By Thomas Jeffrey
The NFL Draft is next week, which means that the former college football stars will see their dreams come true. That also means that speculation is at an all-time high. Who will the Browns take with their top pick? What trades will be made? Will a running back be drafted first? It is hard to answer those questions, but here are three things to expect on the evening of the 26th.
This year’s draft class is stacked with quarterbacks. And a lot of them will be gone early. The most popular quarterbacks throughout the college season in terms of NFL potential were USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Those three gunslingers have a very high chance of going in the top five, and many people predict that Cleveland will take Darnold first overall. However, the list doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget about the past two Heisman Trophy winners, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and, of course, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. There is also Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. Expect this talented group of quarterbacks to be the NFL’s next generation of signal-callers.
Although there are many talented quarterbacks in this draft class, and the fact that the Heisman winner is a quarterback, the best player in the draft is not a quarterback. He is a very special running back. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is a generational talent, a freak athlete, a jack of all trades, and the type of running back that a franchise can build around. He had nearly 4,000 yards in three seasons at Penn State and had the second most all purpose yards in the country last season. Despite being the best player, Barkley will not be the top pick, due to Cleveland’s dire need for a franchise quarterback. Instead he will go second to the New York Giants. The Giants had an abysmal offense last year, especially in rushing, and Barkley can immediately provide a spark. Also, if Odell Beckham Jr. stays in New York, that would be one scary combination for opposing defenses.
Enough about offense. Let’s talk defense. Although not as prevalent as offensive players, there are some defensive studs in the draft this year. Most notably North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb. Chubb was college football’s top defensive lineman last season and he is good enough to wreak havoc on offensive lines. Another defensive star is Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. Ward had a stellar 2017 season, improving greatly from his 2016 season. Ward looks to be the next Ohio State defensive back to be taken in the first round of the draft, most likely very early, as Ohio State had three taken in the 2017 draft. One of the those three defensive backs was New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who captured the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and was one of the best corners in the league. Ward has the potential to be as good as Lattimore, or even better. With their talent, Chubb and Ward will both be off the board very quickly.
This years NFL Draft class is loaded. An amazing group of quarterbacks which features two Heisman winners, a sensational running back, and some great defensive players. These players will soon be stars in the NFl and their journeys all start at the NFL Draft