Mock Draft Monday- Version 3.0
Every Monday, a staff writer at Gridiron Experts will be bringing you a brand new mock draft, taking into account any trades and draft rumors. I brought you the last mock draft, which included the Broncos and Bears both taking skill position players in the top ten. Below is an updated mock draft that includes the recent trade between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts.
1. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Cleveland Browns have signed Tyrod Taylor purely to inject some life into their dead offense, but they will no doubt draft a QB with the number one pick. Tyrod Taylor’s good deep passing actually makes him a good fit in Todd Haley’s offense, and the fact the Browns have signed a competent QB to be their bridge, just shows me that they will take a developmental QB. Sam Darnold is the most talented all-around thrower in this class, but he needs to learn to take care of the ball, and both Hue Jackson and Todd Haley can help him with this.
2. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
New York Giants
The New York Giants do still have a good starting signal caller in the form of Eli Manning, but it is unlikely anyone will manage to waste him as much as Ben McAdoo did last year, so the Giants need to take advantage of this rare opportunity in the top three. Josh Rosen in my eyes is a bit of a statue in the pocket, but a David Gettleman front office will always value fundamentals, and Rosen’s fundamentals are excellent.
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
New York Jets
The New York Jets gave up a huge bounty to get the third overall pick, but I’m a big believer that you should do whatever you can to go and get your guy, especially if he is a quarterback. Baker Mayfield is my QB1, with the majority of the knocks on him being unfair in my eyes. He is being penalized for two things, being short, and playing in a well-designed scheme at Oklahoma. Mayfield’s intensity and personality can help revive a franchise that has been lacking good QB play for many years.
4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
If the two picks before the Browns fourth pick are both quarterbacks, then they once again have the ability to select the best overall player in the draft. There are a lot of options here, but Minkah Fitzpatrick makes the most sense to me. John Dorsey and Scot McCloughan have consistently used high picks on secondary players, and the Browns secondary lacks that star talent to allow Gregg Williams’ to run his man-heavy blitz packages.
5. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
For the record, if Mayfield. Darnold and Rosen are all gone, then the Broncos should not draft a QB, but this is the NFL, and John Elway will be desperate to correct the Paxton Lynch error he made. Josh Allen has a lot of talent, but that did not translate into accurate throws in college, which is obviously a major problem in the NFL. John Elway managed to fall in love with Paxton Lynch who was a much less talented prospect than Josh Allen, so this connection is easy to make.
6. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Indianapolis Colts offensive line has improved a lot recently, but adding someone like Quenton Nelson could turn this unit from an average one into a good one. Nelson is the best guard prospect I’ve ever seen, and he is at number one on my overall big board. He plays every snap like he wants to not only beat the opposing defender but also like he wants to destroy their existence. He would create a nice run blocking duo with Ryan Kelly.
7. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Saquon Barkley is there when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make their selection, then Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter would run the card in. Barkley isn’t my RB1, but he has the explosiveness that is going to get him drafted as the RB1. The Buccaneers cut Doug Martin, and this means the only running backs currently on their roster are Jacquizz Rodgers, Dalton Crossan, and Peyton Barber. This group has a lot of variety, but none look to be a franchise running back at this point.
8. Bradley Chubb, EDGE, N.C State
People are continually mocking secondary players to the Chicago Bears, but Ryan Pace doesn’t select defensive backs in high positions, with his fourth-round selection of Eddie Jackson being the highest selection. It is for this reason that they would snag Bradley Chubb, who is potentially the best defensive player in this draft. Chubb is a great all-around edge rusher, and because the Bears fixed their skill position problems in free agency, they wouldn’t have to feel guilty about this pick.
9. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
San Francisco 49ers
This is a pick that as a Seahawks fan would frighten me to death, as Derrius Guice is my RB1 and a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Shanahan’s system is purely built around the outside zone game, and Guice is a decisive and devastating runner, especially when going on the outside of the tackles. The signing of Jerick McKinnon is getting a lot of positive coverage, but he is absolutely not an RB1 in this League, and he will be used as the change of pace back, rather than as the feature back.
10. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Every year, there is an obvious selection in every mock draft, and this year, that selection is Roquan Smith to the Oakland Raiders. Oakland have wasted the majority of their free agency bucks on signing fullbacks and blocking tight ends to fit Jon Gruden’s ridiculous vision, so their draft will likely be heavy on defense. The Raiders linebackers have been awful for years which is a problem as they want to play a read and react defense. Smith is an excellent run defender who can drop into coverage and would join a defense full of talented playmakers.
11. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Miami Dolphins are supposedly all in on Baker Mayfield, but the chances of them landing him now that the Jets have traded up are slim to none. Instead, the Dolphins attempt to fix their below average secondary by adding Jaire Alexander, who is one of the best corners in this draft. The thing I noticed in Alexander’s tape in comparison to other corners, is the fact he excelled in every type of coverage. A lot of NFL draft analysts get drawn into ball-hawking skills, but this doesn’t always translate to the next level.
12. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Buffalo Bills opted to trade up, which shows that they are absolutely in the market for a new quarterback. AJ McCarron was only given backup money, which shows he is at best a very short-term bridge option. Lamar Jackson is a divisive prospect, but it is clear on tape that he is very good at running NFL concepts in addition to college concepts. The main issue the Bills had with Tyrod Taylor last year, was that he simply was not decisive as a passer or a runner, he held the ball for too long and would often take a sure checkdown over a potentially risky pass. Lamar Jackson did a lot of his work out of heavy and power sets at Louisville, which makes him an intriguing fit in the Bills’ run-heavy scheme.
13. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Washington Redskins weirdly decided to trade Kendall Fuller, who is the best nickel corner in the League, and let Bashaud Breeland go in the same off-season, which leaves them thin in the secondary. Luckily for them, the scramble for quarterbacks allows an elite cornerback to fall right into their laps in the form of Denzel Ward. Ward reminds me of Marshon Lattimore in the sense that he is an absolute pest who enjoys playing in man coverage, and he would be able to cover any type of receiver at the next level.
14. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Green Bay Packers
The Packers really need to address their issues at cornerback as they wisely decided not to spend ridiculous amounts in free agency, and adding someone such as Mike Hughes could go a long way to helping them out. Hughes excelled in press-man coverage, which is a major part of Mike Pettine’s scheme, and he’d provide a nice young cornerback duo with Kevin King for the Packers.
15. Isaiah Wynn, OT/OG, Georgia
The Arizona Cardinals would have to give up a major ransom to move up for a quarterback, so I think they will just see what they have in Sam Bradford and potentially identify someone in the mid-rounds to compete for the spot long-term. Isaiah Wynn is being labelled as a guard, but personally, I believe he has the best tools of any offensive lineman in the draft. He should at minimum get a chance to compete for a starting right tackle spot, but even if he failed there, the Cardinals would have a nasty guard for the next five years.
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16. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Baltimore Ravens lost Ryan Jensen in free agency to the Buccaneers, which means that once again they will need to fill some gaps in on their offensive line. Mike McGlinchey is someone who is sliding down draft boards, and it is confusing as to why, his tape wasn’t elite by any means, but he was solid in a variety of different play types and players like that last a long time in the NFL, just look at Nate Solder.
17. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers had an excellent pass rush last season, but they were really poor against the run, and need to add an all-around playmaker at the middle linebacker position. Rashaan Evans isn’t getting anywhere near as much love as he should be as he is a well-rounded linebacker who can develop into a coverage backer as well as a pure thumper. Alabama used him as a pass rusher, but at the next level, I believe he would kick back inside, and that interior blitzing threat could be deadly on a defense with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
18. Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Seattle Seahawks will almost certainly trade down as they need to recover some of the picks that they lost in the Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson trades, but if they don’t, then Derwin James is the exact type of player John Schneider would pull the trigger on. James has gone down some peoples draft boards because of character concerns, but John Schneider doesn’t care about those, and he could be an essential piece in the Seahawks re-tool.
19. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Dallas Cowboys defense seems to get gutted every summer due to the amount of money they have invested in other places, so they always need to add pieces as early as they can. Maurice Hurst is my number five prospect purely because he won on the majority of snaps in college, and destroyed some outstanding interior linemen. Rod Marinelli likes to run a 3-2-6 formation, and for that to work, you need to be able actually to get pressure in the three-man rush, and Hurst could combine with DeMarcus Lawrence to do this.
20. James Daniels, C. Iowa
The Detroit Lions have put a band-aid on their run game by signing LeGarrette Blount, who is a great fit with Matt Stafford. It is for this reason that I have them selecting James Daniels of Iowa, who is one of the most undervalued prospects in this draft. Daniels is a monster in the run game, and he is much more reliable than Travis Swanson who simply can’t stay healthy. Daniels plays in a position people don’t value that highly, but a top-tier center can ignite an offense, just ask the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys.
21. Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
The Bengals offensive line was the worst in the League last year, but just because they got Cordy Glenn doesn’t mean they should stop adding to it. Billy Price could come in and be the day one starter at center for a team that desperately needed to move on from Russell Bodine, who genuinely offered nothing in the run or screen game, which are the most important duties for a center.
22. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Buffalo Bills defense played well last year, but they still need to add some natural pass rushers. Taven Bryan is a prospect who is shooting up draft boards because of his elite combine, and the tape only reinforces what we saw in the combine. Bryan ranked in the 95th percentile on the three-cone drill, which is a great measure of explosiveness at the next level. Bryan would add to a defensive line that lacks star talent outside of Jerry Hughes.
23. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Los Angeles Rams
If Tremaine Edmunds was on the board at 23, then the Los Angeles Rams would be declared the winners of the draft. Edmunds is a raw prospect who some believe needs to be given a defined role, but I disagree entirely, and the ability to move him around is what makes him such a fun prospect. Wade Phillips has the creative mind to be able to move Edmunds around in his 4-3 under scheme, and it would not surprise me to see Edmunds take over from Connor Barwin as the weak side edge threat.
24. Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Harold Landry is a player who many are down on because of the fact he gets pushed around in the run game, but he is the best pure passing down edge player in the draft. The Panthers defensive line prioritizes setting the edge over pass rush, which makes Landry a strange fit here, but I think this front office understands that the Panthers need to have edge rush and play more man coverage, as shown by the fact Steve Wilks ran less zone coverage than his predecessor Sean McDermott. Landry is a project player, but Ron Rivera is one of the best coaches in the League and would sharpen his tools.
25. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Titans have managed to bring their entire offensive line back, while also bringing in Malcolm Butler, and this means they are in a position to make luxury picks. Calvin Ridley is a player who many are overlooking because he isn’t that explosive, but he is an experienced route runner who could quite easily become one of the best secondary wide receivers in the NFL. His combine wasn’t great, but if you ignored those numbers and watched the tape, you’d come away very impressed.
26. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Guards consistently drop in the NFL Draft, but the Atlanta Falcons would absolutely pull the trigger on Will Hernandez, who is one of my favorite prospects. Hernandez is a huge man, but he moves so well in the screen and outside zone game, which makes him an excellent fit in Steve Sarkisian’s scheme, which struggled with below average guard play last season.
27. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints defense was the most improved overall unit in football last year, but they could do with adding a few more playmakers in the middle of their defense. The majority of the Saints linebackers such as AJ Klein and Craig Robertson are nothing more than stopgaps, so a player such as Leighton Vander Esch could be a steal at this point in the draft. Esch is being characterized as an every down pass rusher by some, but I think he could play the sort of role in a 4-3 that Bruce Irvin played in Seattle. Irvin was used as a pass rusher from the linebacker position on third down, but he was mainly asked to play in space, and this would also suit Vander Esch as he is a freaky athlete.
28. Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The Steelers defense was low-key terrible last year and the horrific injury that Ryan Shazier does not help matters in the slightest. The Steelers can go best player available here, and adding a talented edge player such as Marcus Davenport makes a lot of sense. The majority of the Steelers sacked are schemed these days, but if they are going to make a Super Bowl run, they need guys who can simply win one on one, and Davenport fits this bill.
29. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Mike Gesicki doesn’t immediately seem like a great fit in Jacksonville as he can’t block, which doesn’t fit with Doug Marrone’s run-heavy game plan. However, the Jaguars need to add a playmaker in some way, and to be honest, Gesicki could easily transition to becoming a de-facto wide receiver in the way that Evan Engram did with the New York Giants. If the Jaguars are going to run power sets then they need players who can win against safeties and linebackers, and Gesicki can do this from day one.
30. Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
The Minnesota Vikings have one of the most complete rosters in the League with the additions of Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson, but they need to add some cornerback help as Terence Newman got bullied in the playoffs by Ted Ginn and Willie Snead. I have seen the cornerbacks in this draft class all ranked in different positions, but a guy I am higher on than most is Quenton Meeks of Stanford. This will be considered a reach by some, but Meeks is the smartest corner in this draft, and he does not really on trash talking or risky ball-hawking tendencies to receive national coverage. He plays well in all types of coverage, and he reminds me a lot of someone like Jimmy Smith, a corner who does everything well but doesn’t make flashy plays.
31. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots secondary was embarrassed in the Super Bowl, with Patrick Chung, in particular, being exposed. Therefore, using a pick on a hard-hitting player such as Ronnie Harrison makes a lot of sense. Harrison is similar to what Patrick Chung was in his prime, a brutal run defender who could cover tight ends in man coverage. The Patriots could do with a player like this, for many reasons.
32. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Eagles have added some excellent pieces such as Michael Bennett in free agency, but they could still do with bolstering their secondary, as they have been vulnerable to the deep ball at times. Josh Jackson is going higher in many people’s mocks, but my main issue with his tape is that he was rarely asked to play with his back to the line of scrimmage, and he relied on making extravagant plays to make a living in the College game. These issues could potentially be exposed at the next level, but the Eagles have the luxury of being able to make a high-risk high-reward pick such as this.
Now residing in England, Joe lived in New York from 2008-2012, and it is there that he discovered his love for the Seattle Seahawks, as he wanted to be different to everyone he went to school with. Joe also writes about the NBA, the Premier League and MLB in his spare time, and has a deep love-hate relationship with Manchester City, the Ottawa Senators, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cincinnati Reds.