My last mock of the year, unless I post a quick last second mock tomorrow.
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma. Looks like this pick is coming down to Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen. For the sake of Browns fans and their sanity, I really hope it is Mayfield. I just cannot see Josh Allen being a successful pro quarterback.
2. New York Giants – HB Saquon Barkley, Penn State. The Giants should probably draft a quarterback here but you cannot argue with Barkley. He is a true centerpiece of an offense and could help New York get back to the playoffs like Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott did for their teams the past couple of years.
3. New York Jets – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA. It is hard to pick quarterback’s to certain teams, because four top teams will be zeroing in on four different guys. I think Rosen makes the most sense in New York. He has a similar demeanor and game to Eli Manning, who is been able to last almost 2 decades in the harshest media environment in football.
4. Cleveland Browns – DE Bradley Chubb, NC State. As you would expect of a winless team, Cleveland needs help pretty much everywhere. The only top prospect you would rule out is Quenton Nelson, since the Browns have a couple very good guards. Chubb is probably the best prospect available. Emmanuel Ogbah is not bad, but a team can never have too many solid pass rushers.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Sam Donald, USC. Case Keenum was signed to a short term deal, so Denver is definitely still in the QB market. Darnold was long thought of as the best quarterback in this class, so he is good value here. The red shirt sophomore needs to sit and learn for year, but learning behind a solid veteran and playing for a stable franchise, his future should be bright.
6. Indianapolis Colts – OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame. The Colts are another team that simply needs help everywhere. Indianapolis fans may not like seeing Nelson picked here, but he is the highest rated interior line prospect I can ever remember. The Colts simply need talented players.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FS Derwin James, Florida State. The Tampa Bay secondary is a mess, Derwin James is a mega talented local prospect; the fit makes too much sense.
8. Chicago Bears – OLB Tremaine Edmunds. Chicago is crushed that both Nelson and James are off the board here. Edmunds is not quite the pass rushing terror that Chicago needs, but he is a great all-around defender that can play any linebacker position in a 3-4 defense.
9. San Francisco 49ers – MLB Roquan Smith, Georgia. The Reuben Foster pick may already be a lost cause. Smith has the ability of Foster, but without the myriad of off the field issues. Even if Foster can turn his career around, Smith has the ability to play any linebacker position, so he is not necessarily a replacement.
10. Oakland Raiders – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame. If Roquan Smith is gone, this pick has to be McGlinchey. Jon Gruden loves players with toughness and experience. McGlinchey may never be a pro bowler, but he should be a very solid starting left tackle for the next 10 years.
11. Miami Dolphins – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State. The Dolphins are not often connected to cornerbacks, but that is yet another need for a team full of holes. The only thing holding Denzel Ward back from a top 10 pick is his height, but still, he should not fall too much further than this.
12. Buffalo Bills – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming. Alan will not fall this far, as a team will definitely move up into the top 10 to select him. Buffalo could very well be that team, as a trade with the Colts would make a ton of sense for both teams. I am not a fan of Allen at all, but the risk is worth it for a Bills team that has been looking for a franchise quarterback for over 20 years.
13. Washington Redskins – DT Vita Vea, Washington. Vea has a bit of Dontari Poe disease. He looks the part of an absolute superstar, but his game did not always measure up. Washington needs a plug in the middle of its defense of line, and Vea also has the ability to get after the quarterback on occasion.
14. Green Bay Packers – FS Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama. Fitzpatrick is a secondary hybrid, but Green Bay would be drafting him to play cornerback. Scouts are concerned about the lack of athleticism, but he has the ability to cover as well as intercept passes. He’s talent is too good to pass up here.
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville. The last of the five first round quarterbacks, though Arizona may actually have to trade up to get him. I am excited to see what kind of pro Lamar Jackson will become. Fortunately, he can sit and learn behind Sam Bradford for a year.
16. Baltimore Ravens – WR DJ Moore, Maryland. The Ravens have done everything they could to upgrade the passing attack, and I expect that to continue during the draft. Moore over Ozzie Newsome’s Alabama favorite, Calvin Ridley, might seem like a surprise, but Moore offers superior athleticism and big play ability.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – OLB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State. Boise State defenders have not fared well in the NFL, but Vander Esch has mouth watering ability as an all around linebacker. He should step right into the middle in Los Angeles and lead an underrated Chargers defense.
18. Seattle Seahawks – EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College. As is often the case, age and free agency has decimated Seattle’s once vaunted defense. The Seahawks need help pretty much everywhere, and could go with the best player available. Landry’s stock has slipped a bit, but he should be a Vic Beasley like pass rusher in the NFL.
19. Dallas Cowboys – WR Courtland Sutton, SMU. I believe Sutton is the same caliber receiver as Mike Williams and Corey Davis, who were both picked in the top ten last year. The Cowboys do not have anything close to a WR1 on its roster, though Sutton may not be that himself.
20. Detroit Lions – EDGE Marcus Davenport, UTSA. Davenport is the ultimate project, and may never pan out. If he does, he will give the Lions a much needed pass rushing counterpart for Ezekiel Ansah.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – C James Daniels, Iowa. This is another easy connection. Interior offensive lineman are being drafted higher than ever, as teams want guys they can plug into the starting lineup right away. The Bengals line is awfully bad, but Daniels would fill a hole immediately.
22. Buffalo Bills – OT Connor Williams, Texas. Trading Cordy Glenn opened a big hole at tackle. Connor Williams has top ten talent, but underachieved during an injury plagued junior season.
23. New England Patriots – OLB Rashaan Evans, Alabama. Evans is the type of do it all linebacker the Patriots love, and can take over for the declining Dont’a Hightower in a year or two.
24. Carolina Panthers – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa. Perhaps the Panthers will actually use first round picks to fill needs. Jackson is not fast, but is the best cover guy in this draft. The Panthers cannot keep getting by with backup types in the secondary.
25. Tennessee Titans – EDGE Josh Sweat, Florida State. It is no secret that the Titans would like to find a pass rusher to groom behind its aging veterans. Sweat is a project that needs to bulk up, but scouts love his natural ability to get after the quarterback.
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama. The Falcons need defensive lineman of all varieties. Payne is more of a run stuffer, and his presence would be good for the development of Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley.
27. New Orleans Saints – TE Dallas Goedert, North Dakota State. The Saints will probably go offense here, and nabbing the drafts best tight end could help extend Drew Brees career. He still misses Jimmy Graham
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – SS Ronnie Harrison, Alabama. The Steelers signed ex-Packer Morgan Burnett but need a strong safety to play beside him. Harrison is seen as a early day two prospect but I could see him sneaking into round one.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama. Ridley’s ceiling may not be that high, but he is a safe bet to turn into a solid WR2. Interestingly enough, he is being compared to Keenan McCardell, possibly the best wideout in Jaguars history.
30. Minnesota Vikings – OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia. The Vikings need interior line help, and have the choice between a few great ones. Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez and Frank Ragnow would all be great picks here.
31. New England Patriots – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA. Miller is a project, but at the end of the first round he makes sense for a Patriots team that lost multiple offensive linemen.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Donte’ Jackson, LSU. A bit of a luxury pick, Jackson will be able to return kicks right away as he learns the cornerback position.