Reader Mock by Boanerges

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2018 NFL Mock Draft by Boanerges - 4.9
Published at 4/10/2018 5:51:22 AM

A fresh start. Assumptions - Cousins to Vikings, Keenum to Broncos, Bradford to Cardinals, McCarron to Bills, Bridgewater to Steelers (now Jets), McCown returns to Jets. Browns have traded for Taylor. Jets will trade for Foles. Still think that the Jets will end up packaging Bridgewater & some combination of picks & players to the Eagles for Foles.

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Round 1

Picks 1-16
1. Browns: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC

The Browns are the only team that, after free agency, has to draft a starting QB. I appreciate that they traded for Taylor, but he is, at best, your backup QB. He may be the starter at the beginning of the year, but they have to be hoping that by about mid-season, whomever they draft is starting.

With that being said,... they have to consider the other options available at 1. Barkley?... Could still be available at 4,.. Chubb,... Same,... Nelson,... Same. If they take any of those with the number one pick,.. they have to be fairly certain that the G-men will take Darnold (who seems to be the Browns preferred QB.) So, they do the only sensible thing. They fill their position of greatest need with a player that is good value for the selection,.. at number one, that seems to be Darnold. Then you take the best non-QB available at 4.

2. Giants: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State

Are the G-men going to take a QB? or do they go with Manning?......

I think the answer is, 'both'. There has been a bit of rumor about the G-men taking Barkley. He would really fit their offense perfectly. However, That pick only really makes sense if the Giants are in 'win now or next year' mode. I think this last year has proven that the Giants are in 'do the groundwork to win 2 years from now' mode. if that is the case, then they need to go with a QB to develop behind Manning this year, and start next year. As is the case for the browns, there will be a number of quality backs at the beginning of the 2nd round if that is a priority, but they need to draft a franchise QB while they have the chance.

That being said,.. I think they like Darnold the best. Next on their board is likely Rosen. Though, I can't see Gettlemen truly happy with the idea of an outspoken QB, nor relating very well to a 'millenial' mindset. I can easily imagine Rosen being very good, very effective in the NYG offense. I think it plays to his strengths & minimizes his weaknesses.

The other QB's just don't seem to fit as well. Allen seems more the 'use the long pass to set up the run', and Mayfield seems more of a movement, rollout, run / pass QB. Neither of which really fits NYG.

So, I have to believe the stories about Barkley were just smoke. Chubb doesn't really fit their defense any better than JPP did. If they stay here (and I think they will), they really should go QB,.. and QB is likely Rosen.

Original selection - Josh Rosen - makes the most sense from a system fit & value.

UPDATE<--- OK, I read the article on the interview with Gettlemen after I posted this. I said above that Rosen's outspoken views probably aren't what he wants. He said as much,.. that they like Darnold, but if he isn't available, they would have to go a different direction,... So,.. I am changing this to Barkley. Meaning the G-men will have to look for a QB in the 2nd round.

3. Jets: Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming

The Jets are the other team that needs a QB. They have McCown returning, so they are in no worse shape than last year. To be fair to McCown,.. he had a tremendous year. He is also 39, and might have 1 good full year left. He can only be their bridge QB.

They also brought in Teddy Bridgewater. I really like this signing. Bridgewater was as starter before he was injured. It's uncertain just how he well be when he returns. I'm betting that he has some rust,.. but by the end of the season, he begins to look like the pre-injury Bridgewater. He should be the starter by the end of the season. It would be good for Bridgewater & good for the Jets. Bridgewater signed a 1 year deal (as did McCown). The jets are likely to need 1 of them for 2 years until their new franchise QB is ready to take the reins.

4. Browns: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, N.C. State

for my first mocks,.. I thought this was where the real draft would begin,... but now, I don't think so. at 4 Cleveland is going to take their highest rated player between Barkley / Chubb / Nelson.

I've had them taking Barkley for a while,.. but I'm not so certain. For me, Barkley is the best player in this draft. Chubb is a close second. Nelson likely third. The Browns signed Carlos Hyde. There would be ample opportunities for both Hyde and Barkley, but the Browns aren't a team trying to move deeper into the playoffs. They have a LOT of needs across this team. They went 0-16 this year, developing depth a position that is now 'solid if unspectacular' doesn't seem to make much sense.

The exact same case can be made for Nelson. They are solid to very good across the o-line. Nelson would be an upgrade & provide greater depth, but this teams needs starters & players,... not so much depth.

The Browns are seemingly set as well at DE,.. but I don't really think they believe it to be true. They have Garrett at RDE. However Ogbah played well,.. but not exceptionally, at LDE. He is also questionable for the start of training camp with an injured foot. It isn't actually very clear just how long he will be out, nor how he will be able to perform when he does get back.

The Browns signed Chris Smith,. but he is more of a rotational player to swing between both ends (as really is Ogbah).

I think the Browns will go with Chubb at LDE (his most natural position). This would give them a potentially dominating DL, and help their secondary and linebackers. Selecting Chubb would be one of 'those' selections, that doesn't just improve one position, but improves their whole defense as a unit.

As good as Barkley is,... you don't pass on elite pass rushers,.. they almost never make it into FA, and are second only to QB's in rarity.

5. Broncos: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

This is now where the draft begins. This puts the Broncos in a good but awkward position. The QB they really like, and would have taken to develop behind Keenan was Rosen. He is gone.

The QB that is likely the best 'fit' for their offense is Mayfield. They signed Keenum this offseason to a 2 year deal. It was annouced at the same time as the Cousins to Minnesota deal,.. but actually Denver & Keenum agreed terms before Cousins actually agreed with Minnesota. This is the QB that Denver wanted.

Keenum is 30. They have also signed a veteran backup. They could draft a future QB, but the Bronco really are in 'win now' mode. They had a bad year last year essentially because of their QB play. They believe they have a couple of year window to make a serious run at a superbowl.

Therefore, the Broncos are going to take the best player they can get that will help them win,... NOW. That would be likely be Barkley. If they have faith in Keenum,.. they have good receivers, a good line, they would want to add a dominant running game to balance the offense,.. and Barkley can do that. On his own,.. with no other help.

Again,.. this is one of those picks that makes the whole offensive unit better, not just one position. It also gives the Broncos leverage in their negotiations with C.J. Anderson, helping resolve those issues as well.

Original selection - Saquon Barkley, RB Penn St.

Update <--- after reading the interview with Gettlemen about Darnold & the Giants options,.. I have to believe that if Darnold isn't available, they won't go QB, and will likley take Barkley. If this happens, then it's likely that Rosen would fall to the Broncos,. which if you can belive all the interviews, is the only QB they really like.

6. Colts: Quenton Nelson, Offensive Guard, Notre Dame

Out of all the non-QB's at the top of the draft,... that leaves the Colts with Nelson,.. and they are really happy with that answer! LOL

I think the Colts moved to 6 because they would have been happy with any of the Barkley / Chubb / Nelson group that fell to them. They need talent,.. they need players,.. at all the positions on the team other than QB. There are a few teams that had worse records than the Colts this last year,... but all of those teams arguable had more actual talent than the Colts.

I believe if all 3 of the top players had fallen to the Colts,.. they would still have to have taken Nelson..... one stat from last year stands out,.. 57 sacks allowed,.. worst in the league. They have some good talent on the o-line,... but,.. it's too spread out, and too unreliable for the O-line to function as a complete unit. Castonzo had a bad year,... but if you watch tapes,.. he was simply trying to do to much. He is the LT, and he was trying to seal the outside, and still cover the inside blitz or double team to the left side of the line. So, he couldn't just take his man deep, because the defense would exploit the LG (after Mewhort was injured),.. and whole interior of the line (after Kelly and Mewhort were injured).

This is another one of those picks,.... Nelson fixes a positional need,.. which in turn makes the whole O-line better as a unit,.. which has been the weakest link on the Colts offense, and makes their whole offense better...

The Colts simply have to take Nelson.

7. Buccaneers: Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State

I keep reading commentary on how the Buc's secondary was so bad?... but I don't really think it was. The Buc's had no pass rush last year,.. at all. None. Opposing QB's were ordering out for Pizza & having if delivered behind their offensive lines! The Buc's fixed those issues with the trade for JPP and signing Curry in FA.

They are now only missing 1 piece on their defense. I've read so many mock's with the Buc's taking James, but that really just doensn't fit. They have good, young safeties at both positions. Their only need is at CB. They have Grimes,.. who is now 35, and even he admits he's lost part of a step. He is still an exceptionally talented CB, but you really want him playing the 2 CB, not the 1 CB at his age. They have VH3,.. who apparently according to an interview this spring, has been told that he will be used next year as the slot corner for the Buc's. (Which he really liked.) That plays right into his strengths as he is a quick, agile CB capable of covering on slots, RB's, & even playing some safety. But that leaves the Buc's without a true 1 CB.

The Buc's take Denzel Ward,.. a speed corner, similar in style and size to Grimes. He can learn from Grimes, moving up the learning curve more quickly,.. and would likely extend Grimes career by a year or two because he no longer has to play 'race & chase' down the field with speed receivers.

Yet again, a selection that fills a positional need,. but actually make the whole defense better as a unit.

8. Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, Outside Linebacker, Virginia Tech

I've been mocking Vea to the Bears,.. which really was a mistake. Goldman is a very good nose-tackle, with Jenkins playing behind him.

Coming into free agency, this pick was most likely going to go offense,.. but the Bears were active in FA and filled all their offensive needs. Trubisky really didn't have many weapons last year,.. this year he is going to have capable, veteran weapons at every level of the field. Have to give the Bears credit for their FA. They filled their needs, and improved their team, without really overpaying for anyone. Give their O a year to gel,.. and to build some depth. This should be a pretty good team.

Defensively, the bears are in good shape,.. not great shape,. but good shape. Their biggest hole is a linebacker, after losing Smith to Detroit. I've been reading all the recent articles about the Bears making a 'surprise' pick,.. but I don't think they reach that far. I think the article (which make some really good points) have the right position, LB,.. but the wrong player. The Bears won't reach at all, they take the best player available for them, in Tremaine Edmunds.

9. 49ers: Roquan Smith, Outside Linebacker, Georgia

The 49er's offense is solid. They could use some additional weapons for Jimmy G,...they should have ample opportunities to find rotation / development players in later rounds of this draft.

The 49er's now find themselves with 2 big holes on their defense. Their primary safety is no longer with the team (He was actually being 'phased out' during the year last year),. and their best, and youngest LB has been arrested & may never play in the NFL again. Off the two,. the bigger loss is Foster at LB.

The 49er's have Ward & Tartt on their 2 deep as the starting safeties. Though, Ward's versatility would likely make his best role as 'slot corner', able to cover the slot & RB's,.. and fill in at both outside corner slots and free safety. If the 49er's take a safety, they would have a sold, deep, young, & talented defensive secondary.

The Loss of Foster really hurts. There is no one on the team who can adequately bring to the field all the qualities that Foster brought on every play.

This likely brings the 49er's to a decision between James, Fitzpatrick, and Smith? (or a trade down). Smith has demonstrated all the abilities you want in a 4-3 LB. He is a bit undersized for the middle, but would be fine at the Will. However, he about the same size, and may be a better athlete, than Foster. He should be able to fill that role nicely,.. but he has a medical red flag at the scouting combine. Earlier this month, his medical flag was cleared in a re-check and the confirmation cleared by a number of teams. (per Dane Brugler)

So, here the 49er's have to take a chance on Smith.

10. Raiders: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety, Alabama

The Raider have made some interesting moves in free agency. They signed Rashaan Melvin in free agency, shoring up their CB's. They also announced that Bruce Irvin is being moved to Rt DE, to concentrate on rushing the passer, thinning out the linebacking ranks & creating more of need.

it's now been reported that the Raider also are unlikely to resign Nelson, their co-leading tackler at safety. They did sign Gilchrist as a free agent as a replacement. However that leaves them with 3 strong safeties,.. one of which Joseph, who is a clear cut starter,. the others would be best as rotation back ups.

In this scenario, due to the rush for QB's, Fitzpatrick & James have fallen and are likely the 'best players available'. So, I think the Raiders will go with the one they rate the most highly.

I've selected Fitzpatrick, as I believe he is the best 'fit' in terms of personality, and team needs. He is a pure free safety, with the ability to swing to CB should the need arise, giving the Raiders more flexibility in their defensive backfield. Also, he can play with any of the other safeties already on their roster. The same might not be said of James, as he is more like the safeties already on their team.

11. Dolphins: Vita Vea, Defensive Tackle, Washington

The Dolphins developed a Gia-normous hole in their defense with the release of Suh. Suh was their starting 3 tech DT. He played that role as well as anyone in the league. With the Dolphins playing mostly 4-3 Over, that put Suh on the strong side of the field, helping the run defense & widening the pass rush.

There are a number of players in this draft that could play the 3-tech in Miami's defense,... the 2 most likley DT's are Payne & Vea. Payne is a DT who can play anywhere in any scheme. He is a 311 pounder, runnning sub 5.0 40's with the fastest 10 yd split of any DT in this draft. He is the closest thing to Suh in this draft. Vea on the other hand, a massive man,. but moves like a DT, 20 - 30 pounds lighter than his actual weight. He would bring a different element to the Dolphins Defense,.. able to play the NT, and quick enough to play the 3-tech. He wouldn't be another version of Suh,.. but the idea of pairing him with Phillips to put nearly 680 pounds along the defensive trenches,. without losing any interior rush,.. or pair him next to Godchaux in a more traditional alignment, makes for a very intriguing selection.

If Miami is going to continue to use their 'Wide 9' defense,.. then, I believe it's likely they go for Vea. In this defense,.. both DT have to be able to take double teams, making the O-line play them 'straight up'. In this scheme Vea's overwhelming strength would come into play. If they single block him,... he is probably only going to notice it, the way a car notices a bug on the windshield,... if they double him. He is strong enough (as well as quick enough) to control the double-team, opening the middle for the other DT,.. both Godchaux and Phillips are quick enough to make the play & get into the backfield.

12. Bills: Marcus Davenport, Defensive End, Texas-San Antonio

The Bills are now in an interesting position,.....

They were very active in FA. They filled many of their needs with significant upgrades. Nearly every mock I've read has them trading up to grab a QB,... but I really don't think so.

Here Mayfield has fallen down to them at 12, but I'm not convinced that is perceived as an immediate need?

They signed McCarron to a 2 year contract. Meaning, they will need a new QB either this year or next,.. but I don't think they signed McCarron to be a 'bridge' or a backup. I think they will give him a chance to see if he can be a good starter in this league. So, far,.. based on his extremely limited snaps,. I would guess that he can be. He is only 27, so he has a number of good years ahead of him.

If McCarron pans out, and I am betting he does (so are the Bills by the way,. to the tune of 10Mil),... Then their offense is going to be solid to good. They could use some additional weapons, but what they need should be available in later rounds.

The point at issue,... the offense could be good,.. and the Bills may not improve in the standings,. because their defense is behind their offense. Specifically,. the biggest hole on their team that they haven't addressed in FA is pass rush. The Bills need a RDE. Jerry Hughes has been a disappointment. He has flashed occasionally for 5 years, but never become the consistent threat he was envisioned to be. Here they get their answer.

13. Redskins: Da'Ron Payne, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

Hood is injured and questionable for the start of training camp. The Redskins need DL help,.. they need an upgrade that can start at DT, and allow Hood to play in the rotation at the both DT and LDE. It was reported early in the evaluation process that the Skins like Payne from Alabama,.. everything I've heard has only reinforced that projection. He is a very good value at this point in the draft. So, this seems a perfect fit of demand & supply.

14. Packers: Jaire Alexander, Cornerback, Louisville

I've been drafting James to the Packers,.. he would be a perfect fit in the defense,.. but with recent developments,.. they have a much greater need at CB, with a couple of CB's at good value at 14,.. I believe they will go that direction.

Alexander has risen quickly up the draft boards,.. he was the best CB at the combine, and has continued to show the athleticism, speed, and skill required to start at CB in the NFL.

15. Cardinals: Derwin James, Safety, Florida State

The Cards are on team that is desperate for a QB. They have Bradford for a couple of seasons. However, it seems as though he may not be a long term solution. Even if he is not 'brittle' as has been suggested, it is apparent that his knee is not built for him to play long term. The Cards only signed him to a 2 year deal,.. his knee should hold up that long,. and they also signed Mike Glennon as his backup. Having said all that,... they just don't seem as desperate for a QB? It now doesn't seem like their biggest need.

The Cards also lost both of their starting safeties to injury or FA. Neither seems to be returning, leaving the Cards with only Baker,.. who is an up and comer at FS,.. and Bethea who is 33 years old as the other starter. This is now a greater need than QB.

James has only dropped this far because of positional needs and scheme fits matched against value at draft position,.. he is an absolute steal at this point in the draft, and will likely 'QB' the defense for the Cards for the next decade.

16. Ravens: Will Hernandez, Offensive Guard, UTEP

Last year, Baltimore needed help at receiver. They needed weapons for Flacco,.. they just didn't really have the answer. They signed Brown and Crabtree in FA, & suddenly, most of the mocks moved to them drafting a OT. I'm just not buying it. LOL

The Ravens weren't just weak at WR,..they were desperate. They signed Crabtree, who is 30,.. and was never one of the faster WR's,.. he is just strong, productive, and he catches the ball. Brown,. their other FA, has had medical issues the last 2 years,.. one of those issues probably precludes brown from playing a starters number of snaps in each game. He can still be a good receiver, in limited usage', and his hands are better than they were, but he still can get a case of the drops. The Ravens still need help,.. badly. They actually need a speed receiver, to help across from Crabtree. There should be a number of those available later in the draft There just aren't any the justify the selection here.

They have announced that Hurst will be their starting RT next year, which most of the commenters don't believe,.. but he played very well at LG, earning praise from coaches, team-mates, and the press. His previous assignment at LT didn't go very well,.. but Hurst has never been the guy to put on an island against a pass rush. He has the quickness and kick-slide to play very well at LG or RT. He just doesn't have the range to play LT. I think he will do well at RT, which will help provide a space for some of the Ravens younger players on the inside of the OL.

With the movements of players along the OL,.. The Ravens would seem to have several players filling in roles at OT,.. but they have left themselves thin in the interior. They have Skura & Yanda (who is 33), but no real depth or supporting talent. So, I have them taking a player with very good value at this point, able to fill in one of the holes left in the interior of the line to solidify the line play. Making the OL better as a unit. Hernandez fits the type of player that the Ravens usually choose for their line,. big, strong, but with excellent movement skills,... Yanda still holds the combine record for 3 cone drill for an OL. Hernandez isn't as fluid,... but he's close,. and he's stronger. With Yanda at LG, Skura at C, and Hernandez at RG, that frees up Hurst for RT, and leaves Stanley at LT. Suddenly the Ravens OL looks like a potential strength.

Picks 1-16

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