It’s just two and a half weeks until the NFL Draft. With the draft coming up at the end of the month, who will each team pick in the first round?
1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The rumors now are that the Browns are going to select Josh Allen with the first overall pick. How long will this rumor last? Nobody knows. While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. He competed in all the drills at the combine and got some audible cheers when he displayed his arm strength. When general manager John Dorsey was with the Chiefs last year, he drafted a risky, strong-armed quarterback in Pat Mahomes and may take a similar risk this year, being that he has Tyrod Taylor behind center.
2. New York Giants- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
When one rumor starts, the other rumors will start. Now it looks like the Giants will select Darnold if he is still available. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Although he went to the NFL Combine, he didn’t compete on the field and just interviewed with teams. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making and ball security need to improve.
3. New York Jets- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Jets traded up to three and guaranteed themselves a quarterback, but they don’t even know who they will get. In this scenario, they would take Josh Rosen. No major questions about Rosen arose from the NFL Draft Combine interviews, which is good news for him. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season.
4. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Yes, the Browns did just sign Carlos Hyde, but Barkley is still the best player in the class. With the trades for Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland is making a concerted effort to improve the offense and with Barkley, they would have a lot of options in 2018.
5. Denver Broncos- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Denver is in a prime position to get the fourth best quarterback in the class, Quenton Nelson or trade down to other teams seeking quarterbacks. If they stay at this pick and John Elway isn’t enamored with the remaining quarterbacks, he will select Nelson. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon. He has Hall of Fame potential.
6. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State
The Colts pulled off a fantastic trade and will likely still get their first target in the NFL Draft. They could even trade down again. Frank Reich will be looking forward to working with Andrew Luck. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He displayed a good combination of size and speed at the combine.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. His 4.47 40 yard dash time at the combine was right in line where he should have run. Tampa’s secondary needs to be upgraded immediately if they wish to compete in the NFC South.
8. Chicago Bears- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Chicago has signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel to bolster its wide receiver core. This means they may choose to address the secondary. The Ohio State product is a good cover corner, who isn’t afraid to get physical. He is a little slight and will need to put on some weight.
9. San Francisco 49ers- Derwin James, S, Florida State
Eric Reid is a free agent, which leaves Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt at safety. Neither has been overly consistent throughout their careers and the 49ers will likely feel the loss of Reid. He is athletic but doesn’t necessarily have a set position, which is turning some teams off. He ran a 4.48 at the combine and has great size for a defensive back, making him valuable.
10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT/NT, Washington
Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, depending on the scheme a team runs, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds, which makes him disruptive. Vea did suffer a hamstring injury at the combine. Oakland needs to get someone on the interior of the defensive line to stop the run and take some of the blockers off of Khalil Mack.
11. Miami Dolphins- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Smith was the best linebacker in college football this year and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. The Dolphins have Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso, but McMillan got injured before his impact could be seen. They will still need a third linebacker.
12. Buffalo Bills- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Bills are trying to move up again to get a quarterback but could be deciding between Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. Mayfield has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic enough to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. He said as much in his interviews with the media at the NFL Combine.
13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. He is very athletic for his size and even played some offense in certain situations for Nick Saban at Alabama.
14. Green Bay Packers- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. He is also big and athletic. The Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.
15. Arizona Cardinals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Cardinals signed an injury-prone quarterback in Sam Bradford, and Mike Glennon, so they need to protect them. Orlando Brown had a rough combine, while Connor Williams has some questions about his length. McGlinchey might be the safest pick because even if he can’t be a great left tackle, he can move over to the right and be successful.
16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and only lacked production in college because of the system he played in and inconsistent quarterback play. The Ravens signed Michael Crabtree, but still need a lot of receiver help, which they can fill with this selection.
17. Los Angeles Chargers- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Chargers need safety and defensive tackle help, but could also use a linebacker. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away.
18. Seattle Seahawks- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. With Richard Sherman gone, the Seahawks need a corner and can take Jackson if they feel he can fit in their zone-coverage scheme.
19. Dallas Cowboys- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Cowboys need interior defensive line depth could pick up Bryan here. He’s very athletic and can be a depth player until he develops into a starter.
20. Detroit Lions- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia
Detroit needs to have a better run game in order to have a more balanced offense. Running back is a position they will likely address in this draft, but can start by improving the interior offensive line play. Wynn played well in the Senior Bowl and the College Football Playoff for Georgia. He played tackle in college and will move inside for the NFL.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
Cincinnati got Cordy Glenn with their trade down to this pick, but their offensive line is still very weak. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.
22. Buffalo Bills- James Daniels, C, Iowa
When Eric Wood had to retire, the Bills lost a great player. They also traded Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and need to upgrade their offensive line. Daniels has risen up draft boards lately and can immediately fill in for Wood. This pick may be traded if they move up higher to draft a quarterback.
23. New England Patriots- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
The Patriots just traded for this pick by giving the Rams Brandin Cooks. Having two first-round picks is an odd territory for New England to be in. They are reportedly interested in Rudolph and have brought him in for a visit. Brian Hoyer is the current backup, but the Patriots need another young quarterback after trading Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo.
24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.
25. Tennessee Titans- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher and can rush from the outside linebacker position, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do. The Titans have Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but can use a young pass rusher as well.
26. Atlanta Falcons- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early. Davis is a lengthy corner that has experience covering some good receivers in the SEC.
27. New Orleans Saints- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Six quarterbacks going in the first round is looking like more of a likelihood. The Saints signed Tom Savage, but that’s not going to solve their issue after Brees retires. Taysom Hill is a backup they reportedly love, but he wasn’t highly thought of out of BYU. Jackson will likely go higher than this with a team trading up for him.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vander Esch is another player that has been moving up draft boards. With Ryan Shazier not playing next year, the Steelers signed Jon Bostic. Him and Vince Williams will start, but that leaves a lot to be desired.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Sutton is a great outside receiver, who produced a lot at SMU. He does have some questions as to if he can produce against NFL competition. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers but could use some more help at the position after the loss of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.
30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown had a bad combine, which may hurt his stock a little, but his game tape is great and shows a mauler. He may not have the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL but could be a great right tackle. The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better.
31. New England Patriots- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
With Malcolm Butler leaving, the Patriots need more help at corner. Jackson is a fast corner who is good in man to man coverage.
32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.