Adam Hoge's favorite, least favorite NFL draft picks

From 256 to 10: Hoge selects his five favorite, least favorite 2018 NFL draft picks

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After months and months of research and analysis, it’s always fun to see where all the NFL Draft prospects end up. 

“Fit" is everything, and doesn’t get talked about enough in the months leading up to the draft. But as soon as a player gets drafted by a team, it’s easier to take a look at how that player fits into the organization. Often times, the depth chart and level of coaching provides a hint as to how much success or failure is on the horizon.

With that in mind, here are my five favorite picks in the entire draft, followed by my least favorite picks: 

OG Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts — 1st round, No. 6 overall

Nelson was the No. 1 overall player on my board, and he lands on a team that has needed offensive line help for years. Colts GM Chris Ballard didn’t overthink this. He took the best player available — one who has extremely low bust potential. The only person who loves this pick more than me is Andrew Luck.


LB Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears — 1st round, No. 8 overall

The Bears’ defense has improved over the last three seasons under Vic Fangio, but it still lacked an alpha dog in the middle. Smith is a Day 1 starter who should be the quarterback of the defense for a decade.


CB Josh Jackson, Green Bay Packers — 2nd round, No. 45 overall

Too many teams overreacted to Jackson’s slow 40 times and ignored his outstanding tape. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst probably didn’t think Jackson would be available at No. 45 when he drafted Jaire Alexander in the first round, but he ended up with two starting-caliber cornerbacks at a huge position of need. Jackson has the best ball skills in the entire draft and will be a problem for Kirk Cousins, Mitch Trubisky and Matthew Stafford in the NFC North.


QB Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers — 3rd round, No. 76 overall

Fit is everything for quarterbacks, and this is a perfect spot for Rudolph, who I had an early second-round grade on. He has plenty of talent but will need to adjust to the Steelers’ system, and Ben Roethlisberger will buy him that time. The value here is great too. I believe Rudolph will end up having a better career than Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.


RB Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers — 7th round, No. 251 overall

This might be the best value in the entire draft. Seriously. In the seventh round, you’re usually just taking fliers on guys with big bust potential. That’s not the case at all with Jackson, who is an extremely high-character, hard-working running back. He’s not big, and he doesn’t have top-end speed, but Jackson's tougher and more elusive than most realize. Jackson leaves Northwestern as the Big Ten’s third-leading rusher of all time, a milestone he reached without ever playing behind a dominant offensive line. Trust me, he’s a lock to make the Chargers’ roster, and he’ll complement Melvin Gordon nicely. 


Least favorite picks


QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills — 1st round, No. 7 overall

I had a late second round-/early third-round grade on Allen, so I’m obviously not a fan of the Bills drafting him seventh overall. On top of that, they gave up two second-round picks to go up and get him. There’s no doubting Allen’s potential, but it’s rare for a guy with glaring accuracy and mechanic issues to suddenly fix them at the next level. If Allen had ended up in New England, maybe I would feel better about his future, but Buffalo? No thanks.


QB Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals — 1st round, No. 10 overall

The good news is that Rosen might be the most ready to play early, which he’ll have to do whenever Sam Bradford inevitably gets hurt (I’m assuming the Cardinals saw what happened when the Bears tried to play Mike Glennon over Mitch Trubisky). My problem with Rosen is how he’ll be received as a teammate and leader in the locker room. I just find it hard to believe he’ll earn the respect of all 53 guys, which every quarterback needs to do. I could see this playing out similarly to Jay Cutler, who didn’t reach a second contract with the team that drafted him but still managed to have a 12-year polarizing career. That’s not what you want when you trade up for the No. 10 overall pick, though.


DE Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints — 1st round, No. 14 overall

I like Davenport a lot, but is he worth two first-round picks? That’s what I’m struggling with, as the Saints sent their 2019 first-rounder to Green Bay to land the UTSA product. The Saints could have had Lamar Jackson had they stayed put at No. 27. I feel like they are playing with fire with 39-year-old Drew Brees. 


WR Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns — 4th round, No. 105 overall

Callaway’s red flags include: a sexual assault case, a misdemeanor for marijuana, credit card fraud and a failed drug test at the NFL combine. He’s talented, but will you ever be able to depend on him? Callaway is the kind of selection you make in the seventh round or by signing him as an undrafted free agent. This is just a wasted fourth-round pick. 


QB Danny Etling, New England Patriots — 7th round, No. 219 overall

I’m all for taking fliers on guys in the seventh round, but there is nothing about Danny Etling that screams potential NFL quarterback. He has a good arm, but his accuracy is terrible and he has absolutely no feel for the pass rush. Oh, and he can’t move. Etling wasn’t even a consideration to make my top-10 quarterback rankings this year. I honestly forgot he was even in the draft. Bizarre pick. 

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