2018 NFL Mock Draft l Pre-Combine Edition

02/17/2018
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  1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB from USC
    On numerous occasions, I’ve gone back and forth on this selection. The top ranked player on my board is Saquon Barkley and, truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns took him at first overall. My reasoning is that you don’t know where the Colts or Giants have him on their board, nor do you know how they value him. To miss on a player like him might be the most Browns thing ever, or it might be a blessing in disguise. However, there’s obvious need for the Browns at quarterback and it’ll be tough for them to pass on “their” quarterback at first overall. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Browns move up from the 4th overall selection to the 2nd overall selection and give themselves back to back picks. This would ensure they get the two players they want. Let’s not act like they don’t have the draft equity to do so. Drafting Darnold doesn’t hold truth to my quarterback rankings. Rosen is the most pro-ready quarterback, but there’s no denying the upside and the “franchise” label attached to Darnold. If Darnold can fix his lower body mechanics and quicken his release, he can be a dangerous quarterback. He excels in the red zone, has the poise to close out games, and there’s no denying his pocket mobility. These are traits that the Browns don’t currently have, and while it’s unfortunate to be pulling the plug on Kizer after one year, it seems like the right thing to do for the Browns. Grabbing Darnold should pay off in the end. 
  2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB from UCLA
    If the Giants pass on a quarterback now, odds are they’re going to be bad again in the near future. This organization can’t afford to go through a full-on rebuild, especially with all the money they’ve invested into their defense. Also, don’t be surprised when they re-sign Odell Beckham Jr. to a contract extension. With that being said, they get the most pro-ready quarterback. Josh Rosen isn’t the most mobile-friendly player in this draft, but he’s the prototypical quarterback with a strong arm and has some of the best pre-snap reads I’ve seen from a quarterback. Placing him behind Eli Manning for a season will be a smart move and will prevent this team from going into a total rebuild. They certainly have to address their offensive line and find a linebacker with some ball skills, but with Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman, I’m expecting strong results.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, OG from Notre Dame
    How many drafts can the Colts go without finding better protection for Andrew Luck? There’s a reason why he hasn’t picked up a football in over a year. The best offensive line prospect in this draft is Quenton Nelson, and the Colts could instantly plug him in at left guard. This would give them Nelson and Ryan Kelly for a strong nucleus in the middle of their offensive line. Nelson is a premier run blocker and a great pass blocker. Some won’t be happy with taking a guard this high, but he’s a “can’t-miss” prospect and should solidify the left guard position for any team for the next ten years.
  4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – Saquon Barkley, RB from Penn State 
    So this actually has panned out to be a good opening night for the Cleveland Browns. Darnold at number one, and now they draft Saquon Barkley. They have plenty of draft picks to add depth to their offensive line and add pieces to their defense. However, this selection is best player available, and that’s what Barkley is. He’s the top player on my board and would do wonders for the Browns’ offense. Barkley isn’t the perfect prospect that I make him out to be, though. He hesitates when hitting the hole and has a tendency to go east and west instead of just taking the few yards in front of him. But there’s no denying the electric playmaking ability that he brings to the table. With over 100 receptions in three years at Penn State, he can catch passes out of the backfield. Has still averaged 5.7 yards per carry on his career and is always one jump cut away from breaking it for a touchdown. Pairing up Darnold and Barkley is truly a fantasy football team, and it would change the face of their offense. 
  5. Denver Broncos – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S from Alabama
    This selection is under the assumption that the Broncos find a way to sign Kirk Cousins. If they bring in Cousins, they’re not going to draft a young quarterback to learn under him. At least, they won’t in round one. With that being said, the Broncos will go with a player that they need badly. Fitzpatrick is a versatile player with tremendous leadership ability. He’s another guy that just loves football and tries to get better with each and every single repetition. While the Broncos have Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons, this selection would ultimately improve this secondary. Keep in mind that this could be a secondary that moves on from Aqib Talib during the offseason. Fitzpatrick can play man coverage or off in zone coverage. He’s very fluid in Cover 2 and has the range to play downhill and contribute in run support.
  6. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB from Oklahoma 
    Whether the Jets bring back Josh McCown or another bridge quarterback, there’s no way they can pass on a quarterback. They’re in a tough spot because there’s a chance that teams trade up and we see a serious run on quarterbacks. In fact, we could see five quarterbacks taken before the Jets are even on the clock. For that to happen, plenty of trades would have to transpire and the Broncos would have to miss out on the Cousins lottery. However, without predicting trades Mayfield falls in the Jets’ lap. I don’t think a team has picked sixth overall more than the New York Jets (Mark Sanchez in 2009, Leonard Williams in 2015, and Jamal Adams in 2017). Hopefully for the Jets, they get more long-term success with this pick. Baker Mayfield has the pocket mobility that offensive coordinators covet and there’s no denying how competitive he is. He’s got a natural throwing motion with a good amount of arm strength behind it. I wouldn’t consider his arm strength elite, nor would I consider his ball placement elite. However, he’s fairly accurate with the football (68.5 career completion percentage). I love how well he anticipates his throws and the leadership that he carries. Many people consider him “too cocky” or that the chip on his shoulder will cause him to fail at the next level. I disagree with that and I especially disagree with anyone that compares him to Johnny Manziel. They’re totally different quarterbacks on and off-the-field. Putting Baker in the New York market will be fun, but he’s the type of pick this team needs. He’ll give this offense some much needed energy and flexibility. Ultimately, this will give them a better chance at a franchise quarterback than ever before. 
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bradley Chubb, EDGE from NC State
    My third-ranked prospect falls right to a team that desperately needs an edge rusher. With Chubb on the board, it shouldn’t take long for them to make a decision. They added Robert Ayers two seasons ago, but with only two sacks this past season, he’s a shell of what he once was. Then there’s Noah Spence, who was a risk coming out of college two seasons ago because of issues off the field. However, he injured his shoulder last season and was sent to injured reserve. Outside of that, the Bucs don’t have much to offer off the edge, and Chubb would help solidify their pass rush. The most gifted edge rusher in this class is Chubb. His hand usage is better than anyone else’s and he’s got great bend off the edge. He contributes in stopping the run and can rush from the right side or left side. Pairing him with Gerald McCoy should lead to plenty of success for the Bucs’ defense up front.
  8. Chicago Bears – Calvin Ridley, WR from Alabama
    Last year, the Bears got their franchise quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Now they need to start surrounding him with weapons. They have Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen out of the backfield. Catching passes, it’s a different story. They spent a 7th round pick on Dontrelle Inman and he easily became their best receiver. However, that’s not saying much. Ridley to the Bears just makes too much sense. He did drop 6 passes this past year and hasn’t been heavily utilized in Alabama’s passing offense since his freshman year, yes, a season where he once had 89 receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. With all that being said, Ridley is the most complete receiver in this draft. From a route running perspective to being a consistent weapon, he makes a ton of sense. The Bears have already spent a top-10 selection on a flashy receiver (Kevin White), and it hasn’t panned out. This selection should be a good one for the Bears and should make Trubisky much more comfortable on Sundays.
  9. Oakland Raiders – Joshua Jackson, CB from Iowa
    I know, the Raiders spent a first round pick on Gareon Conley. Give him time, yes, I agree. Maybe they even consider a player like Roquan Smith or Maurice Hurst with this selection. However, Sean Smith isn’t the same player he was when he played for Kansas City. This past season was tough for him off the field and he’s had a handful of legal issues. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him become a cap casualty or potential trade bait. As for Joshua Jackson, he’s my top-ranked cornerback and makes a ton of sense for this defense. They now have to prepare for what Patrick Mahomes brings for Kansas City, and if the Broncos land Kirk Cousins, the quarterbacks in the AFC West look pretty good. Joshua Jackson has great size to play on the outside – don’t let anyone tell you he’s a slot cornerback. His hips are fluid, he’s got great ball skills and does a pretty good job in run support. He might not be as fluid as Denzel Ward and he might not be as good of a tackler as Mike Hughes or Holton Hill, but his ball skills are better than anyone else’s in this class. Pairing Jackson with Conley gives the Raiders a young tandem in their secondary and it should lead to shutdown results. I absolutely love this selection for the Raiders.
  10. San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith, LB from Georgia
    Now that there’s been a recent arrest of Reuben Foster, the San Francisco 49ers seem poised to land a linebacker. Maybe they do it in free agency, but with this selection and the strong possibility of a linebacker being available, they have to take one. Fortunately, the best linebacker in this class is available. Roquan Smith is the best linebacker I’ve scouted, and it’s for a variety of reasons. His range is elite and he’ll get sideline to sideline faster than anyone. He’s a sure tackler with only two missed tackles this past season. With how quick he is, he excels in coverage and his ability to attack downhill is superb. Initially, I was thinking of how dominant it would be to have Smith and Foster paired up. For now, it looks like Smith will be riding solo, but either way, this is a great selection for the 49ers.
  11. Miami Dolphins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB from Virginia Tech 
    The Dolphins could go in a couple of different directions with this selection. They could look at adding an offensive lineman or a defensive back. Players like Denzel Ward or Derwin James make a lot of sense for the Dolphins. However, they need another linebacker. Lawrence Timmons is on the wrong side of 30. Plus, finding an upgrade over Chase Allen at MIKE (middle linebacker) would be a smart move. Why not Tremaine Edmunds? He’s got the length at 6’5 and is going to test well at the Scouting Combine. He’s a fluid athlete who can drop in and out of coverage. Edmunds flows to the football and does a nice job coming downhill while wrapping up. I don’t like the way he takes on blocks, and at times he looks like he avoids them. He’ll need to become more consistent with that at the next level. However, he’s got the build and experience to play inside. That’s exactly what he’ll do for the Miami Dolphins as they add some much needed talent to their defense.
  12. Cincinnati Bengals – Connor Williams, OT from Texas
    Let’s be honest. Losing Andrew Whitworth hurt this team and it showed statistically and on tape. The Bengals were the second worst rushing team last season and that’s why the Bengals just hired Frank Pollack (former Cowboys offensive line coach) to be their offensive line coach. The goal for the Bengals is to fix this rushing attack. One way to do that is by drafting some offensive linemen. They’ve tried with Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, but they could certainly be looking to find an upgrade over one of them. Connor Williams is my highest-rated offensive tackle and I think he can play left tackle. Many have already considered him a guard, but I see a left tackle. He’s aggressive, has a solid base, and is consistently working his hands inside. His kick-step is fluid, he can operate in space and will bury some linebackers at the second level. If the injuries are clear and he’s ready to go, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t be a top-15 selection in this draft.
  13. Washington Redskins – Denzel Ward, CB from Ohio State 
    After trading away cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs, the Redskins have an obvious need at cornerback. Fuller was very good in the slot this past season and the Redskins intend to let Bashaud Breeland test the free agent market. That leaves them with Josh Norman, and that’s pretty much it. With a player of Denzel Ward’s skill set on the board, it’ll be hard for them to pass on him. He’s a fluid athlete with the ability to break up passes and consistently stay in the hip pocket of the receiver. Athletically, he should test off the charts. Ward is a bit undersized at 5’9 and needs to get stronger. However, he’s a fit and fills an obvious need for the Redskins. This one should be easy for them.
  14. Green Bay Packers – Harold Landry, EDGE from Boston College
    Doesn’t it feel like one of the forgotten players of the first round is Harold Landry? People know he’s talented, but after having an off year the flaws are obvious. He lacks consistent hand usage and doesn’t display any combination of pass rush moves. However, when Landry is on, he’s on. He might not be the most athletically gifted player in the world, but he does a good job against the run and will still generate a pass rush. Landry has a nice bend off the edge and will rely heavily on “dipping” and “ripping” his way to the quarterback. This pick makes sense for the Packers because Clay Matthews is clearly declining and he might be best suited to move inside or become a situational player. Obviously, they probably won’t do that, but having Landry wouldn’t be a bad thing. He’ll only be 22 years old when the season begins and has plenty of time to turn into an elite pass rusher.
  15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Allen, QB from Wyoming
    Unless the Cardinals get a veteran quarterback, they have to reach for one or trade up and get one. Technically, they’re reaching for Josh Allen because he’s got a second-round grade on my board. Realistically, he probably won’t be available at this spot. For the sake of the mock draft, he’s available and the Cardinals take him. If Bruce Arians was the coach, this pick would make perfect sense. For new head coach Steve Wilkes, we don’t really know what he’ll be looking for in a franchise quarterback. Taking Allen at this spot means they could find themselves a bridge quarterback for a year or two. By taking him, they’re getting a quarterback who has one of the strongest arms in the draft, if not the strongest. However, they’re getting one of the spottiest throwers I’ve ever scouted. All in one series, Allen can complete a perfect pass and then the next two throws are miles away. He has to fix his footwork, but he needs to take it down a notch on some of his throws. Every pass doesn’t need to light up the radar gun. Allen will be the type of player that needs to fall into the situation of “right coach, right scheme”. Will the Cardinals be that team? Time will tell.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Derrius Guice, RB from LSU
    Certainly, Alex Collins was a feel good story for the Ravens. He’s still young and has plenty of tread left on his tires. But with only $11 million in cap space, the Ravens have some decisions to make. They need to make a decision on Collins , and it might be easier to let him go and take Derrius Guice. He reminds me of Marshawn Lynch with the way he keeps his feet moving, consistently hits the hole and doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s an aggressive runner who excels in pass protection. The biggest concern for Guice is whether he can stay healthy. He’s had a history of leg injuries and has missed practices due to “undisclosed” injuries. I give him credit for battling through these injuries and playing on Saturdays, but the game is going to change in a couple of months. Can he hold up? I think he can, and for the sake of the Ravens, they need him to. They need a consistent playmaker on offense, and Guice would be the best fit for them.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James, S from Florida State
    It wouldn’t be surprising if the Chargers addressed their offensive tackle position with this selection. Joe Barksdale and Russell Okung are lengthy veterans, and getting some youth at offensive tackle makes sense. However, going defense seems like the more logical strategy for the Chargers. Derwin James is on the board, and it’ll be hard for them to pass on him. Tre Boston is scheduled to hit free agency, and after a career year, it wouldn’t be surprising if he plays elsewhere. James has a ton of upside if he can become more consistent in coverage and if his ball skills become more reliable. He played well late into the 2017 season, but it wasn’t enough to guarantee him a top-15 selection, in my opinion. As a tackler, James is one of the more complete safeties. He does a nice job coming downhill with the proper angle, pursuit and technique to ensure a tackle for a loss or minimal gain. He won’t make an immediate splash, but the upside is there for him to make a consistent impact on the Chargers for years to come.
  18. Seattle Seahawks – Orlando Brown, OT from Oklahoma
    When are the Seahawks actually going to spend draft picks on offensive tackles? Taking guards and trying to turn them into whatever you want has to stop for this team. It’s either that or this team won’t be able to get a consistent ground game going again. I’m not going to sit here and say that Orlando Brown is the best left tackle in the class. I don’t think he is. I also have a hard time believing that Brown can play right tackle at the next level. He’s played 40 games at Oklahoma and they’ve all been at left tackle. That’ll be an interesting transition for an offensive lineman that stands 6’8 and almost 350 pounds. He lacks ideal bend and athletic ability for the position, but he’s too big to plug inside and isn’t exactly great in space. Meanwhile, he doesn’t always take the proper angle in his kick-step. But he’s a strong, monstrous human. If you get in front of him, best of luck getting away from him. Once Brown gets his hands inside, you’re done. He needs to become more consistent laterally, but with time that should happen. With Duane Brown already at left tackle for the Seahawks, it’ll be interesting to see where Orlando Brown transitions for them. This may seem weird on the surface, but it’s about the future and the development of this prospect. Helping Orlando Brown become a better technician is something I expect the Seahawks to do, even with their recent track record of questionable offensive lineman.
  19. Dallas Cowboys – Rashaan Evans, LB from Alabama
    What’s not to love about this pick? We can talk about all the defensive line needs on the Cowboys, but ultimately, let’s talk about linebacker. Anthony Hitchens is set to hit the free agent market, Sean Lee is consistently injured, and there’s still a lot unknown about Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys could use a player of Evans’s skill set for a variety of reasons. He’s a good tackler, and he is a sure-thing when blitzing and scraping over the top. With what I’ve seen on film, I’m convinced that he would run through a wall to get to the ball-carrier. He needs to improve what he does in coverage, but most of all, he needs to improve his ball skills. He only has 5 pass deflections in his career and doesn’t have an interception. But he gives the Cowboys a great option in stopping the run as a WILL linebacker.
  20. Detroit Lions – Maurice Hurst, DT from Michigan
    With a new head coach in Detroit, who knows what they’re thinking about drafting. One thing’s for sure: it’s not a quarterback. Since Matt Patricia is the new head coach, I feel confident that they’ll be looking at versatile defensive players. With Harold Landry off the board and myself not having much confidence in Marcus Davenport, I’m going with my highest-ranked defensive player. Maurice Hurst is a top-10 player and would be an ideal fit for the hybrid defense that the Lions are expected to run. He can play as a 1-technique and/or 3-technique, and pairing him up with A’Shawn Robinson gives the Lions a good balance of stopping the run and rushing the quarterback. The disruptive ability that Hurst brings is exactly what the Lions are missing in the middle of their defensive front. 
  21. Buffalo Bills – Vita Vea, DT from Washington 
    Whether Kyle Williams stays or goes, I fully expect the Bills to draft some depth for their defensive line. Fortunately for the Bills, they get a quality starter from day one. Vea is one of the most athletic players for a player of his size. He’s shown versatility while playing all over the Huskies’ defensive front. The power in his first step is evident, but he relies too much on his power and not enough on working his hands. However, he’s going to be a fine fit as a 1-technique at the next level. Plugging him in the A-gap should help solidify the Bills against the run for at least the next four to five years. 
  22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City) – Billy Price, OG/C from Ohio State
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills traded up and drafted a quarterback. Let’s be honest, by the time they’re on the clock (if they stay put) there should be four quarterbacks off the board, or possibly five. They could consider Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph, depending on who’s available. Judging by how this mock draft is going, they hold off on a quarterback and go with my top-ranked available interior offensive lineman. Billy Price is a versatile player who can play at any guard spot, but I think he’s best suited as a center. This isn’t a selection that makes the fans go crazy, but it’s something the Bills will consider. Eric Wood recently retired, and relying on Ryan Groy might not be an ideal situation. Price has a great first step and is an absolute technician on film. Nice base, low pad level, and hands are consistently inside. I’m curious as to how he measures out at the Scouting Combine, but I’m pretty confident that he becomes a quality starter for the next 8-10 seasons. 
  23. Los Angeles Rams – Jaire Alexander, CB from Louisville
    I’m under the impression that the Rams are going to have to decide between Trumaine Johnson or Aaron Donald. One of these defensive players is going to get paid and the other one is going to walk. Odds are that Donald is going to be the one that gets retained. With that being said, the Rams select my highest-ranked cornerback on the board. Alexander is a physical playmaker who is always in the way of a receiver making a play on the football. The biggest question mark on Alexander is if he can stay healthy. If he can, the Rams are going to get a quality cornerback to lockdown one side of their defensive backfield. 
  24. Carolina Panthers – Auden Tate, WR from Florida State
    Greg Olsen missed most of the year and Devin Funchess played through injuries. Meanwhile, Curtis Samuel got hurt, so it’s unclear what he really is. Those are just some of the weapons that Cam Newton has at his disposal. The most important one is Christian McCaffrey, who proved he can do a little bit of everything for this team. However, adding a player with the size of Auden Tate gives Newton two receivers with a 6’5 stature on the outside and allows Curtis Samuel to work in the slot. It’ll be hard for any cornerback to match up on the duo of Funchess and Tate with their size. As for Tate, he’s still young at 21, and he’s still a bit raw as a route runner. Needs to become more consistent at the catch-point and isn’t a speedster, but he’s still reliable all over the field and should exceed in the red zone. The potential is there for Tate and putting him in this offense should allow him to maximize it.  
  25. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Davenport, EDGE from UTSA
    This seems like a more logical spot for Marcus Davenport. He’s not as consistent as many make him out to be. He lacks a consistent bend off the edge and isn’t consistent enough with his hands. However, he’s got the tools to become a formidable pass rusher at the next level. There’s no denying his length and the flashes of brilliance on tape. Right now, he’s still raw and needs more time to develop a counter move on his rush to the inside and to the outside. If he’s on the board for the Titans, it’ll be hard for them to pass on him. DaQuan Jones is set to the hit the market and Brian Orakpo isn’t getting any younger. By adding Davenport, he’d be an ideal fit to replace either one of those players.
  26. Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan, DT from Florida
    Giving Dontari Poe a one-year deal wasn’t a bad thing for the Falcons. It gave them a nice option at stopping the run and it doesn’t affect them for the long term. I’d expect Poe to be on a different team next year with the Falcons only having around $12 million dollars in cap space (Spotrac.com). With that being said, they need to find an option at defensive tackle. Adding a player like Andrew Brown seems like a more natural fit, but I do like what Bryan brings to the table. He’s a high-motor guy with a great burst off the ball. He needs to come in under-control, more consistently, and has to do a better job at staying below pad level. Despite some of the flaws and still being somewhat raw as a pass rusher, Bryan has the upside to become a consistent three-down player for this defense. Pairing him up with Grady Jarrett in the middle makes a lot of sense and gives this defensive line some more youth. 
  27. New Orleans Saints – Andrew Brown, DT from Virginia 
    It wouldn’t be surprising if the Saints look at a linebacker or a wide receiver at this spot. But this pick just makes too much sense. Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata aren’t terrible at defensive tackle, but Brown would certainly upgrade the position. He’s a fantastic fit as a 3-technique and his burst off the ball makes him one of the most intriguing defensive tackles in this class. Virginia didn’t play him in the proper position on their defensive line, but the Saints will know what to do with him. Placing him with Sheldon Rankins gives this defensive line a nice pairing next to Cameron Jordan. 
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Leighton Vander Esch, LB from Boise State
    Even though the Steelers drafted a linebacker in the 2017 NFL Draft (T.J. Watt), they are still without inside linebacker Ryan Shazier. It’s unclear if he’ll ever play football again, so this pick is for insurance and the fact that they get a pretty good football player. Vander Esch is a quality three down linebacker. He doesn’t excel at any one thing, but he’s got a nose for tackling the ball carrier. People have compared him to Brian Urlacher, a notion I can’t get behind. However, I do like Vander Esch as a 3-4 inside linebacker, and he’d be an ideal fit for the Steelers. He’s a good tackler, does a nice job reading and processing the play in front of him, and is good in coverage. He doesn’t excel in coverage, but shouldn’t have any problem in space. There are times on film that he doesn’t properly shed blocks and thinks he can just run through them. He’ll need to work on that, but with so many question marks at linebacker it’ll be hard for the Steelers to pass him up. This gives them options at inside linebacker with Shazier’s status up in the air and Vince Williams scheduled to become a free agent next year. 
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars – James Washington, WR from Oklahoma State 
    With only $23 million in cap space, the Jaguars have some decisions to make about their pending free agents. Their biggest decision is on Allen Robinson, who, coming off a torn ACL, might get the franchise tag. That leaves Marqise Lee, their valuable slot receiver who played well when “the Allens” (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) were out of the lineup. Moving on from Lee seems like the more logical plan for the Jaguars, and spending a first round pick on James Washington, isn’t a bad idea. At the Senior Bowl, he flashed what he could do. He displayed strong hands, proved he can move vertically up the field, but also showed he can do damage across the middle. It’ll be interesting to see exactly where he tests at the Scouting Combine, but on film he displayed that he’s a borderline first round talent. He’ll be challenged vertically at the next level and more fluid athletes at cornerback will give him a hard time. Putting him in Jacksonville’s offense gives them the option to play him all over. From the slot to the outside, I’d fully expect him to build chemistry with Blake Bortles and have some immediate success on Sundays. Don’t worry, Jaguars fans, I don’t expect this to turn out like the last receiver y’all took from Oklahoma State.
  30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, OG from Georgia
    I’m feeling confident that when it’s all said and done, Isaiah Wynn is going to receive a first ground grade on my board. He’s just outside the top-25 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the top-20 after another game or two of film. For now, he’s available for the Vikings, and this would be a home run selection for them. He’s one of my favorite players in this class and it’s because of what I saw from him at the Senior Bowl. He absolutely dominated during the practice sessions. He excels when going laterally and his footwork is incredible. He’s a true technician and his versatility allows the Vikings to plug-and-play him anywhere on their offensive line.
  31. New England Patriots – Mike Hughes, CB from UCF 
    If the Super Bowl was any kind of indication, then Malcolm Butler is on his way out of New England. He’s already set to hit the free agent market, and it looks clear he’ll be signing elsewhere. He could potentially follow Matt Patricia to Detroit. As for the Patriots, it’s clear they need some secondary help. Mike Hughes is a fantastic fit for them. He’s a strong press-man corner with above average ability in zone coverage. He recovers well and has a nice closing speed. He’ll struggle against bigger receivers, but he’ll definitely compete against them. Hughes has been on the rise and a lot of it is because of  how smooth he looks in going through his technique. It’s always hard to decide what the Patriots will do around the draft. They have some decisions to make with their backfield, as Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead are set to become free agents. Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)is on the board and wouldn’t be a bad selection for them. With Nate Solder hitting the free agent market, I expect the Patriots to try to re-sign him. If they don’t, they could very well be in position to draft an offensive tackle at 31st overall. For now, they grab Mike Hughes, who should be one of the building blocks to fix this defense.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles – Mike McGlinchey, OT from Notre Dame
    Every single Eagles fan is going to rip me to shreds for this one, specifically the ones I talk to on Twitter (which you can find here @RussNFLDraft). Hear me out, though. We need to prepare for another season of rumors of Jason Peters getting traded or cut. It’s not like it can’t happen; Peters is 36 and carries a $10.6 million cap hit. According to Spotrac, the Eagles are $6 million dollars over the cap, and they’ll have to make some tough decisions with their roster. I assume they’ll have some holes on the offensive line by the time the draft rolls around, and if that’s the case, Mike McGlinchey should be the tackle they consider. After Peters got hurt, there was speculation that Lane Johnson would move to left tackle. That didn’t happen, but there are expectations for him to move to left tackle down the road. That time might be now. If that’s the case, drafting McGlinchey gives the Eagles the option to play him at right tackle. This past season he moved to left tackle for Notre Dame, but he has plenty of experience playing on the right side. He’s not the best athlete on the field, but he does a nice job as a zone blocker and operates nicely in space. His kick-step isn’t always smooth, and at times he struggles with anchoring at the point-of-attack (POA). If he becomes more consistent, he can become a really good offensive tackle for the next six-to-eight years. For the Eagles, it’s at least the next four years, which is important with Carson Wentz coming off of an injury. 
National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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