From the day after the Super Bowl, up until the day before the draft, I had Sam Darnold slotted in as the Browns number one pick. Then last night I switched to Josh Allen because I had just worked for 21 hours straight and wasn’t in my right mind. And here we are now watching Baker Mayfield get taken #1 overall. This is why we love the draft… The suspense always pays off!
Mayfield, a Tony Romo clone in my eyes, will instantly become the emotional leader of this ever improving Browns roster. He’s got great receivers, an underrated offensive line, and more than capable running backs. It’s all set up for him to win the job right out of training camp, even over the proven Tyrod Taylor.
at: Thu April 26th 8:56 PM
2. Saquon BarkleyGiants
Penn State 6-foot, 233 lbs.
I’ve said it once and I’ll go to the grave saying that this is a mistake. They have a 37-year-old quarterback who hasn’t been good in three years and they are coming off of a three win season. A young, franchise quarterback should have been the no brainer selection here, especially with Sam Darnold still on the board. Apparently with this new regime, the Giants are reportedly sold on “winning now”.
Having said all of this negative stuff, at least they passed on a quarterback for an elite player, and not someone who will make little impact right away. Charlie Casserly of the NFL Network has gone on record that he sees Barkley as a better version of LaDainian Tomlinson (someone lock him up in an asylum already) and while that is a pretty big stretch, I could definitely see him having an immediate impact similar to that of Ezekiel Elliott and/or Alvin Kamara in their rookie years.
at: Thu April 26th 8:56 PM
3. Sam Darnold Jets
USC 6-foot-3, 221 lbs.
And you’re looking at the winners of the draft right here. They picked third overall and still somehow managed to get the best quarterback in the draft. My comparison for him is Jameis Winston and quite frankly he may have more arm talent and athletic ability. At just 20 years old, he has plenty of room to still grow too. Love the pick here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start right out of training camp.
at: Thu April 26th 8:57 PM
4. Denzel WardBrowns
Ohio State 5-foot-11, 183 lbs.
While undersized, Ward is one of the best pure cover corners in recent memory. He ran a 4.32 40-time at the Combine and claims that he could have ran faster. Beyond that, Ward posted seven different games last year in which he allowed zero receptions. Kid is a stud, great pick from Cleveland here.
at: Thu April 26th 8:57 PM
5. Bradley ChubbBroncos
N.C. State 6-foot-4, 270 lbs.
Chubb is the draft’s best edge presence and has been considered by some experts to be a better player than last year’s can’t miss prospect Myles Garrett. Paired with Von Miller, the Broncos immediately possess the league’s best pass rushing duo.
at: Thu April 26th 9:01 PM
6. Quenton NelsonColts
Notre Dame 6-foot-5, 325 lbs
This was kind of a no brainer, as the Colts managed to scoop up the draft’s best overall player. Nelson has immediate Pro Bowl potential and the best chance out of any player in this draft to make the hall of fame. He will instantly improve this non-existent Colts ground game and he should do a great job protecting Andrew Luck as well.
at: Thu April 26th 9:05 PM
7. Josh AllenBills
Wyoming 6-foot-4, 237 lbs
I’ll hang my hat on the fact that I have gotten all of the quarterback and team pairings right so far… It’s just a matter of where the picks were made. For Allen, I always felt that Buffalo was the best place for him because it’s out of the limelight and the weather is close to something he’s used to. He likely won’t start right away, but his elite arm strength and size gives scouts hope that he can be a franchise quarterback some day.
at: Thu April 26th 9:08 PM
8. Roquan SmithBears
Georgia 6-foot-1, 225 lbs
A sideline-to-sideline tackling machine and a cover linebacker built in the vain of Derrick Brooks, Smith combines those traits to make him one of the most talented linebackers of recent memory. The Bears will use him as a plug and play on the inside or as a weak side roamer. Those playing in IDP leagues could find some serious value in Smith for years to come.
at: Thu April 26th 9:13 PM
9. Mike McGlinchey49ers
Notre Dame 6-foot-8, 315 lbs
A little rich for the top-10, but as I always say… Once you get a quarterback, you do all you can to build around him. McGlinchey is a massive mauler, whose best trait right now is beating up guys in the run game. That should have him initially start his career on the right side or inside at guard, however I believe he eventually becomes a blindside protector.
at: Thu April 26th 9:23 PM
10. Josh RosenCardinals
UCLA 6-foot-4, 218 lbs
I’ll say it, I love this kid. Despite all of the hate, I think he’s misunderstood. In all of his interviews, he seems like a player with a thirst for knowledge and more than just in football too. He never dodges a question and is confident in everything he does. Rosen will join a rebuilding Cardinals roster, but an experienced coaching staff who will do a great job teaching him the game at the NFL level. On the field, Rosen is the most accurate and intelligent passer in this class. He should flourish in the desert.
Oh, and also... I'm still perfect in the quarterback/teams pairing department.
at: Thu April 26th 9:25 PM
11. Minkah FitzpatrickDolphins
Alabama 6-foot-1, 202 lbs
It was no secret that Minkah was falling, but it’s only because teams lack conviction. The misconception about Fitzpatrick is that he’s a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” The reality is that he’s the most versatile defensive back in years and plays all secondary positions at a high level. He will start in Miami as a nickel corner in all likelihood, but he should be utilized all across the formation to get the best out of him.
at: Thu April 26th 9:30 PM
12. Vita VeaBuccaneers
Washington 6-foot-5, 340 lbs
This is the biggest upset in the draft so far, as most experts believed that Derwin James wouldn’t get past the Buccaneers. Apparently they saw Vita Vea (the player in this draft most closely resembling Maui from Moana) as the bigger – both literally and figuratively – difference maker on their defense. Expect him to be one of the league’s best interior penetrators and run pluggers for the next decade or so.
at: Thu April 26th 9:35 PM
13. Da'Ron PayneRedskins
Alabama 6-foot-2, 308 lbs
Let the Derwin James slide continue… While this pass was surprising, the Redskins did still manage to take the next logical player based off of their needs – Da’Ron Payne. Payne will join Jonathan Allen – his former trenchmate at Alabama – along an improving Redskins defensive unit.
at: Thu April 26th 9:38 PM
14. Marcus DavenportSaints
Texas-San Antonio 6-foot-5, 260 lbs
Talk about a stunner! I woulda bet my replica WWF Heavyweight Title Belt on the fact that this was a trade up to get Lamar Jackson. Instead the Saints grabbed the most underdeveloped player in the draft; a guy who I once called rawer than sushi. Having said all of this, Davenport is not a player without immense potential. He plays a premium position and is immensely athletically gifted. I can’t imagine him starting right off the bat, but he will be a rotational guy on a great defensive line unit. He has a lot to learn from Cam Jordan.
at: Thu April 26th 9:47 PM
15. Kolton MillerRaiders
UCLA 6-foot-9, 310 lbs.
He’s 6-foot-9 with a massive wingspan, and he blew up the Combine. Sure, Miller may eventually turn into something, but right now he’s not even close to the sum of his parts… Quite frankly his tape stinks and the Raiders better not plan on having him start right away.
at: Thu April 26th 9:51 PM
16. Tremaine EdmundsBills
Virginia Tech 6-foot-4, 253 lbs.
A third incredibly raw player taken in a row, Edmunds is yet another physical freak who will be looking to transform his position. Some are comparing him to Brian Urlacher, but I am more subdued and have likened him to Rolando McClain. He doesn’t really yet know what he’s doing yet but can eventually develop into a star for Buffalo.
at: Thu April 26th 9:58 PM
17. Derwin JamesChargers
Derwin James is a leader of men and will only use this draft slide as fuel to become an even more fierce player. He reminds me of Eric Berry in a lot of ways, but he may be an even more skilled version of him inside the box. He will make an impact as a downhill thumping SS and as a nickel corner.
at: Thu April 26th 10:06 PM
18. Jaire Alexander Packers
Louisville 5-foot-10, 196 lbs.
Stunned that the Packers traded up and DIDNT take Harold Landry – the best player still on the board. I guess I misinterpreted the Packers biggest needs.
Let’s not take anything away from the player they did take though, as Jaire Alexander is a baller. Sure he’s undersized, but his tape plays big, while his Combine performance was otherworldly. A home run pick for the Packers here and they didn’t have to give up too much to get him.
at: Thu April 26th 10:22 PM
19. Leighton Vander EschCowboys
Boise State 6-foot-4, 256 lbs.
With all of the great players still on the board just before their pick, it’s a mystery why the Cowboys didn’t move up to grab either Derwin James or Harold Landry.
In any event, it’s been a sneaky feeling I’ve had for at least the last few weeks that LVE – as he is now being called – would be the pick. He has the size and athletic traits to man the middle or play outside at a high level in this league, however it’s likely inside where he will settle in for Dallas from day one. While he’s a bit raw at the moment, his development towards the second half of last season proved to me that he will quickly pick up the NFL game too.
at: Thu April 26th 10:28 PM
20. Frank RagnowLions
Arkansas 6-foot-5, 312 lbs.
A little rich for my taste, as Ragnow is more of a third round talent, but he’s a mean and physical run blocker who possesses both center and guard versatility. There are far better interior offensive linemen still out there, but sometimes prospects are like ice cream flavors – everyone has different taste.
at: Thu April 26th 10:35 PM
21. Billy PriceBengals
Ohio State 6-foot-4, 305 lbs.
… Billy Price, for example, is a player whom I find to be better inside than Frank Ragnow. He too possesses positional versatility and now has been fully cleared of his biceps injury suffered at the Combine. With a Big-10 pedigree, he should have no problem transitioning to the pro game, even as a day one starter.
at: Thu April 26th 10:38 PM
22. Rashaan EvansTitans
Alabama 6-foot-2, 232 lbs.
While most of these linebackers that have flown off the board are athletic freaks and project players, Evans is the opposite. However, you want a guy who will average 120 tackles for the next 10 seasons? Take Evans. Want a downhill thumper on the inside? Take Evans. A safe and solid pick for Tennessee here.
at: Thu April 26th 10:47 PM
23. Isaiah WynnPatriots
Georgia 6-foot-3, 313 lbs.
The Patriots could have gone in a variety of ways here, especially because they have two first rounders, so nothing would have really surprised me. With that being said, good on New England for getting the best lineman available. Wynn offers the versatility to play anywhere inside, while he also possesses ample experience as an offensive tackle in college. His tape is great and he tested well. Nothing negative to say about this safe selection.
at: Thu April 26th 10:54 PM
24. D.J. MoorePanthers
Maryland 6-foot, 210 lbs.
One whom many compare to Steve Smith is “going home” in a way, when you think about it. Moore may not be the biggest, but he is a fierce competitor and is a running back with the ball in his hands. He will serve as an emotional leader on the field and will pair nicely with Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey in their newfound lightning quick passing attack.
at: Thu April 26th 11:01 PM
25. Hayden HurstRavens
South Carolina 6-foot-4, 250 lbs.
It wasn’t much of a secret how much the Ravens liked Hurst, as they did a ton of work on him and visited him on three separate occasions throughout the draft process. While a great pick on the field, it’s also a great story off the field, as Hurst gets the chance to start a new chapter in his life after suffering with anxiety and depression over the last few years. His career as a failed baseball prospect with the yips is far behind him now, as he produced a college football career without any drops. Love these kinds of stories.
at: Thu April 26th 11:11 PM
26. Calvin RidleyFalcons
Alabama 6-foot-1, 190 lbs.
This had to be a pure BPA pick because it’s not like the Falcons really needed more receiver help. Regardless they ended up snagging the best receiver in the draft, a guy who creates his own separation and will be the perfect compliment to Julio Jones – either at the Z position or in the slot.
at: Thu April 26th 11:20 PM
27. Rashaad PennySeahawks
San Diego State 5-foot-10, 220 lbs.
WHAT?? Absolutely the biggest shock of the first round right here, as Penny was my 8th ranked running back and a fourth round prospect overall. While I like the kid, this has to be one of the biggest overdrafts of recent memory.
With the negativity out of the way, understand that Penny is a guy who I likened to Mark Ingram at his best, so the potential is there for him to be not only a contributor for Seattle, but an immediate fantasy factor also.
at: Thu April 26th 11:42 PM
28. Terrell EdmundsSteelers
Virginia Tech 6-foot, 217 lbs.
I know I’m saying it a low towards the end of this draft, but this is a bit of a reach pick. Again, having said that, I do like the player and I arguably like Terrelle Edmunds better than his brother Tremaine Edmunds (HOT TAKE ALERT). The saying goes that by the last 10 picks of the first round, you usually arent picking first round talents anymore anyway, so who am I to criticize the Steelers for taking a second round player here. His physical play style and ball instincts should have him fit right in with the Steelers defensive culture.
at: Thu April 26th 11:45 PM
29. Taven BryanJaguars
Florida 6-foot-5, 291 lbs.
Bryan is quite raw and shows a lot of inconsistencies on tape, however when he flashes positively, it is usually flashes of greatness. Right now he will be a rotational three-technique as an upfield penetrator, however I do see some J.J. Watt upside. It will take a series of perfect development cycles for him to get there however.
at: Thu April 26th 11:47 PM
30. Mike HughesVikings
UCF 5-foot-10, 189 lbs.
Mike Hughes enters an already crowded and talented cornerback room, likely watching and learning first before he gets the starting nod. When he’s ready though, the Vikings will have a talented press-man corner, who makes up for his lack of size and recovery speed with physicality and ball skills.
at: Thu April 26th 11:53 PM
31. Sony Michel Patriots
Georgia 5-foot-11, 215 lbs.
Love this pick for the Pats, as they will be getting a guy whom I compared to Tiki Barber. Where people try to knock him for his lack of receiving production this past season, I see a guy who instead showed more versatility this season by improving his game between the tackles. He’s a do-it-all back that will thrive, even in the rotational role that the Patriots are likely to put him in.
at: Thu April 26th 11:56 PM
32. Lamar JacksonRavens
Louisville 6-foot-2, 215 lbs.
Call me crazy, but Lamar Jackson may actually push Joe Flacco in training camp for the starting job. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself why the Ravens traded back into the first round just to go up and get him… Believe it or not, Joe Flacco has been put on notice, and with a new host of receivers, the Ravens may just be changing their offensive philosophy before our very eyes.