All Pro Nation

Mock Draft 1.0 (Pre-Free Agency)

#1. Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold (USC)

The Browns should go best available player with the first pick in the draft but the circumstances can change when that player is a running back. Saquon Barkley could still be the pick but in order to ensure that they get the QB that they want, they will need to select him with the first overall pick. Enter…Sam Darnold. The Browns need a quarterback who is mentally tough and can handle the adversity that comes with being a Brown. Darnold bounced back from every mistake he made in college and that’s a trait that can’t be taught. Confidence. The best situation for Darnold is to learn behind a veteran in his first season (maybe 2) and groom himself to eventually be the guy that can turn that disastrous franchise around. Pro Comparison: Philip Rivers

#2. New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)

The best way to ensure that Eli Manning succeeds at this stage in his career is to surround him with as many playmakers as possible. What better way to do that than to draft the best player in the 2018 draft? Saquon Barkley is a genuine talent at the running back position. There’s simply nothing he can’t do. He’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball and he can break a game open with one play. Odell Beckham Jr, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Saquon Barkley sounds like an electric arsenal for Eli Manning. I expect the Giants will address the offensive line in free agency. Pro Comparison: LeSean McCoy

#3. Indianapolis Colts: DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)

The Indianapolis defense was a mess in 2017 and failed to find a way to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season. The best way to fix that problem is to add the best defender in the 2018 draft to your defensive line. Bradley Chubb was a problem for opposing offenses all year. He generates consistent pressure on the quarterback game in and game out and he’s constantly disrupting the backfield to frustrate running backs. I believe with the right coaching Chubb will be a perennial All-Pro for years to come. He just needs the right person to unlock his potential. Pro Comparison: Everson Griffen

#4. Cleveland Browns: S Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)

If anything stood out for the 0-16 Browns last season it was their run defense. Their secondary is still atrocious and is in need of a massive upgrade. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the best defensive back in the draft and his versatility ables him to play every position in the secondary, making him extremely valuable. There’s really nothing he can’t do. The reason he’s a better fit at safety over cornerback in the NFL is because he has some hip tightness in his backpedal which can become an issue when he’s matched up with wideouts in man-coverage. Pro Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu

#5. Denver Broncos: QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)

Trevor Siemian clearly isn’t the answer at quarterback for the Broncos and former first-round pick, Paxton Lynch is going to get one more chance to prove that he can be the guy. Unless Denver goes big at QB in free agency with a guy like Kirk Cousins, I can’t see the pick at #5 being anything other than a quarterback at this point. Sam Darnold is already off the board and Josh Rosen is the next best QB available. The Broncos could very well roll with Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen as well, but in my opinion, Josh Rosen is the best quarterback of the three…and probably the safest. Pro Comparison: Matt Ryan

#6. New York Jets: QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)

My third quarterback drafted in the top 10. The Jets are just as desperate for help at the quarterback position as any team in the league. They could go all in on Kirk Cousins, which would change this pick at #6…but if Cousins truly wants to win immediately, the New York Jets aren’t an ideal fit for him. The top scenario for the Jets is to re-sign Josh McCown (who played well last season) to a 1-year deal and to groom a guy like Baker Mayfield for a year and learn as much as he can from the soon to be 39 year old McCown before he decides to call it quits. Mayfield is a leader and a winner. I’ll be following his career closely no matter where he ends up. Pro Comparison: Russell Wilson

#7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Derwin James (Florida State)

Derwin James is one of my favorite players in the entire draft. You want to fix your defensive issues? Start with this guy. James is the definition of a leader, both vocal and by example. He’s as physical as they come, he’s versatile, he’s a weight room rat, and a film room geek. Derwin James is everything you want in a guy to lead your defense and the Buccaneers would be crazy to pass on him. The only critique I have of James is the question of whether or not he can stay healthy. He’s been injury prone for the last two seasons. Don’t blow this Tampa. Keep this guy in the state of Florida. Pro Comparison: Eric Berry

#8. Chicago Bears: G Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)

Currently the #2 player on my big board. Quenton Nelson is the best offensive guard to enter the draft in the past 10 seasons. He literally does not have a weakness and the only reason he may fall to #8 is because “offensive guard” isn’t a sexy position and most teams like the skill position players in the top 10. Josh Sitton has been cut so there’s a void at Guard in Chicago. Kyle Long & Quenton Nelson would make one of the best Guard tandems in all of football. Nelson is nasty, he’s mean, and he’s always looking to knock someone on their bottom. Solid pick for Chicago here. Pro Comparison: Mike Iupati

#9. San Francisco 49ers: LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)

This guy has darted his way to the top of big boards big time over the course of the past two months. There’s a new breed of linebackers in the NFL and Tremaine Edmunds fits the bill perfectly. 6’5″ 250 pounds, long, and extremely athletic. His athleticism allows him to make plays in both the passing and running game but he has some fine-tuned things that can be fixed up with the correct coaching. If the 49ers can unlock his potential, I can’t imagine how much damage a linebacking core would do with guys like Reuben Foster and Tremaine Edmunds paving the way. Pro Comparison: Anthony Barr

#10. Oakland Raiders: LB Roquan Smith (Georgia)

Malcolm Smith was a failure at middle linebacker and picking up NaVorro Bowman wasn’t necessarily an upgrade either. Selecting Roquan Smith here will mold the middle of the Raider defense for the next 10 years. He’s incredibly instinctive, he’s fast, and he can drop back and defend the pass well too. Smith is everything you want in this new era of middle linebackers. Pro Comparison: Deion Jones

#11. Miami Dolphins: QB Josh Allen (Wyoming)

Josh Allen is not the most pro-ready quarterback in this class, but his ceiling compared to the other QBs is a lot higher…and it’s not even close. The arm strength that Allen possesses is so rare that he defines the definition of the term “gunslinger”. He can make every throw in the book and he throws a really pretty deep ball. His issue right now is that the talent around him at Wyoming didn’t help groom him. He suffered a ton of drops and the coaching staff didn’t assist him in fixing the issues he needed help with like working through your progressions and staring down receivers before you throw. Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase is a QB guru and if anyone can unlock Allen’s talent it’s Gase. Pro Comparison: A Young Ben Roethlisberger

#12. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)

Denzel Ward marks the run on cornerbacks in the first round here at #12. Adam-Pacman Jones likely won’t be back with the Bengals in 2018 due to cap issues and Dre Kirkpatrick has been disappointing as a former first-round pick. They seem to have found something with William Jackson III, but they need a piece to shut down the other side of the field. Coming out of college, Denzel Ward is as good as they come when it comes to manning up against opposing wideouts and preventing them from catching the football. Pro Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.

#13. Washington Redskins: NT Vita Vea (Washington)

The Redskins need to upgrade at multiple positions on their defense. Let’s start in the trenches. The Skins had a really tough time stopping the run in 2017. Vita Vea is arguably the best run defender in this year’s draft. He’s extremely strong and he’s consistently in the backfield. The only knock I have on him is whether or not he can be a three-down player in the NFL. If he goes to a team that can help him with his pass rushing abilities I think he’ll be a good player in the NFL for a long time. Pro Comparison: Danny Shelton

#14. Green Bay Packers: CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)

We’ll find out soon if Dom Capers was the real reason the Green Bay defense was so bad or if it’s simply just the players. The Packers have some young corners like Kevin King and Damarious Randall but when you play in a division that matches up against guys like Matthew Stafford, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen twice a year you need a good secondary. Davon House is a free agent and I don’t suspect he’ll be back so it’s time to fill a slot. At this point in time, I think Denzel Ward is the more pro-ready corner but Josh Jackson’s ceiling is a lot higher. He’s freakishly athletic and he possesses perennial ball skills (8 career interceptions & 26 passes defended). He makes a lot of sense for Green Bay at #14. Pro Comparison: Marcus Peters

#15. Arizona Cardinals: T Connor Williams (Texas)

Don’t buy into that garbage that Connor Williams had a poor 2017 season. Did he? Yes. But I don’t believe that will foretell us what he’ll be like as a pro. He’s the best Tackle in this class and I’ll argue with anyone about it. The Cardinals had arguably the worst offensive line in all of football last season and they are in need of help badly.  Jared Veldheer is a likely cut candidate and the Cardinals can plug Williams in at left or right tackle in his first season as Veldheer’s replacement. I firmly believe people will look back at the 2017 draft and scratch their heads wondering how Connor Williams fell out of the top 10. Pro Comparison: Joe Thomas

#16. Baltimore Ravens: T Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)

Ronnie Stanley has played really well but the other side opposite from him is in need of an upgrade. The Ravens could also add a playmaker here and get Joe Flacco some help, but if he doesn’t have time to throw it doesn’t matter anyways. Orlando Brown is a mammoth of a man standing at 6’8″ 360 pounds. Once he gets his hands on you it’s game over. Brown’s father, Orlando Brown Sr. also played for the Ravens. Sounds like destiny right? Pro Comparison: Phil Loadholt

#17. Los Angeles Chargers: DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)

The Chargers are badly in need of a youth movement within their interior defensive line. We don’t know if Corey Liuget will be back or not in 2018 and Brandon Mebane just turned 33. Da’Ron Payne is in my opinion, the best defensive tackle in this class. The only reason he’s going after Vita Vea is because Vea is a better scheme fit in Washington’s 3-4 defense. Da’Ron Payne would VASTLY improve LA’s run defense and if he can draw as many double teams in the NFL as he did in college the Chargers are going to lead the NFL in sacks easily in 2018 if Bosa and Ingram have 1 on 1 matchups on the outside every snap. Pro Comparison: Timmy Jernigan

#18. Seattle Seahawks: T Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)

Mike McGlinchey has the desired size of a typical NFL Tackle at 6’8″ 315 lbs. The Seahawks could go a number of different ways at #18 but the way Russell Wilson was being chased around last season, you would think the best available offensive lineman is the best thing to do for your team. McGlinchey is a well respected amongst his college teammates and a captain for the Fighting Irish. He’s a technician in every facet of his game and his experience as a former Tight End proves how athletic he is. The Seahawks have a hole at Right Tackle and McGlinchey can step in and be that guy for Seattle next season. Pro Comparison: Jared Veldheer

#19. Dallas Cowboys: WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama)

Rumor has it that the Cowboys may end up parting ways with Dez Bryant this offseason because of his cap hit situation. I don’t believe that will happen, but regardless the Cowboys could use another pass catcher to line up across the field from him. Calvin Ridley is hands down the best wide receiver in this draft and I expect him to have a big impact in his rookie season. Ridley didn’t have the adequate QB play at Alabama to help his numbers flourish like they should’ve been so now that he’ll be in the NFL where he has above average QBs throwing to him, I expect his production to skyrocket. Pro Comparison: Emmanuel Sanders

#20. Detroit Lions: DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)

The Lions defense as a whole took a step back in 2017 and it started up front within the defensive interior. The Lions seem to have found something with Akeem Spence but A’Shawn Robinson doesn’t look to be what they expected him to be as a former 1st round pick. Hurst is usually the first defensive lineman off the ball and he offers exceptional pass rushing talent from the interior. The Lions pass rush was better in 2017 with the addition of Anthony Zettel but the penetration from the interior still struggles. Hurst will fix a lot of those issues. Pro Comparison: Sharrif Floyd

#21. Buffalo Bills: C Billy Price (Ohio State)

An unfortunate neck injury to Eric Wood forced the Bills Center to hang the cleats up for good. So here we are…Buffalo is in need of a new commander on the offensive front. Billy Price is the best Center in the draft and he’s plays mean. Price is everything you want in your starting Center and this pick makes too much sense for Buffalo not to use one of their two first-round picks on him. Don’t be shocked if Billy Price is a top 10 Center in the NFL within the next 2-3 years. Pro Comparison: Travis Frederick

#22. Buffalo Bills: Rashaan Evans (Alabama)

I expect that free agent middle linebacker Preston Brown will be back in Buffalo in 2018 and it sounds like that’s where he wants to be so that helps the Bills linebacker corps a little bit, but they are still in need of a playmaker. Lorenzo Alexander is a potential cut candidate and he’s even beginning to get a little long in the tooth. Even if Buffalo brings Alexander back, this is still a good pick. Rashaan Evans is the playmaker Buffalo is looking for and he’s terrific in pass coverage. Pro Comparison: Lawrence Timmons

 

#23. Los Angeles Rams: CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado)

Trumaine Johnson is currently a free agent and even if the Rams do decide to pay him and bring him back they are still currently in need of depth and maybe even an upgrade from Kayvon Webster. Isaiah Oliver is the next best corner on the board and he can run with the best of them and he has vines for arms, so good luck trying to drop a ball over his head on corner routes. I’m curious to see what a Johnson/Oliver tandem could be like in the coming years, but don’t expect Oliver to be an effective player in year 1. Cornerbacks generally take a bit of time to groom. Pro Comparison: Artie Burns

#24. Carolina Panthers: WR Courtland Sutton (SMU)

Are the Panthers finally going to get Cam Newton some help? The Panthers can’t afford to go anything other than a playmaker at #24. Devin Funchess had a good season for the Panthers in 2017, but who was Carolina’s next best receiver? Christian McCaffrey? Damiere Byrd? Calvin Ridley is off the board and Courtland Sutton out of Southern Methodist University is the next man up. 6’4″ 220 lbs. He’s the perfect replacement for Kelvin Benjamin and he’ll give Cam Newton another red zone weapon to work with other than Devin Funchess. I feel bad for any team that has short corners and has to play the Panthers in 2018. Pro Comparison: Alshon Jeffery

#25. Tennessee Titans: DE Harold Landry (Boston College)

The Titans could go a bunch of different ways but this pick is based strictly off the fact that Brian Orakpo is aging and he may even be cut if the Titans really want to free up some cap space. IF that happens, Tennessee will need to find a new pass rusher. Harold Landry is quick, he’s athletic, and he actually offers more upside in the passing game than both Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. I’d be really curious to see what newly acquired Head Coach Mike Vrabel could do with Landry. His ceiling is high. Pro Comparison: Bruce Irvin

#26. Atlanta Falcons: G Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)

Atlanta already has one of the best offensive lines in the league and they could probably compete for the best if they add Isaiah Wynn. Jake Matthews, Andy Levitre, Alex Mack, and Ryan Schraeder is a solid front but the Falcons could use an upgrade from Wes Schweitzer at Right Guard. The Falcons would be smart to keep Isaiah Wynn in the state of Georgia. If you ever have some extra time on your hands go and watch Isaiah Wynn.  My favorite part about his game is that he’s constantly looking for work and he’s constantly looking to pancake the guy in front of him play after play. Adding Wynn to the Atlanta offensive line would keep Matt Ryan & Devonta Freeman happy for years. Pro Comparison: Trai Turner

#27. New Orleans Saints: TE Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)

The best Tight End in the draft comes off the board at #27 and Drew Brees has a new toy to play with. Coby Fleener has been a disappointment after being signed away from Indianapolis a few years ago and Josh Hill isn’t capable of being a starter in the NFL. Dallas Goedert is freakishly athletic and he can line up all over the field. He has great hands and he’s a threat as a receiver on all three levels of the field. If the Saints use him like the Eagles use Zach Ertz, he’s going to put up big numbers in his rookie season. Pro Comparison: Zach Ertz

#28. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)

Ryan Shazier says he still wants to play football after his scary injury in 2017, but the Steelers can’t count on him and need to find a replacement this offseason. Leighton Vander Esch out of Boise State is the perfect guy to do it. He’s long, athletic, instinctive and fast…sort of like Ryan Shazier. We’d all love to see Ryan Shazier be able to step foot on a football field again but the Steelers simply can’t take that risk if they still want to compete defensively. Pro Comparison: Chad Greenway

#29. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)

Even if the Jaguars do decide to bring Blake Bortles back this season at his $19 million dollar salary, you still can’t rely on him being the guy going forward with the inconsistency he has played at. Lamar Jackson would mark the fifth quarterback drafted in the first round and what he could do in the Jacksonville offense with Leonard Fournette has to be terrifying for opponents to even think about. His ability to keep plays alive and sling the ball down field 50+ yards with a just a flick of the wrist is incredible. Lamar Jackson is the closest thing we’ve seen to Michael Vick. Pro Comparison: Michael Vick

#30. Minnesota Vikings: G Will Hernandez (UTEP)

Joe Berger was contemplating retirement last offseason and his contract is up so the team isn’t expecting him to continue playing. On the other side of the offensive line, Nick Easton is a restricted free agent and the Vikings could very well tender him and bring him back to compete for a starting spot, but after his 2017 season, nothing should be guaranteed. The Vikings are expected to address their offensive line in free agency and in the draft and with that being said Will Hernandez would be a great addition to Minnesota’s offensive line. Hernandez is as strong as they come up front and he looks to bury his opponent every snap that’s taken. When he puts the pads on he looks like a human bowling ball. Pro Comparison: Richie Incognito

#31. New England Patriots: CB Donte Jackson (LSU)

To be honest, I don’t see Bill Belichick and the Patriots staying in this spot at #31 so it’s impossible to mock a player to them. It seems like they trade back and acquire as many picks as they can every year. Donte Jackson would be a great addition to the New England defense. A unit that finished in the bottom five of the league in pass yards allowed in 2017. Malcolm Butler is a free agent and he’s as good as gone after his little Super Bowl dilemma. The Patriots will need to find another starter across from Stephon Gilmore. Pro Comparison: Tre’Davious White

#32. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Mike Hughes (Central Florida)

The Philadelphia Eagles have an elite defensive unit, but if there’s one area they can improve at it’s in the secondary. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were “average” in my opinion in 2017. They weren’t exposed as much as they should’ve been because of Philly’s pass rush getting consistent pressure. Mike Hughes is a perfect selection here because Patrick Robinson likely won’t be back with Philadelphia’s current cap situation so getting a corner that can play inside and outside is convenient. Hughes is very physical and he did a great job of mirroring the opposing teams best wideout all season. Pro Comparison: Bradley Roby

 

Thanks for reading! For more draft content you can follow me on Twitter at @Purple_Post.

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