This is how the first-10 picks of the upcoming draft will unfold:
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming.
Analysis: Josh Allen is the most physically-gifted quarterback in the draft, but he’s raw. The Browns can let him develop as long as he needs, because they already have a starting quarterback — Tyrod Taylor.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC.
Analysis: The Giants need a running back and could take Saquon Barkley here. But, this draft has a lot of good running backs — the Giants can get one in Round 2 or Round 3. So, in Round 1, they’ll take the top quarterback on their draft board — Darnold.
3. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA.
Analysis: Rosen is the most polished of the top three quarterback prospects, but he’ll fall to the Jets because he’s had concussions and shoulder injuries.
4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina St.
Analysis: Chubb and Myles Garrett, the top pick in last year’s draft, will form the best young defensive-end duo in the league.
5. Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State.
Analysis: The Broncos won’t reach for Baker Mayfield, who’s a lot like the quarterback they already have, Case Keenum. Instead, they’ll take Barkley, who will make life easy for Keenum.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame.
Analysis: The Colts have to protect Andrew Luck, if he ever actually plays again.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, SS, Florida St.
Analysis: The Buccaneers secondary was Swiss cheese last season. They won’t pass on James.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech.
Analysis: Edmunds has more potential than any defensive player in the draft, and he’s only 19 years old. He could be the next Aldon Smith, who flourished under Vic Fangio.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS/CB, Alabama.
Analysis: Other than maybe Quenton Nelson, who went to the Colts in the mock draft, no rookie offensive lineman will be able to block Rams defensive tackles Aaron Donald or Ndamukong Suh next season. Those two command double teams no matter who they face. The 49ers shouldn’t reach for a guard with the ninth pick just to try in vain to match up with the Rams. That would be the worst thing the Niners could do. Instead, they should spend their first pick on defense, because their’s ranked 25th last season. I’m guessing they’ll try to build their own “Legion of Boom, starting with the free safety — Fitzpatrick. He has All-Pro potential.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Analysis: Ward may be just as good as last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore, who was the 11th pick in 2017.
Here’s how the rest of the 49ers draft picks will unfold:
Round 2, Pick 59: Arden Key, DE/LB, LSU.
Analysis: The 49ers have zero talented edge rushers on their roster. Key is a supremely talented edge-rusher who recorded 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2016. He had a down season in 2017 and stepped away for the team temporarily for personal reasons, which is why he’ll fall to the end of Round 2. At one time, he was considered a top-15 pick.
Round 3, Pick 70: Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi St.
Analysis: An All-SEC left tackle in 2017 who can play guard and center, too.
Round 3, Pick 74: Tre Herndon, CB, Vanderbilt.
Analysis: A three-year starter in the SEC who ran a 4.47 at his Pro Day and is 6’0″. Herndon wasn’t invited to the Combine, and NFL draft gurus don’t seem to even know who he is, yet. But, he will be a third-round pick. Physically, he compares well with the top DBs in this draft, including Fitzpatrick.
Round 4, Pick 128: Josh Sweat, DE/LB, Florida St.
Analysis: One of the most athletic edge-rushers in the draft. At the Combine, Sweat ran a 4.53 with a fantastic 1.55 10-yard split at 251 pounds. He also recorded a 6.90 3-cone drill. Sweat and Key can immediately play defensive end in the 49ers third-down sub packages.
Round 5, Pick 143: Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt.
Analysis: A versatile linebacker who can play Mike or Will for the 49ers.
Round 6, Pick 184: Trey Quinn, WR, SMU.
Analysis: A tough possession receiver who can play outside or in the slot.
Round 7, Pick 223: Marquez Valdez-Scantling, WR, South Florida.
Analysis: A 6’5″ deep threat who ran a 4.37 at the Combine.
Round 7, Pick 240: Kurt Benkert, QB, Virginia.
Analysis: A strong-armed quarterback who throws well while rolling out.