1. CLEVELAND: QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) — Mayfield, a onetime Texas Tech walk-on, rounded into a somewhat undersized phenom, winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and a slew of other honors. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year completed 70.5% of his passes, with 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Sam Farmer’s comment: Cleveland throws a curveball, taking the playmaking Mayfield over Sam Darnold. He’s the first 6-foot-1 quarterback taken No. 1 since Michael Vick in 2001.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS: RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – Barkley, whose great-uncle was former boxing champion Iran Barkley, is regarded by many scouts as the top athlete in this class. He plays big in big games, such as when he ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns in a shootout loss to USC in the Rose Bowl.
Injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier limped slowly onto the stage at the NFL draft and announced Pittsburgh's first-round pick less than five months after a spine injury.
Shazier's appearance Thursday night was a surprise.
“That's a huge lift not only for him but for us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “To see where he has come from to where he is and knowing where he might be able to go, it's beyond inspirational.”
The Chargers entered the draft without many traditional, clear-cut needs – with a single exception.
The team hadn’t re-signed starting safety Tre Boston, who played virtually every defensive snap last season, and were talking about using second-year players Rayshawn Jenkins or Desmond King on the back end of their defense.
Those questions and options got erased Thursday, when Florida State safety Derwin James slid down the board into the team’s lap — giving them a plug-and-play safety who perfectly fits into defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th pick in the NFL draft.
The Cardinals traded up five spots to select Rosen.
Rosen was the fourth quarterback chosen. The Cleveland Browns took Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma first, the New York Jets selected USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick, and the Buffalo Bills traded up seven spots to select Josh Allen with the fifth pick.
So if Mayfield goes No. 1 -- and it's looking that way -- the Giants face a really interesting decision: take Darnold over Barkley (doubt that) or pass Barkley on to the Jets and brace for a decade of NY headlines if things go right for Jets.