The New England Patriots were crowned Super Bowl champions for the fifth time less than two months ago but attention has already turned to April’s NFL Draft. Elite college stars will flock to Philadelphia in the hope of earning a first round selection; thus securing a lucrative rookie contract.
With less than one month until the opening round of the draft gets underway, the Cleveland Browns, currently priced at 200/1 in Betway’s sport betting odds to win the Super Bowl next year, are on the clock. According to various reports, it looks like Sashi Brown is going to select Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the first overall pick. We took a look at Garrett and four other key college stars ahead of this year’s draft…
Garrett looks Cleveland-bound unless there is a monster trade offer in the works. He is by far and away the most dominant defensive player in the draft and the Browns simply cannot afford to pass on his talent. While they are in dire need of help at the quarterback position, Garrett has the potential to flourish into the Defensive Player of the Year.
In a way, the build-up and hype is similar to that surrounding Jadeveon Clowney prior to the 2014 draft. Not only is Garrett NFL-ready, he is fresh and his solid effort at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis has backed up all of the hype. He is ready to shine in the professional game and it would be a huge surprise to see Cleveland look elsewhere.
Thomas might end up going to the San Francisco 49ers with the second overall pick but others have him falling as low as twelfth. Ultimately, the Stanford defensive lineman is a disruptive force and many have already compared him to Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams. If he can mature and mould his game on Donald, he will become one of the elite defensemen in the NFL.
New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan may opt to focus on offense, especially as the 49ers are still without a solid option at quarterback. However, the sensible decision is to draft Thomas. If the 49ers give somebody like him up for the sake of taking a signal-caller, they may struggle to finish with a positive record once again.
Another bright product from Stanford. McCaffrey is very quick and he would certainly suit the Green Bay Packers; drafting with the 29th overall pick in the first round. The Packers, valued at 12/1 to win the Super Bowl as of March 28th in sports betting odds at Betway, may concentrate on their defense but Ted Thompson has a tendency to surprise fans with his selections and McCaffrey might find himself at Lambeau Field come draft day.
If nothing else, McCaffrey would give Aaron Rodgers some help out of the backfield and his ability to catch and run would appeal to Mike McCarthy’s slick offense. With Eddie Lacy out of the picture, the Packers starting running back position is there to be won and McCaffrey could start from day one. Furthermore, his speed on special teams could swing it with Micah Hyde now out of the picture.
Without question, Ohio State icon Lattimore is the best cornerback in the draft. His injury issues early in his career appear to have vanished and he will almost certainly go in the top ten this year. Many pundits believe that the Tennessee Titans may move for Lattimore with the fifth overall pick despite signing veterans Logan Ryan and Jonathan Cyprien in free agency.
However, Lattimore is on another level. The Titans secondary ranked 31st against the past last season and they are in desperate need of an elite presence for the future. His dominant effort in 2016 shows that he can be that player; with plenty of agility, speed and instinct to perhaps suggest that he could blossom into a future Pro Bowl star.
Perhaps the most interesting player in the draft is Leonard Fournette. Ezekiel Elliott’s impact for the Dallas Cowboys this year has contributed to a rise in the stock of running backs and Fournette might just be the pick of the bunch. Some mock drafts have him going as high as fourth whilst others have him slipping to eighth; either way, he is almost certain to go in the top 10.
Fournette has drawn comparisons to Adrian Peterson and it is easy to see why. They share a similar powerful north-south running style and Fournette’s strength is clear for all to see. He broke a number of rushing records during the 2016 college campaign and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be licking their lips at the prospect of drafting him with the fourth pick next month.