Western Courier

A guide to the NFL Draft

Brendan Reidy, Sports Writer

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The National Football League will hold their annual draft on Thursday, April 26, 2018. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The draft is always exciting, but this year has the potential to be even more thrilling.

The NFL Draft has a total of seven rounds, and each team has the same number of draft picks. With these draft picks, each team has the opportunity to draft a prospect, or trade their pick to move up and down in the draft order. This is why some teams have more picks than other teams. This is one of the most anticipated events for football fans during the offseason and gives each fan a glimmer of hope for their favorite teams. This year’s draft is going to be something special because of the surplus of quarterback talent at the collegiate level.

This year, plenty of teams at the top of the order are in need of that franchise altering quarterback, and this draft class has plenty of them. The Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and the Buffalo Bills are all trying to find their franchise quarterback. The top quarterbacks in this class are Sam Darnold from the University of Southern Carolina, Josh Rosen from the University of Californa Los Angeles, Josh Allen from the University of Wyoming, Baker Mayfield from the University of Oklahoma and Lamar Jackson from the University of Louisville. These quarterbacks figure to be the picks for these “quarterback needy” teams. However, there are some notable “can’t miss” prospects at the top of the draft order that are being over shadowed by this strong quarterback class.

Running-back Saquan Barkley from Penn State could potentially be the best running-back of this generation, and pass-rusher Bradley Chubb is the most physically gifted edge rusher to come out of college since Jadevon Clowney. You also can’t forget about the top offensive lineman in this year’s class. Quinten Nelson out of Notre Dame. He is drawing in pro comparisons to Zach Martin, and has some experts calling him the best player in this draft class. Because of the heavy amount of quarterbacks that are going to be picked in the top ten of the draft, it is going to allow teams further on down the order to snag one of these elite prospects that normally would not be there.

Teams like Chicago, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and San Francisco can potentially get a franchise-altering talent in the back end of the top end. This is absurd to think because some of these players that are going to fall in the draft would normally be drafted in the top three of any other draft, and this is even without any trades happening.

My guess is there will probably be around two trades in the top ten to trade up for either a quarterback or one of the other elite prospects I listed above. I believe the top ten will go something like this.

The Cleveland Browns will select Quarterback Sam Darnold from USC with the first overall pick in the draft. The Browns have been awaiting their franchise quarterback for as long as anyone can remember, and what better way to secure “their guy” than with the first overall picks in the Draft.

Second overall, The New York Giants will select Josh Rosen from UCLA. The Giants are in the dwindling era of Eli Manning and need to find their new heir. Josh Rosen still needs development, and what better way to develop than under a two-time Super Bowl champion.

The New York Jets traded up with Indianapolis Colts to select their quarterback at the third pick. The Jets will select Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma. Baker has some character concerns, but he is one player that can change the culture inside a franchise and that is what the Jets sorely need.

The Cleveland Browns own the pick from Houston due to a trade last year. The Browns selected the dynamic running back Saquon Barkley at the fourth spot. While running back is not essentially a need for Cleveland, they opt to take the best available player.

The Denver Broncos select offensive Guard Quinten Nelson with the number five overall pick. Denver signed quarterback Case Keenum in Free Agency and opt to go with the best player available to protect there newly signed QB.

In the sixth spot, the Indianapolis Colts get extremely lucky and select the most physically gifted player in the Draft in Bradley Chubb. He will be the foundational piece in their very poor defensive unit.

Tampa Bay goes for the defense and drafts stud corner Minkah Fitzpatrick at number seven. This is another player that slips because of the surge of quarterbacks taken early in the draft.

With the eighth pick in the draft, the Chicago Bears look to bolster their defense with linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. He is arguably the best Linebacker in the draft and has drawn comparisons to Ray Lewis.

At the ninth spot in the draft, the 49ers find themselves desperately needing to find Jimmy Garoppolo more opportunities, and that is why they reach for a position of need, and draft ride receiver Calvin Ridley from Alabama.

To round out the top 10, the Oakland Raiders go with the best player available and draft Denzel Ward from Ohio State to be the No.1 corner in their weak secondary.

Now this is all subject to change on draft night where we have seen that anything can happen, but this is a great blueprint of how things will shape up on the night that changes so many young athlete’s lives.

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A guide to the NFL Draft