As soon as Mr. Irrelevant is announced, teams scramble to find out who is next. For most, Josh Allen was the name that the likes of Adam Schefter proposed would be the number one guy.
Josh Allen the No. 1 pick in 2018?!?! https://t.co/cAmG08IBp6
— MWCConnection.com (@MWCConnection) April 30, 2017
While Josh Allen didn’t really become the consensus top player in this draft, a lot of fascinating storylines have developed. The emergence of Baker Mayfield and his rise from Day 3 pick, to potential top 3 pick in just under a week. Who would have thought that a class predicated on great offensive tackles would have some vast fallers (Connor Williams, Mike McClinchey, and Orlando Brown). With all of the change that happened on draft boards, a few guys stayed around the top. Sam Darnold is perhaps the best quarterback in this draft, Saquan Barkley and Quentin Nelson have been talked about as 100% guarantees.
With the most pivotal moment in any NFL’s teams season looming, let’s dive in!
1 Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
As humans need air to breath, the Browns need a Quarterback. While there is a correlation between Josh Allen and the QB that John Dorsey picked last year (Patrick Mahomes), Darnold has to be the pick due to his relatively high floor and mass amounts of potential.
2 New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, Running-back, Penn State
The Giants are focused on the now. With Eli fading towards the end of his career, it is time to give the Giants something they have been desperately lacking since the Brandon Jacobs days. Saquon has a vast amount of value in special teams, along with being a three-down back.
3 New York Jets: Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming
While Baker Mayfield would be my second ranked Quarterback in this draft, Allen seems to fit more in line with some of the Jets moves. Bridgewater can be the perfect bridge quarterback (no pun intended). You are insane if you believe that Allen can be ready in 2 years let alone 1. Also, Allen provides alot more potential than any other signal-caller in this draft.
4 Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
If Chubb is on the board at four, you run this pick in. Chubb can line up all along the defensive line and a pass rushing tandem of Garrett and Chubb would instantly create fear for opposing OC’s.
5 Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma
With the signing of Case Keenum and the drafting of Paxton Lynch just a few years ago, you would think that the position was a lock to not be the pick in 2018. With Mayfield drawing a lot of Keenum comps, why not get 5 years to develop Mayfield.
6 Indianapolis Colts, Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State
The Colts need defensive help, BADLY. With a promising campaign from Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson, Denzel Ward could slid right in and make a huge difference for a defense that is slowly becoming a force.
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety, Alabama
This is the year for Tampa, straight up. Fitzpatrick may not be elite in terms of his position like Derwin James, but he offers alot more versatility.
8 Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, Offensive-Guard, Notre Dame
One word to describe this pick…AMAZING. Quentin Nelson rag-dolls dudes up and down the field. This pick gives Chicago a promising interior o-line. Fits with his former OL coach being the current Bears OL coach.
9 San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia
The 49ers are the team that looks to go from worst to first. With a roster that has been re-tooled by Lynch and company, Smith makes the most sense for this team. Given Reuben Foster’s legal troubles, it will be nice to get a plug and play linebacker.
10 Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker, Virginia Tech
John Gruden and Reggie McKenzie have made some head scratching moves. Edmunds however, provides a plug and play linebacker who is incredibly young and raw.
11 Miami Dolphins: Josh Jackson, Cornerback, Iowa
With Ryan Tannehill coming off of a knee injury, QB makes the most sense for this pick. However with the Dolphins trying to institute a new “culture,” I am not sure Rosen fits here.
12 Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA
When AJ McCarron is your Quarterback, you are constantly searching for a replacement. Rosen is the most NFL ready player and can sling the ball all over the field. While some may have concerns with his attitude, a proven player is always a good bet.
13 Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Johnathon Allen was great until injuries halted his 2017 campaign. With defensive tackle being a need, it makes sense to pair him up with another Alabama stud. Payne proved in the National Championship that he is a force to be reckoned with.
14 Green Bay Packers: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama
You signed Jimmy Graham and Aaron Rodgers will return fully healthy. However, you also released Rodgers favorite target who was able to get vertical and make plays. Put Ridley into this offense and Rodgers can make magic once again.
15 Arizona Cardinals: Derwin James, Safety, Florida State
With new Head Coach Steve Wilks, the change in defensive scheme won’t be that much of a hassle. However, replacing Tyvon Branch and Tyrann Mathieu might be. Derwin James is an elite safety who can also play in the box. He also has the size that Budda Baker currently lacks.
16 Baltimore Ravens: Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker, Boise State
While Ozzie Newsome loves his Alabama prospects, Vander Esch has an immense amount of versatility. A long and rangy linebacker could plug right in and make a huge difference for a defense that is still trying to get back to its dominance.
17 Los Angeles Chargers: Vita Vea, Defensive Lineman, Washington
The Chargers are another sneaky playoff team for 2018. They possess arguably the two best pass rushers in the NFL. Why not bring in a unicorn who weighs about 350, and runs like a gazelle? Vea has elite speed and the ability to be a force in the middle.
18 Seattle Seahawks: Mike Hughes, Cornerback, UCF
Much like the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks are going through a, “retooling.” Which is a code word for a rebuild of some sorts. You lose Richard Sherman, it makes sense to pair former teammates up in Shaquill Griffin and Mike Hughes up. This pick provides Seattle with two young stud corners for years to come.
19 Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, Linebacker, Alabama
When you release the best receiver youve had in quite a while, the obvious pick would be replacing him. This being compounded with local SMU Receiver Courtland Sutton generating a lot of buzz. Sorry to disappoint you, but the Cowboys need a contingency plan for Sean Lee and Evans is a versatile linebacker that will step in day one and compete.
20 Detroit Lions: Isaiah Wynn, Guard, Georgia
The Lions are a perplexing team. Their defense was above average last season, and their offense has the requisite pieces to complete on a game to game basis. The Lions need offensive line help, and Wynn gives them a great option at guard. While some believe he can play outside in the league, he dominated during the Senior Bowl when he moved inside.
21 Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
The Bengals moved pack nine spots to grab Cordy Glenn, essentially. The two tackles the gambled on a few drafts ago have not panned out. McGlinchey is the answer at right tackle while Glenn can be a stable on the left side. McGlinchey may be the safest tackle in this draft due to his ability to play on the right side.
22 Buffalo Bills: Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, SMU
You got your QB1 in the early part of the draft, so what’s next? Say Jones hasn’t been great and you are depleted at Wideout. Sutton is an interesting receiver due to his size and athleticism. Sutton gives Rosen a jump ball playmaker.
23 New England Patriots: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
With the drop off at cornerback being rather steep, Davenport allows the Patriots to develop one of the most freakish athletes in this draft. Davenport could follow in the footsteps of Ziggy Ansah.
24 Carolina Panthers: DJ Moore, Wide Receiver, Maryland
The Panthers started to acquire playmakers for Cam Newton last year with McCaffrey and Samuel. Cam needs a deep playmaker who can go vertical and stretch the defense. Moore is the best of the bunch still left at the wideout spot.
25 Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
This pick is a wild card in the sense that Hubbard has been seen as a second rounder by most. However, with Tennessee needing youth at the edge position and Vrabel’s familiarity with Hubbard from their time at tOSU, Hubbard fits what Vrabel is looking for.
26 Atlanta Falcons: Dallas Goedert, Tight End, South Dakota State
Another wild card comes from D1-AA tight end Dallas Goedert. Matt Ryan needs more players and Goedert can be used as a matchup problem inside and out. Goedert may not be a great blocker, but he is the best receiving tight end of the bunch.
27 New Orleans Saints: Connor Williams, Offensive Lineman, Texas
Drew Brees and the Saints rode into the playoffs with an amazing defense. While Brees needs more weapons around him, I think there can be many options in Day 2. Why not take a versatile offensive lineman who has worked out at every position along the offensive line. Not to mention he is working with one of the best in the business with Duke Manyweather.
28 Pittsburgh Steelers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Steelers found a diamond in the rough when it came to Juju Smith-Schuster. This Steelers team is pretty stacked. Harold Landry offers a versatile linebacking option that could be paired with T.J. Watt.
29 Jacksonville Jaguars: Kolton Miller, Offensive Tackle, UCLA
The Jags are pretty set. As you should be when you were historically bad for a number of years. The Jags always focus on potential, and Miller is the most athletic tackle in the draft.
30 Minnesota Vikings: Hayden Hurst, Tight End, South Carolina
The Vikings were destroyed by the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. With one of the best receiving cores, a great running back and Kurt Cousins where could you possibly go? Hurst is a great in line blocker and could give you the one two punch at the tight end position that was so pivotal to Philly’s success.
31 New England Patriots: Mason Rudolph, Quarterback, Oklahoma State
I made the awful call of saying that Nathan Peterman and DeShone Kizer were going to be first round picks in 2017. You would think I would learn from this mistake. The answer is no, and with that the Patriots get a quarterback who will have five years to prove himself worthy. Good arm talent and a great demeanor allow him to not be a distraction to Brady.
32 Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel, Running-back, Georgia
The smart pic would be to find something better to grease the polls with. I mean, their method did not work well.
All joking aside, Michel is a great runner and can fit into a multiple backfield. While the sharing of touches would seem difficult, just throw a ball out there and the cream will rise to the top.
Final Observations and Storylines:
- I firmly believe that teams will be trying to trade back. While that in most drafts thats the obvious move, the drop off from tier 1 to tier 2 is large.
- Quarterback will be the position that draws the most intrigue, for good reason. There has been so much buzz about each that it wouldn’t surprise me if some entered the first (Jackson, Rudolph, possibly Lauletta). The 5 years of control that is granted with a first round pick makes the possibility even higher.
- I firmly believe that teams will also try trading back into the first. I would say this is the case for QB needy teams like Arizona.
- Keep an eye out for Christian Kirk as he could be a target for multiple teams in the end of the first.