The Cleveland Browns had two of the top four picks in the 2018 NFL draft. The Buffalo Bills also had two first-round selections.
But it was the Denver Broncos who had the best draft, according to the weekly Talk of Fame Network poll. In voting for the best draft, the Broncos received 56 percent of the vote, followed by the Chicago Bears at 12 percent, the Baltimore Ravens at 8 percent and the New York Giants at 7 percent.
The Browns, Bills, Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans all finished with low single-digit support in the poll.
Denver owned nine picks in this draft, including the fifth overall choice. The Broncos have lived and died by their pass rush in recent seasons and GM John Elway gave it a little more teeth when he selected the draft’s best pass rusher, Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State, with that fifth pick.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton of SMU had first-round grades but the Broncos found him in the second at 40. He gives new quarterback Case Keenum more size and speed on the flank. With the release of C.J. Anderson this offseason, third-rounder Royce Freeman of Oregon will have the opportunity to win the starting running back job. Fourth-round linebacker Josey Jewell of Iowa was a high motor, high production performer in the Big Ten.
The three Talk of Fame Network hosts weren’t as sold on the Broncos as the voters, though. Ron Borges voted the Ravens, Rick Gosselin the Bears and Clark Judge the Giants.
“If the Browns picked the right quarterback, it’s Cleveland,” Borges said. “If it isn’t, it’s whoever did, if any of them. So I’ll bet on Ozzie Newsome at the Ravens.”
Chicago had seven selections in the 2018 draft and claimed the best linebacker in the draft in Georgia’s Roquan Smith with the eighth overall choice. The Bears then benefitted from some sliding values with Iowa center James Daniels in the second round and Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller in the third. Both should accelerate the development of second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears obviously did some extensive scouting of the East-West Shrine game as well, selecting DT Bilal Nichols of Delaware in the fifth round and Georgia WR Javon Wims in the seventh round.
“The Bears fielded a Top 10 defense a year ago,” Gosselin said, “and Roquan Smith makes them a whole lot better.”