1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Call this a hope instead of a prediction. There have been whispers connecting the Browns to the strong-armed Josh Allen, but Darnold is the number one prospect at the quarterback position. The Browns can’t out-think themselves here.
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Eli Manning isn’t the quarterback he once was, but he also hasn’t had the best of supporting casts the past few years. Barkley is touted as a better prospect than young phenoms like Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott. Match him up with Manning and Odell Beckham on the outside, and the Giants have a potential monster on offense.
3. New York Jets – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The “Baker Mayfield to the Jets” chant has been growing louder, but I think New York takes the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. Rosen would be an immediate starter with decent weapons around him – and an attitude that fits the big city.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Chubb on one side and Myles Garrett on the other? Quarterbacks of the AFC North beware! This is THE pick to make here. If the Browns can stay out of their own way, they could be surprisingly competitive this season.
5. Denver Broncos – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Case Keenum had a transcendent season with the Vikings, but he’s probably not the long-term answer for the Broncos. Some say taking a quarterback this high means the Broncos are committing to a rebuild, but I see it more as bolstering a weak position with an electric prospect.
6. TRADE – Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
There will probably be more than one trade in this intriguing draft, but this is the one I feel safest guaranteeing. The Bills give Indianapolis both of their first-round picks this year, a late-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year to net the passer touted as stronger and more athletic than Carson Wentz.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
Ward has established himself as the premier cornerback in this draft – and for Tampa Bay defending against the likes of Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in the division, you can never have enough cover guys.
8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Matt Nagy will throw a party if Nelson gets to the Bears at this pick. Already being called potential Hall of Fame material, Nelson will blow open holes in the run game for the underrated Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
With Reuben Foster potentially on his way out of town for legal issues, San Francisco would love to get the range and athleticism of Roquan Smith for their defense. He’s an every-down linebacker that can evolve into a leader on that side of the ball.
10. Oakland Raiders – Derwin James, S, Florida State
James is an athletic freak, pure and simple. Oakland’s offense is due for a bit of a rebound as players come off injuries and Gruden imparts his knowledge, so adding James here would be a big boost.
11. Miami Dolphins – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Dolphins surprise the world and take a quarterback here instead of trading back with the Arizona Cardinals. Tannehill has shown flashes, but Jackson is an electrifying playmaker who could slice and dice the defenses of the AFC South with proper coaching.
12. Indianapolis Colts – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S. Alabama
With the first of their picks taken from Buffalo, the Colts get a top-10 talent in Fitzpatrick and the best young safety duo in the league by pairing him with Malik Hooker. Offensive line is also a possibility here, but this is a “best player available” pick.
13. Washington Redskins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Wide receiver would be very tempting for the Redskins here, but there are good receivers to be found in later rounds. Edmunds, on the other hand, might be the best linebacker in this draft, and a steal for Washington at this point.
14. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
If you’re going to take Jordy Nelson away from Aaron Rodgers, you need to give him a shiny new toy. Ridley is the latest polished receiver in a long line of polished receivers from Alabama, and can threaten defenses over the middle and outside the numbers.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Cardinals miss out on their quarterback (again), so it’s time to devote some draft capital to keeping the often-injured Sam Bradford standing upright. McGlinchey’s stock has gone up and down a bit, but he has the potential to be a long-term blindside protector.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Adding Michael Crabtree and taking a run at Dez Bryant isn’t enough. Sutton would step in and be the immediate WR1 in the Ravens offense, and (hopefully) give Joe Flacco’s passing game life again.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Vita Vea, DT. Washington
It’s a copycat league, and we just watched Philadelphia win the Super Bowl with a devastating defensive line rotation. Putting Vea on the line with Bosa and Ingram seems almost unfair for the offenses of the AFC West.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wynn. OG, Georgia
Protect. Russell. Wilson. It seems so simple, and yet the young superstar was running for his life last season. Wynn can pass protect and open up holes for the anemic run game of the Seahawks – and hopefully take something off the shoulders of Wilson.
19. Dallas Cowboys – DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
Dez Bryant is out. Good decision? We will have to wait and see. But in the meantime, Moore is a well-rounded receiver that probably has more utility that Bryant would in any offensive scheme. They got Hurns to be the big man – Moore can be their top target.
20. Detroit Lions – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Did he play against “lesser competition?” Sure. But he destroyed them. Davenport is a physical marvel whose sole goal in life seems to be hunting down the quarterback. Detroit would love to have him.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
In theory, Cincinnati is ready to compete. In practice, their offensive line is almost non-existent. Adding Cordy Glenn in the offseason and drafting Williams would go a long way towards shoring up a leaky line.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Colts passed by Edmunds early on to get Vander Esch now. Another every-down linebacker, Vander Esch should step in as the leader of the defense quickly. Between him, Fitzpatrick, and last year’s pick of Hooker, and the Colts suddenly have a fun defensive nucleus to build around.
23. New England Patriots – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Brandin Cooks is out, and Hurst is in. New England has had success running two-TE sets in the past, and Hurst would be an excellent safety blanket for Tom Brady and a killer sidekick to Rob Gronkowski.
24. Carolina Panthers – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Letting Josh Norman leave the building two years ago was a mistake. The Panthers need to add a couple more defenders to keep up with their pass-happy division, and Alexander can keep up with big-bodied receivers.
25. Tennessee Titans – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Bring on the Payne! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. But Payne has the potential to be the best defensive line prospect in this draft, and he’s a big Alabama-trained bruiser. He can ruin run games AND get to the quarterback.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
You can never have enough pass rushers, right? Landry will enter a stacked rotation in Atlanta and help mitigate the loss of Dontari Poe in free agency (at least a little). He should be good for eight to 10 sacks per year, in the right system.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Anyone else remember how good the Saints were when Brees was throwing to the uber-athletic Jimmy Graham? Wasn’t that fun? Adding Goedert to the starting lineup alongside last year’s freakishly successful rookies makes the New Orleans offense virtually indefensible.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Who knows what will end up happening with the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. In the meantime, Pittsburgh grabs one of the toughest runners in the draft. A north-south runner with great upside, Guice can be a good complement to Bell’s shiftiness – or, if necessary, a replacement.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Losing both Allens (Robertson and Hurns) isn’t great for an already-iffy aerial attack, so let’s have the Jags pick up one of the best route-runners in this draft. Kirk is the kind of player that can break open a defense from anywhere on the field – pair him up with Dede Westbrook, and suddenly the WR corps doesn’t look so bad.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Hughes has size. Hughes has speed. He’s not the top CB prospect, but I think he has the potential to thrive in Mike Zimmer’s defense. With Rodgers and Stafford in the division, you can’t have too many defenders.
31. New England Patriots – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson had a solid Combine, though a slower 40 time. But the defender didn’t become this highly considered leading up to the draft for nothing, and his game tape is great. New England needs a replacement for Malcolm Butler, and Jackson could be it.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Look for the Eagles to trade back so a team can pop up and take a quarterback (Mason Rudolph?), but if they stand pat this is the way to go. Michel is an every-down back, and can function as a third-down pass-catcher if Philly wants to lean on Jay Ajayi to be their wrecking ball.
See our Top 450 draft board here, and enjoy the next three days!
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