Well, it’s that time of year again!
Mock draft season is upon us and, while I end up usually with one or two more mock drafts than I would prefer, this is usually my only mock draft of the year.
I find that, while fun to think about, scenarios are often wrong where it’s better to compare what the perception/rumors/ideas are and then compare by putting yourself in a GM’s seat and determining who you would take.
You grow better, and can check and see if you were right and other teams missed, or if there’s opportunity for growth.
I will be conducting a mock draft followed with a SECOND mock of what I would personally do if I were that team’s GM in that scenario.
With that, let’s begin:
- What Will Happen: Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
What I Would Do: Browns - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
I don’t have Darnold as my #1 quarterback, I will admit that he’s probably the safest QB option in this draft. Has the pro arm, pro knowledge, athleticism and is a natural at the position. At only 20 years old long as he sits, he has room to grow into a solid NFL quarterback. My concern is that his fumbles and turnovers might make him less of that “Luck/Wentz” prospect some view him as and more of a Blake Bortles. Thinking he ends up closer to an Alex Smith or Tony Romo, without as high a ceiling as some think.
And Baker Mayfield is the most efficient college passer of a few decades (or all-time, technically) with mobility, arm strength, a dynamic mind and natural ability to play the game. Put him in Cleveland and he’ll either turn them around or he’ll end up caving in a bad situation with Hue Jackson and a terrible owner.
But I think it’ll be the former.
*NOTE: Mayfield is apparently going to be the pick, I kept my mock the same as last night due to honestly and how I had perceived it rather than try to keep updating and changing.
2. Giants - What Will Happen: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
What I Would Do: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen and Eli compare favorably to one another. While I get that the Giants are trying to justify the fact that offenses that draft RB’s highly DO usually have more productive run games, taking a running back this high is...dumb.
Doesn’t matter how good the player is, quarterback is more important and the Giants are punting on their chance to get a top-notch franchise guy who fits most of their identity in Rosen. Even Bradley Chubb would be a better pick, here...
3. Jets - What Will Happen: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
What I Would Do: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
I would take Baker at the top, as he’s a great fit here and in my opinion is a “safer” pick than Darnold in the fact that he rarely turns the ball over. He might not be an All-Pro or Drew Brees or Russell Wilson but will be consistent and still make some smart splash plays.
But Darnold would be the best thing that’s happened to the Jets as he could learn from a similar mobile QB in Josh McCown and take over a Jets team that sorely needs a guy who will be able to make big plays and manage the game even in cold climates. The turnovers are the one concern. But if the Jets can commit to Bowles’ defense at worse he’ll be their 2017 Blake Bortles. And at best, he might end up being their next Andrew Luck-type prospect in the long-term.
4. Browns - What Will Happen: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
What I Would Do: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
No-brainer of a pass-rusher here. I like Harold Landry as a pure pass-rusher better but Chubb....man he’s good all around. Pair him with Garrett from last year with your QB and he will be a far better pick than Saquon would be, Browns fans.
5. Broncos: What Will Happen: Quentin Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
What I Would Do: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
I’d take the elite linebacker over the elite guard b/c Nelson’s a great player but....guard is deep in this class. Sure you could say there are some great inside linebackers too but he’s the guy who’s probably gonna end up like Keuchly in this class and I take that guy 10/10 times.
6. TRADE Bills (from Indianapolis) What Will Happen: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
What I Would Do: Derwin James, S, FSU
Now, normally, I wouldn’t ever trade up for a safety but since the Bills are gonna do it, let’s assume that I’m in this position.
James is the guy I would take as an enforcer who will change the Bills defense in a positive way and like Jamal Adams last year he’s worthy of a top pick, even if I might like a corner or defensive lineman better.
7. Buccaneers - What Will Happen: Derwin James, S, FSU
What I Would Do: Quentin Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Some might say I should select Saquon Barkley here but you don’t protect a QB by giving him a running back (you can find those later). Instead you protect him and get a guy to open lanes for Jameis.
James will likely all but be the pick here unless Chubb happens to go 2nd and that seems even unlikely today.
8. Bears - What Will Happen: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
What I Would Do: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
With Nelson gone, the Bears will take an elite defensive player. Smith and Edmunds are fantastic defenders, although I wonder if Fitzpatrick isn’t an option here too.
Either way, they get a defender unless Nelson is on the board.
9. Niners - What Will Happen: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
What I Would Do: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward is a guy with a chance to be an elite corner. I would think San Francisco could take him or a linebacker but I’ll bet on the process somehow favoring the guy I just drafted a year ago and add a CB to compete and shutdown a (relatively) strong WR corps in the Rams
10. Raiders - What Will Happen: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
What I Would Do: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
Raiders are all but going with the OT here. I would take a guy who could be the next Honey Badger over him 10/10 times.
He’s a student of the game who can line up everywhere, with athleticism and instincts and would give the Raiders a smaller Charles Woodson in some ways. Yet, Gruden...seems to have his way of doing things.
11. Dolphins - What Will Happen: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
What I Would Do: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
I love Isaiah Wynn. He can play 4 of the 5 positions on the line and would give their QB a standing chance. I don’t love the fit of Lamar here, and unfortunately for them they’ve spent so much on the defensive line I can’t justify it.
But I think if Josh Rosen is there at 11, they’ll take him and let him sit behind Tannehill...assuming Tannehill stays healthy. Very much like what the Cardinals could do.
So, I’ll give them one of my personal favorite players in the draft in Wynn, who might be an all-pro at guard who could anchor at tackle in a pinch.
12. Colts: (from Buffalo) - What Will Happen: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
What I Would Do: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
Landry might be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Colts need good players on offense and defense. Fitzpatrick is fantastic and would be a great pairing with Malik Hooker, if healthy.
13. Redskins - What Will Happen: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
What I Would Do: Maurice Hurst, DE, Michigan
Skins are taking Vita Vea, folks. Unless they trade down to a team like New Orleans or the Pats. I would take the best interior pass-rusher in the draft but then again, I don’t know the information on his heart condition. Didn’t stop Star Lotulelei from doing well. It (and his lack of flexibility) did hurt the career of Dorian Johnson and others.Dorian Johnson and
14. Packers: What Will Happen: Denzel Ward CB, Louisville
What I Would Do: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jaire seems to be tied everywhere to the Packers, but I think Ward is the better value.. I don’t see him fitting their 6’2 mold but they did spend a first a few years back on Demarious Randall and played him at CB with some safety so perhaps they go here.
I would take either him, Jaire or Josh Jackson and I’d go Jackson here for the size and think that is what Green Bay would prefer to do here.
15. Cardinals: What Will Happen: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
What I Would Do: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Will Lamar be there? Would AZ take him? I think they could if there’s not a player like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James on the board but my gut tells me that if Arizona won’t commit to jump up a few spots, another team will do that and they won’t get the choice.
I have had him falling because each team either has a QB ahead here, or he doesn’t fit and they need a starting option sooner. He needs time to rebuild his body mechanics to drive the football and get used to a few of the NFL terms.
Course, I expect Arizona to pass on him if he is there. Perhaps Mike McCoy’s type of QB is more traditional anyway...
So, in the end, I went with the CB (not Mike Hughes) who fits Arizona’s size preference, is a playmaker and is physical and gives Patrick Peterson his mini-me on the other side of the field. He’d give Arizona’s defense a weapon at outside corner they haven’t had since a healthy Antonio Cromartie in 2014.
...Or they trade back. That could happen too.
16. Ravens What Will Happen: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
What I Would Do: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
I love Jaire’s potential at the next level. Physical and athletic with coverage and ball skills. He might have more upside than Denzel Ward and has a lower floor than Josh Jackson.
Ridley fits the Bama-Ravens connection with Ozzie still as their GM for one more run, however.
17. Chargers - What Will Happen: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
What I Would Do: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
Chargers aren’t likely to get a QB so best to get a 3-down linebacker as they will be flying off the board. Taking a good guard is something I wouldn’t rule out either.
18. Seahawks - What Will Happen: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
What I Would Do: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Seahawks seem to love drafting or trading for defensive linemen that don’t work out for them and have another need this year. I would add a solid immediate right tackle and help keep Russell upright and help provide him a run game with how shallow this offensive tackle class is this year.
19. Cowboys - What Will Happen: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
What I Would Do: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
I’m not a fan of 1st round wide receivers unless they are absolutely elite like Beckham/Julio/etc. But Moore is at least a 98% percentile athlete despite being only 6 feet tall and seems to fit Dak Prescott.
I like DL importance more but will admit that if you don’t try to help Dak, you might risk really ruining his development.
20. Lions - What Will Happen: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
What I Would Do: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Lions have Landry off the board in my “what I would do” mock or I’d take him here. I love Payne and think that he’s a raw player but would be a great fit in Detroit and they need a defensive lineman.
21. Bengals - What Will Happen: Frank Ragnow, C, Wisconsin
What I Would Do: Billy Price, C, Ohio State
I don’t have a QB who’s better than Andy Dalton on the board for me, so I go with an offensive lineman who’s dominate. Either center could be a top-notch offensive lineman for a decade.
I just like Price, better.
22. Colts (trade from Buffalo) What Will Happen: Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
What I Would Do: Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
Love Wynn more but Hernandez might also be an overall top 15 talent in this draft. Colts need to rebuild on both sides of the ball and Hernandez, in this situation, would be great.
I don’t see the Bills having to give up both of their picks to get up to 6 in the first...but if it happened in this scenario (assuming AZ makes a solid offer for Josh Allen)
23. Patriots - What Will Happen: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
What I Would Do: Connor Williams, OT/OG
I like Williams no matter which position he plays. Miller has a crazy athletic profile but terrible film. Sure, Dante Scarnecchia could help him but I don’t like him in the first personally as I like athleticism AND film if I’m taking this guy to be a starter. Williams’ 2016 film has that despite injuries.
24. Carolina Panthers - What Will Happen: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
What I Would Do: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Hughes isn’t as athletic as Oliver despite having great film. He also has a rough past with off-field concerns including a fight in which he hurt another person and also a sexual assault charge that was never officially filed...but still got him kicked out of North Carolina.
I don’t touch that in the first because of that plus the lack of true athleticism...but will admit he’s a violent and physical player. I feel like Oliver’s just as good but a better athlete and much cleaner. Imagine taking Hughes and him getting served sexual assault charges as soon as he has signed his deal. I don’t like that risk this high but apparently the Panthers like him a lot.
25. Titans - What Will Happen: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
What I Would Do: Maurice Hurst, DE, Michigan
I don’t get the reason Hurst is falling if he has checked out and don’t have medical info. If my team would pass him I’d still take a guy I think who’s a top 10 talent late 1st. But I’m guessing the Titans actually trade back or take a linebacker here.
26. Falcons What Will Happen: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
What I Would Do: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
I like Bryan more than Vita Vea. Shocking, I know, but I like the athleticism and feel that even though he might be inconsistent he’d be a tremendous fit next to Grady Jarrett. He has a much better work ethic than Ra’Shede Hageman.
27. Saints - What Will Happen: Lamar Jackson, QB (likely in a trade-up) Louisville
What I Would Do: Same trade up, but in this scenario? Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
I still don’t like 1st round WR’s but in this spot w/out a QB, I still think Ridley could end up being a WR1 in the NFL and fits Brees better than Courtland Sutton.
28. Steelers - What Will Happen: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
What I Would Do: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Almost put Darrius Guice here.
Steelers going to hedge their bets and possibly trade Le’Veon? Don’t be surprised. Steelers love their OL and while Le’Veon is great they get to either replace him or have a double-headed monster this year. But CB is a greater possibility, and I think that Davis has a chance to be the first round guy ahead of others, surprisingly. An edge like Sam Hubbard is possible too.
29. Jaguars - What Will Happen: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
What I Would Do: Vita Vea, DL, Washington
I know Bortles is signed for a while but I had considered Mason Rudolph here. I think Rudolph can avoid turnovers and get it to their playmakers better. Statistically he’s got a lot of things going for him but it’s a tough sell in the first even with the 5th additional year.
I think Vea might only be a 2-down player but adding him and getting ready to move on from Malik Jackson and having a freak like him rotate in would be fantastic.
30. Vikings - What Will Happen: Isaiah Wynn, OG
What I Would Do: James Daniels, C, Iowa
I like Pat Elflein but would move him to guard and bring in a value like Daniels (who some have as a top 15 talent) in at center for their returning Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins. Gotta protect that new investment!
31. Patriots - What Will Happen: James Daniels, C, Iowa
What I Would Do: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Patriots double-dipping on offensive linemen? Seems weird. This is the place I would consider Christian Kirk, who’s a solid WR but again...Belichick might need to replace Gronk after 2018 and there’s no better time than the present to do it.
Him trading both these picks up for Josh Rosen would be a heck of a draft day move as well.
32. Eagles - What Will Happen: Trade back w/ a team for Rudolph/Lauletta
What I Would Do: Also trade back
I’d love to take Darrius Guice here...but just can’t commit to a 1st round running back salary. I don’t believe the Eagles make a selection here at 32 and think we see a team jump up for a QB getting that 5th year option that’s so valuable.
What are your thoughts?
Am I wrong about the Cardinals? Should they take a QB?
Sound off in the comments or let me know on twitter: @blakemurphy7