I love the NFL Draft. It’s like Christmas for a draftnik like myself. I spend countless hours reading different magazines, websites and other mock drafts. Last year was the first time in a few years I did not take part in doing my own mock draft. Well, this year, it’s time to begin a new streak of mock drafts. I only do the first round because I’m not totally insane and realize that doing a multi round mock would take way too much time.
Here are my rules this year: I will try to guess what teams will trade up or down with guesses on what draft picks they will give up in the process. It’s not an exact science, but hey, if the weather people can get it wrong 50 percent of the time, cut me some slack.
1. Cleveland Browns: The Browns have to go with a quarterback here, right? What other choices do they have? Saquon Barkely would be a great pick, but I think he’ll be there just a bit later in this draft. No team has enough ammo at this juncture to get this first pick unless the Giants are in love with a player. So, I think that the Browns go with a quarterback here and tab Josh Allen as their signal caller of the future. I don’t think Allen is the best quarterback, more on that later, but he fits what the Cleveland coaching staff wants.
2. New York Giants: Look, there’s talk that the Bills might trade up to this spot, I don’t think they have to. I think New York bolsters the defensive line with one of the top three players in this draft with Bradley Chubb, defensive end out of North Carolina State. He’s not going to light the world on fire right away, but gives them a better player than the recently traded Jason Pierre Paul.
3. New York Jets: This is a no brainer. The Jets need a quarterback, they moved up from six to three, and you only do that for a franchise guy under center. Darnold has a lot of talent and should be able to play in New York given that he was in SoCal for college. He’ll be able to hold up under the pressure.
4. TRADE ALERT! Buffalo Bills: The Bills give up the 12th, 56th and a future third rounder to trade with the Browns here. Buffalo needs a quarterback as well. Josh Rosen is still on the board here and I think they move up to get him. He might not be the ideal choice but they have to take a risk, and hey, he can’t be any worse than EJ Manuel.
5. Denver Broncos: Thanks to the quarterback run, Denver has their pick of the litter at fifth overall. They don’t need a quarterback this early after the Case Keenum signing, so I think they’re going to focus on what was a pretty bad offensive line last year. The Broncos will draft Quenton Nelson, guard, out of Notre Dame. Nelson has the chance to anchor the inside of an offensive line for the next 15 years if he stays healthy. Might be my favorite prospect in this draft.
6. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts need a running back and you know who is still on the board? Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. He will make whoever’s life easier in Indy. He can pretty much do anything on offense for the Colts, giving them a dynamic weapon in the mold of Marshall Faulk.
7. TRADE ALERT! Arizona Cardinals: The Cards give up the 15th, 47th, 134th and and a 2019 second rounder to move up to where Tampa Bay was slotted to pick. Arizona needs a quarterback and this is a better range for the second tier of first round QBs. Teams will reach for a signal caller, we’ve seen it for years. They pick up who I think is the best quarterback in this draft in Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma. Mayfield has the best drive and will to win out of any of the quarterbacks this year. Yes, his size is less than ideal but so was Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
8. Chicago Bears: The Bears filled some needs through free agency, wiping out wide receiver and cornerback. Their defensive line and safety positions seem okay so why not a linebacker? I think they go with Roquan Smith out of Georgia with this pick. He’ll be able to help them right away and provide a spark on defense.
9. San Francisco 49ers: I’m not thrilled with the corners that the 49ers have. Yes, they got Richard Sherman but he’s coming off an injury so they need more corner help in case he’s not completely ready. I think they take Denzel Ward from Ohio State. Ward is a bit undersized but is the opposite of Sherman which gives them some versatility in the back end.
10. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have a lot of needs on the defensive end of the ball. You can make the argument that they could take a player at any defensive position to aid that side. This comes down to a linebacker or a defensive tackle. I’ll go ahead and take a cue from one of my favorite mock sites, Walterfootball.com, and have the Raiders take Vita Vea from Washington. This guy a mammoth in the middle but he’s very athletic with it. He could clog that middle and get after the QB on passing downs.
Hey, that’ll do it for the first part. The second part will be coming soon.