Article

Mayfield goes first in stunner as Bills and Cardinals make QB trades

27 April 2018 04:29

The 2018 NFL Draft was always likely to be defined by the quarterbacks, and so it proved as four went in the top 10, the Cleveland Browns making Baker Mayfield the first overall pick in a stunning move.

Sam Darnold had been seen as the favourite to be taken first overall despite the continued mystery over the Browns' plans.

However, they instead plumped for 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Mayfield, enabling the New York Jets to take Darnold third overall after their neighbours the Giants selected Saquon Barkley, seen as a generational running back talent, with the second pick.

With so many quarterback-needy teams in the class, top-10 trades were considered inevitable and two soon followed as the Bills moved up from 12 to seven to select Josh Allen in the biggest gamble of the draft.

The Bills are banking on Allen displaying rapid improvement after completing just 56.2 per cent of his passes against less than elite competition at Wyoming for their move to be vindicated.

But the second trade of the night, made by the Arizona Cardinals, is easier to sell. The Cardinals jumped up five spots to 10 to select Josh Rosen, the most polished and pro-ready quarterback in the class as they look to compete in the high-powered NFC West.

Earlier, the Browns produced another surprise as they selected the top-rated cornerback in the class, Denzel Ward from Ohio State, ahead of an elite pass rusher in Bradley Chubb who had 10 sacks in each of his last two seasons with NC State.

Chubb instead went to the Denver Broncos fifth overall, putting him in position to form a fearsome pass rush duo with Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller.

While the Broncos selected a player to disrupt to the quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts opted to protect Andrew Luck by picking guard Quenton Nelson.

The San Francisco 49ers made a similar move, giving Jimmy Garoppolo more offensive line help with the selection of tackle Mike McGlinchey, Nelson's former Notre Dame team-mate, one pick after the Chicago Bears added the best linebacker in the draft in Roquan Smith.


Top 10 in full:

1. Cleveland Browns - QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
2. New York Giants - RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
3. New York Jets (pre-draft trade with Indianapolis Colts) - QB Sam Darnold (USC)
4. Cleveland Browns - CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
5. Denver Broncos - DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)
6. Indianapolis Colts - G Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
7. Buffalo Bills (trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - QB Josh Allen (Wyoming)
8. Chicago Bears - LB Roquan Smith (Georgia)
9. San Francisco 49ers - T Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
10. Arizona Cardinals (trade with Oakland Raiders) - QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)

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