It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.
Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.
Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information:
1. Cleveland Browns - QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
I am absolutely convinced the Browns are taking a quarterback here, and I am reasonably convinced that they are going to decide between Allen and USC's Sam Darnold. What I'm not at all sure about is which one they're going to settle on when they're on the clock (or before). Allen is the scout's dream, with a crazy arm and tantalizing size (6-5, 237), plus his intelligence and makeup are exactly what teams want. If he was a better college quarterback this would be a no-brainer, but his stats -- particularly his accuracy -- at Wyoming weren't great. Can the Browns get over that, or will they go for the one guy in the draft everyone seems to think will be a sure thing -- Darnold -- albeit with a slightly lower potential ceiling? A lot of people now think they're taking Allen, but stay tuned. Oh, and for now don't buy into the talk about them taking Penn State RB Saquon Barkley or N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb here. They'll almost certainly be able to pick up one of them at 4. But by then, three quarterbacks could be gone.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Darnold. … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Allen
2. GIANTS - QB Sam Darnold, USC
The Giants have been among the most predictable teams on draft day for more than a decade, but this year they do seem to be going out of their way to confuse people about their intentions. Some of that might be intentional. Some is simply because they have a lot of needs and some really intriguing options available at No. 2. And some of it may be because they haven't completely settled on a choice yet. It does appear, though, that Darnold is the highest-rated quarterback on their board (for now), and with a 37-year-old quarterback in Eli Manning, it's going to be hard for them to pass up on his heir apparent.
Everything about their history suggests they understand the importance of getting caught in what GM Dave Gettleman has called "Quarterback Hell." That said, they know they have to be right about the quarterback, and if Darnold is gone, a lot of possibilities open up -- including Barkley, Chubb, or perhaps a trade down to No. 3 (Jets), 5 (Broncos) or 12 (Bills, although I think Gettleman won't want to trade down this far, which means Buffalo will have to try a double-jump up). I've heard mixed things on how much they like (or don't like) UCLA QB Josh Rosen, but I suspect he'd be part of the discussion at 2, too. Best guess at the moment would be that it's Darnold if he's there, Chubb if he's not. If they trade down, they're all in the mix, along with Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, too.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: UCLA QB Josh Rosen. … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Darnold
3. JETS (from Indianapolis Colts) - QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Get ready for Broadway Baker! There is a lot of noise coming out of their Florham Park headquarters that the Jets are starting to get sold on his ability, his energy, and his ability to handle the New York market. They absolutely were not convinced of that last part a month or so ago, but things apparently have changed. At least maybe. There's always a chance that this is a big, elaborate smokescreen. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that the Jets will take a quarterback here.
If somehow Darnold slips he'd have to be the guy. The scouts obviously love Allen, but he is considered a bit of a project, which could be problematic for a Jets team that really needs a starter for 2019. The Jets are convinced Darnold won't be there, and they think Allen will be gone too, which means their choice would come down to Mayfield or Rosen. Both of them could be the big, electric star quarterback the Jets so desperately need. It sounds like Mayfield would be their pick at the moment, but stay tuned because that could change.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Allen. … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Mayfield
4. Cleveland Browns - RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Browns head coach Hue Jackson has made a pretty good case for considering Chubb here and pairing him with last year's No. 1 pick, Myles Garrett. That has to be tempting, and if Barkley is gone it's probably likely. But if Barkley is still sitting here at 4, that's the dream draft for the Browns. They get the best quarterback (in their eyes) and the best player (in the eyes of almost everyone else). Yeah, they have Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, but it takes a village at running back these days, and if Barkley is half the player that people think he will be, he'll end up the star of that backfield in no time.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Barkley … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Barkley
5. Denver Broncos -QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
I have to admit, I am real tempted to go against my No. 1 rule of Mock Drafting -- never project a trade -- because from what I hear the Buffalo Bills are absolutely desperate to move up to get one of the Top 4 quarterbacks in the draft. They are dangling their two first-rounders (12 and 22) and maybe more. And while I think a quarterback is in play for the Broncos, I think they can drop down and load up on talent because they have a youngish quarterback in Case Keenum now, plus their 2016 first-rounder, Paxton Lynch. Alas, I'm holding off for now and saying that if Rosen is here, GM John Elway won't be able to resist his arm, his potential, and his star quality. There are questions about Rosen's makeup and commitment to football, but learning at the feet of Elway would surely take care of that.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Mayfield … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Rosen
6. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets) - G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
This is another prime spot for the Bills if one of the Top 4 quarterbacks drops this far. The Colts have signaled to some around the league they are willing to drop down and acquire more picks. Honestly, it might not take having a quarterback available here for that to happen. But again, since I'm not ready to mock a trade, if they stay here the choice will be Chubb or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. And the Colts could use them both. Their offensive line gave up an NFL-worst 56 sacks last year, and their defense was second-worst in the NFL with just 25 sacks. What tips the scale back to Nelson? The fact that they need to keep QB Andrew Luck healthy, otherwise they'll be picking even higher in 2019.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Nelson … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Chubb
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
If this actually happens, they won't need their allotted time to make the pick. They will run the card up to the podium in Dallas to take the 6-4, 275-pound pass rushing machine who is considered by everyone to be the best defensive player in the draft. It seems crazy he'd slip this far, but that's not impossible in a draft so top-heavy with quarterbacks. The Bucs, by the way, had just 22 sacks last season -- worst in the NFL. So this is a very easy choice.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Chubb … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Alabama CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
8. Chicago Bears - Alabama CB Minkah Fitpatrick
Assuming the draft falls as expected, the Bears seem intent on adding a defensive back here. They certainly have been looking at safeties, such as Florida State's Derwin James, but they seem to have a bigger need at cornerback. So why not take a guy who projects at both? It's unclear whether the Bears see Fitzpatrick as a safety or corner, and the NFL seems split on his ideal position. But he might be the most talented player at either position, so it makes sense to grab him now and figure out the details later.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: Fitzpatrick … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Nelson
9. San Francisco 49ers - CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
OK they signed Richard Sherman, but he's 30 and not a long-term answer at that position. Also, in case you haven't noticed, the NFC West is suddenly loaded with offensive talent and explosive teams, and if the 49ers want to get back to the playoffs they can't just keep up with them, they have to try to stop them. Their bigger need, really, is a pass rusher, but the next best one after Chubb might be Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport, and that feels like a little bit of a reach here. So they'll go with a corner who is close to, if not ahead of Fitzpatrick on several NFL boards.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Florida State S Derwin James
10. Oakland Raiders - LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
There are a lot of people intrigued with this versatile, 6-5, 253-pound athlete who could be an inside or outside linebacker even though he's built more like an undersized defensive end. He could be a wrecking ball wherever he plays, which makes him scary in a defense that already has Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. If he's available at 10, that might be too tempting for the Raiders to pass up.
Mini-Mock 1.0 pick: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia … Mini-Mock 2.0 pick: Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards