NFL Mock Draft 3.0
With so many things changing this offseason, mock drafts have so many situations that could play out. One thing that recently changed was the Jets trading up to get the 3rd overall pick in the draft, moving the Colts to the 6th pick. Now that the Jets have shaken things up a little bit, I’ve shaken up my mock draft with a revised version. Many picks have stayed the same from my previous mock draft, but several picks have also changed as a result of free agent signings and trades. I’m sure things will only continue to change as we get closer to the draft in April.
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold, USC
It’s becoming more clear the Browns will draft a quarterback. Which quarterback that is is not as clear. I’ve chosen Sam Darnold here because he’s considered by many to be the best quarterback in the draft. If the Browns think he’s the best quarterback in the draft too, Darnold will be their choice.
2. New York Giants – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
If I were the Giants, I couldn’t pass on Barkley. It’s not everyday you get a chance to draft a guy like this. The Giants had one of the worst offense’s last season, and one of the reasons why is because they didn’t run the ball well. They did get Jonathan Stewart, but he’s not enough to change the offense. Barkley can change this offense. If the Giants truly believe Eli Manning has a couple more good years left, pairing him with Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham is their best option.
3. New York Jets – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Giving up so much to move up 3 spots says a lot about what the Jets think of this quarterback class. It’s possible the first two picks could be quarterbacks, so they have to love at least 3 guys. If Rosen is available here, I think the Jets take him. He comes from a pro style offense and is the best pure passer in this draft class.
4. Cleveland Browns – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
After taking care of a need on offense, the Browns try to take care of their defense. Minkah Fitzpatrick can do it all, which is exactly the kind of player the Browns need on defense. Pretty much anywhere in the secondary could use an upgrade. With Fitzpatrick they just find where they need him most and play him there.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Despite having Case Keenum under center, the Broncos need a long term quarterback option. Josh Allen might need some time to develop a little bit more, so this is where having Keenum would come in handy. Allen has all the tools he needs to be a successful pro, but he needs some time to put it all together.
6. Indianapolis Colts – DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
As I mentioned in my last mock draft, this defense ranked 31st in sacks last season (25). They need a dominant pass rusher to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Bradley Chubb has everything he needs to quickly develop into a dominant player. Indianapolis moved down and still gets the guy they probably would have taken at pick 3.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Tampa Bay allowed the most passing yards per game last season (260.6). Addressing the secondary has to be a top priority for the Buccaneers. What better way to do that than taking one of the top secondary prospects in the draft? Denzel Ward has the speed needed to cover just about any receiver.
8. Chicago Bears – G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Chicago ranked 18th in sacks allowed last season. If they want Mitch Trubisky to develop and grow to his potential, they need better offensive line play. The Bears running game wasn’t as strong this past season either. Quenton Nelson is considered by many to be one of the top 3 prospects in this draft. The only reason he falls this far is because of team need, which for several teams ahead of the Bears is a quarterback. Nelson is the best prospect on the board, and he fills a major need.
9. San Francisco 49ers – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
My pick for the 49ers remains the same here. They ranked 26th in sacks a season ago and must get more pressure. Tremaine Edmunds is a linebacker who has speed, length, and athleticism. He can upgrade their pass rushing from day 1.
10. Oakland Raiders – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Smith is once again my pick for the Raiders. Khalil Mack needs help. He needs someone capable of making plays and getting after the quarterback. Smith and Mack together would be a dangerous combination.
11. Miami Dolphins – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
It’s time the Dolphins moved on from Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t taken them anywhere yet, and likely won’t for the rest of his career. Miami should be looking for a new quarterback. One quarterback they’ve shown a lot of interest in is Baker Mayfield. They had dinner with him the night before his pro day. If Baker Mayfield is on the board when the Dolphins pick, I’d be surprised if they don’t take him.
12. Buffalo Bills – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
I don’t think the Bills will have this pick when the draft comes around. We know they still want to move up, likely because they want a quarterback. They signed A.J. McCarron, but I see him as an insurance plan if they don’t get their guy. I keep getting this feeling that Lamar Jackson would be a perfect fit in Buffalo. He reminds me of Tyrod Taylor in a lot of ways, but he’s more explosive and has a lot more potential.
13. Washington Redskins – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
After losing Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason, the Redskins need someone who can start opposite of Josh Norman. Jackson has the ability to step in right away and provide solid play alongside one of the best corners in the game.
14. Green Bay Packers – S Derwin James, Florida State
Green Bay would absolutely love it if Derwin James fell to them. Corner may seem like a more pressing need, but the safety position could use an upgrade also. James can come in from day one and improve a pass defense that gave up the 10th most passing yards last season.
15. Arizona Cardinals – OT Conor Williams, Texas
Arizona should still be looking for a quarterback, but none of the quarterbacks in this draft are worth taking here. Sam Bradford, the quarterback they signed this offseason, has a history of being injured. This team ranked 29th in most sacks allowed a season ago, so the offensive line has to be improved, especially with an injury prone quarterback in place.
16. Baltimore Ravens – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley’s slight fall from my last draft puts him in a place where he’s much needed. Joe Flacco needs some weapons. Baltimore ranked 29th in passing yards per game last season, primarily because Flacco didn’t have enough real weapons to throw to. Calvin Ridley can seriously improve that number with his smooth route running and playmaking ability.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Vita Vea, Washington
Vea is still my pick for the Chargers. Can you imagine what the Chargers defense would be like with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Vita Vea? That kinda scares me a little. The interior defensive line was a weakness last year, but with Vea that would quickly be fixed.
18. Seattle Seahawks – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Seattle has a lot of needs and I keep changing my mind about what position they’re going to address here. Ultimately, the Seahawks have a need at offensive line that’s been a need for several years now. Russell Wilson without time is great, but with time he’d be incredible.
19. Dallas Cowboys – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Da’Ron Payne is my pick here for the 3rd time in a row. Demarcus Lawrence and David Irving make this line pretty good, but other than that there aren’t any stars on the defensive line. I’m sure they’d love to have a big disruptive guy like Payne playing on the interior to make things easier for them.
20. Detroit Lions – DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
I previously had RB Derrius Guice going here, but the signing of LeGarrette Blount makes that pick a lot less likely. Instead I’ll go with another need. Ziggy Ansah will be back, but he needs help getting to the quarterback. Marcus Davenport can provide the help Ansah needs. Matt Patricia is a defensive guy, and he knows the importance of being able to put the pressure on.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
Cincinnati needs to upgrade their offensive line after being ranked 19th in most sacks allowed. Andy Dalton already isn’t elite, but without time to throw the ball he’s even worse than a bad quarterback. Bengals get him some protection here.
22. Buffalo Bills – C Billy Price, Ohio State
After getting a quarterback, they can address one of their other top needs on offense. The offensive line needs some additions after losing two starting offensive lineman. Billy Price can play multiple positions, which makes him valuable. Buffalo can plug him in where they need him most.
23. Los Angeles Rams – LB Harold Landry, Boston College
Landry is still my pick for the Rams because he can take the place of Alec Ogletree. Not only can he take his place, but he could exceed his production, not to say it was bad at all. Landry can provide pressure on the edge, giving new corners Peters and Talib an easier time covering receivers.
24. Carolina Panthers – WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
I’d previously gone offensive line here. While that is a need, the Panthers need to give Cam Newton some receiving weapons. Courtland Sutton is a big receiver who can win jump balls and be physical with defenders. Cam has had some success with a big receiver in the past.
25. Tennessee Titans – DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
I still like Maurice Hurst here, even though he has the heart condition. He fills a need on the Titans defense and he has the potential to be a disruptive player. Tennessee needs more of that on the defensive line.
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan, Florida
DT remains a primary need for the Falcons, and Taven Bryan remains my pick here. Again, he’s not polished, but he has so much potential because of his hustle and athleticism. Dan Quinn would love to have him.
27. New Orleans Saints – WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
I had TE Mark Andrews here last time around, but I don’t really like the value of a TE in the first round. Instead the Saints get a running mate for Michael Thomas. Moore had a great combine where he showed off speed and athleticism, making him an attractive target for a team looking for a wide receiver.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Linebacker is still a priority for the Steelers. Evans has got the Pittsburgh Steelers feel about him. I think he’d be a nice fit in this defense and could make an impact right from the start.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
The strength of this team is the defense, but the defense has a hole that needs to be filled. LB Paul Posluszny retired, making the position a need. Leighton Vander Esch is a linebacker who helped himself at the combine. He showed his athleticism and potential to be a successful NFL linebacker, boosting his stock into first round consideration.
30. Minnesota Vikings – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Kolton Miller remains in the same spot. After getting Kirk Cousins, the Vikings need to upgrade the offensive line. This is especially important because Cousins deal is fully guaranteed. I can kinda feel an injury coming for Cousins because of that. Minnesota must do everything they can to keep Cousins healthy.
31. New England Patriots – CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Malcolm Butler is officially out of New England. The Patriots still need to fill his spot. What they need is a speedy guy in the secondary, which is what Jaire Alexander is. Before dealing with some injury issues in college, Alexander was considered a first round talent. It was easy to see why at the combine.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – WR D.J. Chark, LSU
Torrey Smith’s departure leaves a spot open at receiver, and many believe the Eagles will look to add an impact guy at that spot. D.J. Chark showed at the combine the kind of impact he could potentially have. He’s a big bodied receiver who can flat out run.