This isn’t your typical Mock Draft. This Mock Draft will be chosen based upon the following premise: “What would I do if I were the general manager of each of these teams?” Because of that premise, this will surely look differently than other mock drafts you see. However, this is based off of my personal draft board and how I would draft considering the value these players have on my board, and considering team need. The parentheses indicate their positional ranking on my draft board, and their overall position on it.
- Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold (QB1 / #4)
The acquisition of Tyrod Taylor shouldn’t prevent the Browns from taking a quarterback at the top of the draft. With Taylor’s presence, Darnold can sit for a season and develop, as he’s probably a year away from being NFL ready as a starting quarterback. In a similar situation to Patrick Mahomes with the Chiefs this past season, Darnold could use his rookie season to realize his potential and become the starter in 2019. In my opinion, Darnold is the best quarterback prospect in the draft and should go #1 overall because of it.
- New York Giants – Josh Rosen (QB2 / #5)
Rosen finding the safety (#7) post-snap. As the safety widens to the flats, Rosens realizes that he has 1 on 1 outside and drops a dime..You can't place it in a better spot, outside shoulder, up the field, only way for the DB to make a play is to rake it out on the way down. pic.twitter.com/w5wvZvAaCL— Cover 1 (@Cover1) January 17, 2018
The Giants are in a prime position to take Eli Manning’s successor, as they don’t draft in the top five very often. With Manning in place, he could mentor Rosen for the next season or two before Rosen takes over as the starter, a lot like the way Phillip Rivers began his career in San Diego. The Giants’ roster isn’t close to being a contending group, so a pick for the future makes more sense than building around Manning as their quarterback. Rosen is pro-ready, but sitting and learning may be best for his career and personal development.
- New York Jets – Baker Mayfield (QB3 / #10)
Sure, it's vs. UTEP but the quick trigger, confidence, velocity and location were on point. Throw into the boundary, in the honey hole, over a defender, high and upfield so the CB couldn't make a play in trail. pic.twitter.com/aoFhAcdDQ2— Cover 1 (@Cover1) December 7, 2017
Moving up from pick 6, the Jets need to take a quarterback, as Teddy Bridgewater is an unknown commodity at the moment. If Bridgewater were to become the quality of quarterback he once was, Mayfield would retain trade value and could be moved to a different team down the line. Mayfield is more pro-ready than Sam Darnold, but he could probably use a season to adjust to NFL life and New York City while out of the spotlight. In many other drafts Mayfield may have been the best quarterback prospect, but in this class Darnold and Rosen have more potential. Mayfield brings a passion for the game that inspires teammates, and the Jets could use his natural leadership ability in their locker room.
- Cleveland Browns – Quenton Nelson (OG1 / #1)
Taking Saquon Barkley would be enticing, but with Carlos Hyde signed and Joe Thomas retiring, the Browns would be wiser to take the best lineman in the draft. Nelson is arguably the best player in the class and would be an anchor for the Browns for years to come. Nelson is nasty, and he plays with a mean streak that will be sought after by NFL coaching staffs. He would be a long term solution on the Browns’ offensive line and would go a long way in protecting Sam Darnold for the majority of his career.
- Denver Broncos – Lamar Jackson (QB4 / #11)
"When he took off & ran or left the pocket, I would just blow the whistle. He'd give me one of these—shrug, 'I would've run for a touchdown, Coach.' I'd say, 'I don't care. I want to see you throw for a TD.'- HC Petrino— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 8, 2018
Lamar Jackson Scouting Report: https://t.co/QCnonNEubD … pic.twitter.com/PlFyhD9deo
This is higher than Jackson will go in the draft, but after missing out on Darnold, Rosen, and Mayfield, the Broncos need to take the next best available quarterback. The Broncos should be in rebuild mode, and to kick that rebuild off they need to take a quarterback in the top 5. With their roster being a few years away, and without a long term answer at the quarterback position, Jackson and his play-making ability could elevate the Broncos’ offense in the future.
- Indianapolis Colts – Saquon Barkley (RB1 / #2)
More “RB Saquon Barkley - Penn State” film cominghttps://t.co/KXv9mOD8pW— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 12, 2018
Indianapolis needs to protect Andrew Luck, but with no viable offensive linemen to take at pick 6, they take the most dynamic offensive player in the draft. Barkley is an incredible athlete, and would bring some needed talent to the Colts’ offense (Eric Ebron notwithstanding). He would add versatility to the Colts’ backfield, and they would need to focus on offensive line and defense from this point in the draft on, but at pick 6, Barkley’s talent is too valuable to pass up.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick (SAF1 / #3)
Tampa bay had the worst-ranked passing defense in the NFL last season. That total was a product of their lack of pass rush and inconsistent corner play. Fitzpatrick is a terrific pass defender and can be used in a variety of ways as a defensive back. He is a top 5 player in this class, but he falls because of positional value. At pick 7, he is an incredible value at a position of need for the Buccaneers.
- Chicago Bears – Harold Landry (EDGE1 / #7)
Every good defense needs an elite pass rusher, and Harold Landry has shown the traits to develop into that. This past season, only Akiem Hicks had more than five sacks for the Bears. Landry would immediately become their best pass rusher and would be a key piece for the Bears moving forward. Indianapolis needs to protect prized QB Mitchell Trubisky, but without a blue chip lineman prospect available, Landry fits the draft slot.
- San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith (LB1 / #8)
Roquan Smith has all of the physical & mental tools that you look for in a linebacker. His processing skills are elite, has the athleticism to follow through on the quick diagnosis of plays & the finishing trait needed at the NFL level.— Cover 1 (@Cover1) March 20, 2018
Report: https://t.co/oBFmTHvajm pic.twitter.com/PQtczc5viP
With their quarterback of the future in place in Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers are in a position to draft for need. They have a solid offensive line and have signed some weapons to help along their young quarterback. However, their linebacking corps is in question because of the uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster’s availability. If Foster can straighten out his off-the-field issues, the combination of him and Roquan Smith would be an intimidating force in the middle of their suddenly imposing defense.
- Oakland Raiders – Bradley Chubb (EDGE2 / #9)
New Raiders HC Jon Gruden will surely be looking to strengthen his defense during the NFL Draft, specifically the front 7. Chubb would be a great value pick at the point in the draft, and can be a solid pass rusher opposite Khalil Mack. Chubb is also a good run defender, and would be the start of a much needed talent infusion to the Raiders’ front. With Oakland signing multiple cornerbacks in free agency, the likelihood that this selection is a front 7 player has increased.