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Mel Kiper 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Josh Allen to Browns Amid Sam Darnold Rumors

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen looks on during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

ESPN Insider Mel Kiper Jr. released his third mock draft of the offseason Wednesday and once again projected Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen to the Cleveland Browns with the top overall pick.

Kiper wrote:      

"No change here from my first two mock drafts. The Browns are zeroing in on a quarterback with the first overall pick, and Allen has crushed the predraft process. The addition of Tyrod Taylor allows Allen, who is the most raw of the top quarterback prospects in this class, to sit on the sidelines and adjust to the speed of the NFL. Cleveland doesn't have to play Allen immediately, which really hurt DeShone Kizer in 2017."

Of course, the Browns have been linked to many of the top quarterbacks available in April's draft in Arlington, Texas. Sam Darnold, for instance—whom Kiper has going No. 2 to the New York Giants—has regularly been the source of those rumors.

"He's going No. 1," an AFC executive said in a text to Albert Breer of The MMQB after Darnold's pro day. "Everyone out there today saw the Browns' franchise quarterback."

A team selecting in the top five told NFL writer Benjamin Allbright the USC quarterback was a lock to Cleveland.

Baker Mayfield is a possibility as well, with Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reporting the Browns have "sincere interest" in the Oklahoma product and that they "aren't just giving lip service to the Mayfield talk, and that they genuinely like him. Whether or not they'd take him No. 1 overall is still in question, but the Browns have some options in terms of trading up or down with their first two picks."

Reports have linked Allen to the Browns too: 

Josh Norris @JoshNorris

This morning on the @dpshow, Dan Patrick cites a scouting source saying the Browns are using their "love" of Sam Darnold as bait, hoping the Giants trade up to No. 1... adding the Browns prefer Josh Allen. https://t.co/PxsV9zjuJP

Suffice it to say, it remains unclear what the team will do. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, for instance, projected Darnold to Cleveland, writing: 

"The only surprise will be if this isn't the pick. Dating back to the combine, this is the noise the entire NFL has been hearing. It helps cement matters that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was photographed sitting with Darnold's parents at his USC pro day.

"Darnold fits the mold of what the Browns need at the position—he's smart, accurate, tough and has a lightning-fast release. He's also steady enough in terms of personality to handle being the new savior of Cleveland football." 

As for some of the other notable selections in Kiper's latest mock, he had Josh Rosen going third overall to the New York Jets (via the Colts), Saquon Barkley at No. 4 to the Browns (via the Texans) and Baker Mayfield off the board at No. 5 to the Denver Broncos.    

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