Chuck Burton/Associated Press
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
6. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
7. Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
8. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
9. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
10. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
11. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
12. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
When it came to the first round, the draft simulations were virtually identical, with slight variations to the selection order. The biggest difference was found at the No. 12 spot, where Travis Kelce occasionally dropped out and was replaced by Odell Beckham Jr. (twice), James Conner or Todd Gurley.
This isn’t really surprising, as the first round is where you want to grab every-down running backs like Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and David Johnson, as well as go-to pass-catchers like Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones.
This is a round you cannot afford to botch, however, which is why you should exercise caution with Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon—both of whom are holding out for new contracts. If you’re on the fence about taking Elliott over a guy like Hopkins, go with the one you know will be on the field in Week 1.
You may want to avoid Gordon entirely in Round 1 because of his situation. Unlike the Dallas Cowboys and Elliott, the Los Angeles Chargers don’t have any real reason to give into Gordon’s demands. Their offense isn’t based around him, and they have quality backup options in Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.
A recent Instagram post from Gordon seems to indicate he’s targeting Week 10—a Thursday night matchup with the Oakland Raiders—for his return. That’s the absolute last week he can debut and still get credit for a season toward free agency, and it could mean that if you draft Gordon, you’re going to miss him for most of the season.