We are just one week away from the 2018 NFL Draft in Dallas! For just being one week out, there is much wonder surrounding the draft. Who are the Cleveland Browns taking at one? How many quarterbacks will go in the first round? Who will land the coveted Saquon Barkley?
Until next Thursday, these questions will remain unanswered. Teams have been putting up smokescreens since the combine. It won’t be long now before we see who lands where when the smoke clears.
For the time being, Liam and myself took our best shot at figuring out the pieces of this NFL Draft puzzle. Much like the actual NFL Draft, there are plenty of buzz-worthy moves. With general managers more willing than ever to partake in trades, this draft should be one talked about for years to come.
Round 1 #1: Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold l QB l USC
While my heart says Mayfield, if I’m the Browns, it’s Sam Darnold at number one. Cleveland seemed besotted with him this offseason and the Pac-12 standout has all the foundations of growing into a quarterback that Kizer didn’t flash. The Browns have all the optionality in the world, but ‘keep it simple stupid’ may be the best analogy here. – Liam
Round 1 #2: New York Giants: Saquon Barkley l RB l Penn State
Barkley is arguably the best prospect in the draft and the best running back prospect in the past decade. Missing on Darnold, Getteleman gets his “face of the franchise,” in Saquon. Putting him in the same offense as OBJ, Engram, and Sterling Sheppard is a scary thought. – Gino
Round 1 #3: New York Jets (from Indianapolis): Baker Mayfield l QB l Oaklahoma
And so the quarterback run begins. Baker Mayfield offers a little more certainty than Josh Allen and with the hot and cold Rosen debate, the Jets play it safe with the Heisman winner. – Liam
Round 1 #4: Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb l DE l NC State
Chubb is the clear-cut favorite to be the first defensive player taken in the draft. The idea of the one-two punch of Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb is too good to pass up. A duo of Garrett and Chubb will give offensive tackles nightmares for years to come. – Gino
Round 1 #5: TRADE! Buffalo Bills (from Denver): Josh Allen l QB l Wyoming
(Denver trades the 2018, 5th overall pick to Buffalo for the 2018, 12th and 65th (3rd round) overall picks and a 2019 1st round pick).
Buffalo has had a master plan since last years draft to get a quarterback in 2018. Brandon Beane and co., will pull the trigger to move up and get their franchise QB. – Gino
Round 1 #6: Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ): Quenton Nelson l G l Notre Dame
The Colts hope to have Andrew Luck back under center for the 2018 season. To help the injury stricken quarterback stay healthy why not draft the best lineman in the draft? Nelson is that guy. – Gino
Round 1 #7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Harold Landry l DE l Boston College
The Bucs add some defensive dominance with the pride of Boston College and it’s much needed. The Bucs pass-rush has been invisible in recent years, so adding Landry makes perfect sense here. – Liam
Round 1 #8: Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith l LB l Georgia
Playing in the NFC North, a great defense is necessary in attempt to thwart off the high-potent offenses in the division. At eight, Chicago takes the best linebacker in the draft in Roquan Smith. Already having Leonard Floyd and Danny Trevathan in their linebacking core, Chicago should be fielding one of the better linebacking units if they were to snag Smith. – Gino
Round 1 #9: San Francisco 49ers: Vita Vea l DT l Washington
Vea has become one of this year’s most talked about prospect thanks to his incredible levels of athleticism and versatility. The former Washington defensive tackle will be a great fit in a Niners defense that’s on the rise and needs a leader in the trenches. – Liam
Round 1 #10: TRADE! New England Patriots (from Oakland): Josh Rosen l QB l UCLA
(Oakland trades their 2018, 10th and 111th (4th round) overall picks and RB Marshawn Lynch to New England for the 2018, 23rd overall pick and LB Dont’a Hightower).
By using the first round pick acquired from the Rams in a deal for Brandin Cooks, the Patriots move up to draft the heir to Tom Brady. News came out over the last week that the Patriots have interest in the UCLA quarterback. Belichick isn’t shy to pull the trigger on a big move. Nothing will be off limits in Bill’s quest to find a replacement for the best of all time. – Gino
Round 1 #11: Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson l QB l Louisville
A run on quarterbacks well and truly stings Miami here and they’re left with one of the most enticing prospects in the draft. Lamar Jackson may not be ready to start right away, but as a project quarterback there may be no better option. Adam Gase’s offense could be the perfect fit for Jackson, with the Dolphins putting their chips on a quarterback many compare to Mike Vick. – Liam
Round 1 #12: Denver Broncos (from Buffalo): Denzel Ward l CB l Ohio State
The Broncos secondary has lost a lot of its firepower this offseason and sure, Bradley Roby may well be the heir to Talib’s throne, the Broncos are now young and raw once again. Denzel Ward would be the perfect fit for an aggressive Broncos secondary and would inject star power with a lot of potential. – Liam
Round 1 #13: Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick l DB l Alabama
The Redskins pick up the best defensive back in the draft in Minkah Fitzpatrick. A player who can dominate in the slot, outside, or over the top, Fitzpatrick is the prototypical modern-day DB and has impact potential. – Liam
Round 1 #14: Green Bay Packers: Mike Hughes l CB l Central Florida
Trading Damarious Randall to the Browns earlier this off-season, leaves the Packers light at corner. Kevin King had a decent rookie year and should look to further grow into the number one corner role. Hughes would be a good number two corner who also brings with him electrifying kick return skills. – Gino
Round 1 #15: Arizona Cardinals: Derwin James l S l Florida State
The Cardinals replace what they lost in the Honey Badger with a cheaper, younger and versatile safety in Derwin James. A perfect fit for the Cardinals, James will be a day-one starter who solidifies the Cardinals back end once again. – Liam
Round 1 #16: Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley l WR l Alabama
You’d be hard pressed to find a team more desperate for wide receivers than the Baltimore Ravens. Michael Crabtree, better suited as a number two receiver, currently sits number one on their depth chart. Ridley is best known for his route running skills in college. If he can learn to create separation, Baltimore will have their top receiver for the next decade. – Gino
Round 1 #17: Los Angeles Chargers: Mike McGlinchey l OT l Notre Dame
The Chargers have an interesting debate in this year’s draft, but picking up the best ranked tackle seems to be the play here. McGlinchey is an animal and the Chargers need all the help they can in fortifying the offensive front for a veteran pocket QB. – Liam
Round 1 #18: Seattle Seahwaks: Josh Jackson l CB l Iowa
It wont be easy for Seattle to replace arguably one of the best cornerbacks ever to play in Richard Sherman. Josh Jackson is a big corner that can step in and make an immediate difference. In 2017, Shaquill Griffen proved he can hold his own in the NFL. Jackson and Griffen have the ability to grow into an intimidating corner tandem. – Gino
Round 1 #19: Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton l WR l SMU
Losing Dez Bryant hurts. Maybe not from a direct production standpoint, but the Cowboys have a terrifyingly poor WR depth chart. The SMU speedster is almost a ‘must pick’ at this point. – Liam
Round 1 #20: Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice l RB l LSU
Matt Stafford’s arm can only carry a team so far. The Lions have struggled to put together any sort of running game since drafting Stafford in 2009. Names such as Jahvid Best, Joique Bell, Reggie Bush, Theo Riddick, and Ameer Abdullah are just a few of the disappointing backs the Lions have fielded behind Stafford. Derrius Guice can finally be a back that Stafford can rely on. – Gino
Round 1 #21: Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams l OT l Texas
The Bengals have a deep backfield, some great skill players and a Ginger ninja. What they don’t have is a strong offensive front. Fortifying the trenches is a key move here for a Bengals team always ‘close’ to doing something but never quite seeing it through. – Liam
Round 1 #22: Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds l LB l Virginia Tech
The Bills should be looking to bolster their lackluster linebacking core in the upcoming draft. Sean McDermott shouldn’t feel much confidence with the current trio of Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, and Tanner Vallejo at linebacker in his 4-3 defense. Buffalo lands a player who fell in the first round and get away with a steal in Tremaine Edmunds at 22. – Gino
Round 1 #23: Oakland Raiders (from New England): Marcus Davenport l Edge l Texas-San Antonio
With Chubb and Landry coming off the board earlier than expected, Oakland missed out on the premier pass-rushers in the draft. Needing defensive help, Hightower instantly fills the need linebacker for the black and silver. Drafting Davenport at 10 seemed a bit to high for an unpolished edge rusher. He will have a great mentor in Khalil Mack to help him clean up the rough edges of his game. – Gino
Round 1 #24: Carolina Panthers: Jaire Alexander l CB l Louisville
Jaire Alexander is being regarded by some as CB1 in this draft. Alexander is a versatile, ball-hawk corner who can play all over the field. Beyond James Bradberry, the Panthers lack depth at the corner position. The Louisville product can step in with his swagger and immediately raise the level of the teams defense. – Gino
Round 1 #25: Tennessee Titans: Da’Ron Payne l DT l Alabama
The Titans pick up a ruthless interior lineman with their first round pick as their attempts to solidify a leaky defense continue. – Liam
Round 1 #26: Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst l DT l Michigan
Luckily Hurst got clearance to continue playing football after being found to have a career-threatening heart condition. Hurst has great burst off the ball, but lacks size to be an overly effective run stopper. The good thing is Dan Quinn loves his defense to play fast. Hurst can step right in to be a welcomed addition to their speedy pass rush. – Gino
Round 1 #27: New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert l TE l South Dakota State
The Saints lack viable receiving tight end options and even though Benjamin Watson fulfills that role, health and depth are still two major concerns for this high flying offense. Goedert will give Drew Bree’s some extra optionality in an already multidimensional offense. – Liam
Round 1 #28: Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans l LB l Alabama
With the unfortunate loss of Ryan Shazir, Pittsburgh now looks to add another star linebacker. Evans is coming off a dominant season for the Crimson Tide with 74 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss. Alabama leaned on the dominance of Evans to win the National Championship and now Pittsburgh will hope his play brings them another Lombardi.
Round 1 #29: TRADE! Chicago Bears (from Jacksonville): Isaiah Oliver l CB l Colorado
(The Jacksonville Jaguars trade the 2018, 29th overall pick to the Chicago Bears for the 2018, 39th and 107th (4th round) overall picks and LB Howard Jones).
With the Colts and Browns likely taking corners in the early stages of the second round and there being quite a drop in talent after the top prospects, this sees Chicago give the Jags some linebacker depth in exchange for a shot at drafting Colorado Ballhawk, Isaiah Oliver. The Jags don’t have many holes at all, dropping back a few spots is not the end of the world here. – Liam
Round 1 #30: Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price l C l Ohio State
Minnesota comes into this draft with a near hole-less roster. After giving Kirk Cousins $84 million guaranteed, shoring up the offensive line should be priority number one for the Vikings. Price can come in and instantly mesh with Cousins for at least the next three years. – Gino
Round 1 #31: New England Patriots: Leighton Vander Esch l LB l Boise State
The almighty LVE finds his NFL home with the Patriots. Everyone’s favorite draft sleeper is picked in the first round and why wouldn’t he be? The Patriots make some big waves with a mid-draft trade and replace an expensive veteran with a rookie who has some tremendous upside. – Liam
Round 1 #32: Philadelphia Eagles: ?
What are the Eagles options with pick 32?
Howie Roseman has made it known to all of the NFL that the defending Super Bowl Champions are open for business at 32. Much like Jacksonville did a few picks before, the Eagles could drop back a few spots to accumulate either a late 3rd or early 4th round pick. Not having a pick on Friday makes the likely hood of a trade even than much greater. Sacrificing a fifth-year option on a first round pick may be worth the risk to accumulate more draft capital. Joe Douglas has had a history of finding late round gems and adding another day 3 pick can be beneficial when you have a great talent evaluator in your building.
Sony Michel l RB l Georgia
One-half of the two stud running backs to come out of Georgia in this years draft, Michel is in the discussion to be the third best back in the draft. Michel is coming off a year where he averaged 7.9 yards per attempt and cashing in 16 touchdowns. With Jay Ajayi having concerns with his knee on top of his contract situation, the Eagles may look to draft the replacement to the number one rushing role at 32. With Clement as the top receiving option at back, Michel can carry the load as the 1st and 2nd down back. – Gino
Justin Reid l S l Stanford
The Eagles currently field one of the top-three safety duos in the league with Jenkins and McLeod. With Jenkins getting up there in age and McLeod having a rather ugly contract, Roseman will look to find an heir-apparent at the position. Reid has range and coverage skills but struggles down in the box. With a mentor in Malcolm Jenkins, Reid could learn to become a safety who can play all over the field. – Gino
Being the Super Bowl Champions comes with the burden of picking last in every round. Knowing how Howie Roseman operates, no option is out of the question. With limited holes on the team, 32 will almost be looked at as a “luxury pick.” With not having a pick on day two, if this pick is a miss, the entire draft may be a loss. As Eagles fans we have seen the magic that Howie can pull off even with limited resources. Regardless of what happens, Eagles fans should be excited about whoever the front office believes is the best player available at the time of the pick.
Ronnie Harrison | S | Alabama
Harrison was named to the second-team All-SEC after posting 74 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. He has all the intangibles an NFL defense could ask for. Standing at 6’3″, weighing 214 pounds, Harrison is one of the bigger safeties in this year’s Draft class.
What is the difference between a good safety and a great one? As the last line of defense, you’re expected to have the upmost composure, complete command of the defense and a willingness to risk it all to save the day. Ronnie Harrison PERSONIFIES those traits. His tackling angles, positioning, ability to narrow the field is just remarkable. There is no questioning Harrison’s potential and when you factor in his accolades while at Bama, the rest speaks for itself.
Will Hernandez | G | UTEP
Hernandez makes sense for a long-term need at the left guard spot. Wisniewski may have the starting interior role for now, but with neither Seumalo nor Warmack able to win the battle that spanned 2 weeks into the regular season, it’s safe to say depth would is an underrated need. Hernandez’s stock shot up after a dominating performance at the Senior Bowl and he could find himself in first round consideration.
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports