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NFL Draft 2018: Updated Selection Order After AFC, NFC Championships

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2018

Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold (14) passes against Stanford during the second half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

If you are a fan of the Minnesota Vikings or Jacksonville Jaguars, welcome to the rest of the league looking ahead to next season.

While the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will battle for a Super Bowl title in two weeks, the 30 other teams have already been eliminated and are looking for ways to get to that point next year. One of the key ways is the NFL draft, and the order is finally starting to take shape.

The final two spots are still to be decided, but here is a look at the rest of the first round following the two conference title games.

             

NFL Draft First-Round Order

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans)

5. Denver Broncos

6. New York Jets

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9.* San Francisco 49ers

10.* Oakland Raiders

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Cincinnati Bengals

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Buffalo Bills

22. Buffalo Bills (via Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

30. Minnesota Vikings

31. Philadelphia Eagles

32. New England Patriots

*Order pending coin flip. Final two picks subject to Super Bowl result.

                 

First-Round Storylines

Confusion at Quarterback

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Very rarely is there any sort of consensus about the top quarterback, and the debate usually rages on for a number of years. Fans and analysts argued about Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer throughout last year, and we still aren't ready to decide on an order.

Still, this year might be tougher to choose with as many as six players in the running to be the best quarterback in the class.

USC's Sam Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen are arguably the two most classic choices, each coming from major programs and with the size and arm talent necessary to succeed at the next level. Both players can make all the throws, although consistency has been a problem.

Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield was the Heisman Trophy winner, but his numbers don't necessarily mean his success will translate to the next level. The same could be said about Mason Rudolph, who has good size but has benefited from Oklahoma State's great offensive system.

Lousiville's Lamar Jackson is a bit of a wild card thanks to his elite rushing ability, although he is still developing as a quarterback. Teams might want to move him to receiver, but he deserves a chance to show what he can do under center.

Finally, Josh Allen is an unknown among most fans after playing in Wyoming, but his natural talents should have scouts interested.

These players could realistically be taken in almost any order during the draft.

                

Running Back Depth

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Nick Chubb #27 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with running back Sony Michel #1 at the conclusion of the game against the Southern University Jaguars on September 26, 2015 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. T
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Penn State's Saquon Barkley seems like the clear top running back in the class, but there can be a lot of quality players available for those willing to wait.

Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports provided his thoughts on the group of running backs:

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Ronald Jones II is an absolute monster. He adds star power to perhaps the best RB class in 20-plus years: #NFLDraft Jones Saquon Barkley Derrius Guice Bryce Love Nick Chubb Sony Michel Josh Adams Royce Freeman Akrum Wadley Myles Gaskin Justin Jackson Kerryon Johnson Rashad Penny

Even though Bryce Love is headed back to Stanford, there are still future starters who will be available throughout the three days of the draft.

Derrius Guice could be a star after stepping out of Leonard Fournette's shadows at LSU, while there are tons of sleepers down the board like Notre Dame's Josh Adams and Northwestern's Justin Jackson.

The Georgia duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel also showed quite a bit this year and could become early selections in the draft. There are a lot of teams in need of depth in the backfield, and this class should help fill a lot of those spots.

                  

Edge-Rusher Shortage

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Defensive End Bradley Chubb #9 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on September 23, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. NC State
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

NFL teams have realized that in order to stop the pass, you need players who can get to the quarterback. Last year, eight different edge-rushers—either defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers—were taken in the first round. This included the first and third overall selections.

Those types of players will be in high demand once again, although there might not be as many elite ones available as teams are hoping.

There are definitely elite players in the group, including North Carolina State's Bradley Chubb. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller provided a quick breakdown of the defensive end:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Since a lot of you are asking: I don't think Chubb is on Myles Garrett's level. Bet I end up grading him similar to Joey Bosa. His agility at 6'4 1/2" and 275 lbs is pretty damn rare.

LSU's Arden Key and Boston College's Harold Landry also have high upside and could each be selected in the top half of the first round.

However, there is a seeming lack of depth beyond the top players. With Clemson end Clelin Ferrell deciding to return to school, there is one less option for teams looking to fill that role.

The result could either push average players to go higher in the draft or force teams to look in other directions to help their teams.

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