2018 NFL Draft filled with Potential Stars

May+4%2C+2018%3B+Berea%2C+OH%2C+USA%3B+Cleveland+Browns+quarterback+Baker+Mayfield+%286%29+throws+a+pass+during+rookie+minicamp+at+the+Cleveland+Browns+training+facility.+Mandatory+Credit%3A+Ken+Blaze-USA+TODAY+Sports
May 4, 2018; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during rookie minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

May 4, 2018; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during rookie minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

May 4, 2018; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during rookie minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Abrahim Karzai, J1 Staff Writer

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The NFL Draft is the purest form of reality TV. Athletes, often young men who have not had rejection slap them in the face before, must wait for their names to be called, to be chosen. The emotions. The drama. The Cleveland Browns. It is all too good to be true. But it is.

From shots of players sweating it out in the green room to rabid fan bases dressed in team colors, the NFL Draft is quite an event. This is especially true when one follows the Browns, a team that has suffered through a 1-31 record over the last two years, and who were first on the clock, and looking for a potential franchise quarterback. They may have gotten that on Thursday with their first pick, Heisman Trophy winning Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

However, because it is the Browns, there is uncertainty. Mayfield’s stellar on-field play has come with some off-field shenanigans, including an incident in February, 2017 when he was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing police. While this incident serves as a tool for skeptics to question his maturity, there is no denying the upside for the 6’1” gunslinger.

Mayfield was not the only quarterback taken Thursday night as the New York Jets selected USC QB Sam Darnold with the number 3 pick. Some mock drafts had Darnold going to New York, but by way of the number 2 pick held by the other New York team, the Giants. The Giants, however, chose to pass on Darnold, and selected electrifying Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Time will tell if it was the right move by the Giants, a team with a 37 year-old quarterback in Eli Manning.

Speaking of New York, the Buffalo Bills traded up to number 7 to select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Playing in the chilly conditions of War Memorial Stadium in Laramie will help Allen in the frozen conditions of Orchard Park, New York.

As for the local teams, the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, the draft went well. The Redskins’ Draft received positive responses from the draft analysts, as well as Redskin fans. Washington selected Alabama run-stuffer Da’Ron Payne in the first round, and followed that with LSU running back Derrius Guice in the second. Guice is seen as a first round talent, but slipped due to some personal issues so the Redskins were able to snatch him up.

The Ravens had a busy night on retiring GM Ozzie Newsome’s final draft, trading back twice before making their first pick at number 25. The Ravens took South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst. Many thought this was Ozzie Newsome’s final first round pick after 23 years with the franchise, but then the Philadelphia Eagles got a call.

With the final pick of the night on the clock, and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson still on the board, the Eagles traded the 32nd pick to the Ravens and lo and behold, Jackson became a Baltimore Raven. The selection may be a changing of the guard at the quarterback position in Charm City.

One cannot analyze this draft without the incredible story of UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin. Born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a birth defect that caused Griffin’s left hand to never fully develop, resulting in an amputation at age four. His strong-minded mentality became a national headline this year as UCF went undefeated and Griffin starred on defense. Griffin’s story of never letting his disability deter him from his football aspiration became an inspiration. This all came flooding back on Saturday when the Seattle Seahawks, the team Shaquem’s twin brother Shaquill plays for, selected Shaquem in the fourth round. A feel-good story, no doubt.

All in all, the draft lived up to the hype. Like every draft in every professional sport, the moves that teams made will be examined in the years to come as high picks either flounder or flourish and the diamonds in the rough are uncovered.

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