We’re days away from one of football’s biggest events. No, football’s not back yet. The seven-round NFL Draft is close and sends the next wave of young talent into the NFL. Below are my predictions for the first 10 picks, as well as the strategies for the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
- Los Angeles Rams– Jared Goff, QB California
Los Angeles orchestrated a blockbuster trade to move up from the 15th spot to the top, so it is no surprise when they select a quarterback. In-state product Jared Goff is the selection over Carson Wentz, giving the Rams the new face of their franchise.
- Cleveland Browns– Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Cleveland goes with Carson Wentz for the second pick of the draft, hoping that he’ll develop under new quarterback Robert Griffin III and lift the team from the depths of the AFC.
- San Diego Chargers– Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
The top prospect in the draft, Tunsil falls to the Chargers after the two quarterback selections. Philip Rivers gets a franchise left tackle as he aims for his first Super Bowl.
- Dallas Cowboys– Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Tough choice between Jack, Joey Bosa, and Jalen Ramsey, but the Boys go with Jack, a multi-dimensional linebacker who draws comparisons to Ray Lewis.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
The Jaguars get much-needed secondary help with Ramsey, the best defensive back and possibly defensive player.
- Baltimore Ravens- Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Just one year ago, Joey Bosa was the consensus top pick. A small draft-day fall allows Baltimore to draft the beastly pass rusher and infuse their defense with more talent.
- San Francisco 49ers– DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
With Goff and Wentz off the board, the 49ers go with the best all-around player on the board, DeForest Buckner. Being an Oregon product helps with new coach Chip Kelly.
- Philadelphia Eagles- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Philadelphia aims for more offensive firepower with the top running back in the draft, Ezekiel Elliott. A favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Elliott could be a staple in the Pro Bowl.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
The Bucs add another piece to their defense with the selection of Hargreaves, who’ll pair up with Alterraun Verner in the Tampa secondary.
- New York Giants– Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Following the Cowboys’ strategy of building a dominant offensive line, the Giants choose Ronnie Stanley, the best offensive lineman left and a possible franchise player.
Inside the Dallas War Room
The Cowboys shouldn’t be aiming for the next franchise quarterback because this team could be in the Super Bowl next February. Instead, the Cowboys should be looking at the bounty of top-tier defensive talent that will be available at the four-spot in the draft. Jalen Ramsey would be a great match with 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones, while Joey Bosa and Myles Jack would add to a depleted pass rush. Ezekiel Elliott is an electric player, but the running back to watch for Dallas is running back Derrick Henry in the second round. Any defensive help would be a positive, while another wideout could also help.
Inside the Baltimore War Room
Baltimore selects 6th overall and could have to choose between multiple blue-chip prospects. Offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil would have to be the priority, but if San Diego selects Tunsil the decision could be between DeForest Buckner, Joey Bosa, and Myles Jack. I’d go with the best defensive player on the board for Baltimore as the Ravens try to build back a fearsome defense. The Ravens have needs at almost every position, but the second round could be used to aid the offense.