With the 2018 NFL draft on April 26, the rumor mill is heating up as speculations regarding the top prospects of this year's draft class can become too much for football fans to handle.
The draft is an exciting time for fans and franchises, but it's also nerve-wracking. After all, each first-round pick has an expectation to start right away and be the savior of their franchise. But as we've seen so often, that doesn't always pan out.
When it comes to drafting players, there's no exact science to it—a lot of luck is involved. And the same can be said about making mock drafts.
Many teams throw out smoke screens to hide what their real draft plans are, so we do our best to wade through all the rumors to get down to brass tax.
Here are some storylines to watch for this month's upcoming draft:
2018 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
8. Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
11. Miami Dolphins: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
13. Washington Redskins: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
14. Green Bay Packers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
15. Arizona Cardinals: Derwin James, S, Florida State
16. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
18. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
24. Carolina Panthers: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
25. Tennessee Titans: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
26. Atlanta Falcons: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma
27. New Orleans Saints: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
31. New England Patriots: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Storylines to Watch
Will the Patriots draft a successor to Tom Brady?
Tom Brady is not an ageless wonder, no matter how hard he tries to keep his body in football shape all year long. The fact of the matter is that Brady, who turns 41 in August, is in the twilight of his career, and after trading away Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, there isn't an heir under center for the Patriots.
But this year's draft could change things as there are some young signal-callers who could step up and take over for arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.
One name to watch could be Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, who might fall out of the first round completely.
Rudolph is projected here to be selected at No. 22 by the Buffalo Bills, but that's just out of necessity for the Bills since they don't have a starting quarterback. Buffalo could wait until the later rounds to pick up a quarterback, allowing the Patriots to take Rudolph at No. 31.
Another projected first-round quarterback is Lamar Jackson, whose draft stock could either be very high or very low.
The Baltimore Ravens would be wise to take Jackson at No. 16, but the Patriots have shown a lot of interest in the former Heisman Trophy winner as of late. They might trade up to draft Jackson or pray that he falls in their lap later in the draft.
Both are possibilities, and we all know the Patriots aren't afraid to make some trades on draft day.
Saquon Barkley-to-Giants a Done Deal?
Putting a lot of stock into what you see on social media can backfire, but seeing pictures of the Penn State running back wearing New York Giants merchandise in a barber shop seems to be a dead giveaway.
If this was a smoke screen by the Giants, well played. Instead of drafting Josh Rosen out of UCLA, it appears as though the Giants are looking to grab their running back of the future at No. 2, and it'd be difficult to argue against that selection.
Barkley is a special talent out of the backfield with his ability to run, cut and catch the ball. He's a weapon that the Giants need to make a leap into contention after a dismal 2017 campaign and would be a building block for the future.
While it's still possible that Barkley might not even be on the draft board with the Browns picking No. 1, the Giants have a good chance that the draft's best running back is available at No. 2.