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Conquest Chronicles’ Top Three NFL Draft Projections

The CC crew selects the players they think will be first off draft boards come April.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last six months, a plethora of mock drafts from almost every sports site has had some version of a mock draft. Varying anywhere from Saquon Barkley going first overall to no QB’s going in the top three at all, almost every scenario has been published. However, here at CC—we know we got this mock draft thing, so here’s a taste on what we think the top-three will look like.


Dina’s Top Three

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Pick #1: QB Sam Darnold — Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold to the Browns is a double edged sword for me. On one hand I want Darnold to go No. 1, just for the sheer fact that I think he deserves it. On the other hand....well it’s the Browns.

In my opinion Darnold is the best quarterback in this draft class. He has proven that he can win championships and make plays that others can’t, as well as having the mental side of the game down.

Most analysts downplay a quarterback’s ability to escape in the NFL, it’s almost as if they would rather see a guy stand in the pocket and get hit than run for a first down. Which seems counterproductive but I digress.

If you’re playing behind Cleveland’s offensive line you need to know how to run, and Darnold has shown that his instincts to evade and extend are ones that can’t be taught, but are desperately needed in the evolving quarterbacks of today.

Some say Darnold is too unpredictable in his ball security, but I would take that over unpredictable health or character.

The Trojan quarterback is the safest bet to take at his position. Josh Rosen is too fragile, Josh Allen too unpredictable in his production, and Baker Mayfield has his off field issues that may or may not still be an underlying negative down the road and too reminiscent of Johnny Manziel for Cleveland’s liking.

The Browns need a fresh starter in game one, and Darnold has come off the bench and led a team to a win streak before and has the skill to do it again.

Pick #2: QB Josh Rosen — New York Giants

I have Josh Rosen at no. 2 simply because Eli Manning is getting closer and closer to his final years and the Giants seem to be high on Rosen.

It was hard to put Rosen over Saquon Barkley on the Giant’s draft board, but quarterbacks are king in the NFL whether teams need them or not.

In all honesty Barkley and his accolades deserve to go second, but the reality of running backs and their draft stock often tell a different story, even though they play an integral part in most NFL teams’ game plans. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks would jump at the chance to snag Barkley off the board.

Yet, all signs are pointing to Rosen going second. The Giant’s like his arm and mechanics, and New York would be a great fit to the UCLA Bruin’s personality.

Pick #3: QB Baker Mayfield — New York Jets

Look, a lot of people have Mayfield falling out of the top five, but I think this would be a match made in heaven.

Let’s face it, the quarterbacks the Jets have on roster are not starters, the same mediocre arms keep getting recycled in New York and it’s time for one that can light a spark.

Mayfield has more than proven himself on the field, he wouldn’t be a Heisman winner if he hadn’t, and his larger than life personality while some deem to be a negative, could actually work quiet well for the Jets.

One word, Namath.

Arguably the last time the Jets were looking good and feeling good was with Namath at the helm in the 1960’s and 70’s. Mayfield has that same swagger that made Namath such a hit.

It’s not just Mayfield’s personality that would be a great fit, in my opinion he is the second best quarterback in this draft and if the Jets had the second pick I would have him going No. 2.

The Jets have tried rookie pocket passers like Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg in the last couple of seasons, and it hasn’t worked. One of Mayfield’s greatest strengths like Darnold is that he can evade, extend, and wow you with a throw all in the same five seconds.

Yes there are concerns about Mayfield and his off field issues, but I still think he would be a perfect pick at No. 3 for the Jets.

Josh’s Top Three

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Pick #1: QB Josh Allen—Cleveland Browns

If it were a different team picking first overall then I think someone else would be selected - since it’s the Browns, though, I fully expect them to do what they do best and completely whiff in selecting a quarterback to save their franchise. It would be the most Browns-ish thing they could do.

I’d like to think that GM John Dorsey won’t fall victim to the fact that Josh Allen has a rocket arm, big hands, and looks good in shorts (check out DraftJoshAllen.com for more details) but, you know, I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a chance that Allen turns out to be a solid player in the NFL. Having Tyrod Taylor around to bridge the gap between now and when Josh Allen will be ready is huge, but this draft pick will literally decide whether or not Hue Jackson keeps his head coaching gig or not.

Sam Darnold is probably the way the Browns should go (I’m not just saying that because this is a USC site) - the way he was slinging the ball around during his pro day (in the rain, mind you) left many impressed.

Pick #2: RB Saquon Barkley—New York Giants

Usually drafting running backs this early in the draft is looked down upon but it’s not every day that a player like Barkley comes through the ranks of NFL draft prospects.

He stands at 6’0”, weighs in at 233 lbs, and runs a 4.40 40 yard dash. The level of skill he showed on the field during his time at Penn State left little to be desired as it was blatantly obvious that he was one of the premiere talents in the entire nation.

He could go #1 to the Browns if they think that the quarterback they want will be available at #4. It’d be hard for me to see Barkley slipping to the fourth pick for Cleveland but the New York Giants could very well decide to use this pick on a quarterback since Eli Manning is getting old.

Ultimately, I think New York convinces themselves that Eli has another couple of years left in the tank - they’ll take their chances with passing on a quarterback this year and they’ll ultimately be happy with future-Pro-Bowler Saquon Barkley.

Pick #3: QB Sam Darnold—New York Jets

I think chances are high that we see at least one quarterback from the Los Angeles area make their way to New York. Some would say that UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen could find a home with the Jets or the Giants. Some also say that it should be Sam Darnold who is the first overall pick.

While I agree with that, I don’t think that the Browns love Darnold as much as they love Josh Allen. I have no solidified reasoning behind this other than the fact that, again, it’s the Browns and usually the decisions being made over there turn out to not be so great.

Sam Darnold had an up and down final season at USC but, after his pro day, I legitimately think that he is the best quarterback in this draft. The way he was able to throw and throw well while it was raining should put the minds of scouts and GM’s at ease.

Darnold is a dynamic (talent as we all know) and the Jets have been desperate for a playmaker at the quarterback position. With Tom Brady nearing the end of his career in New England I think that New York will look for every opportunity to plan for their takeover of the AFC East with Sam Darnold leading the charge.

Matthew’s Top Three

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Pick #1: QB Sam Darnold-Cleveland Browns

As much as I believe Saquan Barkley could end up going first, I don’t see the Browns passing up on potential franchise quarterback with the first pick. Darnold showed why he’s the top quarterback in this draft with an impressive pro day in the rain and if you watch his game film you’ll see how he can make plays both with his arm and feet.

Darnold has shown the ability to march his team down the field and make throws that others won’t, especially after an interception. I see the Browns drafting Darnold based off of how much upside he has if developed with the right coaching. Cleveland’s head coach Hue Jackson already said that Tyrod Taylor would start for the Browns, but that won’t stop the Browns from taking a QB here.

Pick #2: QB Josh Rosen- New York Giants

This is where we know a QB will be taken, but don’t know who. I see Josh Rosen being taken here. Giants are preparing for life after Eli Manning and this is the perfect draft to take a QB for the future. Many believe Josh Rosen is the most NFL ready QB in the draft and he has proven it at UCLA. This would be perfect for Rosen to sit behind Eli and learn.

The Giants could also go with Penn St running back Saquan Barkley, however Giants could be thinking future here plus the running back class in this years draft is a very deep and talented one, so they could handle waiting until day 2 of the draft to take one. Not to mention the Giants are one Eli injury away from being back in this position.

Pick #3: QB Josh Allen - New York Jets

The more I hear about Josh Allen, the more I see him being taken in the top 3. Jets already signed Teddy Bridgewater, however it remains to be seen how healthy he is. Allen has a big arm and pretty accurate. Not to mention he looks like an NFL QB, however his completion percentage at Wyoming has been a concern to some scouts.

I see the Jets taking Allen here and Bridgewater being a bridge here while the rookie develops. I also would keep an eye out on Buffalo trading up to take a quarterback here as well which could also be Allen.