Mayfield top pick in historic draft for quarterbacks, brothers

NFL commissioner commissioner Roger Goodell walks off stage as Baker Mayfield is selected as the number one overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2018 NFL DraftThe quarterback-heavy 2018 NFL draft lived up to the hype, with an unprecedented four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 picks. Baker Mayfield was the first off the board as the Cleveland Browns defied expectations by taking the Heisman Trophy winner over Sam Darnold, who was picked third overall by the New York Jets, and Josh Allen, who went to the Buffalo Bills with the seventh pick. The Arizona Cardinals moved up to the 10th spot to select Josh Rosen, completing the historic run on football’s most important position.

In Mayfield, the lowly Browns have found a proven winner, but he is undersized for a professional quarterback, which could become a concern if Cleveland’s pass protection isn’t effective. Mayfield also isn’t considered as ready to enter the NFL as Darnold or Rosen, but defying expectations became routine for Mayfield during his time at Oklahoma, and the Browns appear to he hoping he keeps doing that at the professional level. Allen is also considered something of a project due to concerns about his accuracy, footwork, and ability to read a developing play, but the Bills traded up to draft him because of his otherworldly size and arm strength.

But quarterbacks weren’t the only ones making history at the 2018 draft, which also marked the first time two brothers were taken in the first round. Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds, who were defensive teammates on Virginia Tech, are now both first round picks. Tremaine, a linebacker, was selected by Buffalo 16th overall, while Terrell, a safety, went 28th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Saquon Barkley was the top non-quarterback selected, going second overall to the New York Giants. Drafting a running back so high is rare in today’s NFL, where very few running backs get paid as much as a second overall pick, but Barkley’s game-breaking ability and versatility made him an exception for a Giants team that was in desperate need of a run game.

The Browns used their second pick at fourth overall to bolster their pass defense with cornerback Denzel Ward, the first defensive player off the board. Ward was a bit of a surprise going ahead of defensive end Bradley Chubb, who was drafted next by the Denver Broncos, while the Indianapolis Colts got some much-needed help on their offensive line by picking Quenton Nelson at sixth.

Thursday’s first round concluded as it began: with a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. The Baltimore Ravens traded up to select dual-threat option and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who was a touchdown machine on the ground and in the air during his time at Louisville. Despite his obvious physical gifts and prolific scoring statistics, concerns about Jackson’s ability to fit into a conventional offensive playbook hurt his draft stock, and he wasn’t even the first Louisville player off the board, as cornerback Jaire Alexander was taken 18th overall by the Green Bay Packers.

The second and third rounds of the draft are scheduled for Friday, with rounds four through seven on Saturday.