As the NFL and college football seasons come approach their end, information on team needs and draft prospects are becoming more clear, reflected by this mock draft (collaboration between Daniel, Harun, and Jon).
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Cleveland has been clamoring for a QB, and they get one in “The Rosen One”.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Saquon Barkley very well might be the #1 prospect in this class. He is a multi-use player that is a threat to score on any touch and is scheme-versatile. Assuming Carlos Hyde is not retained, Barkley is the pick here.
3. New York Giants: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Giants desperately need offensive line help and Connor Williams can be a stud at the tackle position. The Giants will need a quarterback and Lamar Jackson is there, but you have to build an offense before you bring in a young quarterback.
4. Denver Broncos: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The Broncos have an aging defense and have been missing a solid safety. Minkah Fitzpatrick can revitalize this defense and provide a star presence in the defensive backfield for years to come.
5. Indianapolis Colts: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
The Colts are 2nd last in the league in sacks with 20. The selection of a high ceiling edge rusher in Arden Key significantly boosts a team lacking in pass rushing talent, plugging him in across from Jabaal Sheard. He has the potential to thrive as a double digit sack man for years.
6. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Bears have been in desperate need of a receiver and the appear to have a good one in Cameron Meredith, but they are still talent starved on the outside and they need to give their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky a chance to succeed. Ridley appears to be a good receiver and fits the need here.
7. LA Chargers: Derwin James Jr., S, Florida State
The Chargers add a potential star to a loaded secondary. James is capable of playing many roles in the defense; whether in the box, back deep, or as a nickleback, James can make a big impact.
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Joe Mixon is a very promising young running back and looks like the long term answer for the Bengals at the position. However, they’ve struggled to fill void at right guard left by Kevin Zeitler. Quenton Nelson is an elite prospect at guard, and can help Cincy by making life easy for Mixon.
9. Oakland Raiders: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Raiders defense has been lacking a solid true linebacker in the middle for years now. Malik Jefferson looks like he could be a stud and with the Raiders in dire need of a linebacker, this is match made in heaven.
10. Arizona Cardinals: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Josh Mauro has not played well on the Arizona D-line and Robert Nkemdiche already looks like a huge whiff at 23 years old, not at all living up to his first round draft billing. Christian Wilkins is the anti-Nkemdiche, playing with a nonstop motor.
11. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans): Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
In order for a young QB to succeed in the NFL, it is important that he has all the weapons necessary. Equanimeous St. Brown has a skill set reminiscent of Bengals star A.J. Green. By inserting him into a Browns team with Josh Rosen, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman, it allows them to maximize each other’s’ sky-high potential. Gordon and Coleman have also had issues staying on the field, and adding St. Brown gives them leeway if something were to happen.
12. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Lamar Jackson is the best quarterback in the draft in my opinion and the Jets would be foolish to pass up on him at 12. Josh McCown has been good this year but at age 38 he isn’t the long term solution at QB. With the emergence of Robby Anderson as a good receiver and a decent running back in Bilal Powell, the Jets have the weapons to accommodate Lamar. The Jets have also used McCown as almost an air raid quarterback and this shows that the Jets coaching staff has the ability to change their offensive scheme to fit their quarterback, so given the nuclear weapon that is Lamar Jackson and a young solid defense, this could be a fun team to watch and Jets fans may not have to wait long for success.
13. Washington Redskins: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Redskins need offensive weapons and Guice could be a great RB for them. Kirk Cousins may leave, but whatever QB they have will need some help from a solid running game.
14. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Roquan Smith has flown up draft boards with his spectacular play. There is great value in an athletic linebacker that can plug gaps, run sideline-to-sideline, and cover at a high level. Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons have been liabilities in the middle of the Dolphins defense. With Raekwon McMillan returning from an injury in 2018, Smith and McMillan would be a stout LB duo for years to come.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
It’s early, but Josh Jackson is my top rated corner in the class. He has the size necessary for the NFL, good coverage skills, and is an absolute ball-hawk playmaker on the back end. The Bucs have been searching for a playmaker in the secondary and they may have found it here with Josh Jackson.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The edge rushers for the Cowboys finally look set, with DeMarcus Lawrence due for a massive contract extension, the improvement of Taco Charlton, and Charles Tapper returning from injury in 2018. However, the interior could use a boost and Dallas gets maybe the steal of the draft in Payne.
17. Buffalo Bills: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Depending on what they do with Tyrod Taylor, the Buffalo Bills may be in full rebuild mode. It’s time to capitalize with their load of draft picks. Rashaan Evans gives them a piece to build around on defense. Evans is a pass-rushing menace with a motor that runs wild.
18. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander has struggle with injuries this season, but that doesn’t change that he looks like a stud. Height is a bit of a concern, but Alexander has been a leader and a big-time playmaker for Louisville’s defense which was noticeably worse with him off the field. The Packers have a desolate secondary and have to jump on the opportunity to land a highly talented corner to shore up their defense.
19. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Despite the heroic play of Russell Wilson, the complete lack of talent and competent play on the offensive line has finally caught up to Seattle. McGlinchey could provide a stalwart at the tackle or guard position for the Seahawks to build around.
20. Detroit Lions: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Lions go best player available at a position of need. Harrison can come in and immediately make his mark as a versatile safety that impacts the air and ground game. Putting him next to Glover Quin, an elite safety in the NFL, only accelerates his growth.
21. Baltimore Ravens: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
The Ravens have been missing true weapons on offense for years now and whether or not you think Joe Flacco is good, the Ravens need to build some semblance of offensive talent for whatever quarterback they choose to go with. Love had a good season at Stanford and came in second in Heisman voting. He appears to have the ability to be effective in the run game and the pass game. This is a good fit for Baltimore at 21.
22. Tennessee Titans: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
The Titans have all the talent they need on offense, they just need to make use of it. Their defense however has played above it’s talent level this season. That being said, this defense desperately needs more talent and Chubb could be a steal at this point in the draft.
23. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs): Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Based on their acquisitions of Jordan Matthews and Kelvin Benjamin, the Bills seem quite interested in wide receivers that struggle to separate. Look no further than Courtland Sutton; he uses his big frame and long arms to create space that isn’t there. No matter who is back taking the snaps for Buffalo in 2018, Sutton could be a big time playmaker for them.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
Mohamed Sanu has been a decent number 2 for Atlanta, but without any needs that jump off the page for me, Pettis would be a nice playmaker to add to an Atlanta defense that has struggled this season. Pettis has speed to burn, looks very polished, and might be the greatest college punt returner of all time. The Washington product would be a stud for the Falcons.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Jacksonville’s defense has been nothing short of incredible this season and has led them to the playoffs. Calais Campbell isn’t getting any younger and the Jags should make sure that their strength stays a strength by adding a defensive stud in Landry.
26. LA Rams: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
It is uncertain if the Rams will bring back Trumaine Johnson. They take a similar style of player here in Tarvarus McFadden. McFadden is very talented, and his combination of size, length, and fluidity is hard to ignore.
27. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Panthers have a complete lack of youth at the defensive end position with their top 3 three being Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson, and Mario Addison, all of which are quite old. Ferrell flashes brilliance coming off the edge and would be a scary addition to an already potent Panthers’ defense.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
William Gay isn’t any younger, and they should be looking for his replacement. Ward has been excellent this season for the Buckeyes, and could become a top-notch slot corner in the pros.
29. New England Patriots: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia get their hands on a freak athlete that needs some refinement. Playing in New England could accelerate Sweat’s development and help him reach his insane ceiling.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Maurice Hurst Jr., DT, Michigan
The sad truth is that Sharrif Floyd’s career has likely seen its end. However, Hurst has flashed shades of Floyd, with his burst, leverage, and array of disengagement moves. The rich get richer, they say.
31. New Orleans Saints: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The NFC South features some good between-the-tackles runners. With his explosive athleticism, Jones could be extremely disruptive.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Eagles have yet to see Sidney Jones play and although they have had pretty good play on the outside this season, adding a very talented young corner in Oliver at the end of the first round is a good option for them.