We've finally arrived at the gates, the draft is almost upon us. This magical 3 day period will change so many lives for the better, and open up brand new opportunities for all NFL teams. This mock draft will attempt to cut through the smokescreens and figure out what each team is most likely to do. This mock draft also includes trades, as we know they're going to happen. As always I would love to hear your opinion either in the comments below, or on Twitter @ZgreenZ . With that, let's begin.
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold QB - GM John Dorsey has used this entire draft process to toy with the media and find out who he can trust in the Cleveland front office. We've found out that the "friend of Dorsey" report in favor of Josh Allen was a complete sham, and I think anyone that's seen any tape on Allen knows he can't go #1 to a team that just went 1-31 over their last two seasons. They've created a perfect environment for Darnold, with a couple solid options at tailback, a great O-line, and play makers on the outside in Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. He'll also get to learn behind the consummate professional and pro bowl QB Tyrod Taylor for at least a year. I can't completely rule out Baker Mayfield, but I believe you'll get more out of Darnold for the 2019 season than you would from Mayfield, and that's why Darnold fits better in Cleveland.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley RB - I know that I said this pick needs to be a QB, whether the Giants are picking or trading back, but I actually believe that Dave Gettleman is in love with Barkley. I would personally never take him at 2 in this draft, just because the value in picks you would get back from someone like the Cardinals or Bills could set up this franchise for a quick turnaround in a post- Eli world. I think Gettleman believes in his new coaching staff and in his players however, and Barkley can do it all from the halfback position. He's elite in a zone-running scheme, he's an elite blocker, and he's very good in the passing game. It's going to be quite the tough journey, but maybe Saquon will be the guy to lead the Giants back to the playoffs.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield QB - The Jets get not only their QB of the future, but of the now. Baker is the most complete QB prospect in this draft on the field, and I believe has the ability to be a top 15 QB in the league right away. He's also an amazing leader on the field, and will get the most out of the guys around him. I believe that the media greatly over hyped his off the field issues, and as he grows and becomes more mature, will be the savior for this franchise for many years to come.
4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb EDGE - If this was a different Browns front office we might expect a trade down here, but I think John Dorsey wants to get to the playoffs ASAP, and Chubb will be a gigantic boost to this defense. He isn't quite the player coming out of college that Myles Garrett was, but he isn't far behind. He's an elite pass rusher with a great ability to set the edge, and offenses just can't double both Chubb and Garrett. We could see these two lead Cleveland to a top 5 defense in 2018.
5. Buffalo Bills: (Trade #12, #22, and a 2019 2nd round pick to the Denver Broncos for #5 and a 2019 4th round pick) Josh Allen QB - It's been widely reported the Broncos aren't afraid to trade back, and have 3 guys they'd like to pick at #5. Those 3 were Darnold, Chubb, and Barkley, and unfortunately for Denver, all 3 are gone. The good news is that they'll have multiple suitors for this pick, including the Cardinals, Dolphins, and ultimately the team that will offer the most: The Bills. I'm not a believer in Allen, he just doesn't show well on tape, and he has the stats of a Juco QB. You cannot deny his physical tools however, and the Bills need to get one of the top 4 guys. I think the upside of Allen coupled with the injury concerns of Josh Rosen mean that Allen has to be the pick for Buffalo.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson G - The Colts o-line gets a bad rap, and I believe that as a unit they're decent enough, but any team could use Nelson on the interior. The NFL is all about playing to your strengths, and the Colts strength right now is a returning Andrew Luck. How do you make Luck stronger? You either give him protection or weapons, and the weapons just aren't there at this stage of the draft, so they'll pick up my highest rated player at 6. They also have a young Marlon Mack that they're very fond of, and with Nelson leading the way could be a 1000 yard rusher this next year.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick S - The Bucs have been routinely been beaten in the air in this division, by a host of talented wideouts. Fitzpatrick can immediately step in and provide a safety net for the other DBs to play aggressive coverage, and any QB that wants to test Minkah's ball skills is going to see a quick rise in their INT numbers.
8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith LB - Man oh man did I struggle with this pick. The Bears need someone that can rush the QB besides Leonard Floyd, they could use an upgrade at DB aside Kyle Fuller, and they need someone to play alongside Danny Trevathan at LB. Who ticks two of those boxes? You got it, Mr. Smith. Roquan is already elite is going sideline to sideline, and has great coverage and pass rushing skills. He's great against the run when it goes outside the numbers, but has difficulty when a defense sends blockers straight at him. He'll be in a perfect spot in Chicago with Trevathan by his side, as he'll be able to shed off blockers at the point of attack and let Smith make plays on the ball carrier.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds LB - I'm already writing off Rueben Foster for the 49ers. They shouldn't tolerate his type of behavior, and he will be cut soon. That leaves a giant hole at LB, and thankfully there's a great athlete to fill it. Edmunds is an absolute physical beast, and grades positively in everything a linebacker needs to do except for anticipation. The good news is that he's only 19 years old, and he'll be able to grow into the next elite NFL linebacker.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward CB - A trade back wouldn't surprise me here, as the Raiders have quite a few holes on the defensive side they'd like to fill, but I think it's too hard to pass up Ward here. While a little undersized, he has great man to man ability, and very good ball skills. He'll be able to move around thanks to his former teammate Gareon Conley already being on the team, which should minimize the downsides of his size.
11. Arizona Cardinals: (Trade #15, #79 and a 2019 2nd round pick to the Miami Dolphins for #11 and a 2019 3rd round pick) Josh Rosen QB - There isn't a great fit for the Dolphins at 11 besides possibly Vita Vea, but I think the return from the Cardinals is too great to pass up. Arizona desperately needs QB help, and if Rosen falls this far, they need to take the chance and snatch him up. Rosen can make every throw at the NFL level and has shown well in private meetings according to reports. There's a legitimate concussion concern, but with Arizona taking him here, they can take a full year to ensure he doesn't play before they feel they can protect him.
12. Denver Broncos: (From Buffalo Bills) Isaiah Oliver CB - Oliver fits in immediately with what the Broncos want to do on defense. Play stifling man coverage and let your edge rushers get to the QB. He's big, he's strong, he's fast, and he has great ball skills. Personally, I think they're getting an upgrade here over Aqib Talib.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea DT - Washington was last in the league in run defense once again last year, and although that was partly because of injuries, Vea will still make a massive difference for them. He's also one of the few guys that can occasionally stay in the game on 3rd downs and rush the QB in passing situations.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry EDGE - Clay Matthews isn't going to be around forever, and Landry is an absolute terror on the edge. Green Bay definitely has some holes in the secondary as well, but one way to help them out is by getting to the QB faster, and Landry is going to provide that for them.
15. Miami Dolphins: (From Arizona Cardinals) Mike Gesicki TE - I'm a firm believer that if you want your guy, you go and get him, value be damned. Gesicki fits this team like an absolute glove, and the Dolphins might not get another chance to take him. He's an elite receiving TE already, and although he has serious weaknesses in the blocking game, the Dolphins already have a few solid blockers at the TE position that can help cover for him.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Connor Williams OL - Williams could see playing time at either guard or tackle in the NFL, and that versatility will be a huge benefit for the Ravens. They currently have a hole at LG and RT, and James Hurst will fill one of those, with Williams taking the other position. Williams may also be the long term replacement for Marshal Yanda who is already 33 years old.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike McGlinchey OT - Not a ton to say here that hasn't already said. The Chargers look to have one of the best interior lines in the NFL, but need help at the tackles. McGlinchey is ready to be a productive starter on day one.
18. New England Patriots: (Trade #23 and #63 to the Seattle Seahawks for #18) Ra'shaan Evans LB - The Patriots need to retool their defense, and how better to do it than to pair Evans next to Dont'a Hightower. Evans is one of the most pro-ready prospects in this draft, and should provide great production to a team looking to perennially compete.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley WR - After letting Dez Bryant go, there's a hole to fill at WR, and what better way to fill it than the versatile Ridley. Unlike Bryant, Ridley can run any route you throw at him and do it with great technical ability. He'll have a great mentor in Allen Hurns, and help Dak Prescott work past his sophomore slump.
20. Detroit Lions: Derwin James S - This is a huge coup for the Lions. Tavon Wilson was ranked as the #79 safety in the NFL last year, so James provides a huge upgrade at the SS position. James will do anything it takes to win, and will be a great new toy for Matt Patricia to play with.
21. Cinncinati Bengals: Isaiah Wynn OG - Even after trading for Cordy Glenn, the Bengals need to improve their OL play. Wynn has great physical ability, and is also very versatile, he played some LT in college when his team needed him to. Lamar Jackson could be a fit here, but I see the team giving Dalton one more year to prove himself, and picking a developmental QB in the later rounds.
22. Denver Broncos: (From Buffalo Bills) Derrius Guice RB - I'm someone that doesn't think the drop off in talent between Saquon Barkley and Guice is very large. The value here is great, and the Broncos need some help at the position if they want to run a balanced offense. Guice was troubled by injury all 2017, but that should all be in the past now, and I believe he's another guy that can go for 1000 yards in 2018.
23. Seattle Seahawks: (From New England Patriots) James Daniels OG - I think in an ideal world Seattle would like to trade back again, and they might see some action from Kansas City or Cleveland, but something needs to be done about protecting the team's best asset, Russell Wilson. Daniels has the skills to start at any interior line position in the NFL, and will help keep Wilson on his feet going forward.
24. Carolina Panthers: Josh Jackson CB - In a division with Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas, you need to invest in DBs. The Panthers haven't been able to defend the pass to the level they expect ever since Josh Norman left, and I think Jackson will finally be the guy to help stop that skid.
25. Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch LB - I predict LVE to fall due to his over aggression in the run game, but the Titans could be the perfect spot to help cover up that weakness. They already have a solid defense, and LVE will be in a position where he can be as aggressive as he wants with lots of solid players that will have his back when things go south.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan DT - Bryan is an excellent value this late in the round. When you watch his tape, he's more like a mauling grizzly bear than a football player, and should terrorize O-lines for years to come in Atlanta.
27. New Orleans Saints: Da'ron Payne DT - The Saints were about average last year against the run, so we're going to give them Payne to help stuff the run gaps. A tight end is possible here, but I think can be better addressed in round 2.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronald Jones RB - This is the first time Jones makes it into the first round of my mock, and it's because Guice got pushed up the board. Jones was a victim of terrible play calling at USC, and was never able to get into a real rhythm running the ball. He's a home run hitter, and will contribute alongside Le'veon Bell, as well as being a legit starting option if Bell leaves at the end of the year.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton WR - The Jags got some good production out of their WRs last year, but I think they're gonna need some more help for next season. Sutton has great physical tools, and is a legitimate red zone threat.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Sony Michel RB - They need a little help on the line so we may see Will Hernandez here, but I think Michel is too good of a prospect to let by. The modern NFL means that you need several threats at RB, and Michel is a perfect fit next to Dalvin Cook.
31. New England Patriots - Marcus Davenport EDGE - Once again the Patriots get some help on the defensive side of the ball. They had some issues getting to the QB last year, and Davenport will be a big part in helping to change that going forward.
32. Philadelphia Eagles - Jaire Alexander CB - The Eagles depth at DB is uninspiring, and Alexander is one of those guys that's going to come in and compete every single day to take a starting spot for his own, and improve one of the only parts of this team that needs it.