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2018 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis and Predictions - First Overall Pick

This article will look at some of the projected high picks in this year's NFL Draft and who may be the 1st overall pick. The following numbers are the betting lines regarding these players and their possibility of going No.1. Heights and weights are only an estimate before the NFL Combine.

Listed odds were available at GTBets at the time of writing (2/26/2018).

QB Sam Darnold USC 6'4" 225

Darnold is a very accurate passer with the requisite arm strength for the next level. He can make throws in the pocket but also has the mobility to move and extend plays. He is smart and a very hard worker and will interview very well at the combine. He can make all of the throws at the next level and has great intangibles. He needs coaching at the NFL level to improve his reads and not give away his intended target. He also had ball-security issues last season and will need to tighten that up. Maybe the safest QB prospect on the board.

QB Josh Rosen UCLA 6'4" 210

Rosen has a big-time arm and shows touch on short and long throws. He "sees the field" well and played in a pro-style offense. Can stand in the pocket to make throws. Comes off as cocky and stubborn to some and wasn't well-liked by his teammates early in his Bruins career. While he did improve his relationships with some teammates, this is still seen as a big negative, especially at the QB position. He also missed games with injuries over the past 2 years and has a slim build which he'll need to work on. A likely Top 5 pick.

QB Josh Allen Wyoming 6'5 233

Allen has great size and is an accurate pocket passer. He is also a good runner. Has had issues recognizing pressure off the edge and really didn't improve in this area throughout his career. He doesn't throw a good deep ball and tended to panic in the pocket. In his defense, he played behind a poor o-line and didn't have a very good receiving corps. He also didn't play well vs. better competition. Scouts are much divided on him as a prospect based on his play in big games vs. the fact he didn't have much talent around him. Could be a Top 10 pick but could also wait a little longer to get picked.

RB Saquon Barkley Penn State 5'11" 223

Very productive runner from a big-time program. Has quick feet, great vision and has a burst to the second and third levels. He also has a good deal of wiggle and can deke LBs and DBs. Has good but not great speed. Adept as a receiver but needs work on his pass blocking, not uncommon for rookie RBs. With the success of recent high picks RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette has a chance to go in the Top 4 picks. Appears to be a safe pick at a position that has seen high-profile flops in the Top 5 (Trent Richardson, Curtis Enis, Ki-Jana Carter, etc.).

QB Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 6' 216

Put up video-game like numbers in the Big 12 where pass defense is non-existent. He has good touch on his throws, leads his receivers and can throw them open. Has good mobility and scored a pile of TDs on the ground. He also displayed leadership qualities and drove his teams to wins. On the downside, he is small for the position and may measure below 6 feet. He has poor footwork (which can be eliminated with coaching) and has some maturity issues. He also lacks experience in a pro-style offense, and several productive college QBs who played out of the shotgun struggled in the NFL. Potential Top 10 pick with so many needy QB teams.

DE Bradley Chubb North Carolina State 6'4" 276

Had ten sacks in each of the last two seasons and had a combined 44 tackles for loss over that span as well as forcing four fumbles. Has various pass rush moves but some scouts feel he lacks that explosive first step to be a big-time pass rusher in the pros. He's a great athlete, has a high-revving motor and sets the edge vs. the run. He has good hands to fend off blocks and seems to love the game. Maybe a bit of a tweener and sometimes struggles with his ability to diagnose plays quickly. While he may not be a star, most scouts feel he will be a reliable 3-down player. Likely Top 5 pick (Colts?).

FS Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama 6'1" 203

An elite prospect who grades as highly as any other player in the draft. A rarity in that he can cover slot receivers, play a deep centerfield, play in the box and blitz at a high level in all aspects. Very productive in a big-time program vs. top competition. He is a leader of the secondary and has the ability to diagnose plays quickly. Doesn't have elite size or speed but plays faster than he times and will deliver a blow. A very safe pick and a lock to go in the Top 5.

2018 Draft First Overall Pick Analysis

In trying to determine who will be the first pick, I will work backward. As there are no WR, OL, DT or LBs in the running for the top pick, we will say there is no chance for the 'Field' pick. While at least one scouting service has Mayfield rated as the top QB, I doubt many NFL teams do. His size is an issue and teams prefer a 1st-overall pick, especially at QB, to not have maturity issues. Allen is too divisive a prospect to warrant the first choice, and he is harder to evaluate based on his teammates. Chubb will go in the Top 4 picks, but I can't see him being the top choice. He doesn't look like a consensus 12-15 sack per season type of player but should help Indianapolis, my expectation of where he lands. Fitzpatrick appears to be a can't-miss player but a DB has never gone 1st overall, and with all the teams that need a QB, I think he'll go No.4 to the Browns. I don't know how many teams have Rosen ranked ahead of Darnold, but I think he'll turn some teams off with his personality. Should still go in the top 5-6 picks. Barkley could go to the Browns or the Giants. If Cleveland signs QB Kirk Cousins or A.J. McCarron, they will likely take Barkley with the top pick but based on their recent history, could trade down as they have many needs. Darnold should be the Browns pick at No.1 if they keep the pick and don't sign a starting QB in free agency. Therefore, I see the top 4 being:

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My 2018 NFL Draft Top 5 Picks

  1. Browns Darnold
  2. Giants Barkley
  3. Colts Chubb
  4. Browns - Fitzpatrick

Sam Darnold is the consensus choice to have his name called first overall in 2018 and I believe they have it correct.

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