After speaking with evaluators around the league, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated came up with some notes about what the early expectations are for the 2018 NFL Draft.
- The Browns could lock down their franchise quarterback and arguably the Draft’s best overall player in USC QB Sam Darnold and Penn State RB Saquon Barkley since they are set to have the No. 1 and a top-five pick.
- Breer writes that after four months of calling around, he feels that four of the top-five picks will be Darnold, UCLA QB Josh Rosen, Barkley, and N.C State DE Bradley Chubb.
- Breer believes that Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson is the third best overall prospect in the draft.
- Breer expects Notre Dame LT Mike McGlinchey and Texas LT Conor Williams to be drafted within the first eight picks, while five offensive linemen could be drafted in the first round.
- “Multiple” executives told Breer that Texas-San Antonio DE Marcus Davenport will be drafted within the first 15 picks.
- A player who Breer has sliding in the draft is Florida State S Derwin James, who has not been able to recover from a knee injury in 2016 and scouts have said he “doesn’t look like the same player.”
Regarding the performance of Raiders OC Todd Downing, HC Jack Del Rio said the offense has “underperformed”, but that he believes Downing is a good coach.
“Obviously a lot of things have gone in a negative direction, but I do know (Downing) is super bright and is going to be a real good coach in this league,” Del Rio said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports. “I believe in him. Those are not things that people want to hear right now. The reality is that we’ve underperformed offensively this year, so naturally there will be those types of questions. We all understand that. He understands that. I understand that, but it doesn’t change my belief. It’s what I know. But there have been some tough sets of circumstances and things have not gone real smooth.”
“I’m sure he knows [how I feel]. I mean, he should know. I’ve made it clear,” Gruden said, via Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post. “I’ve been working with him for a long time now and we’ve put a lot of time and a lot of work together with one another trying to get him better, and he’s made me better. So that’s worked out very well. Of course he knows that we want him back, but at the end of the day, like I said, agents, everybody gets involved and he’s got to make a decision for himself.”