Ahhhh, the most wonderful time of the football year! It’s like Christmas for hopeful fans and idyllic coaches. There are obviously winners, but there are losers here as well…
The men who’s jobs will be claimed (or at least put in peril) as a result of the below draft picks will wake up with a lump of coal in their figurative stockings. The draft has so many juicy implications!!!
Below are my takes and analysis about the picks in the upcoming NFL Draft in Dallas, and where I see our bright-eyed prospects landing. I’ve been going through iterations of this based on my study of team rosters, as well as what I’m hearing about each prospect.
Your favorite analyst has no idea what (s)he’s talking about as this is usually a crapshoot…… I DO.

(NOTE): I believe we’ll see more trades up and down the draft order than what we are used to seeing… but I think they will end up being trades for players at the same positions listed for the particular team below.)

1.  Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB
  • Usually, we know who is going #1 well in advance. So, are the Browns leaning towards Josh Allen? Don’t believe the lies. It can be easy to get lost in the pre-draft hype and rumor mill… but did we lose sight of the fact that Darnold was always the #1 QB prospect? I get that he has a surplus of tantalizing physical traits that remind some of Carson Wentz; but during the college football season, Allen was not often ranked even among the top 4 QB’s in the nation. C’mon… Cleveland is not taking Josh Allen… right? That would be the most Browns thing to ever happen… wait…

2.  Buffalo Bills (TRADE w/ Giants) – Josh Allen, QB

  • I know they denied it, but I believe that the Bills aim to trade up high for a QB. They got embarrassed by the whole Tyrod Taylor fiasco, and are eager to get a premium passer to make up for it and stamp it with a “See! We knew what we were doing!” If they don’t, the Dolphins will. The Bills send pick nos. 12 and 22 to ‘Big Blue’ (who decide to get off the pot) and take the raw rook who can sit behind AJ McCarron (for a bit). Having McCarron already on roster, makes the Bills uniquely suited to take a stab at the player with the biggest bust potential in the 1st round… because they essentially have 2 swings! There is a chance the Giants stay to take Saquon Barkley, but I think they want more pieces to squeeze more life (shout my dude Drake) out of Eli Manning.

3.  New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB

  • Three QB’s in a row! Wooh! NFL Teams are more desperate than housewives these days! Baker Mayfield has been disrespected in the quarterback class throughout this whole process, but it only takes one team to believe in him. The Jets may welcome a QB with some attitude and self assurance, as their last couple have been urkels (that’s why their wins’ low), and their most hallowed passer of all time was a rockstar. Jets have a shot to reclaim NY here. I believe in Baker big time.
    • Previous Pick: Josh Rosen, QB

4.  Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE

  • This is how I used to play Madden. I would maniacally stockpile like 8 picks in the 1st round. The Browns have a lot of ammo to continue to take some major swings this year. Swings are desperately needed, as this is a team that has gone 1-31 the last two years. How do you take steps to climb out of the league dumpster? Well, “they” say the two most important positions in football are the passers, then the pass rushers. Cleveland got their QB, and now they nab their bookend Defensive End to pair with Myles Garrett. The Browns think about Barkley, as a transformative talent at running back, but they’ve already signed Carlos Hyde and Tyrod Taylor, who will both help to improve the run game.

5.  Denver Broncos – Saquon Barkley, RB

  • And I had this pick slated to them before they released C.J. Anderson! Denver signed Case Keenum as their next leader at QB. Let that sink in… I think they give themselves a buffer, just in case last year was a fluke for Keenum. Give your offense a ball control element, and take the pressure off of an aging defense. The Broncos are very lucky/happy to marry need with best player available here.

6.  Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, OG

  • Here is where things get interesting. I think the Colts are prime candidates to trade back, as they have a sloppy roster surrounding The Wizard of Oz — I mean Andrew Luck… that was exposed by his absence last year. The rush on QB’s makes this a bit murky on the trade front. Could the Chargers, Cardinals or even the Patriots trade up for Josh Rosen or Lamar Jackson…? I could see it. Maybe even the Jaguars?? I would if I were them (you have everything else). For now, I’ll keep the Colts right here to take the hottest blocker in the draft to protect Mr. Luck.

7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S

  • Everyone sees this coming. The Bucs need a playmaker in the secondary. My roommate is from Tampa, and wants Barkley, but he won’t be around. They have Jacquizz Rodgers around, and can capitalize on a deep draft for running backs later on. Very tempted to say they’ll keep Derwin James in Florida, but I think they take a more versatile safety for their sagging defense. The last safety drafted in the first two rounds from Alabama should have won DPOY in 2017…!

8.  Chicago Bears – Tremaine Edmunds, LB

  • Da Bears would’ve LOVED to see Quenton Nelson to fall to them. A Bears fan recently told me about the possibilities if his team drafted Tremaine Edmunds, and then laughed diabolically.. that swayed me, believe it or not. Chicago could use an athletic playmaker who will be the face of the franchise, and solidify an already tough defense.
  • Previous Pick: Denzel Ward, CB

9.  San Francisco 49ers – Roquon Smith, LB

  • With the addition of (sadly for my fellow Seattlites) Richard Sherman to this defense, just for masochistic fun, I was tempted early on to give them the Kam Chancellor clone in Derwin James… But with Reuben Foster over there trippin’ I can easily see the ‘Whiners’ sending a message by drafting his potential replacement. It would also give them an outstanding additional linebacker who will be instinctual and great in coverage. Upgrading the wideout corps (Courtland Sutton?) for Jimmy G. would also have to be a thought here as well, but Smith is too good to pass up.
  • Previous Pick: Tremaine Edmunds, LB

10.  Oakland Raiders – Vita Vea, DT

  • Jon Gruden is here to save the offense. I think Oakland actually already has much of the pieces they need on ‘O’ to make it happen. How do we improve the defense around the Khalil Mack dynamo? Vita Vea Could certainly help in clogging up the middle, and keeping the linebackers clean. Playing next to Mack would allow Vea to tap into his potential more quickly.
  • Previous Pick: Roquon Smith, LB

11.  Miami Dolphins – Josh Rosen, QB

  • Rosen falls a bit… Picking Da’ron Payne here would help some of the Dolphins erratic moves this offseason make sense, but I think they don’t care, and will roll the dice on a QB that can push and replace Tannehill. The Dolphins got a taste of life without the back and forth on annointing their QB, and it was exhilerating (although not successful)! Tannehill was a wide receiver partway through college wasn’t he? That was me being facetious. I know he was. Rosen is a gifted, natural passer. He needs to be challenged (per his college coach), and will be with an offensive mind at the helm in Adam Gase. His lack of a big frame and big arm will be mitigated with playing in the ever-warm city of Miami. The Dolphins may even need to trade up to get this done.
  • Previous Pick: Baker Mayfield, QB

12.  New York Giants – Mike McGlinchey, OL

  • The Giants are just gleeful here. Annoyingly so. They trade back and can still nab the best tackle in the draft. They unwittingly roll with the disintegrating Eli Manning… but they can protect him with this pick, and pave the way for a still to come rookie running back.

13.  Washington ‘skins – Da’ron Payne, DT

  • The D.C Team was rock bottom in the league in terms of run defense. Getting Jonathan Allen back from injury will help. Selecting Payne here will turn Run ‘D’ into a strength.
  • Previous Pick: Vita Vea, DT

14.  Green Bay Packers – Denzel Ward, CB

  • Is it just me, or does it seem like Green Bay has selected 50 CB’s in the last 4 drafts? I changed my mind away from them selecting D.J. Moore to make up for the traumatic release of Jordy Nelson (even though that could be nice). Denzel Ward slips lower than most predict, and Green Bay can’t afford to pass. Along with signing Mo Wilkerson, they finally start building the defense to compliment and make the most of Aaron Rodgers’ unparalleled prime!!
  • Previous Pick: D.J. Moore, WR

15.  Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB

  • Look, let’s be honest: The Rams have become elite, the forty-whiners have clear eyes and full hearts with Jimmy Garropolo and you can’t ever count out the Seahawks with Russell Wilson and their mad scientist head coach. You need something those teams don’t have! If we lived in a world where Sam Bradford could stay healthy, I’d be comfortable taking Calvin Ridley to team with and learn from Larry Fitzgerald; but that world is not this one. Imagine if Lamar Jackson could really fulfill his unlimited potential and become what Michael Vick should have been… flipping the defensive gameplans on their heads and electrifying a whole franchise.

16.  Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR

  • This is Ozzie Newsome’s last 1st round pick. Can he resist taking another Alabama player?? We are all on to him, and Ozzie is playing coy! Maybe he tries to trade up to make a splash for Lamar Jackson (Wakanda Forever), but I think he gives it one last shake, and provides Joe Flacco with a solid stable of receivers (Ridley, Mike Crabtree, William Snead IV, the ghost of John Brown and the final chance for Breshad Perriman) for the first time in eons! Their defense was monstrous at times last year, so this would help provide balance.

17.  Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James, S

  • The bolts have a fleeting thought of moving up for Baker Mayfield to help win back L.A. fans from the Rams, but I believe they are right on the precipice of contention. You’ve got an incredible pass rushing duo, and some high level corners: Now you need a centerfielder to bring them all together. Gus Bradley may see what could be when he sees Kam Chancellor in Derwin James, and is hyped that he dropped.

18.  Seattle Seahawks – Harold Landry, DE

  • My beloved team. You are so alluring and unpredictable. It is maddening. Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s draft strategy is always eclectic and rarely immediately understood. They will not take a corner or safety here… this is where all of your national analysts are wrong. Believe it or not, they are good in the secondary (maybe corner in the 2nd or 3rd if they don’t resign Byron Maxwell). All Seattle needs on ‘D’ is a strong pass rush. They have Frank Clark, who can ball, and Dion Jordon who flashed at the end of last year. The Hawks love their misunderstood pass rusher archetype… they look for loopholes. Harold Landry and Arden Key fit that mold. I believe it will be Landry, after Key disappointing with his timed speed at the combine. I think we are also good at the running back position, but it would be very Pete Carroll-esque to consider an RB1 here in Derrius Guice, as he wants to have a punishing running game at all costs, and believes in competition. I personally wanted the Hawks to take an interior lineman, like Isaiah Wynn, but Pete seems to believe that the O-line will be better next year due to experience, signings and player returning from injury. I pray that he is correct.

19.  Dallas Cowboys – D.J. Moore, WR

  • Dez is done is Dallas. The Cowboys have to help their quarterback succeed after he was somewhat exposed last year. Acquiring a replacement for Dez who can actually get separation will be clutch. Pairing him with Allen Hurns will provide a quality receiving crew. They also need a safety… and I’m predicting a draft day trade for the Seahawks’ Earl Thomas. Pete Carroll is cleaning house.
  • Previous Pick: Courtland Sutton, WR

20.  Detroit Lions – Leighton Vander Esch, LB

  • If I were Matt Patricia, I would still be pissed at Belichick for trading away Chandler Jones… couldn’t you just see Patricia giving Bill angry side-eyes from beneath his beard? The defense that Patricia and Belichick ran prized having versatile defenders who can play in multiple spots. That would be our man, LVE. And they loved white guys. Just kidding. I think.

21.  Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels, C

  • This one is easy. The Bengals need the best interior lineman that they can get their hands on. All 3 spots could use an upgrade. I’m scared about Joe Mixon… and Andy Dalton. They need a security detail.

22.  New York Giants – Derrius Guice, RB

  • The G-Men feel pretty good in trading down, and still getting a top running back and a top lineman. They are looking to maximize their offense, and Guice provides the punishing style that could make life easier for everyone around him. If Guice isn’t here, they wait longer on an RB and roll with Marcus Davenport to replace JPP.

23.  New England Patriots – Connor Williams, OL

  • The Pats believe in taking best player available at every turn. It just so happens that this player solves a need. I think Bill Belichick is done after this year, and has an attitude about it… He won’t take a skill position player, who needs to learn, first. He’ll protect his 40-year old trigger man. I know the defense was rough sometimes, but there are players coming back from injury (Derek Rivers, Dont’a Hightower), and players that were added (Danny Shelton, Jason McCourty). Mason Rudolph seems enticing here, but I think they can wait to take a less heralded QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.

24.  Carolina Panthers – Marcus Davenport, DE

  • This one is tough. I think the Panthers have to get back to their ways when they had an elite corner, and a tough defense, but they also need another weapon for Cam. They wanted more speed and spacing, so Christian Kirk could be a great selection here… They ultimately go with a guy that can add teeth to the defense and take pressure off of the secondary; and hope that Russell Shepherd can take some big steps. They will take a hard nosed running back at some point to compliment Christian McCaffrey, and open things up for Super Cam.
  • Previous Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB

25.  Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans, LB

  • Fresh meat for Mike Vrabel. The Titans pass rushers are aging, and could use a rotation to keep the pressure fresh and attacking. They learn from their AFC South rival Jags. We all wanted to see the feel good story of Rashaan Evans going to the Steelers to help them cope with the absence of Ryan Shazier, but the Titans have to make the move that could greatly benefit their defense in the long run.
  • Previous Pick: Marcus Davenport, DE

26.  Atlanta Falcons – Harrison Phillips, DT

  • Dan Quinn is a defensive coach, and has been slowly and deliberately building an electric squad on D. They are starting to resemble an early Seahawks squad (*sniff*sniff*). Atlanta keeps the party going by replacing Dontari Poe with Phillips, a defensive tackle who will bring a huge run stuffing element to the team.
  • Previous Pick: Da’ron Payne, DT

27.  New Orleans Saints – Taven Bryan, DT

  • The Saints lost out in their push for Ndamukong Suh in free agency, and could add an active force in the middle with the raw Taven Bryan. Playing next to Cam Jordan may help his development. Bryan has huge upside, and might actually help turn the Saints into a pressure cooker on defense (*gasp!*).

28.  Pittsburgh Steelers – Josh Jackson, CB

  • It’s almost ridiculous that the Steelers have had the level of talent that they’ve had, and haven’t played in more super bowls. They have one of the top 6 or so QB’s in the league, a top O-line, one of the top 2-3 running backs in the game, and 2 other explosive receivers. Let’s make sure the defense is there to hold up its end of the bargain while Big Ben is still amongst us (didn’t mean for that to sound morbid). Joe Haden won’t play forever, and the Steelers need to be able to keep things from turning into shootouts.
  • Previous Pick: Rashaan Evans, LB

29.  Jacksonville Jaguars – Orlando Brown Jr., OT

  • Not many holes on this roster. I can understand the sentiment to draft a prototypical #1 Wideout… but these guys have 4-5 really intriguing talents at that position! Plus, the top 3 receivers are gone in this simulation anyway. Christian Kirk would be almost redundant to the talent they already have (watch and see). This, of course, all depends on Blake Bortles‘ ability to allow them to shine. How about a lineman to really minimize the pressure that B.B. faces? If there were a top notch middle linebacker prospect on the board at this point, that would be the pick, but that won’t be the case; plus, not sure you want to mess with the mojo on D. If it ain’t broke… you know the rest. Anyway, this guy is basically a perfect right tackle candidate (ya don’t hear that very much).

30.  Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez, OG

  • They are close. Signing Kirk Cousins was a solid move, if overrated. Signing Sheldon Richardson was a solid move, and underrated. The Vikings’ D is elite, and will improve, while the offense just needs consistency. This is a Super Bowl contender, and I believe they will be in the NFC ‘Ship.

31.  New England Patriots – Isaiah Oliver, CB

  • I believe that the Patriots could ultimately trade this draft slot into the wild blue… someone looking to trade back into the 1st round to take Sony Michel or Mason Rudolph (PIT, NO, LAC, NYG?) will pull the trigger. If the Pats stick with the selection, I say they take Oliver. Belichick has always like long corners, and even tailored his gameplan in the Super Bowl to leave out his top CB in order to play bigger corners. This is good value, and helps to append New England’s rough defense. I think they’ll wait on a Brady successor until a bit later in the draft (Kyle Lauletta or Luke Falk).
  • Previous Pick: Josh Jackson, CB

32.  Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Reid, S

  • Not sure that I see any holes on this roster… but I think there is an opportunity to upgrade the safety position with a ball-hawking presence on the roster. This team is so solid that there is no need to trade down, as they only need quality, not quantity.
Slipped out of 1st Round: Mason Rudolph, Christian Kirk, Courtland Sutton, Jaire Alexander