Monday, October 8, 2018

2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT - 10/8/18

The 2019 college & pro seasons are in full swing .Trying to predict not only the top prospects, but also the draft order is a big stretch right now, but I am willing if you are . Right now I see a draft potentially deep at  DT ,  edge rusher , OT, TE , off the ball LB , and  possibly even QB & WR  if the players I expect to enter the draft do so and thrive . RB is deep again, but we have had 3 straight years with a RB in the top 4, and 5 go in the top 10 of the last 4 drafts . After watching more tape I really doubt any go in the top 10 in 2019  and it's possible none go in the first round at all .  Still ,  it's a long year and you never know who is going to drastically improve , or bust out of relative obscurity .  I am watching tape daily on the players I already have on my watch list, but I have done very little character or injury recon as of yet .  Now that the actual games have started it will really get interesting , and more players will pop up.   The 2018 draft could be one of the great D-Line drafts in a long time , and this mock is filled with them , but they will sort themselves out in time . A lot of these guys will get hurt, disappoint on or off the field, and some probably won't even enter the draft.  These are mostly guys I couldn't help noticing while watching others on tape this year,  guys I expected to enter the 2017 draft that stayed, or players I was expecting a lot from last year who missed time . Some are just really talented ,and I expect them to step up this year as well, but there may be some draft eligible sophomores I don't even realize have a chance to enter next years draft . I have given early NFL players comparisons so you can have an idea of who your team might be getting , but I will change them if someone more fitting comes to mind down the road .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.

First off even though they didn't take a QB , or even other players I thought would give them a better chance at long term success like Quentin Nelson or Bradley Chubb at #2 , I love their 2018 draft . They obviously still believe in Eli, as their first 2 picks( Barkley & Hernandez )  will help him right away . Even the high upside of Lorenzo Carter was well worth the gamble in round 3 , and BJ Hill should fit right away as a 5 technique in their new 3-4 . Then still getting a possible successor to Eli in the 4th round with Kyle Lauletta was brilliant to me .Still, Lauletta was a 4th round pick . Unless they decide to give him a fair shot at the end of the season to see if he is Eli's successor I doubt he is given that mantle . So basically I think the excitement caused by Sam Darnold with the crosstown rival Jets will lead them to take a QB if they end up with another top 10 pick this year. Herbert is a spread read option QB with all the tools you could want. He's tall with a strong arm and a willingness to throw downfield that you don't often see . He has his share of bubble and tunnel screens , and they definitely help his completion percentage , but he can also fire a 20 yard out or DIG route on a rope . His accuracy needed work, especially on the deep ball . Last season when he has to put more air under the deep ball it tended to sail for a overthrow . He also had a tendency to throw receiver's into possible dangerous hits over the middle ,but he has made improvements in all those areas this year. He's also a strong explosive runner that can move the chains in short yardage , or take off for a big  gain when the play breaks down, or on the read option . He also knows when to slide and when to go for the first down. Despite his listed size (6"6' , 230 ) he will need to add a little more muscle and be a little more careful when running . Hopefully the broken collarbone he suffered last season has hit home. It was to his non-throwing shoulder , but that's an injury that reoccurs more often than you might think . With all his improvements and Bosa's injury Herbert is the number one overall player on my board now .

It's a shame when a team has such a great season, breaks a long playoff drought, and then you feel that said team is about to hit a wall .A draft is never really accurately judged until at least 3 years later, and the Bills got some really talented players with their first 3 picks, but they didn't address their O-Line or the WR position much.  In fact they didn't draft a  O-lineman & WR until the 5th round and 7th round respectively . Although the trade for  talented former first round pick Kelvin Benjamin might pay off in time .That combined with the raw players they took early are why I gave them the #1 pick overall . Both Allen and Edmunds are high end talents , but both  also lack  polish and I'm not sure how much they can be expected to contribute early in their careers , especially Allen. 3rd round pick Harrison Philips was a steal where they got him in my book, and I think he is the most likely Bills draftee to consistently contribute right out of the gate . Since the 3 of their best O-Lineman on last years team are no longer on the roster, and the only on roster fill in I am comfortable with for any of them is Dion Dawkins,  it doesn't matter whether it's Nathan Peterman or the boom or bust Josh Allen at QB . I don't give either much of chance to succeed this season under those circumstances. After watching the first 3 pre-season games my suspicions were sadly confirmed about the line . Since they are already invested in Allen a QB is out, and could see them getting a big haul in a trade for the #1 pick because of it, but as of now I'm just going to give them the best offensive tackle in the draft . I like Dion Dawkins long term , but think Jordan Mills is more of n average player that could use an upgrade . Williams was a starter at RT as a true freshman at Alabama and kicked over to the blindside last year . If he keeps improving he could be in line for top 10 selection this year, and might even be the first OT taken in a potentially deep class of them .

The Raiders had the ultimate boom or bust draft in 2018 full of high end talents with flaws. it's almost like Al Davis was in charge again . Then they inexplicably traded a 3rd round pick for the talented but unreliable Martavis Bryant, only to end up cutting him .To top it off they traded their best player in Khalil Mack right before the season . I would have paid him but maybe they will end up on the right side of this. The problem with that is the have to make the right choices with those picks, but at least 2 first rounders is a nice haul for any non QB .  The best part for me is I was having trouble on deciding how well they would play under the new regime, but now it's much easier to rank them . The raiders have no one special coming off the edge right now , although Arden Key has the potential to be so, and if you add him to Mo Hurst on the inside their is hope for a future pass rush .  Bruce Irvin is probably their best edge rusher right now, but he is undersized , will be 32 next season, was one of the most vocal players about the trading of Mack, and has a 9.25 million dollar salary next year with no dead money on the cap if thy walk away from him. In that case the guy I feel they would take the guy who is the odds on favorite to be the best player at any premium position in this draft, he and fit's right in at strong side DE. Nick is a lot like Joey on tape , and that's high praise. Plus, he has the added advantage of having his Pro Bowl big bro as a tutor. He's not quite as big or stout against the run, but he is still a plus there . Nick  has those same lethal hands and motor though . It wouldn't surprise me if he is an even better player long term , and that's hard to pass up . 

The Cards may not want to admit it, but most of the moves they have made this off season says they are rebuilding , but don't want to say it out loud . If Josh Rosen is healthy he will be the steal of the draft, but I have no reason to think he will be, and Sam Bradford  is the king of un-realized potential at QB due to injuries . So I feel a top 5 pick is possibly in their future . Plus Rosen was their best draft pick in my opinion, and while I like Christian Kirk he has never shown he is anything but a slot receiver, and that's where Fitzgerald plays . That's another sign that they are looking long term . To protect their young QB the should upgrade the O-Line . He is talented but prone to penalties and outright mental & technique lapses .Little started out great as a freshman , but looked a lot more inconsistent in his 2nd year, but there is a reason he was the top OT recruit coming out of high school . He has long arms and when he gets his hands inside and locks out he's excellent . Right now his hands are outside too often & he also has a vulnerability to quick inside moves . He has all the tools to rebound and end up a top 10 pick, but he needs to keep his weight in check and polish his techniques  .

I liked the niners first 4 picks , although I still think it was too high for Mcglinchey, but OT's are in high demand . Dante Pettis is a guy I think will really make a real world impact right away. he's an elite return man , and a vastly underrated WR . The secondary could use an upgrade though . Richard Sherman is still a good player , but after coming off a major injury last season he is already hurt again .  Throw in Sherman's  age (31 next year) , and that their possible 3rd corners are struggling . Greedy had six picks as a redshirt freshman at a school known for putting out NFL talent at DB . He looks like a potential shut down corner right now . Tall, physical , fast , and already balling out in the SEC at a young age make for a good future . If he can add another 15 pounds of muscle between now and ( almost year away so it should be easy) the combine I think there is a good chance he's the first DB off the board next year . 

The Lions had a draft designed to help them run the ball, and they also improved their run defense as well, but I am not sure about their pass rush or ability to stop the pass . Ragnow is a beast, just ask Duron Payne .  Plus , Tyrell Crosby was the STEAL of the entire draft in my opinion . Ziggy Ansah is playing this year on the franchise tag and I don't see anyone else rushing the passer in Detroit that would scare me if I was an opposing OC . Sweat has a long lean build with the arm length that you want . He uses those vine like arms to keep blockers at bay and/or control them in the run game, and holds up surprisingly well at the point of attack for a guy as light as he is . Also uses his arms well getting into a blockers chest as a pass rusher, and has a good motor . Shows a good awareness to find the ball, and smooth change of direction skills . He also shows the versatility to play both sides , and even stands up and rushers/ drops occasionally . If he can bulk up a bit , keep his athleticism while doing it, and work on his hand fighting I think he will be a first round pick .

I actually liked the Jets draft, although at first I thought they gave up too much to move from #3 to #6 for what could of ended up being the 3rd QB on their board, but with Darnold falling into their laps it looks really smart now . Shepherd in the 3rd, Herndon in the 4th, and Fatukasi in the 6th were also great values. This was the kind of draft that can change a franchises fortunes long term . It's great that they got a potential franchise QB , but I almost hope he doesn't get to play much this year because he could get hurt behind this O-line . The only one of them I would say is even slightly above average is LT Kelvin Beachum and he is a free agent after the year . They should have the cap space to keep him , but if they don't , or they want an upgrade at RT . Risner is a the kind of versatile player that could probably play every spot up front. That is a O-Line coaches dream because it allows him to get his best 5 blockers on the field.  Risner hurt his shoulder last year or I thought he might have entered the 2018 draft . Don't sleep on Kansas ST. this year if you are a bettor . The big 12 doesn't have an elite team now , and they could surprise enough to make another bowl game. They are returning all 5 starters up front , and that always gives you a shot to surprise .

The browns got a lot of good football players in the 2018 draft, but with all that high end draft capital I think they could have done even better, and even if Baker is the guy long term I would be surprised if they won more than 8 games this year, They could have traded back from #4 with Buffalo to #12 and probably have still gotten Ward or even Fitzpatrick . Or they could have taken the more valuable edge rusher in Bradley Chubb . Garrett, Ogbah, and Chubb are all big and strong enough to kick inside at times and then they could get  highly athletic pass rushers on the field at the same time . Also, why take Austin Corbett at #33 . If they want to him to play guard Will Hernandez who went a pick later to the Giants was still on the board, and I think Connor Williams would also be a better guard as well .  Then you have to consider if they do in fact like him at guard then are they kicking Joel Bitonio out to LT , or the reverse option of Corbett at LT and Bitonio at guard . In either case I think Connor Williams would also be a better LT . I love the Nick Chubb pick though . Let's hope I'm wrong about the rest because I have a buddy who is a Browns fan , and he deserves better than he has gotten lately . Their draft haul is still in my top 10, but it's really hard to screw up that many premium picks .  Oliver has been a dominant and disruptive force inside, and he has the explosive traits to high level pass rusher with some more polish and technique additions . He explodes off the ball and  practically lives in opposing backfields . He's a candidate for the number one overall pick if he gets to the QB more and measures well,but he looks small enough to drop him out of the top of the draft on many teams boards.

The Texans didn't have a pick until the 3rd round, but they made the most of their draft anyway . They need more O-Lineman ,and Rankins will probably start somewhere on that depleted unit , although I think he would be at his best somewhere inside . I especially love Ejiofor in the 6th  .  They have an easy schedule but a tough division, but that shaky O-line ( especially outside) is the deciding factor in why I think they either lose in round one or miss the playoffs this altogether this year . Evans was a 2 year starter at RT for the Sooners, but has flipped over to the left side this year to replace Orlando Brown . While he doesn't have the mammoth size or run game dominance of Brown, Evans is more athletic with much quicker feet .

I liked the Seahawks draft despite what I felt was an overdraft in the first round , especially Will Dissly, Shaq Griffin , and Jamarco Jones in the 5th .The main component of the Seahawks defense is getting pressure with your front 4 . With the hawks letting go of , Richard Sherman , Michael Bennett & Sheldon Ricardson , and Cliff Avril's & Kam Chancellor's injury worries a rebuild was in order . While the Hawks have tried to put resources into building the O-Line they haven't all worked out that well, especially German Ifedi , but if they have a pick this high it's very possible that a defensive minded head coach like Carrol will get his way . Gary is a freakish athlete for such a big man, and that is right up the SPARQ score Seahawks alley  . I think his versatility , motor , high floor & high upside , will see him drafted very early . I think his best fit is a a 3 technique , but he is so explosive for his size that I am sure 4-3 teams will also like him as strong side end, and that 3-4 teams will crave him as a five technique . after he blows up the combine I won't be surprised if he goes top 5.

The Bucs are coming off a good draft, and they also added some other key veterans to beef up their D-line . The one major weakness I can see on their team is left tackle, although the secondary is also a worry . Donovan Smith hasn't been getting it done, and instead of kicking him inside to guard where he might have been more successful they have stubbornly left him outside to the detriment of the team . Even though I love the pick of Ronald Jones , and think he was well worth the 38th pick in the 2nd round, I'm surprised they didn't snatch up Connor Williams to play LT . Since they didn't I expect another season of Winston getting hammered on the blindside ,and then Tampa finally addressing the problem in 2019 . With Winston's suspension and the fact that they are in one of the the deepest divisions in football , especially when it comes to QB talent , I now think they are in for a long season .However, Fitzmagic is playing the best ball of his career, and no matter how this season ends fr them I think they are primarily out of the top 10 now, and will probably go in a different direction . They lack anything even remotely resembling a shut down corner . Amani is a bid ball hawk that could really change their defense and allow team to roll coverage to the other side of the field .

The Colts had one of the better 2018 draft classes . I know they had a lot of ammo with the #6 , 37, 52, and 64th overall picks , but I think they got some possible starters or early contributors later too . Most of all I am just happy that they have decided to FINALLY make protecting Andrew Luck a priority .  Getting the best player in the draft in Quentin Nelson at #6 was huge, and then coming back for Braden Smith in the 2nd gives them a potential long term duo to keep rushers out of his face . Other than taking Darius Leonard a round earlier then I had him I loved all their picks, but so far it looks like they were right about him . They had a good mixture of high floors and high ceilings . Their overall talent on defense is a worry though .  While Margus Hunt has had surprising success early as a 3 technique they lack depth and overall talent inside on defense .  Davis comes out of the Alabama D-Line factory and he as a higher upside than of them. He length alone makes him an ideal 5 technique, and unlike most taller D-Lineman he regularly plays low . He can play everywhere along the D-Line in a odd or even front except as a weak side 4-3 end . He would primarily be a one and 3 technique on this team that would help against the run and pass .

The Dolphins season is in Ryan Tannehill's hands in my opinion, and I don't trust him to be healthy or consistent enough to take them far . I actually expected them to draft a QB relatively high( possibly even in the first if one they liked fell to them)  in the 2018 draft despite them being financially committed to Tannehill for at least this season , but they didn't . Combining that with them failing to find a possibly even solid Suh replacement, and my dislike of their line backing core ( even after the draft) make me think they will be picking very high . Other than Fitzpatrickk at #11 I just think they didn't get it right overall this draft.
Grier is a spread QB with all the requisite weaknesses that entails , but he has a strong arm , good feet, and he gets rid of the ball quickly . He looks even better at the start of this year 

The Falcons had a solid draft with some solid values, but the only one I might calla steal was Dedrin Senat in the 3rd . Grady Jarrett is a stud, vastly underrated , and a free agent after the season . Matt Ryan's contract , and the fact that they  wanted to protect that investment by prioritizing re-signing LT Jake Matthews may prevent them from re-signing Grady . Jones is a explosive penetrating 3 technique that would give them a great 1-2 punch inside if they can resign Jarrett .Jones is a explosive penetrating 3 technique that would give them one guy that opposing offenses have to worry about . He is playing even better this year in a bigger role and could go much higher in the draft if he keeps getting to the QB .

Roethlisber can whine all he wants about them drafting a  QB , but if he wasn't pulling a Brett Favre then they they wouldn't have taken Rudolph in the 3rd , and since they got him around where he should have went I like the pick a lot . I like James Washington in the 2nd, and Marcus Allen in the 5th too, but thought Terrell Edmunds was a big reach in the first . Ben should be especially happy with Washington because he likes to throw deep , and this guy is the best deep ball WR in the draft .  Leveon Bell should be playing somewhere else next year, but early on it looks like James Conner can be the guy so i am not giving them a RB .  Ramon Foster has been a good player for a long time , but he will 33 this season and is hurt again . If you are wondering who Jordan is just ask Maurice Hurst because he got handled by him last year . I am a big Hurst fan and had a first round grade on him in the 2018 draft , but he didn't look it whenever he had to line up against Jordan . If you had seen Jordan & Hurst at the same party after the game wearing T-Shirts I'm pretty sure that Michael's read " Morris Day 'and Maurice was donning one that said "Jerome ".  Jordan was a top OT recruit who was moved to guard right away at Ohio State ,  and he has started since he was a true freshman at LG, which is really impressive at that school . Tall , lean, and mean. Long arms and he knows how to use them . Great arm extension with consistent lockout .

Due to trades the Titans only had 4 picks, but mark my words , getting Harold Landry in the 4th was huge . He was the best pure pass rusher in the draft, and as a 3-4 OLB he should excel once he is 100% healthy .They already payed  guard Josh Kline, but the other starting guard Quinton Spain is a free agent after 2018 and I doubt they will be able to pay both . Especially when you consider that  Marcus Mariota is going to need a new contract soon, or be replaced  . i doubt they give uo on Mariota unless he is hurt long term or completely sucks this year . One thing that would help Mariota is a WR to pair with Corey Davis .  Harry is the most likely top 10 WR I have found after a couple of months of tape study. He's a big mismatch with a wide catch radius that can go up and win contested catches .

Dallas had a great draft , but the only positions of need they didn't address are free safety and  NT . Since Rod Marinelli has never made the NT a priority in his defense I get him not pushing to take one high  , but this was a really deep draft for nose tackles . Tim Settle went in the 5th,  Foley Fatuokosi went in the 6th and Poona Ford went undrafted . All 3 would have been an upgrade in my opinion , especially with Maliek Collins continuing his string of foot injuries , and I think Collins is better as a 3 technique anyway.  Safety however is something I thought they might address . With Byron Jones moving to corner , and Chito Awuze also playing outside , second year player Xavier Woods is the only possible FS on the roster . Woods was their best nickle corner last year , but if they are going to a more Seattle like cover 3 instead of the basic Tampa 2 the single high free safety is a crucial part of that scheme, and they lack experience and depth there.   I get them not trading a 2nd for Earl Thomas when Connor Williams was still on the board. Plus Thomas is 29 , has one year left on his deal, and wants to be the highest paid safety in the league. That means over 13 million annually for a guy who has had injuries the last 2 years and is pushing 30 . If Dallas wants to win now they though it would still be a good idea to try to trade for him . They could use some of next years picks, depth players or some combination thereof, if Earl can come to his senses about money . The cost of living between Seattle and Dallas is a staggering 30%, and he would make more money on a 9.1 million a year contract in Dallas than he would on a 13 million a year contract in Seattle. Lets say 10 million a year. If he really wants to play for a team that has a chance to win now, and at home , it's well worth it. Plus , with Kris Richard coming over to help out the DB's he would already know his coach, slide into a familiar scheme in a leadership role , and maybe be the missing piece to this team getting another ring . The trade never happened and Thomas had a season ending injury for the 3rd year in a row . Considering he broke the same leg as last year you have to wonder if it's now a possible chronic problem . Throw in his aforementioned age , that he will have missed 19 and the last 48 regular season games ,and it's logical to assume he isn't likely to get the amount of money he wants in free agency . So if Earl's price is too high they could land a much younger and cheaper upgrade to their current safeties in the draft . This guy covers a lot of ground , plays in a pro style defense already, and can give them the single high free safety play maker they have lacked since Darren Woodson's career was cut short due to injury . Like Woody he is also versatile enough to play in the box, or cover the slot as needed . Interchangeable safety prospects are worth their weight in gold so I wouldn't be surprised if he went much higher . 


The Broncos had Bradley Chubb fall into their lap at #5 , and Josey Jewell gift wrapped for them in the the 4th. That alone should make this draft a success, but they got some other intriguing players as well . I know some Bronco fans will want a QB, and I even gave them one in my first 2019 mock, but after thinking about I doubt it. I think Keenum fit's this scheme well. Also Elway finally gave up on Paxton Lynch , but I was personally betting on a healthy & hopefully matured Chad Kelly as the QB of the future . The Denver no fly zone is down to one original member and Chris Harris will be 30 next season . Baker had a really good National championship game, and I expect that to carry over this year . He was is fast with quick feet and I think he can play inside or outside, but unless he gets bigger many teams will just want him inside .

The Skins did a good job of filling some needs in the 2019 draft, except for two . Wide receiver and corner . The secondary has been better than I expected so we will go WR here. Jamison Crowder is a solid slot receiver and return man, but he is a free agent after this season and I doubt they want to pay him . Plus they run a west coast offense and it generally calls for bigger WR's who can break tackles and block  . I really like AJ Brown's game . Despite missing most of 2 games with an injury on a roster already depleted by transfers due to NCAA penalties he was very productive in the SEC . 75 catches for 1252 yards and 11 TD's against the defenses on their schedule is very impressive  . I was going to move him down the draft board because they had more defections , including QB Shae Patterson this off season, but I really liked how he looked more polished at their spring game . He is built more like a taller RB than a WR ,and is physical & explosive after the catch, with some make you miss thrown in . Another reason he may go lower is that he looks primarily like a power slot more than an outside guy on tape right now, but that is the primary receiver for many teams these days . Also, he is the rare slot guy who runs routs down the field .

Derrick Johnson is a future HOFer in my book ,but he looked like had lost a step and was less physical inside last year in KC . Tahir Whitehead is the other possible MLB . They need a guy with Johnson's current football IQ and leadership capabilities , coupled with the athleticism he no longer has to run this defense . With so many LB's coming into the NFL today lacking take on skills it's really nice to see a complete 3 down player like White that doesn't run around all blocks . White can stack , shed , and run to the ball . This is a sideline to sideline guy who can also blitz, and he also shows a good football IQ . A potential true MIKE LB  with legitimate 1rst round tape is rare in today's game , but he also has the speed to play outside . Shows good awareness in zone coverage , changes direction well , is an excellent blitzer  ,and has the innate ability to sift through traffic and find the ball carrier  . The only potential negatives I see are length and a penchant for tackling around the head when he's chasing backside or around the edge . He plays a devalued position, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with a top 10 overall grade this year .

Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown have had a long run together. Their coach heavily influenced drafting strategy where they take a lot of really talented players who have fallen because of character issues & injury woes payed off for awhile. They actually had about a 5 year run where they had one of the leagues more talented roisters from top to bottom, but never won a playoff game. QB Andy Dalton will be at the end of a 8 year run as the starter after this season, and despite 4 playoff trips hasn't won said playoff game either . Mike Brown is both owner and GM in Cincy , and he's probably not going to fire himself, or even take a Jerry Jones route and wise up enough to let football people help him make better decisions . Both Lewis & Dalton have had their chances and Brown has actually given them more chances than I think they deserve to win . So I  think they would both be gone after this season, and then the rebuilding Bengals would start over at the games most important position . Even with the Bengals hot start I think they are both gone with another first round playoff loss , and that's my prediction so I am still giving them another QB.  I admit I don't like the rock and go, easy read, bubble screen heavy , wide open target,  spread system that Lock has been in the last 3 years, but at least he has improved every year . However,  he threw down the field more than most spread QB's do , and they are going to a more pro friendly offense this season .  I thought Lock might enter the 2018 draft, and had already watched 3 of his games before he decided to go back to school . He's got the frame &  huge arm you want, and he made a big jump in production this season .

First off let me say I love the talent they acquired with their first 4 picks in the 2019 draft, but it still bothers me that they didn't address the LT position, or the O-Line at all for that matter . My first inclination is to AGAIN give them a LT to replace Matt Kalil , but apparently they have had 2 straight GM's who think he is better than I do . They may think that Taylor Mouton is the guy eventually, but I read right after the draft that they were trying him at guard this year , to replace the loss of Andrew Norwell . Then - SHOCKINGLY- Kalil got hurt again. So  now Mouton is the left tackle. Since I see him as an upgrade I am now betting they try to fill their other great weakness- edge rusher . Julius Peppers is is a future HOFer , but he is also long in the tooth . Jelks has the kind of frame an length you dream about, and he wouldn't get stuck inside in Carolina . As 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 end I think he would really come into his own.

Due to the 2017 draft day trade to move up and take Pat Mahomes the Chefs were without a first rounder in the 2018 draft, but all  but one (Derrick Nnadi ) of their remaining picks were reaches to me . I felt that there were multiple better players on the board on 3 of their first 4 picks.  Now matter how well that Patrick Mahomes plays, and while I'm a big believer in him long term now, he's still a young QB with one NFL start to his credit who could lead the league in turnovers. Combined with a defense I expect to be substandard , and a improved division, had led me to currently predict a top 10 pick for the Chiefs. However, Mahomes isn't turning the ball over early, and is absolutely killing it early . So i pushed them back into playoff order for now despite my belief that they will have to outscore every team they play in a weekly track meet . The Saints did it for years and the Steelers and patriots did it last year so it can be done . On defense it looks they have potential problems on the edge , Dee Ford is a FA after the season and hi health has regularly been a question . I doubt they will want to sink big money into him , unless he has great year . Also, Justin Houston is on the decline and they could save about 14 million off their cap by cutting him in the off season . In my early musings on the #7 overall pick in the 2018 draft I thought maybe Clelin Ferrell might rise up in the Pre-Draft process and go to Tampa Bay, 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 . Add the beastly and draft eligible this year Dexter Lawrence to it , and you know that Sweeney is a Machiavellian Svengali Professor X or something . Ferrell has the ideal length , measurables , and tools to entice NFL teams if he can learn to play lower with consistency .

The position that legendary retiring GM Ozzie Newsome has missed on the most in the last 10 years is edge rusher . Maybe with Eric DeCosta calling the shots he will get that position right . This is made even worse by the fact that 35 year old future HOFer Terrell Suggs is on the last year of his deal, and even T-sizzle can't play forever anyway. Burns is a long lean explosive athlete with the movement skills you want in a 3-4 OLB, but he needs to add some more muscle to his frame. Despite being light he plays with surprising power at times on tape . 

Bryan Bulaga's injury history makes me think they are close to moving on from him and Jason Spriggs hasn't worked out well either .For years Wisconsin has been known as O-line U , although N. Dame deserves the title over the last 5 years . Obviously teams like Alabama and Ohio ST. that perennially have top 5 recruiting classes will put there fair share of players in the NFL everywhere, but for teams that don't get those top 5 groups Wisconsin and maybe Iowa are where you can generally find well trained O-Lineman with a chance to make it in the NFL. Last year the 3 best overall NCAA O-Lines were Wisconsin , Notre Dame and, Oklahoma  . Notre Dame had two of theirs taken in the top 9 of the draft, and lost their O-line coach to the Chicago Bears . Oklahoma lost their best O-Lineman in Orlando Brown, and yes his tape was really good despite the combine workout . Wisconsin however returns all 5 starters, including 3 that I think have a chance to go in the first 2 rounds, and they are the odds on favorite to have the best O-Line in football in 2018. Edwards is a former QB , who became a TE , turned OT , that has added about 50 pounds since he made the switch . Lane Johnson is the only other guy I remember having that kind of career trajectory, and he's a very good NFL RT, although I don't think Edwards is as athletic right now . Maybe another year in the weight room working on solidifying 300 plus pounds will get him there , because when you gain weight quickly it's never all good weight . He's obviously still making the transition , and you can see some inconsistencies in his tape, but that kind of athleticism is in demand outside in the NFL . Mostly he needs to consistently play lower and meaner .

The Packers new regime had a good first draft. Taking back to back corners, including getting a guy ( Josh Jackson) in the 2nd I thought they might consider in the first round . Equanimeous St. Brown could end of being a huge steal in the 6th as well . They didn't address the edge though, and Clay Matthews is slowing down even if they leave him outside now . Allen is an experienced 3-4 OLB with an ideal frame & length for the position with some chops in both zone & man coverage . Coming into this season i saw him as an unimaginative pass rusher  who needed more than a speed rush and the occasional spin counter, but the tools were all there . He also showed a good motor, but he needed to get stronger to hold up on the edge against the run ,and improve his bull rush. He might have gone in the 2nd in the 2018 draft, but I think returning to school was the right move for him because he's done everything I wanted him to do to up his draft grade . He has put on some more muscle making him more attractive 4-3 teams, improved his technique & pass rush repertoire , and if he finishes the second half of the season the same way he started out he could fly up draft boards  .

The Chargers had one of the great players in the 2018 draft fall into their lap in Derwin James, and I also loved Chris Owusa in the 2nd, and Charger fans will too once they see how often he gets his hands on the ball. The rest of their draft was iffy for me . There were a lot of rumors leading up to the draft that the Chargers were going to take a  QB in the first round, but I never believed it . Phillip Rivers is still at the top of his game , he has 2 years left on his current contract at reasonable salaries for a franchise QB, and they are a team in contention right now. However, I did think that they might draft a developmental guy later . Since 2019 is the last year of his contract, will also turn 37 this season , and because Rivers is a middle America guy who probably wants to go home and spend more time with his wife and house full of kids I could see him possibly retiring after 2019 . As of now I don't have another QB who might sneak into the first round so I am going to fill another big need on their team . They lack a run stuffer inside that plug up holes and take on block while still giving them a potential pass rush . Enter Lawrence . He is the most talented of the vaunted Clemson front . Lawrence is big guy with surprising quickness to go with his power . Explosive enough to play the 5 and strong enough to play the nose .Health , motor, and conditioning are my concern with him or I would have him higher . 

I'm sure they think that trading ahead of Dallas to take Goedert makes them crafty, and I admit it was a great pick regardless , but having a kicker troll them in Dallas was a bigger shot. It wasn't quite what Drew Pearson pulled off in Philly last year, but it sure looked like it pissed off a lot of Dallas fans . Although I think the Cowboys would have taken Connor Williams anyway  .  The Eagles didn't have a lot of picks , but I still think they did OK with them . The biggest weakness on the Eagles is an outside WR who can separate . Jhonson is a small school guy who can get open . He is also sure handed and if he goes to the Senior Bowl and plays well against a higher level of competition I could see him going in the first round .

I am a guy who thinks Isaiah Wynn can stay at LT, but his out for the year with an injury. It's not about height. It's about length & feet, and he has both . Shocked they took a RB in the first though, because they haven't committed to one every down back since Corey Dillon about 15 years ago . I am one of the people who thought it possible that the Patriots would take a QB with one of their 2 first rounders in 2018, but they didn't even take one until the 7th round , and it was Danny Etling ? The Patriots have their own way of doing things ,and it's hard to argue with results, but I would be surprised if he ended up being even a solid backup . Also remember that the Patriots jettison more top 100 picks than anyone, and they often do it very early in the players career. So they do make plenty of mistakes, but they also recognize and rectify those mistakes quicker than other teams .  The main reason I wont pick them to win the Superbowl this year is also the main reason they lost last years championship, and that is the lack of a pass rush , but lets go QB for now. Finley is a strong armed QB  who wisely returned to school to work on his game, and take a shot at the first round, although I think he would have went in the 2nd or 3rd last year after I got done with his tape. He's more accurate than your average college QB, plays in a somewhat pro style offense, and if this season goes well he could join Russell Wilson and Mitch Trubisky to be the 3rd current NFL starting QB from NC state .

The Vikings draft was up and down for me . Hughes is worth that pick on tape, but I think they will regret passing on Connor Williams and Will Hernandez because I still don't like their O-Line  . I have both read and heard about how the Vikings had a good line last year and how that fueled the season the team had. To quote the mighty Dwight K. Schrute " FALSE" . The truth is the O-Line was so injury wracked & bad in 2016 that in comparison the 2017 version looked better than they were . Personally I think Pat Shurmur's excellence as a play caller was more valuable to getting that team into the NFC championship  . They have already lost one starter up front this preseason ,and unless they suddenly get a lot better soon I expect some regression from this offense despite upgrading at quarterback with Kirk Cousins .  After playing for Washington's excellent O-line Cousins is likely to be disappointed, although last years his skins offensive line was also beset by injuries so he should have some experience with running for his life right after the ball is snapped . Jenkins has experience playing all over the line but played his best ball last year after a move to center .  If not for a season ending knee injury I think Adams would have entered the 2018 draft and been the first OT taken . Then he got hurt and had to have back surgery this season . That's serous possibly career ending injury depending on the injury , but the NFL is starving for O-Lineman . If he is healthy and shows the same athleticism & mean streak post injury this year by the combine it's still a possibility he goes in the late first to a desperate team like the Vikings.

It doesn't matter much to me how much this draft will help this years team, because the roster is already stacked, except at QB and LT . Andrew Norwell signing in free agency will help this team this year more than anybody they drafted, although I thought Ronnie Harrison was a steal in the 3rd & Leon Jacobs was intriguing in the 7th. I had previously picked the Jags to win the Superbowl in a mock, but I believe if anything keeps them from winning it's Blake Bortles. They would probably go the veteran free agent route to replace him if he is gone after this season, but they would still need a QB of the future .The Urban Meyer system has won a lot of games ,but while his QB's are routinely great college players , they are rarely NFL quality passers . Haskins may be the most talented passer Meyer has ever had, and he he also has the athletic ability to do all the options ans runs the offense calls for. A lot of NFL teams are now going toward more athletic QB's . The jags just need a QB who can avoid turnovers and make the occasional play on 3rd down . Haskins could give them that and more .

The rams didn't have a pick until the 3rd round, but I liked Okoronkwo in the 5th and Kelly in the 6th a lot . Their off season additions make it clear they are all in this year, but other than injuries to their QB or O-line the thing I think could hurt their title chances the most is inside LB play and their possible lack of an edge rush . Buss is one of the new smaller speedy off the ball LB's that is more of a threat against the passing game . He can blitz & cover, but is also sideline to sideline against the run 

1 comment: