NFL Draft: Last Minute Predictions for Round 1
1. The New York Jets will select Baker Mayfield
Back in March, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan got aggressive and moved up from the sixth pick to the third pick in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets have been on a never-ending search for their franchise quarterback and maybe this is the year they finally figure it out. Baker Mayfield finished his college career brilliantly at Oklahoma as he led his team into the national semi-final.
I personally wasn’t sure he had what it took to be a reliable NFL signal caller earlier in this process. However, I, like many others, have gotten on the Baker bandwagon. His swagger and edge seem to be a positive impact on his overall game, and this combined with his crafty free-wheeling style of play makes him an intriguing option. Mayfield and the Jets seem like the perfect marriage for one another, especially considering the team’s last championship QB.
There is a certain Joe Namath vibe developing around Baker Mayfield with the Jets waiting for him at three. When you talk to most Jets fans, they say they want a guy like him. So I say it’s about time to make it “Baker and the Jets” with gang green picking the former Sooner at number three.
2. The Bills and Broncos will be trade partners
The Buffalo Bills finally found their way back into the postseason this past year and are now looking to take the next step. They let starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor go to Cleveland and GM Brandon Beane has said they will do whatever it takes to trade up at the draft to get their man. The Bills hold picks 12 and 22 in the first round, as well as two second round picks, which will act as capital for them to use to go up the board.
The Bills’ need for a big time quarterback brings the Denver Broncos into play with the number five pick. John Elway has said on a few occasions that the team is willing to move the fifth pick in order to acquire more picks to help their roster. The Bills seem like the most logical trade partner for Denver with their four picks in the first two rounds.
The question remains, which quarterback will Buffalo get the chance to trade up for? There are a lot of rumors about which signal callers will go in the first three picks but I think Josh Rosen will be the player who falls to Denver’s number five pick. The Bills staff was said to have been impressed by Rosen at the combine so I predict them to trade up and take the former Bruin with the fifth pick.
3. The Dallas Cowboys will pick DJ Moore
It’s been another wild offseason for the Dallas Cowboys as they’ve gone ahead with the decision to cut wide receiver Dez Bryant. They added Allen Hurns earlier in the free agency period, but they still need a threat on the outside to impact this offense. They’re too far down to get a player like Calvin Ridley, so they move onto another pass catcher I’m very high on.
Maryland’s DJ Moore has quickly become one of the drafts most notable names. His strong final year at UMD was impressive and the tape proves it. Moore’s explosive athletic ability and reliable hands give him the chance to be successful during his first year in the league. The Cowboys are crying out for help on offense and Moore may be just the player to help them. Dallas has had a 30 visit with Moore and seems to have expressed interest in taking him with the 19th pick. So expect him to take the stage in his future home stadium on draft night.
4. The Steelers will select a linebacker
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough end to their season. They lost their best defensive player in Ryan Shazier to a freighting spinal injury, had the NFL “catch rules” take a win off the board for them, and then got embarrassed by the Jaguars in the divisional round at home. This team just seemed to drop off once Shazier went down. While they feel there’s a chance Shazier will make a full recovery, the Steelers should plan to find a replacement anyway.
I see them using their first-round pick on a linebacker, and more specifically, Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans.
Evans is the complete package. He flies around the field making plays, shows off some strong athletic skills, and is one of the most intelligent players in the class. Evans is exactly the type of player the Steelers need on their defense, with or without Shazier. If Evans is off the board, look for the Steelers to consider Leighton Vander Esch out of Boise State if he makes it to their spot.
5. The Patriots will trade up for an impact defender
The New England Patriots once again found a way to reach yet another Super Bowl. They seemed to have done it with spit and glue, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They lacked a true star up front and didn’t seem to play with any edge or physicality, so it’s time to go up and grab that kind of player. They could stay with their two first round picks and find some solid players, but the type of guy they need won’t be on the board when they go on the clock.
I think their best option is to target local college star Harold Landry, who is the type of pass rusher this team needs. His ability to bend the corner and use his raw traits to rush the passer gives him a shot at stardom in the league. While there were questions about Landry and his disparity in performances between the 16-17 season and 17-18 season, I think injuries had more to do with that than anything else.
The Pats have the picks to get up high enough to select Landry, who will probably go somewhere between picks 10 and 15. With four picks in the first two rounds, Belichick & Co. can climb the board to find their man.
So, those are five predictions I have for round one of the draft. They will be put to the test on Thursday night when teams go on the clock. Stay tuned to Slant Sports as well as my twitter @PBPNick for continuing draft coverage straight from Dallas.
The weekend we have all been waiting for is finally here, so enjoy the draft everyone and best of luck to your individual teams.