The Draft is almost here, so I decided to get motivated and do a full first round mock. It’s back on track with what I’ve been putting out, and much more realistic than my previous mock draft.
If there are any big trades before Thursday, I’ll do a 7.1. For now, you can expect this to be my final mock of the year.
Be sure to tune in to the next episode of Two Kids in a Trenchcoat to hear about some of the changes made and for more Draft chatter.
1. Cleveland Browns — Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The argument for Darnold going number one gets stronger each week.
After performing well at his pro day, Darnold said “[He’s] trying to go to Cleveland” as the top pick. Mind you, he worked out in the rain in what was supposed to be a controlled setting. And Jimmy Haslam sat outside in the rain to watch. It seems they really like each other, and I like this fit.
Even though Cleveland landed Tyrod Taylor, it’ll be good to have Darnold for the future. They might even need him sooner. We’ll see.
2. New York Giants — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
This is the first time I have Saquon going second. Last week, the Giants reportedly called Barkley “a perfect prospect.” They’re not wrong. Picking him at number two allows for the Giants to take some of the load off of an aging Eli Manning by giving him a reliable ball carrier.
Barkley was also spotted at a Pennsylvania barber shop wearing a Giants hoodie. Teams give players gear all the time, so this could be nothing … but it might be something.
3. New York Jets — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
After losing out on Kirk Cousins, the Jets signed Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year deal and then swapped picks with the Colts. Signs indicate that the Jets really want Rosen. He’s a skilled player who will thrive in the New York market. Why else would they trade up when a good selection of players would be available at six?
Unless they really want someone else. That would make this take look pretty bad.
4. Cleveland Browns — Bradley Chubb, DL, NC State
My mock is starting to look more and more like Jacob Rosenfarb’s, but he’s right about this pick. Chubb is a freak of nature who will bolster any defense. Putting him next to Myles Garrett would make the Browns scary. Weird, right?
5. Buffalo Bills (via trade with Denver) — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Last week, I had the Bills trading up to the second pick. John Elway then said the Broncos were shopping pick number five.
Case Keenum is coming off of a career year, and Paxton Lynch is still around, so why draft a quarterback? It goes against all of my previous mocks, but signs point to the Bills wanting Allen. With this trade, Denver adds an additional first round pick (22) and likely another later on. The Bills get their strong-armed quarterback who was the third best in the Mountain West last season.
6. Indianapolis Colts — Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Is Nelson Worth a top ten pick? Yes.
He’s the best offensive lineman in this class, and the Colts offensive line can’t let their QB get sacked 56 times this year. Especially if it’s Andrew Luck, who has been proven to be kind of fragile.
Jim Irsay is committed to Luck. Nelson is the right choice to help him out.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Derwin James, S, Florida State
It was considered likely that the Buccaneers would take a defensive back. Now, ESPN’s Todd McShay reports that they have “narrowed in on Derwin James.”
Who can blame them? He’s a talented safety and they desperately need one.
8. Chicago Bears — Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Mitchell Trubisky is the man now in Chicago, and he needs some guys to throw at. The Bears took a step in the right direction by signing Allen Robinson in free agency. This provides Ridley with the opportunity to work with a veteran early on. And both of them are good. This plays out well in my head.
You might be thinking, “What about Kevin White?” Don’t think that.
9. San Francisco 49ers — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
I’ve never seen someone cover as much ground in a single than Smith. He is the best in this draft class at finding the ball and chasing down a runner in the backfield. His main weakness is coming off of blocks, but he is fast enough to still perform while he works on that.
I still like Denzel Ward to San Fran, but with the future of former first round pick Reuben Foster up in the air, it makes sense to take a linebacker — a really good one. Richard Sherman plays there now, so it’s not like they’re thin at corner.
10. Oakland Raiders — Minkah Fiztpatrick, S, Alabama
Safety Reggie Nelson is turning 35 in September. Aside from him and 2017 top pick Gareon Conley, the Oakland secondary is, well, bad. Fitzpatrick adds a much-needed presence to the Raider defense and will certainly make an impact right away.
He also has some experience playing slot corner, and added benefit to a phenomenal player, and sensible pick.
11. Miami Dolphins — Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Back on brand.
If Elway sells that No. 5 pick (which is seeming more likely, @Bills), then Mayfield will be available for the Dolphins.
Mayfield is an intriguing player, and the Dolphins need to make an intriguing pick. Drafting to address needs hasn’t been doing the job for Miami. Coach Adam Gase says Ryan Tannehill is the starter, but Mayfield is a winner, and with some work, has the potential to become a reliable starter.
12. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo) — Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
Denver needs a receiver, too. But there is a significant drop-off between McGlinchey and the next best group of offensive lineman. Taking him allows the Broncos to secure the best available OL and still take a decent wideout at 22.
13. Washington Redskins — Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Josh Norman has cooled off, and after dealing Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith, Washington needs a new corner.
Enter Josh Jackson. Adding him to a secondary with DJ Swearinger significantly improves the Washington defense.
Jackson hauled in eight interceptions last year, half of the Washington team total.
14. Green Bay Packers — Marcus Davenport, DL, UTSA
This is the first time Davenport appears in one of my mocks, because I thought he would go outside the top 15. He’s just too good for that, and Green Bay could use an additional pass rusher to play next to Mike Daniels.
15. Arizona Cardinals — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Lamar Jackson has proven that he can play at the next level, but he also showed us that he needs some time to develop.
Arizona brought in a new coach and offensive coordinator, which of course means a new offense. Let Jackson work on his game while Sam Bradford takes the beating under center.
Additionally, Larry Fitzgerald is a great veteran to help Jackson along the way.
16. Baltimore Ravens — Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
I had to think about this for a bit. The Ravens defense was among the best in the league in 2017, so I thought they don’t really need to do anything with it. Upon more thinking, I remembered Terell Suggs is kind of old. Still good, but old. Like, he’ll be done soon.
Having Edmunds and Suggs on the same team will be fun for now, and then Edmunds can lead them later.
17. Los Angeles Chargers — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Last year, the Chargers took a wide receiver when they needed a defensive back. Let’s see if they get it right this year. If they don’t, something is wrong. Ward is a steal at 17 and it would be questionable for any team to pass on him this late.
18. Seattle Seahawks — Kolton Miller, T , UCLA
Miller is not quite on the prospect level with the Notre Dame guys, but he’s still the real deal, greatly due to his insane athleticism. The 6 foot 9 inch (nice), 310 pound tackle had a stellar Combine. He ran a 4.95″ 40 yard dash (second to Quenton Nelson) and set a new record in the broad jump; 10 feet 11 inches.
Also, Seattle’s offensive line was bad last year, so yeah, this should help.
19. Dallas Cowboys — Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Dez Bryant is gone. That might be good for the environment, but Bryant still had almost 300 more yards than the next best Cowboy receiver. Sutton might not be Dez Bryant (when he was super good), but he’s still a good replacement. He shares a lot of the same abilities, as well as size.
20. Detroit Lions — Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Detroit has been plagued by an inconsistent run game for a while now. It’s time for them to do something about it. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are just okay. The Lions need someone who can pick up good yardage on the ground. Guice is a strong power back who is capable of filling that role.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo) — James Daniels, C, Iowa
Russell Bodine departed in free agency, but he needed replaced anyway. The Bengals need someone who isn’t a human turnstyle to play center.
Many experts are mocking Daniels to Cincy, and I have to agree with them. He’s the best center in this draft, and that’s what the Bengals need most.
22. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo) — D.J. Moore, WR, Marlyand
Moore has passed Calvin Ridley as the top receiver in some mocks, thanks to his impressive Combine performance where he ran 4.42 40 yard dash. It’s also pretty impressive to earn first team All-Big Ten AND Big Ten Receiver of the Year while playing for Maryland (who shouldn’t be in the Big Ten).
23. New England Patriots — Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan
The Patriots traded Brandin Cooks to the Rams, so a receiver could be on the radar. But you have to remember that Tom Brady is still the quarterback. He can work with literally anything.
The New England defense could use some work, as it struggled at times last season, including in the biggest game of the year.
Hurst is also from Massachusetts, so there’s that.
24. Carolina Panthers — Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado St.
The Panthers have lacked a WR1 since dealing Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo. Gallup can come in and fill that void. We didn’t hear much about him until recently, but he has a strong ability to find and go get the ball. He could be a good deep threat for Cam Newton.
25. Tennessee Titans — Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
Cornerback was a need, but Tennessee inked Malcolm Butler after he left New England on bad terms. And after Avery Williamson signed with the Jets, Landry fills their next biggest need at linebacker.
26. Atlanta Falcons — Vita Vea, DL, Washington
Many mocks have Vea going in the top 15, but I see better picks to be made for other teams that need d-lineman. Even though there are some better, Vea is still a solid player and will make a replacement for Dontari Poe, who left for Carolina.
27. New Orleans Saints — Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
He’s been called the “most game-ready” tight end in the draft, and the Saints could really use one. Colby Fleener is there, but he isn’t the answer. Despite standing only 5 feet 10 inches, Goedert is still a fantastic blocking tight end with good hands. If he works on his route-running, he’ll be the full package.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
Ryan Shazier has already been ruled out for 2018 after suffering a scary spine injury against the Bengals last season, and the future of his career remains up in the air. Vander Esch is a skilled inside linebacker who at the very least is a good placeholder. If Shazier is well enough to be around the team, then Vander Esch could become even better with help from the two time Pro-Bowler.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars — James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson left in free agency, leaving the Jags with some big holes to fill. Washington is considered by some to be the best vertical threat in this draft class. He can certainly back it up with numbers, as he hauled in 74 catches for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017.
Of course, we all know what happened last time Jacksonville took a receiver from OSU.
30. Minnesota Vikings — Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander has been under-appreciated this entire draft season, but he is a first round talent. The Vikings have yet to pick up Trae Waynes’ option and Terrance Newman remains unsigned (he’s also 39). It’s likely the Vikings end up bringing Waynes back. Him and Alexander would make up a good secondary.
31. New England Patriots — Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
New England traded Brandin Cooks to the Rams, so they’re in need of a new pass catcher.
Rob Gronkowski also hasn’t committed to playing in 2018. Gronk is a generational talent, but Gesicki would still be a great replacement. He’s a bit faster than Gronkowski and shares his ability to come down with balls that shouldn’t be caught.
UPDATE: Gronkowski is returning, but I don’t think that changes much. Gesicki is skilled enough to still be drafted at this spot, and is a good fit in New England.
32. Philadelphia Eagles — Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
The platoon system worked well last year, but having a consistent ball carrier is important to extended success. However, Michel is used to working in a system with two running backs, so it could work again if Jay Ajayi rebounds.
Ajayi has one year left on his deal, so Michel could potentially spend this season sharing the load before becoming the lead back in 2019.