You know I’m not a big fan of doing Mock Drafts, other than by team. But in advance of the Combine, I felt it would be fun to post a Mock First Round. Please understand that I am not trying to project who teams will actually take. My picks are based upon a combination of best available and team needs. So in essence, it is who I think each team should take.
1) BROWNS – MINKAH FITZPATRICK – CB – ALABAMA
A true “star” for their secondary, with better cover skills than most of their current guys, would be a big help. A VFA QB will be signed to try to solve that issue while they groom KIZER a bit.
2) NY GIANTS – SAQUON BARKLEY – RB – PENN STATE
Their lack of a #1 RB was palpable last season. BARKLEY is a multi-purpose guy and is used to operating behind a mediocre OL. Draft some OL help in Round 2 guys.
3) COLTS – TREMAINE EDMUNDS – LB – VA TECH
With BARKLEY gone, they bolster their D with an all-purpose LB. RB will now wait a round or two.
4) BROWNS – QUENTON NELSON – OG – NOTRE DAME
He could be in the Pro Bowl as a Rookie playing on the same unit with another Domer named MARTIN. Now, if only JOE THOMAS just comes back.
5) BRONCOS – ROQUAN SMITH – LB – GEORGIA
Has “star” written all over him. Just watch his game film. In today’s evolving Defensive climate, he will fit just fine and can stay on the field.
6) NY JETS – JOSH ROSEN – QB – UCLA
Best quality, in a ready-to-play QB this year. Now re-sign McCOWN to tutor and hold down the starting job for a month or so.
7) BUCS – BRADLEY CHUBB – DE – NC STATE
Seems like the BUCS have been searching for DL help forever. CHUBB is not a premier athlete, but is versatile and lives in opponent’s backfields.
8) DA BEARS – CALVIN RIDLEY – WR – ALABAMA
The best WR in this Draft Class, who was under-utilized at ‘Bama. TRUBISKY needs more weapons. This pick could be traded to a QB needy team.
9) 49ers – DERRIUS GUICE – RB – LSU
Niners got some nice production from a diverse group of RB’s last season, but GUICE can do it all.
10) RAIDERS – DENZEL WARD – CB – OHIO STATE
Raiders need a ton of help on the defensive side of the ball, and WARD should be a huge upgrade over the departed AMERSON. Can play CB, opposite a healthy former teammate named CONLEY, who had a wash-out Rookie season in 2017.
11) DOLPHINS – SAM DARNOLD – QB – SOUTHERN CAL
This is the pick, but it might be by another team, unless the patience of waiting for TANNEHILL to develop is over.
12) BENGALS – VITA VEA – DT – WASHINGTON
The DL has not been the same since PEKO left in VFA. VEA is an even more talented PEKO, and his presence will elevate DT partner ATKINS productivity again.
13) REDSKINS – JOSH ALLEN – QB – WYOMING
Does the team dare think ahead a few years to let ALLEN develop behind ALEX SMITH? I say yes, just because.
14) PACKERS – CONNOR WILLIAMS – OT – TEXAS
Not used to the PACK picking this high, and it’s not TED picking anymore. This selection might allow the team to get out from under the oft-injured BULAGA contract.
15) CARDINALS – BAKER MAYFIELD – QB – OKLAHOMA
The QB cupboard is pretty bare in the desert southwest, and the new coaching staff must work hard at developing younger players.
16) RAVENS – CHRISTIAN KIRK – WR/RS – TEXAS A&M
It may look like a reach, but take a good look at the current roster’s receivers and return specialist depth chart. KIRK is a dynamic weapon!
17) CHARGERS – KOLTON MILLER – OT – UCLA
The OL is still a mess overall, and the RIVERS successor candidates are all drafted. Athletically, MILLER belongs this high.
18) SEAHAWKS – DERWIN JAMES – S – FLORIDA STATE
The secondary looked like a MASH unit by the end of last season. SCHNEIDER/CARROLL can’t be cute here. Take the most athletic defender left.
19) COWBOYS – DA’RON PAYNE – DT – ALABAMA
Time to plug in a stud for the inside of their DL. DC MARINELLI has been doing it with mirrors & motivation for years. Now give him a stud!
20) LIONS – MARK ANDREWS – TE – OKLAHOMA
Clearly the best all-around TE in this Draft, and EBRON has been a disappointment with injuries and drops. Medical at Combine might nix this pick.
21) BILLS – SAM HUBBARD – DE/OB – OHIO STATE
Another team that might trade up to get one of the top 4 QB’s. HUBBARD is a versatile penetrator who may be a better pro than a collegian.
22) BILLS – BILLY PRICE – OC – OHIO STATE
Retirement of OC/WOOD makes this pick almost essential. PRICE started 4 years for the Buckeyes at OG/OC. Don’t see many players do that on an URBAN team.
23) RAMS – DONTE JACKSON – CB – LSU
The RAMS may lose some key secondary pieces in VFA this Spring. JACKSON is expected to run incredibly fast at the Combine. If he doesn’t, scratch this pick until Round 2.
24) PANTHERS – MARCUS DAVENPORT – DE – UTSA
This team always luvs to have depth on their DL. DAVENPORT has some serious PEPPERS traits to his frame and style of play.
25) TITANS – ARDEN KEY – DE – LSU
Tough pick here because LaBEAU has been allowed to retire, and KEY has as checkered of a past history as any player I can think of. If they go 4-3 he can play full-time, if not, he’s an elite pass-rusher.
26) FALCONS – LAMAR JACKSON – QB – LOUISVILLE
Deja Vu all over again. A right handed VICK, with better passing stats. Could be a multi-role playing threat while he is groomed behind MATT RYAN. Gotta be thinking ahead.
27) SAINTS – TAVEN BRYAN – DT – FLORIDA
Not the right guy available here for BREES potential successor. BRYAN is felt by many to be a real up and comer. Adds depth for now, and eventual CAM replacement as star of the DL.
28) STEELERS – RASHAAN EVANS – LB – ALABAMA
They clearly need more pure talent at LB to fill the huge hole with the loss of SHAZIER. EVANS could be a big playmaker for them.
29) JAGUARS – ISAIAH WYNN – OG – GEORGIA
This would be a huge upgrade on their OL. Could start as a Rookie inside, and backup outside in a pinch.
30) VIKINGS – MIKE McGLINCHEY – OT – NOTRE DAME
This could allow REMMERS to move inside permanently, and give them a legit LT to anchor. This pick is for Scott.
31) PATRIOTS – HAROLD LANDRY – ER – BOSTON COLLEGE
Doesn’t matter what position he’s listed at, he’s exactly what they need; a speedy edge-rusher. Local hero from college doesn’t hurt.
32) EAGLES – MALIK JEFFERSON – LB – TEXAS
Exceptional athlete, who was a starter for the Longhorns as a true frosh. Will become a bigtime playmaker very soon.
The teams may be wrong, but I’m very comfortable with 5 QB in Round 1.