We are past the combine, past the beginning of free agency, and into the hype and excitement of the NFL Draft! We already have had numerous trades involving players that will influence Draft decisions. In particular, a big trade with the Colts and Jets that shakes up the top of the Draft. How do I feel the teams are lined up at the moment after some important steps in the process? Let’s Dive In!
#1 Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold (QB) USC
Any Mock Draft having the Browns taking Saquon Barkley #1 overall is wrong, period. There is no way that John Dorsey will pass on his future franchise quarterback at #1 overall. He has set himself up perfectly to create a successful atmosphere for his new rookie quarterback. He did the same thing last season with the Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes and already having Alex Smith. This will give Darnold a year or two to develop before being sprung into the NFL game. Having Tyrod Taylor gives the Browns the option of taking the quarterback with the highest upside, and not necessarily the the one that is ready to play as a rookie. The highest upside as a quarterback in this rookie class is between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. I think when it is all said and down, John Dorsey chooses Sam Darnold to be his quarterback of the future.
#2 New York Giants – Josh Rosen (QB) UCLA
The intriguing fascination from the Giants has been the rumor that they turned down offers to trade out of the #2 pick. This makes me think they want to stay put and take that pick, or they want a team like the Bills to offer the kitchen sink to get that pick. This is the most fascinating development that will determine how the Draft will play out. I have two thoughts why they may not want to trade out of this pick:
Thought #2: He wants his quarterback of the future with the #2 overall pick for the After-Eli era and has his eyes set on a player. Josh Rosen is ready to go and will pair with Pat Shurmur to be the combo to lead the Giants for the next decade.
I’m going with thought #2 right now as Gettlemen will likely not be picking in the Top-2 again for a long time.
#3 New York Jets – Josh Allen (QB) Wyoming
This is short and sweet. The Jets went out and got two veteran quarterbacks to compete as the starter for the beginning of the 2018 season. Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater will be solid options for the season as Josh Allen will need time before being ready to be thrown into NFL action. Josh Allen is a quarterback that offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates may like with his cannon arm to make all the necessary NFL throws.
#4 Cleveland Browns – Trade
The Browns sit at #4 overall with two options at their disposal. Do they take their best non-QB player on their Draft board or trade down with a team looking to take Baker Mayfield before the Broncos get a chance at #5? Like the Buffalo Bills or maybe the Arizona Cardinals? Will John Dorsey be happy with taking a blue-chip player, or trade down to collect more draft assets? The answer to that question could truly go either way.
Trade Prediction: The Cleveland Browns trade the #4 overall pick to the Buffalo Bills for the #12, #22, and other draft pick(s).
#4 Buffalo Bills – Baker Mayfield (QB) Oklahoma
The Bills have been working on this trade up for a quarterback for a long time now. They have set themselves up to use these Draft picks to get their man to lead the franchise for the next decade. I’m sure Sean McDermott will love Mayfield’s demeanor and will love him being his leader of the franchise.
#5 Denver Broncos – Saquon Barkley (RB) Penn State
John Elway believes he is still in the running to be a Super Bowl contender, it is why he nabbed Case Keenum this offseason. He believes that he is just a few play-makers away at key positions to be a force in the AFC once again. This is why I think John Elway takes Saquon Barkley here at #5 overall. The last two years, teams have taken running backs and it took them to the playoffs (see Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys and Leonard Fournette for the Jacksonville Jaguars.) John Elway will think he can do something similar with Saquon Barkley.
#6 Indianapolis Colts – Tremaine Edmunds (LB) Virginia Tech
The Colts received a great trade from the New York Jets to move down three spots while gaining three extra second round picks over the next two years. It shows that Chris Ballard is determined to stack the roster with young talent instead of just filling his roster with free agents. After trading down already and still having a lot of roster holes to fill, the Colts will be interested in trading down again to gain even more future picks. They do however, also want to get a blue-chip young player to build around this year and they do that with the 19 year-old Tremaine Edwards at linebacker who is a rare athlete that could be molded into an elite player at the Colts’ current weakest spot on the roster.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bradley Chubb (DE) NC State
The weakest spots on the Tampa Bay roster right now are at the edge and in the secondary. The Bucs will have a chance to get a solid player early in this Draft, having options at corner and safety to improve the secondary but none of that will matter if Bradley Chubb falls to them at #7. They won’t hesitate to finally get a consistent edge presence for the defense.
#8 Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson (OL) Notre Dame
The Bears get a gift at #8 overall with Nelson falling to them and solidifying their offensive line. Now Mitchell Trubisky will have plenty of weapons and protection heading into next season as Matt Nagy looks to make a great first impression.