[NFL DRAFT 2018] One mock to rule them all…

This is the one and only mock for Stats Enforcer, compiled from a variety of sources (including analysts, advanced stats and personal bias).  I’m sure that about 10% of this mock draft will actually happen tonight, but it was a fun exercise nonetheless.

1. Cleveland Browns

Needs:  QB, CB, OT, DL

Sam Darnold (QB, USC)

Given the uncertainty of picks 2 and 3, the Browns have to take a QB here at #1 or risk not landing “the guy” they want.  If they were actually interested in trading down, I’m sure they would have already received the entire Bills stockpile of picks.  I personally believe that Darnold is locked in at #1.  At best, scouts have described his talents as comparable to Andrew Luck; at worst he has been compared to Matthew Stafford.  With the right developmental program, I think the Browns might actually have their QB of the future in Darnold.

Darnold was a four-star recruit out of high school.  He earned Pac-12 Offensive Freshmen of the Year award after leading the Trojans to a 9-1 record with over 3000 yards passing and 31 TDs.  Unfortunately, his sophomore year was more problematic, as Darnold struggled to find chemistry with his new WRs and offensive line protection.  Darnold is not without faults, including atrocious decision-making this past season, resulting in 22 total turnovers.  The Browns hope it was an anomaly and let him sit behind Tyrod for at least one season.

2. NY Giants

Needs:  OL, LB, QB, RB

Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)

The G-Men have a bit of soul searching to do this offseason.  Obviously their team underperformed significantly last year and is trending in a downward direction.  I have been convinced by reporters/analysts/insiders that the Giants want a QB – but Darnold is the preferable option.  If the Browns go Allen (le sigh), I think the Giants take Darnold here.  It just so happens that the BPA is Barkley and the Giants are desperate for RB help.

Barkley has been graded as the best RB prospects of the past decade, drawing comparisons to Barry Sanders.  Barkley rushed for over 1k yards in his three seasons at Penn State, along with several hundred more receiving yards.  In 2017, he also was featured on special teams, returning two kicks for TDs.  Even against stacked boxes, Barkley managed a 5.9 yards-per-carry average and 54 catches.

3. NY Jets

Needs: EDGE, QB, OT, TE

Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)

The Jets certainly moved up for a QB…or did they?  Chubb could be a sleeper pick here, but with Bridgewater and company…I think they take whatever QB falls to them here.  Allen and Mayfield (fairly or not) have been drawing similar comparisons in terms of value, so the Jets take the highest upside talent that best fits their offensive system.  A month ago, Mayfield was projected in the middle of the first round.  Now, he is being projected as a top-5 pick.  GMs and scouts have obviously sifted through the game tape, workouts and combine results.   Through a deliberate and thoughtful process, it is now a consensus that Mayfield is a pro-bowl talent.

Baker Mayfield is (yet another) controversial QB pick.  There are some concerns regarding his size (6-1, 215 lbs.) attitude and system (shades of Manziel), but he also has a more impressive collegiate resume.  Mayfield is the only senior starter locked in the first round (top-15) of this draft, and has been extremely productive in his career (7, 665 yards and 76 TDs to 15 INT).  His YPA and QBASE scores are off the charts, so there is no denying the talent they would get here.  The only question would be the risks associated with that talent, which New York must be willing to navigate and focus his energy onto the field.

4. Cleveland Browns

Remaining Needs: CB, OT, DL

Bradley Chubb (EDGE, NC State)

This is a pivotal pick for the Browns and there are sooo many directions that they could go.  In my mind, it really comes down to three options:  Fitzpatrick, Chubb, Ward or trade back.  1. Fitz: The schematic difficulty with Fitzpatrick playing some form of nickel/safety/star is unappealing this early for a team that has so many needs.  2. Chubb is one of the highest graded pass rushers of the past few years and pairing him with Garrett would be a ridiculous.  That being said, the Browns have invested 2 first/second round picks the past two years on EDGE rushers: Ogbah and Garrett.  While I think that Chubb is a huge upgrade to Ogbah, I don’t know if the Browns are in a position for redundancies like that.  3.  Ward was a really good collegiate corner, albeit he is undersized (5’11) for the NFL.  This would be more complicated if his wingspan wasn’t comparable to those inches taller than him.  If the ceiling projections are to be believed, he is drawing comparisons to Chris Harris Jr.  4.  Buffalo/Miami/Arizona or any other QB hungry team could offer a king’s ransom for this pick.  You should entertain all options, but I don’t know if the Browns want to keep kicking the can or begin cashing in their draft capital. In terms of pure upgrade, Ward would fill the biggest void on the team at CB.  Although I personally believe this is more of a “relative gains” situation.  This is a deep CB class and with 2 picks in the top-3 of the second round, the Browns can still find a starting CB.  That cannot be said as confidently about EDGE rushers.

At 6-4, 270 lbs., Chubb is one of the most polished pass rushers of the past few years.  He was a three-star recruit who evolved into a four-year player at NC State.  In his senior season, he set career highs in sacks (10), TFL (26) and tackles (39).  He broke Mario Williams’ school record in sacks (26) and TFL (53).  There is little risk for the Colts here as Chubb is the most complete and developed pass rusher of this draft class.  Pairing Chubb with Garrett and Ogbah would be a wet dream for Gregg Williams.

5. Buffalo Bills (from Denver Broncos for 1:12, 2:53, 3:65 and future 2nd)

Needs: QB, OL, LB, WR

Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)

The Bills are strong candidates to move up in the draft.  With two first round picks to dangle in front of John Elway, moving up to #5 would ensure they wouldn’t be leapfrogged by Arizona, Miami or any other QB-needy teams.  Allen is not an immediate starter, so AJ or some other veteran option must start 16 games in 2018.  This will give Buffalo fans pause, as it is unlikely that any of those options will lead to a repeat playoff appearance.  Given that they traded their franchise LT, I think management is coming to grips with the necessary rebuild.  That being said, Allen has the most long-term upside in this draft class.  A year or two of maturity could yield exceptional results well worth the picks.

Josh Allen is one of the most controversial potential top-10 picks of the past few years.  At 6-5 and 230 lbs., his physical attributes and raw talent is undeniable.  His pro day was littered with positive signs, including 50+ yard throws that were impressive.  However, there are several red flags with his collegiate production that are of greater concern.  First, Allen’s yards per pass attempt were abysmal (sub 7.5).  While high YPA values are not a predictive measurement of NFL success, low YPA scores are correlated with less NFL success.  Secondly, his simple metrics (Yards, TDs and TOs) along with other more complicated metrics (such as QBASE) are lackluster for someone drafted in the top-3.  Lastly, Allen has a history of injuries, including concussions, throughout his career.  I think a lot of GMs and scouts are hoping to find the next Roethlisberger and Wentz, however they were extremely successful in college and possessed the physical skillset for the next level.  The fact that certain GMs believe that the red flags are outweighed by his physical talent means he should still be a QB taken in the top of the first round.

6. Indianapolis Colts

Needs:  RB, OG, LB, EDGE

Quenton Nelson (OG, Notre Dame)

The Colts won the draft if 3+ QBs are drafted in the top-5.  This would ensure that some combination of Barkley, Chubb or Nelson will fall to them at #6.  This was obviously the hope when they traded back with the Jets, collecting three additional second rounders.  While the Colts would be satisfied by any of the above options, Nelson is probably the best for their long-term success.  Andrew Luck desperately needs protection and Nelson is already being touted as a future Hall-of-Famer.

Nelson is projected to be one of the best OL prospects of the past decade. Period.  He was a three-year starter at Notre Dame, exceptional at both run blocking and pass protection.  At 6-5 and 330 lbs. Nelson is a prototype of the modern guard position.  He also demonstrated immense toughness while playing through an ankle sprain in 2016.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Needs:  S, RB, CB, OG

Derwin James (S, Florida State)

I think that Tampa Bay will be tempted by a trade by Arizona, but they can hardly afford to miss out on a legit playmaker in the secondary.  Tampa Bay has invested a ton of money this offseason along the defensive line, but the secondary is still rather suspect.  This pick could easily be used on Fitzpatrick, who is a more polished and versatile player than James.  While Fitz is a better player right now, some scouts and GMs have James ranked higher due to upside and raw ability.

James was the #5 nationally ranked player coming out of high school in 2015.  As a freshman, James had 91 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 8 games started.  He was sidelined early in his sophomore year, but rebounded this past season with 84 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 picks and a sack.  While he doesn’t line up as a CB, James provides some versatility in his own right, albeit in deep coverage, shallow coverage or on the line.  The 7th overall pick may seem too early to draft a safety, but James is one of the few that could be a legitimate difference-maker on defense from the safety position.

8. Arizona Cardinals (from Chicago Bears for 1:15, 2:47 and 2019 2nd rounder)

Needs: QB, OL, DL, TE

Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)

There has been a ton of chatter regarding the Cardinals moving up the draft board for a QB.  I don’t believe they would be able to leapfrog Buffalo, but have to jump Miami and Denver.  Sam Bradford cannot be their long-term answer at QB, everybody knows that.  Rosen is still an exceptional talent, but has fallen over the past two months from the #1 conversation to a mid-round option.

Rosen was a five-star recruit of high school and a three-year starter at UCLA.  Over his career, he averaged 300 passing yards and 2 TDs per game.  He is the best true pocket passer of this QB class, with a fluid delivery and good arm strength.  Rosen is built very similarly to Manning, which should make the transition to the pros much easier.  The only knocks against Rosen are his ability to move around the pocket and injuries – in particular concussions – throughout his career.

9. San Francisco 49ers

Needs: WR, LB, DB, ILB

Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)

I think this pick is a legit toss-up between a LB and Fitzpatrick.  Obviously the Foster situation may have an impact on this selection.  Lynch has publicly stated that the 9ers would release him if found to be guilty of domestic assault.  At the same time, Lynch has made it clear that their draft plans are unchanged since Foster was charged.  This doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t draft a LB here, since their depth is scarce outside of Malcom Smith.

Roquan Smith was a two-year starter at Georgia, winning the Butkus Award both seasons.  He finished his career with over 200 tackles, 20 TFL along with several forced fumbles and sacks.  His performance in the SEC Championship and two playoff games was legendary.  He amassed 37 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recovers over those 3 games.

10. Oakland Raiders

Needs: LB, CB, S, OT

Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)

One of the more recent developments has been Oakland’s desire to take a tackle early in the draft.  Donald Penn will be turning 35 this year and McGlinchey could immediately fill in at RT until he retires.  Due to the relatively shallow tackle class, they are forced to make the selection early or miss out.  Unfortunately for the Raiders, LB is also a weak position, which means they are forced to choose which one they prioritize early.  If Derek Carr is important to them, they will draft protection over defense at #10.

Mike McGlinchey is the best tackle prospect of this draft class, albeit he is not without flaws.  As a three-year starter at Notre Dame, McGlinchey improved year over year in both pass protection and run blocking.  He does struggle against speed rushers and top-end talent, but there is no reason to believe he shouldn’t keep improving once drafted.  He should step right into the RT position on day one and be better than average.

11. Miami Dolphins

Needs: QB, TE, OLB, OT

Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/S, Alabama).

Prior to March 14, I truly believed that the Dolphins would take a QB successor to Tannehill.  However, with his contract restructuring pushing his salary through 2020, the dead money alone would make it impossible to move on from Tannehill until 2020 unless they want a 22m and 13m dead cap penalty the next two years.  Not to mention, they have some immediate needs on defense that should be addressed here.  Their secondary would be vastly improved by the addition of Fitzpatrick or Ward.  My dark horse candidate here is Vea because of the complete devoid of talent in the middle of the defensive line after Suh was released.

Fitzpatrick was an exceptional football player at Alabama, who demonstrated real promise in the secondary.  The biggest knock on him is his NFL fit.  He draws some collegiate comparisons to Ramsay and Mathieu, but his schematic fit is more questionable in the NFL.  He demonstrated exceptional ability to cover slot WRs and play a deep safety role at Alabama.  While 12 overall may be a reach for a nickel/safety, I think Miami would deploy him in creative packages to create mismatches.

12. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo Bills via Bengals)

Needs: QB, TE, DL, LB

Vita Vea (DT, Washington)

The Broncos, despite trading with Buffalo, have plenty of different options with this pick.  They could replace Talib, strengthen the middle of the defensive line or linebacker core.  One of the biggest weakness of the Broncos the past few seasons is their inability to stop the run.  This could be solved through the addition of Vita Vea or Tremaine Edmunds.  I lean slightly towards Vea with this selection.

Vita Vea is a massive human being (6-5, 340 lbs.) who is not limited to playing on run downs.  He has drawn legitimate comparisons to Ngata because of his ability to bull rush and collapse the pocket.  There are not many DTs who are agile enough to perform on all three downs and the drafting of a DT is not unprecedented in recent years.  Rankins was drafted 12th by the Saints in 2016; Williams (6) and Shelton (12) were drafted in 2015; Aaron Donald was taken 13th in 2014. Lotuelei was taken 14th in 2013.  Poe was drafted 11th in 2012.  I would be extremely surprised if he slides past Washington at 13.

13. Washington Redskins

Needs: DL, LB, CB

Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)

The Redskins currently have Josh Norman under contract and signed Orlando Scandrick this offseason.  Scandrick is a stop-gap after potentially losing Breeland (who knows?).  The Redskins still need a long-term answer at the position, and Ward could be the answer.  Alternatively, the run defense of the Redskins has been pathetic which potentially could be solved by Da’Ron Payne or Tremaine Edmunds.  If Vea was on the board, it would be a no brainer.  I don’t think they reach for Payne, instead opting for the extremely young and talented Edmunds to revitalize their defense.

Edmunds was three star recruit out of Danville, VA before committing to Virginia Tech.  After assuming a starting position his sophomore year, he broke 100 tackles in consecutive years.  Edmunds is physically stout for a LB (6-4, 250 lbs.), but needs to be more refined in his technique – especially shedding blocks.

14. Green Bay Packers

Needs: CB, OT, WR, EDGE

Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)

Yes.  The Packers drafted a CB in the first round last year (Kevin King), but that is hardly enough help in the modern era of spread offenses.  The Randall trade only expedites the need to address this glaring hole.  There is a real possibility they eschew this glaring need until later rounds, opting for a pass rusher opposite of Clay Matthews (Davenport hint hint).  For the purposes of this mock, I think the best option is the obvious one.

Ward follows in the exodus of his fellow secondary from OSU the past several seasons (Lattimore, Conley, Hooker, Apple).  There is little debate regarding his ability and talent, as he was responsible for covering top receivers weekly on an island.  He played both slot and outside corner positions admirably, but is still routinely knocked because of his size.  At 6-11, 190 lbs., Ward is built like a slot corner, but his wingspan is redic.  The comparison to Chris Harris Jr. is real, and the Packers would be remiss if they let him slide here.

15. Chicago Bears (from Arizona Cardinals)

Needs:  LB, EDGE, DB, OL

Marcus Davenport (EDGE, UTSA)

While the Bears miss out on their top choices at LB (Edmunds) and CB (Ward), they still manage to land a major position of need at #15.  Davenport is a small school prospect that would pair nicely with Floyd to make the pass rush even more potent.

Marcus Davenport is built like a prototypical EDGE rusher.  At 6-6 265 lbs., he has the size and athleticism to compile double digit sacks early in his career.  During his career at UTSA, he enumerated 37.5 TFL and 21.5 sacks.  He is still an extremely raw prospect, but the sky is the ceiling for his NFL potential in the right system.

16. Baltimore Ravens

Needs:  WR, OL, TE, QB

Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)

Ozzie Newsome keeps talking about this draft being full of surprises.  This might be total smokescreen, but I could see a real possibility that the Ravens move past Joe Flacco next season.  Just a reminder: Flacco’s cap hit is 24.7m this season, 26.5m next season and 28.25m in 2020.  If he is released or traded after 6/1/2019, the Ravens would only incur a 16m and 8m dead cap hit in 2019 and 2020.  In short, they would ultimately save 10m and 20m by cutting or trading him.  By drafting a replacement now, they have the opportunity to groom Flacco’s successor.  It might also explain why they signed RGIII…

Lamar Jackson was a two-year starter (and 8 game starter his freshman year) at Louisville.  He is the complete package at QB, passing for 3,500 yards and rushing for 1,500 in his Sophomore and Junior seasons.  Given the lack of talent around him, Jackson was forced to shoulder the entire offense.  While his individual stats are impressive, NFL scouts are concerned with his accuracy and footwork.

17. LA Chargers

Needs: OT, ILB, DL

Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)

The Chargers have a very balanced team on both offense and defense.  One of their few glaring needs is the interior of their defense between Ingram and Bosa.  The other glaring hole is LB, with Perryman as the only one that is starting caliber.  I fully expect them to draft a LB and DT in the first 3 rounds of the draft.  I can’t get a read on whether the Chargers would prefer Vander Esch or Payne, but I think Payne has slightly more value at this position.

Da’Ron Payne was a key contributor over his three-year career at Alabama, albeit he was a rotational player with Allen, Reed and Robinson.  As his role grew each season, he only made the players around him better by soaking up double teams and stuffing the run at the line.  Payne is exactly what you would want out of a defensive tackle, as he should free up Ingram and Bosa to do serious damage.

18. Carolina Panthers (from Seattle Seahawks for 1:24 and 3:85)

Needs: OG, CB, S, TE

Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)

The Seahawks need to make a choice here: do they trade the pick to acquire additional assets or do they draft EDGE or OT.  This team doesn’t have another draft selection until #120!  They have enough needs that they absolutely need to dangle this pick in front of some teams.  I think Carolina should be worried enough about the teams drafting ahead of them to move up to upgrade their secondary.  It has been no secret that since losing Norman the secondary of the Panthers has regressed hard.  That being said, the Panthers have lacked a legitimate #1 receiver since Steve Smith.

Calvin Ridley may not be the best WR in this draft class, but he is the most battle tested.  A three-year starter at Bama, Ridley posted respective numbers including 1045, 769 and 967 yards per year.  Much like Julio and Amari, he demonstrated his polished route running and catching ability his entire career.  However, he does not possess breakaway speed and is built small (6-1, 190 lbs.).

19. Dallas Cowboys

Needs: DT, LB, OG, WR

DJ Moore (WR, Maryland)

There’s a bit of debate over the direction of the Cowboys here.  Of all their needs, the Cowboys absolutely need a Sean Lee insurance policy.  The difference in their team defense is demonstrable when he has been injured.  Unfortunately, they haven’t addressed this need in the past and unless they trade back or Vander Esch falls to them, I think they are forced to draft BPA.  All this was exacerbated when Dez Bryant was released a few weeks ago.  Sure they got Allen Hurns, but the rest of the WR core is average at best.  I don’t think Jerrah passes up a potential game changer in the passing game.

The former four-star recruit was a three-year starter at Maryland.  Despite inconsistent QB play, Moore led the team in receiving as a sophomore (41 receptions for 637 yards) and junior (80 receptions for 1033 yards).  All the comps for DJ Moore point to Dez Bryant.  His production and build are strikingly similar to fellow Terp Stefon Diggs.  While he has been graded as a second round talent, a few GMs really like him in the first.

20. Detroit Lions

Needs: DE, DT, RB, OG

Harold Landry (DE, Boston College)

The Lions could go in a variety of directions here, but if Landry is still on the board at #20, I don’t think they will hesitate.  They absolutely need to upgrade their pass rush, which has been less than reliable to say the least.  I think the possibility of a DT like Bryan is definitely in play, but the BC connection with Landry might be too good to pass up.

The three-year starter at Boston College had an impressive career with multiple All-ACC awards.  He finished his career with 47.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks.  He is best suited as a 4-3 DE with his hand in the dirt, which would be a perfect schematic fit in Detroit.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Needs: OL, LB, DT, CB

James Daniels (G/C, Iowa)

Cincinnati, without a doubt, has some of the most desperate needs of any teams in the draft.  They can’t catch a break with Burfict being suspended for PEDs or his dumb mistakes on the field.  Their offensive line has depreciated significantly over the past 3 offseasons, leaving much to be desired for Dalton or running game. I don’t know specifically which one, but one of (1) Ragnow, (2) Price or (3) Daniels should be taken with this pick.

22. Buffalo Bills

Needs:  OL, LB, WR

Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)

The Bills manage to preserve their second first round pick in the trade up with Denver for this specific purpose.  I don’t really expect Vander Esch to still be here at #22, but if he does slide past the Cowboys, I don’t think that Buffalo could resist the temptation.  Buffalo has one of the worst LB cores in football.  In a weak LB class, I think they have to dedicate any and all early resources to addressing this problem.

Leighton Vander Esch (6-4, 240 lbs.) was only a one-year starter at Boise State, but once given a chance he was extremely impressive.  Over his Junior year, he enumerated 141 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions en route to the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.  His combine and individual workouts only solidified his potential as a starter.

23. New England Patriots

Needs: ILB, OL, EDGE, WR

Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)

The Patriots are in the precarious position of losing the Super Bowl…to Nick Foles.  The defense has been hemorrhaging talent each year and Matt Patricia has been able to hold it together.  For real though, they really need a 3-down partner for Hightower and Evans is the best available fit for them.

As is the case with most ‘Bama defenders Rashaan Evans was not featured until his senior year.  However, he did play on special teams and was a reserve linebacker during his first three seasons.  When he was given the chance to start this past season, he did not disappoint.  He led the team with 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks.  He projects as a 4-3 WILL linebacker with pass rushing potential.

24. Denver Broncos (from Seattle Seahawks for 2:40 and 3:65)

Remaining Needs: QB, TE, DL

Will Hernandez (OG, UTEP)

Seattle flips the pick they received for some more much needed draft capital.  I’m trusting Allbright with this pick, he obviously believes that Denver really likes the Hernandez kid and he could be scooped up anytime.  Will Hernandez was a four-year starter at UTEP that started 37 games at the LG position.  Aside from having short arms, there are no major knocks on his collegiate production.  He is a true grinder that is an exceptional run blocker with pro-bowl potential.

25. Cleveland Browns (via Tennessee Titans for 2:33 and 4:114)

Remaining needs: CB, OT, DL

Joshua Jackson (CB, Iowa)

If Jackson is available at 25, I believe a team will try to jump back into the first to draft him.  In this scenario, that team is the Browns.  The Browns need to solidify the CB position early in this draft.  They could wait until the early second round, but may be left with the scraps.  Jackson is also a good fit for Gregg Williams’ defensive scheme that utilizes zone coverages with exotic blitz packages.  Jackson excelled in zone coverage, which Williams utilized over 70% of the time last season.  Joshua Jackson is a ballhawk, leading the country with 8 interceptions this past season.  He has the size (6-1, 192 lbs.) and IQ as a natural outside cornerback.

26. Atlanta Falcons

Needs: DT, TE, DE

Taven Bryan (DT, Florida)

With Poe’s departure, the Falcons land a much needed playmaker in the middle of the defensive line.  Bryan doesn’t possess the size or run stuffing ability of Poe, but brings additional athleticism and pass rushing ability up the middle.

Taven Bryan was redshirted his freshman year, performed a reserve role his sophomore year and was a starter during his junior season at Florida.  In his junior year, he posted 40 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks last season.  There may be an adjustment period at first, but at 6-5 and 295 lbs., Bryan has all the physical and athletic skills to be a starter for the Falcons.

27. New Orleans Saints

Needs: TE, WR, QB, OL

Hayden Hurst (TE, South Carolina)

The Saints were one catch away from playing the Super Bowl Champion Eagles in the NFC Championship game.  Hindsight being 20/20, the Saints may have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy if they finished the tackle on Diggs.  While the defense and running game was vastly improved through the draft last year, the downhill passing game was not as consistent as years past.  I think it is official that the Fleener experiment has failed miserably.  All that being said, the Saints need to recreate the Jimmy Graham dynamic in short yardage and goal-to-go situations.

Hayden Hurst was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, playing two seasons in the Gulf Coast League.  In 2015, he walked on at South Carolina as a receiver and reserve tight end.  Over the next two seasons, he set school records for receptions (48) and yards (616).  At 24 years old, the only major concern is that he has reached his full potential already.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Needs: ILB, CB, RB

Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)

Let’s be honest with ourselves stiller fans, Shazier is probably not going to play football ever again.  Maybe he chugs a shitton of deer antler extract or yinzer Jesus cures him like Lazarus, but there is a distinct possibility his career ended that night.  The wheels of progress keep grinding and they didn’t look even remotely competent on defense after losing him.  Unfortunately, there are really no great replacement options available here at 28, so they bolster their CB group instead.

Alexander had an exceptional collegiate career and legitimate talent but his size (5-11, 195 lbs.) is his biggest flaw.  In order to offset his size, Alexander has the athleticism and intelligence to be an outside corner.  A three-star recruit, Alexander was a two-year starter at Louisville.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Needs: LB, OT, WR

Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)

The jags defense is lit.  However, they need to surround Bortles with some weapons before realizing he was the problem after all.  After losing ARob and Hurns, Bortles is lacking any big bodied receiver.  Sure they signed Moncrief, but it’s a one-year deal and he’s the only receiver over six feet tall on the roster.  At 6-3 and 220 lbs., Sutton is the perfect remedy for a possession receiver.

Sutton played both safety and WR in high school, but was recruited to SMU as the latter.  After a lackluster first year when he was medically redshirted, he had three productive seasons.  In 2015, he finished with 862 yards on 49 receptions.  In 2016, he finished with 1246 yards on 76 receptions. In 2017, he finished with 1085 yards on 68 catches.  There is little doubt that he was a three-year productive starter at SMU.  The biggest knock on him is his sloppy route running and less than average speed and separation.  He won’t be expected to take the top of the defense with Dede and Lee out there, which gives him a good chance to be successful in Jacksonville.

30. Minnesota Vikings

Needs:  OL, CB

Connor Williams (OL, Texas)

The Vikings have an exceptional defense, but their offensive line leaves much to be desired.  After backing up the Bricks truck for Cousins, they will protect their investment here.  It’s also possible that they address their CB vacancy next to Rhodes and kick the tires on an OL in round two.

Connor Williams is one of the most frustrating players to project their NFL fit and success.  He was a starting left tackle for the Longhorns for three seasons, but was wildly inconsistent year-to-year.  In 2016, Williams looked like a surefire first round talent with a promising career as a left tackle.  After his 2017 struggles, he is being discussed as a high-end guard prospect.  As 2016 demonstrated, Williams has the talent to be successful in the NFL.  His size may force him inside, which increases the likelihood he will be an NFL starter.

31. New England Patriots

Needs: LB, OT, EDGE

Kolton Miller (OT, UCLA)

After losing Nate Solder to the Giants this offseason, the Pats have a massive hole on the left side of the offensive line.  It is not usually customary of them to draft offensive linemen this high, but this is a shallow tackle class.

Miller played both the right and left tackle positions at UCLA, switching his final season.  He was awarded second team All-Pac12 honors for his protection of Josh Rosen’s blind side.  He does need to improve his run blocking technique, but he possesses the raw physical attributes (6-9, 310 lbs.) necessary in today’s NFL.

32. Indianapolis Colts (from Philadelphia Eagles

Remaining needs: RB, CB, EDGE

Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)

The Eagles might not have many needs right now, but they also lack the draft capital to restock for the future.  After #32, they don’t pick again until #130.  Just like the Seahawks, they will find a trade partner here.  I think that the Colts are a perfect match because they have a plethora of picks from the Jets deal.  They leapfrog the Browns in order to secure their RB of the future in Guice.

Derrius Guice rushed for over 1200 yards the past two seasons.  That is alone impressive, but consider that in 2016 he served as a backup for half the season behind Fournette   He also battled injuries in 2017 that limited his playmaking ability, but still grinded out the season.  He has the size to be elusive (5-11, 220 lbs.), but is truly special when running downhill.  He draws comps to Marshawn Lynch in his physical and punishing rushing style.

33.  Tennessee Titans (from Cleveland Browns): Isaiah Wynn (G, Iowa)

34.  New England Patriots (from NY Giants): Mason Rudolph (QB, Ok State)

35.  Cleveland Browns: Maurice Hurst (DT, Mich)

36.  Indianapolis Colts: Isaiah Oliver (CB, Colorado)

37.  Indianapolis Colts: Sam Hubbard (EDGE, OSU)

38.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronald Jones (RB, USC)

39.  Chicago Bears: Billy Price (G, OSU)

40.  Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)

41.  Oakland Raiders: Da’Shawn Hand (DT, Alabama)

42.  Miami Dolphins: Frank Ragnow (C, Arkansas)

43.  New York Giants (from New England Patriots):  Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)

44.  Washington Redskins: Carlton Davis (CB, Auburn)

45.  Green Bay Packers: Lorenzo Carter (EDGE, Georgia)

46.  Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma)

47.  Chicago Bears: Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)

48.  LA Chargers: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (LB, Oklahoma)

49.  Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis Colts): James Washington (WR, Ok State)

50.  Dallas Cowboys: Tim Settle (DT, Virginia Tech)

51.  Detroit Lions: Dallas Goedert (TE, SD State)

52.  Baltimore Ravens: Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)

53.  Denver Broncos (from Buffalo Bills): DJ Clark (WR, LSU)

54.  Kansas City Chiefs: Duke Ejiofor (EDGE, Wake Forest)

55.  Carolina Panthers: Tavarus McFadden (CB, FSU)

56.  Buffalo Bills: Equanimeous St Brown (WR, Notre Dame)

57.  Tennessee Titans: Rasheem Green (EDGE, USC)

58.  Atlanta Falcons: Braden Smith (G, Auburn)

59.  San Francisco 49ers: Brian O’Neil (OT, Pitt)

60.  Pittsburgh Steelers: Darius Leonard (LB, SC State)

61.  Jacksonville Jaguars: Martinas Rankin (OT, Miss St)

62.  Minnesota Vikings: Donte Jackson (CB, LSU)

63.  New England Patriots: Josh Sweat (EDGE, Florida State)

64.  Cleveland Browns: Kerryon Johnson (RB, Auburn)


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