Just like last year, the Cleveland Browns are on the clock with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
This year’s first round comes from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday night. Here’s one projection of how the Top 10 could look and their relevant odds. Check out Sports Interaction’s NFL odds board to bet on the 2018 NFL Draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, they have been looking for a franchise quarterback. In recent years, they have traded out of chances to select the likes of Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson just to name two. There’s really no question that Cleveland will take a quarterback with the top pick this year – fans would literally revolt if they don’t – but whether it’s Allen or Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold. Allen has the size and arm strength that scouts dream and thus the higher potential ceiling than Darnold but also the higher bust factor. Darnold is currently -205 at Sports Interaction to go first. Allen is +175.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern Cal
This is really where the draft starts. If the Browns take Darnold, the Giants aren’t expected to look quarterback here because they only have eyes for Donald to be the long-term replacement for Eli Manning. So if Darnold goes No. 1, the Giants seem likely to go with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley … or perhaps trade the pick.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets traded a big haul to the Indianapolis Colts in March to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 overall. Gang Green already has declared it will take a quarterback, but no one is quite sure which the Jets prefer. Many believe it will be Mayfield, the flamboyant Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma. His personality likely would play well in the Big Apple. Mayfield is also +450 to be chosen first by Cleveland.
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
If the Browns take Allen at No. 1, then Barkley should be available here. If Cleveland goes with Darnold, then Barkley probably goes at No. 2 to the Giants and Cleveland would grab defensive end Bradley Chubb from NC State to pair him with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett. That the Browns grab Allen first and Barkley fourth is +500 on the draft props.
5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Broncos are likely going to get a lot of calls to move this pick and certainly could if they aren’t in love with Rosen. The team did sign former Vikings QB Case Keenum to a two-year free-agent deal this offseason, but Keenum is nothing short of a place-holder.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
If one of the four quarterbacks listed above is still available here, I’d expect the Colts to trade this pick to move back and land even more selections on top of what the Jets gave them. Indianapolis doesn’t need a quarterback with Andrew Luck around. It definitely needs defensive help.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Secondary help is No. 1 on the Bucs’ wish list as Tampa Bay allowed an NFL-high 4,169 passing yards last season. Quarterbacks also completed 67.6 per cent, with only three defenses allowing a higher number. The Bucs would jump all over Barkley, though, if he were here.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Bears would do backflips if Nelson is still here. He’s considered the most NFL-ready player in this draft and already a professional-caliber run blocker who also brings a nasty streak. The Bears have to protect franchise quarterback Mitch Trubisky. In addition, Chicago’s new offensive line coach is Harry Hiestand. He held the same position at Notre Dame since 2012.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
If you watched this past season’s College Football Playoff, then you saw the Dawgs’ Smith all over the field in the semifinal win over Oklahoma and the national title game loss to the Tide. The 49ers also have a huge question mark at linebacker with the off-field problems of Reuben Foster.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
Last year, Jon Gruden was working the draft for ESPN. Now he’s back as the team’s coach. The Oakland pass defence was terrible in 2017 with just five interceptions, by far the fewest in the league, and allowing quarterbacks to complete 68.1 per cent of their passes for 241 yards per game and a rating of 101.8. Ward is the best pure cover corner in the draft.