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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

NFL Draft: the predicted top 10

Do you agree with our guess at the first 10 to go pro tonight?

NFL draft prospect Cam Newton, right, and Commissioner Roger Goodell at the pre-draft event in New York yesterday.
NFL draft prospect Cam Newton, right, and Commissioner Roger Goodell at the pre-draft event in New York yesterday.
Image: Richard Drew/AP/Press Association Images

THE NFL DRAFT is tonight, and to make things interesting we’re going to try and project the top-10 picks and see how right we are on the night.

1 . Cam Newton to the Carolina Panthers

The word on the street is that this pick is pretty much nailed on.

Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Panthers, “loves” Cam Newton according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and if that isn’t enough to see the man out of Auburn go first then I don’t know what is.

There are a lot of questions over this pick. Newton comes with a few off-field issues, and there are question marks over whether or not he can translate his ability into the pro game, especially without a veteran quarterback to show him the ropes. Only time will tell; this pick will either work out spectacularly or spectacularly fail.

2. Von Miller to the Denver Broncos

The linebacker out of Texas A&M is one of two defensive prospects expected to go in the top three, but the order is so far unknown. Von Miller is probably the strongest here but there are questions over whether or not he can fit into the Broncos system.

He’s a lightning quick defender who can rush down any space with ease. He’ll undoubtedly be top three, so we’re going to go with the vast majority of opinions and place him second.

3. Marcell Dareus to the Buffalo Bills

The other top defensive prospect is this man out of Alabama. There is still a chance he could be picked second, which would see Von Miller slip down to third. If Cam Newton doesn’t go first he will most definitely be picked up here as the Bills are in dire need of a potentially elite quarterback. But otherwise, their shaky defence is in need of an injection of quality and the defensive end will provide that.

4. AJ Green to the Cincinnati Bengals

This is another pick that could one of two ways. The Bengals will either go for Blaine Gabbert, who is regarded as the best quarterback prospect, or they’ll settle for AJ Green, who is the best wide receiver prospect.

If the regime feel confident that they can hold onto the unhappy Carson Palmer then AJ Green will see himself off to Cincinnati, and the Bengals do love their wide receivers. Opinion is divided on this one, so we’re going for the phenomenal AJ Green – who is already getting compared to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald in the NFL.

5. Patrick Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals

The terrific corner back is favourite to go to the Cardinals here to beef up their defence. Some pundits believe Arizona will go for a quarterback at this stage, but naturally the prospect of Patrick Peterson in anyone’s secondary would be too good to turn down.

Top mock drafters believe Peterson is good enough to be picked first, and I agree. It’d be unbelievable to see a player of his ability, size and technique slip out of the top five.

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6. Julio Jones to the Cleveland Browns

After nailing a potential franchise quarterback to the mast last year, the Browns have picked up well in all areas but are severely lacking a wide receiver that will get down the field and just catch the football. Colt McCoy would love the possibility to throw down to AJ Green all day long, but if he’s not available then Julio Jones of Alabama is the next best pick. This was further solidified after an astonishingly good combine from a top performer.

7. Prince Amukamara to the San Francisco 49ers

Looking at the 49ers’ roster, you’d expect them to go for a quarterback and with Gabbert possibly still available at this stage of the draft, he’d be an obvious pick. But reports suggest they will pass on the quarterback and go for a defensive player.

Mike Lombardi believes they are “lukewarm” on Gabbert, while other reporters say they just don’t have enough faith in him to turn down either Prince, an excellent cornerback out of Nebraska, or defensive end Robert Quinn from North Carolina. It’s a coin toss between the two.

8. Blaine Gabbert to the Tennessee Titans

The Titans’ only quarterback is second-year Rusty Smith who is, aptly, very rusty. They need to either work a trade for a quarterback or draft one and if Blaine Gabbert is still available, the new Tennessee regime will choose the latter.

We still have Robert Quinn and a certain Nick Fairley available, and Tennessee could do with some extra firepower in what’s already a fairly impressive defence. Three months ago Fairley was a top five pick, but massive questions marks linger over his work ethic to make it. Gabbert, potentially the safest quarterback in the draft, could go here.

9. JJ Watt to the Dallas Cowboys

Some say this man out of Wisconsin, others favour Anthony Castonzo of Boston. But we’re going for Watt, a quick and talented defensive end – mainly because one reporter who has a pretty solid history of predicting the Cowboys’ picks correctly has this man going at nine. We’d like to get at least one right.

10. Robert Quinn to the Washington Redskins

The Redskins have a roster which could do with some DIY, particularly at wide receiver and at quarterback. If Blaine Gabbert falls this far he’ll be a certain pickup, likewise for wide receiver Julio Jones. The other potential quarterback pick here is Jake Locker but a lot of teams are very lukewarm on him as his throwing accuracy can be very poor. The obvious thing to do for a team in this situation is go for the best player available and Robert Quinn, if he isn’t picked higher, will be that man.

Tune in to the NFL Draft on ESPN UK tonight at 2am and see how close we are with our projections.

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About the author:

Kevin Coleman

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