Big D's Mock Draft
Published at 4/6/2018 11:20:14 PM
17 trades went down in this mock. 8 in the first round, 4 in the second and 5 in the third round.
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Appears as though this selection is coming down to Josh Allen or Sam Darnold. Rumor has it that a friend of Cleveland Browns GM John Dorsey may prefer Allen, the raw but strong-armed kid out of Wyoming. Allen easily has the best arm strength in the class. Cleveland would be wise to let Allen sit and learn for a bit if they do take him. Good news for them is they have a very good bridge option in Tyrod Taylor. No, Taylor won't get them to the promised land, but he did a respectable job in Buffalo and I feel like he could replicate those results in Cleveland.
In an instance where the Browns take Allen, I could see the Giants trading back with the Buffalo Bills (this is a very common rumor) or just as easily see them staying put and taking Darnold. I'm going to have the team staying put and taking Darnold unless Buffalo (or someone else) gives them an offer they simply can't refuse. He seems like the QB the Giants are most locked in on if they were to grab one. Darnold is a natural leader and high character guy who can be at his best late in games. He can also make every NFL throw. One area he'll have to clean up is taking better care of the ball. Too many lost fumbles and poor throws in 2017.
How much do you believe in draft rumors? The Jets could be blowing smoke, but some league insiders seem to believe Baker Mayfield is the preference over Josh Rosen for the Jets. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner actually began his career as a walk on at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma and winning the Heisman. Having to walk on? Too short? Johnny Manziel Part 2? Mayfield has been proving his doubters wrong throughout his college career and that's what will continue to drive him as he moves on to his NFL career.
Part 2 of that rumor involving the Browns and the GM's buddy is the belief that they will use the fourth pick on Saquon Barkley if he happens to still be available. Right now, I think odds are pretty strong that he will still be around when the Browns go on the clock at #4. Barkley is one of those rare talents at running back who would make life so much easier for Tyrod Taylor to start, and eventually Josh Allen. Arguably the top prospect in this draft class, Barkley is right there with Ezekiel Elliott & Leonard Fournette, both of whom were taken 4th overall the last two years.
Buffalo Bills receive: Pick #5
Denver Broncos receive: Picks #12, 53 (2nd round), 96 (3rd round) and 187 (6th round)
Here is an interesting scenario for the Denver Broncos. Do they stay put and draft Josh Rosen; or do they trade back and try accumulating as many picks as possible to fix the rest of the team? I have them choosing the latter route in this scenario, but neither choice would surprise me. Buffalo is the team that moves up for Rosen. They have been attempting to position themselves for a major move up for one of the top QB prospects; and happen to get the last one still on the board. Rosen is the most NFL ready of the bunch, but there are questions surrounding his overall character and for his love of football. These concerns seem to be dropping him behind the other three top QBs.
Literally 10 seconds is all the Indianapolis Colts might need to make this selection in a scenario where Bradley Chubb is still on the board. Yes, no question middle linebacker is also a need. So Raquon Smith or Tremaine Edmunds would both be tremendous picks if they move back. However, the pass rush for Indy has been nothing short of awful recently. I simply do not feel like they could pass on Chubb, who is not only the best pass rusher in this draft class, but also the most ready to make a huge impact from the very first day of training camp for whichever team snags him.
Offensive guard may not be the biggest need for Tampa Bay, but they decide they can't say no to Quenton Nelson with the 7th pick. Offensive guards don't usually get taken this early, but Nelson is so good that he can certainly be an exception to that rule. Many consider him to be the safest bet to be a multiple time All-Pro/Pro Bowl level performer. He'll help make life so much easier for Jameis Winston and pave some major holes for whoever the new running back ends up being.
Double threat should be Tremaine Edmunds' nickname because he can take on the prototypical role of a middle linebacker and can also be a terror rushing the passer. This guy won't even turn 20 until shortly after the draft concludes, so the sky is the limit here. Some have given comparisons to former great Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. He's basically this year's version of Hasson Reddick, except even better. Reddick had a meteoric rise throughout the draft process a year ago. Same deal for Edmunds, who I have going even higher this year.
Snooping around mock drafts on the web, I've seen the 49ers passing on blue chip defenders such as Minkah Fitzpatrick for lesser prospects to fill what may be bigger needs. I believe that would not be a good idea for this team, who still should be looking to add as many blue chip prospects to their team as possible. Fitzpatrick would be an excellent pick for a team that does not appear interested in bringing Eric Reid back and may be losing Jimmie Ward in free agency after the 2018 season. This is a great value for Fitzpatrick, who should already be off the board. Thanks to teams looking to move up for QBs, the Niners steal him here.
Putting Florida State safety Derwin James here was a very tempting move, but I stuck with my guns and put Vita Vea here instead. The mammoth defensive tackle has unbelievable athleticism for a guy his size and would add even more size into the middle of an Oakland defensive line that already has Justin Ellis and his 330+ pound frame clogging up running lanes up the middle. Even though pass rushing may not be his specialty, Vea has more pass rushing potential than Ellis.
Without a QB worth taking at this juncture, the Miami Dolphins turn to fill a position that's long been a sore spot for them. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith could actually help make the linebacking core a strength, especially when you combine him with Raekwon McMillan, who was taken by Miami in the second round a year ago. Smith is just your prototypical linebacker in the mold of guys like Deion Jones and Lavonte David. Assuming the Dolphins themselves believe he's okay health-wise (some teams did red flag him at the combine), he'd be a tremendous pick and fit for them.
Florida State Seminoles always seem to have one another's backs. You don't even need to ask Derwin James himself if he's the best prospect in this draft class when former Nole Jalen Ramsey also believes this is the case. Denver decided to pass on Josh Rosen, but landing James here with the 12th pick would be an absolute coup. Safety may not be the biggest Broncos need, but this is a top 10 talent that landed in their lap at 12. How can they pass on him? They can't. James is excellent against the run, blitzing and does a very nice job in pass coverage in well. You can move him around like a chess piece in that secondary. Second year defensive coordinator and former defensive backs coach Joe Woods will have a lot of fun deploying a player like Derwin James in just about every way imaginable.
'Sweet Home Alabama' is becoming the theme of the defensive line for the Washington Redskins. After surprisingly landing Jonathan Allen 17th overall a year ago (injuries really pushed him down the board), Da'Ron Payne hears his name called by the Redskins with the 13th pick. This is a message being sent: the Redskins are tired of opposing running games trampling them. Having Payne and Allen up the middle would be the perfect remedy for strong running games possessed by Philadelphia and Dallas. Some people believe Payne is only beginning to realize just how good he can be and will become a real monster in the NFL.
Everybody and their dogs know what a mess the secondary is for the Green Bay Packers. That's why it happens to be so convenient that Denzel Ward happened to make it to them at 14th when he's worthy of a top 10 selection. The consensus top corner in this year's draft class, Ward has exceptional speed and tremendously long arms to help him make plays on the ball and break up passes. These traits help make up for the fact that he's not 6'0" or 6'1." Ohio State might be becoming the new 'DB U' with all these first round defensive back talents they're developing.
Bit of a surprise move as the Arizona Cardinals pass on a QB and focus on getting some desperately needed help at offensive tackle. After Ronnie Stanley left for the NFL, Mike McGlinchey has moved over to left tackle for Notre Dame and done a very fine job of protecting the blind side. This is a pretty awful draft class for finding an offensive tackle, and McGlinchey is probably the best one available. This guy does a solid job both in pass protection and in opening running lanes. He'd help Sam Bradford stay healthy for at least a little bit longer and be a much needed asset for whichever QB steps in whenever Bradford likely gets injured.
As surprising as it may have been to see Arizona pass on Lamar Jackson, it may be as equally unsurprising to see the Baltimore Ravens taking a wide receiver. Even with the addition of Michael Crabtree, it's hard to call the receiving core a strength when Javorious Allen (a running back) is the leading returning receiver from a yards standpoint. Courtland Sutton does not have the best downfield speed, but he's quick in short areas, is strong and does a great job of going up and winning those jump balls.