Welcome to my NFL Mock Draft! I’m not the hugest mock draft guy, as it truly is impossible to predict where all these guys land. However, since it is the day before the draft and we’ll have more information than we ever will, I might as well do a mock draft. There will be no trades, even though Buffalo, Arizona, and possibly New England seem like candidates to trade up. Let’s get started.
Pick #1: Cleveland Browns select Sam Darnold (QB- USC)
Some rumors suggest Cleveland likes Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, but I think they’d be foolish to not go with Darnold at #1. He seems least likely to bust out of all the QBs in this draft class, which the Browns could certainly use given their history with drafting QBs. Darnold had a rocky year compared to his 2016 campaign, but losing JuJu Smith-Schuster clearly hurt his production. Though his turnovers can be concerning, Darnold has all the skills to be a great QB at the next level.
Pick #2: New York Giants select Saquon Barkley (RB- Penn St.)
New GM Dave Gettleman has talked about drafting a player who would “wear a golden jacket” one day, so I don’t think he would pass up on Barkley’s talent. People think the Giants could be selecting Bradley Chubb because of the JPP trade, and I believe that would be a good fit as well. However, the thought of having Barkley and Odell Beckham on the same offense could light up defenses for years. And no, I don’t think the Giants signing the old and injury-prone Jonathan Stewart will deter them from drafting Barkley.
Pick #3: New York Jets select Josh Rosen (QB- UCLA)
Josh Rosen seems like the perfect fit for the Jets, who traded up to #3 to presumably get a QB. Rosen is the most pro-ready QB in this class, and though his durability and personality scare people, he has the traits to succeed in a big market like New York. The Jets gave up a lot to get a QB, and I think Chosen Rosen is a lot less risky than Baker Mayfield.
Photo from: AP Images
Pick #4: Cleveland Browns (from HOU) select Bradley Chubb (DE- NC. St.)
The Browns will have their pass rush set for at least the next 5 years, as they double down at defensive end. Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb could be deadly, and I think GM John Dorsey could learn from the Eagles model that you can never have enough edge rushers.
Pick #5: Denver Broncos select Baker Mayfield (QB- Oklahoma)
Mayfield is another QB who’s attitude has come into question, and his size has as well. And while John Elway does love tall QBs, I think he’ll take Mayfield here. Mayfield is quite a competitor, and could take the starting position from Case Keenum by year one possibly.
Pick #6: Indianapolis Colts select Quenton Nelson (OG- Notre Dame)
Nelson has been called a can’t miss/can’t bust prospect, and ideally he could help protect Andrew Luck for the next decade plus. The Colts SB Nation page mentions that Nelson would help an o-line that desperately needs it, and that seems true. Nelson is strong, has great footwork, and should be an All-Pro at the next level.
Pick #7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S- Alabama)
Minkah can play both cornerback and safety, and immediately help a Bucs secondary no matter where they choose to play him. After all, Tampa gave up the most passing yards among any defense in the NFL last season.
Pick #8: Chicago Bears select Tremaine Edmunds (LB- Virginia Tech)
The Bears will have a solid inside ‘backer duo with Danny Trevathan and Edmunds. Edmunds recorded well over 200 tackles in college, and won’t even turn 20 until after he hears his name called on draft night.
Pick #9: San Francisco 49ers select Roquan Smith (LB- Georgia)
John Lynch mentioned that Reuben Foster’s career with the 49ers could already be in jeopardy. It looks as though there’s a strong possibility that the Niners will double down on ILBs, as Roquan Smith led his team in sacks last season.
Pick #10: Oakland Raiders select Denzel Ward (CB- Ohio St.)
The Raiders, much like the Bucs, played below expectations in 2017 partially due to poor secondary play. Ward would join sophomore Gareon Conley to form a young core at the cornerback position.
Pick #11: Miami Dolphins select Calvin Ridley (WR- Alabama)
Truthfully, the Dolphins have a lot of needs, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were a team picking in the top 5 in the 2019 draft. However, wide receiver is now a big one thanks to the departure of Jarvis Landry. Ridley seems to be the consensus top pick at the receiver position, due to his speed and route-running abilities.
Pick #12: Buffalo Bills (from CIN) select Josh Allen (QB- Wyoming)
Allen’s strong arm and his experience playing in cold weather make him an ideal fit for Buffalo. The Bills are so desperate for a QB that they’ve reportedly been “trying like hell” to trade up once again. In this scenario however, Allen falls in their lap at #12.
Pick #13: Washington Redskins select Vita Vea (DT- Washington)
The Redskins will have a great foundation on the d-line with Jonathan Allen, and now Vita Vea. Vea is a huge run-stuffer, and will fit the nose tackle position perfectly for the Skins.
Pick #14: Green Bay Packers select Derwin James (SS- Florida St.)
The Packers let go of Morgan Burnett, which means they need a new strong safety. Derwin James fits the bill.
Pick #15: Arizona Cardinals select Lamar Jackson (QB- Louisville)
Jackson goes from being a Louisville Cardinal to an Arizona Cardinal, as the Cards can’t possibly consider Sam Bradford as their franchise QB (despite paying him $20 million). Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has worked with a mobile QB before in Tim Tebow, so I think it could work.
Pick #16: Baltimore Ravens select Da’Ron Payne (DT- Alabama)
Given Ozzie Newsome’s love of Alabama prospects, it may make sense for him to take the best player available here in Payne. Taking a WR here (which the Ravens do really need) might be too much of a reach.
Photo from: Getty Images
Pick #17: Los Angeles Chargers select Orlando Brown (OT- Oklahoma)
Joe Barksdale has been serviceable at right tackle, but the Bolts could be looking for an upgrade at the position.
Pick #18: Seattle Seahawks select Josh Jackson (CB- Iowa)
Will Hernandez and Billy Price could be possibilities for Seattle, as the Seahawks have struggled on the o-line for years. However, I think they’ll address the secondary that recently lost Richard Sherman.
Pick #19: Dallas Cowboys select D.J. Moore (WR- Maryland)
With Dez Bryant gone, Dallas has a hole in the receiving corps. Adding Allen Hurns and Moore can alleviate that.
Pick #20: Detroit Lions select Marcus Davenport (DE- UTSA)
The Lions franchised Ziggy Ansah, and he could use a partner in crime on the d-line. Davenport has great size and speed, and the Lions will take him.
Pick #21: Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF) select Will Hernandez (OG- UTEP)
Cincy traded for Cordy Glenn to help a weak o-line, but the interior needs help as well. Losing Kevin Zeitler last offseason did no favors for the Bengals, and so they’ll draft Hernandez.
Pick #22: Buffalo Bills select Billy Price (C/OG- Ohio St.)
The Bills have lost center Eric Wood to retirement this offseason, and even if Richie Incognito comes out of retirement, he is 34 years old. The Bills need new blood on the interior of their o-line, and they’ll get that with Price.
Pick #23: New England Patriots (from LAR) select Mike McGlinchey (OT- Notre Dame)
The Pats lost Nate Solder this offseason, and need a new man to protect Brady’s blindside.
Pick #24: Carolina Panthers select Jaire Alexander (CB- Louisville)
The Panthers still need some help in their secondary, and they’ll get it here.
Pick #25: Tennessee Titans select Harold Landry (DE- Boston College)
The Titans departure against the Patriots in the playoffs proved that not only were they a young team that couldn’t stack up to a juggernaut like New England, they also couldn’t get any pressure on the QB. Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel could consider Landry, who had a 16.5 sack season in 2016.
Pick #26: Atlanta Falcons select Maurice Hurst (DT- Michigan)
Despite Hurst’s heart condition possibly scaring away some teams, the Falcons lost Dontari Poe this offseason and need help at defensive tackle.
Pick #27: New Orleans Saints select Mark Andrews (TE- Oklahoma)
Drew Brees will get another weapon, as Coby Fleener hasn’t exactly worked out in New Orleans.
Pick #28: Pittsburgh Steelers select Mason Rudolph (QB- Oklahoma St.)
Ben Roethlisberger is 36 and has mentioned retirement before. The Steelers could do a traditional Steeler thing and take a linebacker with their first round pick, but I think think they could develop Rudolph behind Big Ben for the next few years.
Pick #29: Jacksonville Jaguars select Christian Kirk (WR- Texas A&M)
With the two Allens having left in free agency (Robinson to the Bears and Hurns to the Cowboys), the Jaguars need a new weapon for Blake Bortles. The speedy Kirk fits the bill.
Photo from: AP Images
Pick #30: Minnesota Vikings select Connor Williams (OT- Texas)
The Vikings need to protect their big investment in Kirk Cousins, and the o-line still isn’t where it needs to be. Williams can find a starting spot on the o-line.
Pick #31: New England Patriots select Leighton Vander Esch (LB- Boise St.)
Vander Esch will help a front 7 that was one of the weaker links for the Super Bowl runner-ups last year.
Pick #32: Philadelphia Eagles select Derrius Guice (RB- LSU)
It’s a deep runningback draft, and the Eagles can take advantage of that with this pick. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Guice can form a three-headed monster in the Eagles backfield.