It’s finally here. We get to see who goes #1 overall and where the in-state players we’ve followed over the last few years will end up in their pro careers.
Last night’s Lunce’s List tasked me with finding the five best quarterbacks to spend Cleveland’s #1 pick on, and you can check that list out here. Slightly controversial, but I stand by who I picked and who I left off.
With that said, here is my mock of the first five picks tonight (and instead of honorable mentions, I picked 6-10).
Also of note, I could see some trades happening depending on how things go, but I’m not going to predict that. It makes it too hectic.
1. Browns – Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
I said it last night and I’ll say it again, it’s not a debate – Baker Mayfield is the best QB in this draft. He should be taken #1 and with what we’ve heard today, he just might be the #1 guy after all. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen were both being thrown around as potential number one picks, and Saquon Barkley is being looked at as the #1 overall player in the draft, but I’ll take Baker Mayfield any day.
I’ll refer to stats I brought up yesterday: in Mayfield’s four years (three at Oklahoma and one at Texas Tech), he threw for 14,607 yards completing 68.4% of his passes (including 71% and 70.5% the last two years). He threw for 131 touchdowns and 30 interceptions which is 4.4 to 1! He threw for 43 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions last season when he won the Heisman. Last season, he never once threw under 63% in a single game and even threw over 80% twice (including a 95% completion game in his opener going 19/20).
The guy is a proven winner, and while he has had legal trouble, I’m willing to take a chance on him. Some people also frown on his crotch grabbing, but as long as he keeps that fire and passion about himself and just loses the actual touching of the crotch, then I’m fine with it.
2. Giants – Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
Give another weapon to Eli Manning. I’m still not sold on Barkley being an amazing back, but he does bring some skill in. He’s looked at as the #1 guy, but I just don’t see Cleveland pulling the trigger on him. While I could see the Giants bringing in a guy to learn under Eli for the future, I don’t know if you spend a pick right here on it. See what you can get later on and if nothing happens that you like, then go from there.
Barkley can be a good player. Just because I haven’t bought into him, doesn’t mean I think he’ll be a bust. His offensive line at Penn State was not great and he showed flashes of being good. He wouldn’t be my pick of a running back, but that’s just me. I hope he goes to New York and has a great career.
3. Jets – Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
I could see Josh Rosen here as well. If the Browns take Darnold, then I see Mayfield here. Those will be your first two quarterback picks in my opinion.
The Jets are in this position thanks to a trade with the Colts who moved down to sixth where the Jets were. You don’t make that kind of move unless you’re taking a quarterback. The Jets currently have Josh McCown who could be anywhere from the starter to the practice squad QB. Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty are also on the roster, but they haven’t lived up to their college days in the pros (and you might see them traded this weekend). But there is a new QB in town – Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater was supposed to be the savior of Minnesota as a dynamic dual-threat QB. However, a freak injury has kept him out of any meaningful competition since 2015. He is now with the Jets, but still has to show that he is healthy and ready to play.
That’s why the Jets will go with a top QB here with the #3 pick. There are four QB’s in town, but not a guarantee that any of them will be worth playing.
4. Browns – Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
Back to back elite pass rushers with Myles Garrett last year and Bradley Chubb this year. The Browns could have the best pass rush in the league. As long as they get their QB of the future with the first pick, they can go defense here.
Personally, my top defender would be Roquan Smith (who will go later in the top 10 probably), but I see the appeal in Chubb. He’s an outstanding talent who was stuck on an average NC State team. He can start day one and really help the Browns defense cause havoc in their opponent’s backfields.
5. Broncos – Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
Watch out for a trade here. I’ve seen multiple mocks that have Buffalo moving up to get a QB to either 5th or 6th. Indy won’t select one, but Denver most likely will (unless they go with Nelson or some other offensive help). If Buffalo wants Josh Allen, they could move here to make sure Denver doesn’t get him and let Denver fall back and have some more options later on. Also, watch out for Arizona trading up as well.
I’m not doing trades, and Josh Allen could easily end up in Denver too without a trade. Case Keenum will be Denver’s starting quarterback after the Broncos signed him to a large two-year deal following his conference championship run with the Vikings. He’s playing his best football right now, but he has only been marginally good before last season when he exploded for a great season going 12-4 as a starter. Denver can bring in a guy like Josh Allen to ride the pine for a couple of years, then unleash him on the NFL once Case Keenum dries up or moves on.
All of the teams that could select a QB in this spot (should there be a trade) have a quarterback for right now, but will need a QB of the future:
– Denver got Case Keenum from Minnesota who has had one good year and probably won’t be a long-time starter.
– Buffalo got AJ McCarron from Cincinnati who will get his shot as a starter, but we don’t know if he will last or not.
– Arizona got Sam Bradford who was also picked up from Minnesota and was playing his best football since joining the league in 2010 before getting injured. He’s good enough to start for a year while they groom Allen.
6. Colts – Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame) – This is a place a trade could happen. If not, expect Nelson (who is the top interior lineman) to go to Indy to give Andrew Luck some help or perhaps Roquan Smith to help anchor the defense in a division that now has three of the top teams in the AFC with some offensive firepower. If Bradley Chubb falls this far, then they could go there too.
7. Buccaneers – Derwin James (S, Florida State) – We got to see a little of Derwin James against Alabama last year. People are higher on him than I am, and I would go Minkah first, but I’ve heard almost unanimous thought that he goes to Tampa here.
8. Bears – Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia) – Easily the best defensive player in the SEC last year. Anyone that needs defensive help should want a leader like Roquan Smith to come in. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he went higher.
9. 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama) – We all know what Minkah can do and his ability to play any position in the defensive backfield. It makes him super valuable, even though I think Derwin James may end up going as the first DB in the draft.
10. Raiders – Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame) – The dude looks like he’s 40 years old even though he’s just coming out of college. He’s massive and has a great football IQ. He’ll head to Oakland and start day one.