One of the biggest days of the sports world is here. The NFL Draft. The draft process this year has been particularly crazy because there is no true, clear-cut number one overall pick. Mock drafts from various analysts throughout this process have had anywhere from three to five different players being selected with the 1st overall pick.
The draft is tonight and it seems like we are no closer to knowing who will be selected 1st overall, then we were in January. Today alone has been so crazy with information being dropped left and right about players and who will go where. I actually had this mock finished this morning but because of the massive information drop, I had to move some players around and redo it! There won’t be any trades predicted in this mock but if this draft process has shown anything, there’s bound to be some craziness.
- Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield – QB, Oklahoma
The Browns need a quarterback. That’s not a secret, but they’ve been very secretive about who they are going to take. However, multiple sources around the league and NFL analysts today are predicting that Mayfield is the pick. Browns General Manager John Dorsey was with the Green Bay Packers when Brett Favre came in and helped change the culture completely around and reportedly, Dorsey and his personnel staff believe Mayfield can do the same thing with the Browns.
I’m not sure if he can and I’m not sure he’s a great fit in Cleveland where the weather is wet, cold and windy for most of the season. Mayfield does not have the biggest arm out of the top quarterbacks and is very clearly the shortest, so I’m not sure how he’ll withstand the weather and punishment from the other AFC North teams.
I would take Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen all over Mayfield but if the Browns love him, then they should take him and hopefully, it all works out.
- New York Giants: Sam Darnold – QB, USC
Do I think the Giants will take a quarterback here? No, but they should. The Giants will likely draft Saquon Barkley but if Darnold is available they should take him. With Eli Manning being 37-years old, the Giants need to draft his eventual successor. They will hopefully not be picking this high again for a while, so they should select one of the best quarterback prospects while they can. Darnold is 20-years old and could even sit for a year or two behind Eli and learn, ala Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.
- New York Jets: Josh Rosen – QB, UCLA
After trading up with the Colts, the Jets will be taking a quarterback here no question. It remains to be see though which one they will draft. The Jets were interested in Mayfield but with him being off the board, Rosen would be a perfect choice here. He is the most day-one ready quarterback in this class and arguably, the most talented passer. He would be a good fit in New York Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’s offense and would also be able to handle the New York media.
- Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb – DE, N.C. State
The Browns could take Barkley here but their defense was not great last year, especially rushing the passer. Adding Chubb, to pair with last year’s 1st overall pick in Myles Garrett, would make the Browns pass rush formidable and improve their defense.
- Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson – OG, Notre Dame
My guess is that this might be where another team like Arizona, Buffalo or Miami trades up to draft a quarterback but if not, Denver needs to improve their offensive line. Nelson might be safest bet and best player in the draft so if he is here, Denver should jump at the chance to take him. Denver could take Barkley, or even a quarterback here but I think Denver General Manager John Elway may not want to draft a quarterback this high. By signing quarterback Case Keenum in free agency to a two-year deal, he gives himself a bit of breathing room.
- Indianapolis Colts: Roquan Smith – LB, Georgia
Smith might be the best inside linebacker in the draft. The Colts simply do not have enough talent at inside linebacker so if he’s available, the Colts should run to the commissioner with the card. If Nelson were available, the Colts could draft him as Andrew Luck needs to be protected better. They could also trade down for the right price.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley – RB, Penn State
The Buccaneers have several defensive needs and could draft a corner or a safety here but if Barkley is still on the board, they should take him. They released former running back Doug Martin earlier this offseason and Jameis Winston and this Bucs offense could use an elite running back like Barkley.
- Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward – CB, Ohio State
Ward is the best player available, and with the Bears being in the same division with elite quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Kirk Cousins, they could use another cornerback. By drafting Ward, the Bears could use him in the slot, or on the outside and slide cornerback Prince Amukamara to the slot.
- San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds – LB, Virginia Tech
If Ward were available here, the 49ers may draft him. However, they’ve had a difficult offseason with last year’s first round pick, linebacker Reuben Foster, who’s had some significant legal issues. Edmunds is 6’ 5” and is versatile and physical inside linebacker. He’s also only 19-years old so he has room to grow and develop.
- Oakland Raiders: Mike McGlinchey – OT, Notre Dame
The Raiders could be a candidate to trade down here as they have several needs but if not, they should draft McGlinchey to protect their franchise quarterback in Derek Carr. Current starting left tackle Donald Penn is 35-years old so the Raiders need to think about drafting his successor. At worst, McGlinchey could start at right tackle instead of free agency signee Breno Giacomini, who signed a one-year deal.
- Miami Dolphins: Josh Allen – QB, Wyoming
Allen’s draft slide ends here. Allen was projected to go near the top of the draft but due to racially offensive tweets of his from back in high school being released early this morning, along with the fact he’s a bit unrefined as a quarterback leads to him sliding this far. Now, according to Allen via ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, those tweets were quotes of rap songs and television episodes so that may have sufficiently answered any questions NFL teams may have about that situation.
Allen is raw but he might have the highest ceiling out of any quarterback in the draft. With Ryan Tannehill still being the starting quarterback for at least a year, that will give head coach Adam Gase some time to mold and develop Allen.
- Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson – QB, Louisville
The Bills need a quarterback and after trading multiple picks to get to this spot, they need to select one. Jackson is an elite athlete but has some room to grow as a passer, just like Allen. If Jackson is able to sit for at least a year to grow and refine his mechanics, he could become a great quarterback. In free agency, the Bills signed quarterback AJ McCarron to a two-year deal so that could give the Bills some breathing room to develop Jackson.
- Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick – S, Alabama
Washington could take a defensive tackle here but their secondary is in flux right now, so Fitzpatrick is the pick. He might be the best player on the board and he’ll help Washington in a variety of ways. He’s versatile and can play slot cornerback, safety and come up and play in the box.
- Green Bay Packers: Derwin James – S, Florida State
Many analysts flip back-and-forth between Fitzpatrick or James being the best safety in this draft. James does many of the same things Fitzpatrick does but he’s a bit bigger and maybe more athletic. He’s also fantastic as a blitzer from the slot. The Packers desperately need help in the secondary, as well as their pass rush and drafting James helps in both of these areas. Pairing him with Pro Bowl safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and second-year safety Josh Jones allows the Packers to play a versatile, unique defense with these players being used in a variety of different ways.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jaire Alexander – CB, Louisville
The Cardinals could use a quarterback but with all of the top quarterbacks off the board, they’ll have to wait until Day 2 to draft one. Cornerback is a major need though as they are in a division with Russell Wilson, Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo and outside of Patrick Peterson, they really don’t have much at cornerback. Alexander is rising on draft boards and Arizona jumps at the chance to take him.
- Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley – WR, Alabama
The last few seasons, the Ravens have had issues at the wide receiver position, suffering from a lack of production at that position. In General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s last draft for the Ravens, he goes back to his alma mater in Alabama, where he’s had success drafting players from there in the past and selects Ridley to hopefully fix the lack of production at that position.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Vita Vea – DT, Washington
The Chargers need to add a defensive tackle to become more stout and physical on the defensive line and pair with edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Vea might be the best player on the board so not only does it fill a need, it’s tremendous value.
- Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport – DE, UTSA
The Seahawks could go offensive line here as their offensive line has been a bit of a mess recently. However, they also need to replenish their pass rusher group with Michael Bennett being traded away. Davenport is a bit of a boom or bust prospect but he has so much potential and fills a need so the Seahawks should take him. The Seahawks may also trade down if they want to draft an offensive lineman.
- Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton – WR, SMU
The Cowboys needs wide receivers. With them releasing Dez Bryant, that leaves a hole at that position and the Cowboys need to help their young quarterback in Dak Prescott. Sutton fills a need here and while it may be a bit high for him, the Cowboys desperately need to add more wide receivers and revamp that position. The Cowboys could also draft a guard or inside linebacker if they think they can get a wide receiver later in the draft.
- Detroit Lions: Harold Landry – DE, Boston College
Detroit needs to improve their pass rush, especially being in the same division as Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and a promising young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Landry may not have the highest ceiling of all the pass rushers but he might be the most-ready to play on day one. If the Lions take him, they won’t be disappointed.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Frank Ragnow – C, Arkansas
The Bengals need to improve their offensive line and Ragnow might be the best center in the draft. He can also play guard so if the Bengals decide to play him there, he will fix that hole.
- Buffalo Bills: Will Hernandez – OG, UTEP
Having already got their quarterback, the Bills can now improve their offensive line. Eric Wood is no longer there and Richie Incognito may not return so Hernandez is the pick. Hernandez is a tough, physical player and is one of the best guards in the draft so if he’s available, the Bills should leap at the chance to draft him.
- New England Patriots: Kolton Miller – OT, UCLA
The Patriots lost left tackle Nate Solder to the Giants this offseason so they need to improve their offensive line. Quarterback Tom Brady will be 41-years old when the season starts and is the franchise so the Patriots need to protect him. Especially since they don’t have a great backup option. Miller reportedly reminds scouts of Solder so this could be a great fit.
- Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore – WR, Maryland
Outside of wide receivers Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith, the Panthers do not have much at wide receiver. Moore is a bit raw but he’s very talented and the Panthers can use him in a variety of different ways. He’s explosive, fast and thrives generating yards after the catch, where the Panthers have struggled in recent years.
- Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans – LB, Alabama
With the recent departure of inside linebacker Avery Williamson, linebacker is major need. Evans is three-down linebacker who can also rush the passer if need be. He’d be a great fit in Tennessee, in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme.
- Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne – DT, Alabama
With defensive tackle Dontari Poe leaving, the Falcons have a gaping hole at that position. Payne might be the best defensive tackle in this draft class. Payne is athletic, physical and is stout against both the run and the pass. Given the rushing attacks of both New Orleans and Carolina, the addition of Payne will great aid Atlanta.
- New Orleans Saints: Isaiah Wynn – OG, Georgia
Quarterback Drew Brees is 39-years old and the Saints need to continue to protect him. Jermon Bushrod is a decent stopgap option at guard but Wynn is one of the best guards in the class. With Wynn, the Saints will still be able to run their lethal rushing attack while also protecting Brees on passing plays. The Saints could also draft a tight end or wide receiver here instead of a guard.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Sony Michel – RB, Georgia
Running back does not seem like a huge need for the Steelers but given all the drama surrounding running back Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation, the Steelers may want to draft Michel to compliment him or be his eventual replacement. Michel is a three-down physical back who is electric with the ball in his hands.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Hayden Hurst – TE, South Carolina
The Jaguars released long-time tight-end Marcedes Lewis earlier this offseason so they need to fill this hole. Hurst is a willing and capable blocker in the run game, which is important in Jacksonville, but he can also be split out wide to catch the ball. Should Jacksonville draft him, quarterback Blake Bortles will be very happy.
- Minnesota Vikings: Josh Jackson – CB, Iowa
With 39-year old cornerback Terence Newman hitting free agency and likely not returning, cornerback is a major need for the Vikings. Jackson is a physical, ball-hawk corner who will fit well in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
- New England Patriots: James Daniels – C, Iowa
Just like before in their previous pick, the Patriots are going to address their offensive line. They’ve got to protect Brady, who took far too many hits and sacks last season. Daniels might be the best center in the draft and is great in both pass protection and run blocking.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Hughes – CB, UCF
The reigning Super Bowl champions get one of the more talented cornerbacks in this draft. With Patrick Robinson leaving in free agency and Ronald Darby in a contract year, cornerback is a need. While Hughes is a talented tough, physical cornerback, he can also help in the return game, returning both kicks and punts.