2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Derwin James, S and Christian Kirk, WR
The Bills will have to target a franchise quarterback over the next couple of years.
I know some scouts who already love Eason. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder was a top recruit who flashed as a freshman starter for Georgia. He has excellent size with a quality arm with pocket passing potential. He also is getting experience working in an offense under a respected coordinator with Jim Chaney that correlates more to the NFL than the vast majority of college offenses being used. In 2016, Eason completed 55 percent of his passes for 2,430 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has the potential to break out as sophomore and junior to be a future high first-round pick.
The Jaguars paid a lot of money to Malik Jackson, but that was prior to Tom Coughlin taking the team over. Jackson was solid last year, but the difference-maker he is being paid to be considering his contract isn't far off J.J. Watt's. Coughlin drafts heavy on the line, and Lawrence is a beast.
Lawrence (6-5, 340) was a tremendous freshman to help Clemson win last season's National Championship. NFL sources have already raved about Lawrence as he was impossible to ignore last year. Lawrence was an All-Freshman selection all over the nation while being the ACC Rookie of the Year. He totaled 63 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and a pass batted for 2016. One national scout for a NFC team told me that they thought Lawrence was among the two most disruptive defensive linemen last season along with Alabama's Jonathan Allen. With other good talent around Lawrence, and now having a year of experience, he could dominate as a sophomore.
The Jets are trying to trade Sheldon Richardson. Even if they can't deal him, they aren't going to sign Richardson to long-term deal, which will leave a hole to fill on the defensive line.
The 6-foot-5, 287-pound Gary is a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender. Scouting sources say Gary has high first-round potential if he puts everything together. That could definitely happen during Gary's sophomore or junior seasons.
4.San Francisco 49ers:Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Sam Darnold, QB
The 49ers finish off their young defensive line with a disruptive three-technique. John Lynch knows the value of that kind of disruptor after seeing Warren Sapp during the prime of his Hall of Fame career.
Oliver (6-1, 290) dominated at the point of attack in 2016 starting from his debut game against Oklahoma. All season, the freshman overwhelmed offensive linemen with his quickness, athletic ability, and physicality. He totaled 66 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and nine passes batted on the year. Oliver is going to see a ton of double teams for the rest of his college career, but Oliver is good enough to produce even with the extra attention. Like Dexter Lawrence, Oliver looks like a future top prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.
5.Chicago Bears:A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Trey Adams, OT
The Bears made a huge commitment and investment of resources in Mitch Trubisky. Even if Kevin White has a breakout year, getting Trubisky more weapons is a necessity.
Brown had a strong debut in 2016 with 29 receptions for 412 yards with two touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound freshman showed some play-making potential, and it wouldn't be surprising if he puts together some big seasons with quarterback Shea Patterson in 2017 and 2018.
6.Los Angeles Rams:Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Arden Key, DE
Andrew Whitworth was a nice signing for the Rams to provide a stable blind-side protector for Jared Goff. However, Whitworth is 35, so getting a long-term left tackle is going to be necessary come 2019, if not sooner.
Little showed a ton of potential as a freshman starter. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder improved as he gained experience and should only get better as a sophomore and junior. Little could end up being a franchise left tackle prospect.
7.Cleveland Browns:Chauncey Gardner, CB, Florida
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Lamar Jackson, QB and Parris Campbell, WR
Regardless of what happens with Joe Haden, Cleveland is going to need more secondary talent. Here's a potential No. 1 cornerback.
The 6-foot, 207-pound Garnder flashed as a freshman in 2016 as a backup behind Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Garnder showed cover corner potential with three interceptions over the final three games.
The Cardinals are going to be desperate for a quarterback over the next year or two.
I've had Stidham in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, but given his lack of experience, he could easily decided to return to Auburn for 2018. Stidham flashed as a freshman at Baylor, completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. His freshman season was ended early because of injury, but he flashed serious ability with arm strength, athleticism and accuracy. After the scandal that claimed the job of Art Briles, Stidham eventually landed at Auburn following a stint attending community college for a year.
Team sources have said that Stidham (6-3, 210) has a lot of ability and that they are eager to see him this coming season. They think Stidham could be a special player.
Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace aren't long-term starters at this point. Thus, Baltimore could target more receiving talent in the years to come.
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Cleveland flashed some play-making potential as a freshman. He has explosive speed and is capable of producing a lot more if Florida can get a quarterback capable of utilizing the program's receiving weapons. Cleveland averaged 21.3 yards per catch as a freshman (14-298-2). Perhaps he will see more opportunities as a sophomore and junior.
The Colts signed John Simon and Jabaal Sheard, plus used a third-round pick on Tarell Basham. All of them, however, are supporting-cast players; Indianapolis needs a lead dog edge rusher to build its pass rush around.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Bosa played well for Ohio State in 2016, recording 29 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and five sacks. He is capable of exploding as a sophomore with his impressive skill set.
11.Minnesota Vikings:Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Connor Williams, OT
The Vikings got nothing out of Laquon Treadwell as a rookie. Even if Treadwell comes along, they could use more receiving talent to go with Treadwell and Stefon Diggs.
Richards (6-1, 190) was a play-maker and very impressive as a freshman. In 2016, he totaled 49 receptions for 934 yards and three touchdowns. His speed was illustrated by his average of 19.1 yards per receptions. Richards easily could have produced more if Brad Kaaya had played more consistently.
12.New York Giants:Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Quenton Nelson, G
Before long, the Giants are going to need a replacement for Eli Manning. Davis Webb has a year or two to prove that he is up to the challenge, but he could easily end up being more of a career backup like Ryan Nassib. The Giants going for a first-round quarterback over the next few years is entirely possible.
Francois (6-2, 205) isn't a tall quarterback, but he has a powerful arm and is a tough signal-caller with athleticism. In his debut season as a starter, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,350 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. It wouldn't be surprising if Francois builds on that as a sophomore and junior. In speaking with scouts at multiple teams, they are pretty positive about Francois and his potential for the NFL.
13.Cincinnati Bengals:Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
The Bengals will have to replace Adam Jones before long, and they prioritize drafting cornerbacks early. Here's a corner who could be a nice fit as a nickel next to Dre Kirkpatrick.
Sources have told me that Taylor has been an impressive player in their practice and tape study of Florida State. They think he could fit as a talented NFL nickelback with ball skills. Taylor (5-9, 170) needs to get bigger, but he has a few years to do that.
Carolina has Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers for the 2017 season, but the team is going to need to add a few young ends over the next draft or two.
Ferrell (6-5, 265) had an impressive redshirt freshman season for the Tigers in 2016 as he totaled 44 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and two passes batted. Ferrell has a good skill set with size, so he could easily rise with his year of experience.
15.New Orleans Saints:Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): Christian Wilkins, DT
The Saints could use a defensive end to go across from Cam Jordan. Trey Hendrickson was a nice third-round pick who also can move inside and rush from defensive tackle in passing situations.
The edge defender formerly known as Terrell Hall, Terrell Lewis (6-5, 247) developed behind the scenes for Alabama in 2016, but he could be poised for a breakout year in 2017 or 2018. Scouts have told me that Lewis is big, quick, and has surprising change-of-direction skills. They said that Lewis has a great build and is dripping with potential.
16.Kansas City Chiefs:Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/21): None
The Chiefs could use a running back of the future to take the pressure off of Pat Mahomes.
Among a group of a highly recruited and talented running backs, Weber won the starting job to replace Ezekiel Elliott, and Weber (5-10, 212) had an impressive debut in 2016, averaging six yards per carry for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns. He made 23 receptions for 91 yards as well. Weber could be even better in 2017 now that he has a year of experience. There has been some buzz about the redshirt sophomore in the scouting community.