The NFL draft is extremely unpredictable, which is what makes it so fun for fans and players. This mock draft is slightly different than my first, but the Bills moving up for a QB is something to expect come draft day.
1Number 1: Cleveland Browns
The Pick: Sam Darnold QB USC
There is some speculation that the Browns could take Josh Allen over Sam Darnold with the first overall pick. Although Allen had a great pro day, the whole Browns contingent Coach Hue Jackson, Owner Jimmy Haslam and General Manager John Dorsey watched Darnold put on a show in the pouring rain in Southern California. Darnold showcased the ability to make any throw in college but did have some turnover troubles. While a pro day is not necessarily the most important evaluation of a player, Darnold’s whole body of work is too impressive for the Browns to pass on him.
2Number 2: New York Giants
The Pick: Josh Rosen QB UCLA
If Josh Allen were to go number one, then this pick would be much different with the Giants taking Sam Darnold. Although many NFL experts do not have the Giants taking a QB, it is the best decision for the future of the franchise. While Rosen will not start right away, he can study Pat Shurmur’s offense and learn from someone who many consider a QB guru. Rosen is the most polished pocket passer in this year’s class with outstanding technique and footwork, which he attributes to the tennis he played as a child. None of Rosen’s questions are on the field, but the character concerns are something the Giants must evaluate in the private interviews before the draft.
3Number 3: New York Jets
The Pick: Josh Allen QB Wyoming
The history of the Jets taking quarterbacks in the middle rounds of the draft and missing on them stops here. Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty were all not the answer. GM Mike McCanagan made the move acquiring the third pick from the Colts with the intentions of grabbing a franchise QB. While Allen will need 1-2 years to develop, he has the best intangibles of all the QB’s in this year’s class. Allen showed off his tremendous arm strength in Laramie, Wyoming at his pro day, throwing the ball down the field with ease and consistency. Todd Bowles and the Jets finally find their guy for the future.
4Number 4: Cleveland Browns
The Pick: Bradley Chubb DE NC State
Bradley Chubb is the best defensive linemen prospect in this year’s class. Chubb is excellent both as a pass rusher finishing with 20 sacks in his final two seasons at NC State, but also excellent as a run stuffer. Pairing Chubb with Myles Garrett and other young talents such as Carl Nassib and Emmanuel Ogbah would make their defensive line scary for many years to come. Gregg Williams would have a plethora of young pass rushers to work with alongside Jamie Collins and Jabrill Peppers. This defensive line could give AFC North QB’s nightmares for years to come.
5Number 5: Buffalo Bills (Trade) with the Broncos
The Pick: Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
Although the Bills just signed A.J McCarron, they are still in need of a franchise quarterback. While McCarron could be their guy, they need to bring a young guy who can give him some early competition and develop behind him for a few years. Baker Mayfield provides exactly this, he is a fiery competitor who would love to play wherever he is drafted. Although Mayfield is undersized, this ability did not hinder him from making plays both with his arm and legs. Shorter QB’s have succeeded in the NFL, therefore Mayfield’s height does not pose as much of a question mark as some might think.
6Number 6: Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: Saquon Barkley RB Penn State
How did the best prospect in this draft class, fall to number six? Quarterbacks take priority in the NFL and the Colts have their franchise QB already. Barkley is a complete back, an excellent runner, and receiver who consistently makes defenders miss. When Andrew Luck eventually comes back, Barkley can take some of the pressure off of him. Defenses will have to game-plan for the dynamic Barkley because of his huge big play potential. Great RB’s make a QB’s job much easier, look at Dak Prescott with Zeke and Jared Goff with Todd Gurley. The Colts have a long way in their rebuild, but drafting Barkley at six is a steal and a great first step.
7Number 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick CB/S Alabama
Minkah Fitzpatrick was extremely versatile in college playing both safety and corner at Alabama. Fitzpatrick can bring much-needed help to the Bucs secondary, which was the worst in the NFL last season. The Bucs have some talented pieces up front in Kwon Alexander, Gerald McCoy, and Lavonte David, but adding Fitzpatrick would make a huge difference on the back end. Fitzpatrick is the most well polished defensive player in this year’s class and someone a defensive coordinator can rely on for years to come.
8Number 8: Chicago Bears
The Pick: Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech
The Chicago Bears have had a history of great defenses in their franchise, most notably at the LB position. Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher are two Hall of Famers that anchored their defense for years. Tremaine Edmunds can do the exact same thing for Vic Fangio’s defense. Edmunds is a tremendous defensive leader who makes plays both in the running and passing game. He also played for defensive coordinator Bud Foster at Virginia Tech, learning from one of the premier defensive minds in college football.
9Number 9: San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: Denzel Ward CB Ohio State
Denzel Ward has blazing speed running a 4.32 forty at the NFL Combine. Ward’s combination of excellent speed and ball skills, makes him a very enticing pick in the top 10. Richard Sherman needs a corner opposite him and Sherman can help mentor Ward on how to become even better. Although Ward is a bit undersized at 5 feet 10 inches, his speed and excellent ball skills help compensate for that fact. Ward will continue the trend of Ohio State corners taken in the first round like Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Eli Apple before him.
10Number 10: Oakland Raiders
The Pick: Roquan Smith LB Georgia
Roquan Smith is an excellent linebacker whose ball pursuit is one of the best in this class. While Tremaine Edmunds is a slightly better player, new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will be happy to draft and develop Smith. Although the Raiders have Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin rushing the passer, their defense was absolutely decimated last season. Smith is the first step in the right direction for establishing Jon Gruden’s new culture.
11Number 11: Miami Dolphins
The Pick: Vita Vea DT Washington
The Dolphins have multiple needs on their roster, most notably defensive tackle after the departure of Ndamukong Suh. Although they need a quarterback, the top quarterbacks are already off the board so they will address another glaring need DT. Vita Vea is an absolute mauler on the inside and will make an immediate difference in the Dolphins run defense. Along with Robert Quinn, Vea looks to rebuild the defensive line, which is extremely important in a division with Tom Brady.
12Number 12: Denver Broncos
The Pick: Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson is one of the best players in this year’s draft class. This is an absolute steal for Jon Elway at 12, while also acquiring more draft picks in the process. The reason Nelson falls so far is that the Buffalo Bills are desperate for a QB. Nelson is a mauler who blows opposing defensive linemen off of the line. He has the potential to be a perennial pro bowler in the NFL and has similar qualities to Cowboys guard Zack Martin. Martin is one of the cornerstones of their defensive line and expects Nelson to have a similar impact in Denver.
13Number 13: Washington Redskins
The Pick: Marcus Davenport DE UTSA
Marcus Davenport is one of the most athletic defensive linemen in this year’s class. He put on a show at the Senior Bowl, in the one on one drills with his athleticism and quickness. He ran a 4.58 forty at the combine, which is very impressive for someone of his size. In addition to his great speed, Davenport has 9/1/8 inch hands that he uses to wrap around opposing offensive linemen. In a division with Carson Wentz, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott having a strong D-line is extremely important.
14Number 14: Green Bay Packers
The Pick: Josh Jackson CB Iowa
Josh Jackson has the best ball skills of all the corners in this year’s class. However, Jackson’s speed did not impress like Denzel Ward’s at the combine. Last season he did have 8 interceptions three of them in the same game, against some of his best competition J.T Barrett of Ohio State. After trading Damorious Randall, the Packers are in need of another corner to line up opposite Kevin King. While Jackson will need a little time to adjust to the NFL, his outstanding ball skills will help him develop into a solid corner.
15Number 15: Los Angeles Chargers (Trade)
The Pick: Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
LA is one of the best situations for Lamar Jackson to develop in. Philip Rivers is only getting older and the Chargers need to find his potential successor soon. Jackson has tremendous athletic ability and arm strength, but rarely in college did he ever take snaps out of the shotgun. He needs to take at least a year to develop behind Philip Rivers studying an NFL offense, learning from one of the better QBs in the league. He is a prospect whose success is situation dependent, and the Chargers are a place where he could thrive.
16Number 16: Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: Courtland Sutton WR SMU
Compared to previous years, this year’s wide receiver class is not generating as much hype. Sutton is not the most polished route runner in this year’s class, however, in the red zone, he does have great size. Sutton stands at 6 feet 4 inches, giving Joe Flacco another tall and physical option to throw to on the outside. Along with Michael Crabtree, Flacco will have two receivers over 6 feet to throw to. Sutton is a red zone target, who will benefit being in the same room as a veteran receiver like Crabtree.
17Number 17: Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame
The Arizona Cardinals are in need of an offensive tackle after trading Jared Veldheer. D.J Humphries has not panned out as they might have hoped and drafting the strong McGlinchey with excellent footwork is a great fit. After signing Justin Pugh in free agency, drafting McGlinchey will be another key piece to the Cards line. Playing against Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh twice a year, Steve Wilks and his staff need a strong o line to protect David Johnson and Sam Bradford.
18Number 18: Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: Derwin James S FSU
Derwin James is one of the most athletic players in this year’s class offensively or defensively. James’s stock has fallen a little bit this season due to injuries, but he is still an outstanding player who can make plays in the running and passing game. After losing Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman the Seahawks are in need of secondary help. James is a great fit in helping Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider build the next Legion of Boom.
19Number 19: Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Calvin Ridley is one of the best route runners in this year’s receiving class. Ridley had excellent production at Alabama and if given a free release can easily blow by his defender. Dez Bryant is declining and Dak Prescott is in need of a young receiver he can rely on. After signing Allen Hurns, Ridley can act as a reliable slot option for Prescott adding another dynamic dimension to the offense.
20Number 20: Detroit Lions
The Pick: Derrius Guice RB LSU
The Detroit Lions have struggled to find reliable running backs in recent years. Theo Riddick is a great receiving option out of the backfield, but is not a downhill back who can run hard and physical. Ameer Abduallah is talented, but cannot seem to stay on the field with a lingering foot issue. Although they signed LeGarette Blount, he is not the permanent answer to their issues at RB. Guice is an excellent power back who was extremely undervalued because of LSU’s struggling offense. Guice will make Matt Patricia and Lions fans very happy in the future.
21Number 21: Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Isaiah Wynn OG Georgia
The Bengals are in need of some offensive line help in particular at the Guard position. Isaiah Wynn is an extremely versatile linemen who can play multiple positions. Coach Marvin Lewis is making a concerted effort to improve the line after trading for tackle Cordy Glenn in the offseason. Acquiring Glenn and drafting Wynn will allow Andy Dalton some more time to throw to his talented receivers.
22Number 22: Denver Broncos
The Pick: Da’Ron Payne DT Alabama
The Denver Broncos have an extremely talented defensive line and drafting Payne would add to that. Payne is a great run stopper and will be a great complement to Domata Peko. Peko is 33 years old and would be a great mentor for Payne as the DT of the future for the Broncos. John Elway addresses the trenches in the first round of this draft with two hog mollies on offense and defense.
23Number 23: New England Patriots
The Pick: Connor Williams OT Texas
Williams was projected as the best linemen in this year’s class, but struggled with technique and some lingering injuries earlier on in the season. The Patriots lost their left tackle Nate Solder to the Giants and Williams has the potential to be their left tackle of the future. Williams could use a year to develop and work on his footwork, but has great size and strength making him a great choice with their newly acquired pick.
24Number 24: Carolina Panthers
The Pick: Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
Ever since Josh Norman left, the Panthers have struggled to reliable corners. James Bradberry is a solid corner, but needs a corner to work opposite him. Alexander is an extremely physical corner, with great speed who ran a 4.38 forty at the combine. Alexander could play nickel or on the outside. Ross Cockrell was just recently signed him and Alexander can make a dynamic duo at slot corner.
25Number 25: Tennessee Titans
The Pick: Raashan Evans LB Alabama
Raashan Evans was the leader of Jeremy Pruitt’s championship defense last year at Alabama. After losing Avery Williamson to the Jets and Wesley Woodyard getting older, the Titans could use a young LB to come in and help right away. Evans is an extremely physical LB who plays with grit and toughness.Mike Vrabel will love to coach and develop a young LB who plays with the same exact grit and toughness that he did.
26Number 26: Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
Grady Jarrett is a talented DT, but he needs a young player to pair up with. The Falcons do not have many holes, but strengthening their defensive line is a smart decision with this pick. Hurst did not workout at the combine because of a heart issue, but is now medically cleared. He is extremely tough and physical in the trenches, regularly facing off against tough competition in the Big Ten East while at Michigan.
27Number 27: New Orleans Saints
The Pick: D.J Moore WR Maryland
The Saints have an extremely talented backfield with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, but Drew Brees needs more than one receiver to throw to. Michael Thomas is an awesome receiver, but Brees needs a slot receiver guy after the departure of Willie Snead. Moore could also be used as a punt returner, making him an extremely versatile option for Sean Payton in the late first round.
28Number 28: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: Leighton Vander Esch LB Boise State
Leighton Vander Esch has been extremely undervalued throughout his college career. He is extremely athletic and was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. With Ryan Shazier’s scary injury last season, Vander Esch can be the starter and serve as a compliment to Shazier once he returns. He also is very good in coverage, which is an extremely important quality for LB’s in today’s NFL.
29Number 29: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: Mike Gesicki TE Penn State
Blake Bortles is in need of another redzone weapon after the departure of his starting TE Mercedes Lewis and Allen Robinson who signed with the Bears. Gesicki is an athletic freak who was a redzone monster for Trace McSorley and Penn State. Similar to Evan Engram last season, Gesicki poses a matchup nightmare for safeties or linebackers in the open field. He will add another dimension to the Jags offense, which already has a very talented run game.
30Number 30: Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: Will Hernandez OG UTEP
Will Hernandez is one of the strongest offensive linemen in this year’s class, putting up 37 bench press reps the most at the Combine. At the Senior Bowl, he shined in one on one drills consistently overpowering opposing d-linemen. After losing Jeremiah Sirles to the Panthers, Hernandez could step right in and be a day one starter for Mike Zimmer. Although he came from a smaller school, Hernandez’s power and strength will make him a solid NFL starter.
31Number 31: New England Patriots
The Pick: Mike Hughes CB UCF
The Patriots do not have many holes, but stockpiling talented cornerbacks is a smart idea. Hughes is an extremely physical corner, who plays a very similar style to Stephon Gilmore. Hughes is only 5 feet 10 inches, so he could line up on the outside or as a nickel corner. Hughes can serve as a nice complement to Eric Rowe and Gilmore giving the Patriots a solid trio of corners.
32Number 32: Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan
Jason Peters is an excellent left tackle, but he is 36 years old and coming off a Torn ACL. The Eagles have virtually no holes, but taking a potential successor to Peters is a good use of the last pick in the first round. There is a possibility the Eagles could trade back, but Okorafor has great size and large hands that make him a high reward low-risk option at number 32.