Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT - 12/31/18

The 2018 college playoffs have begun & the NFL pkayoffs are about to begin.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 very deep at  DT . Pretty deep at TE , and edge rusher . OT , off the ball LB , and  possibly even QB & WR  are potentially deep if the players I expect to enter the draft do so . With Justin Herbert returning to school for another year my only first round QB's are Dwayne Haskins and Will Grier , but I wouldn't be shocked if someone reached for Drew Lock based on his tools . 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 ,there is plenty of time left for someone to have a big bowl game or blow up in the pre-draft process  .  I am watching tape daily on the players I have on my watch list, and that list is growing by the day as well ,but I have done very little character or injury recon as of yet .    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, or some medical or character flags could come to the fore , and some probably won't even enter the 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 . HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 

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

** Is for a player with reported injury concerns.

The Cards may not want to admit it, but most of the moves they made last off season said they are rebuilding , but didn't want to say it out loud . If Josh Rosen is healthy long term I think he will be the steal of the draft, but I have no reason to think he will be . Sam Bradford has always been the king of un-realized potential at QB due to injuries, and he was cut anyway , but once again he got his money. So I felt a top 5 pick was probably in their future, and losing to the Raiders confirmed it .  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 they should really upgrade their terrible  O-Line However , if they do end up with the first pick I think they will either trade it to a QB needy team if they can get a big enough haul for it, or they will take the draft's most proven great player . The question is will somebody fall in love with Dwayne Haskins  and be willing to pay a lot to move up for him.  Since I am not putting trades in my mocks until after the season ends I am just going to give them Nick Bosa right now . I still expect them to get more O-line upgrades in the later rounds & in free agency because that line is atrocious right now. 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 . He had surgery for a core muscle injury after the 3rd game of this season . He probably wouldn't have been a 100% at any time this season after that , and then he wisely has pulled out of school and is preparing for the draft . He should be healthy by the combine , is still the highest graded player on my board, and I still think he goes in the top 3 as long as he is healthy . 

I liked the niners first 4 picks , although I still thought it was too high for Mcglinchey, but OT's are in high demand , and he is a great run blocker . 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 . However, the more tape I watch the more I am sure that there is no corner in this draft worth a top 2 pick . The niners are a prime candidate to trade down and get better value for their pick unless the falls to them here . I think that only happens if the Cards trade down with a QB needy team so they can get more picks and rebuild their O-Line , but if the 49ers get stuck here and Bosa's gone they could shoot for the moon with Gary . He is a freakish athlete for such a big man, and I think his versatility , motor , high floor & high upside , will see him drafted very early . I think his best fit is as 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 despite his tape not showing it. This pick would also give them 4 players along the D-line who were drafted in the first round, and 3 of them would have gone in the top 7. They had better produce next year if this happens .

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 hoped he didn't get to play much this year because he could ( and did )get hurt behind their 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 this guy should fit 
Williams was a starter at RT as a true freshman at Alabama and kicked over to the blindside last year . He kept improving this year , and he could be in line for top 10 selection this year, and should be the first OT taken in a potentially deep class of them .  His play is remarkably consistent game after game . He has reliable techniques , but he also flashes a mean streak . I have heard that some teams like him at guard, but unless his arms measure really short at the combine I think he will be the first OT drafted because on tape he is clearly the best OT in the draft .

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 . Of course they only ended up cutting him , but at least they brought him back, but then he got hurt & suspended again.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 they have to make the right choices with those picks, but at least 2 first rounders is a nice haul for any non QB , although they may end up being later picks than the Riders envisioned when they made the deal.  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 was 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, had a 9.25 million dollar salary next year with no dead money on the cap if they walked away from him, and they did cut him mid-season. Their victory's over the Cardinals & Bengals probably cost them the #1 overall pick , but they still get a awesome player at #4 that helps their horrible pass rush, and also can be dominant against the run . The first thing you notice about Quinnen is that he has great snap anticipation . Almost always the first guy off the ball , and I actually now believe he is quicker off the ball than Ed Oliver . Lacks the elite tools and measurables of some of the other top Interior D-Lineman in this class, but his tape is really good, and every tape I have watched has only made me like him more . Plus, he has less miles on him than a lot of the previous Alabama DT's , and he is a lot stronger than I would have thought at his listed size. He is already getting steady pressure in multiple ways, and he wrecks it against the run . He can play any interior spot in a odd or even front when needed . Put him at the one technique alongside Mo Hurst and QB's will have no place to step up in the pocket, and there is nothing a QB hates more than pressure in his face .

The Bucs are coming off a good draft last year , and they also added some other key veterans to beef up their D-line . The one major weakness I could see on their offense is left tackle, although the secondary is also a big worry on defense  . 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 loved the pick of Ronald Jones , and thooght he was well worth the 38th pick in the 2nd round, I'm surprised they didn't snatch up Connor Williams to play LT . plus, Jones disappointed us all this year anyway . Since they didn't , and they had another season of of their QB's getting hammered on the blindside , Tampa will probably ignore the problem in 2019 while extending Smith . 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 , they were in for a long season .However, Fitzmagic gave them a short burst, but that ended quickly . They also lack anything even remotely resembling a shut down corner .   Murphy is the next guy to be highly drafted out of the Huskies recent  strong corner tradition . He is smooth with great feet , ball skills , and can probably play in any scheme .

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 believed in Eli, as their first 2 picks( Barkley & Hernandez )  helped him right away . Even the high upside of Lorenzo Carter was well worth the gamble in round 3 , and BJ Hill 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 , and he never got a real chance to play. 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. When they started trading away starters for late picks they became my new favorite to pick #1 overall , and that means a QB this time , but they ruined it by rallying late in the season. Justin Herbert went back to school or I might have had to mock a trade where the Giants traded up for him, and I don't do trades until everyone's declared . While Haskins had a impressive year there is a lot less experience and therefore tape to judge him on . So for now I am not even going to contemplate a trade up for him until I have finished my tape study . The Urban Meyer system has won a lot of college games ,but while his QB's are routinely great college players , they are rarely NFL quality passers . In my opinion Haskins is the most talented passer Meyer has ever had . He has just enough athletic ability to do all the options and runs the offense calls for. A lot of NFL teams are now going toward more athletic QB's, but he is definitely a pass first QB . Haskins has a strong arm , which is why it surprises me he doesn't throw downfield enough in this offense , he definitely has the arm for it . Although he did showcase that big arm at times . He is the ONLY reason this years underwhelming & inexperienced Ohio St. team won the big ten . The redshirt sophomore's youth and small sample as a starter contribute to him probably needing a year behind a veteran to adjust to the NFL game , and Eli could be the guy to mentor him in the final year of his contract .

It didn't matter much to me how much last draft would have helped the 2018 team, because the roster was already stacked, except at QB and LT . Andrew Norwell's signing in free agency helped 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, and the way things are going now they may have a top 10 pick . They would probably go the veteran free agent or trade routes ( Carr, Eli, Dalton, Flacco, Bridgewater , Tannehill ) to replace him if he is gone after this season . This team is just a consistent QB, healthy O-Line , and a upgrade at one LB spot away from being a contender again. Which brings us to this pick . However, the Jags are in a bind with the salary cap, and need to make some cuts. While the benched Malik Jakson and cut Barry Church are obvious ones I think it's possible that they move on from some other veterans or at least redo some contracts to free up some some cap space for 2019 . Jermey Parnell is a solid average right tackle and the only O-Lineman the Jags have that stayed healthy for most of this year, but he got hurt late in the season too . He is just solid though , and he does have a 5 million dollar cap hit in 2019 with no dead money if they cut him this off season . Little is very talented but prone to penalties,and outright stupid mental 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  . He is more physically talented than Jonah Williams ,although not as steady right now . 

The Lions had a 2018 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 , although their secondary may have caused some coverage sacks . Ragnow is a beast, just ask Duron Payne .  Plus , Tyrell Crosby was a STEAL . Ziggy Ansah  played this year on the franchise tag , and is hurt again . After Ansah got hurt again I didn't see see anyone else rushing the passer in Detroit that would scare me if I was an opposing OC , although Kennard & Hand got off to good starts.  So maybe I was wrong , but I still think they need another edge rusher . 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 to 4-3 teams, improved his technique & pass rush repertoire . If he shows out at the Senior Bowl he could easily wind up in the top 10 .

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 . Case Keenum has been bad so far this year, and Kelly might have gotten his chance pretty soon if he hadn't had another off the field incident . Now he's been cut , and if they end up with a top 10 pick for the second consecutive year they should definitely use that pick on a QB , but with them now having a later pick I'm betting a developmental later unless they fall in love with someone in the pre-draft process .  The Broncs need a new TE because they are a run first team, and he has to be able to block . Also, no I didn't give them the other IOWA TE Noah Fant because he doesn't fit this offense  . Despite being a Kirk Ferentz coached TE  the guy doesn't like to block. TJ on the other hand looks like a real old school Ferentz coached IOWA TE . He is the best run blocking TE I have watched in college this year , seems relish burying defenders ,and his frame is big enough to pack on a little more muscle without losing speed. I personally have a first round grade on him and think he's the best TE in the this draft . 

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 .That combined with the raw players they took early are why I gave them the #1 pick overall in my very first 2019 mock draft. 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 thought he was the most likely Bills draftee to consistently contribute right out of the gate , and he did . Since 3 of their best O-Lineman on last years team were no longer on the roster, and the only on roster fill in I am comfortable with for any of them is Dion Dawkins. It didn't matter whether it was 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, and sadly I was right , although Peterman was historically bad. After watching the first 3 pre-season games my suspicions were sadly confirmed about the line, and it didn't get any better as the season went along  . QB's were dropping like flies in Buffalo , but Matt Barkley of all people stepped up on a week's notice and probably cost them any chance of getting the #1 overall pick .  When Allen returned from injury they went with a run first offense where his size and speed helped them be competitive, but in the long run he is going to need to pass to be successful . As for the O-line I like Dion Dawkins long term , but think RT Jordan Mills is more of a below player that could use an upgrade , or maybe even kick inside. 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, although I think he is just fine at right tackle.  Risner hurt his shoulder last year or I thought he might have entered the 2018 draft . I thought Kansas ST might be a surprise contender this year, but I was wrong. They were returning all 5 starters up front , and that always gives you a shot to surprise , but Risner was even better this season .

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, although he has 2 years left on his deal . 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 should both be gone after this season, and then the rebuilding Bengals would start over at the games most important position , and see what they can get for Dalton on the trade market. Even with the Bengals hot start I thought they would both be gone with another first round playoff loss , but they have fallen back to earth now after a slew of injuries, and that includes Dalton. However, even though I disagree it looks like Mike Brown is only going to get rid of Marvin Lewis . So that means they are keeping Dalton so I will turn to another big need . Vontaze Burfict was still a good player before this year when he could stay on the field, but he is too often hurt or suspended , and this year he has played poorly even when on the field . They can save close to 7 million off their cap by cutting him .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  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 , a penchant for tackling around the head when he's chasing backside or around the edge , and a tendency to come in hot and overrun the occasional play. He plays a devalued position, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up in the top 10  this year .

The Packers new regime had a good first draft in 2018. 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 did suddenly decide to leave him outside now , but this is a deep draft in edge rushers so they might get one later . However, they did signal that they were giving up on the playoffs relatively early by trading long time safety Ha-Ha Cinton-Dix to the skins for a 4th round pick . They have a a good shot to get a younger cheaper replacement with this pick .  Deionte is the best safety I have seen in this draft . In his first year as a starter at the Alabama  Thompson has been a stud. Continuing the trend of Nick Saban coached DB's who look people ready coming out of college . Making plays in coverage and against the run all over the field, and he is one those rare safeties with the range & smarts to play single high.

The Dolphins season was in Ryan Tannehill's hands in my opinion, and I didn'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) made me think they will be picking very high, but they had a good start before the injuries hit. Other than Fitzpatrickk at #11 I just don't think they got it right overall this draft, but Gase somehow has made them competitive anyway , even with another Tannehill injury . Their is now a lot of talk that the Dolphins have had it with his injuries and are ready to draft a new QB high this year . Grier is a spread QB with all the requisite weaknesses that entails , but he has a strong enough arm , good feet, plus accuracy , murders the blitz , and he gets rid of the ball quickly . He looks even better this year, especially throwing down the field , but he still gets jittery at times under pressure .

The Falcons had a solid 2018 draft with some solid values, but the only one I might call a 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 . If they go D-Line it would help , but this D-Line class is so deep I think they can get a good player in there in the 2nd , and I am not sure Ed Oliver's lack of size fits their preferences. Their top outside CB Desmond Trufant has had a down season & their number two corner Robert Alford has been even worse . Both are signed long term ,but Alford has a 9.1 million cap hit next year if they keep him with only a 1.2 million hit if they cut him . In this case though I think they get another young player to help their ailing defense and replace Alford  .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 in time if he takes to NFL coaching . Tall, physical , fast , explosive , 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 the combine I think there is a good chance he's the first DB off the board , despite his occasional miscues this year  . He has the height & long arms that make up the ideal length for head coach Dan Quinn's Seattle-like defense .

The Skins did a good job of filling some needs in the 2018 draft, except for two . Wide receiver and corner . The secondary was better than I expected , but Josh Norman isn't worth his salary anymore, and the depth of wide receivers in the 2nd round of this draft is excellent . Baker had a really good National championship game last year, and it has carried over to this year . Deandre sticks to his man like glue, but he needs to do a better job of regularly reading receiver's and turning to find the ball at the right time , although he did break up a lot of passes anyway . He has quick feet and I think he can play inside or outside, but unless he gets bigger many teams will just want him inside, and his long speed is in question for some . Even if Baker is primarily a slot guy he would be a stud there ,  and most NFL defenses are in nickel two thirds of the time anyway .I really feel sorry for the skins . The were going for it, and getting Ha-Ha Clinton Dix for a 4th was brilliant , especially after the Boys and Eagles made trades to bolster their receiving core, but too many injuries to key players late in the year sunk their 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 then Mouton was the left tackle, although he ended up on the right side after a Daryl Williams injury. Since I see him as an upgrade as the long term LT once Williams returns 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 . 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, but there are so many edge rushers in this draft he may fall a bit farther because he was doesn't have the upside of some of the others. Also, 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 serious 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 . Heading into his bowl game he has looked even better this season . 

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 when Will Hernandez who went a pick later to the Giants was still on the board, and I think Connor Williams would have been a potential LT 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 was still in my top 10, but it's really hard to screw up that many premium picks , and their team made great strides this season. Oliver has been a dominant and disruptive force inside, and he has the explosive traits of a high level pass rusher with some more polish and technique additions . He explodes off the ball and  practically lives in opposing backfields . He was a candidate for the number one overall pick if he had gotten to the QB more & measured well,but he looks small enough to drop him out of the top of the draft on many teams boards, and the double teams he faces didn't do his sack total any good . I would love to see him playing primarily as a 3 technique instead of as a NT, and think that's his primary position in the NFL, but even playing what I see as out of position he is still getting pressure . The pressure he could get from the inside would really help out Myles Garrett too .

The Vikings 2018 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 IN 2017 Cousins was sure to be disappointed, although last year 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 . Tyler is a powerful bull inside , but has surprisingly solid techniques , and he will brawl through the whistle . With Pat Elfein being a major disappointment so far Biadasz could upgrade the pivot right away .

Roethlisber can whine all he wants about them drafting a QB in 2018 , 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 liked James Washington in the 2nd, although eh didn't do much in year one . I liked Marcus Allen in the 5th too, but thought Terrell Edmunds was a big reach in the first . Ben could be especially happy with Washington long term because he likes to throw deep , and James was the best deep ball WR in the draft .  Leveon Bell should be playing somewhere else next year, but so far it looks like James Conner can be the guy long term so I am not giving them a RB .  The Steelers have had a lot corners play significant snaps this year and none look capable of being a number one corner going forward, In fact 30 year old Joe Haden looks like the best of them , and they can save 10 million off next years cap by cutting him before next year .  Amani is a big physical press corner with long arms, but he's also good in zone . If he was as physical in the run game as he is in coverage I would have him higher . 

Due to trades the Titans only had 4 picks, but mark my words , getting Harold Landry in the 2nd 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 uP on Mariota unless he is hurt long term ,or completely sucks this year, but the early returns aren't promising . One thing that would help Mariota is a WR to pair with Corey Davis .  Harry was the most likely top 10 WR coming into the season on my board, but he would have to run really well at the combine to pull that off now. He's a big mismatch with a wide catch radius that can go up and win contested catches . Plus he does a lot of good things after the catch


I'm sure they think that trading ahead of Dallas in the 2018 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 , but I think they go another route and great a great value here . While the Eagles season hasn't gone the way the most thought it would I think a big reason for that is injuries , especially in the secondary . The last man standing is Malcolm Jenkins, and while he is still serviceable, he seems to care more about off the field stuff than football. Even if he gets his mind right the other safeties on the roster have been bad . Buuuut with the top safety off the board here I think they think long term and get someone to help protect their young and twice injured franchise QB . Jason Peters is a first ballot HOFer in my opinion . However, he has slowed down some, looks like he's carrying some bad weight , will be 37 next year, and they can save close to 10.7 million off their cap by letting him go this off season . Ford wasn't really on my radar until recently , but a lot of people started talking about him , and I was watching Kyler Murray(just in case ) this week anyway . So after doing 4 of his tapes I have to agree that the junior is a stud . In fact that whole O-line is full of NFL players , but right now I think he is the best of them . He looks huge in both width of the shoulder and length of the arms , which makes it hard for people to just get around him . He's also played left guard in the past and some will prefer him inside , but I think he can stick at right tackle after the limited number of games I have watched so far  . He is sloppy at times, but still shows decent feet and the aggressive mentality you want up front . They are already paying current RT Lane Jhonson like a franchise LT so I they could flip him to the blindside in the  off-season and install Ford on the right .

Why Gruden ? That's the cry of the Raider fans I know . At least Dallas fans can take solace in the fact that their team didn't give up when they traded for Cooper , and they made the playoffs because of it . In fact they are doing everything they can to win , and at least they now have guy who can separate with the best of them outside . The question is will he play well enough to get them to resign him to a big money deal in 2020. If he does it was a good deal for both teams . On the bright side the Raiders now have 3 first rounders in 2019 and two first rounders and a two 3rd's in 2020 . Plus a first rounder was better than I thought they would get for a guy they didn't want ,who only has a year and half left before he is due a new deal  , and for someone they obviously didn't want to pay. Props to GM Reggie Mckenzie for reportedly playing the Eagles, Colts, and Cowboys off each other to get the best deal he could, as I thought a second would have been a good deal for him under the circumstances. Gruden needs to stop saying he isn't rebuilding though , and he dumped Mckenzie too. It's insulting to anyone with a brain to deny it. Since the Raiders went for high upside with all 4 of their top 100 picks last year I am going to give them the WR with the highest upside in the draft . Metcalf has only played 19 games at Ole Miss due to injuries , and just when I bought into him and was going to put him him in my mock he got hurt again . I though he might go back to school but he entered the draft anyway . He is big , fast, and explosive . If he had stayed healthy I think he would have blown past all the  WR's in the draft right into the top 10 .  All of the big WR's I have in the first round of this mock might have some trouble separating at times , or will need a very accurate QB . Metcalf has no such problem and if his medicals 7 interviews go well he could go much higher . 

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 starters and 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. and it's even more impressive after the way Smith played when he was moved to right tackle . Other than taking Darius Leonard a round earlier then I had him I loved all their picks, but it looks like they were defitely right about him . They had a good mixture of high floors and high ceilings . Their overall talent on defense is a worry though , but I think Luck needs a WR besides TY Hilton he can count on . 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 in 2917 . 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 . Brown ended up with more catches and yards this season, but with fewer TD's .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. Luck loved to throw over the middle .

I liked the Seahawks draft last year despite what I felt was an overdraft in the first round . I 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 . Davis comes out of the Alabama D-Line factory and he has a higher upside than any 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 3 technique on this team that would help against the run & pass , but he can also play the Strongside end Red Bryant made famous , as Carroll likes to run a 4-3 defense with 3-4 personnel at times . The only question mark with Davis is that he had a better year in 2017, although the dominant year Quinnen Williams had next to him makes it appear worse than it was by comparison . Plus, his sacks were way down with more snaps. He doesn't appear to be dogging it though so maybe he needs better conditioning  & or to be in more of a rotation to reach his full potential .

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. Plus Za'darius Smith is a free agent after the year .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 brings the versatility to play both sides , and even stands up and rushes/ drops occasionally . If he can bulk up a bit before the combine to keep from getting pushed around in the run game, keep his athleticism while doing it, and work on his hand fighting I think he could be a high first round pick .

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 won't go far in the playoff's this year . When you play O-Line for the Cougars you spend the a ton of time pass blocking, and Dillard is that rare spread OT that looks like a good pro prospect to me because he excels as a pass blocker . The second generation offensive lineman for the Cougars is a 3 year starter at left tackle that has improved every year .

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, and they cut him in the middle of this season anyway . Tahir Whitehead is the other possible MLB who hasn't done much this year . They need a guy with Johnson's current football IQ and leadership capabilities , coupled with the athleticism he no longer had to run this defense .  Wilson is another complete Alabama off the ball LB who can do it all, and he has rare speed for the position. He could be the defensive leader this rebuilding team needs .

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 played they need a better defense or they going to have to always score a tonof points to win games. The Saints ,Steelers ,and patriots have done it for years 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 his health has regularly been a question . I doubt they will want to sink big money into him , because I am always wary of players who only get healthy & ball out when they are about to get paid . Also, Justin Houston seemed on the decline , but he did rebound some this season. 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 .

The rams didn't have a pick until the 3rd round in the 2018 draft, 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 .  Polite has come on big this year . I watched him be a force in back to back games against LSU and Mississippi St. , and he has become a force off the edge for Florida . He kept on getting after it throughout the year , but he could use some work on his techniques and responsibilities versus the run .He would really help this overall defense because QB'S who stepped up to avoid him would run right into Aaron Donald .

I am a guy who thinks Isaiah Wynn can stay at LT, but he was knocked out for the year early 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 consistent edge pass rush , but I don't have one with a 1rst round grade left in this scenario . For years I kept thinking the Patriots should take a WR or RB with their late 1rst rounders, and they didn't .Finally I just figured it was one of the places they tended to find value later and in free agency. Then they broke the mold and took Sony Michel in the first in 2018 . This coming year they have even more of a possible need at WR . Chris Hogan , Cordarrelle Patterson , and Philip Dorsett are free agents this off season . However the addition of Josh Gordon made it less likely to me , but then he got suspended again . JJ is big and physical. He has a wide catch radius, can go up and get it, and can break tackles after the catch . He could be a big target down the field and also has the intelligence & willingness to block that the Patriots look for . 

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 .However, I did think that they might draft a developmental guy later . Since 2019 is the last year of his contract, he 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 .  However, rivers hasn't said anything about retiring yet so I'm going to fill another big need . RT Joe Barksdale has had some problems with depression . Then he got hurt, lost his job, and was cut late in the regular season . Replacement Sam Tevi has been below average and they only have a 6th rounder invested in him . Taylor is a huge & strong right tackle prospect with surprisingly good feet. I thought of him as more of a third rounder coming into the year , but his he has taken his game to a new level this season .

Right tackle 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 . With Aaron Rodgers getting hurt the last 2 years, his advancing age , the fact that they were terrible without him last year, and Rodgers getting a new blockbuster deal that runs through 2023 protecting their franchise QB should be their first priority . Wisconsin however returned all 5 starters, including 3 that I think have a chance to go in the first 2 rounds, and they were the odds on favorite to have the best O-Line in college football in 2018 before the season . 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 . 

Since 3 teams don't have a first rounder , and someone asked me who their team might get in round two I have decided to add the second round for 2 OF those 3 teams right now , and since the bears don't have a pick until the 3rd round I also added a possible 3rd rounder for them.

I personally believe the loss of Jason Witten was far more important than Dez . His precise route running, reliable hands, blocking , and leadership have been missed on this offense . Dallas most complete TE right now is Geoff Swaim , he is injured , would probably be best as a solid #2 TE, and is a free agent after the year . They haven't seen fit to put match up nightmare Rico Gathers in a position to succeed, which probably shouldn't be a surprise from this boring coaching staff that lacks a innovative bone in it's body so far, and he is also a free agent after the year . Blake Jarwin has only shown flashes , and those just mostly as a route runner, although his pass blocking has improved . Not mention 4th rounder Dalton Schultz (also from Stanford) was inactive all season until Swaim got hurt, but at least he's playing now . So basically they are committed to none of these guys for the future aas they ave real money invested in any for the long haul. Smith could be the complete 2 way inline Y tight end that this team is missing now, although he is definitely more athletic than Witten was in the later stages of his career . My bro Ryno will tell me that they are going to fire Garrett, but I will believe it when I see it . Jerry will be looking for any excuse to keep his boy . Dallas ended up as the NFL EAST champ for the 3rd time in 5 years with the clapper at the helm ,but they have been on a hot streak since trading for Amari Cooper & switching O-Line coaches .  It is very probable that Garrett & Dak are back next year running the show with Jerry pushing the narrative that they finished strong even if they get bounced from the first round of the playoffs.

The saints made the trade for Eli Apple hoping that reuniting him with a bunch of his buckeye secondary brethren would help him to be more consistent , but I wouldn't count on him just yet . The Saints only have their second round pick available in the first 4 rounds right now which is another sign that they are all in this year to win it, and part of the reason that I picked them( 2018 PRE-SEASON PREDICTIONS )to be the Superbowl champs this year. I don't know if that means Brees or Payton or even both will be leaving but it wouldn't surprise me one bit either way . If they don't trade this pick to get more picks I am betting they will be looking for a corner . I have a mid 2nd round grade on Love right now , but he has a chance to sneak into the late first, or fall to the 3rd based on his measurements and workouts . 

The Bears current biggest potential weakness in 2019 weakness is the right side of the O-line . RG Kyle long is a good player when healthy , but he has missed a lot of games the last 3 years , and unless he wants to take a pay cut he could be a cap casualty this off season . Right tackle Bobbie Massie is an above average starter , but he will be a 30 year old free agent after the year , and the Bears have given out some really big contracts recently . So it's likely he could get more money somewhere else in this O-Line starved NFL  . I doubt they move on from both, but if they do James Daniels could take over at RG, or move to center, and Cody Whitehair could move to guard . Although they could kick Long out to RT if they keep him . So RT is probably a bigger need, so I will give them a tackle that I currently have in the 3rd round , and he plays in the area . The Senior is a small school guy , but his tape is pretty good, especially as a pass blocker . He needs to get stronger in order to enforce his will in the run game and against a higher level of competition .He is a wild card right now who will likely rise or fall based on how well he does against that better competition at the Senior Bowl . Also, he has played both tackle spots so even if they do re-sign Massie he could be an upgrade as a swing tackle over Bradley Sowell . Scharping is tall and lean with long arms. In pass pro . Very consistent kickstep ,and adept at riding his man past the pocket outside, despite his feet being a little slow at times. Good arm extension . Smart and picked up multiple stunts correctly and I never saw him holding in the games of his I did this year .  In the run game .Not a mauler. Content to just keep his man away from the play without trying to bury him, except on down blocks from the side . Too often lets his man disengage in the run game when he thinks he's out of the play . Hit and miss down the field often lacking proper angles , indecisive on who to block, or the balance to change direction quickly because he gets too upright when searching for his man . Has a tendency to get tall when run or pass blocking once engaged or when hunting down the field . Needs to learn to bend his knees better or he will get bulled into the QB in the NFL .