Monday, April 16, 2018

2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT - 4/16/18 - With Trades & Player Comparisons

I am still deep in tape study on these prospects . Right now I see a draft deep at QB , RB, CB  ,TE, DT, off the ball LB if you have an innovative DC, 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 give me pause . Then you have the guys I don't have a first round grade on, but that I expect to come off the board in the 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 willing 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 , and Allen will probably be someone;s top guy too .  Cousins is the only veteran QB signed that will prevent a team from taking a QB high in the first round , although now most QB needy teams currently won't have to take a QB unless the one they already like falls to them . Since it still wouldn't surprise me if there were 2 more trades into the top 6 for a QB, and I would bet your balls that the Bills will be trading up into the top 6, maybe even up to #2 to get one I going to do so. Although after the sick price the Jets just paid to go from #6 to #3 I can only imagine what they will have to pay  , but they have the ammo to do so . At worst I still think that 4 total QB's will be taken in the top 10 , and probably 5 in the top 15 .  This is not a ranking of my top players. This is how I think the draft will play out right now . 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
Cleveland has been 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 . 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 & free agent signings 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 going forward . They can control the draft ,even acquire some more picks for next year , trade back and replace their 3rd rounder , and still have a great draft . Joe Thomas called it quits on his HOF career so they now have another big need at LT , but that's for later . They traded for Tyrod Taylor to be their veteran stopgap QB . They don't have to rush a rookie QB 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 for this season while still building 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 interceptions on 366 passing attempts to 26 TD's and 16 picks on 480 attempts is a significant regression. But it's not just the interceptions, he has a longer release than you want , 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 interceptions dropped by defenders, and he really struggled when pressured  . On the bright side he does make some great throws at times, played in a NFL friendly offense at USC, can throw guys open at times, is a great leader ,was playing behind a patchwork 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 . I have had Rosen, Darnold, and Mayfield as my number one QB at one point in the last month . In the end Darnold ended up my number one QB because he has the highest floor , and of those 3 he also has the highest ceiling . To be honest I wouldn't want to take any of these QB's with the # 1 pick this year . They all have flaws I wouldn't want to risk my job on , and it's difficult to decide which one I like most , but Darnold is the safest . I would trade down if I could, unless I'm Cleveland . They have already done that in back to back years . Combining that with passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in the last 2 drafts and it's just time to toss the dice.  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
The problem with rivalries is they sometimes prevent you from doing something really smart just so you can deny the rival something, even it if helps you out too . In the 30 plus years that I have been closely following the NFL I don't remember a trade between the Jets & Giants . I don't know if they denied the Jets massive offer or if the Jets never made the same call to them they made to the Colts . I do know that the huge windfall trade would have really helped them out long term . Even if they allowed the Jets to get to #2 ,and draft a franchise QB , Jets GM Mike Maccagnan hasn't shown he knows which one to draft in his first 2 years. Now I can understand taking Bryce Petty in 2014 in the 4th round. That's not a premium pick and it's like a lottery ticket , but taking Christian Hackenburg in the 2nd baffled me . Plus, the Giants would have 3 second round picks and would still have gotten either Quentin Nelson ,  Saquon Barkley , or Bradley Chubb   at #6 . That's the top 3 players in the draft . I get that they share a stadium and are only separated by the Hudson, but DAMM !  Maybe they will trade back and get a big haul from Buffalo . That would allow the to rebuild quickly , but also takes them out of the running for those top 3 players and any of the QB's if they want to draft Eli's successor . One more thing that might give you a view in to GM Dave Gettleman's mind , if it's just not part of the misinformation thrown out this time of year . Gettleman tends to draft lineman high, and he did say with the #2 pick he expects to draft a HOFer. That says Quentin Nelson to me , and if they want to win now he is the safest pick in the draft . I really think should have traded Eli to Jacksonville for a 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 receiving core 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 ) got overpaid by other teams in free agency despite their injury issues . Luckily Brett Jones was serviceable as a replacement at center last season .RT Booby Hart should be cut, and with signing of Nate Solder former LT Erik Flowers will get a shot at RT. I would rather have kicked Flowers in to left guard ,and I think they would have a better chance of salvaging something out of the former top 10 pick that way, but good luck to the kid  .On the bright side they did lure away the Patriots LT in Free Agency . He's a inconsistent mid tier tackle , and a  better run blocker than pass blocker, but he is a huge upgrade over what they have . They seriously overpaid , but that's free agency for ya . The other free agent guards they signed so far are more the journeymen type to me . There is still a good chance they trade back from this pick , but for now I'm sticking with the QB if they stay here . 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 . Maybe they will trade back with Buffalo, and use some of those extra picks to get back into the top 7. I'm increasingly inclined to think that the 4 QB'S , Nelson , Barkley and Chubb will be the top 7 players taken . That would stick it the Jets , and Tampa may want to move back too . Or maybe, just maybe , they finally make a trade with the Jets . I doubt it, but they did clean house this off season. The Gettleman regime could surprise us all, get an extra pick from their in town rival, only move back to #3 , and still get Barkley or Nelson . 

3.NY JETS -(colts)- JOSH ALLEN - QB - WYOMING - 6"5" , 237
Normally you see teams fall in love with one QB during the draft process, and they either take him if he's there or trade up for him, but the Jets must see it differently  . Either they love 3 QB's , or are so desperate for a franchise QB that they just threw the trade chart out the window and gave up 3 second rounders to move up to # 3. When they re-signed Josh McCown to be the placeholder QB I figured they were going QB, but when they signed Teddy Bridgewater I thought maybe not .   Teddy is only going to 26 this season , and if his knees are sound he has as much chance of being the long term answer here as anyone they will get at # 3, but they only committed a million to him so if they draft the QB they want they could trade him. If they can get anything for Hackenburg or Petty they should do so . I would be shocked if either is on this team on opening day . You rarely 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 . 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 have 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 from him 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 to 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 was bound to trade up for him, and it wouldn't be me , but since it's Mccagnan making the pick , and he is the guy who reached for an inaccurate high upside guy like Hackenburg I expect he would take Allen in this scenario . I hope it works out for them in the long run . However , If they end up with Rosen or Baker I think the trade might actually worth it . 

4.CLEVELAND-(houston)- SAQUON BARKLEY - RB - PENN ST.- 6 foot , 233
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? . They already signed Carlos Hyde ,and Duke Jhonson is a excellent complimentary back in my opinion . 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, and 2 more that are right on the bubble. At least one , if not 5 of them will be there at the top of the second round .   I also have 7 RB'S in my top 50 ,and 10 will probably 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 , Derwin James, or Denzel Ward and one of the Ronald Jones,Derrius Guice, Kerryon Jhonson, Sony Michel,or Nick Chubb group than Barkley and another player at any other position they could get in the second. A trade back would be good because they wouldn't have to reach so much for a LT to try to fill the void of the mighty Joe Thomas , especially if they trade back to #12 with Buffalo . However, after the combine I'm afraid that some Browns fans would riot if they passed on Barkley if he was here at #4 . He's the best RB in a draft full of them, and although 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 . He will be a an upgrade everywhere , especially as a pass protector, and the fans will be excited in a non-violent way . 

***PROJECTED TRADE*** The BILLS trade the  1rst they got from the BENGALS (#12) and their own 2nd(#53) and the 3rd they got from the BROWNS (#65) to the BRONCOS for their 1rst (#5) rounder***PROJECTED TRADE***

5.BILLS-(broncos) - BAKER MAYFIELD - QB - OKLAHOMA - 6"1" , 215
The Bills made a pre-cursor trade to move from #21 to #12 with the Bengals . Normally I would be shocked that a team gave up a 28 year old Pro -Bowl LT that is signed to very reasonable salaries for the next 3 years for the equivalent of the 50th pick in the draft, but QB needy teams do weird stuff . Plus, Glenn was hurt last year and there are rumors his attitude didn't jibe with the new coaches standards . Either way it got them within striking distance of the top 6 where the top 4 QB's will probably go . Personally I liked AJ McCarron coming into free agency and I was surprised he took so long to sign and got so little, but it is what it is  . That being said they definitely aren't committed to him long term . Mayfield is the kind of QB that a locker room would rally behind . He has the "IT" factor you need in a QB, and the personality this Blue Collar fan base will latch onto quickly . 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 decent 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 in a dogfight with McCarron .

After pulling off a possible franchise rebuilding trade with the jets 2nd year Colts GM Chris Ballard should be the most popular guy in Indy right now .After years of former GM Ryan Grigson's mismanagement they started the rebuilding process last year but it was derailed by Andrew Luck's injury .  They are now in position to still get the guy I thought they would get at #3 , or if he is gone take the best player in the draft in Quentin Nelson. PLUS they picked up 3 second round picks . Basically Chris Ballard is Morris Day and Mike Mccagnan is Jerome . I 'll just go with the DE over the guard for now , because it's a premium position, and Nelson went one pick earlier anyway . 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 have 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, has a high floor ,and has a better motor than both . While I do admit I that I had a higher grade on Khalil Mack , Joey Bosa, and Garrett , 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 . Another trade back wouldn't shock me either if Chubb & Nelson are gone, or if they get another huge overpay like they did from New York .

This team is in a bad position . 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 that they got JPP from the Giants do they still think that edge rusher is a priority ? Between him and the returning from injury Noah Spence maybe the Bucs think they have it covered now.  Either way they are SOL for a edge at #7, unless they want to reach for Marcus davenport , but getting the best player in the draft should make them feel better . They overpaid center Ryan Jensen , but it does give them a chance to upgrade 2 spots by moving Ali Marpet back to guard . He was a solid center , but a better guard . James is a leader and an Alpha male . This defense needs play makers other than McCoy and David . Derwin's addition could give them one at each level of the defense . 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 wellllater in the season. 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, or if a team (Seattle or Dallas maybe) trades up for him , 

8.CHICAGO - QUENTON NELSON - G - N. DAME - 6"5" , 325
I said previously that unless Quentin Nelson falls to them corner is probably the pick here , because for some weird reason they cut  LG Josh Sitton  . 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 have been on the phone to his agent , but the Dolphins wisely snatched him up .Nelson will easily fill that bill . A lot of times we call a guy like Nelson a beast, but to me he's the beastmaster because he controls the other beasts. He 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 with a stout anchor 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 . Betcha this would make Trubisky will be happy too . The fact that the Bears hired Nelson's position coach make this very likely if he's available .  Steal of the draft! Basically he's the living embodiment of most CHUCK NORRIS FACTS

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.So in the end it's looking bad for the niners and those of us who beleived in him . I also 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 - DENZEL WARD - CB - OHIO ST. - 5"11" , 183
Sean Smith hadn't quite lived up to his big free agent contract with the Raiders anyway , but since he was sentenced to a year in jail and cut they really need a corner now. Ward is blazing fast with great mirror ability . He's a little small to take down or out jump some bigger receivers ( see 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 most Ohio ST. corners have been very productive as rookies the last 2 seasons , ans maybe playing with Gareon Conley again will bring out the best in both of them . 

11.MIAMI - ROQUAN SMITH - LB - GEORGIA - 6"1" , 236
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's 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-lineman, gets his hands on him . 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 . They wisely signed Josh Sitton to fill a guard spot, but a O-lineman here would still help too . They picked up the 5th year option on RT Ja'wuan James so tackle is probably out unless they want to try Connor Williams ( McGlinchey is too tall to kick inside)  at guard for a year . Mike Pouncey was finally healthy all year , but his play declined and he was cut so James Daniels would be a good choice as well . 

12.BRONCOS-(bengals,bills) - MINKAH FITZPATRICK - CB/S - ALABAMA - 6 foot,204
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 signing a veteran QB like Keenum made sense, especially once it appeared Cousins was out of their price range. Also , Keenum's contract doesn't stop them from taking a QB if they fall in love with one ( Rosen?) and he falls to them. Plus it allows them to trade back with a QB needy team if they are so inclined . In this case they took the trade . Also , If the QB  frenzy causes  Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward to fall Elway could snatch either up to replace Aqib Talib . It happens here , and the Broncs get a steal at #12 . Luckily for them Fitzpatrick tumbles to them in this scenario because people are QB crazy in this draft . 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 . 

13.WASHINGTON - JOSH JACKSON - CB - IOWA - 6 foot , 196
With the skins trading their top corner in the Alex Smith trade , and Bashaud Breeland still unsigned CB becomes their top need and luckily for them this is a really good corner class . Signing a 31 year old  undersized Orlando Scandrick coming off his worst season, a year after a major injury doesn't do a lot to alleviate that need . Plus they gave him an incentive laden deal with little guaranteed money anyway . Jackson is a one year wonder but he led the league in picks and passes defensed . 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 would those ball skills it wouldn't surprise me if he was the first CB taken . 

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 , and they have been far more active in free agency than usual , 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 . 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 . 

The Cardinals brought in accurate but fragile Sam Bradford & Strong armed but immobile Mike Glennon to play QB this year . Neither is the likely long term answer at QB . 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. Jackson is a former Heisman winner with elite athleticism and inconsistent mechanics. Maybe a year of sitting and learning would be good for him, and would allow him to reach his ridiculous potential. At the very least he could have a sub package as the primary backup right now. If Bradford goes down again you could still win games with Jackson right now if you just tailor the offense to him early in his career until he gets more polished  . He already played in a Pro Style adjacent offense in college , and like Josh Allen it baffles me how messed up his mechanics and feet are considering that experience . Once he can get a consistently wider base & regular medium stride on his throws he should immediately be more articulate & his ball speed should be more regular . He won't be drafted there , but I have him ahead of Josh Allen because he has done a lot more , against a higher level of competition , and in bigger moments than Allen did . His decision to not hire an agent has reportedly not gone well in the pre-draft process or I would think he would go higher . He still might as the Cardinals may need to get ahead of the dolphins at #11, but right now I think he may possibly make it here . 

This is the weirdest OT class I can remember. There is no OT 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 . RT Austin Howard was cut in a cap move , and for some unknown reason the Bucs made Ryan Jensen the leagues highest paid center. He's a sold player, but  damm! That's a lot of money for a solid center . So I expect they will take Mcglinchey , Connor Williams or James Daniels here in this scenario . Tackles are harder to find , and Mikes RT tape is really good so I will go with Williams . 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 . Plus , he could reunite with fellow Notre Dame alum Ronnie Stanley as bookend OT's again . 

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. He's a better player with a higher upside coming out of college than Dontari Poe (#11) and Danny Shelton(#12) who both went high in the first round .

***PROJECTED TRADE*** The TITANS trade their 1rst(#25)  (#12)  and 3rd rounder (#65) and 5th (#162) to the SEAHAWKS for their 1rst (#18) rounder***PROJECTED TRADE***

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 .

19.DALLAS - CALVIN RIDLEY - WR - ALABAMA - 6 foot , 189
I am sure a lot of Dallas fans want a WR here, and in my first mock fter the combine I said maybe if Calvin Ridley was here I would pull that trigger,  and this time he is. DJ Moore and Courtland Sutton could be in play here too , but Dak needs an outside receiver that actually is a top end route runner , and Ridley is the best route runner in this draft. They should have gotten rid of Dez Bryant before free agency if he wouldn't take a pay cut, but they didn't . He just doesn't separate much , even less than he used too, and he has been in the league long enough that he should run better routes . Plus, the things you could always count on from Dez were winning jump balls and great hands, and Dez lead the league in drops last season . Also, Dak doesn't throw the ball as well to his left where Dez is primarily lined up at the X, and still doesn't throw the back shoulder or jump ball well either . Those were guarantees with Romo at QB . So whether he and Dak's strength's don't match-up well right now, Dez has declined, or he is injury prone is irrelevant . The facts are he is not worth 12.5 million dollars a year anymore .  LB is still a bigger need right now , and there will be some really good available WR's available in the 2nd & maybe even 3rd rounds as well , but this is that rare perfect fit for a team falling into their lap . Although I thought the same thing when Dallas passed on Stephen Jackson in 2004, but Jerry seems to be making better draft decisions these days .They doubled up on corners last season in the 2nd & 3rd rounds so don't be surprised if they do the same thing at WR this time around with another receiver later in the draft . This WR class is similar to the OT class. Deep, but muddled, although I think there is lot more upside at WR. 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 in 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 .  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 . That polished route running , knowledge of how to set guys up, adjust his play speed to burst out of breaks and create separation is are coming out of college . He has solid hands, and adjust well to errant throws in the air. Plus he's played in a more pro style offense than most college wide-outs, and is a high character guy on and off the field . Prescott is going to need somebody outside that he can count on , who is going to be where he is supposed to be when he ends his drop , and Ridley fits the bill . Lining up at the Z on Dak's right also helps him have a better chance of being more productive as a rookie . At the very least he's a high end number 2, but don't be surprised if Dez is gone and he's the #1 by year two .  If they take a WR here I would just cut Dez outright  . His once great hands failed him last year, he ed the league in drops, and he never did separate well or run tight routes to begin with . He's just not worth 12.5 million . 

20.DETROIT - JAMES DANIELS - C - IOWA - 6"3" , 306
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 sneaky steal here . 

21.BENGALS-(bills) - **CONNOR WILLIAMS - OT - TEXAS - 6"5" , 296
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 great 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. Well they made a  great deal to fix one of those problems . Normally I would be shocked that team gave up a 28 year old Pro -Bowl LT that is signed to very reasonable salaries for the next 3 years for the equivalent of the 50th pick in the draft, but QB needy teams do weird stuff . Plus, Glenn was hurt last year and there are rumors his attitude didn't jibe with the new coaches standards . Well,Marvin Lewis has shown he can manage a lot of different personalities over the year . Either way I love this deal for the Bengals . Now to the rest of the O-Line. Boling is solid at LG, but right now either Ogbuehi or Fisher is going to have to play RT. That leaves center and the other guard spot . Connor 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 versatile and I have a first round grade on him  . 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 the feet and movement skills to play outside. His arm length isn't ideal , but it's serviceable enough and he even showed he might be able to play center at his Pro day . So he could start somewhere along the O-Line and allow the Bengals to get their best 5 on the field t the same time . 


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 . Alexander is blazing fast and he can play inside or outside . His feet , instincts, football IQ, and ball skills are also top notch. He's a little on the small side but is also very physical . After a great combine he should be a lock for the first round . Alxander is both quixk & fast . He's smooth , fluid , and has excellent ball skills . He also has the punt return pedigree to give them extra value on special teams, and take it to the house of he picks it .

23.PATRIOTS-(LA rams) - **TYRELL CROSBY - OT - OREGON - 6"5", 309
When you are the Pattioys you never over pay in free agency, and usually you get veterans on the cheap who are searching for a ring. So I didn't expect them to resign a mid tier LT like Nate Solder unless he took a discount, and he got way overpaid by the Giants . Swing tackle Cameron Fleming also signed with Dallas . That leaves last years 3rd round pick Antonio Garcia as the most likely LT . That small school rookie missed his whole rookie season with some serious medical problems and had lost 40 pounds at one point . So it's a huge need . Crosby is stout and physical enough to kick inside in the NFL, 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 

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.SEATTLE -(titans)- DERRIUS GUICE - RB - LSU - 5"10" , 224
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 the recently acquired 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 followed the money to Minnesota. Plus there is talk of them trying to trade Earl Thomas and they cut the injured Richard Sherman  .What makes this situation even worse is they don't have another pick after #18 until the middle of the fourth round at #120 . This trade gives them more picks to cheaply replenish their aging roster on defense . They do value RB's more than most teams, and the offense has never been the same since Lynch started getting hurt . Guice reminds me of Marshawn . He's an explosive bruiser with great balance and will . He might need some work in the passing game, but only because he didn't block or catch much at LSU . He looked pretty good in the receiving drills at is Pro day, and he's a tough guy that should have no trouble sticking his nose in there in pass pro .  Derrius could be the missing piece in Brian Schottenheimers' run first play action offense . 

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 . 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 . 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 

27.NEW ORLEANS- MIKE HUGHES - CB - UCF - 5"10" , 189
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  . Hughes is a physical press corner with good ball skills. He may considered a one year wonder , but this years tape is good, and you can reasonably expect him to be even better with more experience and NFL coaching .  He's also a good return man .

Big Ben was talking retirement prior to last season. Maybe it really was the post season blues, but it's got 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 , but unless they make a huge reach for Mason Rudolph a QB isn't happening here .  A  vital role in the Tampa 2 is the middle linebackers ability to cover deeper in the middle of the field, nd Mike Tomlin is a Tampa 2 disciple . I am sure Tomlin remember's watching Brian Urlachers fast, tall , long assed frame in Chicago .  He was the ultimate Tampa 2 MLB, and after the tragic injury to Ryan Shazier they need a replacement . 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 . I'm actually surprised he fell this far, but it's good to show different possibilities in mock drafts . 

After 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 passes , 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 . 

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 I belive they actually like both outside .   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. I think he would be better than either of their starting OT's outside, but believe they will like him at guard .

The patriots somehow made the Superbowl with very little pass rush, but that lack of pressure is the reason they didn't win it . 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 . I have a first round grade on him and think he would immediately improve their pressure . 

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 . They have a strong roster and it only got better in the off season. So I'm going to give them the best player available . I have Moore in my top 20. He is explosive and fierce, and made the most of a bad situation with a bunch of bad QB's last year . Rarely do you see a guy come in bigger than his listed college numbers, but DJ did, and showed out at both the combine & his Pro day. Don't be surprised if he's the first receiver taken because their are already a lot of rumors that he is the number one WR on lot of teams boards . 

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