With most of free agency cooling down and the NFL Draft on the horizon, it’s time to release a new mock draft. Maurice Hurst slips out of the first round due to the detected heart condition which may affect many team’s boards even though he has been cleared. No mock trades have been included.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Picking up Tyrod Taylor gives them the opportunity to select the guy they want without the worry of having to start him too soon. Darnold shows the skills required for an NFL franchise quarterback, but will need to work on his turnovers and mechanics.
2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The team is more talented than their draft spot suggests, but it’s not often they pick at number 2 and could grab their replacement for Eli Manning if they don’t feel great about Davis Webb. Rosen is the most ready of this year’s quarterback class with crisp mechanics and could sit as a rookie or play from day 1.
For more on Rosen, check out the following resources: NCAA Big Gain Week 2: Josh Rosen, True Freshman Sensation by Mark Schofield
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis) – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets made this trade up from pick 6 and I can only imagine it would be a desperate move for a quarterback. Mike Mccagnan could want a big bodied quarterback like Josh Allen but may need a quarterback who can produce early on, so Mayfield would make sense.
For more on Mayfield, check out the following resources: Baker Mayfield and the Conundrum of Comfort in Chaos – Revisited by Mark Schofield and Baker Mayfield On Two: Torque and Touch by Joseph Ferraiola
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
The Browns could go several directions with this pick. They could look to trade down if there are worthwhile offers or make a pick from a variety of players. Saquon Barkley could be picked here but with the depth at running back, they go with more help on the defensive line with Bradley Chubb, who should be a great threat opposite Myles Garrett.
5. Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
A quarterback could be in play here, perhaps a player like Josh Allen if this is how the board fell. If they don’t like the remaining quarterbacks available then the pick could be help on the offensive line and try to rally around free agent signing Case Keenum. Quenton Nelson is the best player on my board and would be an immediate upgrade at the position.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets) – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Colts give their offense some spark with Saquon Barkley. This would give them a nice trio of Andrew Luck, Saquon Barkley and T.Y. Hilton, assuming Luck can return to full health.
For more on Barkley, check out the following resources: Inevitability: Indiana at Penn State by Mark Schofield, Penn State’s “Triangle” Offense by Mark Schofield, and Running Back School with PSU’s Coach Huff: Part 2 Creating Sideline Violence by Ted Nguyen
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S, Florida State
Derwin James could be a nice addition to a defense that desperately needs some more talent. They could look to have Ryan Smith as more of a full time corner and pair James with Justin Evans as the two starting safeties.
8. Chicago Bears – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Chicago has starters but need depth at cornerback. In this league you are starting three cornerbacks almost all of the time and Denzel Ward would help greatly. His height isn’t ideal for some but he is a superb athlete with great coverage skills who can play on an island if needed.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is a very talented player and could be in play for the Browns at 4th overall, but he falls a bit in this mock. He’s a versatile player who can cover in the slot, play safety and I believe he can be a great player on the outside as well.
10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
As a previous linebacker coach in Cincinnati before he was a head coach, Raiders’ defensive coordinator Paul Guenther would love a rangy, instinctive and tough linebacker on the team. That’s Roquan Smith.
11. Miami Dolphins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Quarterback is a pick I wouldn’t rule out but it would really depend on who is available. Miami could go with a young talent at linebacker like Edmunds who isn’t polished but his ceiling is certainly exciting.
12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati) – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I believe Buffalo at some point will look to trade up and grab a quarterback. Josh Allen has his issues with accuracy and mental processing but the hope would be he develops and reaches his high ceiling with his special arm talent.
For more on Allen, check out the following resources: (Draft Guide) Josh Allen – Evidence to the Contrary by Jeff Feyerer and Check With Me March 8: The Velocity Question by Mark Schofield
13. Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Redskins need serious help against the run and the mammoth Vea could help. It’s rare for a player to move like he does at his size and he flashes the potential to disrupt on every down. Will need to improve on his discipline in the backfield.
14. Green Bay Packers – Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
Green Bay may have to look at the future of life after Clay Matthews. Landry can play with his hand in the dirt and in a 2-point stance, a versatility which should be desirable as Green Bay look to shift their fronts with some eagle looks too.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
From one Cardinals uniform to another, Lamar Jackson could be a star with the right coaching. Jackson has improved every year in college which is something you want to see when developing a player. Sam Bradford being the starter, gives them the option to let Jackson sit and learn.
For more on Jackson, check out the following resources: Defendant’s Reply Brief: Big Draft vs Lamar Jackson by Mark Schofield and Lamar Jackson and The Thought Process from the Pocket by Mark Schofield
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens could go running back or offensive line here. They signed receivers in free agency but I imagine they still want a long-term answer. Ozzie Newsome has taken Alabama guys in the past and could take one again this year.
For more on Ridley, check out the following resources: Dispelling Calvin Ridley’s Lack of Production by Joseph Ferraiola
17. San Diego Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Chargers could continue to bolster the offensive line and McGlinchey would be a nice selection to play at right tackle.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
Seattle has many needs and will have to wait a long time to compete but the offensive line is still in need of help. Isaiah Wynn will come in and be a day 1 starter with position flexibility to kick outside if needed.
19. Dallas Cowboys – DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
Dallas could go linebacker here or they could look to upgrade their left guard spot. Dallas made some wide receiver signings in free agency but could use a player like DJ Moore who is a good route runner and plays tough. He has been productive no matter who his quarterback has been and Dak Prescott could use a player like him.
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Detroit haven’t had the best backfield in a while and Guice would be an instant upgrade and will take some pressure off Stafford and the passing game. Offensive line or a 3-technique defensive tackle could be in play here.
For more on Guice, check out the following resources: Winning, Blocking, and Guice Cure All by Mark Schofield
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) – James Daniels, OG/C, Iowa
The Bengals could do with upgrading the offensive line and would benefit with a player like Daniels, who is a good ascending talent with position flexibility to play either center or guard.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City) – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Buffalo go their quarterback early and can look to fill the roster with more talent. Vander Esch is on the rise and I believe he will only get better, showing desired traits and production for the position.
23. New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams) – Kolton Miller, OT, Miller
Work needs to be done on Miller, including his false step in pass protection but his upside is intriguing. This is a reach in my opinion but the Patriots wouldn’t have to start him right away and let him develop as a long-term answer.
24. Carolina Panthers – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Carolina could look to add more talent to the secondary. Jaire Alexander shows quick footwork to mirror and stay with his man and plays with impressive athletic ability and toughness.
25. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
Tennessee needs to get younger at outside linebacker and Marcus Davenport would be a nice addition. He’ll need some work to develop, as he is still raw in some areas.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Falcons need more bodies at defensive tackle but the depth in the draft is good so they can turn to more help on the interior of the offensive line. Will Hernandez is a powerful player who moves very well for his size, he would definitely be a nice upgrade.
27. New Orleans Saints – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Defensive tackle wasn’t really a thought until they started hunting for Ndamukong Suh which means they must be looking for upgrades and Payne shows traits to be able to play as a 1 or 3-technique. Payne’s tape can be inconsistent but the hope is the final games of 2017 were the lights switching on for him.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Steelers signed Jon Bostic to a two-year deal to help with the loss of Ryan Shazier, but they could do with another linebacker for a long-term answer. Evans is a physical, downhill linebacker who would suit what the Steelers do on defense.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Jeremy Parnell played good football in 2017 but is getting older and they could look to his future replacement. Williams could look to compete for the right guard spot before making the move to tackle.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
The Vikings have covered up as many needs as possible but still need help on the interior of the offensive line. Wynn, Daniels and Hernandez are off the board so the Vikings go with Price. The pectoral tear was only partial and he should be back for training camp, he has position flexibility to play guard or center.
31. New England Patriots – Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Even though they signed Adrian Clayborn, the Patriots could always add more depth on the defensive line. Hubbard is a well-rounded player who doesn’t wow you on tape but players with good technique and a high motor, suitable for the Patriots defense.
For more on Hubbard, check out the following resources: 2018 NFL Draft Spotlight: Sam Hubbard by Nick Falato
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
I don’t expect Mike Hughes to fall this far but he has and so the Eagles can select the best player available. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles look to trade down and gather more day two picks.