By BEN GOLDBERG
Photo credit goes to Sports Illustrated.
The first round of the NFL draft should get as much recognition as March Madness brackets for how tough it is to predict. Especially when you have to account for the Browns well…. being the Browns.
#1 - Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Wouldn’t this be the most Browns move ever? There has been a lot of of talk in the last couple weeks that the Browns are torn between Myles Garrett and Trubisky for this pick. Personally, I believe that Trubisky is overrated and there isn’t enough game tape on him to get a clear evaluation, but somehow he’s become the No. 1 ranked quarterback in this draft.
Here’s what’s tipping the scale for me: Earlier this week, the 49ers said they were strongly considering taking a quarterback with the second pick. Kyle Shanahan has also stated that he can be patient and won’t just reach for a player because they need someone there. Thus, they bluff and scare the Browns into taking Trubisky first overall so the top ranked guy falls to them at two.
#2 - San Francisco 49ers: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The 49ers get the No. 1 prospect in the draft by fleecing the Browns into doing what they do best and taking the wrong guy. If the Browns decide to take Garrett, I could see the 49ers trading out of this spot for more picks. Heck, even if the Browns don’t take Garrett, I could see the 49ers trading out of this for more picks.
#3 - Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Bears, like the two teams ahead of them, need help pretty much everywhere. Their defense has potential, but they desperately need help in the secondary, and they get that by adding possibly the most athletic player in the draft.
#4 - Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Jaguars could opt to go the Denver route and build a stellar defensive team. They already have a good start, but Thomas has the upside to take their pass rush to the next level.
#5 - Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Titans will probably be shopping this pick to a team looking to trade up, and I kind of expect them to make a trade with someone. However, they need help in the secondary, and if they stay in and Lattimore is on the board, they have to pull a trigger. They can afford to wait on a receiver.
#6 - New York Jets: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Jets are another team that would probably like to trade back if they can, but if they can’t reach a deal this is the pick they make. The Jets are in need of playmakers, and Howard would be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. They still need someone to throw him the ball, though.
#7 - Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Boy, did that feel weird to type. Anyway, Hooker’s stock has been on the rise and has even been ranked ahead of Jamal Adams -- with good reason. Hooker reads the field well and has tremendous upside. The Chargers also need defensive line help, but having spent a high pick on a lineman last year, they go for the best athlete on their board.
#8 - Buffalo Bills (via Carolina): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The only trade I have is the Bills moving up two spots to select Reddick eighth overall. This one is interesting because it hinges a lot on how much teams are valuing Reuben Foster’s failed drug test. This trade is made if the Bills think the Bengals would opt to go for Reddick instead of Foster. Reddick’s stock has been on the rise due inpart to his ability to play in multiple spots on the front seven. The Bengals could see him as a safer option than Foster, prompting the Bills to make sure they get their guy.
#9 Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Reuben Foster would make sense here, but he’s more of a risk than people think due to his ongoing off the field issues and now his failed drug test. Jonathan Allen is a stud and someone capable of immediately improving the Bengals defensive line. His health concerns and other team’s position needs are the reason he falls this far.
#10 - Carolina Panthers (via Buffalo): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
There’s been a lot of rumors about the Panthers possibly taking McCaffrey over Fournette if both are out there when they’re picking. Either way, they need a back they can feed the ball to and take the pressure off Cam Newton. Making this trade allows them to slide down two spots and still get their guy while acquiring an extra draft pick in the process.