Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT - 3/12/18 With Player Comparisons

It's that time again. The Senior Bowl &amp combine  are over, and that means it's definitely deep into draft season  . I am still deep in tape study on these prospects . Right now I see a draft deep at QB , RB, CB  ,TE, DT, and center of all things . It's also a draft with very few sure thing blue chippers, especially when you consider that the 2 players I have graded highest are a guard and a running back. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are the most anticipated QB's, and they are the first 2 players off the board right now. However ,both are far from sure things . Darnold was a turnover machine that regressed this season . Rosen got hurt again , and he has coachability & leadership questions . In fact , Baker Mayfield had a better year than both , and has improved for 3 straight seasons . However Baker's size , lack of Pro Set experience, massive amount of offensive talent around him in college, and a couple of character incidents still need a lot of investigation. Then you have the guys I don't have a first round grade on, but that I wouldn't be surprised to see come off the board in the late 1rst .Lamar Jackson legitimately looks like Michael Vick 2.0 , and I have a 2nd round grade on him .  If he goes to the right team with a coach wiling to play to his strengths early in his career he could be awesome with time to polish his mechanics ,and learn the pro game. Then you have the Ultimate frame and toolbox of Josh Allen , but his tape is the worst of the 6 by far . Although that upside , and Pro Set experience forced me to give him a 2nd as a developmental boom or bust guy . Finally you have Mason Rudolph . He's got the frame , experience , sneaky athleticism , and production to make some team fall in love with him . Even though I have a late 3rd on him, and his system & inconsistent arm strength worries me ,  I wouldn't be surprised if a team like Pittsburgh grabbed him in the late first if their board is wiped out . It's a safe bet that the top three I have a first round grade on will be at the top QB on at least one teams board . With the unprecedented amount of at least decent possible starters available at QB this off season I won;t be projecting any trades just yet until some of this shakes out.  We have Cousins , McCarron , Keenum , Bradford , Bridgewater , and even possibly the mighty Brees  available in FA. Plus it's possible Eli , Foles, and Brissett could be available via trade . Although It wouldn't surprise me if there were 2 trades into the top 4 for a QB, and that 4 total could be taken in the top 10 .  This is not a ranking of my top players. This is how I think the draft will play out right now. I have Ronald Jones from USC in my top 15 and I am not even sure he will go in the first round . Some of these guys will get hurt, disappoint on or off the field during the pre- draft process, and some may even have some unforeseen problems with the combine medicals .   So don't fall in love with any of them just yet, except the mighty Quentin Nelson of course . Without further ado , here it is. Feel free to leave a comment. Agreeing or disagreeing is welcome, but please do it intelligently and respectfully. If you can't, or resort to personal attacks, I just won't post it.So here it is. Enjoy.


# Is for a player with with reported character or maturity concerns.


** Is for a player with reported injury concerns.





1.CLEVELAND-(rams)-SAM DARNOLD - QB- USC  - 6"3" , 221
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JAMEIS WINSTON - BUCCANEERS
Cleveland is the most dysfunctional run franchise in all of Pro sports in my opinion . On the bright side they once AGAIN have the biggest haul of premium picks, including the 1rst & 4th picks in the draft . Plus 3 more seconds and a 3rd. So 4 of the top 34 and 5 of the top 64. That's ridiculous. Also , they now have John Dorsey as GM. A real life football man in charge of the team. Imagine that.  Since they have already made some trades to remake their roster it's a safe bet Dorsey isn't going to be OK with another last place finish. If Hugh Jackson can't win at least 6 games after this draft he should definitely be fired, although I admit to being surprised that they didn't fire him after 0-16 and winning only one game in 2 years.  All those picks plus a ton of cap space  gives them a wide array of options. They can control the draft ,even pick of some more picks for next year , trade back and replace their 3rd rounder , and still have a great draft . If Joe Thomas comes back and is the same player they will have one of the better O-lines in the league with only RT being a weakness so far . Big Joe's idea of signing Drew Brees makes the most sense. They would be an instant contender with him, and they could offer him something heretofore outlandish like a 3 year 105 million fully guaranteed contract ,and it would almost make sense just to finally have a great QB. Plus, it would make it far more likely that Thomas returns, but I doubt Brees leaves the Saints as long as they offer him somewhere round 30 million a year . Or they could have made a lesser (but still really substantial )offer to Kirk Cousins . However, all reports out there in the media have said the Browns weren't a team he was  considering so they traded for Tyrod Taylor to be their veteran stopgap QB . One of Dorsey's first moves as GM of the chiefs in 2013 was to trade for Alex Smith. With Smith already being traded to the Skins that was out, but some form of veteran competitive now QB was needed even if they draft one with the 1rst , or even the 4th pick . They don't have to rush Darnold onto the field now. Even if takes an extra year for Sam to get it down they will at least give the fan base hope this season while still uilding for the future. Darnold has a great frame, great tools, and all the intangibles you want in a franchise QB. Still, he did regress this year , was a turnover machine , and he still has a long release. Going from 31 TD's  and 9 picks on 366 passing attempts to 26 TD's and 16 picks on 480 attempts is a significant regression. But it's not just the picks, he has to learn to keep both hands on the ball in the pocket, because he also has a fumbling problem. That part should be easily fixed with repetition and some good old fashioned hard coaching , but the interceptions are another matter. I broke down all of his games this year and he had at least 7 sure fire picks dropped by defenders, and he really struggled when pressured  . On the bright side he does make some great throws at times, plays in a NFL friendly offense, can throw guys open at times, is a great leader ,was playing behind a mostly new and often injured O-line ,and has every physical attribute you want at QB . I thought he should have went back to school , but that genie is out of the bottle now .To be honest I wouldn't take any of these QB's with the # 1 pick this year, and would trade down if I could, unless I'm Cleveland . They have already done that in back to back years . Combined that with passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in the last 2 drafts and it's just time ( unless of course they actually got Brees or Cousins) . Cleveland hasn't taken a QB in the top 21 picks since they took bust Tim Couch #1 overall in 1999 , but they did take Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and Manziel all at pick 22. Weird, but it's the browns so I'm not entirely shocked, even though it;s baffling considering all the to 10 picks they have had . Now is the time to reward long suffering browns fans with some legitimate hope or one way or another.  


2.NY GIANTS-  #** JOSH ROSEN - QB - UCLA - 6"4" , 226
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - MATT RYAN - FALCONS
Let me start by saying I really think should have traded Eli to Jacksonville for 3rd round pick at the trade deadline . That would have given them a chance to evaluate Davis Webb and given Eli a legitimate shot at a 3rd ring right away . That would have helped the teams long range plans and paid back both Manning and Coughlin for past services, . I really think the Jags could have won it all this year if they had pulled the trigger . However, I see why they didn't. This team is just basically a healthy and upgraded O-Line away from being  a contender in 2018 . That is easier said then done though. 2 of their 3 better lineman ( Pugh and Richburg )are free agents that have injury issues . Do you pay both and risk that they missing more games again, and this time with a possible higher price tag ? Maybe if Pugh can hold down RT he's worth it, but he's played his best football at guard ,and has missed 13 games in the last 2 seasons . Richburg was probably their most consistent lineman , but the center missed 12 games after a concussion last year, and that's very troubling if you are investing guaranteed money in him . Luckily Brett Jones was serviceable as a replacement last season .RT Booby Hart should be cut, but it's possible that if you kick Flowers in to left guard you can salvage something out of the former top 10 pick . That still leaves them without a LT though, and this is not a draft to take a tackle #2 overall. There is a good chance they trade back from this pick . But for now the fact that Eli is 37 already, has not played well lately , they aren't likely to pick this high again anytime soon, and considering Manning only has 2 years left on his deal make me think they take a QB if they stay at #2 . The only problem with them taking Rosen here is that he is the most pro ready QB in this draft. He reads defenses faster & better than them all , is the most consistently accurate too , and no one in this draft can match him as a pure passer .Why take a guy like him and sit him on the bench ? . Although I wouldn't be surprised at all if he has a injury prone Sam Bradford type career though . Of course maybe new GM David Gettleman likes big cannon armed QB's like he had in Carolina, and while Josh Allen is nowhere near the prospect Newton was when he came out in my estimation , it's still very possible he goes with the toolsier guy . I think that would be ludicrous, and I would take Quentin Nelson if I got stuck at #2 and kept Eli. Guard or not he's the best player in this draft by my grading , and he would give them at least one O-lineman they should be able to count on going forward . Barkley wouldn't be a surprise either, and I'm sure in our fantasy football culture a lot of fans hope they do , but unless that O-Line is fixed he won't have the impact a player of his rare talent should right away. On the bright side their is already talk that they will pursue Andrew Norwell from the Panthers, and he is at least a top 10 guard in the NFL based on the last 2 years .


3.INDIANAPOLIS- BRADLEY CHUBB - DE - N. CAROLINA -6"4"  269
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - TRENT COLE - retired
It's really hard to make this pick without knowing if Luck will be healthy , and if they can get a QB needy team to trade up they should because they have a lot of needs, especially up front on both sides of the ball . I won;t be making any trades in this first mock so I 'll just go with a guy who fills a big need at a premium position, and who has a high floor. While many will complain that Chubb lacks the elite athletic ability of a Jadaveon Clowney or Myles Garrett as the top edge rusher in the draft ,I would be happy to him on my team. He has a good frame, a lot of good tape against the run or pass, doesn't have the injury issues either did coming into the draft, and has a better motor than both . While I do admit I would that i had a higher grade on Khalil Mack , Joey Bosa, and Garret, Chubb is still a really good high floor player. Plus the difference in motor makes me more confident about using a top 5 pick on him than I was with Clowney back in the day . Adding Chubb to Jabaal Sheard and young Tarell Basham could give them a good rotation off the edge . Other than Chubb (or a trade back) I'm sure my boy Quentin Nelson would make Andrew Luck very happy . Despite how much I like him I wouldn't take Barkley here . There will be really good RB's available at the top of round 2, and probably in round 3 as well . If Georgia RB Nick Chubb is still there  at the top of round 3 they should snatch him up . He's more than worth it, and hey " Double the Chubb" .



4.CLEVELAND-(houston)- MINKAH FITZPATRICK - CB/S - ALABAMA - 6 foot,204
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE- FA
I am not one of the people who would pay a RB with the mileage & off the field concerns of Leveon Bell, and i am guessing Cleveland would have either , but their is no way they will now that he has gotten the franchise tag . I'm sure that many are going to want Saquon Barkley here, and while I agree that he is worth the pick I wouldn't do it. Why not? . Crowell is a free agent,and Duke Jhonson is a complimentary back in my opinion so I do think they should draft a RB with a premium pick in this draft , but I have 3 other RB's with a first round grade. At least one , if not 2 of them will be there at the top of the second round .   I also have 6 RB's in my top 50, 8 in my top 75 ,and probably 11 will end up in my top 100 . So it's a position you can wait on and still get a quality starter, although you can make the same case for this corner class, but we tend to see a lot more 2nd and 3rd round RB's have a huge immediate impact than we do DB's . I would much rather have a DB  like Fitzpatrick and one of the Ronald Jones,Derrius Guice, Kerryon Jhonson, Sony Michel,or Nick Chubb group  than Barkley and and other player at any other position they could get in the second. Fitzpatrick has a tall, lean, rangy frame . He's been a starter since his true freshman year, and that's saying something at Alabama .He could conceivably play anywhere in the back 4 with a little more muscle packed on . I am not saying he is any kind of shutdown outside corner right now. In fact I am not even sure he can play outside corner well yet because it's rare on his tape this season . I thought the same thing about Jalen Ramsey though and he is a top notch outside NFL corner right now . Right now I'm am sure he is a free safety that can cover the slot , and that's very valuable in today's NFL . 



5.DENVER - QUENTON NELSON - G - N. DAME - 6"5" , 325
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - STEVE HUTCHINSON - retired
Right now I doubt John Elway is ready to give up on 2016 first rounder Paxton Lynch at QB just yet ,despite his poor play and lack of maturity , so I think he will be trading for or signing a veteran QB. I don't think they will shell out Kirk Cousins money unless he is wiling to take a pay cut , but I do think they will end up with either Nick Foles, AJ Mccarron , Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, or Teddy Bridgewater . They made strides on their O-line last year drafting Garett Boles in the 1rst to play LT , and signing Ronald Leary to play RG. Combining with holdover center Matt Paradis gives you 3 out of 5 potentially good starters up front , especially if Boles keeps improving in pass pro, which you should expect . However, no one they played at RT and LG however did much . Nelson is the best player in this draft. He's a straight up beast who would have been a 1rst round pick if he came out early last year . A nasty mauler of a run blocker who moves people off the ball, and a good pass blocker that can set the kind of tone you want your line to emulate . I actually think he could play OT at a high level if he was tried there, but if it ain't broke don't even try to fix it . He has a higher grade than David Decastro did on my board when he entered the draft ,and he was my highest graded college guard ever up until now .



6.NY JETS - BAKER MAYFIELD - QB - OKLAHOMA - 6"1" , 215
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - RUSSELL WILSON - SEAHAWKS
Normally you don't see a coach of a 5-11 team get a contract extension, let alone receive votes for coach of the year, but Todd Bowles absolutely deserved both . The ownership & front office was shedding salary , resetting the cap, and probably trying to tank for one of the QB's most of us expected to have better seasons. Josh McCown did play pretty well, behind a patchwork O-line and with a bevy of new young WR's . I actually wondered if  they would be 0-16 instead of the Browns . Somehow Bowles got this team to play hard, and be competitive . The big question now is do they stand pat and hope a QB they like falls to #6, sign or trade for a veteran QB, or trade up for a QB they are in love with . It's a safe bet at least 3 of the picks ahead of them are for sale, but for now I am just going to play it straight even though everyone assumes they are a contender for Cousins. Mayfield is the kind of QB that a locker room would rally behind . He could give them the kind of leadership on offense that they got with Jamal Adams on defense in last years draft , and he has the "IT" factor you need in a QB. He's a proven winner with a big chip on his shoulder that has overcome a lot of doubters to win this years Heisman trophy . He has improved every year, and this season he even became a better deep ball thrower , which had been a huge weakness before . He's got a good work ethic , a high football IQ , has a quick release , and he reads the defense fast. So his lack of pro set experience worries me less than most college spread QB'S. As soon as he gets the footwork and snap down I think he will be a starter .


7.TAMPA BAY - SAQUON BARKLEY - RB - PENN ST.- 6 foot , 233
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - LADANIAN TOMLINSON - retired
This team is in a bad position , but this pick makes it all good anyway. They really need an edge rusher and a LT. This draft has neither worth this pick in this scenario . In my early musings on this pick I thought maybe Clelin Ferrell might rise up in the Pre-Draft process and be worth this pick , but somehow Dabo Sweeney got his whole D-line to come back to Clemson.  That's amazing when you consider that Ferrell had a decent chance to go top 10,  Wilkins would have been a first rounder, and Bryant was probably a day 2 pick somewhere . Now they are SOL . With Doug Martin falling off a cliff after getting paid, 3rd down back Charles Sims being a FA , and Quizz Rogers & Peyton barber looking more like solid backups a RB is needed. So in order to get value at a position of need I'm giving them Barkley. He's the best RB in a draft full of them, and altough he has a different running style his grade is the same as Todd Gurley's pre knee injury & Zeke Elliot's when they hit the draft for me . He has size , speed, burst, agility, a great jump-cut, and is a plus as receiver & pass protector. The only things he lacks are high patience, but he is still at least average there, and a willingness to put his head down and churn out the short tough yards . Although as my buddy Rux said to me, " dudes who run like him tend to have longer careers than the average RB" .  He is my 2nd highest graded player ,and RB's have the best chance of making a big immediate impact as a rookie . If they can trade back with a QB needy team they should . 



8.CHICAGO - DENZEL WARD - CB - OHIO ST. - 5"11" , 183
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - RONALD DARBY - EAGLES
This is another team is in a bad position for top needs unless Quentin Nelson falls to them because there is no WR I would take this high in this draft . For some weird reason they cut  LG Josh Sitton  though . While he has been banged up a little the last 2 seasons he is still a top 10 guard in the league in my book . If I was the Giants or Texans I would already be on the phone to his agent , but Nelson would easily fill that bill, but he's not available in this scenario . With Kyle fuller(transition tag) and Prince Amukamara  available in free agency ,corner is possibly  a big need so i will give them my top ranked pure corner . Ward is blazing fast with great mirror ability . He's a little small to take down or out jump some bigger receivers ( Simmie Cobbs) but he battles everybody . That kind of makeup speed and a ability to get his hands on the ball are rare though . Plus Ohio ST. corners have been very productive as rookies the last 2 seasons .



9.SAN FRANCISO - TREMAINE EDMUNDS - LB - VA. TECH - 6"4" , 253
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DANTE HIGHTOWER - PATRIOTS
I  was a big believer in Rueben Foster last year, and thought he was a steal in the late first round, despite his character and injury concerns. Well, I was right about him on the field, but wrong about him staying on the field and out of trouble so far . The injuries and off the field stuff have already come up again in his first year in the league. I thought they made a mistake letting Navarro Bowman go, and he played fine for the raiders after he was cut . With Foster facing a possible suspension LB is now a big need, and if they hope for Foster to learn his lesson when he comes back it needs to be a bigger guy to play next to him , which rules out Roquan Smith . Edmunds has an elite frame and tools. He has the possible versatility to play any LB spot in any front, and might even be able to hold up as an edge rusher in  couple of years if they wanted him to spend some time there . Where he is really unique is that he could be a force covering athletic TE's down the field . He is raw & his football IQ needs some work , but his upside is special, and he's ONLY 19 ! 


10.OAKLAND - **CONNOR WILLIAMS - OT - TEXAS - 6"5" , 296
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DUANE BROWN - SEAHAWKS
After the best 3 year stretch of a good NFL career Donald Penn got a contract extension right before the start of the 2017 season at age 34 . His play dipped a little this season , he got hurt late in the year , and had foot surgery . So the raiders will head into this season with a 35 year old LT that they can walk away from after next year if they want to without any dead money on their cap, although they could keep him for another season if they want to. Plus they had tragically bad RT play last year . Williams had a great 2016 season and if he had continued to get better this season he would have probably been a top 5 pick this year , but he didn't start out well, then he got hurt, then he came back and played a little better, then he skipped his bowl game to enter the draft . Despite all that he is till my top ranked OT in this draft . I have him in the early 20's, but only QB'S & pass rushers are in higher demand in the NFL .  Although OT's have lower bust rate than either because they can often end up as a quality guards if they fail outside , and pass protectors are always in demand anywhere up front . Williams looks like a giant TE. He's lean and ripped, and probably needs to add 15 to 20 pounds of muscle to hold up long term, but he has he feet and movement skills to play outside. His arm length isn't ideal , but it's serviceable . He would be an upgrade at RT for Gruden's new offense , and could probably flip over to the left side when Penn is done, or if injuries strike again  . 




11.MIAMI - ROQUAN SMITH - LB - GEORGIA - 6"1" , 236
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - LAVONTE DAVID - BUCCANEERS
The Dolphins LB core was bad last year and injuries didn't help . 2nd rounder Raekwon Mcmillan missed the whole year after tearing his ACL in a pre-season game . Lawrence Timmons went AWOL and played badly when he came back and it's hard to trust Kiko Alonso to stay healthy . The NFL has a lot more smaller quicker LB's playing a lot of snaps these days because you need guys that can cover in this pass happy league. Smith is part of that new breed . He'a high IQ sideline to sideline player against the run or pass . A leader that can QB your defense, but he needs to be protected because he can get swallowed up when a O-line, gets his hands on him . Having block eaters like Suh and Phillips in front him makes him a near perfect fit for this defense . He can play the Mike or weak side at a high level, but i think he could be an immediate game changer on the outside if he has to occupy less blockers and just run to the ball. When you watch his tape you will notice that he is almost always the first back 7 player moving in the right direction . 




12.CINCINNATI - MIKE MCGLINCHEY - OT - N. DAME -  6"8" , 309
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JARED VELDHEER - CARDINALS
This is the weirdest OT class I can remember. There is no one I would stand on the table for if I was a NFL O-line coach ,and I only have borderline first round grades on 2 of them, but there are a lot of them with a lot of potential . In fact the need for them is so great that I wouldn't be surprised if 9  of them came off the board in the first 75 picks, and of those I think we would be lucky if 6 ended up staying outside . That takes us to the Bengals . They drafted 2 high upside athletic tackle prospects in the first 2 rounds in 2015 when they took Ogbuehi and Fisher. Neither have worked out, and they compounded this by letting pro Bowlers Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler leave. Whitworth was still gret but I guess I can understand them not wanting to pay him at his age, but Zeitler is still in his prime  . Now most of their O-line is a mess. Mcglnchey doesn't have the upside of a lot of these other OT's entering the draft, but I think he has the highest floor. He's tall, long, and a punishing run blocker who's solid in pass pro. He can get too high and pushed back occasionally, and he will occasionally struggle with speed in the pass game as well, but most solid starters do too . At the very least I think he's an above average RT, and this line needs someone besides Clint Boling who is at least capable right now . James Daniles would be a definite upgrade at center too, but O-line should be the focus of this teams draft one way or another.


13.WASHINGTON - CALVIN RIDLEY - WR - ALABAMA - 6 foot , 189
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - EMMANUEL SANDERS - BRONCOS
This WR class is similar to the OT class, but way deeper. I wouldn't be surprised if No WR'S were drafted in the first , or if 4 were. The 2nd round is probably going to be WR central this season and I could see 12 of the top 75 coming out of that position .  Last years first round WR  class was a bust for the most part with 3 of the top 9 picks shocking me . All got hurt, and of the 3 only Corey Davis did anything ,and that was really late in the season.  This year Ridley is the only one I would bet money on to go in the first because he has such a high floor, and I'm not even sure if he's a number one WR . Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson are gone. Josh Dosctson has battled injuries and inconsistency so far in his career , and the Terrell Pryor experiment was a disaster. Not to mention TE Jordan Reed can't seem to stay healthy. That leaves slot receiver Jamison Crwoder as your most reliable target , although Chris Thompson was an electric change of pace back when he was healthy who made a lot of big plays as a receiver . Ridley is a guy who hit he ground running as a freshman and made a huge impact. Then his QB and offense changed and his production went down. Don't blame him. Watch the tape and you see a guy open all the live long day . He's a polished route runner who knows how to set guys up, and create separation . He has solid hands, and adjust well to errant throws in the air. plus he's played in a more pro style offense than mist college wide-outs, and is a high character guy on and off the field . Alex Smith is going to need somebody outside that he can count on and Ridley fits the bill . 


14.GREEN BAY - DERWIN JAMES - S - FLORIDA ST. - 6"2" , 215
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - SEAN TAYLOR - retired
The packers have generally been a best player available team, and going BPA usually works out for your team in the long term. Even though their was somewhat of a shakeup in their front office this season I expect that trend to continue despite corner being their clear cut biggest need . Plus a lot of the disappointments they have drafted at corner lately are still young with high upsides and a decent chance of improving in the near future . James is an elite athlete . He looked like a future top 5 pick after his dominant freshman season .  A injury early in his sophomore season put a little worry into the equation, but I still expected a big year this season . It took a little while for the rust to come off this year, but he still played well . He's very young , and his football IQ needs some work, but his upside is ridiculous. He played all over the back 7 and made plays , although I think his best position is SS right now . Players with his leadership traits, intensity, and play making ability can set the tone for a defense . I expect him to keep getting better and be a game changer long term . Don't be shocked if he goes top 10, but I just didn't see a sure fit with any of those teams yet . After free agency shakes out there is a 50/50 chance he ends up there . With Morgan Burnett being a FA ,  and the pack needing to save their money for Arron Rodgers extension , I doubt he will be back unless he gives them a team friendly extension despite solid play . Plus this defense needs more leaders . 

15.ARIZONA - JOSH ALLEN - QB - WYOMING  - 6"5" , 237
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - CAM NEWTON - PANTHERS
The Cardinals don't have a QB right now , and while I think they should go after a veteran to give Fitz a chance at ring I don't think the have the money to compete for Cousins . Plus a new head coach gives them a grace period to start over and get a cheap long term replacement for the most important position in the game. Personally I had a 4th round grade on Allen based off his tape earlier this season and that's due to his frame, tools & pro set experience ., but I get it.  He does the frame, athleticism, and cannon arm to make QB coaches salivate . He even played in a basic Pro style offense, the very same one Carson Wentz ran in college, but the results were different .  Wentz was just late on his reads and throws. Allen is too, and he lacks accuracy and touch. Now their wasn't a lot of talent around him, and way too many drops from receivers, but he also doesn't need to fire it 50 MPH at a guy 8 yards away either . So i moved him up a round .Very rarely do guys get more accurate in the NFL , but his mechanics being coached up would help and he seemed to get better throughout the Senior bowl week. Then his mechanics looked more refined at the combine, but that's a relaxed no pass rush setting, and he waited too long o throw the ball too many times to show off his arm in the drills .Despite all that talent and Pro set experience I still think he needs to sit at least a year and learn without the pressure 1rst round QB's are usually under to get on the field. I have a 2nd round grade on him now, but he could go anywhere from #1 overall to # 15 and I wouldn't be surprised by it. Somebody , maybe even these Cardinals will probably trade up into the top 7 for him, but I just can't put him any higher with a clear conscience  in my first mock of draft season . It's too bad Bruce Arians had to retire, because he would have loved this guy in his down the field offense  .


16.BALTIMORE - ISAIAH WYNN - G/T - GEORGIA - 6"3" , 313
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DAMIEN WOODY - retired
Players like Marshall Yanda come along once in a blue moon . The future HOFer is still on the roster, but he is also going to be 34 next year and coming off season ending ankle surgery. That's the good news because he is their right guard. Their left guards , and there were a lot of them last season , were just plain bad . Wynn is a stout college LT, who's lack of length will probably move him inside in the NFL, . Athough I personally think he could play any of the 5 OL positions with practice , and wonder if center might be his best position . He was clearly the best O-Lineman at the Senior Bowl and I still think he could slide outside if your in a pinch. He's smart and smooth with the size of a guard already,  and I expect he will excel in pass pro in any scheme, but until he bulks up his legs a little more he might not be a big time people mover in man/gap schemes inside right out of the gate . I still think he will be able to at least turn and wall of his man though , and he would excel in a primarily zone blocking scheme. . RT is a bigger need but I see it being a big reach at this spot in this scenario , although like I said I think Wynn could handle that job too. Maybe if they trade back though . 


17.LA CHARGERS - VITA VEA - DT -WASHINGTON
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - HALOTI NGATA - LIONS
Brandon Mebane is past his prime inside, and the Chargers need someone who can clog up the middle, and push the pocket inside when the NT is on the field  . Vea is a Giant strong raw interior run stuffer that also has the explosiveness to get into the backfield . His motor and/or conditioning are suspect right now, and he could stand to lose 20 pounds without losing strength, otherwise I think he would be a lock for the top 10 . Lacks consistency, technique, and awareness as well . Moved all over the front line and even stood up a few times. His highlight reel is dominantly hilarious . Tossing dudes around like Bo Jackson rocking people in Super Tecmo Bowl . Former high school running back who is an elite athlete for his size . If he gets in better shape and takes to coaching he could be a once a decade player. Better player with a higher upside than Dontari Poe (#11) and Danny Shelton(#12) who both went high in the first round .


18.SEATTLE -  MARCUS DAVENPORT - DE - UTSA - 6"6" , 264
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - ZIGGY ANSAH - LIONS
I know . Their O-line has been bad, but they have invested considerable resources( J. Britt #2 in 2014, #1 & 3 in 2016 on Ifedi & Odhambo, and #2 on Pocic in 2017)  in it lately. Maybe their new O-line coach can get the young guys to be more consistent, and if Duane Brown returns to form that would be a huge boost .Russell Wilson should have won the MVP for playing as well as he did while running for his life last year .  So while I agree it should be a focus Pete Carroll is a defensive coach first, and this defense is about to lose a ton of important players . Seattle's window looks to be closed to me, and it's time to reload, and open a new one & reset their cap . Their once dominant defense has gotten older, and a lot of that now high priced talent has been plagued by injuries lately . Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor may not even play football again . Michael Bennett has already been traded and Sheldon Richardson is a free agent that may follow the money somewhere else. Plus there is talk of them trying to trade Earl Thomas and they cut the injured Richard Sherman  .That entire defense is usually predicated on getting a pass rush with 4 guys and the occasional well timed blitz . Ziggy Ansah has been up and down for the Lions, but the once ridiculously raw pass rusher that went #5 overall in a really weak draft has paid off for the most part. At least enough that the Lions slapped the franchise tag on him this off season .  Davenport is another raw athletic freak that will probably be over drafted, but he could pay off huge in the long run as well . He's got a great frame & tools, but I still think he will make it in time because his motor is always on . He's going to have to get used to being in a 3 pt. stance more often, but he showed he was a quick learner at the Senior Bowl. He came in hyped up and was getting his butt kicked the first 2 days of practice, but on day 3 the light seemed to come on, and he was winning all over the field . Since he will be getting that type of high level coaching all the time now I expect he's worth the risk here . This team is big on length and certain explosive numbers in the analytics side of scouting. Davenport checks all those boxes . 



19.DALLAS - LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH - LB - BOISE ST, 6"4", 256
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - KARLOS DANSBY - CARDINALS
I am sure a lot of Dallas fans want a WR here, and maybe if Calvin Ridley was here I would pull that trigger, but he's not.. DJ Moore and Courtland Sutton could be in play, but unless they actually get rid of Dez Bryant LB is a bigger need right now. Plus there will be some really good available WR's available in the 2nd round this year , and maybe in the 3rd as well . Sean Lee's injury hurt the boys even more than Zeke's BS witch hunt suspension did . In fact the whole LB core had problems last year . Lee and Anthony Htchens had injuries. Jaylon Smith is definitely not all the way back, and played more snaps than they wanted last season. Right now I wouldn't trust Jaylon as anything more than a nickel LB off last years tape. Well , Hitchens is a free agent that might get more than they are willing to pay somewhere else, and he missed some time too . Lee's still a stud when on the field, but will be 32 next season , and his injury history doesn't inspire confidence . Roquan Smith would be the best fit here because the weak side backers role in this defense in conjunction with the 3 technique is vital, but I just can't see him falling here in any scenario, and Edmunds isn't getting out of the top 10 . Another vital role in the Tampa 2 is the middle linebackers ability to cover deeper in the middle of the field. DC Rod Marinelli had Brian Urlachers fast, tall , long assed frame in Chicago .  I am sure he would love another LB that can disrupt those passing lanes in a similar fashion again . Leighton is bit of one year wonder, but it was good year , especially later in the season . He is huge by today's NFL LB standards , but has the athleticism and frame to be a special player in this defense . A 3 down middle LB with the size of a DE is rare in 2018 . I'm not saying his upside is quite as high as Tremaine Edmunds , but I think he is a more consistent player right now, and his upside is plenty high anyway . Looks to have added some more muscle to his frame at the combine , but he still moved fluidly and could still run , so it's a plus .


20.DETROIT - JAMES DANIELS - C - IOWA - 6"3" , 306
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - RODNEY HUDSON - RAIDERS
Travis Swanson has had plenty of chances to lock down the long term center job in Detroit , but it hasn't worked out .  Daniels is a technician with great agility and high level movement skills for a O-Lineman .  Before the injuries to Frank Ragnow and Billy Price I had 3 centers with a first round grade, but Daniels was and still is my number one. Only Travis Frederick , Jason Kelce, and Rodney Hudson can pull of a reach block among NFL centers with any regularity today in the pros. Daniels will make 4 . Center is the 2nd most important player on the O-line , and Daniels has the potential to be a 10 year starter with a lot of trips to the Pro Bowl. He is the number 9 overall player on my initial board so I wouldn't be surprised if he was already gone at 20, but he's a steal here . 
21.BILLS - DA'RON PAYNE - DT - ALABAMA - 6'2" , 311
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - MARCEL DAREUS - JAGUARS
Let me start by saying I think it's highly likely the draft pick rich Bills trade up for a QB unless they acquire a proven veteran before the draft, but I won't be doing trades until free agency shakes out some . When Marcel Dareus was playing at the Pro Bowl level that got him paid the Bills defense was much better, but after he cashed that check his pay declined . They traded him to the Jags mid season , and Payne looks a lot like him with a better motor . He played his best ball in the playoffs, especially as a pass rusher but the Alabama defense primarily requires him to eat up block first  . He has the strength and explosiveness to be a 3 down NT in any defense , and while Payne's upside isn't quite as high as Vita Vea's he a better more consistent player right now . Plus he has the coolest sounding name in the draft .

22.BILLS - JOSH JACKSON - CB - IOWA - 6 foot , 196
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - MARCUS PETERS- RAMS
The Bills helped alleviate some of their fears of a depleted secondary by signing veteran Vontae Davis before the combine . However , with EJ Gaines and Leonard Johnson both potential FA's, and Davis past his prime another corner is needed . Jackson is a one year wonder but he led the league in picks and passes defensed . In Leslie Frazier's Tampa 2 zone heavy scheme he should excel . He would also give them the taller CB they lack right now , but he is too much of a pile inspector in the run game for me to put him any higher, although it wouldn't surprise me if he was the first CB taken . 

23.LA RAMS - **TYRELL CROSBY - OT - OREGON - 6"5", 309
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DONALD PENN- RAIDERS
When you trade for volatile ( but highly productive ) veteran CB's like Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib you are all in for a run this year , and you also make CB a much lesser priority in the draft, as I originally had them taking Jaire Alexander here . Then considering the age of John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth I thought  O-lineman would fit best . With James Daniels gone in this scenario and the injuries to Ragnow and Price center is probably not the way to go here . Their tackles played well , but it would be nice to have a replacement in case father time finally wins the fight against Whitworth or in case Andrew or Rob Havenstein gets injured . Plus the only real weakness on the O-line right no is RG Jamon Brown . Crosby is stout and physical enough to kick inside in the NFlL, and still be a serviceable replacement outside if needed . The Oregon OT has played  both sides , generally finds a way to take care of his assignment , has long arms  ,and in this draft he has the one of the higher floors for a guy who can play outside . Plus he is nasty and physical enough to be be a day one starter at guard . With some time in the weight room, a better diet, and some NFL coaching I believe he can polish his technique and improve his balance enough to end up at tackle long term .



24.CAROLINA - WILL HERNANDEZ - G - UTEP - 6"2", 327
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - BRANDON BROOKS - EAGLES
Norv Turners offense calls for a lot of down the field throws,and you need time to make those throws. So losing a top 10 guard like Andrew Norwell will be a blow to the plan . Hernandez is a nasty inside brawler who moves and carries his weight really well for such a squarely built 340 pound man, although he's a little top heavy and can lose his balance , and have trouble pulling it back when he's leans too far  Strikes a blow in initial contact , but does have a tendency to stand up after, stop  his feet,  then have to re-anchor and start driving his man again . Moves people off the ball and even does well at the 2nd level in the run game . Stout anchor in pass protection , and a strong violent hand punch, but he tends to throw them outside too much and gets grabby. when he latches on inside in the run or passing game your not going anywhere . Far more athletic than you would expect , but you notice it more and more the longer you watch his tape. Good Senior Bowl week, but showed up 13 pounds lighter at the combine , which helped his balance, and really put together a impressive day .

25.TENNESSEE - **HAROLD LANDRY - OLB/DE - BOSTON COLLEGE - 6"2", 252
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - VIC BEASLEY - FALCONS
Brian Orapko  is 31 and Derrick Morgan is 32. Both are in the last year of their deals and Mike Vrabel's 3-4 is dependent on versatile OLB's that can rush and cover . Landry should have entered the daft in 2016. His tape is great that year. This year he had a bad wheel, although he tried to play through it, and was beaten up by double teams on top of it . He has an elite burst off the snap and he can bend the arc outside . Right now he is too small to hold up against the run on the edge for 3 downs as a 4-3 DE , but a lot of those concerns would be eased as a OLB . Once he spends more time in  NFL weight room and adds to his pass rush arsenal he could be a force in the NFL . A year with vets like Orapko & Morgan can only help him, but he could still make an impact as a situational pass rusher in Tennessee as a rookie . 



26.ATLANTA - MAURICE HURST - DT - MICHIGAN - 6"2" , 292
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - GENO ATKINS - BENGALS
Dontari Poe, Adrian Claybron, Derrick Shelby, and Courtney Upshaw are all free agents up front this off season . Plus the Falcons are already up against the cap even before they give Matt Ryan a new deal . Then you take in the fact that Grady Jarrett is their best interior player and he will be a FA next year . In a defense predicated on predominantly getting pressure with 4 people and playing cover 3 behind it anytime you can get a good pass rusher you go for it, because they send them in a heavy rotation in waves . Hurst is a quick interior penetrator with great technique and good hands . If not for the fact that he lacks ideal measureables I think he would go in the top 10. That and the heart condition that was discovered at the combine are why he even makes it to 26. Otherwise I would have given him to Dallas or Buffalo . As for that heart problem I am given to believe it isn't likely to hurt him too much. Defensive tackles  Nick Fairley (#13 in 2011) & Star Lotulelei ( #14 in 2013) still went in the first round after a similar problem was discovered . 
27.NEW ORLEANS- RASHAAN EVANS - LB - ALABAMA - 6"3" , 232
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JAMIECOLLINS - BROWNS 
After a historically great draft last season the saints are back at it, but this is their only pick in the top 90 so don't be surprised if they trade back .Especially because edge rusher is their biggest need and their are none remotely left worth this pick   Manti Teo was an improvement inside over what they previously had,  but AJ Klein was a bust. Plus Craig Robertson will be a FA after this year. Evans is a athletic versatile LB who plays bigger than he was at the combine. He also has experience rushing the passer and can play any spot in a odd or even front when needed . 
28.PITSBURGH - LAMAR JACKSON - QB - LOUISVILLE - 6"2" , 216
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - MICAHEL VICK - retired
Big ben was talkinf retirement prior to last season. Maybe it reakly was the post season blues, but it's gt worry the Steelers and their fans plenty .Also he is already injury prone , but he looks really out of shape on tape last year. Unless my eyes deceive me he looks like maybe a biscuit away from 280? and it's not good weight . Landry Jones hasn't shown he is the future either . Jackson is former Heisman winner with elite athleticism and inconsistent mechanics. Maybe a year or 2 behind Roethlisbeger would allow him to reach his ridiculous potential. At the very least he could have sub package as the primary backup right now. If Ben goes down you could still win games with Jackson right now if yuo just tailor the offense to him early in his career until he gets more polished  .


29.JACKSONVILLE - COURTLAND SUTTON - WR - SMU - 6"4" , 218
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - ALLEN ROBINSON - FAAfter surprising me by extending Blake Bortles and therefore ruling out a 1rst round QB this teams biggest need is offensive lineman, and I mean multiple, but unless they trade up I doubt anyone worth this pick is available when they are up at 29. Considering all the money they spent on their defense I am not surprised that they don't have the money to tag Allen Robinson  and I think somebody ( Chicago or the 49ers?) else will pay him more . Marquise Lee is also a FA,and Allen Hurns hasn't done much since getting a new deal. They could save money by cutting him. Sutton reminds me of Robinson. He is a big jump ball winning WR who can adjust to bad balls , and Bortles throws his fair share . He needs a lot of work as a route runner, but after a great combine it's cleaR he has the highest upside of any WR in this draft so I had to put him in the first round . 



30.MINNESOTA - KOLTON MILLER - OT - UCLA - 6"9" , 309
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - DOUG FREE - retired
I don't care what anyone says the Vikings didn't have a good O-line last year, It's just they were so terrible the year before that this group was a definite upgrade overall, Combining that with a full season of Pat Shurmurs quick hitting passing game , instead of Norv Turners 7 step drops just improved their Offense all around . I'm not even a huge fan of Reilly Reiff as a RT, and think guard would be a better fit for him, but he was the Vikes LT last year . I like RT Mike Remmers less than Reilly . That doesn't mean I would reach for an OT here, but considering how much they overpaid Reiff and Remmers last year in free agency this pick actually makes sense for this team because it would allow them to kick at least one of them inside , and they obviously don't judge O-Lineman well. This guy is really inconsistent on tape and he's built like a  6 foot 9 TE, so he can easily put on 20 pounds of muscle . Had a good freshman year starting 5 games at RT then got hurt after 5 the next year . This year they flipped him over to the blindside with mixed results. If your going to be that ridiculously tall you have to land your hand punch and you have to be a natural knee bender. He does neither, which is odd  because he's a good athlete for a giant . Also needs to get stronger . He's like a less polished & angry but a little more athletically gifted Mike Mcglinchey,. Even though Millers  upside is higher I'd take big Mike myself .He needs to loosen up because he looks like a robot sometimes on the edge . Maybe take some yoga and learn how to consistently play lower . He has a good motor though , and you can't teach that size so I wouldn't be shocked if someone who thinks they can coach him up took him in the late 1rst . I like him more in the early 3rd round , but I will admit he looked more fluid in a shirt and shorts at the combine , and he was often put in a bad position by his team. They were almost always behind and were obviously going to pass too often. Giving a DC &  edge rushers sure knowledge that they can just go after the QB, and combining that with a QB that doesn't vary the snap count enough is a recipe for bad O-Line play & injured QB's . . Another reason this pick makes sense is that they used to have Phil Loadholt on their team, and he was the ultimate stiff too tall OT who became a decent player after becoming more flexible and learning how to bend his knees .  


31.NEW ENGLAND - TAVEN BRYAN - DT/DE - FLORIDA - 6"5" , 291
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - SHELDON RICHARDSON - SEAHAWKS
The patriots somehow made the Superbowl with very little pass rush, but that lack of pressure is the reason they didn't win it . Bryan is a interior penetrator with the quick first step to disrupt the backfield regularly against the run or pass . Raw , lacks awareness, and needs counters . Has the get off to also play outside too. Father is a Navy Seal so you know he comes from tough stock, and Bellichick's dad was a military coach . Great push-pull move and snap anticipation ,but he needs to be coached up and add more moves to his repertoire . Might have the best get off of any interior player in the draft. Best fit right now is as a 3 technique , but his frame is big enough to also be a 3-4 DE .



32.PHILADELPHIA - RONALD JONES - RB - USC - 5"11" , 205
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON - JAMAAL CHARLES - FA
Normally after winning the Superbowl you lose a lot of free agents to teams wanting some of that winning shine , and to cap casualties to pay the guys you want to keep. The eagles have both problems, and they traded away their 2nd & 3rd round picks in this draft  in their quest for a ring last year . Totally worth it, but now we are onto the future . They can probably replace at least one of those picks by trading Nick Foles, but will they ? While their is no doubt that Wentz is the future he is coming off a major knee injury . They might want to make sure he is not rushed , and keep their high level insurance in case he has a setback. My guess is they will trade Foles, and/or this pick to get more picks . Then they start filing holes with cheaper younger players .  Some team will want that 5th year option for a QB or RB , and be willing to pay for it. They might not even have to move back much if Cleveland wants to take a RB here . They could be another team that reaches for an OT with 36 year old Jason Peters coming off a torn ACL, He has a big cap number, but the future HOFer was still playing at a high level when he got hurt, and he may be willing to take a pay cut to stay at his age . All I know is that Vaitai doesn't look like an even average starter to me right now,and that Howie Roseman has showed over the last 2 years that he is very smart, and smart GM's don't like to reach . So I will give him the guy I think is the clear cut best player on the board if they stay put ,and one who fills a need . Sproles and Blount are free agents ,  both over 30 , and are probably moving on this off season. Plus Ajayi will be a free agent next year, Clement is more of a complimentary player, and Pumphrey is at best a 3rd down back & return man if he comes back healthy this season . Jones may not look like a physical guy because he is only around 200 pounds with a lean build , but the dude runs tough inside or outside, and he doesn't fumble. He can make you miss, has great feet, and serious speed . They didn't use him as much as they should have, especially as a receiver or they may have been a better team . He can catch and is willing to step into his blocks and strike a blow , although needs work s a protector . This could be the steal of the draft , and I think he only falls this far right now because he puled a hammy running his 40 at the combine . Otherwise I think he would have put on a show !





2 comments:

  1. You need to fix your comments on the overall @1, the Browns earned that position and did not trade with the Rams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your right. Thanks for the heads up

      Delete