1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB. Oklahoma
Analysis: Dorsey & Co. have rapidly created a strong infrastructure for Mayfield to enter without the pressure of having to be the answer as a rookie. He’s a self-starter who has earned this distinction.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB. Penn State
Analysis: Big Blue may never get a better opportunity to acquire Eli’s successor, but the prospect of bringing a generational talent – and Bronx native – home might prove impossible to pass up for the franchise.
3. New York Jets (f/IND): Sam Darnold, QB. USC
Analysis: It’s do-or-die for Gang Green’s current regime and the prototypical Darnold should be able to acclimate rather quickly while giving the staff grounds for ownership patience. The trade up pays dividends.
4. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Bradley Chubb, DE. NC State
Analysis: Possessing both a high ceiling and floor, there are few safer selections in the 2018 class. Chubb suitably complements Myles Garrett and fills Dorsey’s universal quota of improving trench play.
5. Buffalo Bills (f/DEN) – *TRADE: Josh Rosen, QB. UCLA
Analysis: The organization has maneuvered to ensure it is equipped to move on a quarterback if their man is available. Brandon Beane leverages No. 12 and 22 to secure perhaps the draft’s most polished passer.
6. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): Quenton Nelson, OG. Notre Dame
Analysis: Wholesale improvements along the offensive line are needed, particularly if Andrew Luck is to stay healthy moving forward. The in-state product could be an instant Pro Bowler.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S. Florida State
Analysis: His stock has been ascending at a torrid pace and despite various defensive upgrades safety remains an area of significant concern.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB. Virginia Tech
Analysis: A special bread of athlete with limitless potential, Edmunds can be shaped into an interior role or developed as a long-term edge – both of which would address a need.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State
Analysis: John Lynch & Co. have put forth an undeniable effort overhaul various positional groups on the roster. Ward could be the draft’s top corner and provides a new matchup dimension for this rebuilding secondary.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB. Georgia
Analysis: Rangy playmaker who can identify as the beating heart of a transitioning Raiders defense.
11. Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea, DT. Washington
Analysis: Answers the void left by Suh’s departure and possesses Haloti Ngata-esque upside.
12. Denver Broncos (f/BUF) – *TRADE: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB. Alabama
Analysis: Talib out, Minkah in – as Roby shifts into a starting role there remains the prospect of upgrading the opposite boundary with Chris Harris in the slot.
13. Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, DT. Alabama
Analysis: High-potential base 3-4 lineman with untapped pass rushing talent; can satisfy three positions along the Skins’ defensive line.
14. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB. Louisville
Analysis: Intentions were clear when the organization attempted to lure Kyle Fuller away from Chicago by offering $14-million annually: cornerback is a priority. The position still hasn’t been addressed and Alexander is Jason Verrett (healthy) 2.0.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB. Wyoming
Analysis: Ideal scenario, as it would require sacrificing future assets to make a big move up the board for a quarterback. Cards roll the dice as Allen – and his tantalizing physical composition – slides into their lap.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT. Notre Dame
Analysis: The premier tackle of the class fortuitously slides to a team in need of a big upgrade at right tackle. McGlinchey, a former teammate of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, allows Baltimore to reshuffle its offensive line.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB. Alabama
Analysis: Complete linebacker with a ready-made NFL skill-set; day one solution at SAM and suits the profile of the Chargers’ ‘in your face’ style.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE. UTSA
Analysis: Various reclamation projects aren’t solving the long-term edge need and Michael Bennett’s 8.5 sacks in 2017 are now in Philadelphia. Davenport possesses imposing dimensions and tremendous upside.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB. Boise State
Analysis: There’s a significant drop-off in defensive efficiency when Sean Lee – who has never played 16 games in a season – is injured. Vander Esch is a highly productive H/W/S defender.
20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB. LSU
Analysis: Over the past four seasons there hasn’t been a team as consistently poor at rushing the football and eventually the team must prioritize the position; Guice, a workhorse, blends power and explosion.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (f/BUF): Frank Ragnow, C. Arkansas
Analysis: Quietly ascending plug-and-play starter for a team in desperate need of solidifying the interior of its offensive line immediately; previous starter Russell Bodine is now in Buffalo.
22. Denver Broncos (f/BUF) – *TRADE: Will Hernandez, OG. UTEP
Analysis: Phone booth mauler with a mean streak; shifting back to a more power-running oriented approach, Hernandez is the ideal fit.
23. New England Patriots (f/LAR): Kolton Miller, OT. UCLA
Analysis: Solder out, Solder 2.0 in; a true workout warrior with tremendous physical skills and length. Brady’s rapid internal clock will help any rookie blocker acclimate to the pro game.
24. Carolina Panthers: Jessie Bates, S. WAKE
Analysis: Highly intriguing combo-safety with top-shelf athleticism and a refreshingly physical approach to the position. Under the radar riser.
25. Tennessee Titans: Lorenzo Carter, LB. Georgia
Analysis: Specimen-like athlete with freaky length and dimension; versatile skill-set allows for development as either an interior linebacker or as an edge with untapped pass rushing upside.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT. Florida
Analysis: Scratching the surface of his abilities; an ideal schematic fit next to the active Grady Jarrett.
27. New Orleans Saints: Calvin Ridley, WR. Alabama
Analysis: Drew Brees’ window is closing and a dynamic workhorse receiver with vertical abilities like Ridley adds a desirable element to Sean Payton’s intricate passing offense. Tremendous value.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lamar Jackson, QB. Louisville
Analysis: Surprised? Don’t be. Big Ben is regarded as an unconventional ‘playmaker’ quarterback and the offensive alignment has gradually adjusted to accommodate. It’ll take a courageous franchise willing to make a commitment: That’s Pittsburgh.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Hayden Hurst, TE. South Carolina
Analysis: Perhaps the draft’s most polished tight end, he offers a complete game and adds a different dimension to recently-signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OT. Texas
Analysis: Guard/right tackle who gives Minnesota the flexibility to kick Mike Remmers inside if needed. NFC Title gameplan was ruined due to a lack of pass protection.
31. New England Patriots: Mike Gesicki, TE. Penn State
Analysis: Profiles as the heir apparent to Gronk’s throne, but in the meantime reinstates the once-lethal double tight end threat New England found unparalleled success with.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel, RB. Georgia
Analysis: Prime trade-out candidate as the team won’t pick again until round four, but with few holes the Super Bowl champions can add a level of dynamism missing from its backfield with Michel, an all-encompassing home run threat.
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