2018 NFL Draft First Round Recap: Ruttig and Walsh

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The Open Man’s NFL analyst Chase Ruttig and Ryan Walsh of the Cohen and Walsh Project teamed up for a 2018 NFL Draft diary.

Here are Ruttig and Walsh’s HOT TAKES™ from the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Some strong language and overall silliness can be found below:

1. Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma

 
Ruttig: The Johnny Manziel-Baker Mayfield questions were insufferable throughout the build to the draft. At the same time, it is impossible not to look at this pick and not wonder if the Cleveland Browns will regret taking an undersized player who has similar question marks at translating to the NFL. Once you factor in the fact the Browns potentially could have landed Mayfield with their second pick inside of the Top 5, this is a pick that will draw deserved criticism this weekend as it is a head scratcher from Cleveland’s front office.
 
Walsh: I’m tired of the Baker/Manziel comparisons. Are they both quarterbacks from Texas? Yes. Have they both had incidents with alcohol? Sure. Have they both won Heisman trophies? You bet they both did.
 
The similarities end there.
 
Baker Mayfield is the only walk-on to win the Heisman as far as I know. He is certainly the only player to win the Heisman after walking-on TWICE.
Johnny Football wanted to build himself into a larger-than-life, legendary figure, Baker Mayfield has chosen – multiple times – to humble himself for the sake of the team.
 
We live in a viral culture where quarterbacks have a very public persona, and I don’t see the issue with Mayfield using that platform to get under the skin of opponents, that’s hilarious to me.
 
I need to wrap this up: I did not expect Baker to go No. 1. I was shocked. But I’m not a doubter of his abilities or his work ethic. Clearly Tyrod Taylor should be the starter next fall, but Mayfield is a project I’m confident will work or for Cleveland. He has good instincts, is a great leader, and the arm and feet to succeed.
 
2. New York Giants, Saquon Barley, RB Penn State:
 
Walsh: You’re the BIG BLUE die hard here, so I’ll give you the majority of talk time on this pick. But as a Washington Redskins fan, this made me unhappy. I think the best picks are the ones that upset your rivals.
 

Ruttig: Yes, full disclosure here is that I am a lifelong New York Giants fan with a Big Blue bias. I am in love with this pick and am very glad the Giants chose to commit to trying to win during the final years of Eli Manning’s contract rather than spending a second overall pick on a player who would sit on the bench until Eli decides to retire.

 

If only a top quarterback fell to Day 2 for the Giants to make this a home run, but that is a story for later on.

 
3. New York Jets, Sam Darnold, QB USC
 
Ruttig: This was an expected pick from the Jets when they opted to trade up to the third overall pick and I feel they got increased value once the Browns selected Baker Mayfield.
Darnold is a more typical franchise quarterback process than Mayfield and with that brings a higher ceiling if he can continue to develop. The big question will be if Darnold can end the New York Jets noted quarterback curse and become a rare non-bust.
 

Walsh: The Jets made the best decision by taking Darnold. To me, he’s the quarterback best-equipped to step in immediately. He’s used to dealing with the pressures of big-market media and has the “lowest-floor” so to speak of the quarterbacks taken tonight.

 
4. Cleveland Browns, Denzel Ward, CB THE Ohio State University
 
Walsh: I don’t doubt Denzel Ward’s ability. I’m sure he will have a long career in the NFL and will be able to be the shutdown, anchor type corner Cleveland envisions with this pick.
 
But how do you pass up the chance to bookend your defense with Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb?
 
I played the line on both offense and defense in my heyday, so I may be overstating the importance of winning the trenches, but it’s impossible to deny how vital elite pass rushing is in today’s game. I think the Browns whiffed on the chance to have their division’s best pass rush unit here.
 
Ruttig: Everyone hyped up the Browns entering the draft after they made some relatively smart moves during free agency. I don’t think everyone will be espousing the same level of praise after the draft picks were actually made tonight.
 

Ward certainly will be a solid cornerback, the problem is the Browns had a chance at either Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb and ended up with a perceived lesser package than most were expecting.

 
5. Denver Broncos, Bradley Chubb, DE NC State
 
Ruttig: Chubb is a stud pass rusher and as we all know, the road to building a championship defense is by hitting on pass rushers in the draft. The Broncos will pair Von Miller with Bradley Chubb and hope their defense is good enough to have Case Keenum win games for them in the AFC West next season and it just might happen if Chubb lives up to the hype in his rookie season.
 

Walsh: The Broncos were the clear benefactors of being able to envision a future Cleveland didn’t. Peyton made a literal boatload of money – by which I mean, he was able to buy a boat with the fortune he made by name dropping Budweiser in his postgame interview – but true football students knew their title is largely due to the pressure put on by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Von Miller was bestowed the Ware role a few years back, and Bradley Chubb is now the Von Miller that bookends their OLB core.

 
Isn’t it funny how John Elway – a former quarterback – understands the importance of pressuring the man under center more than anyone? Go figure.
 
6. Indianapolis Colts, Quenton Nelson, G Notre Dame.
 
Walsh: This may sound like a HAWT TEAK but I really think that Nelson will be considered the best player in this draft when it is all said and done. He is an absolute stud.
 
Having played offensive line as a lad, I get especially excited to see lineman taken with high first round picks. Quenton Nelson is a better guard – coming out of college – than the now NFL studs Mike Iupati or David DeCastro. I’m being totally rational when I say he could end up being in the Hall of Fame.
 
Here are two links that I feel best to exemplify that perspective:
 
 
I mean this requires little explanation. Nelson has plenty of raw strength, but his ability to combine that with an innate understanding of leverage to body slam an SEC defender is extraordinary.

This play might be even more impressive, and show why he will transfer to the NFL seamlessly. The opposing defensive coordinator calls a play that gets Nelson put by himself with no apparent responsibility on purpose. #56 has no man to block by design – to puncture other gaps. Nelson realizes he’s left alone on purpose, drops back, and identifies a pass rusher coming in HOT with his peripheral vision and totally clobbers him.
 
It’s beautiful and I could watch it 100 times.
 
Andrew Luck has been getting banged up a lot. The Colts need a man who can lead their hand in the ground offensive boys. Quenton Nelson will be that man from day 1. He is amazing.
 
Ruttig: Quenton Nelson is an absolute beast and one of the best guards I have seen since Gabe Jackson was tossing around kids in the SEC before coming to the Oakland Raiders. There is nothing better than watching a guard throw elite defensive lineman around in the trenches and that strength is absolutely transferrable at the next level.
 
The Colts need help in a lot of places, but making sure a banged up Andrew Luck can stay on the field once he returns to the fold was their highest need and they addressed it with the best OL available
 
7. Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, QB Buffalo Bills
 
Ruttig: Richie Incognito might come out of retirement to block for Josh Allen once he sees those tweets.
 

Walsh: I don’t know man, it felt like people were punching a little below the belt by digging up his old tweets. It clearly doesn’t make anything that he said acceptable, but if Twitter had been a thing when I was fourteen there is a 100% chance I would have tweeted something insensitive. I know this because twitter was available when I was in college, and I tweeted things that were completely unfunny and insensitive.

 
Speaking purely from a football context: the Bills are completely idiotic if they’re expecting a guy who completed 56% of his passes against Mountain West competition to somehow improve upon that number against NFL defenses. What was wrong with Tyrod Taylor? It was hilariously clear that he was better than Nate Peterman.
Josh Allen has prototypical size and an NFL arm, but – dude – I don’t see him being worth the draft capital used to trade up for him.
 
8. Chicago Bears, Roquan Smith, ILB Chicago Bears
 
Walsh: Smith has speed that we’re not used to seeing from ILBs. He’s a great guy in pass coverage, which teams are seeming to value increasingly. He was a tackling machine for the Bulldogs, and I think he’s going to anchor the Chicago defense for years to come. He’s strong and fast, which you need to be a great MLB.
 

Ruttig: The hope for the Bears is that Smith can join the long line of inside linebackers to become All-Pro level players for the franchise. Smith will give the Bears a talent they haven’t had during their post-Brian Urlacher rebuild. Having that anchor in the middle of the field to accumulate tackles is an important part of the Bears identity and this pick is very on-brand for their front office.

 
9. San Francisco 49ers, Mike McGlinchey, OT Notre Dame
 
Ruttig: Picking one of the best tackles on the board is exactly the type of pick you make after you spend draft picks on a quarterback and hand him a massive longterm contract.
 
The 49ers did exactly that with McGlinchey, the second Fighting Irish lineman selected in the Top 10 and a player who will be expected to provide immediate protection for Jimmy G as a rookie. It is a ton of pressure to produce right away, but McGlinchey’s longer college experience as a graduating senior at Notre Dame should aid him in managing the steep learning curve.
 

Walsh: Wow. Very rarely do I outwardly admit that “Chase Ruttig is right” but also – Chase Ruttig is completely right. The Niners crushed this pick.

 
10. Arizona Cardinals, Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
 
Walsh: This was a great move to go get the guy Arizona wanted. There seemed to be a large group of quarterbacks that anyone could argue were deserving of being picked up tonight. Rosen was clearly one of them if not the one of them. I think he’s good, and I trust Arizona to bring him in properly. It’ll be cool to see the Larry Fitz connection.
 
I don’t know if you guys were being shown the ESPN broadcast North of the Border, but did you see the animation about Josh Rosen’s lineage? It felt like his granddad being the Wharton in Wharton school will be the next coming of “Clayton Kershaw And Matt Stanford “ grew up together.
 

Ruttig: I admittedly only follow the draft on Twitter now and was keeping my eyes peeled to the NHL Playoffs so I missed the ESPN and NFL Network coverage Awful Announcing used to pay me to watch.

 
I love Josh Rosen and think he will be the best quarterback out of the first round selections. He always was my top passer in terms of fundamental skill while at UCLA and his confidence appears to be through the roof. The Cardinals are a nice landing spot for him and with Carson Palmer retiring, there is a good shout Rosen could start right away in Arizona on an offense that still has some nice pieces that will help his development.
 
11. Miami Dolphins, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety Alabama 
 
Ruttig: The Miami Dolphins defense is experiencing turnover after trading Ndamukong Suh to Los Angeles during free agency. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a cornerstone at the backend of the secondary that will help the Dolphins transition into a new identity with an instant impact prospect at the safety position. Fitzpatrick hits hard and was an Alabama product that gave you the feeling he was ready for the NFL consistently during his Crimson Tide career.
 
Walsh: I love Minkah’s versatility. I think it’s a testament to how many athletes there were on defense in this draft that he fell this far.
 
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vita Vea, NT Washington
 
Walsh: as a Redskins fan I expected him to be our guy tonight. Wasn’t exceptionally upset about it, but his hair/jacket/lei combo was fly as hell and I appreciate that.
 

Ruttig: Vita Vea was a player most fans hovering around the Top 10 were coveting for their respective teams. Interior pass rushers are important to winning in the trenches and Vea will come in with a lot of hype as an impressive athletic prospect for the Bucs.

 
13. Washington, Da’Ron Payne, DT Alabama
 
Ruttig: You can’t go wrong with Alabama prospects in the first round as they almost always ensure some level of production at the NFL level, making them a relatively safe bet.
 
More importantly, how awesome of a name is Da’Ron Payne? Now, Walsh, give me your take on your beloved Washington Racists.
 
Walsh: I will use R3dskins out of respect to being on your home court, but the grilling is appreciated. I think people are underestimating how awesome Jonathan Alene and Da’Ron Payne will be considering they were on some of the same teams in Tuscaloosa. I know it sounds corny, but I think it will make both of them better.
 
14. New Orleans Saints. Marcus Davenport, DE UT-San Antonio
 
Walsh: The Saints moved two first round picks in order to grab the rights to draft this formerly Roadrunner. If you told me you watched a full game of his I would assume you’re lying, but the Saints got their man, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt considering last years class.
 

Ruttig: I won’t lie, you can’t catch me watching UTSA games and I am often a disgusting degenerate gambler who could find myself watching a Conference USA game. Because of that I can’t submit too confident of a take either way on this move other than the fact it is concerning to move two first-round picks to pick 14th, we will have to see if the Saints continue to hit on draft picks and if Davenport allows them to get more pressure on quarterbacks to address their rather weak defensive unit.

 
15. Oakland Raiders, Kolton Miller, OT UCLA
 
Ruttig: This was the pick many of my former colleagues on the Oakland Raiders beat were afraid of as it was telegraphed Jon Gruden was going to take his perceived best tackle available in the first round. The saving grace for Gruden – who is assumed to be calling most of the shots after general manager Reggie McKenzie brought the franchise out of a terrible situation caused by the late Al Davis – is that the Raiders traded down to select Miller with the 15th pick.
 

 
Oakland also traded for Martavis Bryant, swapping a third-round pick to get an X-Factor to be the third option behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. Based on Bryant’s problems with the WEEEED-UH and an expiring contract, this appears to be a flier on a rental player in Bryant who could make an impact in a contract year for Gruden and McKenzie.
 

Walsh: Stephen A. Smith is one of the most meme-worthy people online. That meme that gone global. The David Roth CRAB RANGOON, THINGS OF THAT NATURE tweet should be buried in a time capsule as one of humanity’s best achievements.

 
16. Buffalo Bills, Tremaine Edmunds, OLB Virginia Tech  
 
Walsh: The Buffalo Bills moved up twice in the first round of the same draft? Wild, wild stuff. The drama and prestige of the NFL Draft is CAN’T-MISS ACTION. It’s IN YOUR FACE. SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY. AT THE JERRY JONES COLOSSEUM.
 
I like trades.
 

Ruttig: If there is anything NFL general managers love, it is the opportunity to swap draft picks to alter their draft position and give them an excuse to haggle on the phone. OLD WHITE MEN TALKING FOOOTBAWWWW TRADES.

 
17. Los Angeles Chargers, Derwin James, S Florida State
 
Ruttig: The Chargers made the pick the Raiders should have made. It is almost like they have benefitted off the stupidity of the Davis’ Family for my entire life at this point.
 
Side Note: I still have the urge to call this team the San Diego Chargers, middle finger to Dean Spanos for making me question myself and my NFL writing career whenever I talk about this franchise.
 

Walsh: Derwin James is a high-floor, high-ceiling pick: also referred to as “good.” Sometimes you don’t have to swing that hard to hit a home run. Good writers mix metaphors.

 
18. Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander, CB Louisville
 
The Jermain Edwards prancing gif is wonderful and everyone should watch it. The Packers defense definitely has holes, but at the same time as playmakers in Clinton-Dix and Clay Matthews. He, by the way, is a Trey that chooses not to go by Trey – and that is commendable to me. The Packers have an obvious need at cornerback and think Jaire can fill it – watching him hug Lamar Jackson was nice.
 
That was the moment I was like “oh shit, Lamar Jackson might be left in the green room for round 2.” I was hoping that did not happen.
 

Ruttig: I felt bad for Lamar Jackson watching his teammate go ahead of him despite the fact Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy. Johnny Manziel was probably high on MDMA at the NFL Draft and still went higher.

 
19. Dallas Cowboys, Leighton Vander Esch, ILB Boise State 
 
Ruttig: The Cowboys found themselves an athletic white guy to replace Sean Lee and if there is anything Jerry Jones loves, it is a surprisingly athletic white guy.
 
See: Witten, Jason. Beasley, Cole.
 

Walsh: Manziel had a beer at the NFL Draft which – in retrospect – should have been a huge red flag. Vander Esch has such a gigantic neck and played eight on eight football. Those who saw the ESPN broadcast may have seen that the Dallas draft room looked like the board room at the Deth Star, and while there were so many subservient, manager types standing at attention behind Jerry – phone in hand, at the head of the table, obviously – there was a young blond boy, about eight or nine, seated two spots from Jerry Jones.

 
Who was he and how did he get there? He must be related to Jerry, but if he wasn’t, I’m afraid that he’s going at such an incredible rate of gaining power that he will rule the world by 2032. It will be a dystopian wasteland, but it will be his.
 
20. Detroit Lions, Frank Ragnow, C Arkansas.
 
Walsh: Remember that the Lions went 0-16 before the Browns ever did.
 

Ruttig: The center position was a big issue for the Lions last year and Ragnow answers that problem. Arkansas also produces solid offensive line talent, so I enjoy this pick because of that.

 
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Billy Price, C Ohio State 
 
Ruttig: Back to back centers being selected is how you know the sexy players are slowly coming off the draft board. 2008 Bill Simmons would compare this to trying to have sex with women, but I am not going to do that.
 
Walsh: Two centers off the board before ONE wide receiver. I love good offensive line play, but honestly watching teams bit on snappers back to back in the first round is totally off base for how teams usually draft. GET THAT MONEY THOUGH, HOGS.
 
22. Tennessee Titans, Rashaan Evans, ILB Alabama
 
Walsh: An Alabama defensive player? In the first round? I approve.
 

Ruttig: I am waiting for the day Alabama produces 22 first round draft picks.

 
23. New England Patriots, Isaiah Wynn, OT Georgia
 
Ruttig: Lol, did you really think Bill Belichick was going to draft Lamar Jackson? Nope, you are getting an offensive tackle because Bill Belichick hates fun.
 

Walsh: The most incredible thing about players that succeed under Bill Belichick is that they can understand anything he’s saying because that man is a mumble machine.

 
24. Carolina Panthers, DJ Moore, WR Maryland
 
Walsh: Stefon Diggs went to Maryland. He’s a wide receiver too. The Penguins beat the Caps tonight and that was kind of sucker-punch loss so I’m feeling especially nihilistic.
 

Ruttig: Ruttig: D.J. Moore provides Scott Van Pelt with further opportunities to remind you that he went to school at the University of Maryland, a school with a broadcast journalism program

 
25. Baltimore Ravens, Hayden Hurst, TE South Carolina
 
Ruttig: This trade nearly damn broke me when it was made with Lamar Jackson on the board. SPOILERS: The Ravens managed to redeem themselves in the end!
 
Hayden Hurst seems like he will be a fine pass catcher that will be more athletic than Todd Heap or whoever the hell is playing tight end for the Baltimore Ravens these days.
 

Walsh: The Ravens and Bills both made multiple trades. YA GOTTA SAY THAT WHEN A TEAM MAKES A TRADE THEY’RE GOING TO GO OUT AND GET THEIR GUY.

 
26. Atlanta Falcons, Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama
 
Walsh: Ridley will make a nice complement to Julio Jones. Wouldn’t surprise me if we see him returning kicks. I expect him to make an impact early.

Ruttig: I like the Calvin Ridley pick and think the Falcons are the type of team that can afford to commit to a skill position depth piece rather than address a glaring need and try to find a late round starter.

 
27. Seattle Seahawks, Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State
 
Ruttig: The Seattle Seahawks have had trash running backs since running Marshawn Lynch into retirement and I think Penny addresses this. Penny was a monster for San Diego State and gives the Seahawks a versatile back who likely will take a majority of touches right away. Trading down also makes this draft selection a home run for the Seahawks to increase the value and getting what was likely their guy.
 
Walsh: Rashaad Penny made a national name for himself at SDSU last year, and was awesome in the Stanford blackout game.
 

It’s weird seeing Seattle address their running back issues by 1) not taking Derrius Guice or Sony Michel and 2) ignoring the tire fire that is their offensive line.

 
28. Pittsburgh Steelers, Terrell Edmunds, S Virginia Tech
 
Walsh: He’s related to Tremaine Edmunds right? Funny to see two related players get taken in the first round and have them not be named Chubb. Shoutout to Ryan Shazier for being an incredibly strong human being.
 

Ruttig: Love Ryan Shazier and I am worried the NFL is going to turn his tragedy into the type of football propaganda sportswriters hate and turn against the NFL, which makes their propaganda moot in the first place.

In terms of the actual pick, it is a replacement for Mike Mitchell and Edmunds should see playing time right away on a contender. Also, yes, Walsh, they share the same last name because they are brothers.
 
29. Jacksonville Jaguars, Taven Bryan, DT Florida
 
Ruttig: I absolutely love the Jaguars quadrupling down on trying to win the AFC by adding to their already loaded defense by taking a defensive tackle in the first round. Who needs help for Blake Bortles when you can have more defense to aid in their effort to win every game by themselves.
 

Walsh: Can we all agree that “Taven” is a dumb name?

 
30. Minnesota Vikings, Mike Hughes, CB Central Florida
 
Walsh: An incredibly savvy move by the Vikings – whenever you can get a player from the 2017 National Champions, you don’t pass it up. This is similar to your point on the Jags: doubling down on trying to win the NFL by adding to a loaded secondary. Blake Bortles has won more playoff games than Kirk Cousins.
 

Ruttig: The Vikings are so good and I like the move to add secondary depth with Hughes after making the splurge on offense in free agency with Kirk Cousins. Minnesota look like the NFL favorites during the draft weekend, which certainly won’t end terribly for them.

 
31. New England Patriots, Sony Michel, RB Georgia 
 
Ruttig: Sony Michel is so good that you have to feel the Patriots made the right move to not take Lamar Jackson.
 
Still, with two picks in the late first round, how the hell did the Patriots not take the chance to develop Jackson under Brady and attempt to hone the skills of a Heisman Trophy winner on the bench for the next 2-3 years to bring in? Great pick with Michel, questionable decision to not end up with Lamar Jackson at the end of Thursday night.
 

32. Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville

 
Walsh: I’m just happy Lamar Jackson went in the first round to a team that wasn’t the Patriots. Baltimore feels like a great fit, I always get concerned about guys that end up waiting in the green room for extended periods of time.
 
Lamar and his awesome suit did not deserve that. He has the highest ceiling of anyone in this draft, and I think having him in a situation where he’s given the chance to develop will suit him and Baltimore. The Ravens need to add more pieces on offense while also letting Joe Flacco’s contract – which I’m sure was worth the Super Bowl win that preceded it – and it’s smart to use him in a long-term capacity. I cheered when he got picked.
 
Ruttig: As a fan of THE New York FOOTBALL Giants, fuck the Philadelphia Eagles for trading out of the first round and preventing the Giants from landing Lamar Jackson. I hate that franchise so much more now that they finally won a Super Bowl.