For the first time in 69 years, four quarterbacks were taken top-10 in the NFL Draft.
The 2018 draft kicked off Thursday and if this year is to be the year of the quarterback, as the draft suggested, both the 49ers and Raiders received the memo.
After the Bay Area’s two teams finished the 2017-18 season with identical 6-10 records, draft position was determined by a coin toss, a toss won by the 49ers giving GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan the No. 9 pick. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden didn’t settle for No. 10, trading the selection for No. 15, a third-round and fifth-round pick.
San Francisco selected 6-foot-7 Mike McGlinchey out of Notre Dame. When they finally did pick, the Raiders selected 6-foot-9 Kolton Miller from UCLA.
San Francisco had a variety of needs, mostly on the defensive side of the ball — particularly in the secondary. Like their South Bay rivals, the Raiders went in needing a cornerback. But, both chose instead to defend their franchise quarterbacks.
The tackles are the prototypical franchise left tackles reminiscent of Hall-of-Famers Tony Boselli and Orlando Pace with the hybrid athleticism in Bruce Matthews. In a nutshell, while offensive lineman selections are not the sexiest, both big men have what it takes to be dominant day one in the league. As Lynch said when describing McClinchey, “he’s a badass.”
Miller will automatically help out an offensive line which was considered one of the better units in all of football in 2016, and McGlinchey will be the anchor of the offensive line once Joe Staley decides to retire.
Eight picks before McGlinchey was made a 49er, the long-debated No. 1 selection was given to 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.
The former Oklahoma Sooner signal caller garnered comparisons to Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman while at Texas A&M but played just 15 games in the NFL after being taken 22nd overall in 2014. “Johnny Football” is now out of football following a career of limited success and off-the-field issues. The same Browns team that took Manziel despite the red flags also took Mayfield despite many of the same red flags.
Heisman No. 4 finisher Saquon Barkley was taken second by the Giants. While there were no questions surrounding the Penn State standout who rushed for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught another 632 and three scores, selection of a running back with at such a high spot means New York is forecasting him as a rookie Pro-Bowl talent, à la Ezekiel Elliott.
USC’s Sam Darnold (No. 3, New York Jets), Wyoming’s Josh Allen (No. 7, Buffalo Bills) and UCLA’s Josh Rosen (No. 10, Arizona Cardinals) joined Mayfield in 2018’s monumental draft. History says that no more than one will be great while two, at the best, will be good and one will be a flop.
NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, the top-ranked defensive lineman on most experts’ boards, will join three-time All-Pro Von Miller after being taken fifth by the Denver Broncos. While Cleveland’s second selection in the draft, the No.4, filled a certain need, their taking Denzel Ward — the top-ranked cornerback — over Chubb raised a few eyebrows in Cleveland, where playoff football has not existed since 2002.
Like the Raiders and 49ers, the Colts moved to protect their oft-injured franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, taking Quenton Nelson, the top-ranked interior offensive lineman in the draft, No. 6. The former Notre Dame standout will also help Indy’s 22nd-ranked running game
Roquan Smith, the former Georgia Bulldog and top-ranked inside linebacker, will join Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher in the long lineage of stud middle linebacker to call Chicago home, taken eighth by the Bears.
Rounds 2 and 3 begin Friday at 4 p.m.
The 49ers do not pick again until No. 59 while the Raiders will be back on the clock with the ninth selection (No. 41 overall). When the picking starts, Iowa’s Joshua Jackson, among the top three cornerbacks entering the draft will be available. As will fellow highly ranked corners Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado), Holton Hill (CB, Texas), Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan) and Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford).