Tomorrow night will start one of the most intriguing draft nights in recent memory. There is a lot of uncertainty over what might happen and we still do not know who will go first overall.
For this writeup of the 2018 NFL Draft, I opted do it by team in alphabetical order, instead of making it pick-by-pick. It is a five-round mock (one more round than last year’s mock) with explanations of the picks included. I encourage you all to read and comment on my projections via Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you see this article. Thank you for reading and I hope you all enjoy.
1st Rd (15): WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
2nd Rd (47): S Justin Reid, Stanford
3rd Rd (79): OT Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T
3rd Rd (97): DT RJ McIntosh, Miami
4th Rd (134): CB Rashaan Gaulden, Tennessee
5th Rd (152): RB Akrum Wadley, Iowa
With rumors swirling, there is certainly a chance that Arizona trades up to select a QB in this draft, or that Lamar Jackson slips to them at #15. I think the Cardinals take Jackson if that is the case. However, they are in need of help at receiver, especially with Larry Fitzgerald getting up there in age. Ridley makes a lot of sense in the first round. Arizona has to address the secondary, since free safety Tyrann Mathieu was released, and because they are inadequate at cornerback besides Patrick Peterson. Reid can form a young safety tandem with last year’s draft pick, Budda Baker, while Gaulden is likely to step in and become the nickel back. The Cardinals are mediocre at offensive tackle, so Parker has a chance to compete as a starter at right tackle. McIntosh is a three-technique lineman that can pair with nose tackle Corey Peters and the team should address depth at running back, especially with David Johnson coming off of surgery, so Wadley makes sense in the 5th.
1st Rd (26): WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
2nd Rd (58): DT BJ Hill, North Carolina St.
3rd Rd (90): TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
4th Rd (126): CB Parry Nickerson, Tulane
Kirk might not fill the most pressing need for the Falcons, but he is getting a lot of buzz as a potential first-rounder and can help take the pressure off of Julio Jones. Kirk is a dynamic receiver and can be a dangerous punt returner. The team has not been able to find consistency at tight end since Tony Gonzales retired and drafting Andrews in the third round could be a steal. On defense, Hill will be counted out to help replace Dontari Poe at defensive tackle. Nickerson turned heads at the combine by running a 4.32 40-yard dash and will at least be able to provide depth at cornerback and potentially give the team a playmaker.
1st Rd (16): OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
2nd Rd (52): WR James Washington, Oklahoma St.
3rd Rd (83): DE Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama
4th Rd (118): S Quin Blanding, Virginia
5th Rd (154): QB Chase Litton, Marshall
The Ravens are another team that could potentially trade up for a quarterback since Joe Flacco is not living up to his contract. However, they are stuck with that contract for at least two more seasons. They should at least take a developmental quarterback if they are not enamored with the top prospects in this year’s class. The Ravens can use a few upgrades along the offensive line though, and McGlinchey can bookend the line with fellow Notre Dame alum Ronnie Stanley. The Ravens added Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown through free agency, but 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman has been a bust and the team needs some youth and speed to the position. They can address the defense as Hand would help bolster the defensive line and could eventually take over as a five-technique end. Blanding would give the team much-needed depth at safety and can eventually take over for Eric Weddle (33 years old) at free safety.
1st Rd (12): QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
1st Rd (22): WR DJ Moore, Maryland
2nd Rd (53): OT Geron Christian, Louisville
2nd Rd (56): DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
3rd Rd (65): ILB Josey Jewell, Iowa
3rd Rd (96): RB Bo Scarborough, Alabama
4th Rd (121): C Will Clapp, LSU
5th Rd (166): DE Kentavius Street, NC State
With two first-round picks and four more Day Two selections, the Bills have the necessary chips to trade up in the draft. If they keep their pick at #12, then I see them going with Jackson. I would not be surprised to see them trade up and grab QB Josh Rosen. The Bills’ receiving corps must be addressed early in the draft as they were ranked last in receptions. Zay Jones had a historically unproductive rookie season, coupled with a bizarre off-field incident that leaves his future in doubt, while Kelvin Benjamin is a free agent after next season. Moore can be a starter for the team in Week One and possesses great run-after-the-catch ability. The Bills should also look to address depth at running back, especially with LeSean McCoy’s injury history. They can also address defense on Day Two with a run-stuffer in Hurst and potential starting middle linebacker in Jewell. The interior offensive line is short on depth as Clapp can play either guard or center.
1st Rd (24): CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
2nd Rd (55): FS Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
3rd Rd (85): WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA
3rd Rd (88): RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
5th Rd (161): G Sean Welsh, Iowa
I have the Panthers addressing their secondary with the first two picks. Other possibilities in the first round include a receiver like DJ Moore or Courtland Sutton and possibly G Will Hernandez, if he is still on the board, as a replacement for Andrew Norwell. Jackson can start day one alongside James Bradberry at cornerback while Bates can be groomed as the replacement for 37-year-old Mike Adams at free safety. With their two third round picks I have them addressing skill positions. Lasley has some baggage with multiple prior arrests and a three-game suspension last season, but has the potential to become a productive receiver and should get a chance with a the subpar corps in Carolina. Freeman is a power runner that can compliment Christian McCaffrey and replace the production from Jonathan Stewart. Welsh gives them some depth at guard at the very least.
1st Rd (8): LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
2nd Rd (39): OLB Harold Landry, Boston College
4th Rd (105): C Mason Cole, Michigan
4th Rd (115): OT Will Richardson, North Carolina St.
5th Rd (145): DE Andrew Brown, Virginia
Smith does not fill a huge need but he has the skill set to thrive in Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio’s hybrid 3-4/4-3 system. Plus, Danny Trevathan could become a salary cap casualty in the offseason. If G Quentin Nelson is on the board then I think he’s the pick. They could also consider some of the top cornerbacks like Denzel Ward. The Bears also need to get more pressure on the quarterback. Leonard Floyd led the team with a paltry 4.5 sacks in 2017. Pairing him with Landry can give the Bears a pass-rushing duo for the next several seasons. The offensive line needs a lot of help. Cole is versatile and even played tackle at Michigan. He can start at center if the team decides to slide over current center Cody Whitehair at guard. Richardson can push disappointing Bobby Massie at right tackle. Brown gives the team depth at defensive end and has potential to become a starter at some point.
1st Rd (21): CB Jaire Alexander, Lousville
2nd Rd (46): QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma St.
3rd Rd (77): OT Chuwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
3rd Rd (100): DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio St.
4th Rd (112): ILB Tegray Scales, Indiana
5th Rd (151): TE Ryan Izzo, Florida St.
5th Rd (158): WR Antonio Callaway, Florida
5th Rd (170): RB Darrel Williams, LSU
If the Bengals do not go with a cornerback in the first, then they can consider help at offensive line with Connor Williams or Colton Miller. Their depth at corner is low with Adam Jones gone and Darqueze Dennard is a free agent after next season. Alexander is an aggressive corner that fits in with Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin’s style of defense. Andy Dalton is a mediocre NFL quarterback and the team lost backup AJ McCarron, so they need someone to groom for the future. There is a chance Rudolph goes in the first round, or another chance he falls to the middle rounds, but he is worth a shot at pick #46. The Bengals can address tackle in the third round with Okorafor. With Hubbard and Scales you have two guys that can be groomed as future starters, as Scales could start week one in place of suspended Vontaze Burfict. I have the team addressing the offense in the fifth round. Williams is a big back that can replace Jeremy Hill. Callaway has a checkered past (he even tested positive for marijuana at the combine) but the Bengals did hold a private meeting with him and if they were confident of his ability to stay out of trouble, then he could be a steal. Tyler Eifert can never stay healthy while Tyler Kroft has not shown promise, so getting another tight end is not the worst idea in the world.
1st Rd (1): QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
1st Rd (4): RB Saquon Barkley, Penn St.
2nd Rd (33): CB Donte Jackson, LSU
2nd Rd (35): OT Bryan O’Neill, Pittsburgh
2nd Rd (64): WR Anthony Miller, Memphis
4th Rd (114): S DeShon Elliott, Texas
5th Rd (150): DE Breeland Speaks, Mississippi
As of press time it is still unclear who the Browns will select. I think they take Allen, but would not be shocked to see them trade down a few spots, either. They could also go with Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield. Head Coach Hue Jackson is a fan of quarterbacks with rocket arms and Allen has the strongest arm in the draft. There is also a risk in taking Allen, as he underwhelmed in college against lesser competition. I have quarterbacks going with the first three picks, so Barkley, who many believe is the best player in the entire draft, would provide tremendous value at #4. Bradley Chubb is also in play at #4 and could wreak havoc with last year’s #1 overall pick Myles Garrett. The secondary must be addressed. Jackson is undersized but was a #1 corner for LSU and one of the more athletic players in the draft. At the very least can step in and cover the slot. Elliott is a versatile safety that should be able to find the field in some role as a rookie. The team signed Jarvis Landry in the slot, but Josh Gordon is a free agent while Corey Coleman has not panned out. Miller gives Taylor a target this season and can grow with whomever the Browns draft at quarterback. O’Neill can possibly become a left tackle, a glaring need since Joe Thomas retired. Speaks needs to be coached up has a lot of raw potential.
1st Rd (19): DT Taven Bryan, Florida
2nd Rd (50): WR DJ Chark, LSU
3rd Rd (81): OLB Jerome Baker, Ohio St.
4th Rd (116): ILB Fred Warner, BYU
4th Rd (137): OT Desmond Harrison, West Georgia
5th Rd (171): TE Durham Smythe, Notre Dame
I would not be surprised to see Dallas take a receiver in the first round since they released Dez Bryant. DJ Moore is a real possibility for them at #19. I think Chark provides strong value in the second, provided he is still on the board. The Cowboys’ defensive line is pedestrian, so I think addressing that with Bryan in the first is for the best. This is a draft with few outstanding defensive tackle prospects. Bryan should be able to push Maliek Collins as a starter in training camp. With Sean Lee 32 years old and frequently injured and little depth on the current roster, they should double up on the position in this draft. Harrison is someone who might be off of teams’ draft boards altogether and was kicked out of Texas but can provide value in the fourth round. Jason Witten cannot play forever so they need to groom a successor and Smythe makes sense in the fifth.
1st Rd (5): G Quentin Nelson, Notre Dame
2nd Rd (40): TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
3rd Rd (71): QB Mike White, Western Kentucky
3rd Rd (99): RB Mark Walton, Miami
4th Rd (106): CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin
4th Rd (113): DE Jalyn Holmes, Ohio St.
5th Rd (149): WR Trey Quinn, SMU
5th Rd (160): CB Holton Hill, Texas
Denver very well could pull the trigger on a QB with the fifth overall pick and I think they’ve given up on Paxton Lynch after signing Case Keenum to a two-year deal. They can also groom someone else that is not a top name, and White is someone who has been rising up draft boards as of late. The team could also consider an edge rusher like Bradley Chubb if he is available. Denver does have a lot of holes on the roster and could very well trade down. Regardless of who is at quarterback, the offensive line needs help, especially at guard, where Nelson is one of the best guard prospects in recent memory. Hurst gives them a tight end of the future and possibly the present as they do not have a proven NFL-caliber player at the position. CJ Anderson was released but depth was needed at running back anyway. Walton has a chance to start week one as is main competition is the underwhelming Devontae Booker. Receiver is another area of need, as both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are over 30 years old and carry high salary cap numbers, meaning they could both get cut after the season. Doubling up at cornerback would be smart after trading Aqib Talib and needing depth at the position to begin with. Youth along the defensive line is also needed.
1st Rd (20): G Will Hernandez, UTEP
2nd Rd (51): DT Tim Settle, Virginia Tech
3rd Rd (82): RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego St.
4th Rd (117): TE Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
5th Rd (153): DE Chad Thomas, Miami
The Lions need to get a running game going and could very well take someone like Derrius Guice with their first pick, but getting help along the line is the route I would go and Hernandez is a mauler. The Lions signed LeGarrette Blount in the offseason, but he is not a long-term solution and Ameer Abdullah has been a disappointment. Penny is a power runner that fits what Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter wants. New Head Coach Matt Patricia could use another pass rusher to pair with Ziggy Ansah this season or possibly to replace him if he leaves via free agency. However, this draft class is not stocked with much pass-rushing talent, so they will hope to get lucky in the middle rounds. Settle is a disruptive defensive tackle to pair with A’Shawn Robinson. With Eric Ebron’s disappointing tenure in Detroit they need to try and find a starter with Fumagalli possibly being that one day down the line.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
1st Rd (14): CB Denzel Ward, Ohio St.
2nd Rd (45): OLB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
3rd Rd (76): S Marcus Allen, Penn St.
4th Rd (101): WR Deon Cain, Clemson
4th Rd (133): OT Alex Cappa, Humboldt St.
5th Rd (138): WR Deontay Burnett, USC
5th Rd (172): CB DJ Reed, Kansas St.
5th Rd (174): DT Folorunso Fatukasi, UConn
Getting Ward at #14 could end up being the steal of the draft. The one knock on Ward that could cause him to slip is his size (5-10) but he is regarded as the best cover corner in the draft. And the Packers best corner is 35-year-old Tramon Williams. Other first round options include DE/OLB Marcus Davenport or RT Mike McGlinchey. The Packers can address the need at edge rusher with Carter and he can be groomed to replace 2019 free agent Clay Matthews. After losing Morgan Burnett to free agency the team needs to replace him at safety where Allen makes sense in the third round. After losing Jordy Nelson, and with Randall Cobb a free agent next season, the Packers would be wise to address the receiver position. Cain is a converted quarterback while Burnett is one of the fastest receivers in the draft. With Bryan Bulaga a possible cap casualty next season, getting another tackle to groom as his replacement should be considered. Reed is even shorter than Ward but always battles and has potential as an effective slot corner. Fatukasi is a big body that can help stop the run.
3rd Rd (68): OT Jamarco Jones, Ohio St.
3rd Rd (80): CB Tarvarus McFadden, Florida St.
3rd Rd (98): OLB Josh Sweat, Florida St.
4th Rd (103): WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn St.
The Texans traded away their first two round picks in this draft last year to move up and grab DeShaun Watson. The best they can hope for here is to strike gold on a mid-round pick. Their offensive line is a mess and Jones can be a swing tackle for them as a rookie and might become a starter. Taking a receiver here would be smart since Will Fuller is seldom healthy and the team has depth issues. Sweat is an intriguing pass-rushing prospect and makes sense with Jadeveon Clowney becoming a free agent after next season.
1st Rd: (6): DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina St.
2nd Rd (36): G/C Billy Price, Ohio St.
2nd Rd (37): WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
2nd Rd (49): LB Malik Jefferson, Texas
3rd Rd (67): CB Anthony Averett, Alabama
4th Rd (104): WR Tre’Quan Smith, UCF
5th Rd (140): RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame
There are reports of the Colts wanting to trade down again, but if they stay here and Chubb is on the board, I do not see how they can pass him up, seeing as edge rusher is their biggest position of need. I suppose CB Denzel Ward is in play at #6 too, as that is a position of need. Price is one of the best interior lineman prospects in the draft and can start at guard for this team. Sutton might be taking in the first round but could slip to them at #37 as he is not a polished route runner. And taking a second receiver is a must given the fact the Colts have one of the weakest receiving corps in football. I like a powerful back like Adams to pair with the more explosive Marlon Mack. The Colts need starters at both middle and weakside linebacker. Jefferson can be a starter at weakside.
1st Rd (29): MLB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise St.
2nd Rd (61): OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
3rd Rd (93): CB Quenton Meeks, Stanford
4th Rd (129): WR Simmie Cobbs, Indiana
The Jaguars do not have many holes on their roster. However, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny retired and was not replaced. Vander Esch is reportedly dropping off of some draft boards due to medical concerns, but if the Jaguars think he can hold up, it makes sense to take him here. Tackle is not the strongest position along the offensive line, and Crosby could push to start at right tackle out of training camp. Cobbs has size to break through the line when opposing teams stack the box to stop Fournette. Meeks has the size Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash looks for at cornerback.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2nd Rd (54): CB Carlton Davis, Auburn
3rd Rd (78): OLB Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
3rd Rd (86): FS Armani Watts, Texas A&M
4th Rd (122): DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays St.
4th Rd (124): OT Matt Pryor, TCU
The Chiefs traded their first round pick last year in order to draft Patrick Mahomes. Improving their defense should be the main goal of this draft. They traded away cornerback Marcus Peters and need help on the outside, where Davis might be able to contribute from Week One. With Dee Ford becoming a free agent next season, and after getting rid of Tamba Hali, the Chiefs need some youth at outside linebacker. Shepherd is an intriguing small-school prospect that could fit as a 3-4 defensive end for Bob Sutton’s system. With Eric Fisher hitting free agency, help will be needed at tackle. Watts would provide much needed depth at safety.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
1st Rd (17): DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
2nd Rd (48): OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
3rd Rd (84): QB Luke Falk, Washington St.
4th Rd (119): ILB Nick DeLuca, North Dakota St.
5th Rd (155): RB Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi
6th Rd (191): FS Damon Webb, Ohio St.
The Chargers could try to address the O-Line with their first pick, but Payne is great value here. Payne would fit in well with the Chargers and could start Week One due to the fact Corey Liuget will be suspended for the first four games of the season. You can probably get another productive season or two with Rivers as your quarterback, but need something for the future. Cardale Jones appears to be no more than a developmental project while Geno Smith is not the answer. Having Falk sit for a couple of seasons would be beneficial. Brown had a disastrous combine workout but redeemed himself at his school’s pro day and is worth a shot in the second round. DeLuca can challenge for the starting middle linebacker position while Smith would provide depth at running back, possibly the #2 spot behind Melvin Gordon.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
3rd Rd (87): OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
4th Rd (111): HB Nyheim Hines, North Carolina St.
4th Rd (135): S Cole Reyes, North Dakota
4th Rd (136): G Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
The Rams made a big splash this offseason by going out and acquiring big name players, leaving them with little draft capital. Hines is small but explosive and I bet Head Coach Sean McVay could find various ways to use him as a weapon. Teller could be asked to start in the 2019 season as the Rams have three key linemen entering contract years. The other picks give the team needed depth on defense.
1st Rd (11): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
2nd Rd (42): LB Darius Leonard, South Carolina St.
3rd Rd (73): DE Arden Key, LSU
4th Rd (123): CB Duke Dawson, Florida
4th Rd (131): LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF
If Rosen does not make to them at #11, then they could go with a cornerback, or if Roquan Smith was on the board, and they did not want a top QB, I see him being the pick. There are some reports that Head Coach Adam Gase is obsessed with Rosen though, so having him fall into his lap would be ideal. They can afford to have Rosen sit for a season. Leonard can be groomed as Kiko Alonzo’s replacement at weakside linebacker while Key might be called upon to replace Cameron Wake as an edge rusher. Dawson gives them a potential #2 corner for the future while feel-good story Griffin makes sense to the Dolphins as a possible strongside linebacker.
1st Rd (30): OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
2nd Rd (62): CB Isaac Yiadom, Boston College
3rd Rd (94): LB Micah Kizer, Virginia
5th Rd (167): RB Chase Edmonds, Fordham
The right side of Minnesota’s offensive line needs a lot of help. Miller projects best as a right tackle in the NFL and can immediately fill a need there. Yiadom is a press corner than fits the scheme of Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and would fill in as a nickel back, a position left vacant after releasing Terence Newman. With strongside linebacker Anthony Barr due to hit free agency next season, they will need to have some insurance in case he signs elsewhere so taking Kizer makes sense. Edmonds give the Vikings a change of pace back and might be counted on for more if Dalvin Cook faces any setbacks in his return from a torn ACL.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
1st Rd (23): OT Connor Williams, Texas
1st Rd (31): RB Derrius Guice, LSU
2nd Rd (43): CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
2nd Rd (63): QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
3rd Rd (95): S Kyzir White, West Virginia
With two first-round selections and the team linked to a few of the top quarterbacks, the Patriots could be in for quite the draft night. There is a possibility they go all in for a quarterback, or even Bradley Chubb as a pass rusher, as its been reported that Head Coach Bill Belichick is a huge fan. However, this team has more holes than you think. Nate Solder’s departure means Tom Brady is without a blindside protector. Williams might have been the top-ranked tackle if not for injury concerns. He has missed eight games over the past two seasons with a knee issue. Top rusher Dion Lewis also left via free agency and last year’s signing Mike Gillislee was a bust and the rest of the roster is filled with complimentary backs. Guice is a power runner the team desperately needs. I have them addressing the secondary after the disaster last year in the Super Bowl. White can line up in a few different positions and would help immensely considering how many three safety sets the team runs. Jason McCourty was acquired from Cleveland, but is more of a temporary solution than a long-term one, so grooming a future starter is key. Lauletta is someone that has played in various schemes in college and Belichick places a high value on versatility.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
1st Rd (27): TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota St.
3rd Rd (91): G Austin Corbett, Nevada
4th Rd (127): CB Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
5th Rd (147): LB Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
5th Rd (164): ILB Genard Avery, Memphis
The Coby Fleener signing has not worked out and the Saints were dead last with just 476 receiving yards from the tight end position last season, so a change needs to be made. Goedert can line up anywhere and should provide Drew Brees with another weapon. The Saints could also look at a receiver with their first-round pick or take someone like Harold Landry as an edge rusher. Andrus Peat is recovering from surgery and Corbett could help out at guard. Corbett also played tackle in college and could provide depth there, but fits better as a guard. Phillips projects as a slot corner in the NFL and that is a position of need while I went with two linebackers in the fifth round, since the team lacks depth and current starters have injury concerns.
NEW YORK GIANTS
1st Rd (2): QB Sam Darnold, USC
2nd Rd (34):G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
3rd Rd (66): RB Ronald Jones II, USC
3rd Rd (69): C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
4th Rd (108): WR Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
5th Rd (139): OLB Marquis Haynes, Mississippi
I’ve seen a lot of people who think running back Saquon Barkley will be #2 overall. I originally thought this pick would be an auction for someone who wants Sam Darnold (provided Josh Allen was the first overall pick), but I do not know how you would get a better package than what the Jets gave to the Colts to move up here. And I assume something like that was offered to the Giants as well. The Giants signed Nate Solder, but the offensive line is still crummy as a whole and they have a new coach who is a quarterback guru, so I have to believe he took this job to draft a QB this high rather than work with a declining Eli Manning. Barkley is still a possibility and after trading away Jason Pierre Paul, they could chose Bradley Chubb as his replacement. They can have Darnold sit for a season then draft some linemen, receivers, and a running back here for him to grow with. GM Dave Gettleman loves big receivers (drafted Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess while in Carolina) and St. Brown would give Darnold a 6-3 possession receiver to work with going forward. Jones is an explosive back that the Giants have not had in years and should contribute right away. Haynes gives them an edge rusher as they transition to new defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense.
NEW YORK JETS
1st Rd (3): QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
3rd Rd (72): OLB Uchenna Nwosu, USC
4th Rd (107): TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
5th Rd (157): CB MJ Stewart, North Carolina
With the Jets paying a hefty price to move into the #3 slot it is clear that they are going for a quarterback and all signs point to that person being Baker Mayfield. If Darnold happened to be available, then I think the Jets would take him. Rosen could be a choice, here but his name seems to be slipping, although that might just be a smoke screen. New offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is likely going to use a quick strike system with a lot of run/pass options and that is similar to what Mayfield did in Oklahoma. Mayfield can also sit a season behind Josh McCown and acclimate himself to the offense. The Jets pass rush was ineffective and Nwosu is a name rising up draft boards so he would be a strong value with the 72nd overall pick. Stewart fits the press scheme used by Head Coach Todd Bowles and could contribute right away in the slot. Thomas is an athletic guy with more potential on offense than any other tight end on the roster.
1st Rd (10): LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
2nd Rd (41): DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford
3rd Rd (75): DE Rasheem Green, USC
4th Rd (110): WR Cedrick Wilson, Boise St.
5th Rd (159): P Michael Dickson, Texas
5th Rd (173): QB Kyle Allen, Houston
Edwards is versatile and can line up just about anywhere. The middle is the weakest part of Oakland’s defense. I also have the Raiders addressing the middle in the second round with Phillips at defensive tackle. Phillips’ physical style will fit in well with a Jon Gruden-coached team. Oakland also needs an edge rusher to pair with Khalil Mack and hopefully can get that with Green. Wilson would provide the Raiders with some much-needed speed on offense and Gruden can draft Allen as a long-term project as he loves acquiring quarterbacks. Allen was ranked #35 in the 2014 NCAA freshman class, but did not live up to expectations. After cutting Marquette King, they can replace him with one of the highest-ranked punting prospects in years with Dickson.
1st Rd (32): CB Mike Hughes, UCF
4th Rd (130): DT Trenton Thompson, Georgia
4th Rd (132): TE Christopher Herndon, Miami
5th Rd (169): WR Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa
The defending Super Bowl champions have the deepest roster in football. They could very well go with a running back in the first and take Sony Michel, but cornerback is another area of need after Daryl Worley’s release and with Ronald Darby entering free agency. Thompson has a lot of potential but has some medical concerns that might cause him to slide into the middle rounds. He would at least bring youth to the position and could possibly become a starter down the line. The Eagles like to run multiple tight end sets, and after losing Trey Burton via free agency, could use someone to pair with Zach Ertz. Herndon might have been a first-round pick if not for a torn MCL suffered this past November. Herndon is athletic and can block in the running game too. Fountain had a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game and has good size (6-1, 210 lbs.) to possibly become a starter at some point.
1st Rd (28): S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
2nd Rd (60): RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
3rd Rd (92): ILB Christian Sam, Arizona St.
5th Rd (148): OT Toby Weathersby, LSU
5th Rd (165): WR Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
The Steelers need to address their secondary. Harrison might be similar to newly-signed Morgan Burnett, but he has the athleticism to play free safety. With Le’Veon Bell likely departing next year the team needs to find a replacement. They could also address this in the first round with Derrius Guice or Sony Michel, but Chubb has the chance to be special if he can improve in the passing game. They will not be able to replace Ryan Shazier with the 28th overall pick, but Sam fits as a 3-4 inside linebacker. In the fifth round I have them addressing offensive tackle after Chris Hubbard left in free agency while Coutee gives the team a slot receiver and insurance if Martavis Bryant leaves next season.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
1st Rd (9): CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
2nd Rd (59): OL Martinas Rankin, Mississippi St.
3rd Rd (70): TE Mike Gesicki, Penn St.
3rd Rd (74): RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
4th Rd (128): DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
5th Rd (143): CB Kameron Kelly, San Diego St.
The 49ers secondary is the weakest spot on the team. Fitzpatrick can play corner in Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh’s defense or line up at free safety. I also have them taking another tall cornerback in Kameron Kelly with their 55th round pick. Rankin played tackle in college and could possibly become a right tackle in the pros, but would likely be an interior lineman. His skill set should work in coach Kyle Shanahan’s one-cut zone blocking scheme. The team also needs to address skill positions, especially at running back, where the depth is shallow. Johnson would compliment projected starter Jerick McKinnon at the very least and could be the starter by the end of the season. Gesicki can flex out and be a reliable target for Jimmy Garoppalo. Bringing in more depth at defensive end is also necessary.
1st Rd (18): DE Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio
4th Rd (120): CB Kevin Toliver, LSU
5th Rd (141): OT Timon Paris, Stony Brook
5th Rd (146): S Godwin Igwebuke, Northwestern
5th Rd (156): G Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
5th Rd (168): QB Logan Woodside, Toledo
Seattle has to rebuild its defense. Head Coach Pete Carroll needs to find a “Leo” defensive end and Davenport fits that bill better than probably anyone in the draft. The Seahawks could also go with a cornerback in round one like Josh Jackson. I would not be shocked so see them trade down and collect some Day Two picks. They can address the secondary in day three with the 6-2 Toliver at cornerback and Igwebuke would likely be a secondary safety in the pros, but could be counted on to take over for upcoming free agent Earl Thomas at free safety. The Seahawks offensive line needs a lot of help too and must be addressed at some point in the draft. The team could also use a developmental quarterback after Trevone Boykin was released, and Woodside has the potential to become a solid backup in the league. The offensive line is another problem area for the team and should be addressed here.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
1st Rd (7): S Derwin James, Florida St.
2nd Rd (38): RB Sony Michel, Georgia
4th Rd (102): DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida St.
5th Rd (144): DE Tyquan Lewis, Ohio St.
The Buccaneers should draft James for the impact player in the secondary they desperately need. They could also consider Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward. I also would not be shocked to see the team trade down for someone looking to grab a quarterback. The team lost Doug Martin in the offseason and does not have anyone that seems like an impact player at running back, so Michel would be a wise choice in the second round. The Buccaneers defensive line is poor and should also be addressed through the draft.
1st Rd (25):ILB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
2nd Rd (57): G Braden Smith, Auburn
3rd Rd (89): WR Dante Pettis, Washington
4th Rd (125):S Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech
5th Rd (162): OLB Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
Former linebacker Mike Vrabel is now the Titans head coach and that is a position of need on his team. Evans can team with Wesley Woodyard to form a tandem in the middle of Dean Pees’ 3-4 defense. Both outside linebackers are over 30 years old and youth is needed, as picking up Turay in the fifth could be a bargain. The Titans could use an upgrade at guard. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has an underwhelming receiving corps and Pettis would at least give him a deep threat. Edmunds would provide the team with a third safety and someone who could possibly become a starter within a few seasons.
1st Rd (13): DT Vita Vea, Washington
2nd Rd (44): C James Daniels, Iowa
4th Rd (109): RB Kallen Ballage, Arizona St.
5th Rd (142): ILB Hercules Mata’afa, Washington St.
5th Rd (163): WR Michael Gallup, Colorado St.
The Redskins run defense was putrid and is something Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky wants to fix. Vea is the top nose tackle in the draft and while Mata’afa was a defensive tackle in college he would have to find a new position in the pros. Manusky could use him as an inside linebacker in his 3-4 defense. Manusky wants to have a hard-hitting defense. Daniels is a potential first rounder at center and would provide the Redskins with a starter, a position where they are weak. The Redskins do not have a feature back and Ballage has intriguing size and is good as a receiver out of the backfield, something head coach Jay Gruden likes. Gallup is a solid route runner that could develop into a quality possession receiver.