2018 NFL Draft Rumors: Latest Buzz on Saquon Barkley, Lamar Jackson and More


Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

The rumor mill surrounding the 2018 NFL draft has now hit maximum speed. 

Various parties have a vested interest in getting some information out in the open. Whether it’s a prospect’s camp trying to get a last-second bump, a team trying to throw off other teams or something else, the upcoming onslaught of rumors will resemble a flood. 

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Hence names like Saquon Barkley and Lamar Jackson repeatedly popping up recently. Most of the major rumors will surround the quarterback position, which makes sense given its importance. 

Below, let’s take a look at some of the notable rumors making the rounds to help fans keep up with the pace. 

       

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Josh Allen 

Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

Wyoming Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen is one of the more polarizing players in the draft. 

Not to sound too cliche, but Allen looks the part at 6’5″ and 233 pounds with an incredibly strong arm. The problem is the level of competition he faced, paired with the fact he didn’t complete better than 56.3 percent of his passes over two seasons of notable work. 

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Granted, completion percentage isn’t the only thing teams will monitor. But he also threw 44 touchdowns against 21 interceptions, so the level of competition—which normally isn’t that big of a deal—is a big discussion with Allen. 

But according to The MMQB‘s Albert Breer, several teams still like what they see from Allen: “And so if you want to know how his stock has risen (I’ve heard the Browns, Giants and Bills have all been impressed), it makes sense that part of it would be allaying those concerns—which he’s done by doing well when teams put him on the board.”

It’s an interesting list of teams, to say the least. The Cleveland Browns hold the first and fourth picks and the New York Giants hold the second. Those Buffalo Bills have two picks and have already inched closer thanks to the Cordy Glenn trade. 

There is a catch to keep in mind with this rumor—all three of those teams could be looking to trade down, forcing a team desperate for a quarterback into a panic and striking up a transaction. 

Which isn’t meant to discredit Allen. He has plenty of traits and interesting upside teams look for in quarterbacks, though it’s quite apparent his draft destiny is one of the more unpredictable elements at play here. 

           

Saquon Barkley

Despite all of the drama, Barkley out of Penn State has never really been out of the running for the draft’s first or second pick—he’s that good. 

The Giants apparently agree, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post: “The Giants view Saquon Barkley as a near-perfect prospect. They think he’s a better player than Ezekiel Elliott, who went No. 4 to the Cowboys in 2016.”

It’s a bold claim, though some might not have an issue with it. Barkley is 6’0″ and 233 pounds of sheer pro upside, a guy who rushed for 1,200 or more yards in back-to-back seasons with 18 rushing scores in each. Production isn’t everything, but it didn’t hurt to see him catch 54 passes for 632 yards and three scores last season, either. 

The Giants connection here isn’t hard to believe, at least based on a photo shared by NFL reporter Dov Kleiman: 

A popular theory suggests the Giants could look to draft Eli Manning’s eventual replacement at No. 2 in a draft offering better options than recent years. But this decision will come down to the front office’s vibe and whether it wants to try and win now or think about the future. 

Funnily enough, Barkley is a nice balance of both. He can carry the offense now and help along Manning, but he also projects as an every-down back for a long time. 

            

Lamar Jackson

Good luck figuring out where Jackson out of Louisville goes on draft day. 

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Jackson has incredibly rare traits some teams will want to get their hands on at the right spot. He’s a Michael Vick-esque prospect when it comes to his elusiveness in the open field and ability to extend plays with his feet. 

Over the last two seasons, Jackson threw for 57 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, adding another 39 rushing touchdowns for good measure. 

When thinking of the teams who might like this upside, the New England Patriots likely aren’t the first to come to mind. But Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman has heard otherwise: “The sources also believe the Patriots are the team most interested in Jackson.”

Freeman also noted teams have come away impressed overall with how he interviews and digests the game, a nice point to talk about considering the diverse opinions about his NFL future. 

Those Patriots need to find a backup behind Tom Brady, and grooming Jackson certainly wouldn’t hurt. An offense with read-pass options built to capitalize on his strengths could be plenty successful in an NFL where Nick Foles is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

While it could be a lofty smokescreen, the Patriots are a team to keep in mind depending on how Jackson’s unpredictable path to the draft starts developing in Round 1. 

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