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NFL Draft 2018: Who was the worst pick of Round 1?

Some Bengals fans grumbled when the Bengals selected center Billy Price instead of (insert name here). But even if the Bengals didn’t select your guy, it could have been worse.

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Some Bengals fans grumbled when the Bengals selected center Billy Price instead of whoever their favorite draft prospect remaining was. But even if the Bengals didn’t select your guy, it could have been worse, as evidenced by what several other teams did with their first pick.

Whether it was bad value, bad position, or both, here are a handful of teams who are having a worse draft than the Bengals.

Buffalo Bills

As Bengals fans, it’s hard not to root for the Bills. They showed a lot of love to the Bengals after the Bengals dumped the Ravens out of the playoffs, which placed the Bills into the playoffs.

But for some reason the Bills are making it hard for their own fans to root for them. In the offseason, they signed Russell Bodine, which puts their offensive line in a bad situation. And then they made matters worse when they took what should have been a great first-round (with picks 12 and 22) and turned it into a stinking turd of a draft which they dumped onto their fans’ laps last night.

The Bills showed that they value the combine over game tape in a big way. First, they moved up from No. 12 to 7 to take the fourth or fifth-best quarterback prospect in the draft (depending on how you view Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph).

They selected Josh Allen, who is a big kid with a big arm, but who struggles at quarterbacking. Since the Bills just had one of those types a few years ago with Cardale Jones, it’s odd to see them go that route again. With their second first-round pick, the Bills moved up for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Off the field, Edmunds is a first-round pick. He is a combine freak, fast and tall. But on the field, Edmunds is not a first-round pick. He ranked 91st in tackling efficiency last year and the scouting reports generally rate him as having poor instincts for the position, slow to diagnose & react to plays and gets lost in coverage.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have had an interesting year. After unveiling their plans to leave their fans in Oakland behind for the desert sands of Las Vegas, they gave $100,000,000 to a television analyst who last coached in 2008.

After spending the offseason pursuing older, injury-prone players in free agency, the Raiders made a draft selection that would have made the late Al Davis proud. With their go-go-gadget arms fully engaged, they reached for a tall, athletic offensive tackle in Kolton Miller.

To their credit, Miller does check off all the boxes of being a great tackle – except for blocking ability. There is a chance that Miller could become good. But as Bengals fans have seen with Cedric Ogbuehi, athleticism and size don’t trump mediocre game tape.

New Orleans Saints

When the Saints gave up a future first-round pick, and only moved up to #14, it had to be a quarterback – right? I mean who else gives up a pair of first-round picks for a mid-round pick in round one, unless that pick is a can’t miss, ready to plug and play stud, or a future franchise quarterback?

Well, I guess the Saints are somebody who gives up two first rounders for a developmental project at defensive end.

Marcus Davenport is a solid player with good upside. He checks off all the boxes physically with good size, speed and strength. And he flashed some ability at the Senior Bowl. But at this point, he’s far from a finished product ready to give you a lot of useful snaps on Sundays.

You have to really feel a player is assuredly going to take that leap forward to move up like that, and the Saints clearly do. But this pick could come back to bite them as a Margus Hunt-type of pick where all the physical attributes never equated to a productive football player at the NFL level.

New York Giants

Let’s say you’re the Giants. Your 36-year-old quarterback has gotten progressively worse over the past couple years. You could select from among the pair of great quarterback prospects Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen sitting there for you to pick No. 2 overall.

And if you’re the Giants, your offensive line is also a patchwork mess, and you have the top offensive guard prospect to enter the draft in years sitting there with Quenton Nelson. And if you’re the Giants, your defense was in the bottom half of the league last year, and you’ve got elite prospects like Bradley Chubb, Denzel Ward and Roquan Smith sitting there to instantly upgrade that side of the ball.

Instead, you grab a running back in the first round like it’s 1980.

Granted, the quality of the running backs on their roster isn’t going to ‘wow’ anybody, and Saquon Barkley is a physical freak. He has speed and has some ability to make people miss.

But in the NFL, a running back is generally only as productive, or as unproductive, as his offensive line. Running back was a deep group in the 2018 NFL Draft, and with a slew of quality options like Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Bradley Chubb, Kerryon Johnson and company likely available for their No. 34 pick, it made little sense to grab one in Round 1.

Pittsburgh Steelers

If a Bengals fan is going to wish a bad draft on anybody, it certainly would be the Steelers. And the Steelers absolutely did their part to comply. It’s not that you expect to get a future Hall of Fame candidate at No. 28 overall, but you don’t expect to get a player like Terrell Edmunds with a Day 3 grade either.

The Steelers seem to be with defensive backs like what the Browns are with quarterbacks – throw a bunch of darts and hope one of them sticks. Over the past few years, they have used a high pick on Terrell Edmunds, Cameron Sutton, Sean Davis, Artie Burns, and Senquez Golson.

Last year, Edmunds ranked No. 108 among draft-eligible safeties in tackling efficiency. had graded him at 5.59, which is just barely inside of their range for being somebody who has a chance to become an NFL starter someday.

Fans were probably hoping for more than a potential future starter with a first-round pick.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are either having a great draft, or an awful one, so it depends on what you think of Mayfield and Ward. The analytics and on-field production all point to their No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield being an elite playmaker.

The naysayers will point to the Sooners offense boosting his production, and label him as a Johnny Manziel without the off-field issues being as terrible. Their No. 4 overall pick is a blazing fast, play-making but undersized cornerback.

The two biggest blue chip prospects at that point were probably defensive end Bradley Chubb and guard Quenton Nelson. But the Browns’ strengths on their team are their two good guards Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler, and their young defensive ends Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah.

So, that probably eliminated Nelson and Chubb from consideration, leaving Ward. Ultimately if you think a combo of something like Darnold and Chubb trumps Mayfield and Ward, the Browns are failing again.

Otherwise, they are having a good draft.


Which NFL team had worst first round?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Buffalo Bills - how do you screw up 2 picks like that?
    (149 votes)
  • 14%
    Oakland Raiders - took like the 10th best o-lineman with the 15th overall pick
    (190 votes)
  • 19%
    New Orleans Saints - why trade UP for a project?
    (249 votes)
  • 35%
    Pittsburgh Steelers - wtf?
    (451 votes)
  • 18%
    Cleveland Browns - I liked other players better with those 2 very high picks
    (230 votes)
1269 votes total Vote Now