The NFL draft starts two weeks from Thursday. Here’s how the first 15 picks will play out:
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming.
Analysis: Allen has the most potential of all the QBs in this draft. And he’s physically similar to Ben Roethlisberger, whom Browns OC Todd Haley coached in Pittsburgh.
2. New York Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, North Carolina St.
Analysis: The Giants have to replace Jason Pierre-Paul — they traded him to the Bucaneers this offseason. Pierre-Paul led the Giants with 8.5 sacks last season.
3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC.
Analysis: The Jets will take Darnold over Josh Rosen, because Darnold’s turnover issue is coachable, while Rosen’s injury issues are not.
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
Analysis: First, the Browns will give Todd Haley another Roethlisberger. Then, they’ll give Haley another Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. Barkley is best prospect in the entire draft.
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame.
Analysis: Nelson is the second-best prospect in the draft after Barkley. Nelson will dominate the NFL for the next decade.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Analysis: The Colts will pair Ward with former Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker, and create one of the most talented young secondaries in the NFL.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida St.
Analysis: If James isn’t available, the Bucs will take Vita Vea. They love him. But, James is available in this mock draft, and Tampa desperately needs a safety.
8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia.
Analysis: Smith could be the next Patrick Willis, who thrived under Vic Fangio in San Francisco. Fangio is the Bears defensive coordinator.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama.
Analysis: Fitzpatrick can start right away at free safety, corner or nickel back.
10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT, Washington.
Analysis: I guarantee the Raiders will pick Vea if he’s available. Jon Gruden clearly feels defensive tackle is the Raiders biggest hole on defense, and Vea is the best DT in the draft.
11. Miami Dolphins: Tremaine Edmunds, ILB/OLB, Virginia Tech.
Analysis: Edmunds is another raw player with lots of potential, like Josh Allen. The Dolphins are rebuilding, so they can gamble on a young project like Edmunds. They don’t need him to produce right away.
12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA.
Analysis: Most mock drafts project Rosen as a top-5 pick, but he will fall. He has a history of concussions and shoulder injuries. Teams won’t spend a top-10 pick on a player with his medical history. Just look at Reuben Foster. He had shoulder issues coming out of college, and he fell to the 31st pick.
13. Washington Redskins, Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama.
Analysis: Washington needs help everywhere on defense.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA.
Analysis: Davenport will be the second edge-rusher off the board. Not Harold Landry, whom some 49ers fans want the team to take at pick No. 9. That would be a reach and a major mistake.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama.
Analysis: Larry Fitzgerald turns 35 in August. Ridley can be Fitzgerald’s sidekick in 2018, and his replacement in 2019.