This draft is based on the current draft order as of November 28th, 2017.
1. Cleveland Browns: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
While wide receiver, corner, and running back could also be needs for the Browns, they have to get their quarterback of the future and stick with him. Rosen could be that guy.
2. San Francisco 49ers: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The Niners just traded for their QB of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo. Barkley is in the mold of recent top picks Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette. Barkley is a complete back. While there are needs all over the Niners roster this is a pick that could stabilize their offense for years to come.
3. New York Giants: QB Sam Darnold, USC
It is unclear whether Darnold will declare for the NFL draft, however if he does it seems like a lock that he will be a top 5 selection. He and Rosen lead a class of quarterbacks with several question marks but seem to be the consensus top-two signal callers of the group. The Giants could go tackle with this pick to strengthen an offensive line that needs help. Instead, they choose to get their QB of the future.
4. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Bradley Chubb, NC State
While the Colts are deprived of talent across the roster, they could look to build through the trenches with this pick. Chubb is versatile enough as a player to play anywhere on the defensive line but he is best served getting after the quarterback.
5. Denver Broncos: OL Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
The Broncos have questions at quarterback but the most glaring need on this team is filled with Quentin Nelson. He is as polished a top guard prospect as we’ve seen since Zach Martin. Drafting Garrett Bolles last year, signing Ron Leary in the 2017 offseason, and now getting a guy like Nelson in the top 5 turns a position of weakness into a strength.
6. Chicago Bears: T Connor Williams, Texas
A major concern for the Bears is playmakers on the outside for Trubisky. At this point in the draft process, it does not seem that there are any receivers worthy of a top ten pick. In Williams, the Bears get a guy to protect their young franchise quarterback.
7. New York Jets: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
The signing of Josh McCown and his moderate success makes this selection more sensible. Allen has the potential to be the top quarterback of this class in years to come. Scouts rave about his tools, traits, and build.
8. Cleveland Browns: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
The offense in Cleveland certainly needs upgrades to help the next young quarterback, however the Browns are also thin at the cornerback spot. They could use this pick to get their replacement for Joe Haden.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Arden Key, LSU
The Buccaneers seem desperate for a guy who can come off the edge. While Bradley Chubb may be picked higher than Key, it seems that Key has a much higher ceiling. He has had some issues while at LSU, but if he checks out during the Combine you can pencil him in as a top ten pick.
10. Miami Dolphins: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Ryan Tannehill’s future is very unclear at this point and Jay Cutler isn’t getting any younger. Why not get arguably the most electric playmaker in this class? Allowing Jackson to sit for a year behind one of these veterans would give him time to get his body ready for the NFL as well as learn how to play the position at the pro level.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
With needs on the offensive line that need to be addressed, the Bengals could look to draft a tackle. But Smith has arguably been the best linebacker in all of college football this season. Pairing Smith with Vontaze Burfict forms a very reliable linebacking core for the next several seasons.
12. Arizona Cardinals: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
It is time for the Cardinals to get their guy of the future. Carson Palmer’s best days are behind him. Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert are not starting-caliber NFL quarterbacks. Mayfield is an alpha-dog that has shown flashes of potential to be a starter in this league for a long time. Assuming he checks all the boxes at the Combine, he is almost guaranteed to be a first-round pick.
13. Dallas Cowboys: S/CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Minkah Fitzpatrick has been talked about like a top five pick. But with questions looming about his positional fit, and the demand for top quarterbacks, he can potentially slide. If he falls to the Cowboys, they will certainly pull the trigger on adding an born leader to a secondary that needs it.
14. Oakland Raiders: CB Quenton Meeks, Stanford
The consensus around the league heading into this season was that the Raiders were poised to make the jump to a perennial Super Bowl contender. However, their defense has been below-average, partially due to poor play in the secondary. Meeks is a long corner who has the ability to play on the outside immediately for this team.
15. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
The Chargers could look to get their QB of the future with this pick. However, getting a tackle who has the build of a potential Pro Bowler helps this team significantly. Guard Forrest Lamp will be back from injury next season, and with the addition of Brown they can bolster this offensive line that desperately needs help.
16. Green Bay Packers: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The Packers’ receiving core is an interesting one to discuss. Jordy Nelson isn’t getting any younger, Randall Cobb has been underwhelming without Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams is set to hit free agency. The Packers can get their potential number-one receiver of the future in Ridley while still having time to groom him with veterans Cobb and Nelson on the roster.
17. Washington Redskins: S Derwin James, Florida State
This is more of a projection pick than many of the others thus far. While James is undoubtedly worthy of a first-round selection, he will have to prove to teams that he has the mental makeup to play safety in the NFL. If his instincts and football IQ ever match his talent, the Redskins could steal one with this pick.
18. Buffalo Bills: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
The loss of Marcell Dareus makes this pick easy for the Bills. Hurst is built in the mold of Giants standout Damon Harrison. He has the quickness to create interior penetration and the strength to be a dominant run defender. This would be a great fit for the Bills.
19. Detroit Lions: EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
The Lions get a guy here with some versatility. However, his best trait is getting after opposing quarterbacks. Outside of Ziggy Ansah the Lions are thin on the edge and can get a clear upgrade at a position of need.
20. Seattle Seahawks: T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The Seahawks get a tackle who may translate to right tackle better than left in the NFL. McGlinchey has shown that he can struggle with speed off the edge but is a dominant run blocker. This is one of the reasons he may be better suited on the right side of the line. There is no reason to believe that he couldn’t be a starting left tackle in the league. But, with the addition of Duane Brown that problem seems solved for the immediate future.
21. Baltimore Ravens: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
The Ravens need playmakers in several areas of their offense, why not start with getting a three down back who can win in a variety of ways. Guice could fill the role similar to his former teammate Leanord Fournette has in Jacksonville in taking pressure off both the quarterback and the defense. This seems like a great fit for both the player and the team.
22. Atlanta Falcons: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
The addition of Dontari Poe has been successful in the short-term, however getting a guy like Payne could help bolster the Falcons interior defensive line for years to come. The Falcons do have needs at other positions but this pick could make a potential loss of Poe a seamless transition.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
The defensive side of the ball for the Jaguars is loaded at every level, making this pick somewhat of a luxury. Courtland Sutton is an above-the-rim receiver who should make an immediate impact in the red zone. He would add another weapon to an offense with Fournette leading the way and Allen Robinson getting healthy. This pick could easily be a quarterback but, for the purpose of this draft, we will assume Bortles continues to be the guy in Jacksonville.
24. Carolina Panthers: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Since the departure of Josh Norman, the Panthers have lacked a true number-one corner. Alexander has the ability to be that guy. He is slightly undersized but he can cover. He has some injury history but if everything checks out in the draft process this could be a great spot for the Panthers to get a guy with high upside.
25. Buffalo Bills: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Trading with the Chiefs in the 2017 draft now allows the Bills to draft another defensive stud to pair with Maurice Hurst. Evans is the next in line of the Alabama middle linebackers to play in the NFL. He has a great physical skillset and instincts to match
26. New Orleans Saints: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
The Saints defense was among the league’s worst for several years. This year, to the surprise of many, it has been much better. Drafting Marshon Lattimore in the first round of last year’s draft has been a key part in that. Pairing Lattimore with a speedy slot corner such as Ward could give opposing teams nightmares. He is going to measure small at the Combine but he can run and is sticky in coverage.
27. Tennessee Titans: EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College
Landry has had somewhat of an underwhelming season, however he is an explosive athlete who can get around the corner in a hurry. His testing at the Combine will have a huge impact on his draft stock. If he tests well he may climb even higher into the first round. He is a player that would add immediate burst off the edge for a Titans team desperately needing it.
28. Los Angeles Rams: CB Isiah Oliver, Colorado
The Rams have been one of the surprise teams of the NFL season. They have improved on the both sides of the ball. One position that could use an influx of youth is cornerback. Oliver is a great athlete who has great length and could succeed on the outside in the NFL. He seems like one of the safer corner options in the draft process so far.
29. New England Patriots: EDGE Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
Winning as consistently as the Patriots have in recent years prevents them from ever picking near the top of the draft. This has shown up on the defense this year as they don’t have a guy who can pin his ears back and get to the quarterback. Mata’afa could be that guy for them. In a class with several edge players going in the first round it seems likely the Patriots could luck into this pass rusher.
30. Minnesota Vikings: OG Braden Smith, Auburn
The Vikings could look to draft their QB of the future here if they decide Bridgewater is not their guy. Instead of drafting for the future, they get a guy in Smith who has the versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line in the NFL. He would most likely play guard for the Vikings but gives them flexibility along their offensive line.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
The safety position for the Steelers has been a position of need since the departure of Troy Polamalu. They get a guy in Harrison who is tremendous against the run. He in dependable in man coverage and excels when playing close to the line of scrimmage. He starts to get exposed the farther he plays from the line of scrimmage but as an in the box strong safety the Steelers can get a solid player in Harrison.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Tavarus McFadden, Florida State
After a breakout sophomore season, McFadden took a large step back this season. He still has the potential to be a solid corner in the NFL. The Eagles could use their two draft picks last year to give McFadden time to get comfortable with the speed of play in the NFL. The Eagles could upgrade their receiving core depending on the futures of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, but for now they strengthen a unit that will only make their defense better.
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