CFB 24/7  

 

2018 NFL Draft class power rankings: Teams 1-8

Print

Ranking or grading teams immediately after the NFL draft is never easy. Let's face it -- we are passing out grades and analysis for general managers, coaches, and players when the next wave of rookies haven't even played a NFL game yet. So, obviously, putting together a ranking or grade for draft classes so quickly can be very tricky.

Since I've watched tape and assigned grades to almost all of the prospects that were selected (save a small handful in the late rounds), I have a mathematical starting point for how I think teams fared in this draft. In compiling these rankings, I took into account my personal grades for each player, how teams addressed priority needs and I made adjustments based upon the amount of picks a team had since teams with more picks have more total chances for success. Trades for veteran players were not taken into consideration for these rankings -- we're focused on the 2018 draft hauls here.

I will tell you that I was very surprised with how closely bunched many of these teams were and there seemed to be a relatively small amount of high-end and low-end drafts according to how I structured my overall grading scale. Keep in mind -- teams like the Texans, Rams, and Chiefs were hurt a little bit by not having an early pick.

NOTE: Click through the tabs above to see the rankings for every team.

RANK

1

GIANTS

Draft picks: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (No. 2 overall), UTEP OG Will Hernandez (No. 34 overall), Georgia LB Lorenzo Carter (No. 66 overall), N.C. State DT B.J. Hill (No. 69 overall), Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta (No. 108 overall), Miami DT R.J. McIntosh (No. 139 overall).

Analysis: Remember that the Giants dealt away Jason Pierre-Paul and dealt for Alec Ogletree, which helped to shape this draft somewhat. They stayed still and added Barkley before selecting a top-notch mauler at guard in Hernandez to fortify the offensive line. Carter is a mega-athlete who flashed his senior year and was a good value in Round 3. While I'm not as high on the Lauletta pick, there are some smart people that believe the fourth-rounder could become a starter in the league.

RANK

2

COWBOYS

Draft picks: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch (No. 19 overall), Texas OG Connor Williams (No. 50 overall), Colorado State WR Michael Gallup (No. 81 overall), Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong (No. 116 overall), Stanford TE Dalton Schultz (No. 137 overall), Western Kentucky QB Mike White (No. 171 overall), Indiana LB Chris Covington (No. 193 overall), Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson (No. 208 overall), Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough (No. 236 overall).

Analysis: I think the Cowboys really knocked it out of the ballpark with their draft. Vander Esch could become a future star at linebacker and Williams will help to make the rushing attack elite again as a left guard. Schultz won't be the next Jason Witten, but he was a safe option on Day 3. Wideouts Gallup and Wilson have a chance to make noise for the Cowboys and landing Scarbrough in the seventh round is a steal.

RANK

3

COLTS

Draft picks: Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson (No. 6 overall), South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard (No. 36 overall), Auburn OG Braden Smith (No. 37 overall), Rutgers DE Kemoko Turay (No. 52 overall), Ohio State DE Tyquan Lewis (No. 64 overall), N.C. State RB Nyheim Hines (No. 104 overall), Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain (No. 159 overall), Mississippi RB Jordan Wilkins (No. 169 overall), Clemson WR Deon Cain (No. 185 overall), Houston LB Matthew Adams (No. 221 overall), Syracuse LB Zaire Franklin (No. 235 overall).

Analysis: GM Chris Ballard was looking for pass rushers on defense, speed at the skill positions and enforcers on the offensive line. That's how he drafted. Nelson has generational talent and is wired with toughness that should permeate that offensive line. Leonard is a highly underrated playmaker with range and versatility at linebacker. Turay has huge potential, but needs to unlock it at DE. Hines, Fountain and Cain offered tremendous Day 3 value and potential.

RANK

4

BUCCANEERS

Draft picks: Washington DT Vita Vea (No. 12 overall), USC RB Ronald Jones (No. 38 overall), North Carolina DB M.J. Stewart (No. 53 overall), Auburn CB Carlton Davis (No. 63 overall), Humboldt State OG Alex Cappa (No. 94 overall), Pittsburgh S Jordan Whitehead (No. 117 overall), Pennsylvania WR Justin Watson (No. 144 overall), Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy (No. 202 overall).

Analysis: One of the reasons that I like the Bucs' draft so much is that they clearly had a vision to make their team tougher and they drafted accordingly. Vea is a potentially dominant interior defender, but I was also a fan of adding strong, aggressive cornerbacks like Davis and Stewart in the second round. On offense, Jones offers a slashing playmaker at running back and many teams see Watson as a potential fifth-round steal.

RANK

5

RAVENS

Draft picks: South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst (No. 25 overall), Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (No. 32 overall), Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown (No. 83 overall), Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews (No. 86 overall), Alabama CB Anthony Averett (No. 118 overall), UCLA LB Kenny Young (No. 122 overall), New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott (No. 132 overall), UCLA WR Jordan Lasley (No. 162 overall), Texas S DeShon Elliott (No. 190 overall), Wagner OT Greg Senat (No. 212 overall), Alabama C Bradley Bozeman (No. 215 overall), Ferris State DE Zach Sieler (No. 238 overall).

Analysis: In his final draft as GM, Ozzie Newsome was very shrewd in moving back and still picking up his target in Hurst. In addition, he had ammunition to move back up into the first round to add Jackson to get the fifth-year option that's only available for first-round picks. Brown and Andrews are productive options he didn't have to reach for. Sieler is going to surprise people.

RANK

6

BROWNS

Draft picks: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (No. 1 overall), Ohio State CB Denzel Ward (No. 4 overall), Nevada OG Austin Corbett (No. 33 overall), Georgia RB Nick Chubb (No. 35 overall), Miami DE Chad Thomas (No. 67 overall), Florida WR Antonio Callaway (No. 105 overall), Memphis LB Genard Avery (No. 150 overall), Texas A&M WR Damion Ratley (No. 175 overall), Louisiana-Lafayette CB Simeon Thomas (No. 188 overall).

Analysis: I like what Cleveland did, but I didn't love it. Obviously, anytime you pass on the top-rated players for a need position like QB it can come back to haunt you, but when you do it again for an undersized (but talented) cornerback in Ward, it opens you up for second guessing. Corbett and Chubb are solid ballers. The upsides of Callaway and Ratley have me excited.

RANK

7

BRONCOS

Draft picks: N.C. State edge rusher Bradley Chubb (No. 5 overall), SMU WR Courtland Sutton (No. 40 overall), Oregon RB Royce Freeman (No. 71 overall), Boston College DB Isaac Yiadom (No. 99 overall), Iowa LB Josey Jewell (No. 106 overall), Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton (No. 113 overall), Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli (No. 156 overall), Arizona State OG Sam Jones (No. 183 overall), Washington LB Keishawn Bierria (No. 217 overall), Arkansas RB David Williams (No. 226 overall).

Analysis: I mean ... they got Chubb with the fifth pick. That's huge. They didn't trade the pick -- they stayed still and took an elite defender. I give them credit for that. While I might not see Sutton or Hamilton reaching the heights of Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, they can step into those roles at some point. Freeman could take on a starter's workload in 2018.

RANK

8

BEARS

Draft picks: Georgia LB Roquan Smith (No. 8 overall), Iowa C James Daniels (No. 39 overall), Memphis WR Anthony Miller (No. 51 overall), Western Kentucky LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (No. 115 overall), Delaware DE Bilal Nichols (No. 145 overall), Utah LB Kylie Fitts (No. 181 overall), Georgia WR Javon Wims (No. 224 overall).

Analysis: The Bears added a potential future Pro Bowler in Smith and nabbed the top-rated center in this draft (on my board) in the second round in Daniels. Several teams had their sights set on the gritty Miller, and the Bears likely broke those clubs' collective hearts when they jumped up to get him. They grabbed upside guys the rest of the way.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop