I’m no Mel Kiper when it comes to draft predictions (haha jk, he sucks) but the draft is tonight so I figured I might as well take my shot at predicting those coveted top five picks because with the players on the top of the board this season, I’m thinking we’re looking at several future All-Pros up in here and I wanna get to know em.
#1 – Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC — Well, they’re definitely taking a QB, so get ready to add on to that long jersey-list young fella. For most of the offseason we’ve been seeing the Browns fall in love with QB Sam Darnold but lately there’s been a lot of chatter about the Brownies going full Browns and selecting Baker Mayfield with the number one pick. I personally subscribe to the notion that this is all smoke and mirrors so that the Browns can entice a team that really wants Mayfield to trade up. I don’t see the trade happening though and I see the Browns sticking to their guns. The Quest for Darnold is over, now let’s hope for Cleveland’s sake that he’s not just another Tim Couch.
#2 – New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State — While some thought the Giants would take advantage of their spot at no. 2 combined with a deep QB class to finally snag Eli’s replacement, I think Young Manning’s still got some gas left in the tank, especially now that it seems ODB will be staying put for at least this season. On the other hand, the Giants’ running game has been horrible, invisible, disastrous, nonexistent : whatever negative word you wanna use, it probably applies to the Giants rushing attack over the past couple of seasons. Enter the most polished and all-around talented running back to come out of the draft in years, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, and this pick seems like a no-brainer for the New York Football Giants.
#3 – New York Jets (via Colts) – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma — If the Browns pull a fast one on me and end up taking Baker Mayfield, you can expect the Jets to just swap and go with Darnold instead. I think Darnold goes no. 1 however, and I think Mayfield would be a great fit in New York. Not on their football team of course, because no one could really be a good fit there, what with the lack of talent and effort, but his personality and big-play penchant seem tailor-made for the city that never sleeps. The Jets have needed a QB since Chad Pennington left the squad like 15 years ago and if there was any year to draft one high, this is it. If they don’t take Mayfield, expect them to snap up one of the Josh’s to shore up that QB spot. Either way, I want to extend my condolences to whichever pivot gets chosen here because he is going to have a helluva time trying to run this offence with the broken and spare parts he’s gonna be working with.
#4 – Cleveland Browns (via Texans) – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State — If for some ridiculous reason the Giants don’t take Barkley, expect the Browns to snatch him up, but that no. 2 pick seems like the surest thing right now. Instead, expect the Browns to shift their focus to the defensive side of the ball where they’ll take highly-touted NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who can definitely be plugged in right away on what’s starting to become a fearsome front line in Cleveland alongside Myles Garrett. There is a chance they could trade their no. 4 down to try and amass more picks, as Cleveland is wont to do in recent years. Given the Brownies draft track record though, I’d really hope they just stay at #4 and go with the sure thing in Chubb.
#5 – Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame — There’s a very good chance this pick could be traded (most likely to the QB-needy Bills) but whichever team chooses here, Josh Allen is definitely a likely possibility. There’s a high chance the Broncos play it safe and go with highly-touted guard Quenton Nelson to shore up an absolutely porous o-line, but with all this talent at QB and the Broncos maybe not feeling that confident in Case Keenum, Allen is very much a possibility. The Broncos should go with Nelson in my opinion, considering their offensive line was probably the worst part of their roster last season (other than the QB spot ironically). There has been much said about the Broncos trading the pick away though (the Bills keep coming up in these discussions) and if they do, you can expect that whichever team traded up for that 5th pick did it because of the possibility of snagging a franchise QB.