The 2018 NFL Combine is done. As always, the NFL Combine should have an effect on what strategies the Top 10 teams create heading into this April's Draft. One strategy that could affect my Top 10 list is where Kirk Cousins decides to go.
Per multiple reports, Cousins' decisions has come down to 4 teams: the Minnesota Vikings, the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals, and the New York Jets. The team that gets Cousins won't draft a QB in Round 1. Expect that team to trade their pick. The teams that don't draft Cousins, might try to grab a QB by trading up in Round 1.
Check out my 2018 NFL Draft Post-Combine Mock Top 10 before Kirk Cousins' decision on March 14, the first day of NFL Free Agency.
2018 NFL Draft Post-Combine Mock Top 10
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Allen wowed them at the Combine. NFL scouts knew Allen had the right measurables: 6′ 5″, 237 lbs, 10 1/8″ hands. What they didn't know was that he could loft a 70-yard pass with accuracy. That's what really got them thinking that Allen could be the next Carson Wentz if not surpass Wentz at the NFL level.
Allen's the perfect QB for Hue Jackson. He's a drop back passer who can run if he must. Drafting Allen gives the Browns some breathing room. He mustn't start right away while Cleveland can shop DeShone Kizer. The only situation I see where the Browns don't draft Allen is if Denver, who has the fifth pick, decides they want Allen over Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or some other QB.
2. New York Giants – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Barkley's great-uncle is former boxing champion Iran Barkley. Barkley fought during the golden age of boxing. Check out Iran knocking out Tommy Hearns.
Does having Iran Barkley as your great-uncle have anything to do with your work ethic? Supposedly, it does. Not only is Saquon Barkley the highest-rated running back to head to this year's NFL Draft, he's also, by all accounts, one of the hardest working players to head to the Draft. Running a 4.4 while weighing 233 lbs also helps. His 4.24 shuttle at the Combine was breathtaking.
3. Indianapolis Colts – DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
Chubb is supposedly the can't miss player in the 2018 NFL Draft. I'm not as sold on him as everyone else. In fact, I believe there's a chance that the Colts unload QB Andrew Luck for a bevy of picks and grab a quarterback here. If Barkley lasts until Pick 3, they'll grab Saquon. However, if the Colts keep Luck, which most believe they'll do, and Barkley heads to the Big Apple, they might get lazy and grab the highest-rated defensive player on the board.
Will Chubb help them? He will. But, the Colts need a lot more than a rookie DE to challenge the Titans and Jaguars in the AFC South.
4. Cleveland Browns – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
I don't believe the Browns should trade Pick 1. Josh Allen could be a home run pick. The Browns shouldn't trade Pick 4, either. Minkah Fitzpatrick could be a home run pick. Fitzpatrick ran his 4o-yard dash at the Combine in 4.47. That's fast.
To put it into perspective, Kenny Vaccaro, the Saints' strong safety, ran his 40-yard dash in under 4.6 seconds. Fitzpatrick is fast enough to play cornerback. More than likely, he plays either strong safety or free safety with the Cleveland Browns. At this point in the Draft, if Cleveland has taken Josh Allen with Pick 1, they'll go for the best player left in the draft.
That's Fitzpatrick. He's got an excellent football mind. He's also got great leadership skills, which is something Cleveland could use in their locker room.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Rosen should be the first QB taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. His footwork and balance is about as polished as possible. He also rides up the pocket instinctively, meaning NFL coaches won't have to teach him how to evade the rush without scrambling.
The key thing for Rosen is to get into a situation where he can learn the nuances of being an NFL quarterback. He's somewhat fragile, but I believe an NFL strength coach can help him put on more weight. I think his frame should allow for at least 15 more pounds while the intangibles, especially his vision and football IQ, more than make up for any risks involved with drafting him.
6. New York Jets – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
QB Sam Darnold decided not to throw at the NFL Combine. I think that's bad news for Darnold. Mayfield didn't exactly wow at the Combine. It doesn't matter. He's a quarterback that has all the intangibles a team like the New York Jets need to become winners. Mayfield can do anything he wants on the football field because he's simply an awesome football player.
Mayfield's instincts are impossible to teach. The Jets, if they don't sign Cousins, should be ecstatic if Baker lasted until Pick 6.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Vita Vea, Washington
Vea has the talent to play any position along the defensive line. He's big enough at 6′ 4″ and 347 lbs to lineup in the two-gap. He's quick enough to play defensive-end. Players like Vea are difficult to find. Is he raw? Sure, he's raw, but he picks things up quickly.
Vea also comes from a great system at Washington. I believe that's an intangible on which the relentlessly bad Bucs shouldn't pass.
8. Chicago Bears – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley is the best wide-receiver prospect in this year's NFL Draft. Chicago's got some decent wide receivers. The issue is that none of them have remained healthy the past couple of seasons. Ridley adds depth to a position where the Bears need it. Also, it helps to give a young QB like Mitch Trubisky as many weapons as possible. The key thing to remember about Ridley is that he rarely drops the football. That means more than the fact that he's small.
9. San Francisco 49'ers – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
I still feel the 49'ers can't rely on LB Rueben Foster. Foster entered last year's NFL Draft with a cloud hanging over his head. The cloud got darker after he was arrested for domestic violence. There's no reason for the Niners to put up with Foster when they can draft a linebacker like Edmunds.
Edmunds produced big time in college. In his junior season he recorded 109 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, and 3 forced fumbles. He's also appears more mature than Rueben Foster.
10. Oakland Raiders – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Ward could end up being drafted in the Top 5. That's how talented of a cornerback he is. However, a tweaked ankle limited some things Ward could do at the Combine. One thing he did do at the Combine was run a 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. Oakland had better have a strategy for grabbing Ward. They need the Ohio State corner after relinquishing over 240 passing yards per game on average.