Mel Kiper of ESPN released his first mock draft of the year on Thursday. For the second year in a row, with all of these mock drafts, we are treated to double the fun due to the Cleveland Browns having the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks. And with those selections, how could any front office go wrong?
It’s expected that the Browns will select a quarterback at No. 1 overall, and that’s the direction Kiper is going:
No. 1: Cleveland Browns - QB Josh Allen - “Cleveland has to take a quarterback. Has to. And a winless season means the Browns can pick whichever one they want. My evaluations on this quarterback class are really close. I’ve gone back and forth a few times on Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Allen, but I just moved Allen up to my No. 1 quarterback. His numbers aren’t impressive, I know. But the NFL is all about projection, and he has a high ceiling. Coaches want to work with the 6-foot-5 Allen because he has all of the tools. I said last month that he is one of my favorite prospects in this class. The other top quarterbacks have warts, and there is no slam-dunk No. 1 prospect, which makes it a fun class. Scouts are looking forward to seeing Allen at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, next week, where he will work out with much better talent.”
At No. 4, Kiper goes with another hot pick:
No. 4: Cleveland Browns - RB Saquon Barkley - “This is the pick acquired in the Texans’ trade up for Deshaun Watson last year. Cleveland has a new front office, and Barkley could be the best overall player in this class -- he’s No. 1 on my Big Board. But how much do teams value running backs? We’ve seen in recent years that they can hit on backs in the top 10 (Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley), but the Browns also have recent history missing on one (Trent Richardson, though they later got a first-round pick in return for him). And there is always value in the middle rounds -- just look at Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara in 2017. Barkley is a big-time running back, and I think he’ll be a top-10 pick. He is built for today’s NFL as a do-it-all runner and pass-catcher out of the backfield.”
You may differ on which players are taken at No. 1 and No. 4 overall, but would this be considered a hit if it were John Dorsey’s first draft? Obviously, that also depends on what the club does in free agency, but weigh in on Kiper’s first mock in the comments below.