Sean Pendergast

2018 NFL Draft, First Round — 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Cleveland fans could finally celebrate a high pick on a franchise quarterback on Thursday night.
Cleveland fans could finally celebrate a high pick on a franchise quarterback on Thursday night. Screen grab from YouTube
As NFL Drafts go, the 2018 edition came in with more hype than any in recent memory, and by the time the dust settled, it largely lived up to said hype, I suppose. The night began with a Heisman Trophy winner as the first overall pick, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield to Cleveland, and ended with a Heisman Triphy winner as the 32nd overall pick, Louisville's Lamar Jackson to Baltimore.

In between, there were some winners and losers, so let's get right to it, and give you a reasonable summary of what went down in Arlington at AT&T Stadium last night:


4. Rashaad Penny
The nation's leading rusher was one player that I was hoping might drop to the Texans in the third round, but the Seattle Seahawks had other ideas. In a mild surprise, the Seahawks, who had moved back to 27th in the first round, used their first round pick on a player they undoubtedly expect to reprise the role of Marshawn Lynch in an offense that will hopefully, for the Seahawks' sake, rely less on Russell Wilson's heroics. In a draft where most expected just one running back, Saquon Barkley of Penn State, to go in the first round, Penny will get the fully guaranteed, four year contract that comes with being a first round pick. Not bad.

3. Ryan Shazier
In one of the cooler moments of the night, Steers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who was paralyzed from the waist down on a hit he delivered in a game late in the 2017 season, walked out on stage and announced the Steelers' selection of safety Terrell Edmunds....

Shazier has intimated that he wants to play again, which admittedly looks like a tall order based on how he was moving on Thursday night, but dammit, it was cool to see him moving after watching that scary scene of him being carted off the field last season.
2. Marcus Davenport
There's been a theme developing over the last few seasons in which Texas football is under some sort of siege, the result of which has left the Texas schools devoid of the talent they once had. (I think Tom Herman's personal mission is to end the outbound flow of players from our great state.) Well, this draft did nothing to dispel that notion as the ONLY player from a Texas school drafted in the first round was Marcus Davenport, the defensive end out of UTSA, drafted 14th overall by the New Orleans Saints.

1. Jorts
There's not much I really need to say about this....

There are many reasons why Baker Mayfield went first overall, and this picture alone is like a hundred of them. Amazing.


4. Roger Goodell
No, not even dragging Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as some sort of human shield could keep Roger Goodell from getting booed at the draft last night in Arlington....

I will give Goodell bonus points for saying "Hey, why are you booing the Cowboys?" Not bad.

3. J.J. Watt haters
Here's a good test for how high strung you might be — when you use draft day as a reminder that pretty much all of us thought you were a sucky pick by the Texans in the first round. Behold, Justin James Watt on Twitter last night.....
J.J., I don't know how many times we can say this, but we were wrong about you back in 2011. All of us. For a refresher, here is what I wrote about the Texans selecting you in my 2011 NFL Draft Live Blog:

8:10 — Texans are on the clock ... Fairley, Amukamara, Robert Quinn, all on the board. And with the 11th pick, the Texans take...

8:11 — J.J. Watt defensive end from Wisconsin. Yawn. Somewhere Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham are sharing an awkward multi-layered white guy high five. MADISON, STAND UP! And oh by the way, the bust factor on J.J. Watt just went from highly unlikely to "out of the league in five years." I'll take Texans first rounders on the defensive line not named Mario Williams for $200, Alex!

8:13 — Nickname for J.J. Watt — I'm putting "Kilo" out there. And if he happens to have a career derailing drug habit...then, I'm REALLY putting "Kilo" out there. Got emails from a couple people that are excited about the possibility of a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin style "WHAT?!?" cheer catching on at Reliant next season. WATT?!?...WATT?!?...WATT?!?... This is where we are as a franchise right now.

8:14 — John Granato just polled Wild Wing Cafe and either J.J. Watt slept with everyone's daughter in this place or they're not very happy with the pick.

8:17 — They just started piping in the sound from an episode of King of the Hill over the speakers at Wild Wing and on our station for some reason....oh no wait, it's the Wade Phillips' press conference to discuss the J.J. Watt pick. Phillips is quite the package of hell, fire and brimstone, minus the hell, the fire and the brimstone.

8:18 — I think Wade Phillips just sold me some propane.
Wow, a Hank Hill joke about Wade Phillips! I was on fire! (Not my finest work, I know.)

2. Jag fans
I think you can judge a lot about the quality of a pick by the reaction of opposing fan bases, so when the Jaguars were on the clock at the 29th overall selection, and Texan fans were freaking the hell out that the Jags might take Lamar Jackson, that may have been a sign as to what Jacksonville should do. Thankfully, they reverted to being the Jaguars and took a spunky, high-motor defensive lineman out of Florida named Taven Bryan. Crisis averted.

1. Buffalo
The Bills traded up to the seventh pick and drafted Josh Allen out of Wyoming, whose rocket arm was good enough to get drafted high, but not good enough to complete more than 56 percent of his passes at Wyoming. The Bills were largely lauded for this pick for the sole reason that Allen had played in bad weather in college, so he should be OK to do it in the NFL. So apparently, the Bills are psyched to have a guy who will complete 56 percent of his passes in crappy Buffalo weather. Put it this way — unless the cold weather gives Josh Allen some kind of super power we aren't aware of, he is going to suck in any kind of weather, hot or cold.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast