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Draft Day: The Good, The Bad, and Everything in Between

Cole Thomas, Reporter

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32 starstruck college standouts walked across the stage and shook commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand on April 26th as they were the 2018 first round pick class.

A first round draft class that was headlined by everyone’s favorite position, quarterback, also boasts talent in several different position groups. But as always, there are the “busts” that don’t prove themselves on Sundays. The big question is- who are they? Who are the future MVP’s? The comprehensive answers you seek are below.

 

Most Talented Pick

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Drafted: 2nd overall, New York Giants

Turn on the tape, and you’ll agree with this analysis. Barkley not only possesses the speed of an elite NFL running back, but the strength. His combine numbers are staggering- a 4.4 40 yard dash, 29 reps on the bench press (keep in mind Barkley weighs 233 pounds), and a 41 inch vertical. Barkley possess the athleticism of the games most elite backs- Herschel Walker, Barry Sanders, and LaDanian Tomlinson are all fair comparisons. Still not sold? Barkley had videos of him go viral last offseason while he was still at Penn State of his ridiculous 425 pound power clean and 5 reps of 525 pounds on squat- as a college junior. Even with him being picked at number 2, the Giants got a steal in Barkley, as he seems to possess all the traits of a once-in-a generation type playe.

Most Pro Ready Pick

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Drafted: 9th overall, San Francisco 49ers

McGlinchey, standing at 6’8” 309, saw significant playing time and started every game for the Fighting Irish since his sophomore year at either right or left tackle. Offensive linemen are the slowest to progress in the NFL, so a pick like McGlinchey is rare. He possesses quick feet and a strong first punch, but his most attractive trait is his experience. Because Notre Dame is an independent school, meaning they are not in a conference and play teams from all over the country, McGlinchey has gone up against elite players from schools such as USC, Stanford, Michigan State, and Miami, all schools that send numerous players to the NFL each year. While there will be growing pains, McGlinchey is the perfect man to protect Jimmy Garoppolo, and he will be a key piece in a 49er offense that will be the main catalyst in San Francisco’s chase for the NFC West.

 

Biggest Question Mark

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Drafted: 7th overall, Buffalo Bills

Allen very well could go down as the greatest player in Wyoming football history. The highest pick ever from Wyoming, Allen had the strongest arm in the draft, as scouts saw him heave a ball nearly 70 yards during the combine in Indianapolis. The reason for the grey area in Allen as an NFL quarterback is because of his level of competition in college. Wyoming, playing in the Mountain West conference, a non power-5 conference who’s biggest, and really the only notable quarterback draftee is Colin Kaepernick from Nevada in 2011. Allen led the Cowboys to an 8-5 overall record in 2017, but sat out their bowl game due to injury, a game in which they won. In pre conference play, Allen faced talented teams in Oregon and Iowa in his career, games which saw him struggle as he went a combined 31-64 for 238 yards, 3 picks, and no touchdowns. This stat is why Allen is a question mark. He is all world against David, but can’t seem to perform against Goliath. Allen will have to prove himself in Orchard Park and earn a starting job over Kyle Orton this spring and summer.

 

Soon To Be Bust

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Drafted: 32nd overall, Baltimore Ravens

Before you bite my head off, hear me out. Yes, we have seen the anomaly that is Michael Vick. Vick is and will go down as the greatest scrambling quarterback in NFL history. But if the past is any recollection, run first quarterbacks don’t work in the NFL. Vince Young and Robert Griffin III (now teammates with Jackson) are examples of this. Yes, you could throw names such as Steve McNair or Cam Newton in my face, but here’s the piece de resistance- Newton can throw the ball and McNair was playing in a different generation. Jackson did win the Heisman his sophomore year at Louisville, but he mainly did it with his legs. Skinny, athletic quarterbacks do not fit the mold in today’s NFL. The best quarterbacks in the game today-  Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Brees, and Ryan all have strong arms, pocket presence, and aren’t a scramble first type of player. Jackson was even urged to take reps at wide receiver by NFL scouts at the combine because he simply doesn’t fit the NFL mold.

 

These are the headline names in the 4 categories that people love to see, but there is so much more talent in the 2018 first round that wasn’t here, specifically Roquan Smith from Georgia, Vita Vea from Washington, and Calvin Ridley from Alabama are exciting, raw prospects that have potential in the NFL.  For now, rookie camps will get going, and we will see soon enough who is destined for Canton and who will make an early exit from the league.

 

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Draft Day: The Good, The Bad, and Everything in Between