSU WR he is far from a finished product, but his talent is undeniable and his speed allows him to stretch a secondary ala OBJ in NYC. The long lean sprinter posted the best WR time at the Combine with a 4.39/40. He has good hands and only needs to tighten up his concentration and route running. What I saw in Mobile from this guy was a 4th gear that most players do not have. He also returned punts at over 10-yards a crack last season. If you doubt his pull away speed I will throw in another number: 21.9 yards per reception in 2017. The Browns currently have a talented cluster of wideouts on the roster. This guy will separate from the crowd and help break up that cluster.
Round 2, Pick 35 JEROME BAKER LB OHIO STATE 6’011/229 Another super talented athlete disguising as a LB for the Buckeyes the past couple of seasons. He may not be full-time ready quite yet but can contribute right away and claim a starting slot in the near future. You gotta luv that 4.54/40-time. Big mitts (10 3/8″) which could translate into some serious INT numbers when he learns where to be on the field in pass coverage. He reminds me a lot of former Buckeye LB DARRON LEE, who has progressed nicely for the JETS in his young career.
Round 2, Pick 64 B.J. HILL DT NC STATE 6’032/311 The Browns have a lot of talent in their DL depth chart, but bulk is missing with the departure of Danny Shelton. HILL should pick up that slack. He was part of that Wolfpack all-senior DL group featuring CHUBB, STREET & JONES, all of whom should be drafted this year. Using his big 10 5/8″ hands and 33″ arms he throws around OL and will be a nice rotation piece, especially on short yardage downs when athletic bulk is needed.
Round 4, Pick 114 BRANDON PARKER OT SC STATE 6’075/305 This unpolished performer could be the long term answer to the loss of Joe Thomas at LT. Whereas NELSON earlier was a plug and play guy PARKER is a project, with a very high upside. A 4 year starter, he dominated like an excellent athlete should at a lower level of competition. He’s long in general, but especially in his lower body. He also has 35″ long arms, and an NBA wingspan of 84 7/8″. Another starter in a year or two.
Round 5, Pick 150 LEON JACOBS LB WISCONSIN 6’011/246 The Browns have a solid LB group, but it’s a bit deficient in the quality depth department. How about one of the best athletes in this draft who got his first full-time shot last season. JACOBS can likely back up inside or out and should excel on Special Teams. He showed some serious ability to play in opponents backfields last season with 9.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 8 QBH. He posted some of the best LB group numbers at the Combine including a 4.49/40. The OURLADS folks ranked him as 2nd most athletic LB at the Combine.
Round 6, Pick 175 GODWIN IGWEBUIKE SS NORTHWESTERN 5’113/213 How about an athletic, tough guy for S depth and Special Teams coverage unit play. Ran an impressive 4.44/40 at the Combine. Had 78 tackles for the Wildcats in 2017 but also showed some coverage skills with 9 PBU and 2 INT. A team captain and a 3 year starter. Good value pick in Round 6, demonstrating again the depth of this Draft.
Round 6, Pick 205 J.K. SCOTT P ALABAMA 6’055/208 the Browns are reaching that stage of their development that even the little details deserve attention. And Punting was a bit of a concern last season. COLQUITT was 5th best in the NFL in gross average of 47.6 ypp, but in net yardage he ranked 17th @ 40.6. He also was only able to place 24 of his 80 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, which ranked 24th in the NFL. Some blame has to go to coverage units, but…
There you go Mr. Dorsey! Just follow this blue print and watch he team avoid double-digit losses next season. You are welcome Dorse.