San Francisco 49ers: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
John Lynch grabs the franchise quarterback for Kyle Shanahan's offense.
Darnold was very impressive as a redshirt freshman in 2016. Sources say that while they haven't studied Darnold extensively, he jumped out at them as being a potentially special quarterback. Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The 6-4, 225-pounder has size and led USC on a nine-game winning streak to end the season.
Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Browns grab a their franchise quarterback. I don't think drafting DeShone Kizer will eliminate Cleveland taking a signal-caller early in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Allen (6-5, 222) became a discussed prospect late in the 2016 season, but he wisely decided to return to Wyoming. He has a good skill set and some draft analysts were projecting him high in the first round, but one general manager told WalterFootball.com that he had Allen as a third-day prospect and thought Allen should improve before going pro. Other team sources that did advance work for National Scouting for the 2018 prospects really liked Allen, so don't be surprised if he is a polarizing prospect. In 2016, Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Pick change; previously Josh Rosen, QB
Los Angeles Rams: Arden Key, DE/3-4OLB, LSU
Key is too good for the Rams to pass on, and Los Angeles could use an edge rusher to pair with Robert Quinn. William Hayes led the Rams with only five sacks last year and was traded to Miami.
In 2016, Key was one of the best players in college football. He recorded 56 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up on the year. Key is a dangerous pass-rusher with excellent speed and the ability to bend around the corner. He flashed a ton of potential as a freshman for LSU, totaling 41 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, five sacks and one pass broken up. The 6-foot-6, 231-pounder is a lightning-fast edge rusher with a ton of upside to develop.
Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
The Bears could use a difference-maker in their secondary. Fitzpatrick could be used in a variety of ways.
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has excellent size and some natural cover skills. He has a ton of upside to develop. It sounds as if his preference and natural position is safety.
New York Jets: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Jets go with the best player available and take a feature back for their offense. Obviously, Matt Forte isn't a long-term answer at this stage of his career.
Barkley was excellent in 2016, and NFL sources have already said they think he's a stud back for the next level. The sophomore averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the year for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also made 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.
Barkley was very impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. Barkley was very impressive running for 194 yards on 26 carries against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent. The 5-foot-11, 223-pounder is a tough runner with a burst.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Tom Coughlin made a nice value pick with Cam Robinson in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. However, that selection still doesn't make up for Dave Caldwell's bust of Luke Joeckel with the second-overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Jaguars can't count on Brandon Albert to stay healthy, need more help at guard, and right tackle Jeremy Parnell was a disappointment in 2016. Thus, Jacksonville could target more offensive line help to go with Robinson. The team drafting a left tackle would make sense because Robinson's best fit in the NFL could come at right tackle.
McGlinchey was very impressive at left tackle for the Fighting Irish in 2016. He looked natural in pass protection, and one wouldn't have thought that he wasn't playing the position before 2016.
McGlinchey has excellent feet to get depth in his kick slide and cut off speed rushers. As a run blocker, McGlinchey can get movement at the point of attack. He flashes heavy hands to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes for his back. McGlinchey also has a nice ability to bend at the knee, and that in combination with his feet, keeps him from having to reach after edge rushers. His performance in 2016 protecting DeShone Kizer is evidence that McGlinchey is a future starting left tackle in the NFL and a first-round pick.
McGlinchey (6-7, 310) is a tough run blocker and has been part of a good Notre Dame line for years. In 2015, he showed well as a right tackle and had a more physical style of play than former Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The one area that McGlinchey really needs to improve is his repeated problem with false starts.
Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Bills grab a long-term quarterback.
Jackson (6-3, 205) set college football on fire in 2016 while winning the Heisman Trophy. He was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry.
Jackson has a good athletic skill set, but he will need to show more accuracy and pocket-passing skills in 2017 to be a high draft pick. Jackson also faces some size concerns.
Pick change; previously Derwin James, S
Arizona Cardinals: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Cardinals could consider more help at safety. Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger left in free agency, while Deone Bucannon is a hybrid linebacker. Here's a safety to pair with the undersized Budda Baker.
James totaled 11 tackles through two games in 2016 before sustaining a knee injury. He had been playing well for Florida State. Entering the 2016 season, there was a lot of hype that James was an elite player and perhaps the best defensive player in college football. As a freshman in 2015, he had a strong debut with 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles, but zero interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder has a great athletic skill set.
Pick change; previously Calvin Ridley, WR
Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Ravens grab a No. 1 receiver for their offense.
Kirk played well in 2016 despite inconsistent quarterback play from the Aggies. He had 83 receptions for 928 yards with nine touchdowns while splitting targets with wideouts like Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones. Kirk is a fast, explosive play-maker. Some scouting sources have said their nickname for Kirk is "Baby Beckham" in reference to Odell Beckham Jr.
Kirk (5-11, 200) had an outstanding freshman debut for Texas A&M and earned playing time over more veteran receivers who had previously produced for the Aggies. In 2015, Kirk caught 80 passes for 1,009 yards with seven touchdowns. He averaged only 19.3 yards per kick return, but averaged 24.4 yards per punt returns with two touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts: Harold Landry, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Boston College
The Colts signed John Simon and Jabaal Sheard, but both of them are rotational pass-rushers and edge defenders. Indianapolis needs a lead pass-rusher to build around.
Landry (6-3, 250) had an impressive junior season as an edge rusher for Boston College, recording 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, four passes batted and 51 tackles. He contributed as a sophomore with 60 stops and 4.5 sacks. Landry would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings: Vita Vea, DT/3-4DE/NT, Washington
The Vikings could consider taking a defensive tackle given the uncertainty around Sharrif Floyd.
Vea (6-5, 332) was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted on the season. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack.
Pick change; previously Da'Ron Payne, DT
Philadelphia Eagles: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Eagles' top receivers are entering free agency next year. Here's a long-term weapon for Carson Wentz.
In 2016, Ridley made 72 catches for 769 yards with seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder had a tremendous freshman season for the Crimson Tide as their No. 1 receiver. As a replacement for Amari Cooper, Ridley was very effective with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards with seven touchdowns. He finished the 2015 season with impressive performances against Florida and Michigan State to help push Alabama to the National Championship. Ridley has size, speed and a ton of upside for the NFL.
Pick change; previously Courtland Sutton, WR
Buffalo Bills: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Bills grab a potential replacement for Sammy Watkins.
In 2016, Sutton totaled 76 receptions for 1,246 yards - 16.5 yard average - with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions.
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them in 2016. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Docton, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Pick change; previously Antonio Callaway, WR
New Orleans Saints: Sam Hubbard, DE/3-4OLB, Ohio State
The Saints grab a base end to go across from Cam Jordan.
In 2016, Hubbard collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. While rotating into the game as a sophomore, he showed his potential with 6.5 sacks. Hubbard also had 28 tackles with an interception. The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder could explode as a senior as he has an early round skill set.
Tennessee Titans: Bradley Chubb, DE/3-4DE, N.C. State
Tennessee could use a young edge rusher. Brian Orakpo turns 31 this year, while Derrick Morgan is nearing 30. The Titans could use a young edge rusher to team with them.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Chubb has been a tough defender for the Wolfpack. In 2016, he totaled 58 tackles with 22 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one pass batted. As a sophomore in 2015, he collected 5.5 sacks. Chubb has scheme flexibility.
New York Giants: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Giants still could use more tackle help for their offense. Here's a bookend to go with Ereck Flowers.
Williams (6-6, 290) started at left tackle as a freshman and sophomore for the Longhorns. He was a steady pass protector and a consistent run blocker. Williams has good length, quickness, and athleticism. It would be good to see him get stronger and show more heavy hands.
Exactly and now they also have trade assets. Grasu could get a pick from a center needy team, Kush can back up Whitehair. Glennon can head to AZ for a pick when Palmer gets hurt or continues his poor play. Someone may want to gamble on Kyle Fuller and give up a late pick if he doesnt impress the Bears staff. Amos or HJQ could get a 6 or 7 from a safety needy team.