2018 NFL Mock Draft by kkunert327 - 1.5
Published at 1/6/2018 4:36:15 PM
See my mock draft first over colleagues over at prettygoodsports.com, as well as other writings from my colleagues. As always, comments and feedback are always welcomed
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People do knee jerk reactions with these exhibition games and now after watching Darnold laying an egg in his bowl game people are going to be completely all in on Rosen. Even though he said he would not go to the Browns they could possibly trade him to the Giants, or elsewhere for picks and another opportunity to take another quarterback. However, the right pick in my opinion is Sam Darnold if he comes out due to his better intangibles and bigger body. Rosen does have the better quarterback mechanics, but his injury history and lack of leadership qualities scare me off a bit. I would not be shocked at all if Baker Mayfield is the pick after John Dorsey called him the next Russell Wilson, which is a completely ridiculous statement.
Last Mock Pick: Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
I think Darnold should go to the NFL and that poor bowl game is a great example why. That lose was not on him in my opinion more so on Clay Helton getting out coached easily by Urban Meyer, but it does not go on Helton instead the blame will fall on Darnold. If Darnold stays in college he only risks getting over examined more and risk falling further down in the draft. To me he has the size, arm, intangibles, and athleticism to be a terrific quarterback at the next level. He is not perfect mechanically like Rosen, but Darnold has only recently began honing his craft after being a linebacker in high school. I also trust Darnold a lot more going to New York and dealing with the media than say Mayfield or Rosen.
Last Mock Pick: Sam Darnold QB USC
The first two picks will always be a combination of two quarterbacks, but the third pick will always be Barkley most likely even as we get closer to the draft. He just makes too much sense for a team that needs to take the pressure off of Andrew Luck's shoulders and allow him to defer to a strong running back. They have never had a player like Barkley with him on offense outside of maybe T.Y. Hilton who is only good with Luck really. Barkley is the best running back I have seen enter the draft in a long time even better than either Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott. Neither of the previous top backs have the rare speed, vision, and power that Barkley possesses.
Last Mock Pick: Saquon Barkley RB Penn St
The Browns must have been filled with glee as they saw the Texans season fall apart when Deshaun Watson went down. Not only do they have a pick they could trade, but it hurts a lot less having passed on Watson in the first place. Obviously, trading this pick is a possibility, but I think the Browns just need to start getting good players rather than stockpiling more draft picks for the future. Jabrill Peppers has been predictably terrible in coverage this season and should force the Browns to seek a better coverage safety to pair with Peppers. Fitzpatrick has been a terrific and versatile athlete for Alabama during his time there. Playing at a high level at both corner and safety, but being in the middle of the field allows him to use his plus instincts much more effectively.
Last Mock Pick: Denzel Ward CB Ohio St
The Broncos obviously need to look for a quarterback to restart this organization in the right direction. However, with John Elway's recent track record in the draft I think they would be better off looking for one in free agency rather than the draft. If they do decide to take a quarterback with the 5th pick then Allen should be there for the taking. Teams love his size, arm strength, and potential. However, he is far from a finished product with poor accuracy, mechanics, and jumpy feet playing with a poor supporting cast. If given time he could develop into a solid quarterback, but he will be forced to play too soon and could flounder for a bit under a ravenous fan base in Denver.
Last Mock Pick: Quenton Nelson OG Notre Dame
Under Mike Maccagnan the Jets have always drafted best player available regardless of position and I doubt it starts now. Fans will want Baker Mayfield, but I just do not see him working in New York with the media, cold weather, and his below average arm strength in the wind tunnel of the Meadowlands. Instead, drafting a pass rusher to replace Muhammad Wilkerson and out play the over hyped Leonard Williams could be a nice move. Along with their two young safeties, developing linebackers, and now with Chubb they could actually have one of the better young defenses in the league. They also have a ton of cap space that could possibly allow them to make a run after Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, or another free agent quarterback who can potential play for awhile.
Last Mock Pick: Josh Rosen QB UCLA
The Bucs would love to grab Bradley Chubb to help their defensive line, but I think he will be picked before they have a chance. Instead, they could replace the soon to be free agent T.J. Ward with a nice local product with a ton of upside at safety. James is a bigger safety with a ton of athleticism, speed, and instincts to turn into a talented all around player in the back end. Safety play has been a big issue for awhile for the Bucs and is one of the reasons why they tried to give Ward a shot. They have found Justin Evans who has played well in his limited opportunities, but that should not stop them from taking a blue chip guy like Derwin James.
Last Mock Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick S Alabama
As a Bears fan I will probably hate this pick after whiffing on Kevin White in the same range and disdain for first round receivers due to their high bust rate. However, after a solid playoff game and overall career Ridley is a tad bit of a safer pick than White who was more projections ever was. It is still a bit of a reach since Ridley's size will hold him back from ever being one of the more dominant first round receivers in the game. He should give Mitchell Trubisky a reliable route runner on the outside with good hands and speed to threaten defenses. Putting him along with a healthy Cam Meredith and possibly Dontrelle Inman with a full off season could actually give the franchise a good receiving core going into the 2018 season.
Last Mock Pick: Bradley Chubb DE N.C. State
Now we clearly know why the 49ers never wanted play Jimmy Garoppolo and obviously knew they would win too many games landing them a pick outside of the top 5. In fact, if he played one more game he could have played them out of the top 10 picks. Now with the hardest thing solved on the roster with Jimmy they should now look to find him a proper supporting cast to continue moving forward. They seem pretty bright with John Lynch at the helm and should look to improve the offensive line with clearly the best blocker in the draft. Of course guards are not as highly regarded in this poor offensive line league we live in now, but Nelson is a rare blue chip guard who should be a top pick. He has good balance, technique, strength, and intelligence to be a key cog in front of Garoppolo to build around.
Last Mock Pick: Derwin James S Florida St
The Raiders really need to fix their secondary, but after using a lot of cap space and high draft picks at the position I doubt they want to use another one. Instead, they should look to find a real difference maker to pair with Khalil Mack who took a big step back after his Defensive Player of the Year season due to teams keying in on him. Which, has to be disappointing for him and the coaching staff since no one else across from him ever really stepped up to the lack of attention spent elsewhere. Vea should be a major upgrade over Justin Ellis at the nose tackle spot with his run stuffing ability, high motor, and amazing athleticism that makes him a threat in the passing game as he continues to develop. To me he is a better Danny Shelton with a higher ceiling, which makes sense at why a nose tackle is taken this early.
Last Mock Pick: Clelin Ferrell OLB Clemson
The Dolphins have been trying to solve their cornerback issues for awhile now, but just recently let go of the maligned Byron Maxwell. Granted, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley have begun to develop a bit much like pass rushers you can never have too many good cover corners in the NFL. Ward is a smaller corner who can serve as a terrific slot corner with the longer Howard and Tankersley on the outside. Not to say the highly athletic Buckeye could operate on the outside, but his smaller size could have issues with bigger receivers. His technique, speed, ball skills, and tenacity make him a tough match up to go against. The Dolphins could look to getting a quarterback, but I think they will give Tannehill one more shot before giving up on him.
Last Mock Pick: Austin Bryant DE Clemson
Even though I am not a huge fan of his the consensus among analysts and scouts is that Williams will still be the first tackle taken off the board. Which, scares me since it is more based on potential than actual good production on the field. He has the athleticism to be a stand out left tackle, but I worry about his knees, technique, and strength to hold up at the next level. Maybe with proper coaching he could turn into the player everyone expects him to be. The Bengals could really use him at left tackle to allow them to kick Cedric Obueghi to the inside where he is a much better pick.
Last Mock Pick: Arden Key DE LSU
A quarterback may be the answer here, but I feel like even though they are going to be dumb and let Kirk Cousins go they will not be stupid enough to reach on Baker Mayfield here. I would not mind if they go after Lamar Jackson, but he will remind people too much of RGIII that will scare people away in Washington. Instead, they could continue beefing up the interior of their defense pairing Payne with fellow former Tide tackle Jonathan Allen. In fact, Payne has better upside and potential than Allen had coming out of Bama. Payne already has been a proven run stuffer, but has a lot of potential to be a better pass rusher as he learns proper technique and more pass rushing moves rather than just his raw strength. This may not be a popular pick in the DMV area, but it will be a smart pick to build around.
Last Mock Pick: Da'Ron Payne DT Alabama
The Packers need to get better on defense and more athletic on that side of the ball overall. Clay Matthews is shot after all the injuries have sapped all of his explosiveness and the style of energy he plays with is what makes him a good player since he was never the most athletic player on the field. Meanwhile, I think Nick Perry only played well last year for a nice pay day and has reverted back to his mediocre play. Ferrell is an athletic pass rusher with a good all around game with good strength and speed. He is also really young and stands to get better in the long run as he develops into his skill set.
Last Mock Pick: Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Everyone is telling me Jackson will be a 2nd round prospect. Which, in quarterback terms is the 1st round since players in that position normally go sooner than expected due to the demand. In Jackson's case I think he is deserving of being a first round pick with his athletic ability and continuing development as a pocket passer. Not only did he throw for better numbers this year than his Heisman winning season, but he has also gotten much better as a pocket passer with a higher completion percentage. If he can learn how to put more touch on his pass rather than throwing a fastball every time he only stands to get better.
Last Mock Pick: Josh Allen QB Wyoming
Receivers are much like quarterbacks also where they are reached for sooner than they should due to the demand at the position. It is also why the bust rate is so high for both positions. The Ravens already whiffed on Breshad Breeland, but could also lose Mike Wallace this off season and Jeremy Maclin really has nothing left in the tank. They need to hit on a young receiver to give Joe Flacco a chance not to turn into a washed up and overpaid quarterback. Sutton reminds me a lot of Brandon Marshall where he has good long speed with his long strides and knows how to use his size to get open. He should be a good red zone weapon also for Flacco to toss the ball up to. His 40 time will be a big determining factor for how high he goes.
Last Mock Pick: Courtland Sutton WR SMU