This will be my final mock draft (no trades) as the NFL Draft is approaching us. As usual, I will give an analysis of each pick. It will be a wild first night of the draft on the 26th of April. The draft starts at 8 o’clock at night (Eastern Time). Cannot wait for Roger Goodell to announce that the 2018 NFL Draft is officially open and with that, the Cleveland Browns are now on the clock.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold – QB – USC
Despite Hue Jackson naming Tyrod Taylor the starter, he is only a stop-gap player for a year until Darnold is ready. He is the best quarterback in the draft. No need to rush Darnold, which the Browns have made that mistake in the past by just throwing them out to a pack of wolves. Many analyst say he is the best quarterback in the draft. If the Dawg Pound lands the Darnold that lit up Penn State in the Roe Bowl, then yes they got the best one.
2. New York Giants – Bradley Chubb – DE – North Carolina State
Giants traded JPP to Tampa and that left a huge hole. The Giants defense could get younger and better by adding the best pass rusher in the draft. Kareem Martin listed as the starting defensive end and it looks weak. Martin is a good player, but they need a superstar at that position.
3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield – QB – Oklahoma
Jets get the mighty Baker Mayfield here. The dude is a winner and has the talent to produce in the NFL. McCown and Bridgewater are on one-year deals. Mayfield lives for the Big Apple stage.
4. Cleveland Browns – Saqoun Barkley – RB – Penn State
Browns did sign Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal this off-season, but adding Saqoun continues to add to the offense they are building. Johnson, Hyde, and Barkley look like earth, wind, and fire. Overall, he is the best player in the draft.
5. Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson – OG – Notre Dame
Broncos could go with a quarterback, but they signed Keenum and makes them in a win now mode. Fix the interior part of the offensive line by adding this stud. Broncos running game will come back and provide a spark.
6. Indianapolis Colts – Tremaine Edmunds – LB – Virginia Tech
Edmunds can do it all at the linebacker position. He can drop back and cover, run down and make tons of tackles, and gives the Colts a playmaker in the middle of their defense for many years to come.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James – SS – Florida State
I like Ward or Fitzpatrick here, but the Bucs close that hole in the secondary by plugging in James next to Justin Evans. James is a jack of all trades. You can line him up all over the field. Also, Bucs get an alpha dog that will put fear in the opposition.
8. Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick – DB – Alabama
Bears get versatility here. Fitz is like the Honey Badger. Line him up in the slot or play him at the free safety spot. Bears get a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Bears get a steal. If you play the right defensive system, you could put him on the outside corner spot.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith – LB – Georgia
With Foster in legal troubles, the 49ers get a stud in Smith. Sideline-to-sideline guy that will rack up many tackles and help solidify the middle of the Niners’ defense. This alpha dog will be in the league for many years.
10. Oakland Raiders – Vita Vea – DT – Washington
Raiders can go either corner or defensive line and they take the massive Vita Vea. Vea is a huge man that can eat up double teams and provide some pressure on passing downs. Those linebackers will love this kid, as he will make their jobs easier. This improves their interior defensive line. Vea will allow Mack to hunt on third down.
11. Miami Dolphins – Denzel Ward – CB – Ohio State
Dolphins need help on defense and they take Ward to pair with Howard and Tankersley as the top three corners on the roster. Need to stop Brady in his last years. Ward makes sense here.
12. Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen – QB – Wyoming
You are not drafting him to start right away, plus not by his collegiate production as well, but his potential that he possesses. Allen has that body size, arm size, and athleticism that is eye watching. If the Bills develop him right, he could be a steal in this draft.
13. Washington Redskins – Isaiah Wynn – OG – Georgia
The Redskins offensive line could use help at the one guard position. Wynn could start day one at the left guard spot or at center, if the Skins want to play him there. Wynn brings versatility and flexibility to the team, which would help Jay Gruden out when injuries occur on the offensive line. The running game will come back to life.
14. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Ridley – WR – Alabama
With Jordy Nelson landing in Oakland and Randall Cobb declining in production. The Packers must grab Calvin Ridley here at 14. The kid is a playmaker and can do it all as a receiver. He can stretch the field, run over the middle, run underneath routes, and make a defense go crazy. Rodgers and Ridley together could end up being a nice duo.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Rosen – QB – UCLA
Rosen finally finds a home in Arizona. Rosen gets a year to sit and learn with the potential to see time in his rookie campaign with Sam Bradford’s health always in question, plus Glennon making up and down choices on the field could help Rosen see action on the gridiron. The future of the Cardinals.
16. Baltimore Ravens – D.J. Moore – WR – Maryland
The Ravens have a revamped receiving corps and the cherry topping is already in the same state. Moore is my favorite receiver in the draft and I think Flacco will love him too. Moore, Crabtree, Snead, and Brown (one-year deal) make up a nice group of receivers and a mix of different styles. Moore has the nice mix of size and speed. Big playmaker too.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Marcus Davenport – DE – UTSA
Bosa, Imgram, and Davenport on passing downs could be a nightmare for quarterbacks. Value pick here for the Chargers. Get more quality depth here too.
18. Seattle Seahawks – 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 expect McGlinchey to take over the left tackle spot.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Da’Ron Payne – DT – Alabama
Payne is a monster in both stopping the run and pass. Payne will be a disruptive force in the trenches. This improves the Cowboys defensive line and especially the tackle spots. Payne will have a chance to steal tons of time away from Maliek Collins or David Irving, if he continues to get suspended.
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice – RB – LSU
The Lions finally land a running back. Guice will fit this offense to perfection. This takes pressure off Stafford and will expand the offense even more. Love this kid’s heart too. Lion fans will enjoy this pick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels – C – Iowa
Daniels gives this offensive line some life. Daniels is an impressive run blocker (all they did at Iowa) and a solid pass blocker that could potentially see Joe Mixon, Andy Dalton, and the offensive line improve as a whole. He will anchor the line and end up being a steal. Also, Daniels can play the guard positions if needed.
22. Buffalo Bills – Will Hernandez – OG – UTEP
Shady will follow this mauler up the field. Hernandez has shown he can be a good pass blocker, but he will make his career in the running game. Bills are going to still be a heavy running team. Take Hernandez with Bodine at center and Incognito walking away.
23. New England Patriots – Kolton Miller – OT – UCLA
Patriots lost Solder to the Giants and they need to find a future left tackle and Miller can be their guy on day one. Need to keep the immobile Tom Brady standing up this late in his career.
24. Carolina Panthers – Christian Kirk – WR – Texas A&M
The Panthers need to get a compliment to Funchess. Kirk is the opposite of him. Smaller guy that uses his quickness to run crisp routes. He can stretch the field out too. Kirk will give those Panther fans the thought of Steve Smith when they see this kid play.
25. Tennessee Titans – Sam Hubbard – OLB – Ohio State
The Titans could take a middle linebacker, which they need, but they get an edge rusher that could quietly turn into a solid player in the league. Orakpo is getting older and Morgan is a free agent after this year. This will give them a potential stud ready to step in year two. Dodd and Hubbard are the future on the edge for the Titans.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Jaire Alexander – CB – Louisville
I really think the Falcons draft a defensive tackle here, but Jaire Alexander is the best corner in this draft. Yes, he was hurt last year, but if the Falcons get the Jaire Alexander from 2016, then they get a potential Pro-Bowler. Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Jaire Alexander, Brian Poole, and Justin Bethel is an interesting corners group. Alexander in the slot would be fun to watch too.
27. New Orleans Saints – Anthony Miller – WR – Memphis
Miller’s skill set and style of play fits the Saints. Miller can run routes well and be a great possessive receiver. Letting Snead walk opens a spot for Miller, plus Ted Ginn is not getting any younger. Michael Thomas and Anthony Miller will be a solid duo for a long time. Continue to add weapons for Drew Brees, as the Saints try to win at least one more ring with him.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Rashaan Evans – LB – Alabama
Steelers have always loved hard hitting linebackers and they continue that trend with Evans. He can blitz the quarterback, run sideline to sideline, drop back in coverage, make surprise plays, and rack up tackles. Could be one of the defensive players in this draft that we all look back on and say, “why and how did he fall to the Steelers.”
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Courtland Sutton – WR – SMU
I like Sutton a lot. Big body receiver that will give them a red zone target that they are lacking. He will be the go-to-guy on those big plays. The Jags future number one receiver.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Billy Price – OG/C – Ohio State
Price is versatile (plays both guard spots), which will help the Vikings. Price has a chance to start next to former Buckeye Teammate Pat Elflein. I wonder who play center out of the two. Safe pick for the Vikings, plus they need some help on the offensive line and especially after giving Kirk Cousins that crazy deal.
31. New England Patriots – 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 – Maurice Hurst – DT – Michigan
The Eagles lost Beau Allen and Vinny Curry to the Bucs. They need to continue to add acquire talent to keep the defensive line stacked. A great line gave them one of the better defenses in the league. Hurst has dropped down to here due to a heart condition. Now, Hurst can play in any scheme and he is a strong and quick defensive tackle that can get to the quarterback or stop the run.