Looking back at the best 3 and worst 3 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft | TribLIVE.com

Looking back at the best 3 and worst 3 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft

Chris Adamski
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in a scene from HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series.

Editor’s note: In conjunction with the Trib’s coverage leading up to Thursday’s NFL Draft, we’ll look back at the three best and three worst picks of each draft over the past five years.

Years from now, the 2018 NFL Draft could be remembered for myriad reasons.

Maybe for a quarterback class that saw four taken in the first 10 picks and five in the first round. Maybe that Saquon Barkley became the highest running back selection in a generation and developed into a star (or didn’t). Maybe there will be surprises who become future Hall of Famers.

For my money, though, the draft always will be remembered as the turning point for the Cleveland Browns. For the better part of two decades, they had been comically inept, from the turnover of the front office to awful drafting. Last April, that all changed.

Led by newly minted general manager John Dorsey, the Browns — early returns show — hit home runs with Baker Mayfield (No. 1 overall), Denzel Ward (No. 4) and Nick Chubb (No. 35). While those three and the rest of the draft class aren’t the sole reasons why, it was telling Cleveland went from 1-31 the previous two seasons to 7-8-1 last fall.

Here are the highlights and lowlights of last year’s draft:

3 best

1. Baker Mayfield

QB, 1st overall, Browns

What made the Browns’ picks of Mayfield and Ward so special were they both went against convention (most people probably would have taken Sam Darnold at No. 1 and Bradley Chubb fourth). But in Year 1, both choices look genius.


2. Darius Leonard

LB, 36th overall, Colts

Leonard was the 15th defensive player selected, but he won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Leonard led the NFL in tackles by a wide margin, added seven sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. He was instrumental in the Colts’ turnaround.


3. Derwin James

S, 17th overall, Chargers

James finished second to Leonard in defensive rookie of the year balloting and also was first-team All-Pro safety. James had 105 tackles and three interceptions, and he, too, was a featured part of a vastly improved team.

3 worst

1. Josh Rosen

QB, 10th overall, Cardinals

Look, Rosen might go on to a long and productive career. And much of his struggles as a rookie can be blamed on a dreadful supporting cast. But with strong speculation Arizona is moving on from Rosen, it’s certain they are going to get pennies on the dollar for the No. 15 overall, third- and fifth-round picks they spent to acquire him (trading up to No. 10) one year ago.


2. Rashaad Penny

RB, 27th overall, Seahawks

Penny was a surprising pick in that not many had predicted him going in the first round. And running backs rarely get overdrafted. And while there’s nothing wrong with ignoring the draftnik noise and getting “your guy,” if it doesn’t work out, you look even worse. Penny managed 494 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns as a rookie.


3. Ronald Jones

RB, 38th overall, Buccaneers

Another running back, this one even less productive. Jones had 23 carries for 44 yards (1.8 average) and seven catches for 33 yards. He was inactive for seven of Tampa Bay’s 16 games and recorded positive yardage in only five of those games.

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.