Author: Collyn Foster
Hello everyone, and welcome to the fourth installment of my mock draft series. The picture for how the draft will play out has become a bit clearer, with the Combine, pro days, and the early free agent frenzy all wrapping up. We are less than one month from the beginning of the draft (April 26), and I cannot be more excited! Today’s mock consisted of a compilation of my personal opinions and the best player options for each team. With certain needs being addressed in free agency, I had a much easier time making draft choices for some teams. There were some risers– Lamar Jackson and Dallas Goedert– and some players whose stock took a bit of a hit– Orlando Brown and Malik Jefferson, for example. So many things can happen leading up to the Draft and it can affect players’ draft stock in seconds. The best example of this was during the 2016 Draft when offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil was slated to be the best player in the class and in contention for the first overall pick. Just before the beginning of the Draft, a video was posted of Tunsil smoking from a gas mask bong. This made for chaos with no team knowing what to do, and Tunsil began dropping. The Dolphins ended his fall with the 13th pick, but he was the third tackle taken. This is just one, albeit extreme, example of how quickly these players’ stock can change. I hope you enjoy this article and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns you can find my contact information at the bottom of the article. Thank you!
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, QB 2. GIANTS: Saquon Barkley, RB 3. JETS: Josh Rosen, QB 4. BROWNS: Bradley Chubb, EDGE 5. BRONCOS: Josh Allen, QB 6. COLTS: Quenton Nelson, OG 7. BUCCANEERS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB 8. BEARS: Denzel Ward, CB 9. 49ERS: Tremaine Edmunds, LB 10. RAIDERS: Roquan Smith, LB 11. DOLPHINS: Baker Mayfield, QB 12. BILLS: Marcus Davenport, EDGE 13. REDSKINS: Derwin James, S 14. PACKERS: Harold Landry, EDGE 15. CARDINALS: Connor Williams, OT 16. RAVENS: Mike McGlinchey, OT 17. CHARGERS: Vita Vea, DT 18. SEAHAWKS: Josh Jackson, CB 19. DALLAS: Calvin Ridley, WR 20. LIONS: De’Ron Payne, DT 21. BENGALS: James Daniels, C 22. BILLS: Maurice Hurst, LB 23. RAMS: Leighton Vander Esch, LB 24. PANTHERS: Will Hernandez, OG 25. TITANS: Rashaan Evans, LB 26. FALCONS: Isaiah Wynn, OG 27. SAINTS: Dallas Goedert, TE 28. STEELERS: Ronnie Harrison, S 29. JAGUARS: Lamar Jackson, QB 30. VIKINGS: Billy Price, OG 31. PATRIOTS: Mike Hughes, CB 32. EAGLES: Kolton Miller, OT
33. BROWNS: Isaiah Oliver, CB 34. GIANTS: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT 35. BROWNS: Christian Kirk, WR 36. COLTS: Derrius Guice, RB 37. COLTS: Courtland Sutton, WR 38. BUCCANEERS: Sony Michel, RB 39. BEARS: Malik Jefferson, LB 40. BRONCOS: Taven Bryan, DT 41. RAIDERS: Carlton Davis, CB 42. DOLPHINS: Frank Ragnow, C 43. PATRIOTS: Jamarco Jones, OT 44. REDSKINS: Ronald Jones, RB 45. PACKERS: Mike Gesicki, TE 46. BENGALS: Justin Reid, S 47. CARDINALS: Mason Rudolph, QB 48. CHARGERS: Tyrell Crosby, OT 49. COLTS: Sam Hubbard, EDGE 50. COWBOYS: Harrison Phillips, DT 51. LIONS: Lorenzo Carter, OLB 52. RAVENS: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE 53. BILLS: Martinas Rankin, OT 54. CHIEFS: Donte Jackson, CB 55. PANTHERS: DJ Chark, WR 56. BILLS: Jerome Baker, LB 57. TITANS: Kyzir White, S 58. FALCONS: Derrick Nnadi, DT 59. 49ERS: DJ Moore, WR 60. STEELERS: Mark Andrews, TE 61. JAGUARS: Jessie Bates, S 62. VIKINGS: Josh Sweat, EDGE 63. PATRIOTS: Ochenna Nwosu, EDGE 64. BROWNS: Orlando Brown, OT
5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB The Broncos used free agency to go out and get, according to John Elway, “their guy.” The Broncos brought in Case Keenum on a 2 year, $36 million deal, who is in perfect position to become the starting quarterback. But what about the future? Do the Broncos trust in Paxton Lynch? Or Chad Kelly? No. They go out with the fifth pick and take arguably the most controversial player in the draft, Josh Allen. Allen has every physical tool you would want in a quarterback. He’s tall (6’5”), has a rocket launcher for an arm, and has quickness to escape the pocket (4.75 forty-time). He has all of the arm strength anyone could ever want, but his biggest problem is accuracy. Allen finished 2017 completing just 56.3% of his throws, a number that is significantly smaller than that of someone like Baker Mayfield, who finished the year with 70.5% completion rate. Allen will get the chance to come in and sit behind Keenum and learn. He can be one of the best quarterbacks in this draft, but he’s not ready to start just yet. If he can learn behind Keenum for 2 years he will come out a more polished and seasoned passer. It would be of benefit to both the team and Allen in that they could continue to build around Allen even while he’s waiting.
13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, S The Redskins steal an arguably top-5 talent with this pick. James came into the season as a lock to be a top 5 pick in this Draft. He had a bit of a slow start to this past season, and it didn’t help that Florida State had one of its worst down years in recent history. James was overlooked most of the year because of his team’s failures. But as the season went on James picked up his game. He is a physical freak, standing at 6’3” and weighing in at 210lbs, and he moves fluidly and fast. He has been dominating college football since his freshman year and proved his athleticism at the recent combine where he recorded a 4.47 sec forty yard dash, a 40.0” vertical, and 132” broad jump. James is an athletic, playmaking safety that would fit on any team. Because of team needs being elsewhere for the majority of the teams at the top of the draft, the Redskins steal James to continue to overhaul their defense.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Leighton Vander Esch, LB The LA Rams have had one of the best offseasons I’ve ever seen to date. They brought in a number of very talented players like Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh to add on to the success they had last year. They also retained safety Lamarcus Joyner by putting the franchise tag on him. They did lose a couple of their main playmakers on defense in Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, but would immediately fill their need with this first-round pick, Leighton Vander Esch. Vander Esch is an athletic playmaker that can run from sideline to sideline. He’s someone else who proved his athleticism at the combine, recording a 39.5” vertical and a 4.65 forty-yard dash. The Rams came out of free agency with only a few needs left to fill– a playmaking inside linebacker is one of them, and Vander Esch will come in from day one and fill that hole immediately.
36. Indianapolis Colts: Derrius Guice, RB The Colts are one of three teams that have at least 4 picks in the top 64. Having one team with this many picks in a given year is a bit crazy, but this year’s draft should be extra fun because three different teams have that luxury. The 2018 Draft seems to be one of the most important in the Colts’ history, not just because of the number of picks they have, but because of the number of holes that need to be filled. The team has a prime opportunity to go from one of the worst teams in the league back to being in contention. Like I said before, the Colts have a number of needs to fill and running back is amongst them– the absolute best fit for them is Derrius Guice. Guice is a downhill, smash-mouth runner who is always making plays. In college, he faced a lot of stacked boxes and heavy defenses trying to stop him due mostly to the poor quarterback play at LSU. Coming to the Colts, he would have the opportunity to become their top runner immediately. Guice pairs with Colts 2017 pick Marlon Mack extremely well: Guice would give them an aggressive, downhill runner and Mack would be the change of pace, receiving/big-play running back.
64. Cleveland Browns: Orlando Brown, OT After losing All-Pro OT Joe Thomas to retirement earlier in the offseason, the Browns now have one more hole to fill on a roster that already had some glaring issues. Picking Orlando Brown at all in this draft is a risk. He was slated to be a sure-fire first round pick and was going to use the Combine to boost his stock even more. He did the exact opposite of that, posting some of the worst numbers in Combine history, running a 5.85 forty-yard dash and bench pressing just 14 times. Brown is a player whose tape outweighs his Combine performance. He is a massive human being, standing at 6’8” and weighing 350lbs. While at Oklahoma, he struggled at times with speed rushers around the edge but had a very solid career. I believe the Browns would be taking a huge risk selecting Brown, but it’s one that could pay off mightily.