Mock Draft 1.0
We’re taking the plunge and doing a mock draft. Fair to say we’re far from qualified as I haven’t had nearly as much access to college tape and nor can I pick up the phone to whoever I know at whatever team to see what their intentions are for the draft! So this draft is mainly based on the little tape I have managed to watch, draft rumours I’m seeing in the media and what I consider to be the team needs.
This years draft is an intriguing one. There’s good depth at the QB position but no out right No.1 pick and there’s a lot of QB needy teams – some of whom will need to trade up to get one of the top four QBs. There’s also good depth at cornerback and outside linebacker but not a lot of talent at wide receiver or defensive end so those teams picking high who have a QB will be in a good position to trade down and still get a great player.
Like most mock drafts, I’m not predicting trades as they’re almost impossible to predict – after all, who’d have guessed Marcus Peters would be off to the Rams when the season ended? I have however assumed that Kirk Cousins goes to the Bronco’s. I think it’s between them and Jets and I think Elway will move heaven and earth to get him and that Cousins will prefer the Bronco’s. Either way, you could just switch the picks I’ve chosen for them as both scenarios would work.
San Francisco and Oakland will decide the 9th and 10th positions via a coin flip which I did and resulted in San Francisco winning and taking the 9th pick.
- Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
It’s between Darnold and Rosen for me as the top QB in the draft this year and I think Darnold will just about edge it for the Browns. If they like all four QBs, they could be sneaky and pick Barkley here but I don’t think they’ll risk it.
- New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The consensus top player in this draft and perhaps a difference maker for the Giants. I think the front office will stick with Manning at QB and provide him with a true number one running back for this first time in a while
- Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
I think there’s a distinct possibility that the Colts trade back as they have a lot of needs to fill. However, one of those needs is a pass rush and in Chubb they’ll be getting the best option this year.
- Cleveland Browns – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Listed as a safety but could also play CB in the NFL. Fitzpatrick has amazing instincts allowing him to be a true playmaker on the defence. His versatility will allow Cleveland to move him around the back field and even take advantage of his speed and size on blitz packages
- Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
I loved watching this guy’s tape – something not many people say about an interior lineman. If you do watch, you’ll see a guy who will just dominate his opposite number and make holes for a running back to slip through with ease. If Denver do invest in Cousins, they’ll need to protect him and this guy is the best man in the draft for that. Ignore those that say this is too high for a guard, Nelson is going to be amazing in the NFL.
- New York Jets – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
I expect him to go earlier via a trade but if he doesn’t then the Jets pick up the player most analysts say is pro ready now. Rosen has some character questions coming out of college, but the Jets will fall in love with his accuracy and poise in the pocket.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
A very aggressive cornerback but he has to be to make up for what many will be a size deficiency. Saying that, he’s quick and plays much bigger than his size warrants. Tampa need defensive help and with no elite pass rusher here they’ll add a different piece to their defence
- Chicago Bears – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Bears need receivers, but I think they’ll address that in free agency and the receivers on offer in the draft this year don’t warrant a pick this high. Jackson is a long rangy defender who can make some fantastic picks. If he runs a good 40-yard dash in the combine he’ll warrant being taken this high
- San Francisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Cornerback is a need but with the top two gone, the 49ers will turn to another need at linebacker. Edmunds can play both on the edge and could even kick inside. His pass coverage is good and his ability to track and stop the run outstanding. The ceiling on Edmunds is very high.
- Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Despite his size, Smith has the ability to be an outstanding inside linebacker, something the Raiders desperately need. He’s shown great ability, speed and strength to both blitz the QB but also cover tight ends and catch up RBs
- Miami Dolphins – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklaholma
One of the most polarising players in the draft going to a team who have a QB already, right? I think Gase will do away with Tannehill and start again with Mayfield. Gase has a good offensive mind and could do great things with a talent like Mayfield
- Cincinnati Bengals – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklaholma
Brown is a monster of a tackle and uses his size and strength to force rushes to go the long way around him (and it is a long way!). He has good speed to get to the secondary block as well. The Bengals need to rebuild and starting with a tackle that could anchor the offensive line for years to come is a good place to start
- Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Now that the Redskins have apparently sorted their QB dilemma they can look at a different area of the team to improve. Vea could line up alongside last years first round pick Jonathan Allen and scare offensive lines. Vea is big, strong and powerful and will be the top interior pass rusher in the draft.
- Green Bay Packers – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Davenport is one of the fastest risers in the draft this year. He’s quite raw and will need some training up but he certainly has the ability to consistently get to the QB. He’s mainly played as a stand-up rusher in college but has the talent to put his hand in the ground and play as a more traditional end rusher. The Packers have need at defensive back as well, but Davenport is too talented to pass up.
- Arizona Cardinals – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I think he’ll go earlier than this but without trades this is the next logical landing spot for the fourth QB in the draft. The Cardinals have no QBs on their roster at the moment so even if they do pick one up in free agency, they could still take Allen to sit behind the veteran and develop
- Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The first receiver off the board and a dire need for Baltimore. Ridley was underused in college but has great route running ability. He’ll prove to be a good weapon for Flacco with his pace allowing Baltimore to make use of Flacco’s cannon for an arm. Oh, and Ozzie Newsome loves players from Alabama
- LA Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Rivers needs protecting and McGlinchey can provide that at right tackle. He’s played both sides in college but a slight flaw in terms of his quickness means he’ll be better utilised on the right side
- Seattle Seahawks – Derwin James, S, Florida State
Kam Chancellor may be coming back from injury, but he still poses a risk and isn’t getting any young. James is a ready-made replacement who can slot straight in alongside the remaining legion of boom. Like Fitzpatrick, James is a dynamic blitzer and can make a lot of plays from close to the line of scrimmage
- Dallas Cowboys – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Payne has the stature to dominate against the run and has the potential to improve on pass plays. Dallas need improvements along their defensive line and alongside tagging DeMarcus Lawrence this seems like an obvious move.
- Detroit Lions – Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
Power to run inside and the speed to get to the outside, Jones II is what the Lions so desperately need at running back and have been lacking for years and years.
- Buffalo Bills – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Doesn’t have the size but has the quickness to be a good interior pass rush option. The Bills need this to replace Marcell Dareus.
- Buffalo Bills – Billy Price , OG/C, Ohio State
Played both guard and centre in college but will likely move to centre in the NFL to replace the retired Eric Wood. Price has the technique and strength to hold up the biggest of defensive tackles.
- LA Rams – James Daniels, C, Iowa
Excels in pass protection which will allow more time for the ever-developing Goff. Has great quickness and ability to stay attached to his assignment. Is one of the best centres to come out of college in the recent past
- Carolina Panthers – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Good size and speed and is good in coverage. Carolina haven’t developed a premium cornerback since Josh Norman left and Hughes is quickly rising on a lot of mock drafts. With a good combine performance there’s a good chance he could go earlier.
- Tennessee Titans – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
This is my draft crush. I love his size and whilst his get off speed isn’t elite he does have the ability to accelerate past defenders after the first 10 to 15 yards. Uses his size to highpoint the ball. The Titans took a WR early last year, but Sutton would help provide more quality for Mariota to pass to
- Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Falcons need to replace Poe who is heading to free agency. Byran isn’t the finished product but shows a lot of potential as a pass rushing interior lineman
- New Orleans Saints – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Saints haven’t had a dominant line backer since Vilma left New Orleans. Now they get one with Evans joining what is fast turning in to a quality defence.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
This is based on Le’Veon Bell not resigning or getting tagged. I think the dance has gone on long enough and he’ll be leaving Pittsburgh. Guice isn’t a like for like replacement but is an excellent athlete. Didn’t catch as many passes in college as Steeler fans would like to see but does possess good handling skills.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Bortles will return as the starting QB in 2018 and Mercedes Lewis isn’t getting any younger. Adding a pass catching TE will aid Bortles and give him another big reliable target. Not a great blocker but good enough to do a job to give Fournette more time when needed.
- Minnesota Vikings – Harold Landry, Edge Rusher, Boston College
The Vikings don’t have a tonne of needs and stacking up on pass rushers isn’t a terrible idea and will help down the line. Landry has great speed and can convert that to power to quickly get to the QB.
- New England Patriots – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Pats need help at pass rush but I don’t think there’s anyone left here worth taking so instead opt to improve their line backing corps. Good at the blitz and quick enough to cover tight ends at the NFL level, Vander Esch was one of the most productive players at college and will be quickly worked in to the rotation in New England
- Philadelphia Eagles – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Like the Vikings, there aren’t a tonne of needs for the Eagles who have a young core of players who just need more depth. Where they could use extra fire power is at left tackle and Williams could provide that. If Jason Peters does come back, then he’ll still pose an injury risk and Williams could be a readymade replacement.