By Jack Hamrick
The 2018 NFL Draft was filled with plenty of surprises from top to bottom. Obviously, Baker Mayfield was the first quarterback taken off the board, and Denzel Ward jumped all the way up to fourth, both picks by the Browns. The Saints traded up for what looked to be like a quarterback, but turned out to be a Defensive End from UTSA. Football fans saw plenty of surprises, but who found the steals?
Roquan Smith, in my eyes, is one of the more complete players in the draft. Even though the Bears got him at eight, still a high pick, his talent level could quite possibly be the best in this years draft class. His patience is remarkable for how aggressive he is. Along with his sheer size, Smith has that pro-type body and skill all in one package.
Derwin James slipping all the way to seventeen is a crime, and the Chargers got a franchise safety without having to trade up. James’ ballhawking ability is impeccable, maybe the best since Tyrann Mathieu. His one-on-one coverage could be an issue, but he makes up for it with high ability to blitz. His pass rush is second to none compared to the other safeties in the league, making him a threat for years to come.
At 59, the Redskins found Derrius Guice, easily the second best running back in the Draft, obviously behind Saquon. If Washington was looking for the “downhill thumper” type running back, they stumbled upon the best one in the draft. Guice isn’t overly big, but he runs hard and he runs mean. Given his great strength, the LSU back has been able to, usually, overpower the first opponent he faces, something he should be able to continue in the big leagues.
Antonio Callaway is a player that is eye opening. The Browns got him at 105, a great pick for his talent level, but his talent isn’t the question. Callaway has had a flurry of off the field issues, mostly with drugs. He’s faced multiple team suspensions, and could be a cancer to any team. His priorities might need a check, but if anyone has dealt with players with problems off the field, it’s Cleveland.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, is not only the hardest name to say, but one of the hardest hitting players in the draft. The Oklahoma linebacker is all over the field. He’s one of those guys that you feel like has made every tackle the whole game. With that being said, Okoronkwo lead his team in tackles, and Oklahoma’s defense throughout the year. I believe at 160 the Rams got a really solid pro linebacker.
Plenty of players drafted in late rounds could turn out to be the next NFL greats, it’s just a matter of figuring out which ones.