The 2018 NFL Draft is finally in the books. I've taken the past week and a half digesting everything that happened in the NFL Draft. Most NFL fans are likely to consider value when determining if teams drafted well or not.
So, for example, taking Baker Mayfield first doesn't constitute value. Taking Sam Darnold first, does. I'm not sure if value exists in the draft. Although I probably would have taken Saquon Barkley first if I was the Cleveland Browns, because Baker no doubt would have been available at pick 4, I'm not sure any player offers value until they hit the field.
That's what's so great about the NFL. Value is determined by wins and losses, playoff appearances and Super Bowl rings. Keep reading for the teams I believe made out the best at the 2018 NFL Draft.
2018 NFL Draft: These Teams Won on Draft Day
I get that the Arizona Cardinals had a bad season. But, I'm a half-glass full sort of guy. That means, I believe the Cardinals are a player, or two, away from challenging the Rams for supremacy in the NFC West Division.
They drafted that player in Round 1 when UCLA QB Josh Rosen lasted until pick 10. The Cards pulled the trigger on the most polished, I think best, quarterback in this year's Draft Class. Rosen can start Day 1 for the Cards who still have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Cards followed up the Rosen pick with Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk in Round 2. In Round 3, they drafted center Mason Cole from Michigan. Round 4's pick was underrated RB Chase Edmonds. Kirk and Rosen should become a QB/WR force. Maybe, even this year.
Baltimore had an unreal draft. 2 of their first 3 picks could start on Day 1. John Harbaugh finally got his tight-end when the Ravens drafted TE Hayden Hurst in Round 1. In Round 3, they took OT Orlando Brown. Before Brown's terrible NFL Combine, he was projected to be a Round 1 pick. The emphasis on the Combine, which doesn't always pan out, means that the Ravens got a chance to grab one of the most talented offensive linemen in the Draft.
Choosing QB Lamar Jackson makes sense. Joe Flacco is an okay NFL quarterback. He's never been a great quarterback. Flacco and the Ravens got lucky to win the Super Bowl. San Francisco wasn't nearly as good of a team that season as so many believed they were. Who knows? Lamar might start much sooner than many believe he will. I mean, what's he going to learn from Flacco? Not much because the QB styles are so different.
The Ravens picked up another tight-end, Mark Andrews, in Round 3. Both Hurst and Andrews are decent blocking tight-ends. That means Harbaugh can show plenty of different looks on offense this season.
If all the Broncos had done was draft DE Bradley Chubb, they'd make my list. John Elway's team won the Super Bowl in 2016. They needed a QB and got a good one in Case Keenum during free agency. Chubb is a beast of a DE. He'll make Denver's rockin' defense even better.
That means all the Broncos need is to get some good play from Keenum, WR Courtland Sutton, whom they drafted in Round 2, and underrated Oregon RB Royce Freeman, whom they drafted in Round 3. If Sutton takes pressure off Demaryious Thomas, Keenum will find a way to get the ball to Denver's WR1.
Freeman played for a bad team in college. That's why nobody paid attention to him. The Broncos rebuilt their offensive line in last year's NFL Draft. Don't be surprised if Denver wins the AFC West this season.
My brother, who is a huge Dallas Cowboys' fan, doesn't like their Round 1 pick, Leighton Vander Esch. I disagree. Vander Esch, an inside linebacker from Boise State, could pair with Sean Lee for one of the most fearsome linebacking duos in the NFL. I believe Vander Esch turns into one of the top linebackers in the league in one or two seasons.
The Cowboys also drafted OG Connor Williams, who was a projected first rounder. The Boys know that they must open holes for Ezekiel Elliott as well as protect QB Dak Prescott. Making WR Michael Gallup their Round 3 pick was smart. Gallup joins a WR corps led by the solid Allen Hurns, whom they signed away from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Cowboys should be NFC East Division sleepers this season. Philadelphia is still the favorite but the the Boys could be back after this great NFL Draft.
New York Giants
The New York Giants were favored to win the NFC East at the beginning of last season. What happened? All sorts of issues. However, the G-Men could be in the thick of the division race after grabbing the number 1 overall player in this year's NFL Draft, RB Saquon Barkley. Barkley immediately upgrades the Giants' underrated defense. He'll take pressure off both QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
I rated OG Will Hernandez, whom the Giants drafted in Round 2, as the top interior linemen in the draft. Hernandez will protect the rush up the middle on Manning while opening up holes for Barkley. The thing about Barkley is if you give him daylight, he can take it to the house.
Roquan Smith got more press than Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter. Was it warranted? I don't know. I think this is another situation where the player in question, Carter, didn't blow them away at the NFL Combine. No worries. Carter could turn into one of the better linebackers in the NFL. He certainly has the work ethic to do it.
The Giants might have found a starter at QB once Eli hangs it up with their Round 4 pick, Kyle Lauletta. The Richmond QB had climbed up most everyone's draft boards. Lauletta might not help the G-Men this season. No problem because Barkley, Carter, and Hernandez could all start.
If those 3 guys play the way I believe they will, it could be tough for Philly to repeat as NFC East Division Champions.
New Orleans Saints
Did the Saints give up to much to move to 14 and draft DE Marcus Davenport? I don't think so. This is where the philosophy of value comes into play. The Saints believe they can win Super Bowl 53. If they believe that, why wouldn't they find the player that could best help them do that?
Granted, Devenport is supposedly rough around the edges. Maybe, he is. Maybe, he isn't. However, pulling the trigger as a Super Bowl contender to give yourself a better shot to win the Vince Lombardi trophy is always a smart move.
Mortgaging the future doesn't mean anything. It's the biggest misunderstanding in sports. You make moves that help you win as soon as possible because you never know what's going to happen. The Saints did that on Draft Day.
The Saints also managed to draft an underrated WR in Tre'Quan Smith and a very good OT in Rick Leonard. New Orleans should have no trouble winning the NFC South Division, one of the deepest divisions in football. The moves they made on Draft Day could help them win the NFC.