What an incredible 9-10 days we have had leading up to this year’s NFL Draft. The top two picks getting traded within a week of each other led to much shuffle within the top ten, at least in my mind.
I approach every NFL Draft with two mindsets: 1) The way I see it actually happening or 2) The way I think it should happen.
I usually pick one mindset and roll with it for the Draft, but this year has been funky, mostly due to the fact neither of these quarterbacks are sure things.
So with this mock draft, both mindsets will be featured. The 2nd pick in this mock is an example of the way I think things will work out. It doesn’t mean I agree with the pick being made.
No.1, Los Angeles Rams: QB, Jared Goff, California
Los Angeles’ trade was absolutely massive, but also unexpected.
See, I don’t like either quarterback in this draft. But the Rams like one, and with their trade, it guarantees the QBs will go one and two, like last year.
Many reports seem to suggest the Rams favor Goff, which with a gun to my head, I’d rather have. Goff has had better competition and has more intelligence. That may be due to that fact I watched Goff much more this season. At the same time, Carson Wentz was a winner in college and seems like the stud the Rams may covet due to their change of location.
So talent: Goff. Experience, marketing, character: Wentz
No.2, Philadelphia Eagles: QB, Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Once again, my mock draft is thrown for a loop. The night prior to this trade, I had completed my first round mock draft and had written about 12 of the picks. Then the massive Eagles-Browns trade happened, and some reshuffling had to be done.
There is a ton of directions this trade will take. First, Cleveland did a great job. They clearly weren’t sold on any quarterback (smart), and knew they could add more picks by moving back. Cleveland reflected the “What should happen” mindset of mine. I didn’t like Cleveland taking a quarterback at No.2, even though when they sat there, I thought they would.
Perhaps this shows the progression of thought in the Browns front office, which is something that has been lacking for some time now.
The trade gives Cleveland picks to rebuild with and shows their trust in RG3. He is their guy for this season, and with money they are giving him, he should be.
From Philadelphia’s side of things, it goes South fast.
We knew Cleveland was getting calls about No.2, and that the two most likely teams to trade up were the Eagles and San Francisco. Thats why this trade wasn’t all that unexpected.
At the same time, the Eagles are going to be paying Sam Bradford $18 million and Chase Daniel $8 million this upcoming season. So why do we need a third guy here? Especially if he is going No.2 overall?
If you take a quarterback at No.2 overall, he should be your guy. He is the new face of your franchise. He should start Week 1. Period.
But the Eagles are going to be putting Carson Wentz in a really weird situation, which is not the thing you’re supposed to do to rookies.
Even though I don’t think Wentz is that good, I feel bad for him. Because the situation in Philly is gonna get awkward real fast.
I think the Eagles are taking Wentz, but I don’t think it is smart. Remember how this year’s front office was supposed to be smarter that last’s? What happened to that?
No.3, San Diego Chargers: OLB, Myles Jack, UCLA
San Diego should be in best player available mode, and that is Myles Jack. The guy is a freak athletically, and can play anywhere. The Chargers may even be able to use him on offense, as UCLA did two seasons ago. I wouldn’t be too concerned of the knee injury, as recent reports have blown off previous concern. NFL executives are smarter than me, and I trust them and their doctors to make sure Jack is okay. This guy is a stud, and that is what the Chargers need.
No.4, Dallas Cowboys: DE, DeForest Buckner, Oregon
Buckner here is essentially a replacement for Greg Hardy, although with no baggage and more potential. He is a ferocious pass rusher, something the Cowboys have lacked for awhile now. This pick seems a little high in some eyes, but it is more about need.
No.5, Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
This is a player some would think is going too low. Jalen Ramsey may be the best player in the draft.
This would be an excellent addition for a rapidly improving Jaguars defense. Ramsey is very versatile, something which has strangely been held against him. The Jaguars would be thrilled to land him at No.5.
No.6, Baltimore Ravens: CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
There is no way anyone would take Vernon Hargreaves over Ramsey, but he’s a pretty good fallback plan if you’re Baltimore. He is a little small, but he is quick and can keep up with anyone. Baltimore has many corners on the roster, but there are question marks with all. With Hargreaves, there are none. He will lock anyone down.
No.7, San Francisco 49ers: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
The 49ers would be ecstatic to have Tunsil fall to them here. Its not that I don’t think Tunsil is good, I just think the needs of other teams and the Rams-Titans trade really messed with things. Before the trade, I thought Tennessee would take Tunsil No.1.
No matter who the QB is in San Francisco, the 49ers need offensive line help. Tunsil is amazing value at this pick. At this point in the draft, you can’t worry about any concerns there are. You just take him.
No.8, Cleveland Browns: OT, Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
Cleveland should be in best player mode, and they will be really disappointed when Tunsil goes at No.7. The fact he falls that far will unfortunately get their hopes up.
Ronnie Stanley is the next best option on the offensive line, a spot where Cleveland can use some help. RG3 can run, but we know all the issues he’s had with that. Some extra protection up front should help.
No.9, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT, A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Adding Robinson would create a ridiculous defensive line for the Buccaneers. Joey Bosa could be considered here, if the Buccaneers think they could move him inside due to concerns over his speed.
No.10, New York Giants: DE, Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Another great value pick. This Giants defense has many holes, and with Bosa the best player available here, it just makes sense.
The reason for Bosa’s drop? I think Buckner is a little more pure. Bosa has the ferocity, no question, but I question his speed coming off the edge. He could be moved around a bit to help that weakness out.
No.11, Chicago Bears: OT, Jack Conklin, Michigan State
This offensive line is horrendous, leaving the Bears no choice but to take a lineman here. Stanley being taken earlier will disappoint them, especially since the trend of tackles falling developed.
No.12, New Orleans Saints: DE, Shaq Lawson, Clemson
I considered Reggie Ragland in this spot, but thought the Saints needed someone up front rather than a thumper-type linebacker. Lawson has been soaring up boards for awhile now. Sure, he needs to work on rushing the quarterback more, but he is a disrupter in any other case. The Saints, one of the worst defenses in the league last year, need a guy like this.
No.13, Miami Dolphins: RB, Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State
Its perfect, isn’t it?
I was waiting for the right spot for a team to draft Elliot. The guy is a beast, but running backs’ value is slowly decreasing. However, Miami is in dire need of one after Lamar Miller left for Houston.
Elliot is a physical runner who can also break away. He can do anything you ask him to.
No.14, Oakland Raiders: OLB, Leonard Floyd, Georgia
I don’t know if this Raiders defense even needs anyone else. It is probably too early to go wide receiver here, but it is something the Raiders should consider.
Floyd has flaws, but he is long and very athletic. The Raiders have a lot of big, heavy-hitting defenders. A guy like Floyd would give this defense some more uniqueness.
No.15, Tennessee Titans: DE, Kevin Dodd, Clemson
I love the Clemson guys in this draft. Even though Kevin Dodd has a funky frame, this guy is athletic and will cause trouble for an opposing offense. He’s not an imposing figure, but would be a nice piece for a defense that has many holes.
No.16, Detroit Lions: ILB, Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Adding Reggie Ragland would boost an already fantastic linebacking core. The Lions hit hard and play smart. Ragland fits that mold.
No.17, Atlanta Falcons: DT, Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Controversial pick here. I think Nkemdiche certainly has off-the-field issues he needs to work on, but I also think this is a large enough fall for him. Atlanta has struggled developing their front seven for years now. Nkemdiche is an automatic plug-in and produce. You can’t question his talent. I think this is a necessary risk the Falcons need to take.
No.18, Indianapolis Colts: C, Ryan Kelly, Alabama
Ryan Kelly is going to be one of those big, fat lineman that you look at and go “My God, that guy is massive.” And thats a good thing! Because usually, those guys are good football players.
He is a big man, and he is a big-time player. He is ready for the NFL. The Colts need offensive line help desperately so that Andrew Luck doesn’t have organ problems anymore. This is an important pick for the Colts, and in the current situation at this point in the Draft, is the only logical thing for them to do.
No.19, Buffalo Bills: DE, Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
If the Bills take Ogbah, they’d probably move him back to linebacker. Buffalo has a stacked defensive line, and don’t need anyone else. This may be a little high for him, as he lacks some skills. This pick would fill a need for the Bills.
No.20, New York Jets: OLB, Darran Lee, Ohio State
Lee could easily go to Buffalo the pick before. The Jets need help at linebacker, and Lee has the skills to play in this league. However, he may be a little limited depending on role.
No.21, Washington Redskins: DE, Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
The Redskins have a lot of guys up front already, but many of them carry question marks, and have been sketchy performers throughout their career.
Spence is a raw and wild player. He makes things happen on the field. The speed needs work, but Spence has great awareness, and being smart is becoming a big part of the game. This pick makes all the sense in the world for Washington.
No.22, Houston Texans: DT, Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork, and Sheldon Rankins as my defensive line? Yes please!
I think Rankins’ smaller size won’t be an issue due to who is around him, and the issues they present the other team. Offensive lines are going to have to hassle with Watt and Wilfork already, leaving Rankins the least-guarded guy in the trenches. With this pick, Houston could end up with one of the best defensive lines ever.
No.23, Minnesota Vikings: WR, Laquon Tredwell, Ole Miss
The Vikings have attempted to invest in weapons for Teddy Bridgewater, and have only hit on one: Stefon Diggs.
Diggs was great last year, but he is surrounded by sketchy guys like Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright. Adding someone like Laquon Tredwell would finally give Teddy some true weapons.
Tredwell was amazing in college, and is a vertical threat down the field. That is something Minnesota currently lacks. I think, at this point in the draft, the wide receivers will begin to go.
No.24, Cincinnati Bengals: WR, Josh Doctson, TCU
The Bengals lost two wide receivers (Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones) in free agency, which was probably completely fine with them considering the money those two got.
Instead, the Bengals can replace them with Josh Doctson, who was the best receiver in college football last season. Doctson is a vertical threat, and won’t be used in the short passing game, but he can go get a football. Him and AJ Green are gonna give cornerbacks and safeties a nightmare.
No.25, Pittsburgh Steelers: CB, Eli Apple, Ohio State
This Steelers secondary has been a wreck for years, and every move they have made to fix it has failed.
Eli Apple is a big, physical cornerback. His isn’t going to get beat by anyone, and can go up and grab interceptions. This would be the cornerback the Steelers have lacked for so long.
No.26, Seattle Seahawks: DT, Jarran Reed, Alabama
The Seattle defense, which is still very good, has holes up front. The ends are solidified with quality starters, but between the gaps is where the Seahawks are lacking.
Jarran Reed will stuff gaps and won’t miss tackles. He’s not a pass-rusher, but that is okay giving his surroundings. This pick would fill a big hole for Seattle.
No.27, Green Bay Packers: WR, Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
This was a tough pick. I think Green Bay could trade out if they don’t like anyone left. I simply selected the best player available for the Packers.
Green Bay has plenty of wide receiver depth, but Shepard is one of the many talented receivers in this draft.
My best guess is Green Bay trades out, unless they have a sleeper they’re looking at.
No.28, Kansas City Chiefs: WR, Corey Coleman, Baylor
The Chiefs, like Minnesota, have struggled to obtain weapons. Adding Corey Coleman, an all-around playmaker, would give the Chiefs a nice stockpile of Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce, and Coleman. This is what Alex Smith needs to succeed.
No.29, Arizona Cardinals: TE, Hunter Henry, Arkansas
While Jermaine Gresham is on the Arizona roster, the Cardinals have lacked a true tight end for sometime now. Arizona can’t defend them either (Thats a whole nother issue.). Henry is a receiving first tight end, who doesn’t drop balls. Henry would be a huge addition to an already splendid Arizona arsenal of weapons.
No.30, Carolina Panthers: OG, Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
Carolina has lacked line depth for awhile, and I don’t know how much I trust their current offensive line. Whitehair is a solid prospect who has plenty of potential. He doesn’t have to start right away.
No.31, Denver Broncos: OG, Joshua Garnett, Stanford
I know it seems high, but this is a big boy who can block. The Broncos need as much of it as they can get with their current quarterback situation.