Omaha! ...

Month: March 2018

With the free agency frenzy pretty much in the rearview mirror, many assumed more certainty as to how round one of the 2018 NFL Draft will pan out would arrive by now. Wrong! With even more trades sending shockwaves through draft boards around the league (especially the Jets moving up to three overall and the Giants sending Jason Pierre-Paul packing for Tampa), many doing mock drafts have had to delete them entirely and start over. Some have even refused to continue doing them until the final days before the draft. But as I have said all along, mocks are only exercises in the hypothetical. And especially in a draft as unpredictable as this one, we all have to be prepared for every possible scenario. That’s why I will continue to do them in these final four weeks leading up to the big night on April 26. Without further ado, here is my second of six mock drafts. Have at it…

 

  1. Browns: Sam Darnold (QB, USC)

-Unless he implodes from now until April 26 [spoiler alert: he won’t], Darnold is more than likely to be the first overall pick in this draft.

  1. Giants: Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)

-The fact the Giants didn’t accept the Jets offer to trade down SCREAMS to me that they will draft Rosen as the heir to Eli Manning.

 

  1. Jets [from Colts]: Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)

-While many, if not most, believe Josh Allen will be the pick in this scenario, I strongly believe Mike Maccagnan would prefer the more efficient and accurate Mayfield instead, especially given how epically the Christian Hackenberg experiment failed.

 

  1. Browns [from Texans]: Bradley Chubb (EDGE, North Carolina State)

-A defensive front with Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi and Chubb might be too difficult for the Browns to say “no” to.

 

  1. Broncos: Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)

-Allen’s jaw-dropping arm talent will likely be too much for John Elway to pass over.

 

  1. Colts [from Jets]: Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)

-Drafting the best offensive linemen (if not overall prospect) in this draft class would be the best possible “welcome back present” for Andrew Luck.

 

  1. Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)

-Barkley will be at his best in an offense like Tampa’s, which has an abundance of weapons that will take the attention of defenses away from him.

 

  1. Bears: Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)

-The Bears have had a revolving door at linebacker since Brian Urlacher retired, and Smith will likely put a stop to that for the next 6-8 years, if not longer.

 

  1. 49ers: Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)

-Drafting arguably the best corner in the draft will likely do a lot more to solve the 49ers’ issues at the position than signing Richard Sherman would.

 

  1. Raiders: Derwin James (S, Florida State)

-The Raiders desperately need more playmakers on defense aside from Khalil Mack, and the freakishly athletic and versatile James would provide such an impact immediately.

 

  1. Dolphins: Vita Vea (DT, Washington)

-After releasing Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins would be wise to go with the best DT in this draft, especially if they are unable to move up and select a quarterback.

 

  1. Bills (from Bengals): Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)

-If the Bills are unable to trade up for a QB and are forced to stay at 12 (which seems likely at this juncture), Edmunds would be hard for Sean McDermott to pass on given his love for freakish athletic linebackers.

 

  1. Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S, Alabama)

-Fitzpatrick isn’t the special, top-five talent some say he is, but his versatility would be more than welcome in Washington, especially given the high-powered NFC East passing attacks the Redskins have to face twice a year.

 

  1. Packers: Harold Landry (EDGE, Boston College)

-With an aging Clay Matthews and an inconsistent Nick Perry as their main weapons off the edge, the Packers have to be hoping the second best pass rusher in a talent-poor class falls to them here.

 

  1. Cardinals: Connor Williams (OT, Texas)

-The Cardinals will try to trade up and select a quarterback, and if they are unable to, they will possibly opt to select the athletic Williams, an ideal long-term replacement for Jared Veldheer at right tackle.

 

  1. Ravens: James Daniels (C, Iowa)

-After losing Ryan Jensen in free agency, the Ravens could opt for an immediate upgrade at the pivot with the pro-ready Daniels.

 

  1. Chargers: Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)

-The Chargers have few holes on their roster, but drafting Alexander to play the slot would add an extra dimension to their talented young secondary.

 

  1. Seahawks: Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)

-After jettisoning Richard Sherman, the Seahawks would be hard-pressed to find a better replacement than the lengthy Davis.

 

  1. Cowboys: Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)

-With Dez Bryant’s future beyond 2018 up in the air, the Cowboys are one of the most likely teams to draft a wide receiver in round one.

 

  1. Lions: Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)

-Many expect the Lions to draft a running back early, and some teams have the powerful Guice ahead of the much-ballyhooed Saquon Barkley on their draft boards.

 

  1. Bengals [from Bills]: Will Hernandez (G, UTEP)

-After upgrading the OT position by acquiring Cordy Glenn from Buffalo, the Bengals could choose to upgrade the guard position with Hernandez, whose nasty playing style is tailor-made for the AFC North.

 

  1. Bills [from Chiefs]: Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)

-Word has it the Bills love Jackson more than one of the other “big four” QB’s, and they might have to trade up to pick 14 or higher to nab him in this scenario.

 

  1. Rams: Marcus Davenport (EDGE, UT-San Antonio)

-Although very raw, Davenport is the kind of athletic freak Wade Phillips believes he can mold into something special.

 

  1. Panthers: D.J. Moore (WR, Maryland)

-Moore tore up the Combine and he would give Cam Newton that second “run-after-the-catch” threat he needs outside of Christian McCaffrey.

 

  1. Titans: Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)

-With Quinton Spain’s contract expiring at the end of this season, Wynn, a perfect fit for new OC Matt LaFleur’s zone blocking system, would be tremendous value here.

 

  1. Falcons: Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)

-After losing Dontari Poe in free agency, the Falcons could turn to Payne, who will likely provide an immediate replacement in run defense and added upside as a pass rusher.

 

  1. Saints: Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)

-If the Saints are unable to land Ndamukong Suh and are satisfied with Hurst’s medical re-checks before the draft, they would be wise to add the latter’s elite get-off to their pass rush.

 

  1. Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)

-With Ryan Shazier sidelined for the entirety of 2018 and his playing future in question, the Steelers are expected by many to target the speedy, instinctive Vander Esch if he falls into their lap.

 

  1. Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)

-McGlinchey is the old-school tackle that fits best in the Jaguars run-oriented offense and would be the ideal bookend to Cam Robinson.

 

  1. Vikings: Billy Price (G/C, Ohio State)

-After giving $84 million in full guarantees to Kirk Cousins, the Vikings have to beef up his protection and what better way to do so than an NFL reunion between Price and his college teammate Pat Elflein.

 

  1. Patriots: Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)

-Hubbard is the kind of blue-collar player Bill Belichick covets, and he will likely get rave reviews on Hubbard from his good friend and Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

 

  1. Eagles: Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)

-With Michael Bennett indicted on felony charges, the Eagles would be super smart to add the raw, but promising Bryan to their talented defensive line rotation.

 

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