The NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, and while plenty was learned about the draft, the general outlook didn’t change too much. None of the top quarterbacks did much to distinguish themselves, top players like Saquon Barkley, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Quenton Nelson, did what was expected, and there’s been no word on players bombing team interviews or failing drug tests.
Here’s how things could play out in this week’s mock draft:
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Although Darnold decided not to throw at the combine, the other quarterbacks didn’t push past him for the top pick and the Browns certainly didn’t tip their hands on their preference. That could trickle out over the next month as the Browns bring in the top quarterbacks and attend their pro days. Darnold has to figure out his turnover problems, but he has the demeanor to survive in Cleveland as the team tries to turn its franchise around.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Barkley could have skipped the combine last week and still been a top five pick. Instead, he went to Indianapolis and absolutely blew everyone’s minds. A great offseason for the Giants would be signing free agent guard Andrew Norwell and drafting Barkley and a good developmental quarterback.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
If the Colts want Barkley they’re probably going to have to trade up to take him. If they can’t, they can add Chubb to a defense that is moving to a Tampa-2. For the Colts, Chubb can be their version of Simeon Rice, an edge rushing force who brings production. As one of the draft’s surest things, Chubb should be expected to be a double-digit sack player straight away.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Like the first overall pick, nothing has changed with this choice for the Browns. Fitzpatrick is the most logical choice, and good value. The difference now may be where Fitzpatrick lines up. The Alabama defensive back said teams have talked to him about playing on the outside to start his career before shifting inside if needed. He could do that in Cleveland where they need an outside cornerback.
5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Kirk Cousins in the only free agent who should stop a team from taking a quarterback in the first round. With Minnesota being considered the favorite for his services, the Broncos will likely be taking a quarterback. If there are concerns about Rosen being cocky, something tells me that won’t give John Elway pause.
6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
If the Jets miss out on Kirk Cousins — and the belief is that they’re just behind Minnesota as favorites to get him — they need to get a starting quarterback with the fifth overall pick. With Darnold and Rosen gone, Mayfield would be an attractive option.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
A run on quarterbacks in the top 10 is exactly what the Buccaneers want to see in the first round. That would mean one of Fitzpatrick, Chubb or Nelson is available. Any of the three are a no-brainer for General Manager Jason Licht. Nelson would help reinvigorate Tampa’s run game, regardless of who is carrying the ball.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech
The Bears are in a tough spot at No. 8. Keep an eye on a possible trade down with Miami that involves Miami wide out Jarvis Landry. If the Bears stick here, they could go after the huge upside of Edmunds, one of the more electric players in this year’s draft. Edmunds is a player who could line up opposite Leonard Floyd to play the run and drop in coverage.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
There were some questions about Ward coming into the combine — Is he too small? Is his athleticism legit? — and he answered each. He came in just under 5’11 and ran a 4.32 40-yard dash. Ward not only cemented his status as the draft’s best cornerback but he may have locked up a spot in the top 10.
10. Oakland Raiders: Derwin James, LB/S, Florida State
When most draft prospects give boring, vanilla answers, James made a daring proclamation at the combine: He’s going in the top 10. For the Raiders, the ultra-versatile and athletic James can be lined up all over the field. He’d mostly be a linebacker for Oakland, which suits his ability to come up and use his strength to attack the ball.
11. Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Miami is “looking hard” at quarterbacks in the draft because of Ryan Tannehill’s continued injury issues. Jackson was adamant about playing quarterback in the NFL — which shouldn’t have been in question in the first place — and a team like the Dolphins could make him the face of their franchise.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Cincinnati’s pick has often been reserved for Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown, but the offensive tackle had arguably a worse combine than anyone. If Smith is still there at No. 12, he would be an easy pick for Cincinnati. Smith can come up and attack the run and drop in coverage against tight ends. He’s not a great pass rusher but has few flaws otherwise.
13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
There is an outside shot that Vea lasts this long, and if he does Washington shouldn’t hesitate to take him. Vea can play up and down the line, and give Washington a player who would let them easily shift between even and odd fronts.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
If the Packers manage to get Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason, as expected, that really opens them up to take an outside pass rusher in the first round. Davenport had a good combine, and kept himself ahead of fellow edge players like Harold Landry, Arden Key and Josh Sweat. New Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could see him as a Bruce Irvin-type of situational pass rusher. Keep an eye on a wide receiver here too.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The potential No. 1 overall pick talk with Allen is odd. A lot of people came away impressed with Allen’s cannon arm at the combine. The issue there is that it was already well known that he has a strong arm. So it wasn’t some great revelation that he threw the ball 70 yards in the air. Ideally, Allen should land on a team that acquires a veteran quarterback, allowing him to sit for a year. With the Cardinals wanting to bring in both a veteran and rookie, this could be the best spot for him.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
If the Bears at No. 8 or the Dolphins at No. 11 don’t take Ridley, he could slide into the middle teens. That would be great for Baltimore, which needs a dependable pass catcher to help revitalize Joe Flacco’s career. Ridley may not be big for fast, but the Marvin Harrison comparisons were brought up by many at the combine.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The best comparison for Brown has always been King Dunlap because of his sheer size and ability to use it to take up space. Brown had a bad combine, there’s no mistaking that fact. But in game, he’s a mountainous blocker who can be the Chargers’ right tackle for years to come. “When are you ever going to watch Orlando Brown run 40 yards down the field, you can watch last year’s tape and see he allowed zero sacks,” Brown’s Oklahoma teammate Baker Mayfield said at the combine. “I’d say that’s pretty important for a left tackle.”
18. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
Seattle remains hard to project after rumors in Indianapolis swirled about the team moving stalwarts Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas. Add in the uncertainty about Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, and a lack of picks, this is the single hardest team to project. Wynn is a player with experience at tackle and guard. For Seattle he could at the least start at left guard and potentially get looked at to a move to tackle if needed. Just don’t expect the pick to take place at No. 18.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
If the Cowboys want to add a player on the defensive line in this draft, they’ll likely have to do so in the first round. The talent really dries up on the line, unlike positions like wide receiver or defensive back in this draft. Payne is a plugger up the middle who offers a little more as a pass rusher than he’s often given credit.
20. Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
It was tempting to go with UTEP guard Will Hernandez here, but a player like Bryan can make more of an impact. While A’Shawn Robinson chews up blockers, Bryan can split gaps and create pressure up the middle.
21. Buffalo Bills: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
A former high school wrestling star, Phillips is much more than just the nose guard he played last season at Stanford. Which is saying something considering he topped 100 tackles a season ago. Phillips can play on the inside or the outside in odd fronts and can maul offensive linemen to wreak havoc. (Also, at the combine, Phillips told me his mom reads mock drafts, so hi Mrs. Phillips)
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
It sounds like Preston Brown is going to leave Buffalo in free agency, leaving a huge hole at linebacker. That can be filled by Evans, an NFL-ready linebacker who can play on the inside or outside. Keep an eye on trading up for a quarterback, especially if Rosen slips a little bit. I’d also guess Buffalo is a team that has enquired about Eagles backup Nick Foles.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
After trading for Marcus Peters and dropping Robert Quinn in two separate deals, the Rams have been the NFL’s most interesting team this offseason. If the Rams want to replace Quinn, Landry is fairly similar. He’s a long, athletic edge player who excels when he can use speed to get around the corner.
24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Moore made his claim as the draft’s second-best wide receiver at the combine with his 4.42 speed and 39.5-inch vertical. Although the Panthers want to add a veteran wide receiver this offseason, Moore is a player who could quickly become Cam Newton’s No. 1 target.
25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE/LB, Ohio State
Hubbard put on a show at the combine, and has the type of size and athleticism combination to fit on Tennessee’s defense. Hubbard can play on the edge standing up or with his hand in the ground, and he can drop back as a linebacker in certain situations.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Hurst will have to get a medical re-check after a heart condition kept him from working out at the combine. But at Michigan, it certainly didn’t look to be a problem. Hurst is a gap-shooting dynamo up front and would give Atlanta another player who can create pressure up front.
27. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
This is a pick that just makes too much sense to change. Goedert would be an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in New Orleans’ dynamic offense.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vander Esch probably locked up a spot in the first round at the combine with excellent numbers in most of his workouts. With Ryan Shazier officially out for next season, Vander Esch can be used in many of the same ways.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
This is strictly a value choice. McGlinchey could move to the right side and give the Jaguars a nice set of bookends with Cam Robinson at left tackle.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Minnesota is another team in the first round that would probably like to trade back, especially considering they have only five draft picks. Hernandez continued his strong offseason at the combine, and is a plug-and-play starter in the NFL.
31. New England Patriots: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander isn’t the biggest cornerback, but he jumped some cornerbacks at the combine with a terrific performance in on-field drills.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
This is another value choice on an offensive lineman. Williams can play guard or tackle in the NFL, but didn’t do enough at the combine to rise up in the draft.