OK, here I am again calling my shot. Or shots. Make it 10 of them. My first full mock draft of the first round of the NFL Draft was a success. With three days remaining, teams figure to have their draft boards complete and all that is left is the waiting.
As we all know waiting on the NFL Draft is the hardest part. There could still be four quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks. I don’t think it will happen unless there is a bevy of trades made. I’m still not excited about what the Cleveland Browns may or may not do. But, here’s another look at how I see the first 10 picks on Thursday night breaking down in this most recent mock NFL Draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming – I still don’t like the pick. There are too many questions about his game and his completion percentage. Allen is a hit or miss passer who will either become the next John Elway or will wind up being a player like Jay Cutler. The Browns must hit a home run with this pick, but may flub it altogether.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State – The recent rumors are general manager Dave Gettleman has targeted Barkley from the beginning and may be willing to move down to the fifth pick, hoping the team can still grab the Penn State running back. The Giants hope Barkley has the same kind of success both Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette have had the past two seasons
3. New York Jets (From Indianapolis): Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma – The biggest swing and miss in the first round, so far. Mayfield looks like he could be a solid NFL quarterback, but his intangibles concern me. He also played in the Big 12, where stats make quarterbacks look like world beaters. Mayfield will be asked to step right in and fix the Jets offensive passing game. I think it’s a misfire for the Jets, who need a franchise quarterback. Mayfield is not a franchise quarterback
4. Cleveland Browns (From Houston): Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State – The Browns let out a gasp, when they heard the Giants take Barkley. Chubb is a nice consolation prize. The defensive end will become a bookend pass rusher with Myles Garrett. Cleveland can draft a running back at the top of the second round.
5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC – Denver Broncos president John Elway has to be salivating. Both Darnold and Josh Rosen are available. It was once believed that Denver would need to trade up to grab one of the two signal callers. Now one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history will pick Denver’s new signal caller.
6. Miami Dolphins (from Indianapolis via Jets): Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA – As soon as the Broncos make their pick, the Indianapolis Colts became the most popular team in the NFL. The Dolphins are shocked Rosen is still on the board and makes a deal to draft Ryan Tannehill’s replacement. Rosen can sit a year and learn. If the Dolphins are dreadful, both Tannehill and coach Adam Gase will be out of south Florida in 2019. This could be the steal of the NFL Draft.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama – The Buccaneers wait their turn and get the best defensive back in the draft. There is plenty to like about Fitzpatrick skills in the secondary. Tampa Bay made a splash in the offseason and Fitzpatrick continues that trend. Fitzpatrick is another hard hitter who is the best defensive back in this draft.
8. Chicago Bears: Quentin Nelson, Guard, Note Dame – The Bears spent free agency addressing needs at wide receiver and tight end. Now it’s time to solidify the offensive line. Nelson is the best offensive lineman in this draft. If Chicago can I build a solid rushing offense and second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky develops, this is a team that could surprise in 2018.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, Defensive Back, Ohio State – San Francisco general manager John Lynch may wind up flipping a coin between Ward and FSU defensive back Derwin James. Ward gives the 49ers secondary an attitude. He is a heavy hitter and should help the team in the return game as well. San Francisco is building a winning franchise piece by piece, player by player.
10. Oakland Raiders: Derwin James, Defensive Back, FSU – If the Seminoles had concentrated on James playing one position in college, he may have been the top overall selection in this draft. A heavy hitter in the same mold of Jalen Ramsey and an attitude that is synonymous with Raider football. Jon Gruden’s first draft pick is a home run.