Bold Predictions for Every NFL Team’s Rookie Class

Arizona Cardinals – Josh Rosen becomes a carbon copy of Sam Bradford.

Josh Rosen is a supreme talent, a natural passer of the ball with incredible hand-eye coordination. Sam Bradford was at one point considered a “can’t miss” prospect who also was a natural passer, but now on his 4th NFL team, Bradford is seen more as a journeyman than a franchise QB. Bradford played well in spurts, but injuries plagued his career, and Rosen’s history suggests that is a real possibility for his career. If he can stay healthy he will be a starter in the NFL for 10 years.

Atlanta Falcons – Isaiah Oliver will be far more productive as a rookie than Calvin Ridley.

Atlanta had some experts scratching their heads taking a WR with their first pick considering the number of weapons they have on that side of the ball. Oliver will fill a bigger need for the perennial contenders thus leading to more production.

Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson will start more games than Joe Flacco this year.

Lamar Jackson is as dynamic a talent that has entered the NFL since RG3 and Michael Vick changed the way people viewed the QB position. During training camp, it is going to be hard for the Ravens to keep Jackson off the field when they witness his dynamic talent in person.

Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen is the biggest bust in the draft.

Some will say this is not a bold prediction considering the project that Allen is but ultimately, he was the 7th overall pick and Buffalo expects him to lead their franchise for the next 10 years. Ultimately his upbeat personality and arm strength will not be enough to overcome serious accuracy and decision-making issues that will lead to record-breaking turnover numbers.

Carolina Panthers – This will be the worst haul of the 2018 draft five years from now.

D.J. Moore is a nice WR prospect but as history has proven WR production can come from anywhere so spending a first round pick on one isn’t a great tactic. Donte Jackson was the right positional pick but a guy like Josh Jackson with the 24th pick and a WR later in the draft will prove to have been a better strategy than the aforementioned.

Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith becomes the best Middle LB in the NFL in three years.

The history of Chicago LBs is well documented. Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher became heroes in Chicago at the center of their team’s defense. Many people expect Roquan Smith to fill that role but nonetheless, those are high expectations for any player. However, Roquan Smith has all the tangibles and intangibles to do it and I suspect he will.

Cincinnati Bengals – Billy Price proves doubters wrong.

Billy Price has been one of the best offensive linemen in college football over the last four years. A two-time All-American and the Rimington trophy award winner Billy Price was undeniable in his OSU career. A pre-draft injury at the Combine led most people to leave him out of the first round of their mock draft (except for me). As I correctly predicted he was drafted 21st overall to the Bengals and I suspect he will be an immediate help to their offensive line.

Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward right the wrongs of Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert.

Some would say it is not a bold prediction to say that the number one and four overall picks in the draft will succeed, but when it comes to the Browns it feels like a total longshot. However, that being said I do feel Baker Mayfield will shock some supposed experts with his play at the next level. He has all the traits that it takes to succeed at the next level. He has a quick release, good accuracy at all three levels, he throws with timing and anticipation. Most importantly he is a winner, he played well in big games, he had total command of his offense and he has no injury history or concerns. Most importantly, however, above all these prospects coming out, he doesn’t turn over the football. I firmly believe if this guy was 6’3 as opposed to 6′ he’d be the consensus number one pick in the draft. For those who had concerns about his off the field issues, Jamies Winston was the number one pick despite getting caught shoplifting; young kids do dumb stuff. As for Denzel Ward, his play on the field speaks for itself and his 4.32 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical tells you all you need to know about what a special athlete he is. Of course, knowing the Browns these guys could easily be off the roster four years from now. Only time will tell.

Dallas Cowboys – Quietly a nice draft for the Cowboys.

Some people are down on the Cowboys draft because it isn’t “sexy” many fans wanted a playmaker like Calvin Ridley. However, the Cowboys did what the Cowboys do and the stacked up on the offensive line with Connor Williams who was a steal in the second round and Leighton Vander Esch will provide help right away as a rookie. Also, keep an eye on their last pick Bo Scarbrough

Denver Broncos – Denver’s class lives up to the hype.

It isn’t going against the grain to say that having Bradley Chubb and Von Miller on your defensive line is good. However, Denver did a great job thought this draft and could end up having the best one in the class. Expect Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, DeSean Hamilton and Troy Fumagalli to make plays next year.

Green Bay Packers – Rodgers gets the help he needs for another super bowl run

In a draft loaded with corners, the Packers get two of the top guys in the draft. Getting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the same draft could solve all of their secondary problems in one draft.

Houston Texans – They accomplished the most boring draft in modern history.

With their first pick coming 68th overall predictably this is a pretty shallow draft class. However, outside of a guy named Keke being drafted, not a lot of glamor in this class.

Indianapolis Colts – Indy gets back in the playoff picture after a solid draft.

Quinten Nelson is the perfect pick to improve your horrible offensive line for Andrew Luck in his comeback (we hope). Guys like Tyquan Lewis and Deon Cain make this a potentially deep class as well.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Solid class keeps Jacksonville in the hunt.

Jacksonville unfamiliar with picking this low (29th) turned it into a solid class. Their first three picks, in particular, Taven Bryan, DJ Clark and Ronnie Harrison could be productive this year.

Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs find another diamond in the rough.

Kansas City has drafted players like Travis Kelce (64th) and Tyreek Hill (165th) in the later rounds who have become stars for them. Expect safety Armani Watts or corner Tremon Smith to break out and make plays.

Miami Dolphins – Miami gets three steals with their first three picks.

Miami lucked into Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th pick when many thought he was a top-five talent. Mike Gesicki and Jerome Baker big-time playmakers in the Big 10 and are going to be nice additions to their roster.

Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota improves on the best roster in football.

Mike Hughes and Brian O’Neill are good but with so much talent on the Minnesota roster, they might need some time before they see significant snaps. Keep an eye on TE Tyler Conklin taken 157th overall.

New England Patriots – Patriots keep “Patrioting.

New England had an unusual amount of draft capital this year including two picks in the first round. OT Isaiah Wynn will become an instant starter and replace Nate Solder and RB Sony Michel will replace Dion Lewis who both left in free agency. However, do not expect Danny Etling to replace Tom Brady any time soon.

New Orleans Saints – Marcus Davenport busts.

Marcus Davenport was a hot name around draft time, but some still thought that the Saints reached taking him with the 14th pick in the draft. However, his limited experience against high-level competition will show in a big learning curve his rookie year.

New York Giants – Barkley and Hernandez lead big blue back to the playoffs.

Everyone knew going in that Saquon Barkley was the best overall talent in the draft. He has almost no bust potential and he will instantly balance out the Giants offense. Will Hernandez will be there to open holes for Barkley and protect and aging Eli Manning.

New York Jets – Sam Darnold gives Jets fans a taste of Eli Manning

Sam Darnold is a supreme talent at the QB position no doubt. He has a big body, a good head on his shoulders, a quick release and the tendency to make the miraculous play. However, like Eli Manning, he will make turnovers that will make you want to tear your hair out. So, Jets fans strap in and get ready for a very up and down ride with many highs and many, many lows.

Oakland Raiders – Jon Gruden blows the first pick, but has a nice rest of draft.

Jon Gruden is back in the NFL and leading the Oakland Raiders. Kolton Miller was a bold pick at 15th overall and might not pan out. However, Gruden got some gems in the late rounds with DE Arden Key and DT Maurice Hurst.

Philadelphia Eagles – Super Bowls > Draft classes.

Philly only had five draft picks this year and only one in the top-125 which they spent on TE Dallas Goedert 49th overall. Good news for the Eagles – drafts become overrated when you win Super Bowl rings. Sounds so nice.

Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers unintentionally increase their championship window.

The selection of Mason Rudolph in the third round angered Ben Roethlisberger. The same guy who said he was almost ready to retire last season now says he has 3-5 more years in him. Mason Rudolph is a nice product with some mental and physical traits that are very similar to Big Ben, but he will have to wait because his selection has seemed to light a fire under the future HOFer.

Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James completes the Chargers defense.

Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are both premier pass rushers and Derwin James will help them complete the Chargers defense by backing them up in the secondary.

San Francisco 49ers – Mike McGlinchey hits but Dante Pettis busts.

San Francisco clearly was looking to help their budding superstar QB Jimmy Garoppolo by selecting Mike McGlinchey to protect him and Dante Pettis to be a weapon for him. McGlinchey will help right away but Pettis will struggle to see the field his rookie year.

Seattle Seahawks – Shaquem Griffin lives up to the hype.

If you look past the obvious with Shaquem Griffin his talent speaks for itself. If his 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine and his brother who is also on the Seahawks isn’t enough evidence, Griffin is a physically genetic freak. He has size and speed to the ball that few players possess. He was the leader of an undefeated team and one of the best LBs in college football, he has an excellent chance of succeeding in the NFL.

Los Angeles Rams – LA’s loaded roster sees no improvement, but none necessary.

LA is ready to challenge for a Super Bowl next year and with almost no draft capital they did the best they could, but their roster is ready to go for a few years where they will consistently challenge for a championship.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vita Vea busts.

Browns fans tell me what you think of nose tackles taken out of Washington taken 12th overall? Vea looks nice on paper but DT’s who don’t rush the passer have a cap in value in this league. Vea will have a nice career, but he will not live up to his 12th overall standing.

Tennessee Titans – Titans get quality over quantity.

Only having four picks and getting Rashaan Evans, Harold Landry and Luke Falk Tennessee made the most of their draft capital more than anyone in this draft. Evans and Landry could become instant starters and Luke Falk is a QB worth taking at the Tom Brady spot (199th).

Washington Redskins – Washington reaches for Payne but nails it with Guice.

Da’Ron Payne is a big bruiser DT with some upside but selecting him in the top 15 felt like a stretch. Some off the field issues resulted in Derrius Guice falling into Washington’s lap with the 59th pick and they were smart enough to take him. Expect him to make plays as a rookie in a crowded backfield.

Photo: ESPN

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