The NFL Draft is an extravaganza we are trying to replicate here in the AFL.
Fans attend draft night and cheer – and occasionally boo – with as much venom as they do during any game their team is involved in.
And this week is draft week.
Everyone in America has had a go at a mock draft and because I consider myself a dual-citizen, I’ll have a go, too…
Pick 1 – Sam Darnold (Cleveland)
He’s a big, strong kid with a level head and all the pro potential to finally become the franchise QB Cleveland has been longing for. He’s no certainty to land at one but he’s almost certain to land with the Browns.
Pick 2 – Saquon Barkley (New York Giants)
Like Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette before him, Barkley is re-igniting the popularity of star running backs in the opening picks of the draft.
Barkley can do everything and could provide Eli Manning and the Giants with the ingredient needed to compete again.
Pick 3 – Josh Rosen (New York Jets)
Unless Darnold slips past Cleveland (surely not) and the Jets in-city rivals then Gang Green must pounce on a QB.
He’s not as talented as his Californian counterpart in Darnold but he’s more pro ready.
Pick 4 – Bradley Chubb (Cleveland)
After acquiring Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde on offence (and likely Darnold), Cleveland has the luxury of partnering last year’s No. 1 pick Myles Garrett with Chubb. These two will cause major headaches off each edge.
Pick 5 – Josh Allen (Denver)
Denver acquired Case Keenum this off-season but a future franchise QB would be very handy. Allen is a big, tough kid from Wymong in the Carson Wentz mould and could flourish in the Mile High City.
Pick 6 – Quenton Nelson (Indianapolis)
Andrew Luck’s future is already unclear so to give him any chance, adding a guard like Nelson is key.
It’s a very high selection for an offensive lineman who is unlikely to play left tackle but this is a position of absolute need for Indy and for Luck.
Pick 7 – Minkah Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay)
The Buccaneers already possess 10 players from the SEC on their roster and I expect it to be at least 11 come draft night when they select do-it-all safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
This guy was raised right and played every position in Nick Saban’s all-conquering defence.
Pick 8 – Denzel Ward (Chicago)
Chicago has many needs on its roster so taking the best available suits here.
Ward is a product of Ohio State university so you know he will make plays at the next level like so many before him.
Pick 9 – Josh Jackson (San Francisco)
The Niners secured standout cover corner Richard Sherman as a free agent so nabbing Jackson is a smart move. As we’ve seen with Jacksonville, having a pair of shutdown corners is as deadly a weapon as you can have and Jackson has the size and strength to become a jet.
Pick 10 – Vita Vea (Oakland)
Oakland has a tenacious defensive juggernaut in Khalil Mack but otherwise its defence is relatively lowly.
Vea can change that with his incredible size, bulk and ability to clog up the running lanes.
Pick 11 – Tremaine Edmunds (Miami)
Pick 12 – Baker Mayfield (Buffalo)
Pick 13 – Roquan Smith (Washington)
Pick 14 – Calvin Ridley (Green Bay)
Pick 15 – Derwin James (Arizona)
Pick 16 – Marcus Davenport (Baltimore)
Pick 17 – Will Hernandez (LA Chargers)
Pick 18 – James Daniels (Seattle)
Pick 19 – DJ Chark (Dallas)
Pick 20 – Derrius Guice (Detroit)