1. Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Charley Casserly polled like 25 NFL GM's and Scouts on the BIG 4 QB's and Sam Darnold won by a landslide. That tells me, despite all the subterfuge, when the time comes to turn in the card, Sam Darnold will be a Brown.
2. New York Giants - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The whispers are growing louder and louder that the Giants are convinced Eli still has a few good years left in him, provided they can get him enough help. That said, I'm also hearing its Barkley or Chubb, but they believe Barkley helps Eli more and he's a HOF caliber RB. Lastly, if the rumors are true, they are not convinced any of the QB's (other than Darnold) are as worthy of the #2 Pick as Barkley or Chubb.
3. New York Jets - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
If the board falls this way for the Jets they will have a really tough decision to make. I can make an argument for all three of the remaining BIG 4 QB's, and I can argue against all of them too. If you follow the draft you know all of the positives and negatives, no need to repeat them. All I know is, Mayfield had a ridiculous Comp%, +70%, two years in a row, and he threw more downfield passes than the rest of these QB's too, so this wasn't done as a dink & dunk artist. I also know his passion for the game is maniacal and infectious. By all accounts his team-mates loved him. So its a tough call, glad I don't have to make it, but if I did I would take Mayfield and I'm betting the Jets will too.
4. Buffalo Bills (Trade) - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
(Projected trade from Browns). I don't believe the Browns would have made this trade had the Giants not taken Barkley, but since they did, and Cleveland doesn't need Chubb, the Browns use this pick to make a killing, starting (but not ending) with the Bills two 1st RD Picks. They'll demand at least one more pick, maybe a 2 or the #1 Pick in RD 3. As for the Bills, they are loaded with picks in this draft and seem determined to move up for their QB, and by all accounts they like Josh Allen's size and arm, reminds them of Jim Kelly, the kind of arm that can cut thru the strong winds in Buffalo.
5. Denver Broncos - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen falls to the back of the BIG 4 not based on talent. Nobody questions his talent, but because there are genuine concerns about his attitude, multiple concussions, as well as his passion for football. That said, he is the prototype physically, everything you look for in a FQB, and probably the most NFL ready.
6. Indianapolis Colts - Quenten Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
To say football people are raving about Nelson is an understatement. I've repeatedly heard him referred too in the most glowing terms, like the best O-lineman they have graded in 5+ Years. That said, there is obviously no bigger priority in Indy than keeping Andrew Luck healthy and on the field.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Even though they picked up JPP and Vinny Curry, both soon to be 30, frankly Curry is not in Chubb's league and you cannot pass on him if he falls to #7
8. Chicago Bears - Marcus Davenport, ER, UTSA
Small school stud they may have to break in slowly, perhaps as a situational pass rusher, but the ceiling for this kid is so high he has regularly been compared to Demarcus Ware.
9. San Francisco 49ers - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, VaTech
This guy is so good, I'll make him my early favorite to win DPOTY. If this draft wasn't so top heavy with potential FQB's, he'd be a TOP 5 Pick, just like Chubb, Nelson and probably Davenport too. Also, there's a good chance Foster's days in SF are over.
10. Oakland Raiders - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Tremaine Edmunds would have been ideal for the Raiders, but they have needs all over the place and a #1 CB is definitely one of them. That said, Ward is blazing fast and reminds me of Marshon Lattimore, another former Buckeye who was a steal last year in about this same spot.
11. Miami Dolphins - Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
I can already hear the cries of "REACH!!", but you have to understand something, this is a QB driven league and until you find a legit FQB, you are essentially just spinning your wheels. Thats why, EVERY YEAR, you see teams supposedly "reach" for QB's in the draft. It happens every year, consistently, because its hard to compete in this league, year after year, until you find a QB who can match TD for TD with the elite QB's. So when you have a chance to get one, JUST A CHANCE, you gotta take it.
12. Cleveland Browns (Trade) - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
(Projected trade with the Bills). After collecting a slew of picks from the Bills, the Browns use the first one to help fix that disaster they call a linebacking core. Smith is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine who hits like he hates you from his old neighborhood. Best part is, you can play him inside or outside and he's gonna dominate on Sundays.
13. Washington Redskins - Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
The Skins would have to be thrilled if Minkah falls to 13, but its all about positional value and sometimes Safeties, like OG's and RT's, can slide in the draft. If this happens its a steal for the Redskins at a position of need.
14. Green Bay Packers - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
There is nothing about Ridley's numbers that indicates he deserves to be picked this high, but you have to understand, he played with the worst passing QB in the SEC, if not all of D1A. That said, Ridley passes the eye test. When you watch him, everything about him spells #1 WR.
15. Arizona Cardinals - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
See my comment for the Dolphins at #11. I'm sure this will send ESPN, the NFLN and the entire draft community into a frenzy, but it shouldn't. If you understand PRO FOOTBALL and the draft, you should expect something like this. A little surprising, okay, but it should not be the least bit shocking. This kid has the size, statistics and arm strength to justify this selection. Is it a reach? YES, but again, see my comment for the Dolphins.
16. Baltimore Ravens - Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The best part about Vea is his scheme versatility based on A) his raw power, and B) his unusual quickness for such a monster of a man. IOW's you can play him at NT in the 3-4, DE in the 3-4, or DT in the 4-3, and no matter which way you go, he's going to be a dominant player.
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Derwin James, S, Florida State
James and Minkah are almost in a dead heat for who in the best Safety in this class, but like I said, sometimes positional value comes into play and you can steal a great Safety later than you should.
18. Seattle Seahawks - Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson, like Richard Sherman, is a ballhawking CB who converted from WR. He was a little dinged and ran a disappointing 40 at the combines, but redeemed himself at his pro day by running in the 4.4's. This is a BIG CB with speed and ballhawking skills that are second to none in this class.
19. Dallas Cowboys - DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
With the Dez era coming to an end, and Jason Witten isn't getting any younger either, the Cowboys have to find a potential #1 WR and Go-to-Guy for Dak or they'll be giving him no chance to succeed. That said, Moore is one of the most underrated players in this draft. Don't be surprised if this kid has a great career in the NFL.
20. Detroit Lions - Daron Payne, DT, Alabama
They need a lot of help at linebacker too, but as much as I like Esch, IMO Payne carries a higher grade and they need to upgrade the D-line too.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
I had a really hard time NOT giving Esch to the Lions. It was a close call, razor thin, but since I gave them Payne, Esch is a no brainer for the Bengals. Their linebacking core is a mess and Esch is one of the most underrated players in this draft. Ridiculously productive in college and an instant starter.
22. Cleveland Browns (Trade) - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
(Trade with the Bills). With the retirement of Joe Thomas how could the Browns have wished for better than this when they made that deal. First Smith, a tackling machine, then a legit plug and play LT to replace Thomas ... and like I said, their haul of picks from the Bills will NOT end here.
23. New England Patriots - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
You all saw how their DB's got lit up in the SB, by a backup QB. Nuff said.
24. Carolina Panthers - Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
They never did replace Josh Norman and it showed. Hughes was a big part of the reason UCF went unbeaten in 2017.
25. Tennessee Titans - Harold Landry, ER, Boston College
Its a passing league now, not your grandfathers NFL, therefore other than FQB's and WR's, the most important positions you can fill are pass rushers and DB's who can cover and make plays on the ball.
26. Atlanta Falcons - Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
Their D-line is a mess and Bryan is one of the most underrated players in this draft. He would be an absolute heist at 26.
27. New Orleans Saints - Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Not since Jimmy Graham has Brees had a playmaker at TE like Hurst. On that note, a quick word about Dallas Goedert. This kid had back-to-back 1000+ Yards seasons. He should have been a first round pick. But he's only 6' 4" and IMO his refusal to run the 40, at both the combines AND his pro day, combined with his small school status, will be the cause of his slide into the second round.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Gesicki blew up the combines and made himself a first round pick, and what better fit for him than his hometown team? BTW he's not just a workout warrior. When given the chance to make plays at PSU, he did not disappoint.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars - Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
Its hard to find a weakness on this defense, its that good. I can only find two, DT and MLB. That said, if they add a force at MLB like Evans, I pity offensive coordinators who have to game-plan for them.
30. Minnesota Vikings - Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
There are not many needs on the Vikings, but now that they added Cousins and paid him a gazillion dollars, one of the few is OG. Protecting their new QB has to be a priority, and Hernandez is a beast. He's also a monster of a run blocker for Cook and Murray.
31. New England Patriots - James Daniels, C, Iowa
Yes, the far more immediate need is to protect Tom Brady's blindside and replace Nate Solder, but grades matter, and if you know anything about Belichick, you know grades matter to him too. That said, IMO Daniels grades out significantly higher than Kolton Miller or Orlando Brown. That said, you can play him at Center or Guard, though IMO he he has a chance to become the best Center in football.
32. Philadelphia Eagles - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Blount has flown the coop to Detroit and it appears unlikely Sproles, 34 and coming off a torn ACL, will be returning either. That leaves Jay Ajayi and not much else to speak of, and frankly I never thought much of Ajayi to being with, thats why Blount was essentially their lead back in the Super Bowl. That said, Guice would be a heist at 32, pun intended.