2018 NFL Mock Draft 4.0

We’re less than three weeks away and I am going to try to update this projection at least once a week until we get to the big day.  Let’s make some predictions based on all the rumors we’re hearing.


#1 Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold, USC

I’ve joked (but not really) about how it rained at Darnold’s pro day so Hue Jackson must be enchanted with Darnold now.  Well, Jackson did say the workout shows “that [Darnold] handles adversity well.”  Yea, throwing with a little rain at a scripted workout where there’s no defenders is my definition of handling adversity too.

All the rumors have this down to Darnold and Allen, and I actually believe this pick will only be one of those two instead, as opposed to thinking everything said about this pick is a lie given the time of year.  There are credible people saying it’s Darnold and credible people saying it’s Allen.  I’m sticking with Darnold for now

Idea – If the Browns are split on Darnold and Allen and have them graded equally, Dorsey is in the position to pull one ballsy stunt on draft day.  The Bills are absolutely desperate to get ahead of the Jets, and the Giants interest in trading down seems to be genuine.  If the Giants are willing to move down it means they’re not locked in on a quarterback and probably ok with either Barkley or Chubb.

Dorsey could sell this pick to Buffalo for the largest trade package since the RG3 trade and then move up from #4 to #2 and take the quarterback left that Buffalo didn’t draft.  I’m not saying the Browns should do this, but it would be bold and highly entertaining on draft day.

#2 New York Giants – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

I spent an entire afternoon reading all of the rumors, analysis, and perspectives of what the Giants are going to do at #2.  I have been steadfast in that they won’t blow this opportunity to secure Eli’s successor.  I still think it is the most likely outcome, but I no longer think it is a guarantee.  Let’s go through what we know:

The Giants passed on what the Jets were offering to move up in the draft.  Now, I posited that a Jets-Giants trade was never an option because the Giants couldn’t risk simultaneously passing on a franchise quarterback while handing one over to the team with whom they share a stadium.  But there is another way to view the Giants passing on the Jets offer.

You would have to be crazy to pass on what the Jets gave up, unless you knew you were going to take a quarterback.  The Colts weren’t, so they took the deal.  Maybe the Giants like two guys – probably Darnold and Rosen in such a scenario – so they have no intention of moving down.  Given that Gettleman never traded down in the first round while running the Panthers, and the Giants, with Gettleman as a high ranking executive, haven’t moved down in the first round since 2006, it’s also possible that Gettleman just doesn’t want to move down.

It’s also plausible he wanted to auction off the pick while on the clock.  There has also been lots of chatter that the apple of New York’s eye is Darnold and if he gets past 1 they will take him.  If he doesn’t they will move down.  (I wonder if the Giants have given any thought to trying to swap with Cleveland at 1 to get Darnold.)

There has also been too much talk directly linking a Giants-Bills trade to just dismiss it.  It is one thing to say all the Giants rumors are smoke screens trying to mask their true intentions, or trying to drive up the price tag for the 2nd pick.  But for them to specifically be linked to Buffalo is too specific to ignore.  Now, I know it just makes logical sense for them to be linked to Buffalo since the Bills efforts to move up for a quarterback with all their draft capital is pretty transparent, but I’ve seen in multiple spots now that Buffalo is desperate to jump the Jets.  The Browns aren’t trading 1, so that leaves the Giants as the Bills only hope.

That doesn’t mean it will actually get done, but Buffalo could offer the Giants 12, 22, 53, and 56.  Or, perhaps, Buffalo gives up 12, 22 and their 2019 first to offer a deal the Giants can’t refuse.  Given how much draft capital the Bills have this season I wouldn’t be surprised if they were willing to part with their 2019 1st.

But again, Gettleman doesn’t move down.  And also, new regimes mean new quarterbacks.  This is the first draft of the Gettleman/Shurmur era.  I know they want to compete this season, but they probably also want their own guy for the next 15 years.  Unless they really think Eli has another three years left in him I don’t think the Giants will pass up the chance to take a quarterback.  I actually think that as of right now Shurmur is probably pounding the table to take who is there out of Darnold and Rosen, while Gettleman is evaluating all of his options.

#3 New York Jets (F/IND) – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

I have previously stated a few times I think the Jets quarterback big board goes 1. Rosen 2. Darnold 3. Mayfield.  After further research, I think 3 is actually Josh Allen.

I’ve read too many things now saying how much they like Allen, which normally I would eschew given the time of year, or even theorize it means they want Mayfield and are trying mind trick the Dolphins into not jumping ahead of them for Baker, but part of speculation for why the Jets want Allen is his physical traits.  Maccagnan has shown he likes large, strong armed quarterbacks.  Maybe Maccagnan has learned his lesson regarding strong armed quarterbacks that can’t hit the ocean from a boat after drafting Hackenberg, but I never have faith in the Jets to have learned their lesson.

#4 *TRADE Denver sends #5, #40 to Cleveland for #4*
Denver Broncos (F/CLE/HOU) – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

I don’t think that John Elway is particularly desperate to move up to get a quarterback, but I think if the right one falls to #4 he would be willing to go grab him.  Basically, if Josh Allen isn’t the quarterback that falls to #4 I think Elway will be willing to go up one spot.

The price to move up one pick is pretty pricey here, but Cleveland knows any trade up here is for a quarterback and such trades come at a premium.  There’s a decent chance Miami will also be bidding for this pick so Elway has to give up something substantial.

The Broncos didn’t make a long-term commitment to Keenum and Elway has done all his homework on the top quarterbacks.  He was there during the Senior Bowl where Mayfield was the perfect teammate.  Mayfield can sit and learn the pro game for a year before taking over in 2019.

#5 Cleveland Browns (F/DEN) – DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State

Normally I have the Browns dropping to 11 or 12 in a trade down from 4, but this time with the Broncos interested in moving up Dorsey opts to stay in position to get Chubb.  Yes, I have the Browns passing on Barkley, but there is a track record of Dorsey favoring positional value.

I don’t know the power dynamic between Dorsey and Reid in Kansas City, but the two made four first round picks together.  With those picks they selected a left tackle, pass rusher, cornerback, and a quarterback.  Dorsey also spent a third or fourth rounder on a running back three times.  Yes, it helps to have Jamaal Charles but Dorsey saw first hand you can get guys like Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt later on.

I think in a draft light on pass rushers and stacked at running back, Dorsey will opt for pairing Chubb with Garrett and take a running back later on in the process.

#6 Indianapolis Colts (F/NYJ) – G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

Yes, I have the Colts passing on Barkley for a guard.

Chris Ballard recently spoke about his trade with the Jets and mentioned the Colts are very comfortable with a guy they believe will be there at #6.  He says he is open to moving back again, but I don’t see who is going to move up the board here.

I’m guessing that guy is Quenton Nelson.  Some will fight to the death you shouldn’t take a guard ever in the first round, but Nelson is a potential plug and play All-Pro.  The Colts would be wise to at least find out if he can play some tackle.

The top 18 priorities for this franchise right now should be protecting Andrew Luck’s health.  I don’t care that Nelson plays guard, he is going to be a stud.  We know now what the Luck-less Colts look like.  Just protect the guy.

#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Normally I have the Bucs trading up to get Barkley so they must be thrilled to land him here.

I thought the Bucs would be more aggressive buying up defensive free agents with all their cap space than they have been, but they did bring in both Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, two contributing members of a Super Bowl run, and traded for JPP.  I’m surprised the Bucs weren’t mentioned at all as a possible Suh landing spot or mentioned as a team he is going to visit, but maybe if the Bucs stopped wasting money on a backup tight end they could chase bigger fish.

Anyway, the current state of the Bucs running back depth chart is ghastly.  Yes, it’s a deep running back class, but I still think Dirk Koetter will be interested in going up to get Barkley in an effort to maximize 2018 impact so he can keep his job.  Also, there has to at least be a decent chance Jason Licht loses his job if ownership is unsatisfied with how 2018 plays out.  This reminds me of 2014 when the Bills’ brass went up to get Sammy Watkins to maximize immediate impact.  They didn’t care about giving away future draft capital because, well, if it didn’t work out it was someone else’s problem.

#8 *TRADE Buffalo sends #12, #56 to Chicago for #8*
Buffalo Bills (F/CHI) – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

It appears that the Bills real quarterback target is Josh Allen and they are desperately trying to get ahead of the Jets in order to draft him.  Part of me thinks that is because they believe Darnold is going to be the first pick, so if Allen goes one I think they would still be interested in moving up to #2 for Darnold.  Honestly, I think they would move up for Rosen as well if he got to #4.  I just don’t see the Bills as a Mayfield team.

The Bills, with all their draft capital, may try like hell to get ahead of the Jets but that doesn’t mean it will happen.  I don’t think the Browns will gamble trading away the first pick and potentially passing on the draft’s best quarterback for the third consecutive draft, despite being able to still land someone at #4.  So the Bills odds depend on if the Giants really want to move down or not.  This time around I’m not projecting it to come to fruition.

I have previously spoken about how I think the Bills are a potential destination for Lamar Jackson.  McDermott was around for Cam running some read options in Carolina and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll most recently held the same position with Alabama.  Also, everyone just watched the RPO game knife through the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

I thought part of the Bills move up to 12 was to have a nice plan B if plan A (getting into the top 4) didn’t pan out because they could sit tight at 12 and take Lamar.  I’m not so sure anymore.  Maybe the Dolphins are just playing mind games, but they did bring in Lamar Jackson for a pre-draft local pro day since Lamar Jackson went to high school in Florida.  I’m not going to speculate if Miami’s interest is real or not, but it could get the Bills nervous, and if they want Jackson bad enough, with all the picks they have this year, this is a small price to pay to keep him away from Miami.

#9 San Francisco 49ers – S Derwin James, Florida State

I think Derwin James is going to be drafted in the top 10.  He was highly regarded coming into the 2017 college football season before having a down year after being injured the prior season.  His freshman year was phenomenal and he absolutely lit up the combine.

I think teams are going to get excited about all the different ways James can be deployed.  A man his size shouldn’t be able to stick with shifty slot receivers, but he does.  Safety may not be the 9ers biggest need, but there are a lot of potential synergies here.

Kyle Shanahan was in Atlanta to watch the impact Keanu Neal had on that defense.  He may end up viewing James as a gassed up Neal.  John Lynch is a former NFL safety and may just fall in love with the idea of what James could become.  Lastly, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spent 2011-2013 as the defensive quality control coach for the Seahawks, and spent 2014-2016 working under Gus Bradley.  Derwin James gets a lot of Kam Chancellor comparisons, so if anyone can envision how James could play such a role in a defense similar to Seattle’s, it’s Saleh.

#10 Oakland Raiders – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

The Raiders could use an off the ball linebacker with sideline to sideline range.  Smith is also excellent against the run and in coverage, and coverage skills for linebackers have never been more important than in today’s NFL.  It’s possible the team also views Smith as the best player available.

#11 Miami Dolphins – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

The projection for Fitzpatrick’s NFL position varies from outside corner to slot corner to safety.  Miami is a team in enough need of defensive backs that they can just see where Fitzpatrick excels the most and let him grow there.

Reshad Jones is fine for now but is aging and could be a cap casualty in within the next two years.  The Dolphins could also use an upgrade next to him at the other safety spot and they lost some depth when Michael Thomas left town.

The Dolphins also aren’t going to just give up on youngsters Xavien Howard or Cordrea Tankersley either, and I’m not saying they should at all, but neither them or Bobby McCain should deter the team from taking Fitzpatrick if they believe he can play outside corner.

It is “more probable than not” that Miami views Minkah as the best player on the board as well.

#12 Chicago Bears (F/BUF/CIN) – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

The Bears get the guy I previously had given them at #8 at #12 while adding a second rounder for their efforts.

The Bears went out into free agency on an offensive weapons shopping spree as if they were strutting down Hollywood Boulevard.  One high priced item that’s possibly worth it and then a few over priced knockoffs.

Regardless, we can collectively stop mocking Calvin Ridley here.  In addition to his expensive foray into free agency, Ryan Pace completely botched the Kyle Fuller situation.  Still, he is now under long-term contract.  Prince Amukamara may have signed a three-year deal, but there is an easy out after 2019 and he can’t consistently be relied upon to stay healthy.  Pace may view Ward as the best player available since Chubb doesn’t fit the defensive scheme.

#13 Washington – DT Vita Vea, Washington

I know it was 2016, but I have never been able to get the imagine of the Carolina Panthers absolutely slamming the ball down Washington’s throat in the run game, in a game Washington had to win to get into the playoffs.  It was week 15, and had Washington won out the last three games they would have made the postseason.  Instead, the Panthers rushed for 148 yards as Washington was helpless against Jonathan Stewart.

Washington spent their first round pick on Jonathan Allen in 2017, but it wasn’t enough.  They still ranked 29th in rush defense DVOA and allowed a league worst 134 rushing yards per game on defense.

#14 Green Bay Packers – Edge Harold Landry, Boston College

Perhaps the weakest position in this draft is edge rusher so anyone remotely good will probably get pushed up the board.  Between Landry’s 2016 tape and his combine performance his absolute floor is #20 to the Lions.  I will be surprised if someone doesn’t just take Landry in the top 15.

#15 Arizona Cardinals – QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

The 6th quarterback in the top 15(!).  With the way the others have come flying off the board the Cardinals won’t risk waiting or trading back while targeting Rudolph.  They just take the guy they want to sit for a year before taking over in 2019.

#16 Baltimore Ravens – Edge Marcus Davenport, UTSA

This is Ozzie Newsome’s last draft and I imagine one of his goals is to set this franchise up for future success.  Newsome, out of anyone, knows first hand the value of a dominant pass rush and Terrell Suggs cannot play forever.  Davenport might be raw but Newsome probably trusts the coaching staff to get the most out of his talent.

#17 Los Angeles Chargers – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

Offensive tackle is perhaps the biggest area of need for the Chargers and they get to hand select their favorite one here.  The Chargers could opt for the upside of Connor Williams to play left tackle or take the safe bet that McGlinchey offers in that he probably needs to be a right tackle but will be a really good right tackle.

When you have Von Miller, Khalil Mack, and Justin Houston running down Philip Rivers from all over the place, you need protection everywhere.  The Chargers opt for the safe route.

#18 *TRADE Atlanta sends #26, #90, #244 for #18*
Atlanta Falcons – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

I still think the Falcons will trade up into this spot, but this time they get a different player.  Run stuffing defensive tackles aren’t as valuable as they used to be, but the Falcons let Dontari Poe chase money elsewhere and need to fill the void left behind.

The Falcons didn’t make any splashy free agent moves this year, and they were smart to remain disciplined.  Their roster is in good shape and this team has lost to the eventually Super Bowl champion each of the past two seasons.

The Falcons did improve from 28th in run defense DVOA in 2016, to 20th in 2017.  Ideally you want to be higher, but they can’t just give those gains back by letting Poe walk and doing nothing to replace him.  Payne is a plug and play guy.

#19 Dallas Cowboys – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

After I posted Mock Draft 2.0, a few Cowboys friends of mine said they disagreed that Dallas would take a receiver in the first round.  I planned to have them move away from the position in this update, but I didn’t expect Ridley to fall to them.  This, coupled with the news that the Cowboys will release Dez after the draft, made me stick with a receiver here.  I’m not saying we should take it as gospel that Dez is as good as gone, but if Dallas can land the best receiver without having to move up it certainly makes sense for them to move on from Dez to save the money.

#20 Detroit Lions – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

The 19 year athletic freak Tremaine Edmunds is viewed as having unlimited upside and is typically projected to be a top 15 pick.  I’m sure at this point Matt Patricia would love to get his hands on Edmunds and mold Edmunds in his own vision.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals (F/BUF) – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

I know this pick seems weird, but just hear me out.  Since Marvin Lewis has been allowed to reside over 600 drafts as Bengals coach, we have learned a few things about him.  He doesn’t pay much mind to character concerns.  He will risk an injury concern if he thinks the talent is worth it.  And he loves to stock cornerbacks.

Since 2006, the Bengals have spent five first round picks on a corner.  More recently, Cincinnati has drafted a corner in the first round in 2012, 2014, and 2016.  Kirkpatrick is on a long-term extension and Jackson still has the potential for three more seasons of team control.

So what gives?  Well, things aren’t as rosey as they may seem.  The Bengals can get out of Kirkpatrick’s contract after this season if they want to, and if he has another season at his 2017 level, I would be surprised if they didn’t.  Additionally, Dennard will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.  The Bengals may opt to use the franchise tag on him, or they could even lock him up with an extension.  But Jackson likes having plenty of defensive backs around.  Remember, they had all these guys and Adam Jones last season.

Josh Jackson is an absolute ballhawk who profiles a lot like Marcus Peters but without the character concerns.

#22 Buffalo Bills (F/KC) – WR Courtland Sutton, SMU

With the trade of Cordy Glenn it is possible the Bills take a tackle here, especially since it might really screw the Patriots who are picking next and are very possibly targeting a tackle.  However, Buffalo could look to address offensive tackle and center at #53 and #65.

The team needed a wide receiver even before Zay Jones got arrested.  Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane seem to be modeling this Bills makeover after the Carolina Panthers: Strike a five year contract with a defensive tackle drafted by Carolina in 2013 (Star Lotulelei = Kawann Short), trust your drafting and kick your best corner out of town (White/Darby = Bradberry/Norman), and employ Kelvin Benjamin (Kelvin Benjamin = Kelvin Benjamin).

Cam Newton was surrounded by massive receiving threats until an offensive overhaul in 2017, the first year without McDermott.  Courtland Sutton is 6’3″ and 218 pounds.  Depending on who you ask his draft value fluctuates but the high end of his range is basically this pick.

#23 New England Patriots (F/LAR) – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA

We all know Nate Solder left and while the Patriots spent a third round pick in 2017 on Antonio Garcia to prepare for this, Garcia missed his entire rookie season due to injury.  Protecting Tom Brady at his age is paramount for New England so the Patriots taking a tackle with one of their two first round picks should surprise no one.

Kolton Miller has drawn Nate Solder comparisons and I have to imagine if the Patriots can replace the departed Solder with the new Solder, they will be pretty happy.

#24 Carolina Panthers – CB Mike Hughes, UCF

I typically have the Panthers addressing the interior of their offensive line with this pick but I think they will look to grab a guard later in the draft.  Some view Hughes as the second best corner in this draft and after Breeland failed his physical the Panthers could look to bring in a corner for insurance in case Munnerlyn or Bradberry don’t bounce back after down seasons in 2017.  Safety is also another distinct possibility.

#25 Tennessee Titans – Edge Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

Both Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are over 30 and will become free agents after the 2018 season.  Having someone to groom behind them makes for a wise investment.  Carter was deployed all over the field for Georgia and the two-headed ex-Patriot braintrust of the Titans, Robinson and Vrabel, will appreciate the versatility.

#26 *TRADE Indianapolis sends #36, #104 to Seattle for #26*
Indianapolis Colts – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

The Colts are armed with three 2nd round picks so if there is someone they really like I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go up and get him in the first round to secure the 5th year option on a rookie deal.

This draft is light on pass rushers and Evans began his career at Alabama as an edge rusher before kicking inside this past season.  He is getting a lot of Dont’a Hightower comparisons and I have to imagine the Colts could be very happy to bring in the new Dont’a Hightower.

#27 New Orleans Saints – TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

For the first time in, uh, forever, we don’t need to project the Saints to sit here and take the best defensive player.  In reality, Brees is kind of light on weapons these days.  The Saints have never solved the tight end position after Graham was traded, but New Orleans gets to hand pick their favorite one in the draft here.

#28 Pittsburgh Steelers – S Justin Reid, Stanford

The New England Patriots are living rent free in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ brains.  Three weeks ahead of their regular season showdown, Tomlin expected Steelers vs. Patriots “to be fireworks,” and be “Part 1.”  Don’t worry, the Steelers only had two divisional games between those comments and the week 15 matchup with New England.

After a “controversial” (he never became a runner and didn’t survive the ground, Steelers fans) no-catch ruling took away a touchdown, the Steelers then melted down and literally threw the game away, resulting in them losing that regular season matchup.  Oh, and Part 2 never materialized.

That’s because the Steelers, once again, decided to look ahead to a (not yet real) matchup against the Patriots, and forgot to beat the Jaguars.  So when I tell you I think the Steelers are going to draft based on how they match up with New England, I really do believe that is all the strategy that is going into this pick.

It doesn’t matter where they play, when they play, or even who plays, but when Tom Brady plays the Steelers he absolutely knifes through them.  In that week 15 matchup on the game winning drive, everyone on planet earth knew Gronk was getting the ball, and the Steelers had no answer.  He single handedly got the Patriots into the end zone with four catches on that drive.  Here is someone to help cover Gronk since the team cut Mike Mitchell.

#29 *TRADE Cleveland sends #35, #114 to Jacksonville for #29*
Cleveland Browns – OT Connor Williams, Texas

The Browns begin the draft with three 2nd round picks so if they do move down from #4 – with the Broncos, Dolphins, Bills, whoever – and pick up a fourth 2nd rounder they may look to move into the late first and get a 5th year option on someone.

The Browns may have signed Chris Hubbard in free agency but with the retirement of Joe Thomas Cleveland should look to add another offensive tackle to their line.  Connor Williams had his 2017 season cut short by injury but has shown the ability to be a left tackle on film.  Taking a chance with the 29th pick to find out what kind of potential he has is worth it.

#30 Minnesota Vikings – OL James Daniels, Iowa

With Cousins in town the Vikings top priority should be fixing their offensive line.  Some view James Daniels as the second best interior lineman available behind Nelson.  He has the versatility to play more than one position so the Vikings can just figure out where best to use him to put the best five man unit on the field.

#31 New England Patriots – DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan

I thought Hurst would put on a show at the combine and then move up boards, but he was diagnosed with a heart condition and left before doing any testing.  He has since been cleared to resume football activities.  I’m sure some teams will eliminate him from their board, but Belichick probably won’t be one of them.

The Patriots need more of an interior pass rush and that is where Hurst specializes.

#32 Philadelphia Eagles – OT Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh

The Eagles are light on picks this year due to trades and could look to move down from this spot.  They also are a ridiculously stacked roster and could just sit here and take the best player.  Assuming that, at his age, Jason Peters never returns to form after his achilles tear, the Eagles select their top rated left tackle here.




#33 Cleveland Browns – DT Taven Bryan, Florida

The Browns could look to add a receiving option for Darnold here but adding Bryan to Chubb and Garrett would give the Browns perhaps the best young pass rushing situation in the NFL.

#34 New York Giants – OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

Do I really need to explain the Giants drafting an offensive lineman?

#35 Jacksonville Jaguars (F/CLE/HOU) – CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville

After moving down Jacksonville takes someone to replace nickel corner Aaron Colvin, and Alexander could very easily go in the first round.

#36 Seattle Seahawks (F/IND) – OL Billy Price, Ohio State

Do I really need to explain the Seahawks drafting an offensive lineman?

#37 Indianapolis Colts (F/NJY) – OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

More protection for Luck.  Many, rightfully, question Brown’s ability to play the left side in the NFL.  The Colts only need him to play the right side.  Worth the gamble here.

#38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OG Will Hernandez, UTEP

Tampa could opt for a defensive back here but the most immediate impact they can make with this pick is protecting Jameis Winston.

#39 Chicago Bears – OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon

If anyone has the inside scoop on Crosby, it’s Helfrich.

#40 Cleveland Browns (F/DEN) – CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

The Browns could also grab a receiver here for Darnold but Dorsey opts for the positional value as well as the value on the board.  Oliver could easily go in the first round.

#41 Oakland Raiders – DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

The Raiders need to generate more of a pass rush.  Oakland was 23rd in adjusted sack rate last year.

#42 Miami Dolphins – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

The Dolphins could use Vander Esch but he also seems like a Belichick player so they put the screws to New England right in front of them.

#43 New England Patriots (F/SF) – CB Carlton Davis, Auburn

I think the need for better secondary play in New England is known.

#44 Washington – CB Donte Jackson, LSU

Washington will need to replace Kendall Fuller.

#45 Green Bay Packers – WR D.J. Moore, Maryland

Green Bay may opt for a corner here but D.J. Moore presents more value.  The Packers could use a receiver with the release of Nelson and decline of Cobb.

#46 Cincinnati Bengals – OL Austin Corbett, Nevada

Trading for Cordy Glenn was only step one in an offensive line make-over.  Here is step two.

#47 Arizona Cardinals – WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

The Cardinals depth chart behind Fitz is a disaster and Fitz playing beyond 2018 is up in the air at best.

#48 Los Angeles Chargers – DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida State

The Chargers passed on Payne in the first round to get Rivers some protection, so they go for a run stuffer here.

#49 Indianapolis Colts (F/NJY/SEA) – Edge Uchenna Nwosu, USC

Offensive line and pass rusher.  Those will be the Colts’ priorities in this draft.

#50 Dallas Cowboys – OT Geron Christian, Louisville

This may seem like an odd pick but the Cowboys will probably move Collins inside to guard, meaning they will need a tackle.  Also, we all saw what happened when Tyrone Smith went down with an injury.

#51 Detroit Lions – S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

I normally have the Lions taking a running back here but have moved away from that since I think Patricia will handle the position similar to how Belichick handles the position.

Speaking of handling things like Belichick, the Patriots deployed a lot of three safety looks with McCourty, Harmon and Chung.  The Lions have Quinn and former Patriot Tavon Wilson, so here is the Chung player of the trio.

#52 Baltimore Ravens – WR Michael Gallup, Colorado State

The Ravens brought in Crabtree but more is needed at the receiver position.

#53 Buffalo Bills – OT Jamarco Jones, Ohio State

The Bills will probably let Dion Dawkins grow on the left side so they bring in a right tackle.

#54 Kansas City Chiefs – DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford

The Chiefs let Bennie Logan walk so they need a new nose tackle.

#55 Carolina Panthers – TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

Despite a need at guard, safety, and receiver, with value at all positions available here, Olsen won’t play forever, Ed Dickson left, and Hurst could be viewed as the best player available.

#56 Chicago Bears (F/BUF/LAR) – OG Braden Smith, Auburn

A replacement for Josh Sitton.

#57 Tennessee Titans – LB Malik Jefferson, Texas

The Titans could use a linebacker and decide to swing for the fences here.

#58 Atlanta Falcons – WR James Washington, Oklahoma State 

A replacement for Taylor Gabriel.

#59 San Francisco 49ers (F/NO) – WR D.J. Chark, LSU

A speed weapon for Jimmy.

#60 Pittsburgh Steelers – RB Derrius Guice, LSU

Guice falls down the board due to the position he plays and Pittsburgh happily grabs him, signaling 2018 will be the last season of Bell as a Steeler.

#61 Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Josey Jewell, Iowa

Paul Posluszny retired.

#62 Minnesota Vikings – CB M.J. Stewart, North Carolina

Alexander has struggled for two years and Newman remains unsigned.

#63 New England Patriots – QB Luke Falk, Washington State

Belichick consistently invests draft capital into the quarterback position.  He drafted Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett from 2011 – 2016.  With only Brian Hoyer behind Brady, Belichick needs a new young guy to groom.

#64 Cleveland Browns (F/PHI) – RB Sony Michel, Georgia

The Browns don’t go for Barkley at the top of the draft and instead Dorsey finds his running back of the future in Michel.




#65 Buffalo Bills (F/CLE) – C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas

The Bills address their center issue here.

#66 New York Giants – WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA

I don’t know if Gettleman actually cares about this, but it makes sense in theory to draft Rosen’s favorite receiver.

#67 Indianapolis Colts – WR Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame

The receiver depth chart behind Hilton is bare and Grant is on a one year deal.

#68 Houston Texans – OT Desmond Harrison, West Georgia

Houston finally gets to make a selection!  The Texans desperately need to find an upgrade at offensive tackle.

#69 New York Giants (F/TB) – RB Ronald Jones, USC

Ronald Jones is an absolute steal here.

#70 San Francisco 49ers (F/CHI) – OG Scott Quessenberry, UCLA

Another pick with Garoppolo in mind, the 9ers could use some depth/competition at guard.

#71 Denver Broncos – TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

I don’t know if Elway actually cares about this, but it makes sense in theory to draft Mayfield’s favorite receiver.

#72 New York Jets – TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State 

ASJ left and Allen could use a safety valve.

#73 Miami Dolphins – DT B.J. Hill, N.C. State

The Dolphins do need someone to try to fill the void left by Suh.

#74 San Francisco 49ers – LB Micah Kiser, Virginia

The 9ers could really use help at linebacker.

#75 Oakland Raiders – WR Deon Cain, Clemson

The Raiders brought in Nelson to replace Crabtree, but the team needs an upgrade over Roberts.

#76 Green Back Packers – CB Quenton Meeks, Stanford

The Packers need someone opposite Kevin King.

#77 Cincinnati Bengals – C Mason Cole, Michigan

The Bengals really need an upgrade at center.  Step three in the overhaul.

#78 Kansas City (F/WAS) – S Jessie Bates III, Wake Forest

The Chiefs need a safety to play next to Eric Berry, and also need to realize they may not be able to reliably get 16 games out of Berry every season.

#79 Arizona Cardinals – CB Duke Dawson, Florida

Arizona needs someone stable opposite Peterson.

#80 Houston Texans (F/SEA) – CB Anthony Averett, Alabama

I know the Texans signed Aaron Colvin, but Kareem Jackson is a free agent in 2019 and has had an up and down career, Kevin Johnson has also had an up and down career, and Johnathan Joseph is 33 with no dead money on his contract after 2018.

#81 Dallas Cowboys – DL Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama

Probably a steal here and someone that fits a need while being able to start right away.

#82 Detroit Lions – Edge Arden Key, LSU

Matt Patricia is willing to take on the off the field risks of Key here to try to tap into his potential.

#83 Baltimore Ravens – QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

I think Ozzie Newsome wants to draft someone to groom behind Flacco before he steps down.

#84 Los Angeles Chargers – RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

The Chargers may be satisfied with their options behind Gordon, but I think there is a chance they view Penny as overwhelmingly the best player on the board.  He also will give all the Chargers fans left in San Diego another thing to root for.  I also think there is a chance they don’t exercise Gordon’s 5th year option.

#85 Carolina Panthers (F/BUF) – RB Nick Chubb, Georgia

The Panthers replace Jonathan Stewart here.

#86 Kansas City Chiefs – CB Kevin Toliver II, LSU

The Chiefs traded away Marcus Peters so help at outside corner is needed.

#87 Los Angeles Rams – OT Brandon Paker, North Carolina A&T

I know the Rams are all in for 2018 but maybe here they can look to the future since Whitworth can’t play forever.

#88 Carolina Panthers – WR Tre’Quan Smith, UCF

Another small, shifty receiver to transition this passing offense to a quick, rhythmic attack.

#89 Tennessee Titans – WR Trey Quinn, SMU

The Titans would be wise to add another weapon for Mariota.

#90 Seattle Seahawks (F/ATL) – Edge Shaquem Griffin, UCF

The Schneider/Carroll regime has proven to love athletes and Griffin lit up the combine.  Also, watch Carroll’s reaction to Griffin’s 40 time and try to tell me Carroll isn’t drafting this kid.

#91 New Orleans Saints – Edge Josh Sweat, Florida State

The Saints swing for the fences with this athletic freak.

#92 Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Holton Hill, Texas

Like I said, the Steelers are just gonna draft guys to cover against the Patriots.

#93 Jacksonville Jaguars – WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State

The Jaguars have absolutely no plan at the receiver position, so they may just grab the value here.

#94 Minnesota Vikings – OT Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan

I don’t think the Vikings are ready to give up on either starting tackle they have but they would be wise to bring in some depth.

#95 New England Patriots – LB Skai Moore, South Carolina

The Patriots desperately need a linebacker that can cover.

#96 Buffalo Bills (F/PHI) – RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

An offensive draft for the Bills.  They may have signed Chris Ivory but they need a real long term solution for life after McCoy.

#97 Arizona Cardinals – RB Royce Freeman, Oregon

After David Johnson went down, the Cardinals gave meaningful carries to Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson.  This isn’t 2009.

#98 Houston Texans – RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

This may not seem like a good fit with Foreman already on the roster, but I don’t think Lamar Miller will be on this team much longer.

#99 Denver Broncos – RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn

I don’t think John Elway is super excited about any running back on his roster.

#100 Cincinnati Bengals – S Kyzir White, West Virginia

The Bengals could stand to add some safety depth.

filed under: NFL

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