Daily Dr. Roto — May 1, 2018
2018 NFL Draft: Winners and Losers
New York Giants — I do not care what any other expert says, Giants GM Dave Gettleman slayed this draft. Popular wisdom says not to draft running backs too early, but Penn State RB Saquon Barkley gives the Giants a game changer the team hasn’t had in years. Barkley’s presence also helps Eli Manning as teams were blitzing the Giants because they knew that they couldn’t run the football. And for what it’s worth Barkley’s presence helps the passing game so OBJ, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram can have more room to roam. In the second round, the Giants added G Will Hernandez from UTEP who might be the second-best run blocker in the draft. The Giants OL has been awful the past two seasons, so Hernandez and Nate Solder are a huge boost to this group’s talent level. The Giants then stole QB Kyle Lauletta from Richmond in the fourth round. Many pundits thought that Lauletta could go as early as the second round, but he was still available in the fourth. Lauletta is very accurate and shows excellent pocket presence. The knock on him is his arm strength (people put too much emphasis on that especially with the NFL being a short passing game). Regardless, Lauletta should compete right away with Davis Webb for the backup position. On defense, the Giants added the very talented LB Lorenzo Carter from Georgia and freakish DT B.J. Hill from N.C State, two players who should be able to compete for time as rookies.
Chicago Bears — The Bears had a very underrated draft this year, finding a few players who should pay immediate dividends. Firstly, LB Roquan Smith is one of the best linebackers I have seen in college football in the past decade. He swarms all over the field and will be the focal point of the Bears defense for years to come. The Bears also improved their offensive line with the addition of Iowa C James Daniels in the second round who many experts thought could go in the first round. For the Bears to win, they need to put talent around (and protect) QB Mitch Trubisky. Daniels is precisely the type of player who can give Trubisky the time he needs to find his receivers. Speaking of receivers, the Bears took Memphis WR Anthony Miller in the second round. With Cameron Meredith gone to New Orleans, Miller was a great selection. Miller is not only explosive but was extremely productive in college and should fit nicely with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton as potential targets for Mitch Trubisky.
Denver Broncos — Hats off to Broncos GM John Elway for nailing the first few picks of this draft. I am sure Elway was as shocked as the rest of us to see DE Bradley Chubb available at 5. Chubb will solidify Denver’s already dominant defensive line and keep defenses from triple-teaming Von Miller. Chubb is a spectacular young rusher in his own right and could easily be playing in a Pro Bowl within three years. In Round 2, SMU WR Courtland Sutton was a terrific pick for the Broncos as the team has been desperate for a WR3 for years. Sutton can watch and learn from Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and possibly become a true WR1 down the road when he learns to run better routes and get separation off the line of scrimmage. Lastly, third-round pick Oregon RB Royce Freeman didn’t have a great 2017 as he dealt with numerous injuries, but Freeman was incredibly productive in 2016 and should be a terrific first and second down RB as early as this season. Elway has already said that the team plans to use Freeman this season and with C.J. Anderson out of the picture, Freeman could easily get 200+ carries if he plays well.
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New Orleans Saints — The Saints made a big deal to move up to get DE Marcus Davenport (giving up a 2018 fifth round pick and a 2019 first round pick) to help their pass rush. Davenport better be able to help the team right away to be worth a future first-round pick. I get that the Saints think they are close to a Super Bowl and Drew Brees doesn’t have much time left, but a trade of that magnitude may hinder the team moving forward.
Miami Dolphins — I liked Miami’s picking of CB Minkah Fitzpatrick in the first round, but after that, they were all over the place. The Dolphins lost Suh and Landry and didn’t do anything to replace them. Moreover, they didn’t draft a QB and are left with Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler as their top two options. Don’t be surprised to see Adam Gase’s name being bandied about as the first coach to be fired this season.