D.A. Breaks Down The Quarterback Decisions Of The '18 NFL Draft

Several teams should be second-guessed for the picks they made – and for the ones they didn't 

The DA Show
April 27, 2018 - 1:16 pm

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There seemed to be no way the Browns could screw this up. Two picks in the top four, what could go wrong? That should teach us never to assume anything is painless and easy about a Cleveland draft. To me, the Browns should've nabbed Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen first, and then Bradley Chubb fourth. Say goodnight, those are practical, yet potentially brilliant picks. Instead we have two risks heading to Northeast Ohio. 

I don't think Baker Mayfield is a guy who will handle losing well, nor being under public scrutiny, and dealing with a lacking supporting cast. And there will be a lot of it when you start digging your way out of 1-31. An organization dealing with that needs a guy who handles everything with total professionalism and an even keeled disposition, due to inevitable criticism and lack of success. I don't worry about his lack of height, considering the careers of Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. But he’s emotionally volatile, and that's a bad indicator of leading a team out of misery. Add to that Denzel Ward, who will have the weight of the world on his shoulders being a hometown kid who also played college ball at Ohio State needing to live up to 4th overall. Take Chubb, pair him with Myles Garrett, and avoid reaching for a shutdown corner where one doesn't exist. 

The Giants had a golden opportunity to reboot the franchise by drafting a quarterback. While Saquon Barkley had an electrifying college career, a running back is not where you stake the future of your franchise. Eli Manning is about to crumble apart this season, and the Giants may not pick near the top again for the next 37 years (their last pick this high was '81). I think they blew it by not taking a QB, especially given Darnold was available. 

Giants GM Dave Gettleman doubled down on the doubters, openly admitting he didn’t even listen to offers for the pick once Mayfield was gone. That’s embarrassing, and representative of the arrogance that made him unpopular to many Panthers players. At least see if some team is desperate for Darnold and will give you the farm for #2. He even said watching Davis Webb made him more comfortable taking Barkley. Please. Webb has never taken an NFL snap. It’s official. Gettleman is in a state of confusion after eating E. coli lettuce at the diner on Rt. 17.

So the Jets played poker and came up looking brilliant. New York traded into the third slot, and some felt it gave away too much to do it. But because the Browns and Giants took risks, the Jets had the choice between two terrific franchise QBs. Darnold is a great pick for New York, and as he throws dimes in the same stadium as Eli looks like Rams-Era Joe Namath, it will haunt the Giants every day for the foreseeable future.

With Rosen still available the Bills should've taken him. Rosen was seen as "too curious," a millennial who dared question schematics. Being "too smart for your own good" is not a healthy reflection for the NFL, where GMs, coaches and owners want mindless foot soldiers. Josh Allen’s mechanics, being a long-term project, and lack of success against Power 5 teams worries me. Dammit, I hope it works. Bills Mafia has earned a decent starting QB after 20 years of puke. But this feels like an unnecessary risk with Rosen sitting there.  

The Cardinals were more than happy to move up to select Rosen, and they'll be rewarded. He's got the best mechanics of the class, healthy confidence, a bright mind, and arm consistency. I think he’ll end up being the best QB in this year’s draft. It's a huge win for Arizona, and Rosen's revenge tour feels authentic and inevitable to me.

The Ravens moved back into the first round for Lamar Jackson, and understandably so. Giving up two second-round picks to nab your franchise QB is never too much. There actually is no package of picks that would be too rich if you're landing stability and success under center. The Eagles gave up a first, second, third and fourth for Carson Wentz, and no one feels like that was overboard. But can Lamar's game translate to the NFL? Perhaps, since he became a much better passer at Louisville. Luckily for the Ravens Joe Flacco is the immediate starter. I have my doubts about Jackson becoming a star, but for the price of two seconds the Ravens made the right play. 

Will it haunt the Patriots? Bill Belichick must have a quarterback in his sights later in the draft, because there's no way New England doesn't have a young one on the roster with 41-year-old Tom Brady. But I was convinced they'd grab Jackson, and they passed on him twice. Some decisions at quarterback were great, some were too ugly to stomach. Which made the scene near the end of Thursday night so welcoming. Ryan Shazier walking to the podium to announce the Steelers pick was the best moment of the NFL Draft and there won't be a close second.

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.