Published: Wed, April 25, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

NFL Draft 2018: One-on-one with Sean Payton before his next superstar picks

NFL Draft 2018: One-on-one with Sean Payton before his next superstar picks

Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold, QB, University of Southern California. That's AFC North bona fides. This offseason you were sold another person in charge, and we'd understand if you were used to simply shrugging in response. "At the end of the day, that position is about making the 10 other guys around you better and obviously he did that".

But as an outsider, let me affirm this new direction.

I am one of those people who would agree with that logic.

The NFL will return to the top of the sports spotlight Thursday with the annual draft, and this year's selection meeting in Dallas should be one of the most memorable in years. Practice squad signings are something to pay attention to.

"He seems to be a lock to go in the first round", Rapoport added on NFL Up to the Minute, "which is something if you told me two weeks ago I never would have believed it".

After months upon months of chatter, rumors, and speculation, the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here.

That's 17 of 22 who became stars of Pro Bowl ilk, including 15 for their original team, and another who is the best Browns quarterback of the new era. Pick 32 appeared in just two of the mock drafts surveyed. And remember, the draft is right around the corner. What about elite-level pass rusher Bradley Chubb and offensive guard Quenton Nelson? NY selects RB Saquon Barkley (PSU).

More so than in any NFL Draft since 1999, this year's class is going to be top heavy at quarterback. It doesn't matter if he's a generational talent. The chances to trade down and capitalize on the desperation of another team, or the chances to move up and target specific players they like, are too great. There's no need to make such a silly investment atop the draft when it's a luxury. He was 39-9 as the starter for the Sooners. "The last time we really had no clue was in 2013", when the Chiefs were undecided between tackles Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.

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Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals) - Vita Vea, NT, University of Washington. If I'm John Dorsey, my fate is in my hands with the quarterbacks.

Aldon Smith isn't walking through that door - that much we know.

Weighing Mayfield's risks is hard, and slotting him somewhere is, too, considering Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen - all safe, height-blessed picks - stand alongside him as the draft class' other top quarterbacks.

The Bills have a ton of draft capital, so they have the ability to do what they want if they are really willing to give up the necessary picks. Also, during his Kansas City days he acquired Nick Foles, Chase Daniel and Kevin Hogan, all of which have powerful arms.

Looking ahead at the NFL Draft, it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out. The last time the Saints even drafted one was, you guessed it, Jimmy Graham in the third round in 2010. The same could be said for the Denver Broncos picking fifth overall.

Baker Mayfield's size, specifically his height, has been a conversation piece most of the quarterback's career.

Cherepinsky has him going all the way down at No. 23, while others still have him as a top-5 pick.

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