Mock Draft 2.0 – The Final Stretch

Hey all, it’s been a while. School has recently picked up and I haven’t had a lot of time to post articles. However, I did promise to print another mock draft before the draft actually begins, so here it is. This mock will predict the first 64 picks of the draft (the first two rounds). I have watched tape on 75 prospects this offseason, and those are the top 75 players in this draft in my mind. Each pick is based off my ranking of those prospects, and team fit. If a team is stretching too much to make a pick, I have them trading out. Now let’s begin.

Note this is what I believe SHOULD happen, not what WILL happen.

Round 1

1) Cleveland Browns – RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
The Browns will likely take Josh Allen or Sam Darnold with this pick, but I still withhold the belief that Saquon Barkley is a future hall of famer and should be selected here. Barkley instantly gives support to whoever starts at quarterback for Cleveland in 2018.

2) New York Giants – DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)
Similar to Barkley here, Bradley Chubb has a much higher ceiling than any of the quarterback prospects. The Giants hope to reinvigorate their defense with this pick.

3) New York Jets (From IND) – QB Sam Darnold (USC)
The Jets traded here to get a quarterback, and although they like Baker Mayfield, it would be tough to pass up on Sam Darnold. Darnold’s poise should hold up well within the high pressure New York TV market.

4) Cleveland Browns (From HOU) – QB Josh Allen (Wyoming)
I expect Cleveland to take Josh Allen number one overall on Thursday night, but I do not suggest it. Cleveland’s double headed attack of Allen and Barkley could make them an immediate threat to the Steelers in the AFC North.

TRADE PROJECTION – Bills send 1(12) and 1(22) to Broncos for 1(5)

5) Buffalo Bills – QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)
I think Josh Rosen has the best tape of all quarterbacks in this draft, and he is a better fit in Buffalo than Baker Mayfield. Rosen can step in on day one and give Buffalo someone to rally behind.

6) Indianapolis Colts (From NYJ) – LB Roquan Smith (Georgia)
Quenton Nelson is still on the board, but rumor has it Roquan Smith is shooting up draft boards. The Colts badly need a leader on their defense, and this pick would solidify that role.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OG Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
The Buccaneers get their dream prospect in Quenton Nelson. Nelson immediately plugs into a porous Tampa offensive line and gives Jameis Winston a chance to improve upon last year’s disaster of a season.

8) Chicago Bears – LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)
Cornerback is another need that the Bears could address here, but Edmunds can help Chicago regain its Monsters of the Midway mentality. Edmunds is an athletic freak who can rotate through multiple spots in the Bears’ 3-4 defensive scheme.

9) San Francisco 49ers – FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
I think John Lynch will look for his franchise safety in this draft, and it could be Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick. Since the 49ers are younger and lack depth, they are better off selecting Fitzpatrick; a field general and versatile defender.

10) Oakland Raiders – SS Derwin James (Florida State)
Jon Gruden needs to load up his defense with the most talented players possible. Oakland, who has a history of selecting players with raw athleticism, would love to have Derwin James on its roster.

11) Miami Dolphins – QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
The Dolphins have said they won’t draft a quarterback, but I’m not buying it. Miami spent its offseason signing lots of small, quick, versatile receivers which translates well into a Baker Mayfield-led spread offense.

TRADE PROJECTION – Bills send 1(12) and 1(22) to Broncos for 1(5)

12) Denver Broncos – CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
The Broncos take Denzel Ward to replace Aqib Talib at outside cornerback. Worth noting, Denver will consider taking Ward at the fifth spot, and therefore gains loads of value from this pick.

13) Washington Redskins – DT Vita Vea (Washington)
If no trade back candidates emerge, the Redskins will select an interior defensive lineman in this scenario. The debate will be between Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea, but recent talks suggest that Vea is their guy.

TRADE PROJECTION – Packers send 1(14) to Chargers for 1(17) and 4(119)

14) Los Angeles Chargers – DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
The Chargers are perfectly okay with moving up for a talented run stuffer in Payne. Los Angeles’ pass rush was dominant at times last year and could really reach new heights with an interior presence.

15) Arizona Cardinals – OT Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
Arizona could trade up for a quarterback, but instead they stay put to improve their pass protection. McGlinchey is reliable protection for the unreliable health of Sam Bradford.

16) Baltimore Ravens – WR DJ Moore (Maryland)
Moore is one of those players that looks like an NFL player in film. Baltimore has invested a ton into their receiving corps this offseason, and the addition of Moore could create a competitive passing offense.

TRADE PROJECTION – Packers send 1(14) to Chargers for 1(17) and 4(119)

17) Green Bay Packers – LB Rashaan Evans (Alabama)
Green Bay badly wants to select one of the top three secondary prospects (Fitzpatrick, James, or Ward), but does not see one of them slip to the 13th pick. After a small trade back, the Packers invest in a versatile linebacker in Evans who can help sideline to sideline in the run game, and in pass coverage.

18) Seattle Seahawks – DE Marcus Davenport (UTSA)
The Seahawks can still retain their defensive identity by selecting an elite pass rusher with this pick. Davenport is a powerful bull-rusher with good hands and all sorts of raw talent.

19) Dallas Cowboys – WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama)
I don’t buy the Cowboys saying they won’t pick Ridley if he’s available. Jerry Jones loves to take the flashy player when available, and Ridley is known for his big plays on the biggest stages of College Football.

20) Detroit Lions – RB Derrius Guice (LSU)
I think the Lions have the talent on defense to be successful under the tutelage of Matt Patricia, but they still don’t have a rushing attack. Guice is a powerful quick footed runner and creates a dominant one-two punch with Leonard Fournette in Detroit’s backfield.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (From BUF) – OG Will Hernandez (UTEP)
Hernandez needs to refine his technique a bit, but he is one of the nastiest pass blockers in this draft. The Bengals have yet to address their offensive line after two free agencies and a draft, and need to do so here.

TRADE PROJECTION – Bills send 1(12) and 1(22) to Broncos for 1(5)

22) Denver Broncos – OG Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
Denver much like Cincinnati has also yet to address their horrible o-line situation. Isaiah Wynn was part of a very successful running game at Georgia and has the versatility to plug in wherever Denver needs.

23) New England Patriots (From LAR) – CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)
The Patriots need a replacement for Malcolm Butler, and any of the top cornerback prospects would be great value here. Jackson is the tallest of the corners with first-round potential and that makes him a great fit for Bill Belichick’s football ideology.

24) Carolina Panthers – DE Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)
The Panthers need to restock on their defensive front and Hubbard fits well into their 4-3 scheme. Hubbard had a strong finish to his senior season and will continue to improve in the NFL.

25) Tennessee Titans – LB Harold Landry (Boston College)
Harold Landry is the perfect addition to the Titans 4-3 defense as he brings length and pass rush ability. The veteran presence of Brian Orakpo should develop Landry into a solid starter.

TRADE PROJECTION – Falcons send 1(26) to Colts for 2(36) and 2(49)

26) Indianapolis Colts – RB Sony Michel (Georgia)
The Colts need to replace Frank Gore and Sony Michel brings a skillset to the NFL that many new offenses are searching for. Frank Reich can use Michel similarly to Cory Clement in his newest regime.

27) New Orleans Saints – WR Courtland Sutton (SMU)
The Saints select the best player available, Courtland Sutton. The Southern Methodist product is a physical route runner, but he was not given many opportunities in college. This should change with Drew Brees under center.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)
Pittsburgh will be looking to select a replacement for Ryan Shazier in the middle of their defense. Leighton Vander Esch has the football mind and the athletic ability of someone that the Steelers would gladly build their defense around.

29) Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
I have no idea where Lamar Jackson is going to get drafted, but a recent rumor says that Tom Coughlin may be interested. If Blake Bortles regresses, Jackson could provide another option for a Jaguars offense that was inconsistent all of last year.

30) Minnesota Vikings – CB Mike Hughes (Central Florida)
Jaire Alexander is another option for the Vikings here, but Hughes’ kick return ability should take precedence. Minnesota hasn’t had a solid return man since Cordarrelle Patterson, and needs more depth at corner after recent injuries.

31) New England Patriots – OT Kolton Miller (UCLA)
This is a pick that I think a lot of people expect to happen either at #23 or #31. Kolton Miller gives the Patriots a Nate Solder replacement to protect an aging Tom Brady and perhaps future New England quarterbacks.

32) Philadelphia Eagles – SS Justin Reid (Stanford)
The Eagles could look to trade back or select another skill position player, but Philadelphia may want to look at history to decide their next pick. Teams coming off Super Bowls have maintained success when they draft impact defensive players the next year, and Justin Reid can be just that.

Round 2

33) Cleveland Browns – CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
This would be an unbelievable steal for the Browns who badly need help at corner. Alexander is a top 15 prospect to some scouts and brings a physical speedy presence to the Browns defense.

34) New York Giants – RB Ronald Jones (USC)
Ronald Jones is a hybrid back with game breaking ability. His skillset is similar to Dalvin Cook’s, and I think the Giants would see an immediate improvement in their rush attack with this selection.

35) Cleveland Browns (From HOU) – OT Connor Williams (Texas)
The Browns have addressed quarterback and running back on offense, now all they have to do is add a tackle to replace Joe Thomas. Some scouts have given Connor Williams a first round grade as he brings a nasty attitude to the gridiron.

TRADE PROJECTION – Falcons send 1(26) to Colts for 2(36) and 2(49)

36) Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan (Florida)
This is who the Falcons would select If they don’t trade back, so they’ll get great value out of this projected trade. Bryan is a disruptor in the middle, and he replaces Dontari Poe on the Falcons d-line.

37) Indianapolis Colts (From NYJ) – DE Lorenzo Carter (Georgia)
The Georgia hype train continues for the Colts, as they select their third bulldog in as many picks. Indianapolis’ pass rush was non-existent last year, and Lorenzo Carter’s play on the biggest stages of College Football last year show he is ready for the NFL.

38) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
Tampa’s Chris Baker experiment didn’t work, so now they need to find another defensive tackle. Maurice Hurst has health concerns, but his integral part last year in a dominant Michigan run defense cannot be overlooked.

39) Chicago Bears – C James Daniels (Iowa)
Since James Daniels is the younger player and more comfortable at center, I expect the Bears would shift Cody Whitehair outside to guard. The Bears know that with a young quarterback they must fortify their offensive line in this draft.

40) Denver Broncos – WR Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)
Denver has an aging receiving corps that lack depth, so Christian Kirk fits in nicely. Kirk is known for his play as a slot receiver, but has the size to play on the outside, and can run any route in the playbook.

41) Oakland Raiders – CB Donte Jackson (LSU)
Oakland wouldn’t be wrong to take multiple cornerbacks in this draft. Donte Jackson was tied for the fastest 40 time at the NFL scouting combine, and speed has always been a major factor into Oakland draft selections.

42) Miami Dolphins – RB Nick Chubb (Georgia)
The Dolphins reportedly like both Georgia backs (Michel a little more) and will likely select Chubb if he’s available. Frank Gore is a great veteran presence for Chubb to learn from.

43) New England Patriots (From SF) – FS Ronnie Harrison (Alabama)
As per usual with Bill Belichick, the Patriots continue to select defensive pieces to build around. Harrison can play at either safety spot, and brings Belichick another player with winning experience.

44) Washington Redskins – OG Billy Price (Ohio State)
Washington needs a replacement for Shaun Lauvao at left guard, and something tells me their run game woes are more about their interior o-line than running back position. Billy Price comes from an always dominant Ohio State rushing attack and could change the Redskins’ offense.

45) Green Bay Packers – WR James Washington (Oklahoma State)
The Packers need a receiver who can replace the redzone abilities of Jordy Nelson. James Washington brings this to Green Bay, but he also has the added benefit of giving Aaron Rodgers a deep threat.

46) Cincinnati Bengals – TE Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)
Tyler Eifert’s injury history and one-year contract signal that the Bengals may be ready to move on. Dallas Goedert is a solid replacement who is prepared to play in cold weather, and can help in run blocking as well.

47) Arizona Cardinals – QB Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)
I don’t see any way that the Cardinals can enter this season without drafting another quarterback. With a bad o-line, and an injury prone Sam Bradford, Mason Rudolph serves as a nice future plan for Arizona.

48) Los Angeles Chargers – CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado)
The Chargers said that this draft would have a defensive focus, and Isaiah Oliver is a steal at this point. Oliver has great tape and adds some much-needed depth to the Chargers’ secondary.

TRADE PROJECTION – Falcons send 1(26) to Colts for 2(36) and 2(49)

49) Atlanta Falcons – OT Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)
Atlanta’s offensive line could use some depth, and Crosby has the experience to step in immediately if needed. This will be a draft heavily focused on the trenches for Atlanta.

50) Dallas Cowboys – OG Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)
Ragnow is a great center prospect, but Dallas could use more help at guard. The versatile lineman boosts a dominant o-line for the Cowboys, and Jerry Jones wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to draft someone from his alma mater.

51) Detroit Lions – DT Harrison Phillips (Stanford)
The Lions have some talented pass rushers but need an interior player to open up lanes. Harrison Phillips can continue the streak of talented interior defensive linemen recently drafted from the Pac 12.

52) Baltimore Ravens – OT Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)
The Ravens offense has many holes and the o-line is a major one. Orlando Brown gets drafted by his dad’s old team.

53) Buffalo Bills – WR DJ Chark (LSU)
With new quarterback Josh Rosen under center, the Bills need to get him some new weapons. Chark is a speedy receiver with good hands.

54) Kansas City Chiefs – DE Josh Sweat (Florida State)
Josh Sweat has quickly been moving up draft boards and gives Kansas City a talented pass rusher. The Chiefs’ aging front seven needs depth.

55) Carolina Panthers – TE Hayden Hurst (South Carolina)
Supposedly the Panthers are thinking of taking Hurst in the first round. However, he slips in this mock to them in the second, and Carolina scoops up the versatile pass catcher.

56) Buffalo Bills (From LAR) – CB Carlton Davis
Vontae Davis is a nice short-term replacement at corner, but the Bills need to draft future options. Carlton Davis was a part of a pretty good defense at Auburn, and fills the Bills’ need for secondary talent.

57) Tennessee Titans – LB Malik Jefferson (Texas)
Jefferson is categorized as a super raw athletic prospect, but needs proper teaching to become a star. As mentioned before with Harold Landry, the Titans have a great veteran presence on their front seven, and that can help Jefferson develop.

58) Atlanta Falcons – TE Mike Gesicki (Penn State)
The Falcons could use a tight end to round out their offense. Austin Hooper has been fine over the years, but Gesicki’s amazing combine could be a signal of a talented receiver to come.

59) San Francisco 49ers (From NO) – DE Arden Key (LSU)
Here’s another rumor that’s been going around for a while. San Francisco messed up their last pick on a player with off field issues in Reuben Foster, but they believe Arden Key can live up to his early on first round hype.

60) Pittsburgh Steelers – DE Duke Ejiofor (Wake Forest)
The Steelers drafted TJ Watt to be James Harrison’s eventual replacement, but you can never have enough pass rushers. Duke Ejiofor is a strong player in multiple phases and fits well into the Steelers’ defensive ideology.

61) Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh)
One issue we know for sure about Jacksonville’s offense is their line play. The Andrew Norwell signing may fix the interior, but the Jags need to find a solid tackle.

62) Minnesota Vikings – OT Geron Christian (Louisville)
Minnesota’s o-line could use a patch job, so it wouldn’t be unwise to just select the best offensive lineman remaining here. The Vikings should try moving their o-line around a bit after an injury ridden 2017 campaign.

63) New England Patriots – QB Kyle Lauletta (Richmond)
I think the Patriots are definitely locked in on a second-round quarterback, and Lauletta is a great pick. The Richmond QB has great film, and can make multiple throws, but a thin frame and playing in the FCS hurt his draft stock.

64) Cleveland Browns (From PHI) – WR Simmie Cobbs Jr (Indiana)
I loved the Indiana passing attack last year, and I think Cleveland will look to Cobbs for help as a possession receiver. At 6’4”, Cobbs can win just about every one on one matchup.

Credit Image: The Draft Wire

All Rights Reserved – Nick Merriam – 2018




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s