The NFL Draft is now 50 days away. Now that the combine is complete, expect the rumor mill to start churning. Here’s a projection based on the post-combine whispers.
1. Browns – Saquon Barkley, RB Penn. St.
Barkley absolutely lit up the combine in every drill that he participated in. The testing numbers confirmed what we’ve already seen on tape, that Barkley is a freak athlete who can instantly change the dynamic of an offense. With another pick at 4 to get their QB of the future, the Browns take the best player in the draft and give their team an identity.
2. Giants – Bradley Chubb, DE NC St.
The Giants would love to have Barkley in this spot but with him off the board, the Giants turn their attention to other needs. With reports surfacing that they are not ready to move on from Eli Manning, a QB of the future is ruled out for now. They could stand to upgrade either side of the line of scrimmage and will choose between Chubb and Quenton Nelson. They find the value of defensive end better and choose Chubb to upgrade a pass rush that ranked 30th in sacks.
3. Colts – Quenton Nelson, G Notre Dame
This would be a worst case scenario for the Colts as both Barkley and Chubb are off the board. However, they still get a nice consolation prize in Nelson who is the draft’s best lineman and possibly the safest player as well. They need to keep Andrew Luck protected.
4. Browns – Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
The Browns have their pick of potential franchise quarterbacks and they opt for the guy that GM John Dorsey and draft consultant Scott McCloughan love. Mayfield has already stated that there is no question that he would turn the Browns around.
5. Broncos – Josh Allen, QB Wyoming
Haven’t seen an arm like this come into the NFL since……John Elway? Elway selects the big armed pocket passer to be the Broncos QB of the future.
6. Jets – Sam Darnold, QB USC
The Jets finally get it right here and have maybe the best QB in the class fall right into their laps at 6 overall. Playing at USC, Darnold will have no problem adjusting to the NY media.
7. Bucs – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S Alabama
The Bucs were atrocious defensively and could use upgrades across the board. Here they select the versatile defender who could fill a couple of roles in their secondary.
8. Bears – Denzel Ward, CB Ohio St.
With Kyle Fuller’s long term status in question and Prince Amukamara’s contract up, Ward becomes an instant starter on defense.
9. 49ers – Derwin James, S Fla St.
James fills a huge hole in the back end of the defense with Eric Reid departing.
10. Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB Georgia
Smith is a new age OLB who can cover backs out of the backfield and offers some pass rush. He would fill a big hole next to Navorro Bowman
11. Dolphins – Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
Rosen to South Beach seems like such a great fit. The talented Rosen is maybe the most polished passer in the draft but comes with concerns about attitude and work ethic.
12. Bengals – Mike McGlinchey, OT Notre Dame
Young players Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher never took the next step in their development. McGlinchey is a rock solid player would could start immediately on the left side to protect Andy Dalton and open things up for Joe Mixon.
13. Redskins – Vita Vea, DT Washington
The Redskins run D was horrible and the could use an interior presence to pair with Jonathan Allen for years to come.
14. Packers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB Va. Tech
Edmunds could pair with Blake Martinez in the middle of the defense or rush the passer opposite Clay Matthews. Very versatile piece.
15. Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville
If new coach Steve Wilks wants to build a team around defense and clock control, pairing an athletic quarterback like Jackson who can do it with his arms and his legs with dynamic runner Davis Johnson would be a good start towards achieving that goal.
16. Ravens – Da’Ron Payne, DT Alabama
Payne will be a 5 technique end for the Ravens and he will bring a presence to the D-Line that went missing when Timmy Jernigan left. Would allow Brandon Williams to go back to nose tackle.
17. Chargers – Connor Williams, OT Texas
After upgrading the interior of the line last year with Lamp and Feeney, the Chargers now try to solidify the tackle position. Okung and Barksdale are not long term solutions.
18. Seahawks – Marcus Davenport, DE UTSA
The Seahawks pass rush in general was lacking last season and now Michael Bennett has been traded away. Davenport is an athletic freak who could be a star with good coaching at the next level. Seattle is a great spot for him.
19. Cowboys – Mike Hughes, CB Central Florida
Hughes is in the running to be the best corner in the draft. Pairing him with last years picks Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie might finally solidify the Cowboys secondary.
20. Lions – Derrius Guice, RB LSU
Guice would give the Lions the feature back they have so badly needed since the retirement of Barry Sanders. Having a stud RB could finally put this offense over the top.
21. Bills – Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama
Jordan Matthews is on his way out and Zay Jones didn’t play up to expectations. Ridley would add a weapon across from Kelvin Benjamin and help make the offense a little more vertical.
22. Bills – Isaiah Wynn, G/C Georgia
Wynn is a plug and play interior lineman for a team that just lost Eric Wood. Incognito isn’t getting any younger and there’s a big hole opposite him at the RG position.
23. Rams – Harold Landry, DE/OLB Boston College
Landry would be a great fit as a stand up rush LB for a team who only has aging Connor Barwin after just losing Robert Quinn.
24. Panthers – Courtland Sutton, WR SMU
The Panthers are badly in need of receiving weapons and the 6-3 220lb Sutton would bring back that basketball lineup element back to the offense after trading Kelvin Benjamin
25. Titans – Jaire Alexander, CB Louisville
Back to back years picking corners for the Titans after Adoree Jackson last year. Alexander had the most impressive on field workout of any corner at the combine.
26. Falcons – Will Hernandez, G UTEP
Hernandez steps in opposite Andy Levitre, who just restructured and isn’t long for Atlanta himself, to give the Falcons the dominant run game they need to make the offense most effective.
27. Saints – Rahsaan Evans, LB Alabama
There are no long term solutions in the Saints LB corps and a tackle machine like Evans would be a huge upgrade.
28. Steelers – Leighton Vander Esch, LB Boise St.
With Ryan Shazier’s long term future in doubt the Steelers need to restock the position.
29. Jaguars – Mike Gesicki, TE Penn St.
Gesicki had an all time combine for a TE and the Jags could certainly use a big time threat like him in the middle of the field to help Blake Bortles
30. Vikings – Sam Hubbard, DE Ohio St.
The Vikings are a pretty well rounded team but could use some pass rush depth behind starters Griffen and Hunter. Hubbard is a lunch pail guy who is solid in technique and stopping the run.
31. Patriots – Arden Key, DE/OLB LSU
The Patriots pass rush was flat out anemic last year. The Pats will find a use for the potentially elite pass rush skills of Key. Belichick is just the man to push the right buttons and get the most out of the talented rusher.
32. Eagles – Taven Bryan, DT Florida
Reserve Beau Allen played in 41% of the defensive snaps last season and his imminent departure will open up plenty of playing time. Bryan is an athletic DT who wowed at the combine. Schwartz would love to have a weapon like Bryan as depth.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports