This is going to be one of the most interesting NFL Drafts that I can remember. There’s already so much speculation about what the Cleveland Browns will do with the first overall pick. Will they go with a quarterback like Sam Darnold, or do they draft the best player in the draft in Saquon Barkley? The drama doesn’t end there, though. The New York Giants are in position to draft their successor to Eli Manning, but there’s speculation that they either trade this pick to the Buffalo Bills at 12th overall, or they could be looking at Saquon Barkley or Quenton Nelson.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the drama heightened. The New York Jets moved up to the 3rd overall pick, and the Indianapolis Colts trade back to 6th. The Jets gave up three second round picks over the next two years, in addition to their first rounder, to sweeten the deal for the Colts.
I also want to say that I called this trade almost two weeks ago in my post-combine mock draft. I don’t mean to brag, but thank you very much.
So what does this move mean for the New York Jets? Whenever you start giving up that many picks, you’re positioning yourself to get a quarterback. The Jets recently signed Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year deal at $15 million, and they also re-signed Josh McCown to a one-year deal at $10 million. That never interfered their plan to draft a quarterback with the 6th overall pick, but now it’s a certainty that they’ll be drafting a quarterback at 3rd overall. The main question is which one will they be drafting?
Sam Darnold, QB from USC
As we know, anything is possible when it comes to the NFL Draft (i.e. Aaron Rodgers at pick 24). There’s a chance that Sam Darnold slides in this draft. If he’s available with the 3rd overall pick, there’s no way the Jets can pass on him. They have their bridge quarterbacks, behind whom Darnold could get himself ready to become the franchise guy. His footwork needs to be fixed and his wind-up in his throwing motion could be tweaked, but there’s still a ton of upside with Darnold. He’s got the arm to lead your team down the field at anytime and has experience in running plenty of pro concepts. However, I believe that the Cleveland Browns will be taking him with the first overall pick and, of the quarterbacks, he’s the least likely to be available with the third overall pick.
Millers post foot was literally on it's heel...that's never good. It's fixable but footwork is pretty sloppy. Rosen with a nice throw and receiver with a nice run after the catch pic.twitter.com/ymlrrmjMX6— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 8, 2018
Josh Rosen, QB from UCLA
Depending on what happens with the second overall pick, I think Josh Rosen is most likely to be available at third overall. Rosen is the most pro-ready quarterback in this class, but there’s no reason to believe that he has to start day one. His arm strength is better than he gets credit for, but improving his ball placement on deep passes will be key for him. The UCLA Bruins ran a pro-style offense, and Rosen had success with plays both under center and out of shotgun. If the draft were today, I’d have to think that Rosen would be the pick for the Jets at third.
Baker just adjusting these plays so he can keep it himself. Someone better knock him on his character for being so selfish on these broken plays. Those people should also should knock him for not being "athletic". pic.twitter.com/rUgG1OO7Oo— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 14, 2018
Baker Mayfield, QB from Oklahoma or Josh Allen, QB from Wyoming
Odds are, one of these quarterbacks will be available for the Jets. I believe that the Bills will send the house to the New York Giants for the 2nd overall pick and they’ll end up selecting Josh Allen from Wyoming. If that’s the case, the Jets could settle for Baker Mayfield. “Broadway Baker” does have a great ring to it, and he’d be a lot of fun in that New York media. Realistically, he’s a good quarterback who has a good arm, anticipation, and athletic ability to succeed at the next level. There are times that he makes questionable decisions on the field and tries to “do too much”, but I still believe he can be a successful quarterback in the NFL, regardless of what offense he ran at Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
That brings us to Josh Allen from Wyoming. Big bodied, big armed quarterback with the athletic ability to extend plays outside of the pocket. Sounds like Cam Newton, but Allen gets compared to Carson Wentz because of who he played for in college. Allen has the same college coach as Wentz. They match up in measurables, but they’re two very different quarterbacks. Wentz was more pro-ready and had better ball placement. Allen is often wild and inconsistent whenever he’s throwing the football. He will definitely need to ride the pine for a year before touching an NFL football. If he doesn’t, it could spell disaster. But if the Jets have a chance to take him with Darnold and Rosen off the board, they have to.
Colts Acquire the Sixth Overall Pick
So what does this mean for the Colts, who now have four picks in the top 64 of the 2018 NFL Draft? They should be looking to acquire plenty of depth and viable starters on their offensive line. Protecting Andrew Luck should be priority number one for this team. By moving down to 6th overall, they essentially put themselves in prime position to draft the best offensive lineman in the draft.
Quenton Nelson, OG from Notre Dame
Don’t listen to the people that say you can’t pick a guard in the top 5 of the NFL Draft. Nelson is different than any guard that we’ve seen in quite some time (Zack Martin was selected 16th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, I know). Nelson is going to be a premier talent for the next decade. He’s going to be an All-Pro and will solidify the left guard spot for the Colts over the next ten years. He is an aggressive player who can operate in space, anchor, reach, pull, and is always looking for contact. There’s nothing average about his game. He screams ‘elite’, and the Colts would be doing themselves a big favor by drafting him.
Brian O'Neill lunging for Bradley Chubb doesn't end well. Nice fill by the MIKE despite reacting late. Chubb winning inside helps everyone. pic.twitter.com/mjgEon0UgN— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 14, 2018
Bradley Chubb, EDGE from N.C. State
Moving down from the third pick to the sixth pick to draft an EDGE rusher would be a great move for the Colts, as well. Chubb is the best EDGE rusher in this class, and he’d be a day one starter for the Colts. Last year, the Colts only had 25 sacks, and that ranked them 2nd-worst in the NFL. By drafting Chubb, they get a player who excels at converting speed to power, bending off the edge, and consistently disrupting plays in the backfield. Over the last two seasons, Chubb has had 44 tackles for loss, so it’s evident that he will help you stop the run and force negative plays for offenses across the league.
Getting a premier talent by moving down in the draft and acquiring more picks is a home run move for any team. For the Colts, it’s a great move because they need so much help all over their offense and defense. Meanwhile, the Jets have needed a franchise quarterback for years, and they’ve put themselves in position to draft one. The 2018 NFL Draft was already going to have fireworks, but it’s clear now; the fireworks have already started.