Matt Singh's 2018 Pre-Combine Mock
Published at 2/25/2018 4:04:14 PM
I'm getting better at not waiting until the last minute to publish these. Good thing I didn't finish before the Bortles news broke.
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I don't think the Browns are going to let the pressure for a QB at No. 1 get to them and will instead take the best player available. Plus, their other first round pick is No. 4 instead of in the 20s, where they have drafted 3 busts (Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel, and Brady Quinn).
New GM Dave Gettleman wants to build up the trenches and could get a potential cornerstone here. A guard this early gives me some pause, but he's one of the top guys on nearly everyone's board.
Popular pick here. No Barkley or blue-chip offensive tackle makes this an easy decision for Chris Ballard. If the playoffs taught us anything, it's that a good pass rush can be the foundation for a contender.
Some are linking Allen to the Browns with the first pick, I feel like they don't have to take him then. The only thing keeping him from falling to 4 is someone else falling in love with him, which hasn't gotten out yet. If they're worried about that, they have more than enough draft capital to get that No. 2 pick from the Giants.
Denver gets a guy that can come in and start right away. I don't know if he'll be the best QB in this class in 5 years, but I do think he's the best of the group right now, which is what Denver needs.
It's been 9 years since the Jets spent a first round pick on a QB and lucky for them, it looks like they'll be able to get a good one here. Darnold was the top QB entering the season and hasn't done anything to warrant him falling very far.
Another extremely talented SEC safety falling out of the top 5 because of offensive needs. This time, the Buccaneers can reap the benefits. Some have Minkah as their top player in the draft, so potentially the steal of the draft here.
One of my guys in this class. Good size (6'1") with great production & ball skills (Former WR, 8 INT, 18 PD in 2017). If he runs a good 40 time, he could go even higher. Kyle Fuller's impending free agency makes corner a need for the Bears.
This wide receiver class is quite tricky to evaluate, with no clear-cut top guy. It looks like a 5 to 6 horse race for the first receiver taken but for now, Washington's great production puts him slightly above the rest. Jimmy G got paid this off-season, and could use a younger receiver to develop alongside him.
Reggie Nelson isn't getting any younger and this would be a great value, given that James was going even higher in my previous mock. The emergence of Fitzpatrick and Jackson combined with Florida State's mediocre season pushed his stock down a bit, but he's still a fantastic prospect.
Jay Cutler isn't the answer and Ryan Tannehill is a huge question mark coming back from a torn ACL. Of the top 5 quarterbacks, I was by far the most impressed with Mayfield after looking at some tape. I always like the guys in the "If he was a few inches taller, he'd go higher" club and I'm not buying the "next Johnny Manziel" narrative.
Middle linebacker is always an undervalued position in the draft, unless there's a potentially transcendent guy in the mix. Roquan Smith was the leader of Georgia's great defense and is one of the better athletes in the draft. He'd be an immediate upgrade on Cincinnati's defense.
The Redskins traded away Kendall Fuller, and Denzel Ward appears to be a perfect replacement at slot corner. If he can get stronger, he has both the athletic ability and footwork to develop into a top-tier corner in the NFL.
The Packers have relied on Aaron Rodgers' ability for a long time, and it would benefit everyone involved if they invested some resources into the skill positions. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both free agents and it's unlikely that both will be retained. I'm not in love with Ridley like some, but he was impressive during his tenure at Alabama.
I originally had Lamar Jackson going 29th to Jacksonville, but after signing Blake Bortles to an extension, I doubt they'll go QB in the first round. That being said, I can't justify keeping Lamar Jackson out of the first round. He's an elite athlete, good character guy, and has the highest upside of any QB in this draft. The Cardinals have no QB on their roster as of right now and a backfield of Lamar Jackson and the returning David Johnson could be dangerous for years to come.
The Ravens lack a tall possession receiver and like the Packers, 2 of their starting receivers (Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace) are also free agents. If 2015 first rounder Breshad Perriman begins to produce, Sutton would be a nice complement next to him.