NFL Draft 2018 Cheat Sheet

How The Draft Order Is Set

Each of the 32 NFL teams receives one pick in each of the 7 rounds of the draft.

Order is determined by the reverse order of finish in the previous season -- basically the worst team picks first and the Super Bowl champion picks last, barring any trades, although trades can and do happen, sometimes with a few seconds left.

The league can also assign as many as 32 additional “compensatory free agent” picks which allow teams that have lost free agents to other teams to use the draft to try and fill the void.

Source: NFL


Draft Order: First 10 Teams

1.  Cleveland Browns
2.  New York Giants
3.  New York Jets (from Indianapolis Colts)
4.  Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans)
5.  Denver Broncos
6.  Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)
7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8.  Chicago Bears
9.  San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders

Source: NFL

I was the kid that was the 199th pick that never had the body for it. People didn’t think I’d play one year and now I’m going on my 17th (now 18th) year.
— Tom Brady

The QBs:

While there are eleven players on the field for a team, everyone knows the QB is the most important position and so during draft season, it tends to be all about the quarterbacks. The last time five quarterbacks were taken in the first round was in 1999, which is especially interesting given the many QB names mentioned this year in addition to some serious debate of what order they will go in.

Sam Darnold
Quarterback | USC | Capistrano Beach, CA

Sam Darnold always seems to be projected to go in the top 3. He opted not to throw at the NFL Combine in March, instead choosing to wait until USC’s Pro Day, where he impressed scouts with his throwing ability under steady rain, rare for southern California. When offered a chance to change his throwing time to avoid the rain, he declined, not wanting to change his fellow teammates’ timetable and also took an early flight home from a team visit in Cleveland to be able to throw for a teammate’s pro day.

Josh Allen:
Quarterback | Wyoming | Firebaugh, CA

While he’s been compared to Carson Wentz (the QB for the Philadelphia Eagles) and described as big and strong with powerful arm strength, it’s also been noted that he seems to respond poorly under pressure and will need a patient team to work with him. Scouts and managers love his raw talent and he’s frequently mentioned as one of the players likely to be drafted at the top.

Josh Rosen
Quarterback | UCLA | Manhattan Beach, CA

He’s already received a lot of press for not being afraid to speak his mind, for having interests outside of football, and after his former coach said he’d take Darnold over Rosen at #1 if he were drafting (based on fit, not ability). That said, he was a Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and questions about him seem to be less around his abilities than his coachability. He grew up playing tennis (à la Drew Brees) before switching to football. 

Baker Mayfield
Quarterback | Oklahoma | Austin, TX

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Winner already has a bad-boy reputation, thanks to several actions that have required him to publicly apologize, plus an arrest for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and fleeing/resisting arrest. Those who know him say it’s pure passion and he’s not the next Johnny Manziel. He walked on at Texas Tech before transferring and walking on at Oklahoma. While considered small for a quarterback, he was also a Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and says he regrets some of the things he’s done that haven’t been well-received.

Other names to know: Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph.

The Running Back Who Could Be Drafted First

Saquon Barkley
Running Back | Penn St. | Coplay, PA
Get used to seeing his name, no matter where he’s drafted. Sports Illustrated put him on the cover last week with a title asking if he’s the future face of the NFL. He is widely regarded as a special player with whom it’s difficult to find flaws. Scouts say he’s the best running back to come out of college in a decade or two, if not ever. He’s considered both too fast and too strong for his size and known for an intense work ethic. His first child with his girlfriend was born this month. 

Other Top Players Frequently Mentioned:

Bradley Chubb
Defensive End | North Carolina St. | Marietta, GA

Bradley Chubb could have gone into the draft last year, as a junior, but opted to return to school for his last year, where he worked on areas that needed improvement and turned them into strengths. During the NFL Combine, he said he tries to combine elements from All-Pro players Khalil Mack and Von Miller, a statement Von Miller agreed with. You may hear his last name again as his cousin is also in this year’s draft.

Quenton Nelson
Offensive Guard | Notre Dame | Holmdel NJ

Quenton Nelson is considered to be a Pro-Bowl and All-Pro caliber player, his NFL scouting report describes him as “built like a bank safe.”

Roquan Smith
Outside Linebacker | Georgia | Montezuma, GA

He was one of the top high school recruits in the country and widely expected to go in the top ten. 

Tremaine Edmunds
Inside Linebacker | Virginia Tech | Danville, Va

Tremaine Edmunds has often been compared to Roquan Smith in this draft and while he hasn’t been evaluated as highly, his size and speed is frequently mentioned as assets. His brother is also in this year’s draft and their father was a two-time Pro-Bowler who played for Miami.

Minkah Fitzpatrick:
Safety/Cornerback | Alabama | Old Bridge, NJ

He’s played both safety and cornerback and while he’s said he prefers to play cornerback, his versatility is part of his appeal. He’s known as meticulous with a strong work ethic, both on and off the field. A December 2017 Sports Illustrated profile quoted him as saying “I just think that if you’re going to do something, you should be great.” His family was displaced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and his parents each worked three jobs to keep him in his private high school. 

Denzel Ward
Cornerback | Ohio St. | Macedonia, OH

After playing throughout college, he opted out of participating in the Cotton Bowl with Ohio St. after seeing players suffer injuries in their final college games. 

The Inspiring Story

Shaquem Griffin
Outside Linebacker | Central Florida | St. Petersburg, FL 

While likely to go in one of the later rounds of the draft, you may have already heard Griffin's name thanks to an impressive showing at the NFL Combine where he did 20 reps on a bench press with a prosthetic hand. He also ran the 40 yard dash faster than any linebacker has in the history of the Combine. He grew up playing football with his brother (Shaquill, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks) despite his hand having been amputated when he was 4 and follows the motto “against all odds.”