At the combine, I couldn’t find anyone who thought the Browns wouldn’t pick Allen. The flip to Sam Darnold happened after his pro day in the rain. I don’t expect this consensus to change, but we do have a little more than a week to go, so nothing can be ruled out.
Let’s examine how Allen being the first pick would impact the rest of the first round.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. As Will Brinson , citing analysis from Pete Prisco and other veteran NFL writers, all signs point to the Browns taking Allen No. 1 overall. As we close in on the draft, it appears John Dorsey wants another big-armed quarterback to sit behind a veteran for — maybe — a season like he had last year in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes.
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Because of the perceived value of Darnold, this pick will be one of the most coveted trade-up spots for a non-No. 1 overall pick in years. But I don’t view GM Dave Gettleman as someone who, first off, ever really wants to trade down, and because of that, would ever be willing to move back without getting a ridiculous compensation package. Therefore, the Giants stay put and pick Chubb to anchor the edge of their defensive line.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Mayfield has ascended up boards during the pre-draft process. It seems as though his charismatic personality has mostly been viewed as a positive rather than a negative. Instead of Darnold, the Jets go with the more experienced quarterback.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. The Bills look at the board with the eyes-wide-open emoji, as Darnold and Josh Rosen remain on the board at No. 4. With the cost slightly reduced at this juncture, the Bills make a trade with the man they did business with — John Dorsey — in last year’s draft to get the immensely talented but somewhat raw Darnold.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. If the board falls this way, don’t be surprised if the Broncos take almost all their allotted time on the clock. Rosen is obviously enticing, but so is Barkley, and the Broncos could be content with Case Keenum under center, especially with a uber-talented runner in the backfield with him.
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. There’s momentum for Sutton as the first receiver taken in this draft. He’s big, he’s a superb athlete, and he was very productive in college. Perfect Julio Jones-type player for Kyle Shanahan to give to Jimmy Garoppolo.
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. Another surprise early in the draft, with Edmunds going ahead of Roquan Smith. WIth the former Virginia Tech star, there’s just too much upside for Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden to ignore.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. The Dolphins could take Lamar Jackson here but instead go with the consensus top defensive prospect available at this juncture in Fitzpatrick, a multi-dimensional secondary member.
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. To land Ward after moving back is wonderful draft management by Dorsey. Ward isn’t Marshon Lattimore yet has similar athletic traits and mirroring ability down the field. To slide back, the Browns land this pick, Buffalo’s second first-rounder (No. 22 overall) and the Bills’ second third-rounder (No. 96 overall).
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. This is a prudent pick for the beginning of the Brian Gutekunst era in Green Bay. McGlinchey is ready to be a quality player as a rookie.
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Chris Ballard has prepared his franchise to build for the future with two trade backs in the first round. In the deal with the Cardinals, the Colts get picks No. 47 (Round 2) and No. 182 (Round 6). Davenport is a highly athletic defensive end with a rather impressive arsenal of pass-rushing moves.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. As a send-off of sorts, Ozzie Newsome adds another Alabama prospect to his roster at a position of need. Ridley and Michael Crabtree are a respectable pairing out wide for Joe Flacco.
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP. The Seahawks need to move back with currently only one pick in the top 100 of this draft. Carolina is in dire need of a replacement for Andrew Norwell. That’s the recipe for a first-round trade.
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. The Cowboys are a team that prioritizes athletic traits in their early-round picks (see: Byron Jones, Zeke Elliott, Taco Charlton), and Moore is a gifted, explosive player on the field. Oh, and he’d fill a major need.
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa. Jackson is your consummate Seattle cornerback. He’s tall, long and has ridiculous ball skills from zone coverage. The Seahawks get pick No. 88 (Round 3) from Carolina in this swap.
Connor Williams, OT/OG, Texas. With a heavy emphasis on the run game, the Jaguars chose to continue to build their offensive line with Williams, who could play either one of the tackle spots or guard.
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. Alexander excels in man-to-man and is very aggressive when attacking the football, two qualities Bill Belichick likes in his defensive backs. The former Louisville star can make plenty of plays in zone too.