2018 NFL Draft: Instant grades and reactions for top picks

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A view of the NFL Draft theater prior to the start of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A view of the NFL Draft theater prior to the start of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /

The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. experts Matthew Bartlett and Connor Muldowney will grade every top pick starting from No. 1.

More: 2018 NFL Draft preview, player profiles and latest mock drafts

It felt like it might never arrive, but months of rumors and speculation will come to an end soon. Bowl season, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine have all been checked off, and all that’s left is the NFL Draft.

On Thursday there will be 32 players selected — that much we know. Where they’ll come off the board and who will choose whom is still very much so up in the air. Entering the first night of the draft the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams are all without first round picks. The first two teams opted to trade up for a quarterback a year ago while the Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade with New England to land receiver Brandin Cooks.

Quarterback is the driving narrative of the 2018 draft. First the consensus pick was Sam Darnold, but Baker Mayfield swooped in at the last moment. When it came time and the Cleveland Browns were on the clock it was anyone’s guess as to what was going to happen.

Next: Final 7-Round 2018 NFL Mock Draft

This beginning has set the tone for what promises to be one of the more wild and intriguing draft classes in recent history. Stay tuned here and refresh the page to make sure you don’t miss anything and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to give us your thoughts on the picks as they come out in real time.

2018 NFL Draft Order

Baker Mayfield. 1. 53. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. player. Quarterback. Oklahoma

Bartlett: Baker Mayfield made a late surge. He might be more charismatic than Sam Darnold, but he wasn’t the top passer on most boards. The Browns got who they want, and Mayfield is a first round quarterback, it just might not have been the best choice.

Grade: B

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Saquon Barkley. 2. player. Running back. Penn State. 31

Bartlett: This one was a slam dunk. Saquon Barkley is the top prospect in the draft and provides an threat on the ground and through the air in New York. He can do it all, and the Giants needed the help on offense.

Grade: A+

Sam Darnold. player. Pick Analysis. Quarterback. USC. 3. 30. Scouting Report

Bartlett: Sam Darnold was expected to be the first pick of the draft and the Jets originally owned the No. 6 pick. They were able to climb the board to three without giving up additional first rounders to get a top passer.

Grade: A+

53. Denzel Ward. player. Cornerback. Ohio State. 4. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

Muldowney: Denzel Ward may not have been mocked this high earlier in the process, but the Browns liked what they saw in the Ohio State star. He has lockdown ability, but may have been a slight stretch at the No. 4 slot. He could be a day one contributor and fills an immediate need.

Grade: B+

Defensive End. NC State. 5. 45. Pick Analysis. Bradley Chubb. player. Scouting Report

Muldowney: As one of the most dominant pass rushers in college football, Bradley Chubb has a chance to carry that over to the NFL level. He has the ideal size and decent speed on the edge. He can overpower you or put a nice array of moves together to make your head spin.

Grade: A-

Pick Analysis. Guard. Notre Dame. 46. Scouting Report. Quenton Nelson. 6. player

Bartlett: A franchise quarterback isn’t very valuable if he can’t stay on the field. Protecting Andrew Luck will be much easier with the best offensive lineman in the 2018 class.

Grade: A+

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Wyoming. Josh Allen. player. 16. Quarterback. 7

Bartlett: Josh Allen is an extremely polarizing prospect. The Bills had to move up from No. 12 to No. 7, but managed to keep their No. 22 selection. A relatively cheap trade for a quarterback with sky-high potential with significant bust concerns is good, but not great.

Grade: C+

8. player. Scouting Report. Roquan Smith. 57. Pick Analysis. Linebacker. Georgia

Bartlett: An off the ball linebacker doesn’t usually go in the top ten, but Roquan Smith isn’t your typical linebacker. He’s aggressive, but smart and will bolster a Chicago defense than needs a star on the front seven.

Grade: A-

Pick Analysis. Notre Dame. player. 42. Scouting Report. Offensive Tackle. Mike McGlinchey. 9

Bartlett: The Niners have their franchise quarterback, now they have a way to protect him. The offensive line wasn’t awful entering the draft, but Mike McGlinchey makes it a strength.

Grade: B+

Pick Analysis. Quarterback. UCLA. Josh Rosen. player. 32. Scouting Report. 10

Bartlett: The Cardinals needed a quarterback, and they managed to get the last of the “Big 4” without selling the farm. Rosen is regarded by many as the most pro-ready passer in this class, and should Sam Bradford get hurt (again) Rosen will be ready to go immediately.

Grade: A+

player. 59. Alabama. 11. Safety. Minkah Fitzpatrick. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

Bartlett: The Miami Dolphins might have taken a quarterback had one fallen to them, but the run on passers early allowed the most versatile defender to fall into their laps. This was an easy pick and the right one.

Grade: A

48. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Washington. 12. Defensive Tackle. Vita Vea. player

Bartlett: A nose tackle in the top 12 is a bit of a reach. Vita Vea was an impactful player in college, but he wasn’t the kind of game-changer that Derwin James was. The Bucs should have traded down again.

Grade: D-

Defensive Tackle. Alabama. Da'Ron Payne. Pick Analysis. player. 58. Scouting Report. 13

Bartlett: After the first defensive tackle came off the board the Redskins found themselves in a bit of a bind. They needed help on the front seven, and Da’ron Payne fills the need, but his upside isn’t regarded to be much higher than he was able to produce at Alabama.

Grade: C

Scouting Report. Defensive End. UTSA. Marcus Davenport. player. Pick Analysis. 14. 15

Bartlett: The Saints went out of their way to trade up for UTSA product Marcus Davenport. He’s raw, but if he can get coached up his upside could be through the roof. Selecting him over Harold Landry, who might have the higher floor, is indiciate of a team that’s trying to maximize Drew Brees’ window.

Grade: B

Pick Analysis. Kolton Miller. player. 28. Scouting Report. Offensive Tackle. UCLA. 15

Bartlett: If the Raiders were set on drafting an offensive tackle this was the best one left on the board, however, they could have gotten him for a much cheaper price. Kolton Miller is viewed somewhat as a project player, and a surprise to come off the board so early.

Grade: D+

Tremaine Edmunds. player. 16. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Linebacker. Virginia Tech. 16

Bartlett: Tremaine Edmunds is a top 10 talent that projects as a long time starter in the league. He’s only 19 years old but has the body of an enforcer. Edmunds has yet to reach his prime, making him an excellent selection for the Bills.

Grade: A

Pick Analysis. Safety. Derwin James. player. 13. Scouting Report. FSU. 17

Bartlett: Derwin James had a down year, but so did the rest of the Florida State Seminoles. His ability to play down in the box and make plays on the running game is a skill that’s going to translate well at the next level. He could fill a lot of roles for the Chargers.

Grade: A

Louisville. Jaire Alexander. 18. 49. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Cornerback. player

Bartlett: Although he missed most of his final season with various injuries, Jaire Alexander is well deserving of a first round selection. One of the best nickel corners in the draft, his speed and intensity are going to find a home in Green Bay.

Grade: B

player. Scouting Report. Boise State. Leighton Vander Esch. 19. Pick Analysis. Linebacker. 123

Bartlett: Some teams had Leighton Vander Esch off their boards completely because of a health scare, but the Cowboys couldn’t resist the talent that Vander Esch brings to the position. They need someone to take the mantle from Sean Lee, and they found their guy.

Grade: B-

Center. Frank Ragnow. Scouting Report. Arkansas. 20. player. 50. Pick Analysis

Bartlett: Frank Ragnow wasn’t supposed to be a first rounder two days before the first round began, but he’s the surprise riser this year. The gritty center from Arkansas was a mauler on the offensive line for four years for the Hogs and will provide a punch for the Lions immediately.

Grade: A

player. 56. Pick Analysis. 21. Ohio State. Billy Price. Scouting Report. Center

Bartlett: Billy Price had a combine injury that scared some teams away, but he’s expected to be fully healthy for training camp. Price is an excellent interior blocker that will provide depth to a Cincinnati defense that will probably need to spend additional picks on the this line in 2018.

Grade: B-

Scouting Report. Linebacker. Alabama. player. Pick Analysis. Rashaan Evans. 22. 35

Bartlett: New head coach Mike Vrable pulled a savvy move, jumping just in front of his former head coach in New England to snag a linebacker that fits his identity. The former linebacker got his perfect pick and stole him out from the feet of the Patriots. That’s a win.

Grade: B+

Pick Analysis. Offensive Guard. player. 47. Scouting Report. Georgia. Isaiah Wynn. 23

Bartlett:  With the top linebackers off the board the Patriots had to address the offensive line. Former Georgia Bulldog Isaiah Wynn was the building block of a team that went to the College Football Playoff and has proven himself capable against the best of the best the college game has to offer.

Grade: A

Scouting Report. Maryland. DJ Moore. player. Pick Analysis. Wide Receiver. 24. 87

Bartlett: DJ Moore found ways to get open at Maryland with a plethora of quarterbacks and zero help. Moore with Cam Newton, Greg Olsen and Devon Funchess makes for a dangerous mix. In a weak wide receiver class, the Panthers got a good one.

Grade: B

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 25. Tight End. South Carolina. Hayden Hurst. player. 26

Bartlett: The Ravens needed a receiver much more than they needed a tight end, after making a run at Dez Bryant they passed over Calvin Ridley for a tight end. He fills a need, but 25th overall is a bit rich for a tight end.

Grade: C

Scouting Report. Alabama. Pick Analysis. Wide Receiver. Calvin Ridley. 26. player. 44

Bartlett: This pick came out of nowhere. The Falcons have Julio Jones and a handful of other talented pass catchers. They didn’t need to add Calvin Ridley, but given the relative strength of their roster as a whole, it could make for an even more exciting offense in 2018.

Grade: B+

Running back. Rashaad Penny. 27. 36. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. player. SDSU

Bartlett: The Seattle Seahawks chose to move back in the draft for a running back that they could have gotten in the second round, if not the third. Rashaad Penny had a productive college career, but he’s not a better selection than Sony Michel and Derrius Guice, if not more.

Grade: F

Scouting Report. player. Virginia Tech. Terrel Edmunds. 28. 55. Pick Analysis. Safety

Bartlett: Following his brother Tremaine who was selected earlier in the first round was a nice story, but Terrel’s selection was a bit of a surprise. He’s got talent, but has a lot of work to do. With so many other more game-ready safeties available this one is a head scratcher.

Grade: D-

Defensive Tackle. Florida. Taven Bryan. Pick Analysis. 29. player. 52. Scouting Report

Bartlett: The Jacksonville Jaguars defense was stingy in 2017, but it had some holes against the run. With Taven Bryan holding down the middle the already dominant defense might have solidified themselves as the best defense in football.

Grade: A+

Mike Hughes. 30. player. 60. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Cornerback. UCF

Bartlett: The Vikings opted to forgo a number of offensive lineman to select UCF corner Mike Hughes. It wasn’t the position of greatest need, but Hughes is an extremely skilled player that fell in part due to off field issues. Getting him at the back end of the first round was good value.

Grade: B-

Sony Michel. 47. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Running back. Georgia. 31. player

Bartlett: The Patriots have used the plug-and-play approach to running back for so long that this pick was a surprise. If the Pats can pick Jonas Gray off the street and turn him into a 200-yard a game back imagine what Bill Belichick will do with one of the best backs in Georgia history.

Grade: B

Louisville. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Quarterback. 26. Lamar Jackson. 32. player

Bartlett: The Lamar Jackson saga has taken so many twists and turns, but it finally came to an end Thursday night. The Ravens traded back into the first round to pick up the fifth year option and grabbed what could be the quarterback of the future. Sitting behind Joe Flacco for the time being, and possible getting on the field in other ways, is a great introduction to the league for Lamar Jackson.

Grade: A