Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against Nebraska on Nov. 18, 2018, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.


Steve Silverman's Final NFL Mock Draft

Giants, Jets Should Emerge With Their QBs Of Future

Steve Silverman
April 24, 2018 - 12:57 pm

This will be a draft that lives on in the history books for many years.

That does not mean it will be a draft that produces all-time great players at the top of the first round. It means there is a boatload of quarterbacks who will be selected in the first round.

MORE: Complete NFL Draft Coverage

If the Giants cooperate, three quarterbacks – USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield -- could be taken with the first three picks Thursday night in Dallas. The Denver Broncos could make it four quarterbacks in the first five picks if they choose Josh Allen.

Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph and Louisville's Lamar Jackson could both be selected in the first half of the first round.

If that happens, that means six quarterbacks would be chosen in the first round, matching the 1983 draft that included Hall of Famers John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.

I'm not saying three of the quarterbacks in this group will end up in Canton, but they will have a huge impact in the league for years to come.

MORE: Palladino: Gettleman Must Use His Five Other Draft Picks As Wisely As No. 2

Here’s how I see the first round playing out:

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

3. New York Jets (from Colts): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans): Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

6. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

11. Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

12. Buffalo Bills (from Bengals): Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

MORE: Sam Darnold On WFAN: Excitement Building As Draft Approaches

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

19. Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

20. Detroit Lions: Derwin James, S, Florida State

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Bills): James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs): Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

23. New England Patriots (from Rams): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

25. Tennessee Titans: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

26. Atlanta Falcons: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

27. New Orleans Saints: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

30. Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso

31. New England Patriots: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

The Giants and Jets have a chance to dictate the first round with the second and third picks.

Both teams need quarterbacks, and while the Giants could have a bounce-back year with Eli Manning, he is so close to the end that he can start prepping for a color analyst’s job.

If the Giants had built off their playoff season in 2016 with another year of postseason football last year, Manning might have decided to retire. He did not want to end on that sour note, and he is going to start the year as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. However, the Giants must groom his replacement.

Of course, the Giants could look at Barkley for what he is – the best player in the draft. The Penn State running back is a game changer and powerful weapon who can run like a tank with explosive speed and catch passes like a top-of-the-line receiver.

Barkley is also a wonderful and mature presence in the locker room, and he should be an asset for any head coach, including Pat Shurmur.

I previously have written about Bradley Chubb as a game-changing pass rusher. Nothing has happened to change that assessment. He is also worthy of a No. 2 pick.

However, life in the NFL is always about quarterback play. A chance to draft Rosen or Allen is a wonderful opportunity for any team, and when it comes down to it Thursday night, general manager Dave Gettleman may not want to pass on a quarterback who can lead the team for the next decade-plus.

I hear and many insiders are reporting that the Jets love Mayfield and will not let him get by the No. 3 spot.

This would be a scary pick and GM Mike Maccagnan should realize that playing in the Big 12 gave Mayfield a chance to exploit some of the softest defenses in college football. He also needs to study the tape, because Mayfield was able to complete a lot of flips and short passes that his receivers turned into big plays.

There are questions about Mayfield’s personality that came to the forefront from time to time at Oklahoma. He says he realizes there were times when he crossed a line with his demonstrative behavior and that will change in the NFL, but why should the Jets have to worry about that?

Meanwhile, there are several other non-quarterbacks who have a chance to be special NFL players. Smith, the linebacker from Georgia, is a tackling machine, while Fitzpatrick the Alabama defensive back, is a dynamic, game-changing player who smells out impact plays and delivers them regularly.

Nelson, the Notre Dame guard, has the mauler’s mentality, along with the power, quickness and skill, needed to become a Pro Bowl regular. And Landry, the linebacker from Boston College, should be a double-digit sack guy due to his superior technique and tremendous drive.

But this draft will be remembered for the guys who line up behind center, and both New York teams are likely to be a big part of the quarterback class of 2018.

Follow Steve on Twitter at @Profootballboy