The 2017 NFL season has officially come to an end after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Philadelphia was able to win their first Super Bowl due to drafting players like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Zach Ertz. I thought this was the perfect time to bring you my third mock draft of the 2018 Draft season. This mock draft will consist of four rounds, a few trades, and a lot of surprises.
1. Cleveland Browns | Sam Darnold | USC | QB
The Browns are in desperate need of a franchise QB. While Sam Darnold may not be a finished product, he is the quarterback with the highest ceiling, and can come in and be in instant upgrade at the position over DeShone Kizer. The recent hirer of Scot Mccloughan will guarantee that whoever is the pick at #1 will surely be the right choice.
2. New York Giants | Josh Rosen | UCLA | QB
Even after Dave Gettleman’s comments regarding Eli Manning a few months ago, I don’t think the New York Giants have a choice but to draft a quarterback with their first round pick. The running back depth, and the fact that the Giants don’t pick in the top five very often make it almost a giving that the NYG will spend the #2 overall pick on their future franchise quarterback.
3. Indianapolis colts | Bradley Chubb | N.C. State | DE
The Indianapolis Colts defense has added a few pieces in the last few years to begin the rebuild. Bradley Chubb would add an extreme talent to a position of need for the Colts defense. Chubb would team up with talented pieces in Jonathan Hankins, Jabaal Sheard, and Malik Hooker to try and turn the recent woes around for Indianapolis.
4. Cleveland Browns (From Houston) | Saquon Barkley | Penn State | RB
Ideally, Cleveland would come out of the first five picks with a franchise quarterback and franchise running back. If they have the opportunity to do so, they’d be silly to pass it up. With Isaiah Crowell set to hit free agency, the Browns are in the market for a RB, what better way to fill that need than with a player some say is the best back they have ever evaluated.
5. Denver Broncos | Baker Mayfield | Oklahoma | QB
While in Mobile, Alabama two weeks ago, rumors were swirling around that John Elway had fallen in love with Oklahoma’s QB Baker Mayfield. After the quarterback disaster the Bronco’s went through last year, Elway knows he has to get a franchise quarterback in the building. Mayfield has the production, arm talent, and attitude to be successful at the next level, and I really think Denver would be an excellent fit for both parties.
6. New York Jets | Josh Allen | Wyoming | QB
Is Josh Allen the sixth best player in this draft class right now? No, not even close, but if Josh Allen can reach his ceiling I think he very well could be. I’m not sure I can remember a prospect that has fit the mold as a “boom-or-bust” player in my years of doing this. We’re looking at a player who could potentially be an elite QB in the NFL, or a guy who may not be able to start at all. The Jets need a long term option at the position, and could bet on the potential of Allen here with the #6 overall pick.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Quenton Nelson | Notre Dame | OG
Offensive Guard isn’t necessarily the Buccaneers biggest need, but their offensive line does need some help and what better way of adding to it than with the best player in this draft class. Nelson is an absolute stud at the position and could turn the TB offensive line into one of the strengths of the team with his year one impact.
8. Chicago Bears | Minkah Fitzpatrick | Alabama | DB
While the Chicago Bears defense was surprisingly pretty good last year, they lack true playmakers in the secondary. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a guy who can line up anywhere in the Chicago secondary and make a huge impact in year one. I wanted to go WR here, but the Bears can’t pass up on a player of Fitzpatrick’s caliber.
9. San Fransisco 49ers | Denzel Ward | Ohio State | CB
The 49ers started their secondary rebuild last year when they drafted Ahkello Witherspoon in the third round. Denzel Ward would be a walk in starter for the 49ers that can play outside or in the nickel. Ward is a little undersized at 5’10”, but makes up for his height with long arms and great athletic ability.
10. Oakland Raiders | Roquan Smith | Georgia | LB
The Raiders desperately need linebacker help, Roquan Smith is a walk in starter for Oakland and can make plays sideline to sideline, in coverage, and even offer some juice as a pass rusher as well. Smith’s speed and intangibles make him a lock first rounder, and I have a hard time seeing him getting passed Oakland at 10.
11. Miami Dolphins | Tremaine Edmunds | Virginia Tech | LB
There aren’t many humans on this planet that possess the size, speed, and athleticism that Virginia Tech LB, Tremaine Edmunds has. At 6’5″ 236 pounds, Edmunds is such a smooth athlete that can also lay the wood as well. There isn’t a ton of hype surrounding the VT linebacker name right now, but after he blows up the combine in just a few months that will all change.
12. Cincinnati Bengals | Connor Williams | Texas | OT
The Bengals OL was extremely disappointing in 2017. Andy Dalton had little time to scan the field, and there weren’t many running lanes for Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard, and Jeremy Hill. Connor Williams would be a walk in starter and has the flexibility to play LT, RT, and even OG if you’d need him to. In 2016, Williams had some of the best tackle tape in college football. In 2017, an injury and coaching change slowed down his production, leaving some with pause. Even after the slow 2017 season, I am a big fan of Williams and Cincinnati should be too.
13. Washington Redskins | Vita Vea | Washington | DT
The Redskins are just a few years into their new 3-4 defense, but lack the ideal player at the nose tackle to sew up the middle of their front seven. Vita Vea is a mammoth of a man at 6’4″ 344lbs, but is a superb athlete for his size. Vea can make plays in the run game, but is also a very disruptive pass rusher as well. He would give the Washington Redskins another talented piece to add to their young defense.
14. Green Bay Packers | Arden Key | LSU | EDGE
The Packers are in desperate need of talent on the defensive side of the ball, especially at the pass rushing position. With Clay Mathews aging and playing more of a linebacker role, the Packers need a true pass rusher to pair up with Nick Perry and Kenny Clark. Key has all the tools to be dominant at the NFL level with a little bit of coaching and developing.
15. Arizona Cardinals | Orlando Brown Jr. | Oklahoma | OT
The Cardinals are in desperate need of a QB, but with the amount that went off the board early it leaves them stuck to address another position. Offensive tackle is another position the Cardinals need to desperately upgrade. Orlando Brown is a huge guy standing at 6’8″ 345 lbs, but doesn’t get enough credit for his athletic ability at that size.
16. Baltimore Ravens | Calvin Ridley | Alabama | WR
The Ravens don’t have a great track record when drafting wide receivers. The Breshad Perriman experiment has been a major disappointment, but Calvin Ridley is a much safer prospect coming out than what Perriman was. Ridley is a excellent route runner who creates consistent separation with his speed and short area quickness. Ridley is a perfect fit for the Baltimore offense that lacks playmakers.
17. Los Angeles Chargers | Derwin James | Florida State | S
The Chargers have done a nice job of building their secondary over the last few seasons, but it still could use a little help on the back end. Derwin James has the flexibility to play either safety spots, and the cover skills to line up at cornerback as well. James’ flexibility in the secondary is something the Chargers could definitely use for the future of the Los Angeles defense.
18. Seattle Seahawks | Derrius Guice | LSU | RB
The lack of playmakers on the Seattle offense has a lot to do with the fact that the Seahawks didn’t make the playoffs this year. Outside of Russell Wilson, no one on the offensive side of the ball played consistently good football. Derrius Guice would be a huge weapon added to a talented Seattle team. What Guice can do as a runner, receiver, and blocker would take a huge weight off of Russell Wilson’s shoulders.
19. TRADE: Jacksonville Jaguars | Lamar Jackson | LOUISVILLE | QB
The Jaguars wanted to move up and make sure that Buffalo didn’t take their quarterback with one of the two picks they own at #21 and #22. They found a trade partner in the Dallas Cowboys. Jacksonville isn’t married to Blake Bortles long term, and he proved to be a real problem for them throughout the year. Lamar Jackson is a guy whose arm is still developing, but the ability to make plays with his legs is his biggest weapon in year one. The fit between both parties makes a ton of sense, and Jacksonville knows they are a quarterback away from being legit Super Bowl contenders.
20. Detroit Lions | Marcus Davenport | UTSA | EDGE
The Lions defense inability to create any kind of consistent pressure is a huge problem for their team. With Ziggy Ansah set to be a free agent, and no real options currently in house, drafting a guy with the traits of Davenport would be a huge get for the Detroit Lions defense in 2017 and long term.
21. Buffalo Bills | Maurice Hurst | Michigan | DT
The Bills must find a player to fill Marcell Dareus role as a disruptive three-technique. Michigan’s Maurice Hurst is just that. Hurst is one of the best pass rushing three-technique’s in this draft class. His ability to get up field and disrupt the pocket is something he was great at in his four years at Michigan.
22. Buffalo Bills | Christian Kirk | Texas A&M | WR
After spending their first of two first round picks on a disruptive three-technique, the Bills back it up by drafting a play maker on offense. After trading for Kelvin Benjamin, and drafting Zay Jones in the second round of last years NFL draft, the Bills still lacked consistent playmakers at the WR position. Christian Kirk is the definition of a playmaker and can help out in the slot, on the outside, and even as a special teams player.
23. Los Angeles Rams | Josh Jackson | Iowa | CB
The Rams had a hell of a bounce back season. The offense was fantastic, and parts of the defense were great. One area that needs to be addressed is the secondary. Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Roby-Coleman are set to be free agents so addressing the position in the draft would be a smart move. Josh Jackson is a sticky cover corner that has elite ball skills (8 interceptions in 2017) and could be a great addition to pair up with other defensive talents in Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, and Alec Ogletree.
24. Carolina Panthers | Mike McGlinchey | Notre Dame | OT
Matt Kalil is just not good enough to protect Cam Newton’s blind side. Mike McGlinchey would come in and offer the ability to play either tackle spot and even guard if need be. McGlinchey isn’t a perfect prospect and needs to work on his footwork handling speed off the edge, but he would eventually replace Kalil as the teams starting left tackle.
25. Tennessee Titans | Harold Landry | Boston College | EDGE
The Titans haven’t had a dominant edge rusher in quite some time. Landry’s 2017 tape was rather underwhelming due to injury, but his 2016 tape was absolutely dominant. Landry has excellent burst and has the ability to bend around the edge with ease. Tennessee would be drafting Landry here with the hope that he has returned to his 2016 form, which is a safe risk to take, because you’ll be getting a good player either way with the potential to be great.
26. Atlanta Falcons | Da’Ron Payne | Alabama | DT
Dontari Poe is set to be a free agent this offseason, and I find it hard to believe that Atlanta will be able to afford him or if they’ll want to pay him with how deep this DT class is. Da’Ron Payne is a very good player that can play either the one or the three. He can be a force against the run, but as we saw in the National Championship game, he can also be disruptive as a pass rusher. Atlanta should be thrilled to land Payne at #26 overall, that’s nothing to pay for a plug and play player along the defensive line.
27. New Orleans Saints | Mark Andrews | Oklahoma | TE
The Saints don’t have a long term answer at the tight end position, and that’s an important piece of the puzzle with a aging Drew Brees. Mark Andrews can be an effective receiver in the Saints offense, especially with the veteran presence in Drew Brees running the show. Andrews is an excellent receiver who needs to develop as a blocker. Adding another weapon to that offense is a scary sight for the 2017 NFC South Champions.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers | Rashaan Evans | Alabama | Linebacker
With the unknown surrounding Ryan Shazier, it’ll be important for the Steelers to address the position with a talented player in free agency or the draft. Rashaan Evans is lighting in a bottle that can make plays sideline to sideline against the run, as well as in coverage down the field. Evans can also offer some juice off the edge as a pass rusher in nickel situations. Evans attitude fits in perfectly with the Steelers defense, and he has the flexibility to play any of the linebacker positions in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense.
29. TRADE: Dallas Cowboys | Isaiah Wynn | Georgia | OL
The Cowboys’ offensive line was a major letdown in 2017. Whether it was keeping Dak Prescott upright or creating running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott/Alfred Morris, neither of them happened consistently. The thing that hurt Dallas the most was the inability for Tyron Smith to stay healthy which left a gaping hole at the swing tackle position. While Isaiah Wynn would come in and start at LG for the Cowboys’ he can also be a safety net at swing tackle if Tyron Smith continues to deal with his fair share of injuries.
30. Minnesota Vikings | Billy Price | Ohio State | OL
The Vikings offensive line made huge strides from 2016 to 2017, but there is still room for improvements. Billy Price is a plug and play guard that can pair up with former teammate and last years third round pick Pat Eflein. Price’s ability to be a consistent run and pass blocker and have the versatility to play guard and center will find him in the first round. I think he’s a perfect fit for Minnesota at the back of the first round.
31. New England Patriots | Jaire Alexander | Louisville | CB
With Malcom Butler set to hit free agency and the overall talent and depth of the position not in great shape, drafting a talented cornerback in Jaire Alexander would be a smart move for the Patriots. Alexander in 2016 was one of the best corners in the nation. In 2017, he battled injuries that slowed him down. The Patriots would be getting great value with Alexander at #31 overall who could be a walk in starter for the Patriots in 2018.
32. Philadelphia Eagles | Chukwuma Okorafor | Western Michigan | OT
The Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line was fantastic in 2017. But with Jason Peters coming off a torn ACL, addressing the offensive tackle position is a must for the Philadelphia Eagle’s OL future. Chukwuma Okorafor is still developing as a tackle after only playing football since 2010. Okorafor wouldn’t be forced to start in year one in less he has to which is perfect for both parties.
33. Cleveland Browns | Courtland Sutton | SMU | WR
36. Indianapolis Colts | Sony Michel | Georgia | RB
37. New York Jets | D.J. Moore | Maryland | WR
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Sam Hubbard | Ohio State | EDGE
40. Denver Broncos | Will Hernandez | UTEP | OG
41. Oakland Raiders | Mike Hughes | UCF | CB
(Arizona trades pick #47 and #143 to move up ahead of Cincinnati to draft a QB at #42)
43. New England (From SF) | Martinas Rankin | Mississippi State | OT
44. Washington Redskins | Malik Jefferson | Texas | LB
45. Green Bay Packers | Quenton Meeks | Stanford | CB
46. Cincinnati Bengals | Leighton Vander Esch | Boise State | LB
47. TRADE: Miami Dolphins | Kerryon Johnson | Auburn | RB
(Arizona trades pick #47 and #143 to Miami for #42 overall)
48. Los Angeles Chargers | Fred Warner | BYU | LB
49. New York Jets (SEA) | Kolton Miller | UCLA | OT
51. Detroit Lions | Nick Chubb | Georgia | RB
52. Baltimore Ravens | Dallas Goedert | South Dakota State | TE
53. Buffalo Bills | Dorian O’Daniel | Clemson | LB
55. Carolina Panthers | Justin Jones | N.C. State | DT
56. Buffalo Bills (From LAR) | Braden Smith | Auburn | OG
57. Tennessee Titans | Darius Leonard | South Carolina State | LB
58. Atlanta Falcons | James Daniels | Iowa | OG
59. San Fransisco 49ers | Mason Cole | Michigan | OG
60. Pittsburgh Steelers | Ronnie Harrison | Alabama | S
61. TRADE: Dallas Cowboys | Harrison Phillips | Stanford | DT
63. New England Patriots | Ogbonnia Okoronkwu | Oklahoma | EDGE
64. Cleveland Browns (From PHI) | Carlton Davis | Auburn | CB
65. Cleveland Browns | Jamarco Jones | Ohio State | OT
66. New York Giants | Tyrell Crosby | Oregon | OT
67. Indianapolis Colts | Levi Wallace | Alabama | CB
68. Houston Texans | Kameron Kelly | San Diego State | CB
70. San Fransisco 49ers (From CHI) | Auden Tate | Florida State | WR
71. Denver Broncos | Jerome Baker | Ohio State | LB
72. New York Jets | Uchenna Nwosu | USC | LB
74. San Fransisco 49ers | Alex Cappa | Humboldt State | OT
75. Oakland Raiders | Dorance Armstrong Jr. | Kansas | EDGE
76. Green Bay Packers | Mike Gesicki | Penn State | TE
77. Cincinnati Bengals | Marcus Allen | Penn State | S
78. Kansas City Chiefs (From Washington) | Kyzir White | West Virginia | S
79. Arizona Cardinals | Frank Ragnow | Arkansas | OG
80. Houston Texans | DeShon Elliott | Texas | S
81. Dallas Cowboys | Da’Shawn Hand | Alabama | DL
82. Detroit Lions | B.J. Hill | N.C. State | DT
83. Baltimore Ravens | Bradley Bozeman | Alabama | OC
84. Los Angeles Chargers | Brandon Parker | North Carolina A&T | OT
85. Carolina Panthers (From BUF) | Dante Pettis | Washington | WR
87. Los Angeles Rams | Wyatt Teller | Virginia Tech | OG
88. Carolina Panthers | Duke Dawson | Florida | CB
89. Tennessee Titans | Deon Cain | Clemson | WR
90. Atlanta Falcons | M.J. Stewart | North Carolina | CB
92. Pittsburgh Steelers | Holton Hill | Texas | CB
93. Jacksonville Jaguars | DJ Chark | LSU | WR
94. Minnesota Vikings | Skai Moore | South Carolina | LB
97. Cleveland Browns | Justin Lawler | SMU | EDGE
98. New York Giants | Jeff Holland | Auburn | EDGE
99. Houston Texans | RJ McIntosh | Miami | DT
100. Indianapolis Colts | Tre’Quan Smith | UCF | WR
101. Chicago Bears | Kallen Ballage | Arizona State | RB
102. Denver Broncos | Royce Freeman | Oregon | RB
103. New York Jets | Marcell Frazier | Missouri | EDGE
104. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Hercules Mata’afa | Washington State | EDGE
105. Denver Broncos (From SF) | Hayden Hurst | South Carolina | TE
107. Miami Dolphins | Christian Campbell | Penn State | CB
108. Cincinnati Bengals | Austin Corbett | Nevada | OG
109. Washington Redskins | Akrum Wadley | Iowa | RB
110. Green Bay Packers | Josh Sweat | Florida State | EDGE
111. Chicago Bears (From Arizona) | Desmond Harrison | West Georgia | TE
112. Dallas Cowboys | Kylie Fitts | Utah | EDGE
113. Detroit Lions | Poona Ford | Texas | DT
114. Baltimore Ravens | Bo Scarbrough | Alabama | RB
115. Los Angeles Chargers | Kyle Lauletta | Richmond | QB
116. Seattle Seahawks | Armani Watts | Texas A&M | S
117. Buffalo Bills | Mark Walton | Miami | RB
118. Kansas City Chiefs | Cedrick Wilson | Boise State | WR
119. Cleveland Browns (From CAR) | Isaac Yiadom | Boston College | CB
120. Los Angeles Rams | Tim Settle | Virginia Tech | DT
121. Tennessee Titans | Troy Fumagali | Wisconsin | TE
122. Atlanta Falcons | Donte Jackson | LSU | CB
124. San Francisco 49ers (From PIT) | D.J. Reed | Kansas | CB
125. Jacksonville Jaguars | Shaquem Griffin | UCF | LB
126. Miami Dolphins (From MIN) | Brian O’Neil | Pittsburgh | OT
127. Philadelphia Eagles (From NE) | Josey Jewell | Iowa | LB
128. Philadelphia Eagles | Kendrick Norton | Miami | DT
Got a Lot to Say From RVA – Follow me on Twitter- @connorx147