Dan Bird guides you through his predictions for the Round 1 happenings in Dallas in the early hours of Friday April 27th. Don’t forget that our GnG Draft Party in Manchester later that evening will replay all of Day 1 then go live to Day 2 at midnight – full details in the events section!
1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Easily the best player in this draft class, Browns need to hit some solid picks in their top 5 and you won’t go wrong with Barkley, raw power and finesse between the tackles make him a home run 1st overall pick.
2. Baltimore Ravens TRADE w/ New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Joe Flacco won’t play forever and this is my bold prediction for this year’s draft, Giants will either think Barkley or bust and Dave Gettleman loves stocking picks and this is a great way to do so on draft night.
3. New York Jets(via Colts): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The obvious move here, the Jets moved up to get the best QB on the board and that is Sam Darnold, won’t have to be rushed into playing right away with Teddy Bridgewater there and can learn behind him in year one. Perfect landing spot.
4. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Browns gamble and take the second best QB in this draft, it’s a risk but John Dorsey likes having talent and why to reach for your QB at pick 1 when you can have a good project guy which is what all these QBs are in this draft at number 4.
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Broncos won’t be entering the quarterback sweepstakes and I can quite easily see them moving out of the 5th pick for a team who does want a young QB, but here they will take the best player for their needs and that is the best lineman in the draft Quenton Nelson.
6. Indianapolis Colts(via Jets): Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
Colts know who they’re taking at the 6th pick and its somebody who is going to come in on day one and change the culture in their locker room. Chubb is that guy.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Best player available and a need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes so much since I had to check twice, dynamic playmaker all over the field and can play Safety or Slot Corner with ease.
8. Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State
Why not pair Kyle Fuller with another solid corner on the other side in Denzel Ward and keep adding to a growing young secondary containing Adrian Amos also.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
49ers have so many needs that they should just go BPA(best player available) on their board. So that is what I have done here with Vita Vea who is BPA on my board at this stage.
10. Arizona Cardinals TRADE w/ Oakland Raiders: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Sam Bradford is not going to get it done in Arizona forever and Baker Mayfield may well be a risk but it’s one worth taking if you’re Steve Kiem who has a brand new QB room to mould in his image.
11. Miami Dolphins: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Miami needs to replace the hole they have left in their defensive line with the release of Ndamukong Suh and take the best big man left on the board and that is Michigan man Hurst.
12. Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Buffalo moved into position to take a quarterback and I don’t think will move much more than the 12th pick for the good reason that one of the big 5 will be there come the 12th pick. You would be willing to gamble on that and Jackson may have the best upside of them all.
13. Washington Redskins: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The Skins have a crying need for pass rushers and why not take a dynamic small school talent with a huge chip on his huge shoulders in Marcus Davenport. Slide him into your pass rushing packages and watch the sacks rack up.
14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, DB, Florida State
Green Bay has a need for secondary playmakers and Derwin James is one of those, like Fitzpatrick earlier in the draft he can play Safety or Slot, but also can move into Dime Linebacker in Sub Packages allowing Clay Matthews to rush the passer.
15. Oakland Raiders(via Cardinals) Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Oakland trade down with Arizona and still get a need at pick 15, great business by them. Their linebacker core could be stellar with Bowman and Edmunds replacing silly Aldon Smith.
16. New York Giants(via Ravens): Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
Giants make the move back and get a need filled on their offensive line. You can shift Orlando Brown over to right tackle and have a good tackle pairing of Nate Solder and Orlando Brown for the next several years protecting the statuesque Eli Manning.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
It’s a run on tackles here in Dallas. McGlinchey really impressed me during the combine, rarely you see a big man run that well and move in the 3-cone drill so well. He will be a lockdown tackle for 10 years in this league.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa
Seattle says goodbye to Richard Sherman and says hello to somebody in a very similar mould to him. Although Seattle usually moves back out of the 1st round in drafts having the 18th pick is too good to move away from and a corner of Pete Carrols dreams in the 6’1” Jackson falls into their lap.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Playmakers will make this Dallas offence tick and snap up the best wideout in the draft at 19 is fantastic for Dallas, pair him alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams and that’s a scary looking offence.
20. Detroit Lions: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Lions need talent on the defensive side of the ball for their new head coach Matt Patricia and filling a need at LB would be an impressive first step into building a defence to slow down Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North.
21. Cincinnati Bengals(via Buffalo): Will Hernandez, G/T, UTEP
Bengals have no glaring needs but could do with blowing the whole thing up and starting again, taking a cornerstone piece on the offensive line is what I call hitting a double for you baseball fans, a safe pick and one which will last for a long time.
22. Buffalo Bills: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
Buffalo pride themselves on defence and why not add another good young piece to said defence than Sam Hubbard who comes from the same college that some of the best players from previous drafts came from. Another solid pick.
23. Los Angles Rams: James Daniels, C/G, Iowa
Rams need to add a good young and more importantly cheap centre to their offensive line and James Daniels is just that who can kick over to guard also in a pinch, great workout at the combine and was very impressive during media duties.
24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Panthers need to rebrand their wide receiver core and what better than to add your second slot receiver alongside Christian McCaffery. Kirk is a dynamic and quick pass catcher who will take over this league.
25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
Titans have no glaring needs so again go BPA and on my board that’s Boston College Harold Landry who just nicks it over Rashaan Evans. Great speed guy to have in sub packages in the 4-3 defence that the Titans run.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Falcons need to add more speed to Dan Quinn’s defence and Rashaan is a side-line to side-line thumper to pair alongside Deion Jones and your run defence just became elite.
27. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
The Saints have a solid roster from top to bottom but adding a playmaking and range safety in Marcus Allen makes lots of sense, I can also see them trading out if a team falls in love with Mason Rudolph and want to take him round one.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darius Guice, RB, LSU
Darius Guice could well take over from Leveon Bell in the future and this pick by Pittsburgh is future proofing your roster in case Leveon goes rogue.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Jaguars have a super bowl defence and now need to add the final pieces to a super bowl offence and Courtland Sutton is the perfect Allen Robinson replacement. Tall and a great Red Zone threat and will take away from the speed element of Didi Westbrook and Allen Hurns.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
The Vikings love adding defensive pieces and Mike Hughes just falls into their laps at pick 30, oh how the rich get richer.
31. New England Patriots: Billy Price, G, Ohio State
The Patriots would love to have one pick earlier and Hughes to fall to them, but they settle for replacing the upcoming free agent Shaq Mason with Billy Price.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Super Bowl champions won in the trenches and they just add more bodies to that fearsome pass rush.