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Mel Kiper projects Josh Allen No. 1 to Browns again in his second 2018 NFL mock draft

Kiper is sticking to his original prediction on who the Browns will take.

Wyoming v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Mel Kiper has released his second mock draft for 2018, and has Josh Allen going to the Browns yet again.

Kiper believes that the only way the Browns don’t end up with a quarterback in the top spot is if they land Kirk Cousins. But here, he sees them going with the Wyoming product.

Kiper wrote, “The NFL statistical comp I make to Allen: Matthew Stafford, who completed 57.1 percent of his passes in 39 games at Georgia and still went No. 1 overall. And Stafford had better talent around him.”

In Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft for SB Nation, he has the Browns going with Sam Darnold in the top spot (as did Todd McShay in his last mock draft). He believes this to be the case, even if they throw AJ McCarron money in free agency.

As Kadar put it, “Trading when you need a quarterback is how you miss on Carson Wentz.”

Surprisingly, there’s just one other quarterback in Kiper’s top five. He has the Giants going with Saquon Barkley, to give Eli Manning a full arsenal that should help him recover from a poor 2017 season.

“I went with Josh Rosen in Mock Draft 1.0, but Barkley is the top-ranked player on my Big Board. If the Giants can add Barkley to a group that includes Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, that would be rare skill-position talent,” he wrote.

Rounding out his top five are NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb at No. 3 to the Colts, Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 4 to the Browns, and USC quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 5 to the Broncos.

Of course, with the NFL Combine coming up, you should expect things to change across all mock drafts. For now though, this is what Kiper sees happening, based mostly around the best available player with the best fit.

Josh Rosen is the last quarterback off the board ... at No. 11.

The quarterbacks are the focus of this year’s draft class. As previously mentioned, Kiper has Allen going No. 1 to the Browns, and Darnold at No. 5 to the Broncos.

After those picks are when it gets interesting. He has Baker Mayfield going No. 6 to the Jets, and then Josh Rosen slipping all the way to No. 11 with the Dolphins.

For Kiper, if Rosen is there, the pick is a no-brainer. “This is a pick for the best player available,” he wrote. “Ryan Tannehill is coming off a torn ACL which caused him to miss all of the 2017 season, and the Dolphins could move on from him next year. Jay Cutler is a free agent. This quarterback situation isn’t solved. Rosen is the most polished quarterback in this class when he’s at his best, and he has rare arm talent.”

In Kadar’s mock draft (which includes trades), he had Darnold at No. 1 to the Browns, Rosen at No. 2 to the Giants, Mayfield at No. 3 to the Jets via trade, Josh Allen at No. 14 to the Bills via trade, and Lamar Jackson at No. 15 to the Cardinals.

It’s hard to tell where everybody will land, but nothing is certain. However, it does seem that Rosen to the Giants at No. 2 has been the most popular pick.

There are three receivers taken in the first round.

This is considered a weaker wide receiver class than we’re used to seeing. Last year, there were three wide receivers taken in the first nine picks between Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross.

Kiper has three wide receivers in this mock draft, but they all go outside the top 10. He has Calvin Ridley — who is considered to be the best wide receiver in the class by a mile — going No. 15 to the Cardinals.

Kiper wrote, “Ridley is far and away the best wideout in this draft class, and getting him at No. 15 is good value. He had 19 career touchdown catches with inconsistent quarterback play. Arizona also needs a quarterback, of course, but I think new coach Steve Wilks & Co. are more likely to go the veteran route. But watch out for the Cardinals if one of the top four QBs falls.”

At No. 24, he has the Panthers taking Oklahoma State wideout James Washington, securing a new weapon for Cam Newton. At No. 32, he has the Super Bowl champion Eagles going with Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk.

In Kadar’s latest mock, he has just two receivers going in the first round, with Ridley going 16th to the Ravens, and Kirk going 24th to the Panthers.

He sees defensive priorities being filled in the first round, too.

A few pieces in his second mock remain the same as the first. He has the Colts taking Bradley Chubb — believed to be the best pass rusher in the draft — at No. 3 since they don’t need a quarterback.

Kiper also has the 49ers taking Ohio State’s Denzel Ward ninth overall to give them a shutdown corner to go with a strong front seven. Ohio State’s been sending elite defensive back talent into the NFL draft as of late (see: Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker), and Ward is next in line.

Kadar had the Colts trading down and taking Saquon Barkley in his latest mock, and the 49ers taking Georgia’s stud linebacker Roquan Smith.

A few of the more notable predictions Kiper has include the Seahawks taking safety Derwin James — as it appears the Seahawks are looking to get younger on that side of the ball.

He also has the Rams taking cornerback Josh Jackson out of Iowa at No. 23 overall, with Trumaine Johnson, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Lamarcus Joyner all set to hit free agency (though Joyner is a candidate to receive the franchise tag). Kadar projects the Rams selecting Denzel Ward in this spot.

The last especially noteworthy selection is LSU cornerback Donte Jackson at No. 31 overall to New England. It seems likely the Patriots will be moving on from Malcolm Butler after his benching in the Super Bowl, and could use some depth at the position.