Steals of the Draft
Isaiah Simmons, linebacker: The Cardinals were ecstatic to land Simmons with the No. 8 overall pick. Not only was he one of the top defenders in the class, but Simmons fills a specific need for the Cardinals: covering tight ends. The Simmons versus George Kittle battle will soon become one of the most exciting matchups in football.
Josh Jones, offensive tackle: Another big win for the Cardinals, who were able to scoop up University of Houston’s Josh Jones in the third round. Jones was widely considered to be a first-round talent after a strong week at the Senior Bowl, and the Cardinals feel pretty lucky to have him protecting franchise quarterback Kyler Murray.
CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver: Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy were laughing when they realized Lamb fell to them at No. 17. Lamb was considered by many to be the draft’s top receiver after a stellar career at the University of Oklahoma. With Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper and now Lamb, watch out for a high-powered Dallas offense next season.
Damon Arnette, cornerback: With Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 last year and now Arnette at No. 19 this year, the reach is becoming a staple of the Raiders’ draft night strategy. Despite being a physical player, many scouts believe that Arnette is not nearly fast enough to be a starting corner in the NFL. He could have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen and Courtland Sutton in the AFC West.
Jalen Reagor, wide receiver: While it was no secret that the Eagles needed a wide receiver, Reagor was the wrong choice here, made by General Manager Howie Roseman. Reagor is a burner that can take the top off of a defense, but more of a one-trick pony than a reliable No. 1 receiver. The Eagles will soon regret passing on the more complete Justin Jefferson with this pick.
Teams that impressed
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins had a lot of picks in this draft, giving them more chances to make mistakes. The Dolphins added University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, University of Southern California (USC) offensive tackle Austin Jackson, Auburn University cornerback Noah Igobinoghene, University of Louisiana-Lafayette offensive tackle Robert Hunt and Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis. By investing their early draft picks in the most valuable positions, the Dolphins took a huge step in their rebuilding process.
Baltimore Ravens: Already owning one of the better rosters in the NFL, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta found ways to make it even better through the draft. The Ravens selected Louisiana State University (LSU) linebacker Patrick Queen, Texas A&M University defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, The Ohio State University running back J.K. Dobbins, The University of Texas at Austin wide receiver Devin Duvernay and Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison. Adding Dobbins and Duvernay adds yet another layer of dynamic playmaking ability to the Ravens’ offense.
Indianapolis Colts: Although the Colts traded their first-round pick for former 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, General Manager Chris Ballard made crucial moves for his team’s present and future success. Drafting USC wide receiver Michael Pittman and University of Wisconsin-Madison running back Jonathan Taylor in the second round gives newly acquired quarterback Philip Rivers some talented weapons in this “all-in” season. Also, selecting high-upside Washington quarterback Jacob Eason provides the Colts, who don’t have a quarterback under contract after next season, with a potential quarterback in the future.
Minnesota Vikings: Selecting LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, Texas Christian University cornerback Jeff Gladney and Mississippi State University cornerback Cameron Dantzler helped the Vikings replace the holes left by the departures of Stefon Diggs, Xavier Rhodes and Tre Waynes. Adding Boise State University offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland also helps maintain the strong zone-run scheme that the Vikings leaned on last season.