2018 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers find future QB in Louisville prospect Lamar Jackson
Published at 3/2/2018 6:20:24 AM
The Pittsburgh Steelers need an inside linebacker. They need a safety. They also may need a Le'veon Bell replacement. But given the wide array of QB talented prospects, this is the year they take someone to be the heir of Ben Roethlisberger. Now, before we get onto the draft, let me just alert you of these major free agency moves: Kirk Cousins signs with the Broncos Drew Brees returns to the Saints Case Keenum is franchise-tagged by the Vikings Sam Bradford signs with the Cardinals Now let's get to it..
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The Browns need a quarterback. After decades of unsuccessful attempts at finding a franchise quarterback, they need to start over at the position. Despite using other high picks on quarterbacks, the Browns take a risk and draft Darnold. He had a down year last season, but he has the talent to take the first step in turning Cleveland into a successful team.
The Giants are one-dimensional. They can't run the football. Behind an average at best O-Line for especially the last 2 years, Eli Manning and Co. have been forced to throw the football 45+ times per game, which has led to turnovers, fatigue, and . Barkley would be a nice addition, and coupled with an improved line, the best prospect in the draft could get this offense back on its feet and ready it for a championship run.
Matt Patricia and the Colts had an unlucky year last season, and now with their franchise quarterback already on the roster, and healthy, they can address one of their glaring needs on the defensive side. Chubb is a relentless, strong, and hardworking DE who would drastically give the Colts the pass rush they lack.
With the question at quarterback solved at the moment, the Browns can now turn their attention to acquiring defensive help. Fitzpatrick will bolster the Browns' secondary with excellent ball-hawking skills and athleticism. Along with former 1st round pick Jabrill Peppers, and some future talent at cornerback, this secondary could become scary.
Tyrod Taylor is not the answer at quarterback for the Bills, and they were going to have to pursue their future at some point, and now is the perfect time. Having owned 2 first-round picks this year, the Broncos are the perfect trade partners, with Kirk Cousins under center. Rosen would fit into the system quickly, and become a future established starter.
Another QB here. The Jets will be happy that the Oklahoma star has fallen down to them, following speculation that the Browns and Giants were interested. Mayfield, despite his height issues, has a strong arm and accurate throws, which could help the Jets find their passing game after lackluster performances by Josh McCown last season.
Tampa Bay has struggled with their pass rush, and consequently, became one of the driving factors that led to their collapse in 2017, along with poor offensive play. Davenport is a big, talented end who can harass quarterbacks off the edge, as he did so many times at Texas- San Antonio. Along with some additional talent at the outside linebacker position, this team can regain its dangerous stance in the NFL.
The Bears don't have enough depth, or nearly enough playmakers at the wideout position, and with predominately a running team, featuring Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and an above-average O-Line, Mitch Trubisky needs some more weapons to throw to on crucial, passing-down situations. Ridley, the top receiver prospect in the class, has downfield speed which can really expose cornerbacks if allowed fast, sharp releases.
San Fransisco really started to look a lot better late in the season with Jimmy G under center, but still have a decent pick here, which would be best used on the offensive line. Nelson is easily the best guard available, and with his great size and technique, would help solidify the line, and incorporate a running attack later.
Inside linebacker is a position of desperate need for the Raiders. Their general play at the position improved slightly with some mid-season pick-ups, but there is still a huge hole in the middle of this defense, which vastly underperformed last season. Smith had perfect year last season, and especially with his coverage and run-stopping skills, earned his right to become a Top-10 pick in the draft.
The Dolphins have a huge hole to fill in the secondary at cornerback, as a quality player is needed to replace the recently-cut Bryon Maxwell. Jackson has blinding speed, and is an excellent cover-corner, and has the potential and performance so far to be in the conversation for the best CB of the class.
Coming off of a lackluster year, the Bengals offense needs to find a replacement for their former tackle Andrew Whitworth, who departed to the Rams via free agency last season. Williams could step in the line immediately and start making an impact, especially on outside and counter runs for former 2nd round pick Joe Mixon.
With the signing of Alex Smith from the Chiefs and Kirk Cousins leaving for the Broncos, the Redskins' quarterback problems were solved earlier in the offseason. Now, they can address their dire needs in the defensive trenches, which would contribute towards the goal of stopping the run. Too many times running backs cut through the initial wave, and turned 2 or 3 yarders into first downs. Vea not only provides and anchor in the middle of the D-Line, but is also a great athlete who can get to the quarterback as well.
Defensive end was also considered here, but with this mid-first round pick the Packers would be better served selecting the close runner-up to Josh Jackson for best CB in the class. With a bandaged and bruised-up secondary, and with Haha Clinton-Dix's future uncertain, Ward would provide an athletic, exciting corner for Mike McCarthy's defense.
The Cardinals need to find their QB of the future, as the 38-year old Carson Palmer is coming dangerously close to retirement, and Allen is the perfect pocket-passer that Arizona can use, coupled with the returning David Johnson to become a balanced, two-dimensional offense. Also, Allen has great arm strength and has a good downfield throw, and can scare opposing defenses with Larry Fitzgerald on the receiving end.
The Ravens need a solid WR1 outside that Joe Flacco and Marty Mornhinweg can rely on to be a consistent pass-catcher, after recent years of having to use short passes and runs, which made Baltimore very predictable on obvious passing situations. Sutton's physicality, strength, size, and strong hands are exactly what the Ravens can take advantage of, especially in man coverage.