The NFL Draft is three days away, which means wild rumors and speculation will persist between then and now. Before the draft takes center stage Thursday in Nashville, here is a look at how the top 10 may go.
No. 1 Cardinals
What previously looked like a sure thing is now being put into question, as multiple reports recently have said the Cardinals are likely to pass on Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray. While we do have the quote from GM Steve Keim last week saying Arizona has yet to make a decision, that also means Kyler isn’t ruled out. And with these rumors so close to draft night, it is entirely possible this could be intentional misinformation the Cardinals leaked themselves. Whatever the case, there has been too much smoke all offseason, so I still expect Murray to be the first overall pick.
No. 2 49ers
The 49ers don’t seem to have a lot of uncertainty surrounding this pick. If Murray is off the board, Ohio State DE Nick Bosa is likely the guy. If they pass on Murray and go with Bosa themselves, that opens up the chance of Quinnen Williams or another D-lineman. But assuming the first overall pick goes as planned, I think Bosa winds up in San Francisco and becomes the final piece of their loaded front four.
No. 3 Jets
I think this is where the draft can see its first surprise of the night, as there may be teams who’d like to trade up for a QB, and this would be the likeliest spot. But for the sake of this exercise, there are no trades, and the Jets have a chance to add to their defense with arguably the best player available in the draft. Alabama DT Quinnen Williams projects as a defensive star and would fit perfectly into DC Gregg Williams’ defense.
No. 4 Raiders
This is another potential spot where a trade can happen, depending on if there are teams getting antsy about a QB. But after trading Khalil Mack last offseason, the Raiders were last in the NFL in sacks, and are desperate for pass-rushers. Fortunately for them, Kentucky DE Josh Allen will likely be available at No. 4, making him a pretty safe pick assuming Oakland stays right where they are.
No. 5 Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is in the market for defense, as are most of the teams selecting in the top 10. Someone like Allen or Ed Oliver could make sense, as well as a cornerback. But reports say the Bucs love LSU LB Devin White, who would replace Kwon Alexander and potentially become the next leader on defense. I think White is the pick here.
No. 6 Giants
Despite the need for an eventual successor to Eli Manning, GM Dave Gettleman has stood firm in saying the Giants will take the best player available. If there’s a trade before them for a QB and it moves a guy like Allen down, he’s the pick. But if this is how the draft shapes up, I think New York will take a hard look at Michigan DE Rashan Gary, someone with serious boom-or-bust potential who improves their defensive line.
No. 7 Jaguars
After a run on defense, this is where we see offense come back into the fold. Jacksonville has clear needs in multiple areas on offense, including TE and WR. But the Jags will pass on those positions for now and instead go offensive line. With three guys at O-line who could all be top 10 picks, I think Jacksonville goes with Florida OT Jawaan Taylor, a local kid who could start from day one.
No. 8 Lions
As the draft gets farther in, it gets a little harder to forecast where teams will go. The Lions are a prime example, as rumors of them being interested in tight ends, linebackers, and even quarterbacks have persisted over the offseason. I think Detroit looks at a guy like LB Devin Bush but then decides that they need weapons for Matthew Stafford while he’s still in his prime. If that’s the case, I think they’ll go with the best pass-catcher in the draft, Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson.
No. 9 Bills
Buffalo can certainly go with an offensive linemen, with both Jonah Williams and Andre Dillard still available. Williams especially makes sense due to his connection with OC Brian Daboll, his former coach on offense at Alabama. However, there is one big name who has slid thus far, and I don’t think the Bills will let him slide any farther. Houston DT Ed Oliver could go as high as No. 3, and Buffalo will be elated if a guy with his Pro Bowl potential falls to them at No. 9.
No. 10 Broncos
It should be noted that there has been zero QBs selected following Murray at No. 1. And I don’t think Denver grabs one here either, even with an aging Joe Flacco as their starter. New head coach Vic Fangio prides himself in defense and would love to build a unit similar to what he coached with the Bears last season. And speaking of the Bears, a guy who reportedly reminds Fangion a lot of last year’s pick Roquan Smith is still available. I think Denver will select Michigan LB Devin Bush to close out the top 10.
If that’s how the draft sets up, it will be very interesting to see where the QBs (Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones) all end up. And don’t forget about some other players still available on defense, including Christian Wilkins, Brian Burns, and Clelin Ferrell. We’ll see how everything shakes out this Thursday in Nashville.