With the release of the official schedule and summer training camps on the horizon, excitement for the 2018 National Football League season has definitely begun. We have four months and change until the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons in the season-opening battle of the birds. Before then, teams have the summer to put together the finishing touches on their rosters, and the most important event between now and the opening game is just days away. For months, top collegiate athletes have been touring the country to prove their worth and fulfill their dreams of turning pro. On Thursday, the first round of the draft will occur. All 32 teams will have one selection. This is usually the day where all the top prospects leave the board. Last-minute draft day trades and developments will always happen, but for the most part, scouts have already decided what constitutes first-round talent. Here are some of our predictions for how this years draft should go down on the offensive side of the ball. 

QB: This class of quarterbacks is among the most talented in recent memory. It is almost guaranteed that one of these talented signal callers will be off the board at number one, giving them the difficult task of turning around a team that was the second in history to finish a season without a win, going 0-16. The general consensus among scouts and sportswriters is that Josh Allen of the University of Wyoming is most likely to come off the board first due to his pro-ready play style. Crosstown rivals Sam Darnold of University of Southern California and Josh Rosen of University of California-Los Angeles should be the next two. The next two on the list come with some concerns. Baker Mayfield has drawn many comparisons to Johnny Manziel both in his play style and off- field mannerisms. They both carry the same hype coming into draft day and also the same potential shortcomings. Manziel was ousted from the NFL after only two seasons, so Mayfield hopes to avoid his mistakes. Lamar Jackson was once a Heisman hopeful, and will definitely be drafted in the first round, but concerns about his signal calling abilities may hinder his stock on draft day. 

RB: Not that this class of running backs is particularly weak, but only one stands out as a true first-round talent. Saquon Barkley has spent the past three years running laps around the rest of the Big 10. The world, and especially fans of Penn State, should be outraged if he stays on the board past number five. If there is the need for another back to be drafted on Thursday, it will most likely be Derrius Guice, but based on team needs at the position, Barkley will be the only back gone at the close of the first round. 

WR: Wide receiver is an interesting position this year. Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore and Courtland Sutton all have the skills to go in the first round, but no team has the immediate need to take a receiver that early. Teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys will consider taking a receiver, but will likely pull the trigger if their other options have fallen through. 

TE: Tight ends have a pretty similar situation to wide receivers in this year’s draft. Only the New Orleans Saints have a pressing need for the position and will most likely select Hayden Hurst. If another team has tight end in the cards, Dallas Goedert will be the next off the boards, but there is no guarantee. 

Offensive Line: Talent-wise, this is not a standout year for the position, but draft stock has two components:talent and demand, and the demand for good offensive linemen will always be high. Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey, Frank Ragnow, James Daniels, Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn and Connor Williams could all leave the board on day one.


  —Zach Kaufman