Mike Tagliere’s NFL Mock Draft 2018 – Two Rounds (4.0)
With the first wave of free agency completed, mock drafts are going to carry a lot more substance. We have a much better idea as to which team has which holes. Some have more needs after seeing their players leave via free agency, while others have completely changed the needs of their draft because of some key additions.
We’re going to continue knocking out a mock draft every two weeks as more and more free agents sign in new places. We’ll also hear more about teams bringing in individual players for private workouts, which could be a smokescreen, but it could also be a sign that they want to get a closer look. We’ve also seen more trades than ever this offseason, which adds another dimension to mock drafts changing. We’ll be here to let you know about it all leading up to the NFL Draft that’ll start on April 26th. If you’d like to see my big-board of top-100 prospects, click right here.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold (QB – USC)
This is the second time I’ve mocked Darnold to the Browns and it now makes more sense than ever. The Browns traded the first pick in the third-round to acquire Tyrod Taylor, who has just one year left on his contract. He’s going to be a bridge to whichever quarterback the Browns draft, and Darnold is considered one of the “greener” prospects who’ll get better with time. The general consensus around the NFL right now is that Darnold is the one they’re leaning towards.
2. New York Giants – Bradley Chubb (DE/OLB – NC State)
The Giants have been adamant about Eli Manning being their quarterback for the foreseeable future, and while that may not be the end-game, they have a lot of holes on their team to fill. After trading away Jason Pierre-Paul to the Bucs, they now have a glaring need on the edge and Chubb is considered by many as the best player in this draft. Considering most don’t expect an offensive lineman to go this high, Chubb makes sense.
3. New York Jets (from Colts) – Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma)
When the Jets traded up to No. 3, it made little sense without knowing who would be drafted ahead of them, so they must have been okay with three different quarterbacks. Lucky for them, their No. 1 quarterback is sitting there on the board. Mayfield is a gamer and one who is well-suited to handle the media pressure in New York. Some are saying they moved up to take Saquon Barkley, but that’s not something you do if you’re a rebuilding franchise, which the Jets clearly are.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans) – Minkah Fitzpatrick (S – Alabama)
There’s still a chance the Browns trade this pick to the Bills, who appear to be the team who is expected to trade into the top-five. But we aren’t projecting trades just yet, so we have to assume the Browns make this pick. Fitzpatrick makes too much sense with Jabril Peppers moving back to his natural strong safety position. The Browns did trade away defensive tackle Danny Shelton to the Patriots, so they have a new need on the defensive line, but they’ll address that in the second-round. Tidbit: With the talk of them potentially moving Damarious Randall to safety, don’t be completely shocked if they take Vita Vea here – he’s that good.
5. Denver Broncos – Josh Rosen (QB – UCLA)
While I don’t think he should last this long, it’s appearing likely that he does. The Broncos didn’t make a large commitment to Case Keenum with his two-year deal, so don’t that think that they simply ignore the position in the draft. Rosen is the type of quarterback that John Elway would love to have under his center, as he’s the most prototypical quarterback in this draft. The only other direction I could see them going here is offensive line, but Rosen is too good to pass up.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets) – Denzel Ward (CB – Ohio State)
After moving back from pick No. 3 to pick No. 6, the Colts thought they would still be able to get Bradley Chubb. After seeing Jason Pierre-Paul traded, it has them looking at alternate options. While Saquon Barkley and Quenton Nelson are options, they feel like they’ll be able to get a guard and/or running back with one of their three picks in the second-round. After selecting Malik Hooker in the draft last year, the Colts add Ward to the secondary that needs a playmaker after seeing Rashaan Melvin and Darius Butler leave via free agency. Their current starters at cornerback are Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston, and Pierre Desir. Yeah, about that…
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
This is likely further than most believe he’ll fall. While that may be the case, it’d require some assumptions, like that the Browns signed Carlos Hyde as a smokescreen, or that the Giants really didn’t feel they need offensive line or defensive end help. The Jets didn’t trade three second-round picks to move up three spots for a running back. While the Colts could take him at 6, I think he falls into the Bucs’ lap. They haven’t signed a free agent running back, making it clear that they’ll be drafting one at some point. Barkley added to the combination of Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate is straight up nasty, in a good way. (Read his Scouting Profile right here)
8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson (OG – Notre Dame)
The Bears are a team whose draft needs changed drastically in free agency, as they acquired multiple pass-catchers and retained both Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara in the secondary. They need help at outside linebacker, but it’s too high to reach for one here. Instead, they take their replacement for Josh Sitton, who they released a few weeks back. Nelson will step in and help an already stout offensive line become one of the elite ones in the league.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmunds (LB – Virginia Tech)
After seeing a few of their top choices come off the board, the 49ers go with the upside pick. We all know the Jon Lynch/Kyle Shanahan regime has time to accomplish things, so why not take a player like Edmunds who is still considered raw at the position of most need? Edmunds has rocketed up draft boards due to his length and athleticism, something the 49ers could use, especially after losing Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine in free agency.
10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith (ILB – Georgia)
We still haven’t heard anything on the Raiders coming to an agreement with Navorro Bowman, so they have a massive void in the middle of their defense. While they’re out signing skill-position players who were good in 2010, the inside linebacker position hasn’t been addressed in free agency. They did add former Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead to play outside linebacker, so sliding Smith alongside him would give their defense a whole new look.
11. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea (DT – Washington)
After releasing the best player on their team (Ndomukong Suh), the Dolphins are in a complete rebuilding process. In order to replace him, they bring in Vea, who I have down as a top-five player in this draft. He’ll help the entire defense look better, though they still have a lot of holes to fill in order to become relevant again. They could go quarterback here, but I’m expecting them to give Ryan Tannehill another solid opportunity to show that he can handle the job.
12. Buffalo Bills (from Bengals) – Josh Allen (QB – Wyoming)
Some will say that there’s no way Allen falls to this spot, but without a trade taking place, I think he does. Either that, or one of the three best quarterbacks in the draft falls. The Bills have been clear in their attempt to jump into the top-five of the draft, but if they can’t get something done, they’ll take the best available quarterback here after trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. In their eyes, they have the quarterback with the highest hypothetical ceiling with Allen. He’s not a favorite of mine, but hey, they need to do something with the No. 12 pick they traded up into. If you’re a Bills fan, just hope that they don’t trade up again to select Allen (who I believe they can have here).
13. Washington Redskins – Marcus Davenport (DE – UTSA)
The good news is that the Redskins were able to re-sign Zach Brown. The bad news is that they weren’t able to keep Trent Murphy, who signed with the Bills on a three-year deal. Because of that, they have a need on the edge, and one that Davenport can help fill. He’s a 6-foot-6, 264-pound wrecking ball who has no regard for a quarterback’s well-being. He’s going to find his way to the quarterback.
14. Green Bay Packers – Derwin James (S – Florida State)
After losing Morgan Burnett in free agency and Damarious Randall in a trade for DeShone Kizer, the Packers have even more needs in their secondary. Now playing against Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Mitch Trubisky six times a year, they’ll need to address it in some way. Because of that, they add a playmaker in James who’ll play alongside Haha Clinton-Dix, making them one of the best safety duos in the league. If Denzel Ward were to fall to this spot, they’d likely land on him, but he’s long gone at this point.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville)
This is a pick I’ve had locked-in since the beginning, as I think the Cardinals are destined to trot Jackson out there alongside David Johnson. The signing of Sam Bradford is a stop-gap situation at best, and one that makes sense considering Jackson is far from pro-ready. The questionable signing was Mike Glennon, but he was signed for just $8 million over two years. Knowing Bradford’s injury history, we may see Jackson sooner than some think.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
Don’t think that because the Ravens signed Michael Crabtree and John Brown that they won’t address their wide receiver position some more in the draft. They need someone they can build around and hang onto with an affordable contract. Ridley is someone who can be a deep threat, play out of the slot, play underneath, whatever they need him to do. If one of the “big five” quarterbacks fall to 16, keep an eye out for them drafting Joe Flacco‘s eventual replacement. There’s even some rumors that they could consider Mason Rudolph, though taking him here seems like it’d be a reach.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne (DT – Alabama)
It’s back-to-back Alabama players coming off the board and both of them may go before I’ve got them projected here. Payne is going to be very good in the NFL and he’s someone I’ve had mocked here all along. It simply makes too much sense for a defense that’s quickly becoming another version of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Did you know they allowed the fewest points in the league last year? Add Payne between Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram… Good luck. This is a pick I’m rooting for.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Mike McGlinchey (OT – Notre Dame)
If the Seahawks land McGlinchey here, they should run to the podium to make the pick. They landed Duane Brown in a trade last year to play left tackle, so McGlinchey could start on the right side of the line, though I think he’s more than capable to play left tackle in the NFL. It’s been a long time since the Seahawks addressed their offensive line concerns, so whether it be a tackle or a guard, that’s where they need to go with this pick. They do have sudden needs on the defensive side of the ball, but they’re not even close to a contender without Russell Wilson. Their number one goal should be to protect him.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Maurice Hurst (DT – Michigan)
After being sent home from the Combine with a heart condition, red check marks were placed next to Hurst’s name. Fortunately, he was recently cleared by both Michigan and Harvard doctors to resume football activities. Because of the red-flag, the Cowboys get a steal on a player who had a chance to go inside the top-10 prior to that news. The Cowboys 2016 third-round draft pick Maliek Collins has been pretty dreadful in his first two seasons and Hurst presents a massive upgrade to the entire defense. Should they look elsewhere, I’d look at offensive guard Will Hernandez.
20. Detroit Lions – Harold Landry (OLB/DE – Boston College)
After losing Tahir Whitehead in free agency, the Lions have a major need at outside linebacker. They also have a void to be filled on the interior of the defensive line after Haloti Ngata left to go to the Eagles, but the top three defensive tackles are gone. Landry has ties to the Lions, too, as Boston College’s defensive line coach has joined the Lions new coaching staff under Matt Patricia. It simply makes too much sense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Bills) – Connor Williams (OT – Texas)
Yes, the Bengals acquired left tackle Cordy Glenn to move back to this spot in the draft, but they still need to add more help on the offensive line. After seeing Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler leave in free agency last offseason, the Bengals offense took a huge step backwards in 2017. Williams can go to right tackle, or even move inside to a guard position for them. If he re-gains his pre-2017 form, Williams will be considered a steal at this point of the draft. Some have him as the No. 1 tackle in the draft, though I prefer McGlinchey.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs) – James Daniels (C – Iowa)
The buzz for Daniels has picked up since the Combine when he weighed in at 306 pounds after playing at 295 in college. With Billy Price tearing his pectoral muscle, the Bills go with Daniels to replace the suddenly-retired Eric Wood. The Bills entire offense needs to be rebuild, but they doubt they’ll have a shot to get one of Price or Frank Ragnow in the second-round.
23. Los Angeles Rams – Lorenzo Carter (OLB/DE – Georgia)
Here’s a player I said last month would move up draft boards, and here he is, inside the first-round. Carter is a playmaker who always seems to find his way into the backfield. After showing off his 34-inch arms, 4.50-second 40-yard dash, and almost 11-foot broad jump, teams are starting to take notice. After adding cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib to their secondary, the Rams are putting together a game-changing defense. As of the time I’m writing this, Ndomukong Suh is also reportedly considering signing with them. The other logical pick for them would be Alabama’s Rashaan Evans.
24. Carolina Panthers – Will Hernandez (OG – UTEP)
After losing Andrew Norwell in free agency, the Panthers need to find a replacement on the offensive line. Hernandez is likely the best guard in this draft outside of Quenton Nelson, and one who can play on day one. He’s a monster in the run-game who can get underneath opponents’ skin, something the Panthers continually look to do. Cam Newton will very soon be appreciative of this pick, as will Christian McCaffrey and the other running back they draft this year.
25. Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans (ILB – Alabama)
The Titans landed cornerback Malcolm Butler in free agency, tightening up their secondary, but they still have holes over the middle of the field, especially after losing Avery Williamson in free agency to the Jets. The Titans reportedly offered him a decent amount of money, showing they don’t have much of a backup plan. Evans is a solid player who also has experience on the edge if they wanted to move him around. The Titans don’t have very many holes on their team, but linebacker is one of them.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Jaire Alexander (CB – Louisville)
He’s someone who I’ve now stuck the Falcons with in each of the last three mock drafts, as it just makes too much sense after watching Brian Poole repeatedly get burned out of the slot last year. The Falcons have done absolutely nothing in free agency outside of re-signing their kicker, Matt Bryant. They did lose both defensive tackle Dontari Poe and defensive end Adrian Clayborn, but they don’t see anyone at this pick to replace those two.
27. New Orleans Saints – Mike Gesicki (TE – Penn State)
After putting on a show that may have been better than Saquon Barkley‘s at the NFL Combine, Gesicki finds himself in the conversation to become the No. 1 tight end off the board. The Saints were reportedly highly-interested in bringing Jimmy Graham back, showing that tight end is a priority with them this offseason. After landing cornerback Patrick Robinson and linebacker Demario Davis in free agency, the Saints shift their focus to the offense. Gesicki would provide Drew Brees with a massive target over the middle of the field while they try to win a Super Bowl before the end of his career.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mason Rudolph (QB – Oklahoma State)
The Steelers made the mistake of waiting on a backup quarterback in last year’s draft, and we learned that Josh Dobbs won’t likely see an NFL field any time soon after his abysmal preseason outings. Rudolph isn’t ready to contribute just yet, but that’s why this pick makes sense. With Ben Roethlisberger mentioning retirement as much as Brett Favre did, the Steelers need to draft his heir-apparent. Rudolph’s 6-foot-5 and 235-pound body is eerily similar to Roethlisberger, too.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dallas Goedert (TE – South Dakota)
Shocked that he’s still on the board, the Jaguars add another pass-catcher to the stable for Blake Bortles. Some will say that the signing of Austin Seferian-Jenkins changes this, but I’d say that’s not the case. He signed a two-year deal worth $10 million, which is hardly a big (or long) commitment to a tight end. The Jaguars are surrounding Bortles with options to see if he’ll take a step forward. If he doesn’t, the next quarterback will be thankful they did.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn (OG – Georgia)
On a team with so few holes, left guard is one of them. After signing Kirk Cousins, the Vikings will want to protect their fully-guaranteed investment. Wynn played tackle in college, but will transition to guard, which should make life easier on the 313-pounder, who was undersized at left tackle.
31. New England Patriots – Kolton Miller (OT – UCLA)
Losing Nate Solder is a big deal for the Patriots, who need to protect the 41-year-old Tom Brady who just may be the least mobile quarterback in the league. Some assume the re-signing of offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle was Solder’s replacement, but not me. The Patriots have addressed some of their defensive needs in free agency and trades, giving them the ability to grab Miller, who is a massive 6-foot-9 and 309 pounds.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Jackson (CB – Iowa)
Throughout trades and free agency, the Eagles have started to fill some of the holes they had on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, they lost cornerback Patrick Robinson to the Saints and they could’ve already used some help at the position. Jackson isn’t a shutdown cornerback, but he’s a ballhawk who is always looking to come up with the interception. They’d likely move Jalen Mills into the slot and play Jackson opposite Ronald Darby on the perimeter.
1. Cleveland Browns – Tyrell Crosby (OT – Oregon)
After learning of Joe Thomas‘ retirement, the Browns have a massive, gaping hole on their quarterback’s blindside. The Browns had likely hoped one of McGlinchey or Williams lasted until here, but that was never a likely scenario. Crosby is a bit rough around the edges, but with small improvements, he’ll be a starter in the NFL.
2. New York Giants – Braden Smith (OG – Auburn)
After landing Chubb in the first, they need to start rebuilding their offensive line. They started doing that in free agency with Nate Solder, but adding Smith would add another foundational piece. He played tackle in college, but will be transitioning to guard, a move that’s expected to reap dividends. He’s 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, so size won’t be an issue.
3. Cleveland Browns (from Texans) – Dorian O’Daniel (OLB – Clemson)
Among the few holes on the roster at this point is linebacker, so the Browns take the highest rated one on their board. O’Daniel has worked his way up the board while showing off his athleticism that allows him to cover running backs and tight ends with ease, as his three-cone drill was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than any other linebacker at the Combine.
4. Indianapolis Colts – Leighton Vander Esch (ILB – Boise State)
The Colts lost their starting middle linebacker in free agency, as Jon Bostic signed with the Steelers. Because of that, they’ll need to add someone at one of the most important positions on the field. Some say Vander Esch won’t last into the second-round, though I’m not so sure. He’s a solid player, but I haven’t seen the Brian Urlacher comparisons while watching him on tape. He’s a competent player and seemingly smart one who can come in and be a starter, however. The Colts are surprised to see that the top tackles and guards are already gone.
5. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets) – Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
Now that they’ve added a few major additions to their defense, the Colts turn to replace the exit of Donte Moncrief. Let’s be real, though. Even with Moncrief on the roster, they needed wide receiver help, and no, Ryan Grant isn’t the only solution. Sutton would compliment T.Y. Hilton pretty well and give Andrew Luck his first massive target at wide receiver. While I have some concerns about Sutton, pairing him with Luck would be huge for his potential to shine (provided Luck is healthy).
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Reid (S – Stanford)
After adding another toy to their offense in the first-round, the Bucs add to the back-end of their defense. They appear set to move on from T.J. Ward, leaving a hole alongside of Justin Evans, their second-round selection from last year. They still have Chris Conte on the roster, but he should be looked at as depth. Reid has the ability to play both safety positions, but he’ll be asked to start at strong safety with Evans holds down the free safety position. Another strong possibility for them is drafting one of the top cornerbacks available.
7. Chicago Bears – Malik Jefferson (ILB – Texas)
One of the higher upside prospects left in the draft, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see him go inside the top 25 picks. The issue is consistency with him, though the Bears would be sticking him alongside Danny Trevathan, which could make a lethal combination if Vic Fangio can get the most out of him. The Bears would’ve liked to add an outside linebacker here, but the board has thinned out at that position rather quickly.
8. Denver Broncos – Isaiah Oliver (CB – Colorado)
After essentially giving away Aqib Talib, the Broncos suddenly have a huge hole at left cornerback, the area that Talib has covered the last few years. Oliver is another big-bodied cornerback at 6-feet tall and 201 pounds. He lacks the aggression that Talib and most No. 1 cornerbacks have, but it helps that the Broncos simply play sides, so he won’t have to shadow opposing No. 1 receivers.
9. Oakland Raiders – Arden Key (DE – LSU)
After landing Roquan Smith in the first round, the Raiders defense is getting completely revamped. The additions of Tahir Whitehead, Justin Ellis, and Rashaan Melvin were all much-needed, but adding Key alongside Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin will leave opposing quarterbacks terrorized. He’s a pass-rush specialist who has some off-the-field question marks, so it wouldn’t shock me to see him fall further than this, though. It’s possible the Raiders even draft a running back here considering both Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch are on one-year deals.
10. Miami Dolphins – Billy Price (C/OG – Ohio State)
The Dolphins get a discount on the player who was expected to go top-20 just a few weeks ago. Once he tore his pectoral muscle at the Combine, he likely slid down some draft boards, though it’s rumored that he’ll be ready to play by the start of the season. After releasing Mike Pouncey, the Dolphins have another hole to fill on the offensive line. They did sign Josh Sitton to play left guard, so Price would man the center position.
11. New England Patriots (from 49ers) – Josh Sweat (DE – Florida State)
One of the more underrated moves in free agency was the Patriots landing defensive end Adrian Clayborn on a two-year deal, but he’s not a full-time player anymore. Sweat would likely be a first-rounder if it wasn’t for serious question marks surrounding his knee that was dislocated during high school. Some have said he’s a one-contract player, similar to what some said about Jay Ajayi during the draft process. He’s extremely explosive and plays with a certain level of aggression, as we saw at the Combine. The Patriots know their window is closing and Sweat gives them something right now. Their pass-rush is suddenly a strength.
12. Washington Redskins – Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
Once the Redskins added Paul Richardson in free agency, it cleared another hole for the Redskins, allowing them to make this pick. They’ve been frustrated with both Rob Kelley and last year’s rookie Samaje Perine, as they’re just “guys” at this point. Pairing Guice with Chris Thompson would most definitely be an upgrade over what they’ve been trotting out there. (Read his Scouting Profile here)
13. Green Bay Packers – James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Alert, fantasy football players. This signing would make too much sense, should Washington fall to this point in the draft. The Packers haven’t been giving Aaron Rodgers many high-round pass-catchers as of late, but Washington is an ideal solution to their recent release of Jordy Nelson. Washington has different gears to his game and despite his 4.54-second 40-yard dash, he creates separation on the deep ball, somewhere Nelson used to shine. The Packers currently don’t have that field stretcher on the roster.
14. Cincinnati Bengals – Frank Ragnow (C – Arkansas)
If Mason Rudolph were to fall to this spot, I’d expect the Bengals to take a long, hard look at him. But instead, the Bengals continue to revamp their offensive line, which would now consist of Cordy Glenn, Connor Williams, Ragnow, Clint Boling, and Trey Hopkins. While it would take some time for the players to gel, they suddenly have a good unit in front of Andy Dalton, the way it was a few years back. Ragnow may be my favorite center in the draft, so I’d consider this a great pick.
15. Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
I had Brian O’Neill here for each mock draft so far, but after the Cardinals signed Justin Pugh in free agency, it changed their course. Moore gives the Cardinals some much needed depth at wide receiver after seeing both John Brown and Jaron Brown leave via free agency. Moore is a versatile wide receiver who can play anywhere on the field, though he would make an ideal replacement for Larry Fitzgerald out of the slot once he hangs up the cleats.
16. Los Angeles Chargers – Micah Kizer (ILB – Virginia)
Knowing that the Chargers have done nothing outside of sign center Mike Pouncey in free agency, not much has changed for their projection of drafting a linebacker. The Chargers have had their eyes on Leighton Vander Esch for some time, but after seeing him climb up draft boards, they must take the next linebacker on their board. Kiser is a high-effort player who is always moving. He’s not the strongest or fastest player on the field but is a solid tackler and can help stuff the run.
17. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets, from Seahawks) – Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
While some may be miffed by the fact that they passed on Saquon Barkley, the combination of Denzel Ward and Sony Michel is better than Barkley and maybe Mike Hughes. The Colts were silent throughout free agency with running backs, leading me to believe they’ll address the position in the draft. Michel is the No. 2 running back on my board who can do it all. The Colts didn’t want to put Marlon Mack on the field much last season for whatever reason, so it’s very possible they view him as a timeshare running back and not the focal point. Michel is an excellent pass-blocker as well. Colts fans will learn to love the player I’ve comped to LeSean McCoy. (Read his Scouting Profile here)
18. Dallas Cowboys – Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
After addressing the interior of their defensive line in the first-round, the Cowboys can no longer avoid the need of a wide receiver who’ll eventually replace Dez Bryant. Gallup isn’t the same type of wide receiver as Bryant, but he operates primarily underneath, though he has the ability to go deep. The Cowboys signing of Allen Hurns is a head-scratcher, as Hurns has played the slot over the last two years. He didn’t erase the need of a perimeter wide receiver, nor did the signing of Deonte Thompson.
19. Detroit Lions – Taven Bryan (DT – Florida)
He’s not nearly as big as Haloti Ngata was in the middle of the field, but Bryan is one of the most athletic tackles in the draft. He’s one of the select few defensive tackles who ran a sub-five-second 40-yard dash, but he also displayed strength by throwing up 30 reps on the bench press. The Lions are now in a very quarterback-heavy division, so they need to shore up their defense.
20. Baltimore Ravens – Hayden Hurst (TE – South Carolina)
Even after taking Calvin Ridley in the first round and snagging Michael Crabtree in free agency, the Ravens need a tight end after losing Ben Watson in free agency. Hurst is a straight-up athlete who can be used in a variety of different ways, as South Carolina even used him on some handoffs. He is extremely fast for a tight end and can line up as a wide receiver but is also competent as an in-line blocker. While at the Combine, he looked more comfortable than any other tight end tracking the ball. The only downside is that he’ll be 25 years old when the season starts.
21. Buffalo Bills – Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
The Bills offense has gone off the rails this offseason, as they traded away left tackle Cordy Glenn and quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Kelvin Benjamin has had another knee surgery, and now they don’t even know if last year’s second-round pick Zay Jones is going to play football again after nearly committing suicide last week. They need some stability to the wide receiver corps, especially considering they’ll have a young quarterback under center. Kirk is one of the most reliable players at the position, even if he’s locked in to just slot work.
22. Kansas City Chiefs – Mike Hughes (CB – UCF)
After trading away Marcus Peters, the Chiefs have a massive need at cornerback. And no, the trade they made with Washington to acquire Kendall Fuller is not the solution, as he’s a slot cornerback. For the last few years, Peters held down the fort at left cornerback, and it’s not like they have backup talent on the roster. In fact, they also lost Terrance Mitchell to free agency, a player who contributed a little bit over the last two years. Hughes is solid in coverage, though he can use some help in his tackling.
23. Carolina Panthers – Brian O’Neill (OT – Pittsburgh)
The Panthers were pretty active in free agency, though not on the offensive line, which is why they need to spend multiple picks in order to fix it. O’Neill may not be the starting left tackle immediately, but he shows promise after playing the position for just one year. He’s a former tight end with crazy athleticism, and one oozing with upside for the future. He’s the eventual replacement for Matt Kalil, who was as disappointing as most thought he would be when the Panthers signed him. With all the Greg Olsen retirement talk, it’s possible they look at Mark Andrews here.
24. Buffalo Bills (from Rams) – Kemoko Turay (OLB/DE – Rutgers)
The Bills can’t ignore the defense all together, right? Likely the best outside linebacker still on the board, Turay has a solid frame with decent speed for a guy who is 6-5 and 253 pounds. He could get more aggressive in his approach but does display solid patience in his zone work. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, though he doesn’t have any elite traits, either.
25. Tennessee Titans – Dorance Armstrong Jr. (OLB/DE – Kansas)
After selecting Rashaan Evans in the first-round, the Titans address their outside linebacker position with Armstrong, who is considered a versatile player who can play multiple positions. He lacks strength but has speed to the edge. With the pieces they have around him, it should allow them to use him in a way that best suits his skillset.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Tim Settle (DT – Virginia Tech)
Now that we know they lost Dontari Poe in free agency, they need to replace him. Why not do that with the 6-foot-3, 329-pound plugger up the middle? Settle isn’t a crazy athlete like Vita Vea or anything, but he’s got solid burst and strength up the middle. He’s also very young, as he won’t turn 21 years old until July.
27. San Francisco 49ers – Armani Watts (S – Texas A&M)
The 49ers haven’t re-signed Eric Reid, so you have to assume they’re looking for his replacement somewhere. Watts brings attitude to the team, as he’s not afraid to put his neck at risk to lay someone out. He’s often too aggressive and relies on his initial blow to knock the ball-carrier down, so he’ll need to learn to wrap-up a bit more.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Sam Hubbard (DE/OLB – Ohio State)
The Steelers made a few solid signings in free agency, landing both safety Morgan Burnett and inside linebacker Jon Bostic, but they still have a void at outside linebacker as former first-round pick Bud Dupree continues to be unimpressive (contract also expires at the end of the year). Hubbard is versatile and can be used at multiple positions in a 3-4 defense, so expect the Steelers to utilize him properly.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Desmond Harrison (OT – West Virginia)
In a pick that would’ve shocked everyone prior to the Combine, it shouldn’t anymore. Harrison has some off-the-field question marks, but if he can answer them, he’s a player on the field. He would bring attitude to the Jaguars offensive line that just added Andrew Norwell. The only concern with Harrison is whether or not his frame can carry 300-plus pounds, though he did gain 13 pounds in between the Senior Bowl and the Combine, up to 292 pounds.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Mark Andrews (TE – Oklahoma)
Once considered a potential first-round pick, Andrews’ diabetes have raised a debate on whether it’ll affect him. He’s apparently had episodes of passing out at times because of his sugar being too low. The Vikings take the discount, as they run plenty of two-tight end sets, and it’s not as if Kyle Rudolph is known as the healthiest player throughout the course of his career. The Vikings have very few holes as a team, so they can go in a multitude of different ways.
31. New England Patriots – Josey Jewell (LB – Iowa)
One of the quicker linebackers in the draft, the Patriots like the versatility of Jewell who can play both inside and outside linebacker. While I initially had them selecting a cornerback with this pick, the addition of Jason McCourty and the re-signing of Patrick Chung have solidified the position for now, though I do think it’s still a possibility they take one here.
32. Cleveland Browns (from Eagles) – Harrison Phillips (DT – Stanford)
After trading away Danny Shelton to the Patriots, the Browns now have a void on the defensive line. Phillips has been a riser ever since the Combine, where he weighed in at 307 pounds, much higher than the 285-pound weight he played at in college. He keeps his head up and tracks plays very well and is better against the run, an area where the Browns have struggled over the last few years.