The draft starts Thursday night. Here is my final first-round mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming.
Analysis: Allen isn’t good now, but he has more potential than the other quarterbacks in this draft.
2. New York Giants: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame.
Analysis: The Giants wanted to sign All Pro guard Andrew Norwell this offseason, but he went to the Jaguars. Nelson could be even better than Norwell.
3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC.
Analysis: Some consider Darnold the safest quarterback in the draft. But in two seasons at USC, he fumbled or threw an interception 43 times. Safe?
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
Analysis: The Browns get the best player in the draft with the fourth pick. Not bad.
5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State.
Analysis: Chubb and Von Miller will form the best edge-rushing duo in the NFL, and the Broncos will have a bounce-back season.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Roquan Smth, LB, Georgia.
Analysis: Smith will start at weak-side linebacker right away and lead the Lions in tackles as a rookie.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida St.
Analysis: James is the best pure safety in this class. He can play strong or free, and he’s a heavy hitter.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virgnia Tech.
Analysis: Edmunds will start at middle linebacker right away and finish second on the Bears in tackles as a rookie.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Analysis: Ward is the best pure cornerback in the draft. The 49ers can’t pass on another premier corner. Since 2012, they’ve passed on Janoris Jenkins, Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant, Bradley Roby, Marcus Peters and Marshon Lattimore.
10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT, Washington.
Analysis: If Vea is available, he’s a slam-dunk pick for the Raiders. They need to solidify the middle of their defense.
11. Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA.
Analysis: According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Rosen “might drop out of the top 10,” and the Dolphins “had multiple visits with Rosen throughout the draft process and have spoken with former UCLA offensive coordinator and interim coach Jedd Fisch at length about Rosen.”
12. Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma.
Analysis: Some people think Mayfield should be a top-five pick, and some people think he’s the next Drew Brees. He isn’t. He’s the next Case Keenum.
13. Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama.
Analysis: The Redskins need help all over their defense, and Fitzpatrick can play multiple positions in the secondary. He’s a tweener — not quite a safety and not quite a corner.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA.
Analysis: Clay Matthews is 31, he hasn’t had a double-digit-sack season since 2014 and he will be a free agent in 2019. Davenport is his replacement.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama.
Analysis: Ridley will be the eventual successor to Larry Fitzgerald.
16. Baltimore Ravens: James Daniels, C/G, Iowa.
Analysis: Daniels will be the best center in the league by 2019.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama.
Analysis: The Chargers allowed 4.9 yards per carry — tops in the NFL. Payne is an excellent run defender.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA.
Analysis: Miller has the talent to play left tackle, unlike some of the other top tackle prospects in this draft.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU.
Analysis: Sutton will replace Dez Bryant as the Cowboys No. 1 receiver.
20. Detroit Lions: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa.
Analysis: The Lions defense ranked 27th out of 32 teams last season. Jackson can play corner or safety for Detroit.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame.
Analysis: McGlinchey is the best right tackle in this draft, and a future Pro Bowler.
22. Buffalo Bills: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia.
Analysis: The Bills drafted their quarterback with the 12th pick, and now they draft someone to protect him.
23. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OT, Texas.
Analysis: The Patriots need tackles after losing start Nate Solder to the Giants during free agency.
24. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP.
Analysis: Hernandez will replace Andrew Norwell, who signed with the Jaguars.
25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College.
Analysis: Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo will be a free agent in 2019.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado.
Analysis: Falcons starting corner Robert Alford will be 30 in November.
27. New Orleans Saints: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida.
Analysis: Last year, the Saints selected the best defensive player in the draft — Marshon Lattimore. He improved their pass defense. This year, they need to improve their run defense. It ranked 28th in yards per carry allowed last season.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama.
Analysis: Steelers starting inside linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal contusion last season and will not play in 2018. He may never play again.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville.
Analysis: Jackson would be an immediate upgrade over Blake Bortles.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas.
Analysis: The Vikings don’t have many holes, but they could use a better left guard. Their current starter is Nick Easton, who used to play for the 49ers. They traded him for Gerald Hodges.
31: New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF.
Analysis: Hughes is a future Pro Bowler who will replace Malcolm Butler. Butler signed with the Titans this offseason.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville.
Analysis: The Eagles gave up a record 500 passing yards in the Super Bowl. They need a corner.