2018 NFL Draft: Potential Surprises in the First Round of the Draft

The first night of the 2018 NFL Draft is always full of drama and surprises. This year’s selection process is no different. Below, check out a quick preview of what we think could happen in the first round – this list, however, is by no means exhaustive.

Patriots trade up for a quarterback

New England has two first round picks, giving the team sufficient ammunition to move into the Top 15 if one of the draft’s premier quarterbacks falls. While well-sourced reporters have linked quarterbacks like USC’s Sam Darnold (Giants) and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (Jets/Browns) to specific teams, UCLA’s Josh Rosen does not appear to have a natural fit. Patriots coach Bill Belichick could have his eye on Rosen, and if the UCLA signal caller drops, New England could move up and nab him. Our smart money is on Rosen falling, given the many questions swirling around him.

Derrius Guice is drafted in the first half of the first round

The pure talent of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley is encouraging reporters to throw to the wind the normal cautions about drafting running backs too high. That is not happening as much with LSU’s Derrius Guice, despite his tremendous talent. That being said, there are a few destinations where Guice would make sense in the Top 16. The Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens are two teams that could easily take the Tiger – Guice would be a massive upgrade on either team, each of which has not had a steady rushing attack in years. The Seahawks (at 18) are also an option.

Leighton Vander Esch is also drafted in the first half of the first round

On Nachmany Football, we have been banging the drum about “LVE” since he declared for the draft, and with good reason. He is a massive linebacker who can move well in space, and he is a tackling machine. We have Vander Esch rated as a late-first-round player, so middle of the first round may be a bit high, but his potential is almost limitless. With his physical gifts, high football IQ, and solid production, this Boise State product is exactly the kind of player who could rise on draft day.

The first round features more offensive tackles than wide receivers

Chart this out – it would actually be a major surprise, but it is also plausible. The likely top wide receivers are Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, SMU’s Courtland Sutton, and Maryland’s D.J. Moore (only the first two are “guaranteed” first round picks), whereas offensive tackle could see Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey, Texas’ Connor Williams, UCLA’s Kolton Miller, Pittsburgh’s Brian O’Neill, and maybe Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown in Round One.

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