I officially welcome you to draft season! The regular season has come to an end which also means that the Top 20 picks of the upcoming NFL Draft are set in stone. If your team was unable to make the playoffs, chances are you are already looking towards what talent they can add to the roster to hopefully make the playoffs next year. Here is how I think the first round of the draft might go in April as we look ahead here in January:
1. Arizona: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
As it stands now, it will take something unforeseen for this pick to change much between now and April. Even though he didn’t play most of the year after an oblique injury, Bosa has shown more than enough to be the top overall pick in the draft. He has a very quick first step, good strength against the run, and is very polished in his use of hands. He looks to be by far the top prospect in the draft right now.
2. San Francisco: LB Joshua Allen, Kentucky
Get used to hearing Josh Allen’s name in the conversation as a Top 3 pick. I highlighted him in my recent article, Prospect Watch: College Bowl Season Edition. And he did not disappoint racking up three sacks in the game against Penn State Allen is the definition of a relentless speed rusher with a quick first step and non-stop motor. His athleticism is off the charts, making him a fit for multiple positions in multiple defenses. It’s time to start getting to know Josh Allen if you haven’t already.
3. New York Jets: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
It looks like the Jets have finally found a true franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold. This offseason will be focused largely on getting help for Darnold from the head coach to offensive line to running back to tight end to wide receivers. With that in mind, Williams is the best offensive player in this draft. It may not be the sexy pick, but as I stated the Jets need help everywhere on the offensive side of the ball. Williams is an athletic pass protector who can protect the blindside of Darnold for years to come.
4. Oakland: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Oakland deservedly caught a ton of flack after trading away Khalil Mack at the beginning of the year. To say its pass rush suffered because of it would be the understatement of the year. While Mack tallied 12.5 sacks on his way to being in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year honors, Oakland got to the quarterback a total of 13 times. As a team. Let that sink in for a second. Ferrell has dominated the ACC for the past couple of years with an all-around game of quickness, strength and speed. That makes him the perfect prospect for newly hired general manager Mike Mayock to target with his first pick.
5. Tampa Bay: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
There has been a lot of scuttlebutt recently that Tampa Bay could release Gerald McCoy in order to save the franchise some money. While I get the move in principle, the only way I see the team actually parting ways with McCoy is if it is able to land a replacement for him. Enter Oliver. Some question his smaller stature, but there is no denying the production and impact Oliver has made in his years at Houston. In my mind, he is without a doubt the best interior pass rusher in this draft. Which is exactly what McCoy excelled at so well and makes this a perfect match.
6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
I like Eli Manning as much as the next guy, but this season has made it painfully clear that the Giants need to move on from him sooner rather than later. Getting by far the best quarterback in the draft class would go a long way for this team. Haskins has shown the arm strength, accuracy, touch and mental processing that it takes to be successful in the NFL. You combine him with the core of Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram and you got one scary, talented and young offense.
7. Jacksonville: QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Everyone expected Jacksonville to be Super Bowl contenders this year. While there were many factors that lead to it picking in the Top 10 once again, the quarterback position should take most of the blame. Simply put, Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler did not get it done. I do expect Jacksonville to go after veteran options in free agency like Teddy Bridgewater or Joe Flacco if either or both become available. However, if Jacksonville doesn’t reel in one of those quarterbacks (and maybe even if it does), it will certainly look to the draft. After Haskins there is a big dropoff in talent at the position, but Jones is the clear No. 2. He is more raw than Haskins, but definitely is more athletic with arguably a stronger arm. He has all the tools teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback.
8. Detroit: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Detroit could go a few different directions with this pick, but somewhere along the defensive line is the most likely route, especially with how deep this draft class is along the defensive front. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone as talented as Williams fall to you. Williams is only 21 years old, but plays much older. He can play sideline to sideline from the interior of the defensive line with quickness to get after the quarterback and strength to stymie the run as well. That is just what Detroit could use.
9. Buffalo: WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
I am going to preface this by saying, at this point in the process, this is too high to pick Metcalf. But, like the New York Jets, Buffalo desperately needs to get its young, rookie quarterback some real weapons. What Josh Allen did this season with the lack of legitimate targets is actually quite impressive considering the lack of firepower around him. Metcalf would be a gigantic start to changing that, though. He has excellent size, good hands and solid speed to pressure a defense deep. That is everything you look for in a receiver.
10. Denver: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
It wasn’t that long ago that Denver was one of the best teams in the league. A few subpar drafts and unable to figure out the quarterback position since Peyton Manning’s retirement has Denver picking in the Top 10. General Manager John Elway would like nothing more than to finally figure out the position he used to play at such a high level, but there really are no legitimate options worth picking at this point. When that happens, go with the best player available. In this case, that is Williams. Williams is long, super fast and quick to cover a variety of receivers like a glove.