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Five players who could be surprise first-round selections in 2018 NFL draft

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/26/2018 Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
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Even after months of speculation, the NFL draft is usually ripe for a few first-round surprises. 

This year, many of the top picks have been established entities since this point last year. But other players could wind up crashing the party Thursday despite not being fixtures on mock drafts.

Here are five names that could surprise as first-round selections in the 2018 NFL draft:

Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Being picked ahead of Iowa's James Daniels and Ohio State's Billy Price might seem like a surprise for Ragnow, but he could be the first center off the board. He has the build (6-5, 312) and power as a run blocker to be an early starter, though his balance is inconsistent. His range likely begins at the Bengals' spot (No. 21), but there are multiple teams in the latter half of the first round who could be looking for an upgrade on the interior.

Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

Hayden Hurst already seems like something of a known commodity as the front-runner to be the first tight end chosen. But Goedert, a two-time unanimous All-American in the Football Championship Subdivision, could be the name to puzzle casual fans on Thursday night. A dynamic receiving threat with the ability to threaten defenses down the seam, he could be an attractive option for teams — including the Saints or Eagles — looking for a tight end to create mismatches.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Every year, one quarterback unfailingly generates late buzz as a potential surprise first rounder. While many of those cases have failed to come to fruition (think Davis Webb, Christian Hackenberg or Ryan Nassib), Rudolph could be an exception. An accomplished deep passer, he could be an attractive option for a team that doesn't land one of the top five quarterbacks. Keep an eye out for the possibility of a trade up from an organization that wants to jump from Round 2 to address the position.

Justin Reid, S, Stanford

The younger brother of former 49ers safety Eric Reid isn't capitalizing on name recognition. With experience playing in an assortment of roles, he has the versatility that defensive coordinators crave in the secondary. The Steelers loom as a particular team of interest given the combination of need and fit.

Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia

Demand for pass rushers in this draft class far outweighs supply, and Carter stands to benefit greatly. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, he would be more of a bet on potential than production given that he never topped five sacks in a single year. But his athleticism and upside could earn him a spot in the final few picks Thursday.

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Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz

Related slideshow: 2018 NFL mock draft (Provided by Yardbarker)

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: Cleveland is almost certainly going to take a quarterback with the first overall pick, and NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah relays that Allen is likely to be the Browns' man. He may not be ready to play in the NFL just yet and has questionable accuracy, but he also has big upside. Three-round NFL mock draft

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