Analyzing the NFL Draft, Part 3
New England Patriots: Expected to dominate the AFC East again, the Patriots have one of the easier regular-season schedules in the 2018 season. Considering they face the Dolphins, Jets and Bills for six games each year, almost guarantees them a playoff spot as division champs. Those three opponents rank, collectively, the lowest in all of football.
As for the draft, they did pick up some help with T Isaiah Wynn with the 23rd pick and RB Sony Michel from Georgia with the 31st selection. Michel is much more explosive than Dion Lewis; only time will tell if they filled the hole left by Nate Solder’s departure. Many are already comparing him to the Saints’ RB Alvin Kamara.
New Orleans Saints: Fully aware how tough the NFC South is with the Panthers, Bucs and Falcons to contend with, I feel the Saints are the most complete team at this stage. They got some bad news when leading rusher Mark Ingram was suspended the first four games of 2018. Of course this is a major blow to their chances, but the Saints have reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. I think they need to find a running mate as I don’t think Kamara can carry the load by himself.
New York Giants: I love the choice of drafting RB Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the NFL draft. I really am a proponent of giving your QB a strong running game and offensive line. Speaking of which, the Giants did add Will Hernandez. I did not know much about QB Kyle Lauletta out of Richmond, but former coach Brian Billick said he feels Lauletta might be the best QB in the draft. That is high praise. Lauletta was the MVP of the Senior Bowl and that game had a ton of talent. His only knock is the lack of a very strong arm.
New York Jets: New York finished 5-11 but got QB Sam Darnold with the third overall pick, the draft’s top passing prospect. The Jets have been a low end project for many years. They have a decent head coach (Todd Bowles) who could be a good one with more experience and more aggressiveness.
Oakland Raiders: New Head Coach Jon Gruden traded a third rounder for WR Martavis Bryant. I like that Gruden clearly prioritized offensive tackles, moving down in Round 1 for Kolton Miller of UCLA before taking North Carolina A&T’s Brandon Parker in the third.
Philadelphia Eagles: Champs often draft for depth, and GM Howie Roseman traded down to get more. Stealing TE “Dallas” Goedert in Jerry Jones’ backyard was a nice touch. But getting Florida State pass rusher Josh Sweat in Round 4 might wind up being Roseman’s best pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Their 2018 strength of schedule is certainly manageable. This is a division that does not offer much opposition. Steelers get to face the Ravens, Browns and Bengals in six games as usual. That is not murderer’s row for them. Of course, a Tomlin coached team usually plays down to their competition. The Steelers drafted 28th in the first round and picked Safety Terrell Edmunds of Virginia Tech. Edmunds has a reputation for being a very physical player, which will fit in nicely. The Steelers really needed an inside linebacker, but most of the top ones were already gone by their pick.
Next week we’ll finish up with part four of the NFL Draft analysis.