With the season now over for near a month, it is time to focus on the off-season with free agency coming up, NFL combine, and NFL Draft. Here is my mock draft (first one) in the off-season. I will do three more after this one. When the main free agents sign, NFL combine results (placement of players), and then one a day or two before the NFL draft.
1. Cleveland Browns (0-16)
Saquon Barkley – RB – Penn State
Browns take the best talent in the draft and give their offense a boost. A game-changing running back that can do it all.
2. New York Giants (3-13)
Josh Rosen – QB – UCLA
Eli is old and the Giants will most likely not pick this early again, so they take the future of the organization.
3. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
Bradley Chubb – Edge – North Carolina State
Colts get their new Dwight Freeney in Chubb. Dude is a stud and will help turn this bad defense into something, as they have been bad for a long time.
4. Cleveland Browns (via the 4-12 Houston Texans)
Josh Allen – QB – Wyoming
The Browns take a quarterback that wants to change the losing culture in Cleveland and they still get a signal-caller after taking Barkley with the first overall pick.
5. Denver Broncos (5-11)
Quenton Nelson – OG – Notre Dame
Assuming the Broncos sign Kirk Cousins, they bolster their offensive line to protect him and get the running game back. Nelson is one of those guards that cannot be overlooked. Take him and plug him in.
6. New York Jets (5-11)
Sam Darnold – QB – USC
Jets get Darnold and can have a chance to develop him into a potential superstar. I would re-sign Josh McCown and let the Trojan learn the system.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Marcus Davenport – DE – Texas-San Antonio
Bucs miss out on Chubb, so they take the second best pass rushing end. Dvenport can bend and get around the corner to put pressure on the opposition. yes, he might have some concerns in stopping the run, but the Bucs need him to do one thing and get to the quarterback as they were near the bottom on the total sacks list out of all NFL teams.
8. Chicago Bears (5-11)
Joshua Jackson – CB – Iowa
Bears can take either a receiver or corner here. I think Jackson is a better talent than Ridley, so I would take the defender, plus Fuller might not come back.
T-9. Oakland Raiders (6-10)
Denzel Ward – CB – Ohio State
Raiders take another Ohio State corner and now they need one that can step in, as Amerson was cut. Safe pick.
T-9. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) (Note: The Raiders and 49ers have identical records and the same strength of schedule. The tie will be broken by a coin flip with the winner getting pick No. 9 and the other club receiving the No. 10 pick.)
Minkah Fitzpatrick – CB/S – Alabama
Fitzpatrick is a versatile defender, as listed above. John Lynch can draft him at either position, but I expect the Niners to get creative with this potential Pro-Bowler.
11. Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Roquan Smith – LB – Georgia
Dolphins had many key injuries to some of their young linebackers and plugging Smith with the other linebackers will make them better. Dolphins make a great decision here.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)
Derwin James – S – Florida State
Bengals take the best player on the board. James is a unique player and can do many things that other safeties cannot due. Marvin Lewis makes a splash here.
13. Washington Redskins (7-9)
Vita Vea – NT – Washington
Redskins get help in the middle of their defensive line and Vea is a huge man that can eat up double teams and provide some pressure on passing downs. Those middle linebackers will love this kid, as he will make their jobs easier.
14. Green Bay Packers (7-9)
Tremaine Edmunds – LB – Virginia Tech
Just a tremendous athlete and the Packers find their new starting middle linebacker. Jake Ryan and Tremaine Edmunds makes a solid inside duo with Martinez as the number three.
15. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Baker Mayfield – QB – Oklahoma
Cardinals lost Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians to retirement. Time for a new quarterback to take charge. Have to take one and Mayfield’s success lands him here.
16. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
Courtland Sutton – WR – SMU
Flacco gets a real weapon on the outside. Sutton will be a favorite to win the offensive rookie of the year if he lands in Baltimore.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
Da’Ron Payne – NT – Alabama
Payne is a monster in both stopping the run and pass. The Chargers fix their problem against stopping the run up the middle. Corey Liuget is a talented interior pass-rusher, but the Chargers lack a monstrous run-stuffing presence. That would change with this selection.
18. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Mike McGlinchey – OT – Notre Dame
Seahawks fix their weakest unit on the field. McGlinchey slides to the right tackle position and Ifedi moves inside, then when Duane Brown calls it a career, I would exect McGlinchey to take over the left tackle spot.
19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Orlando Brown – OT – Oklahoma
Cowboys left guard position was the weakest spot on the offensive line, so I figure Orlando Brown would come in at the right tackle spot and La’el Collins moves back to the left guard spot, which he played in his rookie year. That offensive line will be the best for at least half a decade or more.
20. Detroit Lions (9-7)
Maurice Hurst – DT – Michigan
If the Lions re-sign Ziggy, expect them to draft an interior playmaker in Hurst, who is a hard man to stop getting in the backfield. Hurst will be an instant favorite by Lion fans, as he played for the Michigan Wolverines and the amount of production he will produce for the Lions.
21. Buffalo Bills (9-7)
Calvin Ridley – WR – Alabama
Bills add another weapon for whoever will be their quarterback in 2018. Ridley is a great talent that can be a number one receiver. Expect Taylor to be in a different uniform this year and the Bills to try and trade for Nick Foles.
22. Buffalo Bills (via the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs)
Billy Price – C/OG – Ohio State
Bills stay on the offensive line and find a new center in Price. Price will start right off the back, as Eric Wood retired due to an injury. Price is versatile (plays both guard spots).
23. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)
Isaiah Oliver – CB – Colorado
Rams need a corner and Oliver is a sleeper. He could be the best corner selected in the first round.
24. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
Sam Hubbard – DE – Ohio State
Panthers need to get younger at the defensive end position. Hubbard has some great tape out their, but production was low. 24th spot fits him and expect him to be used right off the back instead of being eased in.
25. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Arden Key – Edge – LSU
Titans could use another pass rusher and a different type of pass rusher than Kevin Dodd. Key is a quicker guy and a tweener at the edge position. He is a gamble and if it pays off, the Titans can come out with a steal. Key can get a chance to learn, as the last great LSU pass rusher did not have a chance to learn and was rushed into the league, plus he was a similar player like Key. That is Barkevious Mingo.
26. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
Taven Bryan – DT – Florida
Falcons need to get stronger in the interior part of their defensive line. Great talent with the strongest and quickest hands in the draft, plus he is extremely quick off the snap.
27. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Rashaan Evans – LB – Alabama
Saints upgrade at the linebacker position. Great pick up. Evans starts day one next to Alex Anzalone.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
Malik Jefferson – LB – Texas
Ryan Shazier and Malik Jefferson sounds good and deadly on the field. This pushes Williams to the bench and the Steelers get younger and faster at the inside linebacker spot with Jefferson.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
Dallas Goedert – TE – South Dakota State
Expecting Bortles to stay in Jacksonville, they get him a great receiving weapon at the tight end position. Goedert is a stud. Goedert and Lewis is a nice duo at the tight end position.
30. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
Kolton Miller – OT – UCLA
Vikings offensive line needs more help and Miller is a steal here. His stock is rising and I think he can become a great tackle. Struggled earlier this year, but came around after the first three to four games.
31. New England Patriots (13-3)
Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
Not your typical Patriots quarterback, as Jackson is mobile unlike Brian Hoyer and Tom Brady. Jackson gets to learn behind Brady for at least one or two years and then gets the keys to the offense. Smart pick and a good gamble, as Jackson could become a really good player in the league.
32. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
Sony Michel – RB – Georgia
Eagles get a running back to grow with Wentz. Michel is a threat in the run and receiving department. Versatile back that was shadowed by Chubb, but I think Michel will be the better NFL player. Michel reminds me of Alvin Kamara.