The day is finally here! The NFL Draft is upon us! There is so much excitement building around the league, and plenty from yours truly as well! I won’t make this too long, because you have to get your final reading in before the big night! Let’s take a look at my last mock draft for 2018!
What’s funny to me is that 90 percent of these picks could be wrong. It’s the true beauty of knowing nothing at all.
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Browns have been doing a great job keeping things quiet thus far. With most not sure what will happen on draft night, the Browns keep with what many have thought the pick to be for months. Sam Darnold has plenty of upside, and will benefit from sitting behind Tyrod Taylor. He has the arm and the potential to be the savior in Cleveland.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Giants have consistently said that they are fine with Eli Manning and aren’t looking for his replacement. It’s tough to believe with Manning so far along in his career. But, if they want to make one final run with Eli, they need to give him help on offense. A trio of weapons in Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, and Evan Engram is a darn good start for the Giants.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets have also done a good job keeping things quiet. It’s clear they are targeting a quarterback, but analysts and insiders are unsure as to which one they are taking at three. Baker Mayfield feels like the pick. He rose big time in 2017 due to his arm and accuracy, but his leadership ultimately is the thing the Jets covet the most.
4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, North Carolina State
The Browns could certainly end up trading this pick, but the better idea is to stay put. Even with Barkley off the board, the Browns get a blue chip pass rusher in Bradley Chubb. Chubb is a relentless rusher with the strength and moves to become a star. Pairing him with Myles Garrett creates a juggernaut duo off the edge that will haunt the AFC for years to come.
5. Buffalo Bills (from Broncos): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Broncos and John Elway lose out on the Baker Mayfield sweepstakes and decide to move down. The Bills are happy to make a deal, sending 12 and 22 Denver’s way (Elway squeezes 22 out of them) to get their quarterback of the future. Josh Allen will have to sit for a bit to learn and develop, but Buffalo takes a chance on his strong arm and potential.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Colts have their pick of almost any elite prospect they want. No one offers them a good enough deal for six overall, and they opt for the best player in the draft. Quenton Nelson can play right away and will be a key cog in protecting Andrew Luck for the Colts in 2018.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Bucs desperately need secondary help moving forward. Here, they decide to take Derwin James. James pairs with Justin Evans to form a real nice duo in the secondary. James can cover receivers and tight ends, blitz, and may just play some linebacker moving forward for the Bucs.
8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Bears lose out on their favorite guy in Quenton Nelson, but they still have plenty of options with the eighth pick. Every level on the defense could use some work, but the Bears opt to solidify their front seven. Roquan Smith was an outstanding player at Georgia, and he would fit in as a three down linebacker from day one. He can play downhill and sideline-to-sideline. He’s also not just a tackling linebacker; he packs a punch too.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Niners are still searching for their guy in the middle of the defense. Reuben Foster looked like he’d be that, but then he got into trouble off of the field. Now, John Lynch needs to move forward with a new plan. Luckily, Tremaine Edmunds lands in his lap. Edmunds, only 19, has sky high potential as a linebacker. His versatility is his best attribute, as he can play on the edge as well as a run and chase linebacker.
10. Arizona Cardinals (from Raiders): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen is finally off the board here. The Cardinals make a deal with the Raiders, who unfortunately don’t land one of the top linebackers. The Raiders pick up 47 overall in the deal, and the Cardinals get their franchise quarterback. Josh Rosen is the best pure passer in the drat. His mechanics and accuracy are unmatched, and he’s better out of the pocket than he gets credit for.
11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
The Dolphins miss out on a quarterback, but they turn elsewhere. The secondary needs some help in Miami, and Minkah Fitzpatrick can help the secondary in so many ways. He can play a deep safety, cover the slot, and even blitz. Miami gets a big time chess piece here.
12. Denver Broncos (from Bills): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
After a trade back, the Broncos are sitting pretty with two first round picks. With Aqib Talib gone, the Broncos could look to help out the secondary. Denzel Ward is a great fit as a physical corner who could help them out right away. His physicality and speed is a fantastic combo. Teams will still fear that Denver secondary with Ward’s arrival.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DL, Washington
The Redskins miss out on getting one of the top safeties in the draft, but their backup plan works out just fine. Vita Vea is a very talented interior defender with plenty of upside. The Redskins could pair him with Jonathan Allen to create a dominant interior duo.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Packers are rumored to trade up in round one, but it doesn’t happen here. Instead, Green Bay opts to help out the pass rush. Harold Landry has the quickness and bend to get around the edge with ease. He would likely start out as a pass rushing specialist on third down, but could quietly work his way into the rotation. The front seven now looks much more formidable in Green Bay.
15. Oakland Raiders (from Cardinals): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
After the trade back, the Raiders still have options with their pick. One of those options is to find a long term answer at tackle. Donald Penn is on the tail end of his career and the Raiders need serious help at right tackle. Mike McGlinchey could come in and play on the right side right away with the idea that he would eventually play left tackle when Penn retires. McGlinchey has all the tools to be a franchise left tackle.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The first real shocker of the evening! While the Ravens do need help surrounding Joe Flacco, instead they opt to move in a different direction. Lamar Jackson has the opportunity to sit and learn an offense while Joe Flacco plays out the rest of his contract. There is plenty to like about Jackson. He is electric when he takes off and runs. He is also a better pocket passer than people realize, and his arm and accuracy make him a potential franchise quarterback.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Chargers continue to fight injuries every year, especially along the offensive line. They don’t have a tackle of the future at the moment, so Connor Williams is the pick here. Williams was hurt in 2017, but his 2016 tape suggests he is a franchise left tackle. Los Angeles takes a chance on Williams here to build a strong line for Philip Rivers on his final title push.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The Seahawks have plenty of needs, with two of them being offensive line and corner. However, with Michael Bennett gone and Cliff Avril’s deal up soon, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Seahawks pull the trigger and select a pass rusher. Marcus Davenport is still a bit raw, but he has the power and speed along the edge from his athletic ability that is hard to find.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
The Cowboys do have a glaring need at wide receiver. The problem is I’m not sure any are worth taking at 19 overall for them. They’d be better off waiting until day two for their guy at wide receiver. Instead, they opt to help reload the offensive line again. Isaiah Wynn has the versatility to play guard or tackle for them, and he gives them another powerful tackle with a good anchor and good athleticism.
20. Detroit Lions: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
The Lions are continuously getting mocked defensive linemen, because that just seems like the way Matt Patricia wants this team to improve. Da’Ron Payne played very well down the stretch at Alabama, constantly shredding offensive lines to get in the backfield. The crazy thing? His best football is in front of him.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
The Bengals are a team whose offensive line needs a major overhaul. Getting Cordy Glenn in the trade with Buffalo helped, but it didn’t do everything. Here, the Bengals opt to get Frank Ragnow. He is a powerful center with quick feet and the ability to effortlessly work to the second level. Injuries are the question for him, and if he stays healthy, the Bengals got a good one here.
22. Denver Broncos (from Bills): James Daniels, C/G, Iowa
The Broncos second pick in the trade with the Bills likely puts them in position to draft offensive line. While most teams will be looking to draft James Daniels to play center, the Broncos draft him with the intention of playing him at guard. He is a quick and powerful player with a great anchor to hold blocks once he gets a hold of you. He would fit well on that line to protect Case Keenum and open running lanes.
23. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
This is the name that many say will be a first round pick. Kolton Miller is very raw as a pass protector, but some team will fall in love with his athleticism. The Patriots do just that here. Miller reminds many of Nate Solder, who just left via free agency. The Pats desperately need a left tackle, and they go get their guy with the first of their two first round picks.
24. Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Panthers need to add more weapons for Cam Newton in the passing game. Calvin Ridley would be a major help right out of the gate. He is a crisp route runner who can also take the top off of a defense. Don’t be surprised if Ridley sees 800 yards as a rookie if he is indeed taken by the Panthers.
25. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Front seven is the name of the game for the Titans. Rashaan Evans fits in perfect with this team as a linebacker on early downs who can move over to the edge on passing downs. Evans run and chase ability is impressive, along with his tackling downhill. He is also very good at getting off of blocks to make plays.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
This has been the pick for the Falcons for so long that it might be too easy now. The Falcons could use some interior rush ability to complement speed rushers Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. Bryan is raw, but his best football might just be in front of him. He could become a dangerous interior rusher.
27. New Orleans Saints: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
The Saints lose out on getting Lamar Jackson, so their focus turns to helping out Drew Brees on offense. Hayden Hurst is a great balanced tight end. He can stretch the middle of the field as a pass catcher while also getting involved in the run game as a blocker. He is on the older side coming out, but the Saints are in win now mode and get a nice tight end to pair with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Le’Veon Bell talks seem to be going nowhere, and he could only see one more year in a Steeler uniform. The Steelers may look for a running back of the future, and he falls right into their lap at 28. Derrius Guice is a do-it-all running back with three down potential in the NFL. He runs angry with so much power, but he has the lateral quickness and straight line speed to break runs for long gains. The Steelers wouldn’t lose a step if he came in.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
The Jaguars have so few needs, that Will Hernandez falling into their lap makes so much sense. Protecting Blake Bortles and paving way in the running game is important, and nobody plays meaner than Hernandez. He would start instantly and form a powerful duo on the left side with Cam Robinson.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G, Ohio State
Minnesota, like Jacksonville, doesn’t have a lot of holes on the roster. The offensive line is still improving, and adding someone like Billy Price would only make it stronger. Pairing him on the interior with Pat Elflein would make Dalvin Cook very pleased about his return this season.
31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
The Patriots use their second first round pick on some secondary help. The Eagles torched them up and down the field on Super Bowl Sunday, so adding a true cover corner is a priority. Mike Hughes is an extremely talented corner with excellent man coverage skills. He also has the awareness to find the football when it’s in the air to make a play on it.
32. Green Bay Packers (from Eagles): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
A final surprise to end the first round. The Packers failed to trade up early in round one, so they sneak back into the end of the round for a cornerback. The Eagles are happy to trade back to acquire more picks, and the Packers get their guy. Josh Jackson has elite ball skills and mirrors receivers pretty well in coverage. He needs to continue to improve his instincts and physicality, but he can instantly provide turnovers to a defense that needs it.
Like your team’s pick? Who would you pick if you were them? Find me on Twitter @JSchyvinck13 to discuss all things draft leading up to tonight!
Join Nate and Jake as they live stream the first two nights of the draft, providing analysis and answering your questions all night long! Go to @SportsGuysBlog at the start of day one and two and enjoy!