Post Easter Mock Draft

1) Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold

The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback, regardless of what Hue Jackson says about Tyrod Taylor. Sam Darnold appears to be their guy, and it makes sense. A strong arm, good pocket movement and experience – Darnold has a lot of the tools a team needs when starting out.

Darnold needs to work on his decision making, but surrounding him with weapons such as Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Carlos Hyde should help ease the transition. The Browns will not take a QB to waste the pick – expect Darnold to be under center next year.

 

2) New York Giants: Josh Allen

This is a roll of the dice for the Giants, but a gamble that could pay off huge in the long run. Allen has the physical tools to be special – athleticism, speed and arguably the biggest arm in recent memory. Sounds perfect, right? Ask Kyle Boller or JaMarcus Russell fans, the big arm doesn’t always win in the NFL.

Allen needs to learn to win at the highest level and learning under two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is a good start. Allen could help transition from Eli to the future. If he has the time to grow into the NFL game, Allen can use the special traits to their fullest, if not, it could spell disaster.

 

3) New York Jets (Via Indianapolis Colts): Baker Mayfield

The Jets moved up to get their guy, the next face of New York. No quarterback is more ready for that than Baker Mayfield. He has shown the ability to make nearly every throw on the field while sporting good athleticism and a relentless desire to win.

There are questions around Mayfield’s height and attitude, but both can be worked around or corrected. The Jets moved up for this reason, they need to get their guy and start building.

 

4) Cleveland Browns: Harold Landry

With two picks in the top four, the Browns have a chance to kickstart a rebuild. While Minkah Fitzpatrick and Bradley Chubb and even Saquon Barkley are available – Cleveland rolls the dice on the best pure pass rusher in the draft in Landry.

He has speed off the snap, bend off the edge and can be used as a pure rusher to create havoc. A dangerous pass rush can change everything about a defense, and Landry’s ability to get after the passer will help every other player on the defense. Yes, this is a risky pick with safer players available – but the Browns get their guy on defense.

 

5) Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen falling to five is the ideal scenario for the Denver Broncos. If Cleveland stays at four, the Broncos get arguably the top-ranked quarterback in the draft. Rosen has the proper footwork, a strong arm and sees the field extremely well. He is an immediate upgrade from anything Denver has right now.

There are the questions around Rosen’s mental build, but with John Elway in the house to push him, that problem should take care of itself. If Denver gets the ideal, they can be back in the AFC race much faster than expected.

 

6) Indianapolis Colts (Via New York Jets): Saquon Barkley

The Colts facilitated the New York Jets moving up to get their quarterback, and they still land the most sought after non-quarterback in the NFL Draft in Barkley. He is a complete back that can take it between the tackles, break runs outside and be a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield.

Barkley has extremely high expectations no matter where he goes, but going to Indy could ease some of that as the return of Andrew Luck will be the story. Moving back works out for the Colts – getting more talent and picks in the process.

 

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb

Tampa Bay had one of the least impressive pass rushes in the NFL in 2017. After adding Jason Pierre-Paul in the offseason, they add more pass rush punch with Bradley Chubb – a player many consider the top in the draft.

He is a complete edge player that can play on all three downs. He is stout against the run – playing with good strength and awareness to set the edge. He also has a good set of pass rush moves and speed, bursting off the line and getting around tackles to create pressure. He knows how to use some secondary moves if his initial rush is stopped, something many rookies do not have in their arsenal when entering the league.

 

8) Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson

The Bears have made a lot of offseason moves, but this selection will likely not be popular selection with the Chicago faithful. Regardless of the popularity of the pick, Nelson instantly makes the Bears a better team. He is a mauler. Nelson steps in as a day one starter that will dominate in the NFL. Both in the run and pass game, he possesses dominant traits – plus he plays with a nasty demeanor that will up the toughness of the team. It isn’t a sexy pick, but Nelson to the Bears is the right pick.

 

9) San Francisco 49ers: Courtland Sutton

Jimmy Garoppolo needs a go-to weapon to have a successful first full season in San Francisco. Adding Courtland Sutton into the fold will give Garoppolo a big, strong outside receiver with terrific hands to rely upon.

Sutton has the size, release and fight to bring nearly everything thrown his way. He tracks the ball extremely well and snatches the ball with his hands rather than letting anything into his chest. He is a true number one and is the perfect fit for the new Garoppolo-led offense.

 

10) Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith

The Raiders need a linebacker. Roquan Smith is the best off-ball linebacker in the draft. No need for Jon Gruden to overthink this, the fit between Smith and the Raiders is perfect.

Smith might not possess the prototypical size of an inside linebacker, but he has the strength, speed and instincts to excel in the NFL. He plays with sideline-to-sideline speed and rarely misses a tackle he gets to. He knows how to stack and shed with good hand use, getting to the ball carrier in the backfield with regularity. He will bring some more toughness to Oakland and can step right in as the defensive signal caller – exactly what the Raiders need.

 

11) Miami Dolphins: Tremaine Edmunds

There is only one way to describe Tremaine Edmunds – athletic freak. He has great size, length and athleticism. He can become a defensive weapon for Miami, showing the traits to rush off the edge, cover backs or attack from the middle. This move would make the Dolphins more dangerous on defense and more athletic – both big needs for Miami.

 

12) Buffalo Bills (Via Cincinnati Bengals): Lamar Jackson

Don’t let the AJ McCarron signing fool you, the Bills need their quarterback of the future. They just finished their time with Tyrod Taylor, but need to bring in the most athletic quarterback in the draft.

Jackson is a better passer than many give him credit for, and with McCarron in the fold he would have time to work with NFL coaching to improve his passing fundamentals. Jackson is not just a running quarterback, he has a strong arm and reads defenses fairly well. This is a future move for the Bill, one that can pay off big time.

 

13) Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Redskins luck out and land one of the most versatile, NFL-ready players in the NFL Draft with Minkah Fitzpatrick falling to them. He will likely be used as a safety, but can cover as an outside corner or as a big slot cover against flexed tight ends. His coverage skills and ball skills are off the charts, and will immediately step in and improve the Washington defense.

 

14) Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward

There is a desperate need for improved cornerback play in Green Bay. Adding Denzel Ward will remedy that in a hurry. Ward has good length and great speed that he combines with solid footwork to turn and run with nearly any receiver He also flashes good ball skills, turning his head and locating the ball with regularity. Pairing him with second-year cornerback Kevin King could drastically improve the Green Bay defense in 2018.

 

15) Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams

The Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback, but 15 feels a little too high for Mason Rudolph. They could trade back for a team looking to move up for Derrius Guice or Derwin James – but if they stay they need to be far better protecting the quarterback. They land the top tackle in the draft – albeit a weaker tackle class.

Williams has good size, solid footwork and is a steady player across the board. He is not the biggest, strongest or fastest, but he plays at a consistently high level. He gets good depth on pass sets, minimizing speed rushers. He also does a good job getting push off the line in the run game. He should start day one for Arizona, and will hopefully be a piece that can help whoever they start at quarterback.

 

16) Baltimore Ravens: Derrius Guice

With the recent resurgence of running backs, the Baltimore Ravens get a steal in a supremely talented back at 16. Derrius Guice is a violent runner that can take some of the pressure off the Ravens passing game. He has great vision, incredible burst through the line and breakaway speed. Guice will also lower his shoulder (not head… that’s not allowed any more) and bowl over a defender to gain extra yards. With a good run blocking line in front of him, Guice could be in for a big year in Baltimore.

 

17) Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James

The Los Angeles Chargers made some strides towards a return to prominence in 2017. Landing a top safety to patrol the middle of the field will be another big step forward in 2018. Derwin James is big, strong and fast – showing the range to cover well in the back end but the strength and thump to come forward on run support. He does not get enough credit for his coverage skills, blanketing tight ends in coverage. The Chargers have a good, young defensive backfield that gets even better with a great value pick at 17.

 

18) Seattle Seahawks: Jaire Alexander

The Seattle Seahawks have moved on from Richard Sherman and need a number one corner to replace him. It is a tough task, but getting a tough, aggressive cornerback should be a good start. Jaire Alexander is a press-man corner with great footwork, aggression and fluid hips. He fits the demeanor of the Seattle defense, and should be able to step in a day one starter.

 

19) Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst

Maurice Hurst has the medical red flags, but if Dallas can land him at 19, they need to run to the podium. Hurst is a dominant player in the middle with great burst, power and a high motor. He fills one of the single biggest needs for Dallas. This would be the ideal scenario for the Cowboys.

 

20) Detroit Lions: Vita Vea

New coach Matt Patricia already has some of the pieces of a solid defense – adding the best nose tackle in the draft only improves that. Vita Vea is a true run stuffer. He is nearly impossible to move in the middle with a single block – meaning more attention will have to be drawn inside rather than out to Ziggy Ansah.

Via also has good push up the middle when he stays on for pass rushing downs, making him even more dangerous than most pluggers. He is relentless in his work ethic and should be a great first draft pick for Patricia and his staff.

 

21) Cincinnati Bengals (Via Buffalo Bills): Isaiah Wynn

The Bengals moved back in the draft, but still get a big improvement for their line in Isaiah Wynn. He was a very strong tackle at Georgia, but fits perfectly as a guard in the NFL. He is a mauler in the run game and has good footwork that can help him transition inside. Great size, great push and positional versatility – the Bengals get a piece that they need.

 

22) Buffalo Bills (Via Kansas City Chiefs): Marcus Davenport

Even after moving up to get their quarterback (Lamar Jackson at 12), the Buffalo Bills still have another top pic and can add some rush help off the edge. Marcus Davenport has good size and great hand usage to get to the quarterback. He has worked his way up draft boards and should make an impact at least as a sub rusher in year one. He will need to add a little burst off the line, but he can help both inside and outside on the rush for the Bills.

 

23) Los Angeles Rams: Rashaan Evans

The re-tooled defense for Wade Phillips gets even stronger when they add a true inside linebacker in Rashaan Evans. He is a field general with terrific vision and tackling ability. With so much speed on the defense, Evans is a big need coming forward and delivering punishing blows to backs. He rarely misses tackles and should be able to direct traffic with little problems thanks to a dominant defensive line in front of him.

 

24) Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley

Cam Newton needs a go-to wide receiver. The Panthers get a very strong option for that in Calvin Ridley. Good speed, a solid release ad untapped potential makes him a great fit with Newton. Ridley runs a good route tree and is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands. He can run some of the intermediate routes and short routes that have been lacking in Carolina – giving Newton a new dimension.

 

25) Tennessee Titans: Taven Bryan

The Tennessee Titans took a step forward as a playoff team in 2017. They still need some help generating pressure up front and Taven Bryan is a perfect fit for that. Bryan ca fit in as a 5-technique on day one and provide needed penetration along the Tennessee front. He has a terrific first step and violent hands that allow him to blow by opposing linemen. Adding Bryan to a building team could help Tennessee get back into the playoffs and could help lead to a playoff run.

 

26) Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne

After a disappointing finish to the Falcons season, they look to get back to the basics and add to their defensive line. Dan Quinn is known for using goo athletes up front to disrupt opponents rhythm – Da’Ron Payne fits that to a tee. He has great size and quick feet to match it. He pushes the pocket and his disruptive tendencies. He fits right into the hole left by Dontari Poe, but can bring some different looks on early downs. His strong push and solid set of rush moves make him a day one starter.

 

27) New Orleans Saints: Mason Rudolph

In a surprise move, the New Orleans Saints get their heir-apparent to Drew Brees at the end of the 1st round. Mason Rudolph flies a bit under the radar in this class, but has a strong arm and makes good decisions. He definitely needs some polish, which makes him a perfect fit to learn under Brees. He could also push the best out of Brees as his career winds down – similar to the Favre-Rodgers or Brady-Garoppolo dynamic.

 

28) Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch

The Steelers need good linebacker play to be a true threat in the AFC. They are a threat at most times thanks to their explosive offense, but getting some solid linebacker play could push them over the top. While Leighton Vander Esch is a projection, he has a lot of the tools that the Steelers could use. He can play inside or out, is decent in coverage and flashes good athleticism. He is not a dominant player, but his steady presence can help solidify the middle of the Pittsburgh defense.

 

29) Jacksonville Jaguars: Anthony Miller

Allen Robinson is no longer a member of the Jaguars and there is a massive need for some weapons on the outside for Blake Bortles. While Anthony Miller is more of a slot guy, he is a big-play guy. He tracks the ball extremely well and runs great routes. He consistently gets open, and could be the go-to option for Bortles on day one. He is just about a perfect fit for Jacksonville.

 

30) Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez

The Vikings nearly made it to a home Super Bowl last year, but fell just short. In the offseason they threw a massive pile of money at Kirk cousins. Now they use a pick early t make sure he stays upright. Will Hernandez is not going to turn many heads as a splash pick, but he is a plug-and-play starter in the NFL. His aggressive demeanor and strength make him a dominant force in the run game while his quick feet and violent punch make him very strong in the pass game. Pair him next to Pat Elflein and prepare for a lot of nasty, physical play in front of Cousins.

 

31) New England Patriots: Mike McGlinchey

The New England Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl loss compounded with the loss of long-time starting left tackle Nate Solder. They need to fill the spot and get lucky that a player such as Mike McGlinchey is still available at 31.

He is a long-time starter at Notre Dame where he was looked at as a leader. He is a steady presence that has all the traits to step in and start. There could be some growing pains blocking for Tom Brady as he struggles with speed rushers, but McGlinchey is a great fit in New England.

 

32) Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel

How do you improve the Super Bowl winner that will be getting their franchise quarterback back from injury? Add an explosive runner that can find the end zone. Sony Michel has great vision and breakaway speed – speed he often put on display at Georgia. He can play on early downs, breaking plays between the tackles or to the edge. He adds to a potent offense and a strong defense – helping make the Eagles a threat to repeat.