After releasing my first mock draft a few weeks ago, I think it’s about that time to release my updated version.
There has been quite a lot of developments since my first mock draft prior to the Free Agency period opening. Teams have snagged their franchise quarterbacks (or so they hope) and have filled gaps in positions of need – effecting their decisions on draft day.
So, with that taken into consideration, here is who I believe each team should take in this year’s NFL Draft.
1) Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold – QB, USC
STOP IT BROWNS!!!!!!!!
Stop entertaining the fact that you might draft Josh Allen over Sam Darnold.
Wait… what am I talking about? That would be the most Cleveland Browns thing of all-time.
The Browns need to fall out of love with Allen’s arm talent and fall in love with Darnold’s intangibles. Darnold’s prototypical size, tools, and upside separate him from the other quarterback’s in this draft.
He has good arm strength, can be extremely accurate and is mobile in the pocket. He is already capable of reading defences and exploiting weaknesses.
NFL Comparison – Andrew Luck/Tony Romo
2) New York Giants: Josh Rosen – QB, UCLA
In my opinion, the New York Football Giants would be FOOLISH not to draft a quarterback with this pick.
They will not be in this position for the next few years. They have the perfect opportunity to pick up a franchise calibre quarterback on a rookie scale deal for the next few years – meaning they can spend their salary cap elsewhere until they have to pay their quarterback, or they reassess in four years and go again.
Listen, SaQuon Barkley is going to be an elite running back. But you just can’t draft him second overall when you can pick up a player who does 85% of what he can do in the later rounds of this draft. Rosen is the best pure passer in the entire draft.
NFL Comparison – Matt Ryan
3) New York Jets (via Indianapolis): Josh Allen – QB, Wyoming
Let me make myself abundantly clear… I still believe Josh Allen is the 5th best quarterback in this draft – just look at his numbers, and gametape on compare to Lamar Jackson.
However, the Jets traded up to #3 to take Josh Allen (or Rosen should be he available).
His size and arm talent are prototypical for early first-round picks, but it’s tough to find a quarterback with such a low college completion rate become a successful pro (56%).
Allen is certainly capable of becoming a great thrower in the NFL and he definitely has the upside to become the best QB in this draft, but his ability to improve the mental part of his game will determine whether he’s a good NFL starter or just another big, strong-armed guy.
NFL Comparison – Jay Cutler
4) Cleveland Browns (via Houston): Bradley Chubb – DE, NC State
So yeah, I hinted that the Browns should take Chubb in my first mock, and now I think this should be the pick.
Every team in the NFL is looking for an elite pass-rusher and with this selection the Cleveland Browns would have two.
Bradley Chubb and Myles Garrett coming off the edge is a scary proposition. For a big pass-rusher, he has ridiculous speed coming off the edge and has shown the ability to get off blocks with his strength and hand usage. Chubb has developed some variety in pass-rushing moves and looks like an asset as a future three-down starter in the NFL.
NFL Comparison – Everson Griffen
5) Buffalo Bills (via Denver): Baker Mayfield – QB, Oklahoma
Okay… I also stated that the Bills won’t take Baker Mayfield.
Buffalo are absolutely desperate for a quarterback and I believe they will trade up to get their guy.
Mayfield will sit for a year behind bridge quarterback AJ McCarron, which is probably be best for his development as he needs to learn how to run a pro-style offence.
NFL Comparison – Russell Wilson/Case Keenum/Johnny Manziel
6) Indianapolis Colts (via New York): SaQuon Barkley – RB, Penn State
The Colts might move down again from this spot, but for now, I have them drafting a generational running-back in SaQuon Barkley.
According to Barstool Sports, an anonymous NFL Coach literally said: “I would punch myself in the nuts many, many times to be able to draft SaQuon Barkley.”
Barkley is an electrifying playmaker with explosive speed and a versatile skill set, equally adept carrying the ball between the tackles or lining up on the outside and running routes as a pass catcher.
NFL Comparison – LaDanian Tomlinson/David Johnson
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick – CB/S, Alabama
The more Derwin James tape I watch, the more I am starting to believe that he might just be a better prospect than Minkah Fitzpatrick. But I believe Fitzpatrick’s versatility will likely see him drafted higher than James and he makes a lot of sense for the Bucs.
As hybrid of slot cornerback, deep safety, and nickel linebacker, Fitzpatrick could run with slot receivers and tight ends, patrol the second level as a “robber” defender, or range as a deep safety.
NFL Comparison – Bigger Tyrann Mathieu
8) Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson – G, Notre Dame
Chicago takes the safest player in the draft.
The Bears are looking to push forward with their dynamic backfield duo of Mitch Trubisky and Jordan Howard – what better way to protect them both with the best offensive guard prospect that we’ve ever seen.
Coaches always say that games are won and lost in the trenches. You get Nelson, and you get a dominant force on your interior for the next 10 years.
He’ll help in pass-pro and the run game.
NFL Comparison – Brandon Scherff
9) San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds – OLB, Virginia Tech
I’m sticking with Edmunds to the 49ers here, I really like this guy’s potential.
Tremaine Edmunds is a name who shot up experts draft boards in 2017 due to his rapid rise. At 6-5, 250lbs, he is a rare combination of size/weight/length combo – whilst being a playmaker from the linebacker position.
Still only 19 year old with elite traits already, Edmunds has a very high upside – similar to Anthony Barr in that he can cover whilst being stout in the running game. He could comfortably play the Will linebacker in a 4-3, which the Niners run.
NFL Comparison – Anthony Barr
10) Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith – ILB, Georgia
The inside linebacker spot has been a major concern for the Raiders for too long now, and they must address this. Whilst Tremaine Edmunds is the better player, Roquan Smith makes more sense for the Raiders.
Smith is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field. Whilst he excels as a run defender, he has shown the necessary speed and athleticism to be able to cover in the passing game. He had an impressive season totalling 137 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted in 2017.
NFL Comparison – Deion Jones
11) Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward – CB, Ohio State
I’m starting to come around on Denzel Ward a little, but I still think his size will limit him in the pros, so he falls out of the top 10.
Ward is an absolutely ridiculous athlete. He had similar combine numbers to Deion Sanders.
Scouts love his footwork, he will mirror and match with good balance throughout the route and has elite agility to stick with his receiver.
Ward is a playmaker and if you put enough playmakers on your defence then good things will happen.
NFL Comparison – Chris Harris Jr/Adoree Jackson
12) Denver Broncos (via Buffalo, Cinncinati): Josh Jackson – CB, Iowa
I really like Josh Jackson, so much so that I pray he falls to the Seahawks at #17 (but John Schneider and Pete Carroll never draft DB’s high so it wouldn’t matter anyway).
Jackson would be an ideal replacement for Aqib Talib.
He led the nation in interceptions last season with 8, and broke up 18 other throws. Jackson anticipates routes, jumps them and returns it to the house. He allowed no touchdowns after Week 4.
He is my #1 corner, above Denzel Ward.
NFL Comparison – Marcus Peters
13) Washington Redskins: Vita Vea – DT, Washington
The Redskins biggest need this offseason is to find a run-stuffing 3-tech, and therefore I’m sticking with Vita Vea.
The first thing that stands out when watching Vita Vea is his size, which he uses to literally man-handle opponents.
There is no way a man his size should be able to move as well as he does. He was a running back in High School and that shows on tape.
Whilst being a dominant run stopper, he needs to work on his pass rushing or he could easily become run down only player.
NFL Comparison – Danny Shelton
14) Green Bay Packers: Mike Hughes – CB, UCF
I stated in my first mock that I’m a big Mike Hughes fan, which I am, but I had him falling.
I changed my mind.
The Packers huge need for a corner will see them draft the best one available here.
Although he is a little too short, he should play on the outside because of his physicality in press coverage. Hughes jams at the line of scrimmage and is capable of putting you off your route – similarly to the art that Richard Sherman has mastered. Hughes has short-area quickness, which he demonstrated at the combine and this will allow him to make up for mistakes in coverage and make plays on the ball.
NFL Comparison – Bradley Roby
15) Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson – QB, Louisville
I would hate this, because I’ll have to root against my guy Lamar Jackson – but I love this fit.
Sam Bradford is one hit away from a 10-game injury and Mike Glennon is just a back-up. The Cardinals need their quarterback of the future and they could get their man without moving up in the draft.
All the criticism of Jackson is irritating. He played in a pro-style offence and impressed enough to win the Heisman and was named in the final candidates the following year (losing out to Baker Mayfield). Jackson is a cannon of an arm, can make all the throws and is obviously an elite athlete.
What concerns me with Jackson is his slight frame. If you squint, it looks like Kevin Durant is out there playing quarterback. As a running quarterback, he is going to take big hits and his body needs to be ready for that. He also needs to protect himself and learn how and when to slide.
NFL Comparison – Mike Vick
16) Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley – WR, Alabama
Although they made some pretty sweet additions in free agency, Joe Flacco has not had a 300-yard passing game in 19 games, they need an offensive weapon.
Playing in Alabama’s offence certainly helped Ridley as he ran all the routes in a pro-style offense, this makes him a day one starter in the NFL playing with a pretty solid wide receiver corp including Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Breshad Perriman.
The only real questions on Ridley is his ability to make catches in traffic, but we know Crabtree can do this… except against Richard Sherman.
Don’t be surprised if the Ravens take a quarterback here. Especially if Lamar Jackson is available.
NFL Comparison – Amari Cooper
17) Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James – S, Florida State
The Chargers have quite a few needs on their defence with inside linebacker and defensive tackle being two big holes that they must address.
But when a player like Derwin James is available for the Chargers, they should not pass him up.
James has all the traits that you look for in a strong safety. He is extremely athletic, quick and is a huge-hitter. He has some room to improve in coverage, but he has shown glimpses that he could become an elite sideline-to-sideline safety.
NFL Comparison – Kam Chancellor
18) Seattle Seahawks: Harold Landry – DE/OLB, Boston College
I really wouldn’t mind seeing Frank Clark and Dion Jordan as my starting pass rushers, but I also really Harold Landry’s upside.
Landry lacks the necessary height, but his arm length, playing speed and athleticism more than makes up for that.
His ability to dip and rip around the edge give him special potential as an edge rusher.
While he can play standing for 3-4 teams, he’s at his best with his hand in the dirt as a rusher. Landry can get by as an NFL rusher with just speed and athleticism, but he has an opportunity to become a Pro Bowler if he can improve his hand usage and develop an inside counter.
NFL Comparison – Chandler Jones/Bruce Irvin
19) Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne – DT, Alabama
The Cowboys need to be able to stop the run when Sean Lee inevitably misses games.
As seen on tape as well as the combine, Payne has an extremely impressive combinations of strength and athleticism.
Similarly to Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson, he will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher and scouts love that. If he shows signs of being able to rush the passer at the next level then don’t be shocked to see him drafted in the top 15.
Payne is a day one starter who immediately upgrades a team’s running defence. If teams view him as just a run-down player, then his draft value could fall.
NFL Comparison – Brandon Williams
20) Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport – DE, UTSA
I could be wrong, but I see Davenport as a player who falls in this draft – even with his high upside.
The Lions always seem to struggle to get to the quarterback, but in Davenport they would get an extremely talented, raw player who could be coached up and becoming a Pro-Bowl calibre player.
Davenport impressed scouts at the combine, exerting an excellent skill set with speed and agility. He has length and athleticism to play on the edge in the NFL, but scouts believe he needs to learn more pass-rushing moves.
The Lions need a pass-rusher to go along with Ziggy Ansah.
NFL Comparison – Danielle Hunter
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Isaiah Wynn – G, Georgia
The Bengals need to get Joe Mixon going. Adding Isaiah Wynn would be smart here.
Wynn is a talented, technically sound blocker which scouts seem to love. His athleticism allows for quick advantages as a run blocker while his hand strength and footwork helps him sustain those advantages into open running lanes.
His pass protection will be appealing to teams looking for help in that area and he is capable of sliding out to tackle in an emergency. He appears to have the technique and play traits to overcome any concerns about size and could become an early starter.
At 6’2, he is a little undersized to play the position and will have to prove he can handle playing against much taller defensive players.
NFL Comparison – Ronald Leary
22) Denver Broncos (via Buffalo): Mike McGlinchey – OL, Notre Dame
The Broncos really need to sure up their offensive line, and McGlinchey would be a good value here.
Although he played at tackle for Notre Dame, it might be a smart move to move Bolles in at guard, where he could dominate for the next 10 years and put Glinch over to the left.
McGlinchey is excellent in pass protection as he uses his speed and athleticism to dominate against pass rushers – he played as a tight end at High School and that athleticism is evident on tape. He has great footwork and uses his hands well whilst positioning his body to use the pass-rushers own strengths against them.
Don’t be surprised if the Broncos move him inside and stick with Bolles at LT.
NFL Comparison – Jared Veldheer
23) New England Patriots (via LA): Connor Williams – OT, Texas
The Patriots need to replace Nate Solder.
Connor Williams is capable of playing in any one of the five positions along the line with his good combination of speed, strength and footwork.
Williams has some questionable tape, but scouts like his upside and ability to block at an elite level with good coaching – he’ll certainly get that in Foxboro.
I expect them to heavily consider Kolton Miller with this pick, whose comp is… Nate Solder.
NFL Comparison – Jake Mathews
24) Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez – G, UTEP
The Panthers replace Norwell with a cheaper version – with just as much upside.
Hernandez has climbed into my first round because he possesses a rare combination of power, balance, and athletic ability. He’ll instantly help the Panther run blocking and pass pro.
He lacks the necessary height, but that shouldn’t hurt his stock much. Every team is looking for an inside presence to block the likes of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Fletcher Cox and Gerald McCoy.
Hernandez is a pretty much certainty to be a day one starter, wherever he gets drafted.
NFL Comparison – Richie Incognito
25) Tennessee Titans: Courtland Sutton – WR, SMU
Although the Titans drafted a wideout early last year, they still need to add an explosive playmaker on the outside.
Sutton is a possession receiver who has the size and ability to go up and get it to be a WR1. His ability to win in contested catch situations will certainly get him a lot of targets in the red zone and he could be a dangerous deep threat.
Similarly to Jimmy Graham, he uses his body to box out cornerbacks which makes him dangerous on third downs as he can completely dominate against smaller receivers.
However, Sutton is a below average route-runner and this makes it difficult for him to gain separation – this leads to turnovers.
NFL Comparison – Alshon Jeffery
26) Atlanta Falcons: Christian Kirk – WR, Texas A&M
The Falcons lost an underrated member of their explosive offence this off-season in Taylor Gabriel, taking this guy would give them an instant upgrade from what they lost.
Christian Kirk will certainly be a slot receiver in the NFL as his lack of speed and length make him less likely to impact games down the field, but his footwork, route-running abilities and hands should give him an opportunity to find catches underneath.
I like Kirk as a player, but I would be surprised if he gets taken any higher than here.
NFL Comparison – Golden Tate/Sterling Shepard
27) New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesiciki – TE, Penn State
They missed out on Jimmy Graham, so I have them going all in on Gesicki.
The Saints had an explosive offence this past season, but they missed a premier pass-catching tight end in the red zone.
Similarly to Graham, Gesicki does not do much blocking for the run game. He is basically a wide receiver masquerading as a tight end in that he is capable of lining up outside, running routes and beating corners.
Gesicki can get open and has the ball skills to beat against linebackers and safeties with ease.
NFL Comparison – Zach Ertz
28) Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans – ILB, Alabama
As we discussed on the podcast, the Steelers need to draft an inside linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier.
Rashaan Evans is everything you look for in a middle linebacker. He has ideal speed, length and is an off-the-charts athlete for the position. He has the agility to go recover from mistakes and make plays.
He is an ascending player, improving each year as an inside backer and scouts believes that will continue once he gets to the league.
Evans can play great coverage when needed is an explosive blitzer when called upon to do so. Some scouts have questions about his durability as nagging injuries have plagued him throughout his career.
NFL Comparison – CJ Mosley
29) Jacksonville Jaguars: Orlando Brown – T, Oklahoma
I didn’t have Brown in my first mock because, well, did you see him at the draft combine?
He was incredibly out of shape.
But then I remembered, Tom Brady’s draft combine…
You have to go look at his game tape and forget about his weight issues, Brown has impressive tape. The Jags could do with a dominant right tackle after adding Cam Robinson on the left in last year’s draft and signing Andrew Norwell in free agency.
Leonard Fournette could run for 1500 yards next season with this o-line.
NFL Comparison – Morgan Moses
30) Minnesota Vikings: Jaire Alexander – CB, Louisville
I still like Alexander to the Vikes.
Jaire Alexander will probably not play outside, but he could be a perfect Nickelback in the NFL, and that is exactly what the Vikings need.
He uses his instincts to anticipate routes and has the quickness to close on throws and make plays on the ball.
NFL Comparison – Kendall Fuller
31) New England Patriots: Arden Key – OLB/DE, LSU
The Patriots need a pass-rusher in the worst way, therefore they take Arden Key – a huge risk/reward pick.
Key’s ability to slither round blockers using his length and speed is absolutely unquestionable, if he learns to use length consistently to his advantage then he could easily become a better pro than his NFL comparison. His footwork and ability to change direction for a man his size is extremely impressive.
His negatives are his off-the-field issues, he left LSU for four months due to personal reasons and during that time put on a lot of weight.
NFL Comparison – Chandler Jones
32) Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice – RB, LSU
I’m sticking with the Eagles taking Guice with this pick, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles trade up to take a guy who they like, or move back and acquire more assets.
Guice would be the perfect fit for the Eagles. His physical running style would get their team going, and would take so much pressure of Carson Wentz who will be coming off an ACL.
He has the ideal combination of speed, power and balance. Guice has quality vision and is able to make sudden cuts without rolling into low gear.
NFL Comparison – Young Frank Gore
- The Playmaker’s Premier League team of the 19/20 season
- Five players Chelsea must sign to challenge for the Premier League title
- Five things we learned on the Premier League’s return to action
- Tactical Analysis: How can Aston Villa get the better of Sheffield United?
- How would Jadon Sancho fit into the Manchester City team?
/ 3 years ago
For the first time in over five years, an English team could be in...
/ 3 years ago
Young adult football fans are being forced to stay away from attending matches due...