Here’s my best attempt at a pre-Combine mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC.
Analysis: The Browns need a quarterback. Darnold is the highest-rated quarterback in the draft by a significant margin.
2. New York Giants: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame.
Analysis: Last season, the Giants had one of the league’s worst offensive lines. It most likely will lose its best player — free-agent guard Justin Pugh. Nelson is an upgrade over Pugh. Nelson arguably is the best player in the draft. Historically, teams don’t draft guards with top-two picks, but guards have become as valuable as offensive tackles in today’s NFL.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
Analysis: The Colts finally pair Andrew Luck with a top-flight running back.
4. Cleveland Browns: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama.
Analysis: The Browns have to give Darnold a weapon. Their best wide receiver in 2017 was Ricardo Louis, who caught only 27 passes.
5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina St.
Analysis: Instead of drafting a quarterback, the Broncos will sign Kirk Cousins and draft the best defensive player available — Chubb. He and Von Miller will form an excellent defensive-end duo.
6. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA.
Analysis: The Jets will fail to sign Cousins, so they will draft the highest-rated quarterback available — Rosen.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech.
Analysis: Tampa’s defense ranked dead last in the NFL last season. Edmunds will help the Buccaneers the defend the run and pass.
8. Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama.
Analysis: The Bears desperately need a quality wide receiver, but don’t want to reach for one here. Instead, they take Fitzpatrick, a defensive back to replace starting corner, Kyle Fuller. Fitzpatrick will play corner in the Bears defense, and move to Nickel in their sub packages.
9. Oakland Raiders: Derwin James, S, Florida St.
Analysis: The Raiders need a safety to replace free agent Reggie Nelson.
TRADE. 49ers send Pick No. 10 to the Buffalo Bills for Pick Nos. 21, 95 and a first-rounder in 2019.
Analysis: The 49ers need a starting guard, but don’t want to take one this high. So, they trade down.
10. Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma.
Analysis: The Bills need a quarterback to replace Tyrod Taylor, who is nothing special. So, the Bills trade in front of the Dolphins, who need a quarterback, too. Mayfield can start right away for Buffalo.
11. Miami Dolphins: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming.
Analysis: Allen will sit on the bench and learn for a year behind starter Ryan Tannehill.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma.
Analysis: The Bengals reach for the best offensive tackle available. They need one desperately.
13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith, LB, Geogia.
Analysis: The Redskins defense ranked 32nd out of 32 teams against the run last season.
14. Green Bay Packers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU.
Analysis: The Packers finally pair Aaron Rodgers with a top-flight running back.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville.
Analysis: The Cardinals need a quarterback to replace Carson Palmer, who retired. Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has experience working with running quarterbacks like Jackson — McCoy worked with Tim Tebow in Denver.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Vita Vea, DT, Washington.
Analysis: The Ravens need a wide receiver, but won’t reach for one. They’ll take a defensive tackle to pair with Brandon Williams.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama.
Analysis: Harrison will replace free agent Tre Boston.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa.
Analysis: Jackson will replace Richard Sherman, who tore his Achilles last season.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama.
Analysis: The Cowboys have a hole at defensive tackle.
20. Detroit Lions: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC.
Analysis: The Lions finally pair Matthew Stafford with a top-flight running back.
21. 49ers (from Buffalo): Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia.
Analysis: Wynn is an excellent pass-protector — he played left tackle in college. He also is a terrific run blocker, who has the speed and quickness to fit the 49ers’ outside-zone blocking scheme. He’s the total package. He will start immediately at left guard.
22. Buffalo Bills: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida.
Analysis: Bryan will replace free agent Kyle Williams.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama.
Analysis: The Rams defense ranked 28th against the run last season.
24. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP.
Analysis: Hernandez will replace free agent Andrew Norwell.
25. Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
Analysis: Vander Esch will replace free agent Avery Williamson.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech.
Analysis: Settle will replace free agent Dontari Poe.
27. New Orleans Saints: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College.
Analysis: Cameron Jordan is the only good pass rusher on the Saints. Landry will be their second good pass rusher.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Analysis: Ward will play nickel in 2018, and replace Joe Haden at corner in 2019.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Connor Williams, G/T, Texas.
Analysis: Williams will replace Patrick Omameh at left guard in 2018, and potentially move to right tackle in 2019.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio St.
Analysis: Price will play guard next to former Ohio St. center Pat Elflein.
31. New England Patriots: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn.
Analysis: Davis will replace Malcolm Butler.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado.
Analysis: The Eagles gave up 500 passing yards in the Super Bowl. They need a corner.