[dt_divider style=”thick” /]As I sat down to put the finishing touches on my final mock draft, my daughter spit up on my shoulder. After I put her down to clean up, I noticed the washing machine wasn’t running. After popping the lid, seeing the machine chock full of water and not draining while making a lovely buzzing sound which I can only imagine is what #DraftTwitter sounds like this time of year at a certain frequency, I realized God may not want me to finish this. Heck, I’m just throwing it out there, but if God or whatever god you believe in knew we were spending time doing these types of things, I’m sure we’d all have some explaining to do.
This mock draft is what I think may come to pass on draft night. I’ve done my best to read the signals and ignore the noise. But I’m guessing a few minutes into the night, it will all be for naught. But still, they’re fun to look at.
Without further adieu, I give you the Cleveland Browns. Again.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold/QB/USC
Like others, I refuse to believe Josh Allen is the pick until it actually happens. Darnold appears to have the makeup to deal with the ups and downs that could occur in Cleveland while also developing his game behind Tyrod Taylor in Year One. I would prefer Rosen here and understand the concerns about Darnold’s footwork, but truly believe he can be a franchise-type signal caller in this league.
I still leave the door open here for a surprise and the Browns pulling a “Draft Day” move and taking Chubb first when everyone expects the quarterback.
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley/RB/Penn State
If it was me in control of the board here, the pick would be Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson given the team’s glaring holes still present on the offensive line. But this was a team in the playoffs just two years ago with a lot of the same talent in place and a transcendent talent at running back potentially falling into their lap. His versatility and game-breaking ability would add another dimension to the offense.
3. New York Jets – Josh Rosen/QB/UCLA
There is a lot of smoke out there right now about Baker Mayfield, but at the end of the day, I think Rosen will be the man getting his name called at the podium. I believe both players have the makeup to handle the bright lights of New York and each have their own unique questions about their character (both have been overblown), but if you’re going to make a mistake here, don’t you do it with the more traditional signal-caller “type” like Rosen who has an understanding of more advanced offensive systems? The Jets have invested heavily in the short-term at the position, but for the long-term Rosen is the man.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb/EDGE/North Carolina
Given what we just witnessed in Super Bowl 52 with the Eagles’ cadre of pass rushers relentlessly attacking Tom Brady, you can never have too many guys getting after the quarterback. Pairing Chubb up with Myles Garrett could be special as they have the potential to torment AFC North quarterbacks for years to come.
A trade down with a team pursuing a quarterback makes sense as well.
5. Buffalo Bills (trade #12, #53, #65 to DEN for #5) – Josh Allen/QB/Wyoming
John Elway has let it known he’s willing to deal. After adding Case Keenum in free agency and with a defense that remain stout, the Broncos are built to win now and may benefit from additional picks that could provide contributors instead of waiting on a quarterback. The Bills can move up here without relinquishing future first round picks and regardless of what you think about Allen, he has experience playing in elements similar to Buffalo and his strong arm will cut through whatever the wind throws at him. Let’s just hope for Bills fans sake there’s a receiver on their team close to the ball.
6. Green Bay Packers (trade #14, #45, future 3rd for #6) – Derwin James/S/Florida State
New General Manager Brian Gutekunst makes a splash in his first draft following Ted Thompson’s retirement. The Packers don’t find themselves in the top half of the draft very often. With a team still built to compete as long as Aaron Rodgers is taking snaps, adding a playmaker on defense is a must. James would give new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine a versatile piece to combat opposing offenses.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson/IOL/Notre Dame
My #1 player in the draft drops to 7 largely due to the position he plays, which is a mistake. The value of interior lineman is on the rise and Nelson is an elite talent who may be the best offensive guard to come around in decades. Protecting quarterback Jameis Winston is essential as well as opening up holes in the running game that just weren’t there last year.
8. Arizona Cardinals (trade #15, #47, future 3rd for #8) – Baker Mayfield/QB/Oklahoma
The Bears recoup additional picks they lost in their deals during last draft and the Cardinals get their quarterback of the future. Cardinals brass is said to be in love with Mayfield as they don’t miss the opportunity to pass up on a quarterback like they did last year. Another former Sooner Sam Bradford may start the season for the Cardinals, but Mayfield will be on his heels.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick/S/Alabama
General Manager John Lynch knows the value in a safety being able to make plays at the line of scrimmage and in coverage because it’s exactly what he did as a player. Fitzpatrick played all over the field for Alabama and the bet is that he will do the same for the 49ers. He is my #2 player overall due to his superior instincts and playmaking ability. The concern about what is his position is shouldn’t be a problem. A good defensive coordinator will find a way to get the best out of the Tide star.
10. Oakland Raiders – Mike McGlinchey/OT/Notre Dame
A second Fighting Irish star enters the Top 10 and despite the weak offensive tackle class, he is worthy of this spot. He is stout in the run game, technically sound with the only concern some hiccups against speed rushers during his final year. McGlinchey could step in at left tackle for an aging Donald Penn or at right tackle where Vadal Alexander appears to be the only one blocking his path.
11. Miami Dolphins – Roquan Smith/LB/Georgia
Smith may have been the most impressive player in college football last season ranging from sideline to sideline each week. The Dolphins would love to add a player with that ability to pair with Kiko Alonso and last year’s second round pick Raekwon McMillan. I think a defensive back is a possibility here if James or Fitzpatrick were to drop, but Smith would be a tremendous value.
12. Denver Broncos (trade w/BUF) -Jaire Alexander/CB/Louisville
My #1 cornerback goes before most people’s #1 cornerback in a bit of a draft day surprise. Alexander’s risk-taking play style is reminiscent of the departed Aqib Talib. He struggled through injuries in 2017, but he’s a game who should play well along with Bradley Roby and Chris Harris.
13. Washington – Vita Vea/DL/Washington
Washington has bodies in the middle of the defensive line, but none with the potential of Vea. The run defense struggled mightily last year finishing last in yards allowed per game. Vea would help that while still showing the ability to develop into a three down lineman who can have an effect in the pass game too.
14. Indianapolis Colts – Tremaine Edmunds/LB/Virginia Tech
General Manager Chris Ballard trades down with the Packers and still gets the guy he could have pegged at 6. At only 19 years old, Edmunds is years away from his peak as he has the chance to develop into the leader of the Colts defense. There will be growing pains as Edmunds isn’t as instinctual as Roquan Smith, but his combination of size and speed is reminiscent of Brian Urlacher.
15. Chicago Bears (trade w/ARZ) – Denzel Ward/CB/Ohio State
The Bears have slowly pieced together a solid young secondary. Adrian Amos has flashed, Eddie Jackson had a tremendous rookie season and after a rough 2016, Kyle Fuller had a comeback in 2017 and earned himself a huge contract. The last piece of the puzzle is Ward, who is the most technically sound cover cornerback in this year’s draft. Ohio State has a penchant for producing top tier defensive backs and Ward is no exception.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson/QB/Louisville
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has done enough in his time in Baltimore that he doesn’t need to make a splash on the way out, but in this case he does. Jackson has the opportunity to succeed Joe Flacco while adding a new dimension to the Ravens offense. The doubt about Jackson’s ability at quarterback are unfounded as his progression throughout his college career in terms of refining his skills as a signal-caller was impressive.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Isaiah Wynn/OT-OG/Georgia
The interior of the Chargers line has a chance to be one of the best in the league soon with 2017 rookies Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp flanking offseason acquisition Mike Pouncey, but the tackles could be done soon. Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale are aging veterans and Wynn, despite some concerns about his height and ability to stick at tackle, is very much worthy of supplanting the two veterans.
18. Cleveland Browns (trade #33, #64, #114 to SEA for #18) – Derrius Guice/RB/LSU
The Browns miss out on Barkley, but they trade back up into the first round and snag a running back to compliment offseason acquisition Carlos Hyde. Browns advisor Scot McCloughan once proclaimed Guice to be better than Barkley. Time will tell, but more offensive playmakers are needed for the Browns and he is one. The Seahawks make the deal to recoup picks lost as they have only one pick in the Top 100.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Ridley/WR/Alabama
Goodbye, Dez Bryant! Hello, one of the best route runners to come into the draft in quite some time. Ridley struggled at the combine and his athleticism is a concern, but his style of play is eerily similar to Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison. He’s not going to outmuscle you, but he is refined, cunning and dependable.
20. Detroit Lions – Harold Landry/EDGE/Boston College
Throw on Landry’s 2016 tape and you see the reason I have him in my overall Top 10. Landry would pair with Ezekiel Ansah to form a potentially devastating pass rush for the Lions, a plus when you’re going to play six games a year against Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Mitch Trubisky for the foreseeable future.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels/IOL/Iowa
With the depth of this year’s interior offensive line class, the Bengals will have a number of players available to fit their need. Daniels is the best athlete at the position, is fluid in getting to the second level in the run game and is a finisher. He will perhaps have to add strength, but jumping into in a NFL locker room will aid that.
22. Buffalo Bills – Frank Ragnow/IOL/Arkansas
With Eric Wood forced to retire in January due to a neck injury, the Bills lost their leader on the line. Ragnow would be a worthy replacement to succeed him. His leadership, intelligence and tenacity will be a welcome addition to the Buffalo line and he will have the chance to grow with Josh Allen.
23. New England Patriots – DJ Moore/WR/Maryland
It’s almost like Moore would be replacing what the team thought they were getting with Brandin Cooks, only cheaper. Moore really came on during the offseason lead up to the draft, but he is worthy of a spot in the first round. The Maryland offense largely relied simply on getting the ball in Moore’s hands on simple routes so he will need to continue to develop his route tree, but his explosiveness will be a nice addition to the New England offense.
24. Carolina Panthers – Marcus Davenport/EDGE/Texas-San Antonio
Wouldn’t it be nice for a guy built like Julius Peppers to serve as his understudy for a season? Davenport has incredible length and plays with aggression, but will need to refine his technique in order to become a consistent producer.
25. Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans/LB/Alabama
What better way to start the Mike Vrabel era than picking up a versatile linebacker like he was? There is a misconception that Evans is just a stack linebacker, but Alabama lined him all over, including as a pass rusher. The Titans will be able to deploy Evans in a variety of ways.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne/DL/Alabama
The only real question about Payne is whether or not the consistency will arrive. In the National Championship Game, it can be argued he was the best player on the field, which is saying something when you consider the number of future draft picks playing. Taven Bryan has many of the same questions regarding lack of production, but could be the pick here as well.
27. New Orleans Saints – Josh Sweat/EDGE/Florida State
With Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins having the ability to bump inside on passing down, adding a pass rusher like Sweat would add another dimension to the defense. Sweat may be seen as a reach, but he has vaulted up board after the athletic testing and his production was very good at Florida State, despite not always being put in the right position to make plays.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Hughes/CB/Central Florida
Hughes is a hard-nosed, physical player who can be a difference maker immediately. He’s going to be a factor in the run game and has shown the ability to make plays, but needs more top level experience and refinement of technique. Could a Roethlisberger replacement go here instead?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Courtland Sutton/WR/SMU
The Jaguars replace the departed Allen Robinson on the outside with another big receiver. Sutton has the potential to have the same impact Robinson did on the outside for the Jaguars and should be able to pair nicely with Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez/IOL/UTEP
A year after drafting Pat Elflein, the Vikings continue to rebuild the line in front of new quarterback Kirk Cousins with an absolute mauler who will be busting up holes for 2017 rookie Dalvin Cook. Hernandez is both a brute and technician who, while lacking height, is a tremendous athlete for his size.
31. New England Patriots – Connor Williams/OT/Texas
I should preface this with the fact no one really knows what the Patriots are doing and what exactly is going on in Bill Belichick’s head. Does he really want a quarterback and is he willing to deal up to get one? Here, the Patriots replace Nate Solder with Williams, who despite having a down 2017, has the pure ability to be the anchor for an offensive line.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Dallas Goedert/TE/South Dakota State
I wouldn’t call Goedert a symbolic choice, but so much of what we saw drive the Eagles’ success last year was the creativity and diversity of their offense. With both Brent Celek and Trey Burton leaving this offseason, that ability is disrupted. They’ve already added former Packers tight end Richard Rodgers, who would seemingly fit into the Celek role, but Goedert could form a devastating receiving duo with Zach Ertz.