Happy Easter everyone! It’s officially NFL Draft month, and to kick it off I thought I’d publish my latest NFL Mock Draft. My previous three mock drafts have been straight down the line, no trades or fancy business. Because it’s a special day, I decided to give you the best Easter present I could by producing a mock draft including trades.
Trades can be hard to predict. What I’ve done is take several teams I think are looking to trade up and moved them to spots where teams may be willing to move down, but there could be, and likely will be a team or two who surprises us to get the guy they want. Hope you enjoy my gift to you this Easter morning!
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold, USC
After Darnold’s pro day, it’s pretty clear he’ll be the number one overall pick to the Browns. Some are convinced it’s Josh Allen, but I’ve heard a lot more real talk about Darnold being the pick. Cleveland gets their franchise quarterback.
2. New York Giants – DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Do you guys know who the Giants are going to draft? I sure don’t. I’ve heard talk of a quarterback, running back, and defensive end. I went with defensive end Bradley Chubb here because of the JPP trade. They still have Eli Manning at quarterback, and they have Jonathan Stewart at running back. They may not be the best players at their position, but they can still play. What the Giants don’t have is a pass rusher to take the place of JPP. After mocking three different positions to the Giants, hopefully I get it right in at least one of my mock drafts.
3. New York Jets – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
We know the Jets are going to take a quarterback, but what we don’t know for sure is who that quarterback will be. I’ve heard a lot of talk about Josh Allen being the pick here. The Jets seem to have a lot of interest in him. I think there might be a better choice at quarterback, but if Allen is who they like then they should take him.
4. Buffalo Bills (Trade with Cleveland) – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Buffalo has made it clear that they want to move up in the draft again, which is most likely to land a quarterback. It might cost them a lot coming up from 12, but I think they’d be willing to do it. Since the Browns got their quarterback with their first pick, I think they’d be willing to trade this pick for the right price. Buffalo gives up some assets to get their guy Josh Rosen, who they hope will be their franchise quarterback.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Case Keenum isn’t a long term solution. Outside of the top quarterbacks, I don’t see a guy who can be a long term solution either. If Denver wants to get a franchise guy at quarterback, they need to do it now. Baker Mayfield is the best option available.
6. Arizona Cardinals (Trade with Indianapolis) – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Could this really happen? Could five quarterbacks come off the board in the top six picks? Honestly, I think it’s possible. I don’t think the chances of it happen are super high, but it’s possible. This year a lot of teams are after quarterbacks. I feel like it’s been more so than usual too. Anyway, let’s be honest, Sam Bradford is getting hurt again this year and he’s not a long term option for the Cardinals. That’s exactly why they gave him a one year deal. Arizona trades up to get their quarterback of the future in Lamar Jackson.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
This has to be a dream situation for the Buccaneers. To sit and wait your turn and have the best overall player fall to you would be amazing. Despite all the quarterback talk, Barkley is still the best overall player in the draft in my opinion. He’s the full package at running back. It just so happens that Tampa Bay needs a running back. I can only imagine how much Barkley would improve this running game, along with making things so much easier for Jameis Winston.
8. Chicago Bears – G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson remains the pick for the Chicago Bears. They sit and get one of the top players in the draft. For Mitch Trubisky to grow into his full potential, the Bears need to let him do more. For him to do more, he needs better protection. Nelson can step in right away and provide much more time for Trubisky to throw.
9. San Francisco 49ers – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
I had Tremaine Edmunds in this spot previously, but the 49ers need more help in their secondary. With Richard Sherman now on the team, I can see the 49ers trying to build their own Legion of Boom. Minkah Fitzpatrick can play anywhere the 49ers need him to.
10. Oakland Raiders – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
I still have a defensive player going to the Raiders, but this time it’s a corner instead of linebacker. After looking at the Raiders roster, I think corner is a more pressing need for them. Denzel Ward is the best in the class.
11. Dallas Cowboys (Trade with Miami) – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
This trade I threw in just for fun. I don’t know exactly who Dallas is targeting or where they might want to trade up to, but the NFL Draft is in Dallas, and I know Jerry Jones won’t be able to stay put and wait until pick 19. He wants to make a splash. Miami would probably be willing to trade because the quarterbacks are gone. With the departure of Anthony Hitchens and the injury concerns at linebacker, Dallas needs to add a playmaker at the position. Smith can make a Sean Lee kind of impact when he’s on the field. If Sean Lee stays healthy, Jaylon Smith continues to improve, and Roquan Smith teamed up with them, this would be a scary linebacker group.
12. Cleveland Browns (Trade with Buffalo) – S Derwin James, Florida State
One of Cleveland’s biggest needs besides quarterback is in the secondary. They could use upgrades at the corner and safety spots. Derwin James can be an instant upgrade to a secondary that wasn’t so good last season, but has potential and should improve. It never hurts to have a guy with the potential to be one of the best players at his position in a few years.
13. Washington Redskins – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Washington has multiple needs on the defensive side of the ball, one of those being a linebacker who can captain the defense. Edmunds is very young, so he may not captain the defense right away, but he has the potential to be an incredible leader and playmaker for a long time.
14. Green Bay Packers – DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
There are multiple ways the Packers could go here, so I think they take whoever they think is best. Marcus Davenport has been getting a lot of love from multiple teams. He’s got all the tools he needs to be a dominant pass rusher. The biggest concern with him is the level of competition he played against, but I don’t think it will be a problem. Green Bay gets a pass rusher they’ve been missing.
15. Indianapolis Colts (Trade with Arizona) – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Andrew Luck’s health is still a major concern. The Colts could go defense here, but the offensive line has to be better if Andrew Luck is going to avoid serious injuries in the future. Kolton Miller has really boosted his stock throughout the draft process. He can provide much needed protection for Luck this season and in the future.
16. Baltimore Ravens – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Most people would be pretty shocked if the Ravens didn’t target a top pass catcher early in the draft. The best one available falls right to them. Baltimore ranked 29th in passing yards per game last season, so receiver is an obvious choice. Ridley’s route running is something you don’t find everyday. Get Flacco a weapon.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Vita Vea, Washington
Vita Vea is once again the pick for the Chargers. Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Vita Vea sounds scary to me. Improving the interior will only improve the outside rushing. Plug up the middle with the best defensive tackle in the draft.
18. Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Seattle) – G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Seattle doesn’t have a pick on day two of the draft, making them a likely candidate to move down. Minnesota has their franchise quarterback, but they need to protect him and themselves after that fully guaranteed contract. Guard is a big need for the Vikings. With a few teams ahead of them who also need offensive line help, the Vikings trade up to secure one of the drafts top guards in Isaiah Wynn.
19. Miami Dolphins (Trade with Dallas) – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
With the departure of Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins have a hole to fill at DT. Da’Ron Payne is a disruptive force in the middle. I think he can have a similar, if not better impact as Suh, but at a much lower price.
20. Detroit Lions – G Will Hernandez, UTEP
Detroit improved their running game by adding LeGarrette Blount, but the offensive line needs some work too. Will Hernandez is he best guard available at this point, and the Lions can’t wait any longer to get an impact guy at the position. The running game needs to be better if they want to contend.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – C James Daniels, Iowa
Cincinnati needs to add more talent to the offensive line, specifically on the interior. James Daniels isn’t a guy most people would get excited about, but he can play. I love the way he plays, and I think the team who drafts him will too. He’s an athletic guy who can move very well. I see Pro Bowl potential, which the Bengals need more of.
22. Buffalo Bills – C Billy Price, Ohio State
After addressing their quarterback need, the Bills need to address their offensive line. If the pick is Josh Rosen at quarterback, this makes offensive line even more important because he does have an injury history. Billy Price can play multiple spots on the offensive line, mostly on the interior. I would see him playing center for the Bills.
23. Los Angeles Rams – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Even after acquiring Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh, the Rams still have some holes on defense. One of their biggest holes comes at linebacker, at both the inside and rush linebacker spots. With so many good players surrounding him, Rashaan Evans could learn quickly and develop into a stud linebacker for this team.
24. Carolina Panthers – WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Cam Newton needs a guy who can be a true number one wide receiver, which he has rarely had during his career. Courtland Sutton has this kind of potential. He’s a big bodied receiver who can be physical with defensive backs and come down with contested catches. A reliable contested pass catcher might stop Cam from taking off and running so much, maybe.
25. Tennessee Titans – LB Harold Landry, Boston College
For the Titans defense to get better, which should be a priority, they have to get more pressure off the edge. Harold Landry is a very athletic linebacker who excels at edge rushing. He may not be an every down guy right now, but he can easily develop into that. For now though, just let him do what he’s best at by getting after the quarterback.
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan, Florida
There’s a hole in the middle of the Falcons defensive line after the departure of Dontari Poe. Insert Taven Bryan. He didn’t put up great numbers in college, but most people see his potential to be a better pro player. He has the athleticism, but may take time to develop all the moves. It may take time, but the J.J. Watt comparisons are too much to pass on.
27. New Orleans Saints – WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
D.J. Moore remains my pick for the Saints because Drew Brees needs more quality weapons to throw to. Moore’s combine workout put him in first round talk, and after looking at the tape it’s easy to see why.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – RB Derrius Guice, LSU
The situation with Le’Veon Bell is a mystery at this point. He may come back and everything will be fine, but if he doesn’t they’ll need a lead running back. If Bell does come back, they’ll have two starting caliber running backs to use as weapons to wear down defense’s.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Finding a linebacker to fill their hole on defense should be a strong consideration. Leighton Vander Esch has had a good draft process up to this point, showing his potential to be a really good NFL linebacker. Some have compared him to Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys, who when healthy is one of the best in the game.
30. Seattle Seahawks (Trade with Minnesota) – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Seattle has many needs, but one of their top priorities should be finding a starter on the offensive line. Russell Wilson needs better protection, especially after what the Rams have done. A fully healthy Russell Wilson who has time to throw would do wonders for the Seahawks.
31. Cleveland Browns (Trade with New England) – OT Connor Williams, Texas
After losing one of the best left tackles in the game, the Browns need to find a replacement. Connor Williams may not be the top offensive tackle in the class, but his talent and potential to be a quality starting left tackle are there. The Browns can’t wait any longer to get a replacement at the position. With so many trade assets, the Browns are able to move up a few spots to secure their left tackle of the future. I feel like New England is always a trade down candidate, which is why I chose them. Plus they only move down a couple spots while picking up an extra pick or two.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Another weapon for Carson Wentz? The Eagles could go several different ways here, but I believe they’ll look to add a piece on offense for Carson Wentz. Goedert would be a very nice weapon to add to an offense that is already hard to stop.