We are less than a month away from the NFL Draft, and Cincinnati Bengals beat writer Jay Morrison offers his thoughts on how the first round will shake out in his mock draft.
The Bengals will pick 21st after trading down from No. 12 to obtain tackle Cordy Glenn from Buffalo.
This is the fourth time since 2010 the Bengals have owned the 21st pick. They took Jermaine Gresham in 2010, Tyler Eifert in 2013 and Cedric Ogbuehi in 2015.
Meanwhile the Cleveland Browns have the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row in addition to owning the No. 4 pick. Assuming they hold on to both, the Browns will have made seven top-eight picks since 2010.
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Strong-armed Allen has the most upside of any quarterback in the draft, and if there’s one thing the Browns are looking for, it’s upside.
2. New York Giants
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Giants are trying to get another 2018 first-round pick by shopping Odell Beckham Jr., which could change their direction, but for now the focus is taking Eli Manning’s replacement.
3. New York Jets
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Jets’ run of quarterback futility doesn’t quite match the Browns’, but it’s lengthy.
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4. Cleveland Browns
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Dream scenario comes true for Browns as they get their quarterback and arguably the top overall prospect available in the multi-dimensional Barkley.
5. Denver Broncos
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Case Keenum signing buys the Broncos a little time to find a franchise quarterback.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
The Colts get the guy they likely would have taken at 3 and get three extra second-round picks as a bonus after trading down just three spots with the Jets.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Buccaneers ranked 32nd in pass defense last year.
8. Chicago Bears
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Bears bolster their pass rush with Edmunds becoming the bookend to Leonard Floyd.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Add Fitzpatrick to new cornerback Richard Sherman, and the 49ers secondary is immensely better.
10. Oakland Raiders
Former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther gets a linebacker similar to Vontaze Burfict, but without the baggage.
11. Miami Dolphins
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Exit Ndamukong Suh, enter Vea.
12. Buffalo Bills
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
AJ McCarron and Mayfield in the same locker room? That’s a whole lot of moxie.
13. Washington Redskins
Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Redskins have other needs, but James is too good to pass up at this point.
14. Green Bay Packers
Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
He can play end or linebacker and can ease into the role with a year as an understudy for 32-year-old Clay Matthews.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Sam Bradford is not a long-term answer and maybe not even a short-term one given his injury history.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
It’s an Irish reunion on the Baltimore O-line with McGlinchey joining 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Chargers were 31st in run defense last year.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Replacing Richard Sherman is a top priority.
19. Dallas Cowboys
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Dez Bryant is declining rapidly, and there is no one else on the roster who looks like a No. 1 receiver.
20. Detroit Lions
James Daniels, C, Iowa
The Lions pluck a Bengals target right out from under their noses.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Some prognosticators have Miller listed as the best tackle in the draft, making this both a value pick and a need filler for the Bengals.
22. Buffalo Bills
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
If you’re in a division with Tom Brady, it’s wise to stockpile corners.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Rashan Evans, LB, Alabama
Evans is an ideal fit after the Rams traded Alex Ogletree to the Giants.
24. Carolina Panthers
Justin Reid, S, Stanford
After trading for wide receiver Torrey Smith, the key hole to fill is the one left by safety Kurt Coleman.
25. Tennessee Titans
Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
New head coach Mike Vrabel gets a player cut from his own mold.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The heart issue that kept him out of the Combine is a concern, but Hurst was cleared to work at his pro day.
27. New Orleans Saints
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Hurst’s presence in the middle of the field will only open things up further for Drew Brees.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The playoff loss to Jacksonville exposed how thin the Steelers are linebacker.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars committed to Blake Bortles, now they to give him more weapons, especially after losing Allen Robinson in free agency.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Ogbonnia Okoronkow, DE, Georgia
Mike Zimmer can never have enough defensive linemen.
31. New England Patriots
Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Bell Belichick doesn’t have Malcolm Butler to kick around anymore.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles have proven they can win a “running back by committee” approach, so there’s no rush for Guice to come in an establish himself as an every-down back.
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