Well, here we are again. The return of the mock. As I have been doing for the last 3-4 years now, I will do my mock based on a) A Fantasy Football perspective, and b) where I want players to go that would fit the best. Grab a snack, and/or your favorite beverage, and let’s see how this shakes out!
1. Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB: Penn State- The running back crop is probably the best it’s been in a decade or more. That being said, Barkley seems to be a few notches above any other back. Cleveland seems to need talent at almost every position, but they really need playmakers. Since they paid a lot of money to Carlos Hyde, this may not happen. It will be a loss to the Browns, and Browns fans.
2. Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE: NC State- The Giants could very well use a QB, but they always seem to be savvy at drafting the right defensive end at the right time. No way they pass on a talent like Chubb. They can trade back up to get a QB or take one in round 2.
3. Jets (via Colts) Josh Rosen, QB: UCLA- After signing Josh McCown, and Teddy Bridgewater to 1-year deals, it was clear the Jets still needed a QB. Which QB will it be? I like Josh Rosen over Sam Darnold or Josh Allen. I don’t know why. Rosen might be the more pure passer. I have a sneaking feeling they traded up to get Allen though. The interesting thing here is, Barkley will likely slide down
4. Browns: Quenton Nelson, G: Notre Dame- Whoa! I know what you are thinking. They need a QB! They also need to block for their new running back, and eventual QB. Nelson will be a stud, Barkley will run for lots of yards behind him. You will love this pick Cleveland. Yes you will! As I said, I can see the Browns dealing this pick, maybe getting a #1 next year.
5. Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma- After losing out on Kirk Cousins, the Broncos should probably have the pick of the litter. Many have Darnold, or Allen as the top thrower in the draft. I think Darnold is most likely to disappoint, and Allen is so turnover prone. Mayfield has really grown on me over the last 6-8 weeks. All he does is win, and compete at a high level. I would be cool with them taking Allen. Both QBs will sit behind Keenum for a year or two.
6. Colts: (from Jets) Denzel Ward, CB: Ohio State- They really need to grab a stud offensive lineman in the off chance Andrew Luck actually comes back and can throw in 2018. Their defense was horrible last year, and they can’t cover anyone. If for some odd reason Chubb was there, I’m sure they would sprint to turn in the card. This all changes with their trade back from 3 with the Jets. I’m still giving them Ward, however, I can see Barkley could make his way to #6, and that would be the steal of the draft.
7. Buccaneers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB: Virginia Tech- The Bucs get one of the best LBs in the draft. Minkah Fitzpatrick could also be an option.
8. Bears: Marcus Davenport, DE: UTSA- After watching the Senior Bowl again, and then going back and watching his combine, I am a lot more excited about this pick/player. He kind of fits the type of player the Bears have drafted the last 3 years: all height/weight/speed guys who need a little seasoning at the next level. I no longer want them to trade down, but if they do, they could scoop up Harold Landry as a 3-4 outside LB.
9. 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR: Alabama- This is the opposite of a fantasy for me. I hate the 49ers, and I don’t want to see them get good again. They could use some help at WR, and I think Ridley is going to be a solid pro. He may not have elite speed, but neither did Marvin Harrison. I can see the 49ers drafting up to 7 to get the 2nd best edge rusher (Davenport).
10. Raiders: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S: Alabama: Gruden might want to go with a lineman, but they could use a playmaker in the defensive backfield. Davenport might be a target here as well.
11. Miami: Roquan Smith, LB: Georgia- I’ll be honest, I don’t have a very good feel for this pick. I don’t like their QB, or many of their WRs. I’d say they probably need help on both offensive and defensive lines. Maybe they trade down and get a guy like Harold Landry or Leighton Vander Esch.
12. Bills: (from Bengals) Josh Allen, QB: Wyoming- Many predicted the Bills to move up, but I think either he or Darnold will fall here. If the board goes like I think, they will be Ok. If more than 2 QBs go in the top 5, Buffalo may feel pressed to trade up to #6. However, not many teams need a QB in that range. Miami could snag a QB of the future. We shall see.
13. Redskins: Connor Williams, OL: Texas- The Redskins need to address their O-line. They also need some WRs and maybe a RB. If they don’t fix the line, none of it matters.
14. Packers: Will Hernadez, G: UTEP- The Packers are another team I dislike strongly, and they haven’t drafted too well as of late. Which is why Ted Thompson is no longer in Green Bay. They could go a few ways; offense or defense, but they need to do a better job keeping #12 healthy. They could use a corner back, and might value one here more than a guard.
15. Cardinals: Sam Darnold, QB: USC- I know this is nuts. Before the combine, I was thinking 4 QBs would go in the top 10. Now I am thinking not so much. Arizona may have to trade up to say 10, but if not, there could be a couple of the top 5 QBs here. Darnold makes sense for a couple of reasons: They need a QB, they have had 2 previous USC QBs in Matt Lienart, and most recently Carson Palmer. Darnold is billed as a more mobile Palmer, with a weaker arm. This is why I predict he will fall out of the top 10.
16. Ravens: Derwin James, S: Florida State- Many had him going top 10. The Ravens usually draft pretty well on defense. I could see them take one of the talented corners as well.
That’s it for picks 1-16, stay tuned for 17-32!
The fall of Sam Darnold: I could be dead wrong on this. a) I don’t think he is that good of a QB, and b) there are a lot of QBs coming out this year. How far will he go? If he gets down to the low 20s, the Saints and Steelers could be looking for a QB of the future.