Revisiting My 2018 Draft Class Rankings: 3 Hits and 3 Misses

With Pro-Bowl selections complete, and draft season right around the corner, I decided to revisit my 2018 draft class positional rankings and see how wrong I was.  Some players were HUGE misses, some players were big hits, and I don’t have any shame about it.  Scouting is a unique process that is impossible to perfect and I think that’s the beauty of it, some people love the high risk high up-side Josh Allen types, other people like the sure things, some people value certain traits, other people value athleticism, it’s a giant bag of shit that everyone tries to sort through in their own way.  I wanna jump into it and I’m going to make you work to see my gigantic misses, and I while my ego can take a hit, I can’t take the risk of starting there, so we’ll start with my hits (I’ll spare you the bullshit “Saquan RB1” “Baker QB1” talk.. you’re welcome)

Hits

  • Orlando Brown T Baltimore Ravens (Oklahoma)
    • Orlando Brown was a guy I trusted my eyes on.  He was projected by many as a late 1st rounder before his horrific combine that was one of the worst in the history of the draft, which caused him to fall off the boards of many a scouting expert.  I kept him on with a 2nd round grade and thought what he showed consistently on film would translate to the next level.  He has yet to allow a sack for Baltimore through 14 games.
  • Braden Smith G/T Indianapolis Colts (Auburn)
    • Braden Smith was a guy I loved coming out, he played with a mean streak, while remaining technical for a run heavy scheme at Auburn.  I had him as my 4th ranked Interior Offensive Lineman with a round 2 grade.  He was taken by Indy along with stud Quenton Nelson and he has rewarded them with above average play at the right tackle spot, showing versatility throughout his rookie year starting 11 games to this point.
  • Justin Reid S Houston Texans (Stanford)
    • Justin Reid had every tool in the shed coming out of Stanford, he played the run instinctively, he wrapped up and tackled well, played well in space, was fluid in man coverage and disciplined in zone, and attacked the ball when possible.  He’s shown nothing less at the NFL level with a tremendous rookie year in the Houston secondary.  I had Reid as my 4th ranked safety behind Derwin, Minkah, and barely behind Ronnie Harrison, and he finished with an early 2nd round grade.

Misses

  • Leighton Vander Esch LB Dallas Cowboys (Boise State)
    • Man am I going to be kicking myself over this one for a long time.  I didn’t like LVE, some people absolutely loved him (for good reason) and I felt it a personal vendetta against him and pushed him down my board.  LVE finished as my LB8 (YIKES) with a round 3 grade, and might win DROY.  At least Darius Leonard was one of the guys I had ahead of him.
  • Malik Jefferson LB Cincinnati Bengals (Texas)
    • I loved his guy coming out, and still have high hopes for his NFL future, but what he showed before being sent to the IR this week was that he just isn’t ready.  On a team that has some of the worst LB play in the league, this guy just couldn’t get on the field totaling just 7 tackles all year.  I still think he has a bright future, but my LB4 and round 1-2 grade has not impressed through his first year in the NFL.
  • Ronald Jones RB Tampa Bay Bucs (USC)
    • I had Ronald Jones as my RB4 behind just Saquan, Guice, and Sony.  He showed a lot of flashes during his last year in LA to signal a potential workhorse at the next level on early downs.  Through 15 weeks, 23 carries for 44 yards and 1 TD.  Sheesh.

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