WE are another month closer to April’s NFL draft and just days away from the NFL combine kicking off. Since my first mock draft, a lot of buzz has been circulating about who will land where. So before we see the next batch of pro’s put through the rigours of the annual combine, let’s play mock draft again!
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Pick #1 Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
IF I was drafting first for Cleveland I would not be taking Darnold. However. Quarterback remains their biggest issue and there is a huge likelihood they use this pick on a play caller.
Pick #2 New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
NEW York needs a succession plan for Eli Manning and some help on the O-line. That still doesn’t mean they should pass up on the consensus best player in the class.
Pick #3 Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
NOTHING changes from 1.0 with the Colts swooping on Chubb. An overwhelming rushing defender is desperately coveted in Indianapolis and this may be the biggest lock in the draft.
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Pick #4 Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
WITH quarterback addressed and Barkley off the board, Fitzpatrick is the target for Cleveland at #4. A dynamic playmaker with a ton of versatility will be hard to ignore for the Browns.
Pick #5 Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
NOW things start to get interesting. If Kirk Cousins lands in Denver it changes the course of the draft. I’m forecasting that they will and therefore they get him some protection with their first pick in Nelson.
Pick #6 New York Jets – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
THE Jets would be hype if Rosen slipped to them at No. 6, considering their desperate need for a franchise quarterback.
Pick #7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
TAMPA holds the power to change the landscape of the draft with this pick. They could go a number of different routes and it’s more than likely they will target someone on defense. In the NFC South having a talented corner is a must, enter Denzel Ward.
Pick #8 Chicago Bears – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa State
I had Calvin Ridley tabbed to go here last time and it will be hard for the Bears to resist a receiver. I think taking Ridley here might be a bit high so they instead opt for Josh Jackson…for now.
Pick #9 San Fransisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
EDWARDS is a fantastic get for the Niners at No. 9. They could be tempted to take Nelson if he is still on the board in an effort to keep Jimmy G upright. If he’s gone though then Edwards is a fine backup plan.
Pick #10 Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
THERE is no secret recipe that will revive the Raiders defense overnight. Drafting the uber-talented Roquan Smith is a good start to fix their problems on that side of the ball.
Pick #11 Miami Dolphins – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
THE Dolphins can’t keep relying on Ryan Tannehill forcing Miami to pull off a surprise by taking Allen. He may not start in Year 1, but he would develop into their future starter if they pull the trigger.
Pick #12 Cincinnati Bengals – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
A quarterback is tempting for the Bengals, but they still have Andy Dalton and there are other options later in the draft. They must address their subpar offensive line and drafting Williams does that.
Pick #13 Washington Redskins – Derwin James, S, Florida State
SAFETY isn’t a position of strength for the Redskins, with average production from their deep backs. James might be a bit of a stretch, but he fits a need and it’s better to take him now.
Pick #14 Green Bay Packers – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
WHILE Aaron Rodgers is in uniform giving him as many weapons as possible is a great move. Cobb could be a cap casualty this season and Ridley has WR1 written all over him.
Pick #15 Arizona Cardinals – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
IF Arizona strikes out in the quarterback market they could be left high and dry for 2018. Forget how polarizing Mayfield is off the field he is a proven star on it and becomes the fourth quarterback taken off the board.
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Pick #16 Baltimore Ravens – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
NOT only does Brown help the Ravens add depth to the O-line, but he instantly becomes the feel-good story of the draft, landing on the team his late father Orlando Brown Sr played with.
Pick #17 Los Angeles Chargers – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
MELVIN Ingram, Joey Bosa AND Vita Vea on the same defense is a terrifying prospect for opposing offenses. Davenport could be tempting for LA, but Vea gives Gus Bradley a stud big, athletic run-stopper
Pick #18 Seattle Seahawks – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
THE ageing Legion of Boom needs an injection of youth and Hughes gives them just that. He can be a shifty CB as the Seahawks defense continues it’s makeover.
Pick #19 Dallas Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
THE longer the offseason goes on the more likely it seems that Dez Bryant won’t be returning to the Cowboys in 2018. Therefore they will need a new pass catcher and Sutton can be just that.
Pick #20 Detroit Lions – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
HURST will be tempting for the Lions here, especially if Haloti Ngata walks. Davenport just offers way too much upside to pass on though.
Pick #21 Buffalo Bills – Billy Price, C/OG, Ohio State
A trade up makes sense for the Bills given they own consecutive picks. They could move up and try to snag one of the top quarterbacks, but if that plan fails then they will draft Price to protect whoever starts under center in 2018.
Pick #22 Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
I had Payne going in the same place last mock draft and I’m sticking to my guns. He should be a difference maker for the Bills to help them stay in the playoff hunt.
Pick #23 Los Angeles Rams – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
THIS draft pick may be on it’s way to Kansas City after LA swung a deal for Marcus Peters, but with the details of the trade still unknown let’s move ahead thinking that the pick is staying with the Rams. With cornerback no addressed they opt for Taven Bryan to strengthen their interior.
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Pick #24 Carolina Panthers – Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
WITH ageing weapons in their rushing attack adding Hubbard is a smart move by the Panthers. Yes, they need a wide receiver, but they can address that need later in the draft or even in free agency.
Pick #25 Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
THE need for a true edge rusher forces the Titans to reach for Landry here. He had a disappointing finals season and guard help is also high up on the shopping list. Still, Landry fills a need and should fill it well.
Pick #26 Atlanta Falcons – Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
IF Dontari Poe leaves in free agency then Isaiah Wynn can be his day one replacement. Given the Falcons struggles on the interior then Wynn might be there guy even if Poe stays.
Pick #27 New Orleans Saints – James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
GOING in with a ‘best player available’ tactic the Saints have flexibility thanks to their recent drafting success. Michael Thomas aside they lack stud receivers, so James Washington is their man.
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Pick #28 Pittsburgh Steelers – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
THIS pick is made with the thinking that no long-term plan for Le’Veon Bell can come to fruition. Guice has first-round talent written all over him and he would be an integral part of the Steelers future in a world without all of the Killer B’s (Brown, Bell and Big Ben)
Pick #29 Jacksonville Jaguars – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
JACKSONVILLE needs more tight end production and despite the pick not being a sexy one, they take the first tight end off the board.
Pick #30 Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
AFTER being burnt by wide receiver’s throughout the playoffs the Vikings could add to their corner depth with their first pick. If they decide to do so then Oliver would be a nice snag.
Pick #31 New England Patriots – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
WITH Malcolm Butler halfway out the door they could take a corner if he slides. Otherwise protecting Tom Brady remains a priority and Miller can help do just that with Nate Solder a free agent.
Pick #32 Philadelphia Eagles – Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
THE Super Bowl winners aren’t dealing with too many issues or holes in their roster. Their cornerback depth could use a boost and Jackson helps to do that.
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