The draft is a little over 24 hours away and trade rumors continue to surface throughout the NFL. The potential trades that have been talked about have the ability to shake up the Top 10 pretty significantly. Quarterback needy teams like the Bills and Cardinals are still trying to secure their spot in the Top 5. Who will your team select in the first round?
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold QB (USC). The Browns have been searching for a QB for decades and they can’t mess this one up. I have been going back and forth between Darnold and Allen for months now, but I believe the Browns will pick more of the sure thing. With Hue Jackson already committing to Tyrod Taylor, Darnold will have the opportunity to learn the game from a very efficient quarterback without being thrown right into the fire.
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley RB (Penn State) – The Giants get arguably the best prospect in the draft, but I think they should look to trade this pick. If the team is being offered two firsts and a few second or third round picks you have to pull the trigger. Barkley would help take pressure off of Eli Manning, but the giants have many other holes that can be filled with multiple picks.
3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield QB (Oklahoma). Over the last few weeks, it seems as if the Jets have zeroed in on Baker Mayfield. It remains to be seen whether or not giving up three second round picks will be worth it, but the Jets finally get a franchise Quarterback. However, it won’t surprise me if Mayfield has been a smokescreen all along and this pick is Josh Rosen.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb (NC State). The Browns end up with the best defensive player in the draft at #4 after selecting their franchise quarterback with their first pick. Chubb adds another dimension to Cleveland’s defense and gives them a lethal pass rush between him and Myles Garret for the foreseeable future.
5. Buffalo Bills (Via DEN) - Josh Allen QB (Wyoming). The Bills were patient and instead of giving up the house for the #2 pick, they waited until five and kept next year’s first round pick. Josh Allen has the highest ceiling of any QB in this draft class and if he can improve his accuracy, he will be a legitimate NFL quarterback. Allen will be a nice fit in Buffalo.
6. Indianapolis Colts- Roquan Smith LB (Georgia). The Colts missed out on nearly every player in free agency and it looks as if Chris Ballard is going to build this team through the draft. There is always a surprise or two in the top 10 and here is the first one. Roquan hasn’t been talked about enough through this whole process, but he would become the anchor of the Colts defense that needs talent at all levels. The Colts need a lot, but smith is a great place to start.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson OG (Notre Dame). The Buccaneers are absolutely thrilled to see Nelson on the board at 7. The theme all off season has been to get better in the trenches and Jason Licht stands by that strategy. Nelson is a future all-pro guard for the next 10 years and will give the Buccaneers one of the more dominating interior offensive lines in the NFL.
8. Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick DB (Alabama). The bears improved greatly on the offensive side of the ball in free agency. The Bears could use some more talent in the secondary and the team is excited to see the Alabama standout available at #8. After resigning Kyle Fuller in free agency, the Bears continue to build a very solid secondary.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Ward DB (Ohio State). The 49ers #1 target all along has been Denzel Ward and they get their guy at 9. Ward, will play along Richard Sherman and give the 49ers a very respectable pair at corner. Ward is lockdown and will allow more time for the 49ers pass rush to get to the quarterback.
10. Oakland Raiders – Tremaine Edmunds LB (Georgia). New head Coach Jon Gruden, gets a 19 year old player who could have the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. Edmunds can play any of the linebacker spots, but specializes in rushing the passer. He is a perfect 3-4 OLB and will fit nicely opposite of Khalil Mack. Gruden had an extremely successful defense in Tampa Bay and knows he has to add talent to this defense.
11. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea DT (Washington). After releasing Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins suddenly have a need at defensive tackle and Vea would step in on day 1 and fill the void Suh has left on the defensive line. Vea was dominant in college especially against the run, but he can also collapse the pocket.
12. Denver Broncos (Via Buff) – Derwin James DB (Florida State). The Broncos get four total picks from the Bills and use the first to take a future pro bowler. The secondary looks a lot different than it did around this time last year for the Broncos, but James at #12 is simply too good to pass up on.
13. Washington Redskins – Marcus Davenport EDGE (UTSA). You can never have too many pass rushers and the Redskins take one with unlimited potential. Davenport is extremely raw, but will be able to learn from Ryan Kerrigan, who is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the NFL. The Redskins continue to add pieces and hope to slow down Carson Wentz.
14. Green Bay Packers- Harold Landry EDGE (Boston College). The Packers need a pass rush as bad as anyone in the NFL. Landry is the best 3-4 Edge rusher in the draft and would be a perfect fit in Green Bay alongside pro bowler Mike Daniels
15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Rosen QB (UCLA). Josh Rosen’s slide stops at #15. Due to his durability concerns and his attitude, he winds up being the fourth QB taken. The Cardinals don’t give up any draft picks and select a Quarterback who has a great shot to be the best one out of this class.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley WR (Alabama). The Ravens have tried to fix their receiving core the last few years and every offseason they fail to do so. They did add Michael Crabtree and Kenny Stills, but neither are long term options. The Ravens add another receiver to the mix and hope to have finally found a future #1.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Lamar Jackson QB (Louisville). The Chargers are one of the more complete teams in the entire NFL, but Phillip Rivers isn’t getting any younger. Jackson would have the chance to sit and learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s the most dynamic athlete at the quarterback position in this class and has been compared to Michael Vick.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Josh Jackson CB (Iowa). The legion of boom has come to an end and the Seahawks have a desperate need at cornerback. Young talent needs to be added to that secondary and they start by selecting Jackson.
19. Dallas Cowboys – D.J. Moore WR (Maryland). The Cowboys have signed some receivers in free agency, but I don’t anticipate that from changing their draft strategy. With this likely being Dez Bryant’s last season with the team and Jason Witten becoming another year older the Cowboys get Dak Prescott a young receiver to work with for years to come.
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice RB (LSU). The Lions haven’t had a 1,000 yard rusher in god knows how long. Guice is just a small notch below Barkley and would be an absolute steal at 20. He would help take the pressure off of Matt Stafford and give the Lions another weapon on the offensive side of the ball.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniel OL (Iowa). The Bengals recently traded for left tackle Cory Glenn, but still have needs along their offensive line. Daniel, behind Quenton Nelson, is arguably the second best interior lineman in this draft and he will be the second offensive line piece the Bengals add this offseason.
22. Denver Broncos (Via Buff) – Will Hernandez OG (UTEP). The Broncos get a dominant player with their 22nd pick. He again is a plug and play starter from day 1. The Broncos are building a dominant left side with Bolles and Hernandez.
23. New England Patriots (Via LA Rams) –Mike McGlinchey OT (Notre Dame). The Patriots lost both starting tackles in free agency and have to upgrade their offensive line. McGlinchey gives Tom Brady some much needed protection and the Patriots immediately replace one of their starting tackles.
24. Carolina Panthers – Rashaan Evans LB (Alabama). The Panthers need to give Cam Newton another weapon. However, with this being Thomas Davis last season, they draft his replacement. Evans is a stud and would give Carolina the most talented linebacker core in the NFL.
25. Tennessee Titans – Leighton Vander Esch LB (Boise State). The Titans were very active in free agency, but did lose their starting middle linebacker Avery Williamson. Vander Esch fills the need and adds another talented piece to the Titans defense.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne DT (Alabama). Dontari Poe went to the Carolina Panthers in free agency which leaves a need on the defensive line for the Falcons. Alabama defensive lineman are very productive in the NFL and Payne is a nice fit for this Falcons team.
27. New Orleans Saints – Mike Gesicki TE (Penn State). The clock is ticking on Drew Brees and Sean Payton knows that. The Saints have been trying to acquire a tight end all offseason, but haven’t been able too. Gesicki ran a 4.54 40 at the combine and will be a nice weapon for Drew Brees.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Malik Jefferson LB (Texas). The absence of Ryan Shazier was detrimental to the Steelers last season. It has already been announced that he won’t play in 2018 and there is no guarantee he returns to his form before the injury. Jefferson gives the Steelers a nice young linebacker.
29. Cleveland Browns (Via Jax) – Maurice Hurst DL (Michigan). The Browns trade up with the Jaguars who don’t see a receiver worthy of the 29th pick. Hurst will be a day one starter along with Bradley Chubb as the Browns continue to build a dominant defensive line.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn OL (Georgia). The Vikings might have the best roster top to bottoms in the entire NFL. With the addition of Kirk Cousins the Vikings bolster their offensive line even more to help in both the pass and run game.
31. New England Patriots – Jaire Alexander CB (Louisville). Alexander at 31 would be an absolute steal for the Patriots. They lost Malcom Butler in free agency and just came off of a super bowl in which they gave up 41 points to Nick Foles. Belichick comes away with two very solid prospects in the first round.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Sony Michel RB (Georgia). The Eagles really don’t need much, but they add another dynamic player to their offense. I can only imagine the creative ways that Doug Pederson will get Michel the ball in open space. It seems as if this is a match made in heaven.