The NFL Combine has come and gone, and for many players this was their chance to put a stamp on their draft card and solidify what analysts and scouts have been saying about them for the past few months. Although there wasn’t a ton of shake up in the top 10, there were a few guys that separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Going into the Combine I was most interested to see if there was a QB, Josh Allen in particular, that would jump off the page and overshadow what we all expected Saquon Barkley would do. Well, that did not happen and it wasn’t due to a poor showing by any of the top three quarterbacks. It was due to the fact that Saquon Barkley is a video game character. We put together a projected top 10
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
What most people got out of Barkley’s combine what that his performance might have been the most impressive of all time. The NFL Research Twitter account compared Barkley and put what he did in context as a 6-foot, 233-pounder and compared his numbers against those posted by recent all-pros in Indianapolis: “Stronger than Joe Thomas, quicker than DeSean Jackson, faster than Devin Hester, jumps higher than Julio Jones.” The Browns have the first pick and what I think causes Barkley to go number one is the fact that they also have the fourth pick. They could essentially try to sign Kirk Cousins and Draft Barkley first, but having the fourth pick as well gives them the luxury to choose one of the big four quarterbacks available in the draft. Barkley will have no trouble being the face of the franchise and has the personality to thrive. I do not see any way the Browns pass on Saquon Barkley.
2. Sam Darnold, QB, Southern Cal
Although Darnold did not throw at the combine, I’m not sure it matters all that much. His accuracy and arm strength have never really been the question. With Darnold it is all about decision making and giving him a year to learn behind Eli Manning could be just what the doctor ordered. Manning is 37 and bringing in Sam Darnold to take a year to learn the offense from a future hall of famer is too good of an opportunity to pass up. The Giants take Darnold at 2.
3. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Bradley Chubb makes perfect sense here for the Colts. With it looking more and more likely Andrew Luck will return in 2018, the Colts are really the only team in the top 5 that don’t need to take a quarterback. The Colts picking third is what is really forcing the Browns to take Saquon Barkley first overall. If the Browns were to pass on Barkley at one, the Colts would absolutely steal him at three. A little game of cat and mouse but Chubb is hardly an afterthought. One of the most disruptive defensive lineman in recent years, Chubb will fit the Colts scheme to a tee and be effective for years to come.
4. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Josh Allen has the best arm in the draft. In fact, he has the most arm talent in a recent memory. Over the weekend, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock mentioned that Allen had the strongest arm since JaMarcus Russel which is saying something. Honestly, the Browns have to take Josh Allen here. Josh Rosen has made it clear he probably wouldn’t want to play for the Browns when he said, “I’d rather be a lower pick on the right team, than a higher pick on the wrong team”. Baker Mayfield has drawn too many comparisons to Johnny Manziel, albeit many of them unfair, the Browns cannot afford to have another disaster at quarterback on their hands. Josh Allen is the best bet to be taken by the Browns at number 4.
5. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen may be the most NFL ready pick in the draft, which is good because the Broncos are the most playoff ready team in the top 5. Look for GM John Elway to take Rosen and bring someone in that can get his two pro bowl wide receivers the ball. Josh Rosen is extremely confident which is sometimes detrimental to the decisions he makes on the field, but Elway will absolutely take Rosen under his wing and make the most of his natural ability.
6. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
If the Jets do not sign Kirk Cousins, they will take the final QB available of “the big four”. Mayfield is a winner. His arm talent is undervalued as he is way too often compared to Johnny Manziel. Yes they can both move and extend the play, but Baker Mayfield is a very good decision maker and reads the field better than most. I expect his career in the NFL to be very exciting. If the Jets do sign Cousins, look for them to turn Minkah Fitzpatrick to go along with Jamal Adams in what could be a dominant secondary.
7. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
This is an interesting pick because I feel like Derwin James could also be enticing for Tampa Bay. Fitzpatrick is a really technically sound DB who ran a 4.47 at the combine. The Buccaneers need secondary haelp and I ultimately think Fitzpatrick fits best especially considering they are going to be losing Brent Grimes to free agency.
8. Quenton Nelson – Guard, Notre Dame
According to a few different analyst’s big boards, behind Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson is the most talented player in the draft. The problem for Nelson is there are teams drafting earlier that desperately need players at other positions. Nelson will help create a safe pocket for incumbent starter Mitchell Trubisky to work from. I like this fit for both the Bears and Nelson.
9. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, VTech
Other than Barkley, Tremaine Edmunds was the most physically impressive player at the combine. Edmunds measured in at 6’5’’ 253 LBs and ran a 4.54 40. Those are ridiculous numbers when you combine that with the fact that Edmunds racked up 30 ½ tackles for loss over the last two seasons and was drawing comparisons to Antony Barr. Edmunds may have the highest ceiling in the draft and makes perfect sense for.
10. Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Raiders badly need help on the defensive side of the ball and Derwin James could be this years biggest sleeper. James is as good as they come and has the confidence and swag to play DB in the NFL. He’s drawn Jalen Ramsey comparisons and that is definitely not a bad thing. I think James makes a jump into the top ten and gets picked up by the Raiders.