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2018 NFL Draft: 5 Sleepers Who Could Shock at #1 Overall


From Trent Richardson to Johnny Manziel, the list of unsuccessful first round draft picks made by the Cleveland Browns goes on and on. For this reason, the Browns have once again secured the first overall pick in the NFL draft after going a disastrous 0-16 this past season. Many analysts and experts say that the choice is clear, that they will take a quarterback with the first overall pick. This would likely mean either Sam Darnold from USC, Josh Allen from Wyoming, or Josh Rosen from UCLA. However, the Browns have proven in past drafts that they can be anything but conventional with their draft day selections, meaning there are a lot of names that could be announced first overall on draft day.

With quarterback being the expected priority for a team in desperate need of one (DeShone Kizer with his 22 interceptions last season does not look promising), it is still possible that the Browns have their eye on someone outside of Darnold, Allen, or Rosen. More specifically, the Browns could be looking at Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma. The 4-year QB is likely the best athlete at the position, and it is entirely possible that he is picked first despite having the 4th best odds (+650) at the quarterback position.

If the Browns decide to wait on a quarterback until their next selection at 4th overall, the next obvious choice would be RB Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. This is a guy that can do it all, excelling in running, catching, and pass-protection. While running backs generally aren’t considered important enough to warrant the top overall draft pick, Barkley is a generational talent who could certainly be picked first with strong odds at +300.

Switching to the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Bradley Chubb from NC State could be a sneaky pick for first overall. Despite extremely long odds (+3000), the Browns might be willing to jump the gun if they want the opportunity to pair him with Myles Garrett, last year’s top selection, on the defensive front. With the Giants seriously considering Chubb at #2 overall, the Browns may be forced to take him at #1 if they don’t want to lose him.

Despite incredibly steep odds, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama could shock the draft world and be selected first overall by the Browns. The team has shown a willingness to take defensive backs early, selecting Justin Gilbert and Jabril Peppers as first rounders in 2 of the past 4 drafts. With good size at 6’1”, the Browns may want to secure him early for fear of him being taken by another team.

On the off chance that the Browns do want a defensive back but feel that Fitzpatrick is not the guy, Denzel Ward could be an extreme long shot to go first in the draft. Easily the best cover corner in the draft, the Browns may want to reach for a guy who has a chance to shut down any team’s #1 receiver, especially divisional rival Antonio Brown. While completely unlikely, stranger things have happened in the NFL draft.

Kyle Frank
Kyle Frank
Kyle is a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying finance and sport management. He has an immense passion for sports, and his favorite teams are the Red Sox, Nets, Giants, Ducks, UConn basketball, and Boise State football.