The 2018 NFL Draft came to a conclusion Saturday night, welcoming a new wave of future pro football stars. Baker Mayfield earned this year’s honor of being the No. 1 overall pick by the Browns, but there was a lot of other things that went on during the three days at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
There was first-round drama, steals, slides, and fun picks that were made during the draft. We’re here to recap a fun three days for you.
Mayfield was the surprise, sort of, No. 1 overall pick
We didn’t know for the longest time who was going to get picked No. 1 overall by the Browns. But in the hours leading up to the draft, we had a pretty good idea it was going to be Mayfield, and it was.
The quarterbacks were the big storyline heading into the draft. Mock drafts did their best, but when it was all said and done, Sam Darnold went No. 3 to the Jets, Josh Allen went No. 7 to the Bills, Josh Rosen went No. 10 to the Cardinals, and Lamar Jackson went No. 32 to the Ravens.
Josh Allen went No. 7 despite racist tweets that resurfaced
The night before the draft, a series of deleted tweets from when Allen was in high school that contained racist language surfaced. Allen apologized for the tweets, and said after the draft that teams had called his agent to discuss them.
Ultimately, the Buffalo Bills traded up and selected him.
“We don’t condone anything,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said, per WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio. “We did our due diligence, spoke to him and his coach again … he’s going to come in here and own it and has to earn the trust of the fans or organization.”
Shaquem Griffin got picked by the Seahawks, and gets to play with his brother Shaquill
Shaquem Griffin was the best story coming into the draft. He lost his left hand due to a rate prenatal condition, but has persevered and turned himself into one of the best prospects in the entire draft. He showed out at the NFL Combine, with a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash and 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press while wearing a prosthetic.
He talked to ESPN after being picked, and said he was just getting started. “And I’m going to keep proving people wrong because I have a lot of people to prove wrong — a lot of doubters,” he said.
It’s great that he’s been drafted, but his story gets even better because he gets to play with his brother Shaquill, who the Seahawks drafted a year before. Achieving your NFL dream is one thing, but it’s even more badass to be able to do it with your brother.
Ryan Shazier walked out with his fiancee to announce the Steelers’ first-round pick
The Steelers took Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds with the 28th overall pick in the NFL Draft. But we all received a surprise when injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier walked onto the stage with the help of his fiancee, Michelle.
Shazier suffered a horrifying spinal injury during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals in December, and spent time confined to a wheelchair.
The Steelers have already ruled him out for the 2018 season, but it’s good to see that progress in his health has been made.
Lamar Jackson got picked, and nothing else mattered for Jaire Alexander in that moment
Jaire Alexander was the first Louisville player off the board on the first night of the NFL Draft, which might not have been the worst thing, even if it meant that Jackson slid a little bit.
Only because we got this moment, where Alexander learned that the Ravens traded up, and picked Jackson:
It’s cool that these two teammates were able to see their NFL dreams come to fruition on the same day, in dramatic fashion.
Derrius Guice was the biggest surprise in terms of sliding
Former LSU running back Derrius Guice was this year’s surprise slide. He was projected to go in the first or early second round, and wound up being picked No. 59 overall.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Guice saying he was asked about whether or not he liked men is what caused him to slide. Then, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported there was a shouting match “incident” in his visit with the Eagles, which GM Howie Roseman denied.
“I just didn’t understand why me, out of all people, because I’m great to everybody, I have a great personality and I just didn’t understand why everything just hit so hard with me out of everybody.”
Maurice Hurst also slid, but it wasn’t as big of a surprise because of his health
Hurst’s health was a big storyline coming into the draft. He’s one of the best players in the entire thing (he was No. 17 on Dan Kadar’s big board), but after he wasn’t able to participate in the NFL Combine after being diagnosed with a heart condition on March 3. He would later be cleared to participate in Michigan’s pro day, and impressed scouts.
He fell all the way to day three of the draft, until the Raiders traded up to No. 140 overall to take him.
Hurst said due to money lost in draft, may have to keeping driving an Uber like he did at Michigan
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) April 28, 2018
But when healthy, he’s damn good, and that’s why the Raiders made the move. “I’m ready to go right now,” Hurst said. “Just show up to rookie minicamp just like everyone else and just go through things as anyone else would.”
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team and family of slain football coach announced the Dolphins’ Day 3 draft picks
On the last day of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team, along with the family of slain football coach Aaron Feis, announced the Dolphins’ remaining five picks.
Former Dolphins Jason Taylor and Sam Madison showed up to Feis’ funeral. He was also a security guard at the school, and an alum where he played center for the football team.
In March, the Dolphins hosted a free football clinic with the school’s football teams.
The Dolphins have also been practicing in “MSD STRONG” shirts:
It’s been good to see the support that the Dolphins have shown MSD in their time of need.
There were other special guest pickers, too
The Buccaneers had a parrot fly their picks to the pirate ship in Raymond James Stadium, though the bird didn’t announce the picks, which enraged the internet:
That’s a good looking bird, though. You can’t get too mad, right?
Then, R2D2 and Chewbacca helped the 49ers make picks too:
The picks were announced from Lucasfilm’s Northern California headquarters, and they were joined by Ron Howard, who directed the standalone Han Solo film that’s coming out in late May.
The 78th pick of the NFL Draft won free Pizza Hut pizza
The NFL’s new pizza sponsor — Pizza Hut — had a prize for the No. 78 pick in the NFL Draft, and it was free pizza.
The 78th pick in this year’s NFL Draft will receive a free pizza for an entire year courtesy of new league pizza sponsor Pizza Hut. Why #78? It’s the 3rd round, 14th pick (3.14 = pi). The Chiefs currently hold the pick. pic.twitter.com/vZXeSmJLog
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 23, 2018
That pick was traded from the Chiefs to the Bengals, who selected Texas’ Malik Jefferson, who was “excited”:
— Malik Jefferson (@malikjefferson) April 28, 2018
But he didn’t show up!
Malik Jefferson missed his pizza party. ♀️
— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) April 28, 2018