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NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Pre-Free Agency Edition)

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  1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Allen killed it at the combine; he was spinning it in the throwing drills and his accuracy, especially with the deep ball, was beyond impressive. Allen flashed the potential that makes him so intriguing to an NFL, so who better than the Browns to gamble on the draft’s highest risk.

  1. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Like Allen, Barkley had a great day at the combine, but everyone knew about his talent long before that. He’s the best player in the draft and the best running back prospect in a while.  Eli Manning is old, but he’s not done yet. Adding Barkley to the backfield along with a healthy receiving core should help the Giants return to the playoffs in 2018.

3.  Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

Chubb is undoubtedly the best edge rusher in this class and the Colts are in desperate need of pass-rushing help. It’s a pretty natural fit as he’s arguably the best player on the board at the time and fills one of, if not the biggest need for the Colts.

  1. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

IF the Browns hold onto this pick and have addressed the QB position whether it be at pick 1 or free agency then there’s no better value than Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. He’s the best safety in the draft and he’s the best corner. No matter what position, he will come in and be the number one player on whatever secondary he plays for. Fitzpatrick, my second ranked prospect, has elite coverage and ball skills. He would be a great fit in a much-needed secondary overhaul in Cleveland.

  1. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

It’s a QB for the Broncos at 5. Josh Rosen is the best QB in the class in terms of raw talent. Some are worried about his character and decision making, but I think all of that goes out of the window if he is still on the board when the Broncos are on the clock.

  1. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Jets are in a tough spot here. The best overall players in Barkley and Fitzpatrick are off the board, as expected, but the lack of QBs taken leaves the Jets with a tough choice.  Though Baker Mayfield is more of an accomplished QB in college, Darnold has the tools to be a more successful QB in the league. It’s really hit or miss, but it’s the best option for the Jets (besides a trade back) given the way this mock has played out thus far.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Nelson is far and away the best offensive lineman in the class. The Bucs have the QB and receivers, but desperately need help up front. Nelson can be an instant impact player and help protect Winston in Tampa.

  1. Chicago Bears: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

The Bears secondary wasn’t great to begin with, but with guys like Kyle Fuller expected to hit the open market, cornerback has to be one of the top needs for Chicago. Josh Jackson doesn’t get enough recognition because he went to Iowa. Even though there has been more buzz since his three-interception game against Ohio State, Jackson is more than capable of being a #1 corner in the league and would instantly help the Bears at the corner spot.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

I think Denzel Ward is one of the most talented players in the draft, but he’s also one of the riskiest. In his first year of real action Ward impressed, but it’s too small of a sample size for me to put him ahead of guys like Jackson and Fitzpatrick. This is a popular landing spot for Ward and obviously I concur as he would become the best corner on the 49ers.

  1. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

There’s a lot of hype building for Tremaine Edmunds to be the first linebacker off the board but I’m sticking with Smith. The guy is monster. One game that stands out is his performance in the Rose Bowl. He was able to do it all, but his strength was sniffing out the run, which is one of the reasons I think he projects as an ILB at the next level. He fills a need and would be a great pick for Gruden’s Raiders.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Ryan Tannehill is coming off an injury and the Dolphins are rumored to be interested in a QB, so they take a chance on Mayfield and end his draft day slide.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The best offensive tackle lands on a team in need of a replacement for Andrew Whitworth who departed for the L.A. Rams last off-season.

  1. Washington: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Edmunds is arguably the best player available, a speedy linebacker who will be a great asset for the Washington defense.

  1. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE/LB, UTSA

The Packers are a playoff team ,so they benefit greatly by having an early pick because, as long as Rodgers is healthy, they will be back next year. Davenport instantly fills a need as an edge rusher in Green Bay.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Yes, Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the league’s best receivers, but he is getting older and the Cardinals don’t even have a player to pair him with on the outside. Ridley is the best receiver available and fills a need.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

The Ravens are looking to move on from their older receivers in Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace and desperately need an impact player who can bolster the receiving core.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

James is a hard-hitting and aggressive safety, fills a need for the Chargers.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

The Seahawks offensive line has been brutal. They need to commit to a complete overhaul in order to protect Russell Wilson and get back to playoffs. Wynn is an intriguing prospect, a tackle turned guard, and he has the versatility to play any spot on the line at the next level.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Whether or not Dez Bryant is back with the Cowboys, there is still a need at wide receiver, and Sutton would instantly be an upgrade the aging receiving core in Dallas.

  1. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

The Lions have a pretty decent offense, but the one thing they are missing is an explosive running back. Derrius Guice is overshadowed by generational talent Saquon Barkley, but Guice is certainly one of the top backs in the class and a great value pick for the Lions at 20.

  1. Buffalo Bills: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The only thing holding Mason Rudolph back from being the best QB in this class is that some see him as a system QB. Looking past that negative, there is a lot to like about Rudolph. The Bills are still in search for their franchise QB and Rudolph is worth the gamble towards the back end of the draft. Plus, they hold the next pick so they can get their franchise QB here and take the top guy on their board with the next pick.

  1. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The Bills dealt Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars in the middle of last season, so they do have a need at the DT spot, Vita Vea has top-10 potential, but this seems to be more of a reasonable range for him to come off the board.

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College

The Rams traded Robert Quinn to the Dolphins during the combine, so Landry fills a need as he replaces Quinn in L.A.

  1. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

Andrew Norwell is most likely gone. Some may view this pick as a reach, but Hernandez can slide in and be a stable replacement at guard.

  1. Tennessee Titans: Arden Key, DE/LB, LSU

Arden Key was once considered the top edge rusher in the class, so this is an absolute steal for Mike Vrabel.

  1. Atlanta Falcons, Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Let’s keep it rolling with the value picks! Dontari Poe is set to hit free agency, and the Falcons still need to improve in the trenches. Payne is the best DL prospect on the board (He is also a great TE on 2nd & Goal).

  1. New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

I think a Jimmy Graham reunion is a huge possibility, but we can’t assume anything so the Saints take a chance on Mike Gesicki in the back end of the first. He’s the best receiving TE in the draft and that’s all New Orleans needs him to do. It would be a great fit and potentially push the Saints to the Super Bowl.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas 

Jefferson has great size and speed for a LB, and given the unfortunate situation with Ryan Shazier, the Steelers are in desperate need of a linebacker. Jefferson can play either ILB or OLB in Pittsburgh.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

It’s not the biggest need for Jacksonville, but Williams took a free fall in this mock and is a great value pick for the Jags.

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Orlando Brown was awful at the combine, but his on-field production and the need for a franchise tackle make him worth the risk for Minnesota here.

  1. New England Patriots: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

The Patriots secondary got destroyed in the Super Bowl and it was due largely in part to the absence of Malcolm Butler. The Patriots fully intend to move on from him, which is fine, but that doesn’t mean they should be content with starting Eric Rowe. Oliver is the best CB on the board.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Kolton Miller has impressed a lot of people and is drawing a lot of buzz as a top-50 prospect. The Eagles don’t have many needs, but replacing Jason Peters is one of them. I expect them to take an OT if the right one is there.

ROUND 2

  1. Cleveland Browns: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

The addition of Kirk helps surround the Browns franchise QB with young talent.

  1. New York Giants: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pitt

The Giants offensive line is garbage, and if Eli is going to be successful they need to protect him.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Ronald Jones, RB, USC

More young talent to help Josh Allen.

  1. Indianapolis Colts: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Vontae Davis is out; the Colts need a replacement.

  1. New York Jets: Billy Price, OG/OC, Ohio State

Price falls due his pectoral injury, but I fully expect him to be healthy. He would be a great center for the Jets.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Doug Martin is out, and Michel is easily an upgrade.

  1. Chicago Bears: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

The Bears passed on a receiver in round 1, so they address the need with Miller.

  1. Denver Broncos: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

He killed it at the combine and has been flying up draft boards. Denver needs LB depth.

  1. Oakland Raiders: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The Raiders need to strengthen their interior defensive line.

  1. Miami Dolphins: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Julius Thomas’ best years are behind him, so Hurst instantly fills a need.

  1. New England Patriots: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan

Nate Solder is hitting the open market soon, so the Pats may need a replacement.

  1. Washington: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

Good value and helps a Washington defensive line in need of edge rushers.

  1. Green Bay Packers: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

The Packers have needed a TE for a long time, Andrews is hopefully the answer.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

The Bengals offensive line was atrocious, so here’s another OT because the line is that bad.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State

Falk is a bit of a project, but if the Cardinals sign a bridge QB like Case Keenum for 2 years, then it’s worth taking a chance on Falk.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Chargers could use LB depth and Evans is a first round talent.

  1. New York Jets: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

He’s a complete back and would instantly be the starter.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas in coming to an end and the Cowboys need secondary help.

  1. Detroit Lions: Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin

The Lions need to add a corner opposite Darius Slay.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

The Ravens have a need at corner; Davis is the best remaining corner on the board.

  1. Buffalo Bills: James Daniels, OC, Iowa

With the retirement of Eric Wood, the Bills are in need of a replacement.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: Lorenzo Carter, DE/LB, Georgia

The Chiefs have parted ways with Derrick Johnson and have a number of aging LBs, it’s time to reload at the position.

  1. Carolina Panthers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Great value and helps fill a need in the secondary.

  1. Buffalo Bills: Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State

Ateman has positioned himself to be a high pick in the draft, and with Rudolph in round one, it makes sense to fill a need at receiver while grabbing someone who is familiar and comfortable with Rudolph.

  1. Tennessee Titans: Holton Hill, CB/S, Texas

The Titans’ rookie corner Adoree Jackson was terrible this season, so they still need help in the secondary.

  1. Atlanta Falcons: Braden Smith, OG, Auburn

The Falcons have a need at right guard, and Smith is the best option on the board.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn

The Niners are in need of RB depth. Carlos Hyde is decent, but definitely replaceable, so here’s an upgrade in Kerryon Johnson.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Reid, S, Stanford

The secondary has been and remains a big need for Pittsburgh. They add some depth in Reid with this pick.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland

Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee are free agents. I expect the Jags to lose at least one of them, thus they will need to replace them through the draft.

  1. Minnesota Vikings: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

Kyle Rudolph is a great TE, and at 28 years old there’s no questioning that he has a lot of football left in him, but there are plenty of teams that carry and use two tight ends. Goedert is the best player available and arguably is the most complete TE in the draft. He could only help the Viking offense.

  1. New England Patriots: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

Injuries have plagued Sweat’s collegiate career, but he is an incredible athlete and a productive edge rusher.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Cleveland already has Fitzpatrick in this mock, but the addition of Jackson makes this a solid duo at corner for the Browns.

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