2018

2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

 

Quarterbacks

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | EDGE | OLB | MLB | CB | S

1. Baker Mayfield
College: Oklahoma
Height: 6’1″, Weight: 215
Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen to me are two of the safer quarterback prospects in this years draft. I’d give the slight edge to Rosen but Mayfield has a higher ceiling. Hence the higher ranking. In looking at him as a prospect Mayfield has deadly accuracy and an NFL arm. If I’m being nitpicky I do feel Mayfield plays like he’s faster than he is. But, he’s still quick enough to elude pass rushers and has shown the ability to throw on the run. It’s worth noting that Mayfield benefited from a fantastic offensive line and played against putrid defenses in the Big 12. So there could be some cause for concern on how he’ll adjust against stiffer competition.


2. Josh Rosen
College: UCLA
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 226
The safest quarterback prospect to me. Rosen doesn’t ‘wow’ me in any particular skill. But, I can appreciate that his skill-set across the board is solid. He’s shown at UCLA to have fantastic footwork, strong accuracy, and an arm that can make NFL throws. He does have some injury concerns and you hear slight murmurs about his personality.


3. Sam Darnold
College: USC
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 221
You get two different Sam Darnold’s, sometimes both showing up in the same game. When Darnold’s on, he’s on. It’s a treat to watch him when he’s locked in and he looks far and away like the best quarterback in this year’s draft. On the flip-side, Darnold’s bad can be really bad. He has the most ‘what the hell?’ type throws of the top five guys. Was it a case of someone trying too hard or did the preseason hype start to get to Darnold? You can fix the former, the latter would give me concern if I were picking him.


4. Lamar Jackson
College: Louisville
Height: 6’2″, Weight: 216

By far the most dynamic quarterback in the draft. I give Lamar Jackson more leeway than most quarterbacks because of how awful Louisville was. Jackson is a little rough around the edges and could use a year on the bench to refine his game. He’ll need to improve both his footwork and mechanics. He was a victim of drops but there still are some accuracy concerns as well. Yet, he does have the playmaking ability and the play style to thrive in offenses that rely on RPOs.


5. Josh Allen
College: Wyoming
Height: 6’5″, Weight: 237
The Josh Allen hate is a little overblown. I see him as the worst of the big five but there’s no doubting he’s a 1st round talent. Everyone’s well aware of Allen’s arm strength, mobility, and size. Like Lamar Jackson, Allen would benefit from sitting a year to clean up his game. Some coachable weaknesses include his mechanics and footwork. Allen also needs to smarten up in games. Too many times he refuses to throw the ball away, often trying to run away from an incoming pass rush and chucking the ball at one of his receivers. He won’t get away with that in the NFL. But again, good coaching can get through to him and wisen him up. Finally, his biggest concern is his accuracy. Allen becoming a good quarterback will come down to whether you can improve his accuracy through his mechanics.

2018 NFL Draft Big Board 1.0

1. Saquon Barkley
Running Back
Penn State
17. Rashaan Evans
Linebacker
Alabama
2. Quenton Nelson
Guard
Notre Dame
18. Marcus Davenport
Defensive End
UTSA
3. Bradley Chubb
Defensive End
NC State
19. Lamar Jackson
Quarterback
College: Louisville
4. Baker Mayfield
Quarterback
Oklahoma
20. Leighton Vander Esch
Middle Linebacker
Boise State
5. Roquan Smith
Linebacker
Georgia
21. Derrius Guice
Running Back
LSU
6. Josh Rosen
Quarterback
UCLA
22. Sony Michel
Running Back
Georgia
7. Denzel Ward
Cornerback
Ohio State
23. Isaiah Wynn
Guard
Georgia
8. Isaiah Oliver
Cornerback
Colorado
24. Josh Allen
Quarterback
Wyoming
9. Sam Darnold
Quarterback
USC
25. Tremaine Edmunds
Linebacker
Virginia Tech
10. Derwin James
Safety
Florida State
26. Orlando Brown
Offensive Tackle
Oklahoma
11. Da’Ron Payne
Defensive Tackle
Alabama
27. Jessie Bates
Safety
Wake Forest
12. Vita Vea
Defensive Tackle
Washington
28. Maurice Hurst
Defensive Tackle
Michigan
13. Josh Jackson
Cornerback
Iowa
29. Courtland Sutton
Wide Receiver
SMU
14. Minkah Fitzpatrick
Defensive Back
Alabama
30. Jaire Alexander
Cornerback
Louisville
15. Taven Bryan
Defensive Tackle
Florida
31. DJ Chark
Wide Receiver
LSU
16. Calvin Ridley
Wide Receiver
Alabama
32. Christian Kirk
Wide Receiver
Texas A&M

2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.2

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
I’m writing this late Wednesday, so if it leaks that this pick isn’t Sam Darnold overnight don’t yell at me. Or do. Either way, it’s still unclear where Cleveland wants to go with this pick. So I’ll go with my gut. Sam Darnold had a shaky year, but still has the highest upside among this year’s quarterbacks. When he’s in a rhythm he’s about as perfect as you can get at the position. If the Browns are convinced their coaching staff can help Darnold cut down on his turnovers and reach his peak form, he’s the no-brainer first pick.


2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
It appears that the Giants aren’t sold on anyone in this year’s quarterback class. I’m inclined to believe them, because you’d at least expect them to lie in order to bait teams into trading up to number two. Saquon Barkley appears to be the favorite if they don’t go quarterback. Barkley is a generational talent who’s a homerun threat in both the run and pass game. He’d be a huge help to Eli Manning.


3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
It appears the Jets have zeroed in on Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is my top quarterback in this year’s class. I feel he’s the right combination of upside and safety. He has an NFL arm, good mobility, and his accuracy is out of this world. With Bridgewater and McCown on the roster, the Jets don’t have to start Mayfield right away but I expect him to seriously compete for the week one starting job.


4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
I assume this pick is between Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb in that order. With Barkley off the board, the Browns “settle” for Chubb. Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb together would be one intimidating duo. Pair that with Emmanuel Ogbah on rotational duty and the Browns have an exciting pass rush.


5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Case Keenum signing a two-year deal heavily implies Denver sees him as a stop-gap. And they can coach-speak Paxton Lynch all they want, but it doesn’t erase the pitiful start to his career. Josh Rosen isn’t flashy, but he’s the safest quarterback in the class. His mechanics are great and he’s displayed solid accuracy as well. He’s capable of starting right away, but a year on the bench wouldn’t hurt either.


6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
I’ve yet to change this pick because it makes too much sense. Priority number one for the Colts has to be protecting Andrew Luck. Quenton Nelson is a generational guard prospect who has dominated opposing linemen his whole college career. Nelson is well-rounded in both pass and run blocking.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, SS, Florida State
Tampa Bay’s pass defense was dreadful this year. In particular, they struggled covering running backs and tight ends. Derwin James is a perfect example of the modern day safety and would help them in that regard. He’s capable of playing either safety or hybrid linebacker. His athleticism is off the charts and his energetic play is difficult to ignore.


8. Chicago Bears: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Chicago Bears could use another EDGE rusher to pair with Leonard Floyd. Harold Landry is an athletic and nimble pass rusher. His speed off the edge makes him a difficult block for opposing linemen. He struggled with injuries but his play did take a step back. Vic Fangio is a fantastic coach, so I assume the Bears are confident they can channel his junior year form.


9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers linebacking corps has been an issue these past few seasons. Tremaine Edmunds is a risky pick, but the payoff could be huge. He has great size and athleticism for linebacker. He’ll require patience, as he’s prone to biting on play-fakes and misdirections. Good coaching can correct this but it won’t happen overnight.


10. Oakland Raiders: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Oakland’s secondary was a glaring weakness this past season. They could use upgrades at most positions in their defensive backfield. Minkah Fitzpatrick is another jack of all trades type of prospect. He’s capable of playing corner, safety, and hybrid linebacker. In addition to his pass coverage, Fitzpatrick was competent in run support and strong as a blitzer.


11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Dolphins will have failed if they don’t address linebacker early in the draft. Especially if someone like Roquan Smith is on the board. Smith is a complete linebacker. He’s athletic, versatile, and a well-rounded defender. He thrives in pass coverage, something Miami’s linebackers were dreadful in. There’s not much you can’t ask him to do.


12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I’ll try to keep this simple, because I could write a dissertation on Josh Allen. Allen’s accuracy is a big concern. His success in the NFL will rely on his ability to fix his accuracy issues. In watching him, the most noticeable and fixable cause of his inaccuracy is his poor mechanics. Good coaching will spot this right away and work with him on it. It’s just difficult to know whether clean mechanics will be enough to turn him into a reliable passer.


13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Nose tackle is a huge need for the Redskins, especially if the Giants select Saquon Barkley at number two. This may seem high for a guy who may not be a three down player in the NFL. But, Vita Vea would be an immediate upgrade at a dire need for the Redskins. He’s a big body who clogs up the middle. Vea isn’t a pass rusher by any means, but he demands double teams which helps free up his outside rushers.


14. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Tramon Williams was a solid signing, but Green Bay needs a long-term solution at corner. Denzel Ward does most things well. He plays tight coverage and is comfortable reading the quarterback’s eyes. Ward has great anticipation and is a great athlete as well. He’s not the strongest corner, so he’s best suited for playing inside.


15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Assuming Sam Bradford can stay healthy this would be a nice spot for Lamar Jackson. Jackson is the most dynamic quarterback in the draft. He has an NFL arm and had his fair share of impressive throws at Louisville. He’s still a little rough around the edges. His mechanics and footwork need major cleaning up. There’s some concerns about his accuracy, but I do feel most of his issues fall back on his poor mechanics.


16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens made a couple of signings at receiver this offseason, but still have an uninspiring group. Calvin Ridley can provide them a reliable number one option. Ridley is a well-rounded receiver with clean route running and reliable hands. He’s comfortable making adjustments on throws and displayed good football intelligence. His strength remains his biggest concern, it’s unlikely Ridley will be a threat after the catch.


17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Chargers need linebackers who are competent in pass coverage. Rashaan Evans is a smooth linebacker with great instincts. He’s comfortable following a play as it develops. Evans was great in run support and has experience picking up running backs on passing routes as well.


18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
German Ifedi should never start at right tackle again. Connor McGlinchey is the best tackle in the draft. He’s experienced at both sides, but best suited as a right tackle. He was a major part of Notre Dame’s strong offensive line and was competent in both run and pass blocking.


19. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Releasing Dez Bryant makes wide receiver the heavy favorite for the Cowboys first pick. D.J. Moore has the physical tools you want out of a receiver. Moore is strong and very fast. He uses his speed to blow by opposing corners. He’s elusive as well when he’s in the open field.


20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
The Lions ranked 20th in sacks last year and could use a boost in that regard. Marcus Davenport is a raw prospect with tremendous upside. He’ll have to refine his game a bit and it’s warranted to worry that his collegiate success was due to him going against lesser competition. But in watching him, I was immediately impressed by his speed and explosiveness. Davenport also displayed a high motor and appears to have a strong work ethic which is encouraging for his development.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa
Cincinnati offensive line could use a complete overhaul. Center is probably the most glaring weakness. The top center in this year’s class is a toss-up between James Daniels, Billy Price, and Frank Ragnow. I lean Daniels in the end. I’m a fan of his technique and athleticism. He was also strong in both run and pass blocking. He can be a team’s anchor for 10+ years.


22. Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Matt Milano is the sole linebacker worthy of a starting spot on the Bills roster. Leighton Vander Esch would be a welcomed addition to their linebacking corps. Vander Esch impresses scouts with his size, athleticism, and power. What’s even more impressive is despite being only a one-year starter, Vander Esch has displayed impressive instincts and awareness on the field. It makes you wonder how much better he can get.


23. New England Patriots: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
New England will likely go best player available at both picks. Fortunately, corner also covers a huge need for them as well. Jaire Alexander is a fantastic cover corner. He’s often step for step with receivers and is comfortable reading a quarterback’s eyes. Alexander also has great awareness and closing speed on underneath plays.


24. Carolina Panthers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Josh Jackson would be a nice pairing with James Bradberry. Jackson is a raw prospect with a nice set of tools to work with. He’s an athletic and aggressive corner who burst onto the scene with 8 interceptions last year. He’s only a one year starter, so his tendency to be overaggressive is likely a sign of Jackson getting comfortable with the position. I expect him to strike a healthy balance between being smart and aggressive as he gains experience.


25. Tennessee Titans: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Titans have been looking for the anchor of their defense these past couple of seasons. Da’Ron Payne may just be that guy. Payne is a massive defensive tackle who is strong in run defense. He has great awareness and athleticism as a defender. He showed some decent pass rushing moves, but it’s still a weakness. Good coaching could potentially develop that aspect of his game.


26. Atlanta Falcons: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
If the Falcons could improve their guard play, they have the making of one of the strongest offensive lines in the league. Will Hernandez is pure power as a blocker. He lacks ideal length, but his strength allows him to dominate opposing linemen. He’d be an instant starter for Atlanta.


27. New Orleans Saints: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
The Saints have a solid core of Alex Okafor and Cam Jordan, but you can never have too many pass rushers. I doubt Sam Hubbard is many people’s favorite pass rusher, but he’s well-rounded and gets the job done. On top of Hubbard’s great size, he also has an impressive motor and strong awareness as a defender.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jessie Bates III, FS, Wake Forest
Morgan Burnett was a great pickup for the Steelers, but they could still use another safety to pair with him. Jessie Bates impressed me with his versatility. He was strong as a run defender and was comfortable covering receivers. His primary weakness is his lack of aggression. At times he fails to step up and make routine tackles. He’ll need to correct this to take the next step in his game.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
The Jaguars have a pretty strong left side of their offensive line, but could use some upgrades on the right side. Isaiah Wynn is a versatile prospect who’s capable of playing all three positions. He’s best suited at guard. Wynn’s a solid blocker in both aspects, but particularly in run blocking.


30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
With Mike Remmers likely moving inside to guard, the Vikings will need to grab a right tackle early in the draft. Kolton Miller is an intriguing prospect. He’s a bit raw, but scouts will fall in love with his length and athleticism. He also has experience playing both right and left tackle at UCLA.


31. New England Patriots: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
The Patriots struggled to get pressure from their interior line. Taven Bryan is a raw prospect with the potential to be a deadly pass rusher. Bryan has fantastic quickness and is great at hitting his gaps. His versatility will be intriguing as well. He’s capable of playing inside or out on the defensive line.


32. Philadelphia Eagles: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Eagles can afford to go best player available at 32. A big reason they won the Super Bowl was because Philadelphia frequently won the battle in the trenches. Maurice Hurst has a pretty well-rounded game. He had a quick initial move and was a headache for teams as a pass rusher. I was also impressed with his awareness as a run defender as well.

Evaluating the Post-First Round Quarterbacks

Everyone wants to be the team that finds the next Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, or Dak Prescott. With the recent success of post-first round quarterbacks, it’s worth taking a look at this year’s class to see if there are any sleepers. There’s a lot of teams with aging star quarterbacks, so we could see quite a few quarterbacks going off the board on day two.

Quarterbacks with Starter Potential

Finding a starting quarterback past the first round should be a pleasant surprise, not an actual plan. If the guys below were surefire starters, teams would be picking them in the first round. Each of them has major weaknesses they’ll have to overcome to make it in the NFL, but the upside is there. It’ll take time, but if you’re New England or New Orleans you may be able to wait.

Mike White
Western Kentucky
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 225

Strengths: His arm strength jumps out at you right away. He has the ability to fit the ball into tight spaces and is a very confident passer. He had a 66.5 completion percentage over his two years as a starter. White has great placement on his passes and leads his receivers. Finally, he’s a smart quarterback. Even when faced with constant pressure, I rarely saw any errant throws on his part.

Weaknesses: Mike White took a ton of sacks throughout his career. I’ll chalk many of them to terrible line play. At the same time, White can be slow in making his reads. Speaking of slow, White’s mobility is one of the worst in the draft. He looks like a statue standing in the pocket. White needs to focus on speeding up his game to succeed at the next level.

Overview: Mike White is my top quarterback prospect after the big five. Watching him, you’re left wondering how good he can be with competent pass blocking. There are obvious weaknesses in his game, but if White’s committed to spending time in the film room he can fix them. The traits are there, and he’s the only quarterback I’d feel comfortable spending a 2nd round pick on.


Riley Ferguson
Memphis
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 210

Strengths: Riley Ferguson displayed solid accuracy at Memphis. I was a big fan of his quick decision making. He was comfortable scanning the field, so his quick throws weren’t a case of a guy passing to his first read. He’s not lightning quick, but has enough mobility to keep plays alive. Ferguson was great at throwing the ball on the run as well.

Weaknesses: He’s a bit lanky and will need to bulk up. At times he tends to get flustered and forces throws. He has decent mobility which helps keep plays alive, but there are times he has to understand it’s better to throw the ball away and get on to the next play. His placement can be shaky as well.

Overview: Riley Ferguson is a 3rd round prospect to me. I wouldn’t confidently bet that he can be a long-term starter in the NFL. In comparison to Mike White, he’d need another year or two on the bench before I would even consider having him as a starter. But his mobility, arm strength, and decision-making show potential. A team like the Washington Redskins would be an ideal spot for him.


Kyle Lauletta
Richmond
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 215

Strengths: Kyle Lauletta is a smart quarterback. He displayed nice mobility and was comfortable throwing on the run. He thrived on play-action passes and rollouts. He was accurate and when he wasn’t pressured I almost never saw him make any head-scratching throws.

Weaknesses: My biggest concern with Kyle Lauletta was with how he handled pressure. He was easy to fluster and once teams got to him you could tell he would start to hear footsteps. His inability to handle pressure caused him to make some terrible decisions. There’s concern about his arm strength. I don’t think it’s terribly weak in comparison to a quarterback I’ll talk about below (Mason Rudolph), but I can definitely see him struggling to make some NFL throws.

Overview: Kyle Lauletta will need to improve his confidence as a quarterback. Too often he failed to handle pressure well and let a sack or two hang with him all game. If he can become a more comfortable passer he has some nice tools to become a solid starter.

Quarterbacks Destined to Be Backups

Listed below are a couple of popular prospects who I don’t see as potential starters. They may have the traits to be solid backups, but I can’t imagine any team would ever plan on having them as their day one starter in any season.

Mason Rudolph
Oklahoma State
Height: 6’5″, Weight: 235

Strengths: Mason Rudolph has the ideal height and weight combination you want out of a quarterback. He has pinpoint accuracy and was great at finding gaps in the defense.

Weaknesses: His arm is one of the weakest in the draft. Most of his throws lack ideal touch. Rudolph tends to float every pass to receivers. I don’t see how he’ll be able to make most NFL throws. Rudolph benefited from going against Big 12 defenses. I felt Rudolph was slow in his decision making and would struggle against any sort of pressure.

Overview: In the end, his arm strength will hurt him. It’s a shame too, because he has some solid tools. He’s big, mobile, and pretty accurate. His decision making was really slow, but he still deserves credit for finding gaps in a defense. His positives will be enough to keep him in the league as a long-term backup, but his arm strength will keep him from being more than that.


Luke Falk
Washington State
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 225

Strengths: Luke Falk has ideal size for a quarterback. He has a quick release and has solid accuracy on shorter passes.

Weaknesses: It seems like almost every throw is a checkdown. I wasn’t impressed with his arm strength and he struggled with his accuracy on longer throws. Falk also lacks ideal mobility and took a lot of sacks in college. Overall, I saw little proof that he’s capable of making most NFL throws.

Overview: Before watching Falk, I was expecting him to be a sleeper. But, Washington State’s offense didn’t do him any favors. Captain Checkdown accurately sums up his play for the Cougars. His arm strength was less than stellar and he struggled with his accuracy on intermediate throws. I feel Falk may even have difficulty hanging on as a backup in the NFL.

2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.1

Updated: April 23, 2018

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Browns are going with a quarterback. That’s a given. Who they’re going with, not so much. I mocked Sam Darnold to Cleveland in my previous mock and if I was a betting man I’d still go with Darnold. But, with rumors swirling, I figured I’d change it up a bit and entertain some other possibilities.

This pick will come down to either Darnold or Josh Allen. The two quarterbacks, to me, that have the most upside in the draft. Allen is bigger, more mobile, and has the stronger arm. Cleveland may feel Allen edges out Darnold for the highest potential. Allen does have a ton of work to do and would benefit from a year on the bench. With the addition of Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland can afford to do that. As I’ve stated before, Allen’s accuracy issues will make or break him. If his inaccuracy is due to poor mechanics, which is fixable, then Allen can surprise a lot of people.


2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Browns picking Josh Allen at one would send shock waves through the draft. Sam Darnold appeared to be the only quarterback the Giants were in love with. With him available, New York passes on the big three position players which will have a huge impact on the top 10.

Sam Darnold struggled a bit this past season with turnovers. However, when he got into a rhythm he still looked very strong. Darnold displays great poise and accuracy. He has the mobility you want out of a quarterback and is comfortable throwing on the run. The type of offenses he can play in are limitless. Turnovers will remain his biggest concern. Many of his interceptions left you wondering what the hell he was thinking. A year behind Eli Manning may allow him the opportunity to find the cause of his increase in turnovers.


3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
You don’t trade up to pick number three and not draft a quarterback. This pick will come down to either Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield. I had Rosen here in my first mock. But, recent talk suggests that Mayfield has cemented himself as the Jets number one guy.

Baker Mayfield is my top quarterback in this year’s draft. He leans on the safer side of prospects while also having tremendous upside. His accuracy is deadly and he displayed solid mobility as well. Mayfield also has an NFL arm. His mechanics will need cleaning up and some question his maturity. It’s worth noting that he benefited from playing against weaker Big 12 defenses. Assuming he has the mental makeup and work ethic, I have a hard time seeing him fail.


4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The butterfly effect of selecting Josh Allen continues. With the Giants selecting Sam Darnold, the Browns now have their pick of the big three positional prospects. With Isaiah Crowell now on the Jets, Cleveland could use a replacement at running back.

Saquon Barkley is far and away the best player in the draft. Barkley’s strong in both the run and pass game. His mixture of speed and elusiveness makes him a home run threat on every play. Pairing Barkley with Tyrod Taylor and Josh Gordon would be nice start to Cleveland’s draft. Assuming Cleveland then selects a number two receiver in the 2nd round, they would have the making of a very potent offense.


5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Despite adding Case Keenum this off-season, a quarterback will still be in play at number five. Quenton Nelson seems to be the strongest non-quarterback possibility here. Recently, Elway stated that he values intelligence and pocket awareness in quarterbacks over a strong arm. That description happens to fit a quarterback available at number five.

Josh Rosen won’t amaze you when you watch him. But he deserves credit for being well-rounded. His play has very few weaknesses. He has a solid arm, good accuracy, and great mechanics. He’s the safest quarterback in the draft to me. Rosen’s personality does worry teams. If he goes this high, Denver feels comfortable that it won’t be an issue.


6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
One of the few picks I didn’t change. Bradley Chubb will get serious consideration here because EDGE rusher is a huge need. I have to assume though that protecting Andrew Luck is priority number one for the Colts.

It’s rare to see a guard go this high. But Quenton Nelson has that type of upside. Many believe that he has the potential to step in right away and be one of the best guards in the game. Nelson embarrassed opposing linemen close to every game. He’s well-rounded and strong in both run and pass protection. Any concerns I have about him makes me feel like I’m nitpicking for the sake of it.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
A pass rusher here may be a bit of a surprise considering the Buccaneers added Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul this off-season. But, Bradley Chubb would be a steal at number seven and you can never have too many pass rushers.

Bradley Chubb’s combine raised some mild concerns, but watching him play puts most of those questions to rest. He pairs his dominating power with a high motor. Chubb’s bull rush has embarrassed opposing linemen throughout his career. I was also impressed with his interior pass rush as well.


8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Chicago Bears have a huge hole at inside linebacker. At number eight, they’ll have their choice of the top linebackers in the draft. Ryan Pace is a fan of athletic prospects, and one specifically fits that trait.

I’m mixed on Tremaine Edmunds. There’s no denying his size, athleticism, and upside. If he reaches his full potential he can be a top linebacker in the league. But his mental game has a lot of catching up to do. He’s been a victim of play-fakes and misdirections his entire college career. He has the physical ability to start right away but requires patience. He’ll be prone to mental lapses his rookie year. Good coaching can correct this. And luckily for Edmunds, he’ll have the chance to learn from Vic Fangio.


9. San Francisco 49ers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The San Francisco 49ers could only muster 30 sacks last season. They’ll need to add a boost to their pass rush in the draft. I wasn’t amazed by this year’s pass rushing class, so I’m inclined to believe the 49ers will add an EDGE rusher early.

Harold Landry is a high-risk, high-reward type of pick. Landry has fantastic athleticism and is very nimble. It’s impressive to see how low he can get against opposing linemen. He struggled with injuries in 2017 but his play did take a big step back from his junior year. If the 49ers believe they can channel his junior year form, they may be willing to take an early risk on Landry.


10. Oakland Raiders: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Opposing teams shredded Oakland’s secondary. They have massive needs at corner and could use upgrades at safety. It’s likely they’ll select the best defensive back available at number 10.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is a prime example of a modern-day defensive back. His versatility is huge with the ability to play corner, safety, or a hybrid linebacker. At Alabama, he displayed a diverse skill-set as a strong pass defender and he was helpful in run support. Alabama also loved using him on corner blitzes as well.


11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Miami has weaknesses all throughout their linebacking corps. Opposing quarterbacks particularly targeted them through the air. I expect the Dolphins to put emphasis on finding a linebacker competent in pass coverage.

Roquan Smith is the most complete and pro-ready linebacker in the draft. Smith is athletic and comfortable moving around on defense. He’s capable of playing either inside or outside linebacker. Smith is strong as both a run and pass defender as well.


12. Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Bills made some noise trading up to number 12. Rumors point to them trying to move up further, but it’s difficult to say whether they will be successful in doing so. One thing’s clear, with only AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, Buffalo is certain to take a quarterback early.

This could be a solid situation for Lamar Jackson, if the Bills are patient. He’d benefit from a year on the bench to clean up his poor mechanics. Assuming his mechanics can fix some of his inaccuracy issues (they should), Jackson has as good upside as any quarterback in the draft. He’s the most dynamic quarterback in this year’s class and has an NFL arm. With his elusiveness, he’d thrive in an offense heavy on RPOs.


13. Washington Redskins: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Trading Kendall Fuller was a massive blow to Washington’s secondary. Fuller was coming into his own and was strong as a slot corner. This is a deep corner class, so luckily Washington will have some strong options at 13.

Denzel Ward’s size and play-style suggest he’s better suited as a nickel corner. Ward is an athletic corner with great anticipation. He plays tight coverage and is great at reading a quarterback’s eyes.


14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Morgan Burnett was a terrific safety for the Green Bay Packers. But, Green Bay let him walk in free agency. This is a solid safety class so the Packers should be able to grab Burnett’s replacement early.

Derwin James is another example of a modern NFL safety. He’s capable of playing either safety or hybrid linebacker. James is an athletic freak and his energy on the field is contagious. His instincts are a bit lacking, but good coaching can correct this.


15. Arizona Cardinals: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Steve Wilks has stated he wants to place a heavy emphasis on improving Arizona in the trenches. Chandler Jones was dominant last year and would benefit from Arizona adding another big body to their interior line.

Vita Vea is a massive defensive tackle. He’s the type of player that doesn’t rack up huge stats, but makes players around him better. His size can limit his pass rushing ability, but he makes up for it by collapsing the pocket. Because of this, he demands double teams and helps free up his outside rushers.


16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens have been adding to their receiving corps throughout the offseason. But, it still lacks excitement. With their signing of Willie Snead, they’re no longer contenders for Dez Bryant. Look for Baltimore to consider adding one of the top receivers in the draft at 16.

Calvin Ridley is smooth. He has success getting off of tight coverage and runs beautiful routes. He’s quick off the ball and positions himself well on his routes. Ridley has great athleticism and moves with the quarterback on busted plays. He does cause concern with his strength. He rarely breaks tackles and may struggle against more physical corners.


17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Charger linebackers struggled on third down in pass coverage. While their linebacking corps as a whole could use an upgrade, I expect them to zero in on one strong in pass coverage.

Rashaan Evans is a very well-rounded linebacker with great athleticism. His play oozes confidence. Evans has strong instincts and very rarely gets lost when following a play. He’s strong in the run game and is capable of picking up running backs on passing routes as well. He’s gotten better every season and is one of my favorite linebackers in the draft.


18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Seattle’s offensive line has been terrible and is holding back their offense. German Ifedi especially has been god-awful and needs replacing. The Seahawks are a strong candidate to trade down and accumulate more picks. Which is good, because even in the late 20s, they should have plenty of offensive line options. But for now, let’s imagine who they’d pick at 18.

Connor McGlinchey is the top tackle prospect in the draft. He’s reliable in both run and pass blocking. He played both tackle spots at Notre Dame. McGlinchey’s best suited as a right tackle in the NFL.


19. Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
With the release of Dez Bryant, wide receiver becomes a top priority. Some people are down on this year’s wide receiver class. And while I don’t see any transcendent talents, there’s number one receiver potential with the top guys.

Courtland Sutton is a physical and big bodied receiver. At 6’3″ 218, Sutton is an ideal redzone threat. He gets great positioning on jump balls and has reliable hands as well. His route running could use cleaning up and his play speed is below average. But with his tools, I see the making of a solid number one guy.


20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
It was a popular talking point about how the Lions haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in a game since 2013. Luckily, the 2018 draft class is the ideal class to add a franchise running back.

Derrius Guice is a bull. It seems like every time he touches the ball he’s getting positive yards. He pairs his intimating power with surprising speed. Teams wanting to bring down Guice are going to have to send multiple guys his way. He can step in right away and be a number one back.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Bengals could use upgrades all across their offensive line. The loss of Kevin Zeitler has particularly hurt Cincinnati. A guard strong in run blocking can help make things easier for Joe Mixon.

Will Hernandez lacks ideal length, but he makes up for it in pure power. Hernandez is one of the most consistent and strongest run blockers in the draft. He’d be a huge boost to a Bengal team that ranked 31st in rushing. His strength allows him to bulldoze opposing linemen.


22. Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Bills front seven could use an upgrade, in particular their linebacking group. They let Preston Brown walk and outside of Matt Milano, they have no starting caliber players at linebacker.

Teams will fall in love with Leighton Vander Esch’s upside. He’s a one-year starter, but already looks like a star in the making. Vander Esch has a great combo of size and athleticism. He displays great awareness, closing speed, and power. Finally, he’s such an intelligent player and is fantastic at diagnosing plays.


23. New England Patriots: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Defensive end may no longer be a pressing need with the addition of Adrian Clayborn. But New England likes to go best player available. It also doesn’t hurt to have a surplus of pass rushers.

Marcus Davenport is a raw and versatile prospect. He played standing up at UTSA, but his size suggests he’s capable of playing with his hand on the ground. Davenport’s positive traits include an impressive speed rush and a high motor.


24. Carolina Panthers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
James Bradberry has been a good corner for Carolina but they’re still looking to replace Josh Norman. This is a very strong defensive back class so they’ll likely be able to snag a great cornerback at 24.

Josh Jackson is a very athletic cornerback. Jackson made a name for himself as a ballhawk at Iowa. The downside to being an aggressive corner is that he’s prone to get burnt often. As a one year starter, it’s clear he’s still getting comfortable with the position. He’ll only get better once he strikes a healthy balance between being smart and aggressive as a player.


25. Tennessee Titans: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Sylvester Williams was a disappointment for Tennessee. Bennie Logan is a decent nose tackle, but more of a stopgap solution. The Titans may want to look for a more permanent answer.

Da’Ron Payne is a massive defensive tackle with a complete game. He’s a strong hand-fighter and has a nice set of interior and outside pass rush moves. The strongest run defender in the draft, Payne is a strong tackle. He reacts well to run plays and was consistent in making plays behind the line of scrimmage.


26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
The Atlanta Falcons have put together a pretty solid offensive line. Both Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland could use competition at guard though.

Isaiah Wynn’s versatility will be intriguing to teams. A talented lineman who’s capable of playing all three positions. He’s best suited at guard and displayed his aggression through strong run blocking. He also has impressive athleticism and is reliable in pass blocking as well.


27. New Orleans Saints: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
It’s important to place a strong emphasis on the pass rush. The Saints already have a couple of solid defensive ends in Cam Jordan and Alex Okafor, but Okafor suffered an Achilles injury recently. The Saints may want to add another rusher in case Okafor struggles to come back.

Sam Hubbard doesn’t jump out at you when watching him. But overall, he’s a well-rounded prospect. Hubbard has a great motor, awareness, and ideal size for a pass rusher.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Morgan Burnett is a very talented and experienced safety. He was a great pickup for Pittsburgh. It’d be great for them if they paired a rookie safety with Burnett.

Justin Reid is an athletic safety who displayed some versatility at Stanford. Reid also shows some nice closing speed as well. He’ll need to sharpen his instincts, because he fell victim often to play-fakes.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
The Jaguars are a pretty well-rounded team. They can afford to go BPA and pick a prospect who may help them more in a season or two as opposed to right away. Calais Campbell has been huge for Jacksonville but will be 32 at the start of the season, they may want to start grooming his replacement.

Taven Bryan is one of the best blitzing defensive tackles in the draft. His speed and athleticism make him a difficult block when he hits his gaps. Bryan is capable of playing either defensive tackle or defensive end in the NFL. He’s a one-year starter, so he’s a bit raw as a prospect especially with his instincts. In Jacksonville, he’d have more of a situational role initially which he’d benefit from.


30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Minnesota will likely kick Mike Remmers inside to guard. This would then leave a hole at right tackle. They’ll have a couple of options here at 30.

Kolton Miller will be an interesting guy to watch on draft night. Scouts have him all over the board from the top half of the first to early 2nd. In the end, a team in the first round will likely fall in love with his upside and athleticism. Miller also has experience at both tackle spots.


31. New England Patriots: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
It goes without saying losing Malcolm Butler hurts New England’s defense. It’s a deep corner class so New England will have the opportunity to grab a quality replacement at the end of the first.

Jaire Alexander looks so comfortable on the field. Alexander shadows receivers and is great a reading a quarterback’s eyes. He has nice awareness as well and is quick to react to underneath plays.


32. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Philadelphia is a well-rounded team that can go best player available at pick 32. The Eagles had to let Trey Burton walk in free agency, so they may look towards adding a replacement early in the draft.

Mike Gesicki is an athletic tight end who would be great value at number 32. He’s weak as a blocker, but a terrific pass catcher. It seems like every time I watch him he’s open thanks to his fantastic route running ability. He’d be a great pairing with Zach Ertz.

2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Updated: April 18, 2018

Round 1

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
It’s no secret the Browns are going with a quarterback at number one. The draft is a few weeks away so we’ll bounce around every day with a different quarterback in the number one slot. It’ll likely come down to either Sam Darnold or Josh Allen.

In this mock, I’ll go Sam Darnold. In the end, Darnold has fewer questions surrounding him as a prospect in comparison to Josh Allen. Darnold struggled a bit this past year but still has some impressive highlights. When he’s hot, he’s far and away the top quarterback in this year’s draft. His arm strength, accuracy, and mobility allow him to make some breathtaking plays. My main gripe with Darnold is his lowlights. He had some head-scratching turnovers. The type of turnovers where I struggled to understand what he was even thinking. Some wonder if the pressure got to him. Others believe it was a case of someone trying to be the hero. It’ll come down to whether the Browns believe his increase in turnovers is a fixable problem. If so, he’ll be the number one pick.


2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I went back and forth with this pick. Conventional wisdom says the Giants should take a quarterback at number two. But I’m a sucker for draft smokescreens and many suggest that Darnold is New York’s preferred guy. So I’ll entertain the idea that the Giants feel the remaining four of the big five quarterbacks are not worthy of the 2nd pick.

If the Giants do pass on a quarterback at number two it’ll come down to either Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb. Both would fill huge needs for the Giants. I lean Barkley because he’s the best prospect in this year’s draft. He’s strong both on the ground and through the air. He displayed great vision, speed, and elusiveness as a runner. Barkley was a constant threat for a home run play at Penn State. Some question whether a running back is worth a pick this high. But Barkley has all-time great upside and could prove worthy of the number two pick.


3. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Jets made a bold move trading up to number three. Now they guarantee themselves an opportunity to select a franchise quarterback. The Jets have been putting together a nice rebuild these past couple of years. Early rumors suggest this pick is between Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield.

I ended up going with Josh Rosen at this spot. Assuming the Jets are comfortable with his personality, he’s the safest quarterback. It’s difficult for me, a random guy on the internet, to go in-depth about whether Rosen’s personality is an issue. Because surprising as it may be, I don’t know him personally. I can talk about his play at least. When I watched him nothing in particular ‘wowed’ me like others. But I came away impressed with how well-rounded he is as a quarterback. Some positives include fantastic footwork, mechanics, and great accuracy. His arm isn’t the strongest but he’s capable of making NFL throws.


4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Saquon Barkley going off the board at number two makes Cleveland’s decision easier. Hue Jackson has already expressed his interest in Bradley Chubb in his own endearing way. And a duo of Myles Garrett and Chubb has the potential to be one of the best in the league. The Browns also have Emmanuel Ogbah who’d be a great option to rotate with them throughout the game.

Bradley Chubb’s combine raised some mild concerns, but watching him play puts most of those questions to rest. He pairs his dominating power with a high motor. Chubb’s bull rush has embarrassed opposing linemen throughout his career. I was also impressed with his interior pass rush as well.


5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Denver’s in an interesting spot. Having signed Case Keenum, Denver has the opportunity to look elsewhere at number 5. At the same time, they only signed Keenum to a 2 year deal. It’s clear they only see him as a stop-gap quarterback. No team plans on picking in the top five every year, so you wonder if Denver feels this is the best time to select a potential franchise quarterback?

Baker Mayfield is my top quarterback in this year’s draft. He leans on the safer side of prospects while also having tremendous upside. His accuracy is deadly and he displayed solid mobility as well. Mayfield also has an NFL arm. His mechanics will need cleaning up and some question his maturity. It’s worth noting that he benefited from playing against weaker Big 12 defenses. Assuming he has the mental makeup and work ethic, I have a hard time seeing him fail.


6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
If this past season without Andrew Luck wasn’t enough to convince the Colts they need to protect him, I don’t know what will. The Colts do have the making of a solid offensive line. Anthony Castonzo and Ryan Kelly have proven themselves to be good linemen. Continuing to add another strong piece can help make everyone’s job easier.

It’s rare to see a guard go this high. But Quenton Nelson has that type of upside. Many believe that he has the potential to step in right away and be one of the best guards in the game. Nelson embarrassed opposing linemen close to every game. He’s well-rounded and strong in both run and pass protection. Any concerns about him makes me feel like I’m nitpicking for the sake of it.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled in pass defense this past year. Buccaneer defenders struggled to cover tight ends and running backs. Tampa needs a strong defensive back to help seal up the middle of their pass defense.

Derwin James is a perfect safety for today’s NFL. His versatility will come in huge for teams. He’s capable of moving all around the field playing both safety and a hybrid linebacker role. His athleticism and energy on the field will be a huge plus for teams. He’ll need to quicken his reaction time but this will come with experience.


8. Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Playing in the NFC North means you must have a strong secondary. Especially with the recent addition of Kirk Cousins in Minnesota. Chicago’s cornerbacks are okay but lack depth. With Chubb and Nelson off the board, I see Chicago bolstering their secondary.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is another prime example of a modern-day defensive back. His versatility is huge with the ability to play corner, safety, or a hybrid linebacker. At Alabama he displayed a diverse skill-set as a strong pass defender and he was helpful in run support. Alabama also loved using him on corner blitzes as well.


9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
San Francisco struggled in pass defense this past season. Ahkello Witherspoon was one of the few bright spots at corner. And the addition of Richard Sherman should help lock down the other outside corner position. But, the 49ers are still left with a hole at nickelback.

Denzel Ward plays tight coverage and is fantastic at reading a quarterback’s eyes. A great athlete, he also has fantastic anticipation. He’s not the strongest player so he would struggle as an outside corner. Putting him at nickelback would allow him to reach his full potential.


10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Oakland Raiders defense struggled this past season and I expect them to address it early and often in the draft this year. Khalil Mack is the best player on the Raiders defense and a target for double teams. Oakland may look towards bolstering their interior line to help make Mack’s job easier.

Vita Vea is a massive defensive tackle. He’s the type of player that doesn’t rack up huge stats, but makes players around him better. His size can limit his pass rushing ability, but he makes up for it by collapsing the pocket. Because of this, he demands double teams and helps free up his outside rushers.


11. Miami Dolphins: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Upgrading their linebacking corps has to be priority number one for the Dolphins. Lawrence Timmons has nothing left in the tank and Kiko Alonso has struggled in pass coverage. With needs at both sides, the Dolphins can afford to go best linebacker available at number 11.

I’m mixed on Tremaine Edmunds. There’s no denying his size, athleticism, and upside. If he reaches his full potential he can be a top linebacker in the league. But his mental game has a lot of catching up to do. He’s been a victim of play-fakes and misdirections his entire college career. He has the physical ability to start right away but requires patience. He’ll be prone to mental lapses his rookie year. Good coaching can correct this. And luckily he’s only 19, in case you haven’t heard that for the billionth time this draft season.


12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Bills made some noise trading up to number 12. Rumors point to them trying to move up further but it’s difficult to say whether they will be successful in doing so. But one things clear, with AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman as their only two quarterbacks, Buffalo is certain to take a quarterback early.

I know Bills fans will hate this pick, like most teams who get mocked Josh Allen. The Josh Allen hate is a tad overblown. He’s a risky prospect but the tools are there. His size, mobility, and arm strength are off the charts. But his entire career will rely on whether he can improve his accuracy. The primary reason he’s not a surefire bust to me is his awful mechanics (As weird as that sounds.) Allen has a habit of not setting his feet when he throws. He’s also guilty of throwing off his back foot a lot. With the right work ethic, fixing his mechanics is possible. It wouldn’t be surprising to see his accuracy improve through better footwork. If he can improve his accuracy he has the highest upside of any quarterback in this year’s draft.


13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Zach Brown has been a great linebacker for the Washington Redskins. But they could use an upgrade at the other inside linebacker spot. Brown is a speedy linebacker who’s weaker at pass coverage. So Washington may look towards someone who can help him in that regard.

Roquan Smith would be a perfect compliment to Brown. Smith is also a fast linebacker and strong in pass coverage. Watching him at Georgia, you see the type of impact he has on their defense right away. He’s comfortable moving around the field and had a strong impact in run defense. He is a well-rounded prospect and should be a week one starter at linebacker.


14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Green Bay Packers edge rush could use a boost. While Clay Matthews and Nick Perry have talent both have struggled with injuries. Add on that Matthews is also on the wrong side of 30, the Packers would be wise to look at a pass rusher early.

With a couple of solid pass rushers already on the roster, Green Bay can afford to make an upside pick. Harold Landry has fantastic athleticism and is very nimble. It’s impressive to see how low he can get against opposing linemen. He struggled with injuries in 2017 but his play did take a step back from his junior year. Where Landry goes will all depend on which team believes they can channel his junior year form.


15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Arizona Cardinals will draft a franchise quarterback sooner or later. As depressing as it is, I can’t imagine they have much faith in Sam Bradford to play a full season. At least a quarterback group of Bradford and Mike Glennon allows them to slowly bring along a young quarterback.

Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic quarterback in the draft. He’d be perfect for an offense heavy in RPOs. Some positive traits of his include an NFL arm and elusiveness. He’d benefit from a year on the bench to help clean up his mechanics. He’s been a victim of drops, but there are still some concerns about his accuracy.


16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Baltimore is going to need a complete overhaul on offense. Their offensive line is no exception. It was evident how much they missed Ricky Wagner this past season. A reliable right tackle is at the top of the list for the Ravens.

Mike McGlinchey is the top offensive tackle in this year’s draft. A strong blocker in both the run and pass game. McGlinchey displays some impressive athleticism as well. He’s capable of playing either tackle spot but is more suited for a right tackle position.


17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Los Angeles Chargers were torn to shreds through the ground last year. They ranked 31st in total yards giving up an astonishing 2098 yards with a 4.9 YPC average. A boost to their interior line would go a long way in improving their run defense.

Da’Ron Payne is a massive defensive tackle with a complete game. He’s a strong hand-fighter and has a nice set of interior and outside pass rush moves. The strongest run defender in the draft, Payne is a strong tackle. He reacts well to run plays and was consistent in making plays behind the line of scrimmage.


18. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
You don’t have to watch much Seahawks football to understand how terrible their offensive line is. Russell Wilson has been on the run most of his career. One of the most memorable moments I have of Seattle’s offensive line was in week 9 against the Redskins this past year. The last play of the game, Seattle set up for a hail mary. The Redskins sent one rusher and still managed to pressure Wilson. It’d be shocking if they didn’t address the line this year.

Isaiah Wynn’s versatility will be intriguing to teams. A talented linemen who’s capable of playing all three positions. He’s best suited at guard and displayed his aggression through strong run blocking. He also has impressive athleticism and is reliable in pass blocking as well.


19. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Even before cutting Dez Bryant, you had to imagine Dallas was taking a close look at this year’s receivers. Now with Bryant out of the picture, it seems Dallas is confident they can draft his replacement early. There’s mixed reactions about this 2018 receiving class, but I’m a fan.

Calvin Ridley is smooth. He has success getting off of tight coverage and runs beautiful routes. He’s quick off the ball and positions himself well on his routes. Ridley has great athleticism and moves with the quarterback on busted plays. He does cause concern with his strength. He rarely breaks tackles and may struggle against more physical corners.


20. Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
The Detroit Lions have very little depth at the defensive tackle position. They also ranked 20th in the NFL in sacks and could use some interior pass rush. Look for them to draft someone to pair with A’Shawn Robinson.

Taven Bryan is one of the best blitzing defensive tackles in the draft. His speed and athleticism make him a difficult block when he hits his gaps. Bryan is capable of playing either defensive tackle or defensive end in the NFL. He’s a one year starter so he’s a bit raw as a prospect especially with his instincts. But the upside is there and he can be a special player.


21. Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa
Cincinnati’s offensive line was terrible last year and in complete need of an overhaul. Trading for Cordy Glenn was a nice start but there’s still holes to fill. Russell Bodine was beat all season at center and luckily is no longer with Cincinnati.

James Daniels would be a perfect pick for the Bengals. Daniels is an experienced center with a long list of positives from his phenomenal technique to his athleticism. He was strong in both pass and run protection. Daniels also has good size and is capable of being a week one starter.


22. Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Buffalo’s linebacking corps is one of the weaker aspects of their defense. If they stay at 22, it gives them the opportunity to add one of the many well-rounded linebackers in this year’s class. They’ll especially look for one capable both in run and pass defense.

Leighton Vander Esch has a great combo of size and speed. He’s only a one year starter so there’s a strong chance he has the potential to get even better. Already he displays great awareness, closing speed, and power. Finally, he’s such an intelligent player and is fantastic at diagnosing plays.


23. New England Patriots: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Following their Super Bowl loss, New England will look towards bolstering their defense. Dont’a Hightower has been the cornerstone of the defense and could use a reliable linebacker to play next to him.

Rashaan Evans is a very well-rounded linebacker with great athleticism. His play oozes confidence. Evans has strong instincts and very rarely gets lost when following a play. He’s strong in the run game and is capable of picking up running backs on passing routes as well.


24. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Carolina’s secondary was a major weakness last year. They’ll need to address both safety and corner in the draft. With Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick already off the board I’m inclined to believe they’ll wait on safety. They could find someone to play alongside James Bradberry though.

Isaiah Oliver size and long arms will intrigue teams. His play will convince them that he’s a top corner in the draft. Oliver displays great awareness and anticipation. He also has exceptional strength and is aggressive when it comes to making tackles. He’ll come in as a number two corner for Carolina, but he has number one corner potential.


25. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The Tennessee Titans will look to strengthen their defense in this year’s draft. Their primary EDGE rushers include Brian Orakpo (age 31) and Derrick Morgan (age 29). Both are solid players but the Titans could use an injection of youth in their pass rush.

Tennessee seems like a perfect situation for Marcus Davenport. Davenport is a raw prospect and a tweener at this point. His size suggests that he’s a 4-3 defensive end but he does have a lot of experience playing standing up. Being able to come in and learn from Morgan and Orakpo could let him grow into his position. He’ll need to refine his game but already he’s displayed an impressive speed rush and a high motor.


26. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
With Dontari Poe leaving through free agency the Falcons are once again lacking depth at defensive tackle. It’s a solid class of interior linemen so they should be able to find their guy to compliment Grady Jarrett.

Maurice Hurst had an initial health scare, but reports have cleared Hurst. Some teams could still be gun-shy with him, especially in the first. But it only takes one team to pull the trigger and if they do, they’ll be getting a talented defensive tackle. A tad undersized, Hurst demonstrated a strong initial burst. He was a constant threat as a pass rusher and demanded double teams. He also responded well to running plays and was a strong tackle.


27. New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
As the Saints make their final push with Drew Brees I expect them to give him as many weapons as possible. New Orleans struggled on third downs thanks in large part to a lack of a reliable tight end. Despite adding Benjamin Watson, tight end is still their most glaring weakness.

Mike Gesicki is a huge threat through the passing game. One of the best route running tight ends, it seemed like every time I watched him he was open. He’s a dreadful blocker but with how strong of a receiver he is, teams may be willing to overlook this weakness.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Pittsburgh’s cornerback group was all over the place last year. Artie Burns had an up and down year and Joe Haden suffered a leg injury this past season. But even Haden was prone to mental lapses last year and may be slowing down. Pittsburgh may look towards adding to their secondary in hopes of gaining some consistency.

Josh Jackson exploded on the scene and was a ballhawk for Iowa. He’s only a one year starter and his inexperience was evident in his play-style. He’s a risk taker and relies too heavily on his athleticism at times. But the fact that he was so dominant throughout his first season shows what kind of upside he has once he becomes more comfortable in the position.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Jacksonville Jaguars leaned on their run game a lot this past season. The key to a strong run game is a strong offensive line (Cutting edge analysis, huh?) Jacksonville could use someone at left guard to pair with Cam Robinson who had a good rookie season.

Will Hernandez lacks ideal length but he makes up for it in pure power. Hernandez is one of the most consistent and strongest run blockers in the draft. His strength allows him to bulldoze opposing linemen. He would be an immediate starter for Jacksonville.


30. Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OL, Texas
Upgrading their offensive line has to be one of Minnesota’s top priorities. Right tackle and right guard in particular will need addressing in the draft. There should be some good versatile options available at pick 30.

Connor Williams seems like an ideal pick for the Vikings. In college, Williams played tackle and was strong in run and pass blocking. His play suggests he has the potential to play right tackle in the NFL. However, Williams does have short arms for a tackle. Luckily, he does have the size and power to move inside to guard if necessary. With needs at tackle and guard, Williams’s versatility could be intriguing to the Vikings.


31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
With Nate Solder leaving via free agency, the Patriots now have a huge hole at left tackle. The Patriots may be in a tough spot. There’s several tackles who receive a first round grade but many are raw prospects. Some question whether they’d be ready to make a move to left tackle. But with the linemen they have on the roster, New England may not have much of a choice.

Kolton Millers’s measurables will impress you. He’s exceptionally long and had a strong combine where he displayed his athleticism. He has good power and is a hard worker. He made the move to left tackle last season and grew into the position. He’s a bit raw but the upside is there.


32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Fresh off their first Super Bowl win, the Philadelphia Eagles are in a nice spot. Their most pressing need is a left tackle they can develop behind Jason Peters. Unfortunately in this mock, I don’t see any tackles worthy of pick 32. With that in mind, I see Philadelphia going BPA with the final pick in the first round.

Derrius Guice is an absolute beast of a runner. It seemed like every time I watch him he’s getting positive yards. He’s one of the toughest tackles in the draft and is big in getting yards after contact. Guice has number one running back potential and would pair well with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.