First-Round Pick: Taven Bryan-Defensive Tackle: Florida
Best Pick: Ronnie Harrison-Safety-Alabama
The past National Football League season saw the Jacksonville Jaguars make an improbable run to the AFC Championship Game. And after being so close to making the Super Bowl, the Jaguars have become the “sexy” pick for so many people in regards to winning it all for the upcoming season. However the Jags still had plenty of holes on their team heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, but did they fill them?
Jacksonville’s two most glaring weaknesses heading into the draft were at offensive tackle at wide receiver. Jacksonville missed out on the run on offensive tackles in the first round which led to them looking at the other side of the football as they selected former Florida Gators defensive tackle Taven Bryan. A player such as Bryan is best described as a “space eater” as he consistently commands a double team. And now putting Bryan on arguably the best defensive line in the NFL will only make the Jaguars already potent pass rush that much better.
The Jags lost wide receiver Allen Hurns in free agency and they needed more depth at the position. The Jags would select former LSU Tigers wide receiver D.J. Chark towards the end of the second round, but they missed out quality pass catchers such as Anthony Miller and James Washington were coming off the board.
Jacksonville found themselves a very underrated safety in the third round when they chose former Alabama Crimson Tide safety Ronnie Harrison. Harrison was a stalwart in the Alabama secondary in recent years, but his play was consistently overshadowed by that of Minkah Fitzpatrick. Harrison is a solid run defender who’ll push for playing time right away which will add more depth to one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
However the Jaguars didn’t address their need at the offensive tackle position until the end of the fourth round when they selected former North Carolina State Wolfpack offensive tackle Will Richardson. Richardson comes to the NFL lacking the stellar college resume that some of the players who were selected at his position earlier than him may have, but at 6’6″, 308 lbs., he has prototypical size at the position and he can be a project for the Jags.
The Jags were able to add some talent in Bryan, but they missed out on adding pieces at key positions such as offensive tackle.
First-Round Pick: Rashaan Evans-Middle Linebacker-Alabama
Best Pick:Round Two-Harold Landry-Defensive End/Outside Linebacker-Boston College
The Tennessee Titans were not that busy at the 2018 National Football League Draft due to the fact that they only had four selections, and it was up to them to make the most of their opportunities. In the first round the Titans would trade up with the Baltimore Ravens in order to select former Alabama Crimson Tide inside linebacker Rashaan Evans. Evans was a do-it-all linebacker last year at Alabama as he was tied for the team lead in sacks with 74, while he also had 6 sacks. Evans is out to shed the notion that he is merely a system linebacker as he played under head football coach Nick Saban at Alabama, while he possesses great instincts which should translate well to the NFL.
The second round would see the Titans get their hands on a pass rushing specialist when they selected former Boston College Eagles defensive end/outside linebacker Harold Landry. It was a tale of two seasons for Landry as if he had left school and entered the 2017 NFL Draft, he would have been selected in the first round. However and injury filled 2017 college football season for Landry saw his stock fall slightly which resulted in him being selected in the second round. But what the Titans could get if Landry is healthy is the best pass rusher in this year’s draft class. Landry always plays with a high motor, and he makes the people around him better. I can see new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel moving Landry around in the front seven as he’ll be the best pure pass rusher that the Titans have had in a very long time.
The only negative from the Titans draft was that they didn’t have too many selections, but they knew how to make the most of the ones that they had.
First-Round Pick: N/A
Best Pick: Round Three-Justin Reid-Safety-Stanford
In actuality, the 2018 National Football League Draft began for the Houston Texans last year. Last year’s draft saw the Titans make a trade with the Cleveland Browns in order to move up to select quarterback Deshaun Watson. And in order for the Texans to select Watson, they parted with their first two selections in this year’s draft.
This year’s draft wouldn’t get started until the early stages of the third round for the Texans when they selected former Stanford Cardinal safety Justin Reid. Reid is a physical safety who is not afraid to get his nose dirty. Aside from leading Stanford in interceptions last year with 5, he was also second on the team in tackles with 99. And now Reid will push for immediate playing time for the Texans in their secondary as he plays like an enforcer.
Starting with Reid, the Texans had eight selections over the final five rounds of the draft, and although that none of their selections stand out as far as being immediate impact players, they will be able to provide this team with more depth.
First-Round Pick: Quenton Nelson-Guard-Notre Dame
Best Pick: Quenton Nelson
The Indianapolis Colts entered the 2018 National Football League Draft in the catbird’s seat. The Colts came in owning the third overall pick, but without the need to select a quarterback, they were able to call the shots in order to find a sucker that was willing to. The Colts traded with the New York Jets which allowed Indianapolis to move down three slots and still get arguably the best player available. The Colts would select former Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Quenton Nelson as they looked to beef up their offensive line. Nelson joins the Colts fresh off of being an All-American last year at Notre Dame, and Indy will need his blocking ability as they look to keep quarterback Andrew Luck healthy.
Indianapolis had consecutive picks early in the second round and missed a chance to really upgrade their roster as they passed on the likes of Harold Landry, Kerryon Johnson, and Mike Gesicki. Throughout the remainder of the draft, the Colts failed to find those impact players that would help them have a quicker turnaround as they’ll more than likely continue to struggle in the AFC South.