Connor Livesay’s Midseason 2018 NFL Mock Draft
1. San Francisco 49er’s: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
After trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, it seems as if the 49er’s have found the guy they want to run with at quarterback. When picking number one overall, overthinking a pick can come back to haunt you. John Lynch hit a home-run in last years draft, and has the opportunity to do the same thing again by taking Saquon Barkley. The Penn State product is a three down back and is one of the highest graded runners coming out in some time.
2.Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Cleveland Browns are still a mess at QB after trading away from both Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. Though Sam Darnold is not a finished product, it’s hard to imagine them trading away from a guy with a ceiling as high as Darnold’s.
Though I am hearing whispers that the Giants are interested in drafting a quarterback, drafting a left tackle needs to be in the first order of business for Jerry Reese. It won’t matter who is playing QB (or RB) for the Giants if they continue to ignore the offensive line. Connor Williams is a plug and play tackle with athletic ability and excellent technique.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, N.C. State
The Buccaneers are having a dreadful season with what some labeled as a potential Super Bowl team. On defense, the Buccaneers are getting little to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Currently, Tampa Bay is ranked 32nd in the NFL in total sacks (8.0) which is the only team in the NFL without double digit sacks through nine weeks. Chubb would be an instant upgrade and can rush from both DE and DT. Bradley has violent hands and great lower half explosion that allows him to push his way through the pocket to opposing QB’s.
5. Indianapolis Colts: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
With Vontae Davis aging, and the Colts defense still being a huge liability, drafting a player of Fitzpatrick’s caliber would be wise. Fitzpatrick is a day one starter and would fit in nicely with veteran Vontae Davis, and Malik Hooker. The Alabama DB’s ability to play anywhere in the secondary makes him an ideal fit for the Indianapolis Colts.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Quenton Nelson is the best offensive lineman in this draft class. It’s that easy. Nelson is in a class of his own and is an easy evaluation for a top 10 pick.
7. Cleveland Browns (From Houston Texans): Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
So far the Cleveland Browns have received little to no production from their receivers in the 2017. Corey Coleman is on IR-R and Kenny Britt has been a major disappointment free agent signing. Josh Gordon is looking to make a return, but we can’t rely on him. Courtland Sutton is a similar style of player to Josh Gordon and would be a major upgrade at the position for the Browns.
The Chargers secondary has been a major disappointment in 2017 even with some young guys playing well. Derwin James is a playmaker in the back end of the defense that can help out in run support and coverage down the field. They currently have two elite pass rushers, adding a cover safety with excellent ball skills would be a great addition to the young and promising defenses.
9. Denver Broncos: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
With Menelik Watson on IR and no real options behind him, the Bronco’s need to draft a future offensive tackle. With Ron Leary playing at a pro-bowl level and Garett Bolles showing promise, the Bronco’s are just a piece or two away from completely rebuilding their offensive line. McGlinchey has had an up-and-down season but the skill is there. With the tackle class looking pretty mediocre, grabbing a guy with McGlinchey’s potential would be a smart move for John Elway.
The Chicago Bears receiving corps is absolutely terrible, and that’s putting it nicely. Kevin White has been a huge bust, and Cameron Meredith is currently on IR. James Washington is a big play receiver with extremely strong hands, and speed that kills. The Bears have to get some weapons around young quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky.
11. Baltimore Ravens: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
No surprise that the Baltimore Ravens defense is the strength of their team in 2017. The offense continues to struggle to get anything going with no help from their receivers, running backs, and offensive line. Derrius Guice would instantly come in and take over as the team’s lead back. Similar to Barkley, Guice is a three down back with both elite power and speed. Joe Flacco desperately needs someone to help take weight off his back, Guice does just that.
Surprisingly, Josh McCown has played well for the New York Jets this season leading them to a 4-5 record. But the Jets can’t think that McCown is their franchise quarterback and Baker Mayfield has all the characteristics to follow in Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott’s footsteps. Mayfield’s physical and mental toughness jump out at you when watching him. His ability to throw in and out of the pocket and from awkward arm angles and off balanced make him one of the most intriguing QB prospects in this years draft.
13. Oakland Raiders: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
The Oakland Raiders have been somewhat a disappointment so far in 2017. The problems all start with Oakland’s secondary. Tarvarus McFadden is a ballhawk that has been a lock-down corner for the Seminoles defense. If McFadden is still hanging around when the Raider’s are on the clock, this pick should be a no-brainer.
14. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Carson Palmer era in Arizona is quickly coming to an end. After another injury sending him to IR, and no real options behind him the Cardinals need to spend a premium draft pick on a franchise quarterback. Josh Rosen has traits similar to Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz, but must improve his decision making in order to succeed at the NFL level.
15. Miami Dolphins: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Similar to Tampa Bay, the Dolphins are struggling to sack the quarterback. The Dolphins did spend a late first round pick last year on Charles Harris who has had some success. Harold Landry would give the Dolphins another explosive rusher off the edge.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
The Atlanta Falcon’s may be the most head scratching team in the NFL. While most of their struggles have come on offense (play calling), adding another edge rusher to match with Brooks Reed, Takk Mckinley, and Vic Beasley would have a devastating impact. Arden Key is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft class. At 6’6″ 250lbs, Key is long and explosive off the edge, knows how to bend and get after the quarterback.
17. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Packers secondary has been the weak link of their team for years. Even after drafting Kevin King, there are still plenty of holes to fill in the back end. Drafting Denzel Ward to fill one of them would be a great move for Green Bay and their defense.
18. Detroit Lions: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Outside of Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions don’t have a player in their front seven that scares you. Christian Wilkins is the definition of scary. At 6’4″ 305lbs Wilkins is a disruptive pass rusher that can be a force in the run game as well. Wilkins plays with an elite amount of power and explosion off the ball and has good technique in his hands to control blockers at the point of attack.
19. Washington Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Washington Redskins let both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon go in free agency last offseason. While they did spend some money on Terrelle Pryor in free agency, that has shown to be a waste so far. Josh Doctson has yet to live up to his first round expectations and Jamison Crowder has declined. Calvin Ridley would give the Washington offense a receiver threat they are desperately lacking.
Even after trading for Duane Brown, the Seattle Seahawks offensive line needs plenty of work. The line has killed the Seahawks for years so adding more talent to a group that lacks it makes a lot of sense for Seattle who doesn’t have a ton of holes.
21. Tennessee Titans: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Titans need help at wide receiver, but missing out on a player of Edmunds caliber would be silly. Edmunds is a tackling machine that knows how to fight off blockers and weave through traffic to get to ball carriers.The Titans don’t have a linebacker currently that is a sideline to sideline player and Tremaine Edmunds is just that.
Sean Lee is the heart and soul of the Cowboys defense. When he’s on the field the Cowboys defense is a whole different unit. The problem is, is he has had problems staying healthy the last few years. Rashaan Evans is a very similar player to Sean Lee. His ability to diagnose plays, and play sideline to sideline makes him one of the better linebackers in the Nation. Evans is an ideal fit for the Rod Marinelli led defense in Dallas.
23. Buffalo Bills: Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
The strength of the Buffalo team is it’s defense, and the front office wants to keep it that way. Quenton Meeks is one of the better corners in the draft that has excellent ball skills and is a very physical corner in both coverage and run support. Meeks would pair up well with rookie sensation Tre’Davious White and give Buffalo one of the better young corner tandems in the NFL.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
I’m a huge Lamar Jackson fan. He is currently my QB2 and is rising up my board every week. We’ve seen the NFL miss-evaluate running quarterbacks on a consistent basis, and Jacksonville would be thrilled to death if he falls this far in the Draft. Jackson is a better passer than he gets credit for and is an absolute playmaker with the mall in his hands. The one thing holding the Jaguars back is the inconsistent play from the Quarterback position. Lamar Jackson would be a huge upgrade over Blake Bortles on day one.
25. Carolina Panthers: Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi State
The Carolina Panthers offensive line is yet again hurting their football team. Martinas Rankin versatility as an offensive lineman would allow the Panthers coaching staff to plug him in wherever they see fit. Rankin’s enormous frame (6’5″ 320lbs) allows him to fit in at either tackle or guard, both positions I see him having very few issues playing in the NFL.
26. Buffalo Bills (From Kansas City Chiefs): Marcus Davenport, EDGE, University of Texas at San Antonio
The Bills continue to build their defense in the first round in my mock draft. Davenport is a small school pass rusher who will soon be in the spotlight that he deserves. At 6’7″ 250lbs, Davenport is a freak athlete that uses his size, length, and speed to get after quarterbacks. Not only is Davenport an elite pass rusher, he also plays the run extremely well.
The Rams have been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this season. With an offense that’s averaging 32.9 points a game, continuing to build the defense must be a top priority. The defensive line for the Rams is set but the linebacker position could use some talent and depth. Roquan Smith would immediately come in, contribute and push for a starting job.
28. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Vikings look like one of the league’s best teams through nine weeks of the NFL season. The offense has exceeded expectations after losing both Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook for the year. While the defense is just down right nasty, depth at cornerback is still somewhat of a question mark. Isaiah Oliver is a talented corner from Colorado with an extremely high ceiling.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has turned it around quickly and are playing at an extremely high level. Mike Mitchell has been playing great at Safety, but an upgrade at strong safety would make them that much stronger. Sean Davis is a nice player, but Ronnie Harrison would give the Steelers two studs at Safety to patrol the back end of the secondary.
30. New England Patriots: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The New England Patriots defense has been a huge liability in 2017. A lot of the problems start with Dont’a Hightower not being on the field. Malik Jefferson is a force in the middle of the field for the Texas Longhorns. Whether it’s rushing the passer, tackling the ball carrier, or playing in coverage, Jefferson is normally in the right spot. Malik Jefferson would immediately come be a safety net for Dont’a Hightower and also push for starting playing time.
31. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
The Saints defense has totally turned it around from the previous years of disaster. Marshon Lattimore is already one of the league’s best corners, adding Marcus Allen to that group would turn the Saints secondary into one of the better units in the league. Allen has the toughness and strength to play as a strong safety but also the speed and athleticism to play as a free. Adding another good cover player to the Saints defense would have great results.
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t have many holes on their team. They have a loaded defensive front, a very strong offensive line, and weapons at receiver. While they do have Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, and Corey Clement, adding a player of Ronald Jones caliber to the position would make their offense even better. Jones is a shifty but also powerful runner who can run both North and South or East and West. Jones is also a reliable option out of the backfield when catching the football, something the Eagles offense loves to do.