THERE are only 10 days remaining until the NFL Draft gets underway. A ton of free agency moves and trades have changed the draft landscape dramatically and there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding some teams With a flurry of draft night moves anticipated I tried to forecast how the first round will play out without taking deals into account.
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Pick #1 Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Last Rank: #1 (level)
NOT much changes from a Cleveland Browns perspective. Josh Allen is gathering a lot of buzz at this spot, but I still think Darnold is the best QB prospect and he should go at No. 1.
Pick #2 New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Last Rank: #4 ( 2)
THERE is a lot of buzz about the Giants trading down from this pick and if they do that could change the landscape of the draft. A quarterback is on the cards and if they trade down expect Quenton Nelson to be their target. If not, Saquon Barkley is the one.
Pick #3 New York Jets (from Indianapolis Colts) – Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB
Last Rank: #2 ( 1)
I’M still convinced that Baker Mayfield is the one that the Jets have their sights set on. If the draft pans out like this though, then they can’t pass up on Josh Rosen.
Pick #4 Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans) – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Last Rank: #6 ( 2)
IMAGINE a defensive line that boasted arguably the last two best edge rushers seen in the draft pool in Bradley Chubb and Myles Garrett? Browns fans finally have a reason to smile.
Pick #5 Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Last Rank: #5 (level)
DENVER’S draft plan will dictate how the next few picks unfold, with a variety of guys in their sights. Nelson is in the mix to support whoever is under center and I have confidence that the Fighting Irish guard will be wearing a Broncos cap on draft night, regardless of the spot he is taken at.
Pick #6 Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets) – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Last Rank: #10 ( 4)
IF Barkley, Nelson and Chubb are gone, then the Colts would be spewing. That being said Roquan Smith who has been climbing up draft boards every week is a great consolation prize. He is more than deserving of this high a draft pick.
Pick #7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S, Florida State
Last Rank: #13 ( 6)
THE Bucs are under a ton of pressure to win this season. They need a jack of all trades guy like Derwin James ASAP.
Pick #8 Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
Last Rank: #7 ( 1)
DENZEL Ward has been holding down pick No. 8 in the past few mock drafts, but instead, I have the Bears taking the flexible do it all Crimson Tide junior.
Pick #9 San Fransisco 49ers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Last Rank: #8 ( 1)
ADDING some depth and youth behind Richard Sherman is a smart move for their immediate success and for their future.
Pick #10 Oakland Raiders – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Last Rank: #9 ( 1)
IF Smith is off the board, then expect the Raiders to take Tremain Edmunds, who is gathering a reputation as the best linebacker in the draft.
Pick #11 Miami Dolphins – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Last Rank: #12 ( 1)
THERE is no doubt if Josh Allen finds himself still on the board at No. 11, then he will become a Dolphin.
Pick #12 Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati Bengals) – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Last Rank: #3 ( 9)
OWNERS of two first picks a trade up is likely, but if not then the next available QB will be their guy. Personally, I’d love to see Allen and Mayfield swap teams, but let’s be honest this will probably change again 10 times before draft night.
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Pick #13 Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Last Rank: #11 ( 2)
A season ago Washington was terrible against the run. Vita Vea is not terrible against the run. Tick.
Pick #14 Green Bay Packers – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa State
Last Rank: #15 ( 1)
IT’S likely that Green Bay targets a corner with their first pick and they will almost have their pick of the bunch. Mike Hughes is in the mix, but Josh Jackson gets the nod.
Pick #15 Arizona Cardinals – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Last Rank: #30 ( 15)
MCGLINCHEY joins his Notre Dame teammates Nelson as a top-15 pick and helps the Cards O-line immensely.
Pick #16 Baltimore Ravens – Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
Last Rank: #23 ( 7)
ANOTHER guy who has been climbing up mocks lately is Harold Landry. Unless the Ravens take Lamar Jackson and revolutionise their team Landry is a safe bet.
Pick #17 Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Last Rank: #20 ( 3)
JUST a heads up to the AFC West, the Chargers are building a terrifying defense.
Pick #18 Seattle Seahawks – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Last Rank: #19 ( 1)
SEATTLE is torn whether to address their offensive line or their now empty cornerback slot. I think they choose the later.
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Pick #19 Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Last Rank: #22 ( 3)
WITH Dez Bryant leaving town the door opens up for Calvin Ridley to be a polished receiver for Prescott to rely on.
Pick #20 Detroit Lions – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Last Rank: #14 ( 6)
I had Marcus Davenport going to the Lions back in my 2nd mock draft and I’m going back to that belief. Haloti Ngata’s absence leaves a gaping hole that Davenport can fill.
Pick #21 Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo Bills) – Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso
Last Rank: #21 (level)
ONE of the few picks that stays the same from my last mock is the rugged Will Hernandez going to the Bengals. He’ll move defenders off the ball to help in the run game without a doubt.
Pick #22 Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Last Rank: #29 ( 7)
THEIR new quarterback needs someone to catch passes. Enter Courtland Sutton.
Pick #23 New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams) – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Last Rank: Not Ranked
GETTING someone to protect Tom Brady’s blindside seems like a great use of their newly acquired first-round pick.
Pick #24 Carolina Panthers – Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Last Rank: #24 (level)
A wide receiver is tempting, but the Panthers need to address their ageing pass rushers corp.
Pick #25 Tennessee Titans – Billy Price, C, Ohio State
Last Rank: Not Ranked
BILLY Price has the talent to be a difference maker, don’t let a pectoral injury at the combine scare you off.
Pick #26 Atlanta Falcons – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Last Rank: Not Ranked
IT seems like the Falcons are targetting a defensive dynamo with their first round pick and there should be a few options here. I like Maurice Hurst at #26.
Pick #27 New Orleans Saints –Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Last Rank: #32 ( 5)
THERE are 100 different directions that NOLA can take here. Trade the pick, take a QB, take a weapon for Drew Brees, the options are huge! I think they choose the third one though.
Pick #28 Pittsburgh Steelers – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Last Rank: #25 ( 3)
PITTSBURGH will be stoked that such a difference maker in the middle of the field is available this late in the first round.
Pick #29 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Last Rank: #27 ( 2)
ANOTHER riser in the draft and perhaps the best nickel CB in the draft would make life hell in a defense that already possesses Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.
Pick #30 Minnesota Vikings – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Last Rank: #17 ( 13)
WHEN you are going to pay Kirk Cousins over $80 million dollars you need to ensure he can stay upright.
Pick #31 New England Patriots – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Last Rank: #28 ( 3)
I can’t wait to watch Belichick unleash this dynamic playmaker in Super Bowl LII. SMH.
Pick #32 Philadelphia Eagles – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Last Rank: Not Ranked
AS the dust settles from free agency the Eagles lack some key tight ends, making Dallas Goedert a priority.
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