Mike Tagliere’s NFL Mock Draft 2018 – Two Rounds (5.0)
Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re an idiot? I have in a variety of different ways, but maybe never more often than when I post a mock of the upcoming NFL Draft. Why? Well, it’s for a variety of different factors.
The biggest one being that almost everyone overvalues the talent on their favorite team (those who don’t, you know who you are), leading them to believe their team will always take the best player available. How many times have you watched your team draft a player and moan at the TV when there was someone clearly better still on the board? If you don’t admit this, you’re more of a homer than I thought.
The next issue is that everyone believes their team has so much depth that they can automatically insert a former seventh-round pick into the starting lineup to take the place of someone like Ndamukong Suh. No, guys… just… no. You can’t just assume that because a player was solid off the bench for 100 snaps that it means it’ll translate over a full season. Do those players exist? Sure, but they’re far and few between.
And lastly, nobody believes their team will make an “unsexy” pick in the draft. “What?! You’re so dumb if you think the Giants would pass on Saquon Barkley at No. 2, that’s a steal!” I’d argue that it’d be dumb of them to take a running back when they clearly have so many holes at other important positions. Remember, this isn’t fantasy football. Running backs are a final piece, not the building block. And before you chime in about Leonard Fournette at No. 4 last year, remind me how many points per game the Giants allowed in 2017. The Jaguars were looking for the final pieces and had very few holes, as evidenced by their AFC Championship game appearance.
Believe me when I say that I’ve dissected every team with a fine-tooth comb, went through their additions and losses from free agency, and come up with my best predictions on what I believe they might do. Am I going to be correct on every pick? Absolutely not, but I promise you that nobody has put more time into your favorite team than me, and I’ll try and explain that below. Until then, please stop calling me an idiot, it’s hurting my daughter’s feelings.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold (QB – USC)
Yes, I’ve heard the rumors about a friend close to GM Jon Dorsey says the Browns will take Josh Allen at No. 1 and Saquon Barkley at No. 4. By putting Darnold here, it’s me saying that I don’t believe that even the Browns would make the mistake of taking Allen over three more talented options. The trade for Tyrod Taylor clearly shows that they aren’t going to start the rookie right away, and Darnold is considered a quarterback who could use a bit more experience. They’re going quarterback at No. 1, though it’s just a matter of who.
2. New York Giants – Bradley Chubb (DE/OLB – NC State)
For those who truly believe the Giants will take Barkley here, can you explain why they’d trade Jason Pierre-Paul when they clearly don’t have a replacement? It’s clear the Giants have a plan in place, and while I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a quarterback, everything they’ve said and done tells us that they’re moving forward with Eli Manning under center. Chubb is atop my list of prospects and some have said he’s better than last year’s No. 1 pick Myles Garrett. Don’t be mad at this pick, Giants fans.
3. New York Jets (from Colts) – Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma)
I’ve been saying it for some time now – there are certain individuals built to handle the New York stage and media – Mayfield is one of them. Some have called him cocky, while others have called him immature. What I see is a gamer. He’s worn his emotions on his sleeve and has made a few bad decisions, but in the end, we all make mistakes, especially when we’re 21 years old. The one thing I’ll continue to go back to is that he’s never had a single teammate dislike him. From the interviews I’ve seen, they’d fight for him and he’d do the same. It’s what he does on the field is that’s important, and going by that, he’s my No. 1 quarterback in this draft. The Jets didn’t trade up to draft Barkley.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans) – Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
I’ve gone back and forth on this one and still wouldn’t be surprised if they passed on him here. The reason I’ve slotted him here is because we now have more information on the Carlos Hyde signing. Looking at how the contract is structured, he can be cut after just one season with just a $2.3 million cap hit. If you’ve followed along, you know the Browns have tons of cap space. You also can’t forget that Duke Johnson has just one year remaining on his deal, meaning Barkley isn’t a stretch at this pick. He’s among the safest picks in this draft, even if it is at a luxury position. Don’t be shocked if they trade this pick to the Bills who would likely have to give up their two first-round picks and one second-round pick to get here.
5. Denver Broncos – Josh Rosen (QB – UCLA)
The first time I went through this mock draft outline, I had the Broncos selecting Quenton Nelson, but then realized that Rosen would fall pretty far in the draft (unless someone traded up), which I don’t think happens. In fact, if the Broncos don’t want Rosen, they should trade out of the No. 5 pick. Now that we know Case Keenum‘s deal was for just two years, it’s hardly a commitment to him, and who knows if the Broncos will have this high of a pick in the next year or two. Rosen is arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft and one of the safest to project, so taking him here should be considered a solid pick.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets) – Denzel Ward (CB – Ohio State)
A name that has gained a ton of steam as of late and for good reason. Ward is the clear-cut No. 1 cornerback on the board and it’s a position of massive need for the Colts. Not only did they let go of Vontae Davis last season, but they also lost Rashaan Melvin in free agency. The addition of Malik Hooker in the first-round last year was a big splash for the defense, so adding Ward into the mix would be a good foundation to build around in the secondary.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson (OG – Notre Dame)
If you’ve watched the Bucs over the last few years, you know that their offensive line play has been extremely weak. It seems to early for them to reach on a tackle here, so they’ll take the sure thing with Nelson. He’ll walk in and start immediately in place of Kevin Pamphile, a former fifth-round draft pick who has been one of the biggest weaknesses on the line. The Bucs need a running back in the draft, but this is a deep class, and one that gives them a lot of options. Now that their receiving corps is set, they need to give Jameis Winston some protection.
8. Chicago Bears – Roquan Smith (LB – Georgia)
The moves by the Bears in free agency cleared up a lot of holes, but there are a few still remaining. They could use another inside linebacker alongside Danny Trevathan, but could also use an outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback. Smith is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1 and 236 pounds, but he makes up for that with some of the best instincts in the draft. He’s also flexible as to where he can play (inside or outside), giving the Bears plenty of options. Should the draft play out like I have it to this point, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Bears trade back from this spot.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmunds (LB – Virginia Tech)
Not only did the 49ers lose Aaron Lynch, Tank Carradine, and Brock Coyle in free agency, but they now have to worry about a potential suspension for star linebacker Rueben Foster. Linebacker is the No. 1 need for them, so taking a prospect with the upside that Edmunds has makes sense, though he hasn’t hit his full potential at just 19 years old. The fact that Kyle Shanahan and Jon Lynch have job stability, it allows them to give Edmunds time to shine rather than rush him along.
10. Oakland Raiders – Minkah Fitzpatrick (S – Alabama)
He’s gone from someone who was expected to go in the top-five to someone who is falling outside of the top-10, though his slide should end here. The Raiders did re-sign Reggie Nelson, though it’s just a one-year deal. They also added Marcus Gilchrist in free agency, but he’s more of a strong safety than the free safety position that Fitzpatrick plays. The signing of Gilchrist makes little sense with Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu being selected with high picks the last two years, but we’re starting to see a trend. The Raiders are clearly moving in a different direction under Jon Gruden, so it’s very possible they decide that Fitzpatrick is simply too talented to pass here. He’s played cornerback in his career, which just happens to be a need for the Raiders after the departure of T.J. Carrie.
11. Miami Dolphins – Maurice Hurst (DT – Michigan)
After a scare that had everyone panicking at the Combine, Hurst has been cleared by multiple doctors. After letting go of Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins have a void in the middle of their defense. This is one of those scenarios where they lost someone who created a lot of opportunities for those around him. The Lions saw their sack totals dip in consecutive years following his exit. So when you see last year’s sixth-round pick Vincent Taylor step-up and play well in a limited role, you have to understand that Suh makes life easier on those around him. If there were a linebacker who they felt strong about here, that’s where they can also go, but it seems too early to reach for Rashaan Evans or Leighton Vander Esch.
12. Buffalo Bills (from Bengals) – Josh Allen (QB – Wyoming)
It seems the Bills are still insistent on trading into the top-five, but the trades will be saved for the final mock draft I’ll be doing in two weeks. If they’re moving up for Allen, I’ve said all along that they should just wait until draft day to see how things shake out, as I believe he’s here at No. 12. If the Browns do, in fact, take Allen at No. 1, the Bills should absolutely trade up to snag one of the three best quarterbacks in the draft. There’s seemingly zero chance the Bills don’t take a quarterback with this pick, as they likely moved up to jump the QB-needy Cardinals. Again, in the final mock draft I’ll be doing in two weeks, the Bills will likely be trading up.
13. Washington Redskins – Vita Vea (DT – Washington)
I’ve been saying for quite some time that we can possibly see Vea go before this pick, but with the four quarterbacks likely being selected, he falls into the Redskins lap at No. 13. They have a major need on the defensive line, as Ziggy Hood has been subpar since coming into the league. Vea will come in and start right away, giving the Redskins a surge of energy up the middle they’ve been missing for quite some time. Losing Trent Murphy and Junior Galette this offseason hurts, but Vea and newly-added Pernell McPhee should make you feel better. Cornerback is another position of need, but there’s a big talent gap in between Denzel Ward and the next corner.
14. Green Bay Packers – Derwin James (S – Florida State)
With Morgan Burnett leaving via free agency and Damarious Randall being traded away for DeShone Kizer, the Packers secondary somehow has more holes than they have the last two years. Kevin King will return to the starting lineup next year, so cornerback can wait, but adding James to play alongside Haha Clinton-Dix would immediately give the Packers one of the best 1-2 punches in all of football. Not only is this a position of need, but James also might be the best player available.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Mike McGlinchey (OT – Notre Dame)
I’ve had Lamar Jackson in this slot for quite some time, but his stock has seemingly dropped since the end of the college season. The Cardinals signing Sam Bradford to a two-year $20 million contract says they’ll play him, and they already signed his backup in Mike Glennon. Instead of adding another quarterback, they continue to try and rebuild the offensive line. Yes, they signed Andre Smith in free agency, but just ask any Bengals fan if that’ll work out. McGlinchey can play on either side of the offensive line, too, giving them flexibility to prepare to draft their quarterback in 2019.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
If the Ravens like another wide receiver more than Ridley, they can go with them, but Ridley makes a lot of sense considering the Ravens misses on wide receivers over the last five years or so. He’s the receiver who likely offers the highest floor of any wide receiver in this class, though some may have felt like his upside took a hit due to his measurables. Coming from someone who has studied Ridley’s tape a ton, it didn’t. It’s not often you get a wide receiver of his caliber available in the middle of the first-round, so Ravens fans should be elated with this pick.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne (DT – Alabama)
The Chargers have started to develop what could be a dominant defense. In fact, you could say that they’re already there having allowed the fewest points per game in 2017. With that, Payne would take the defense to another level, similar to what Calais Campbell did for the Jaguars. While I’m not saying Payne is on the level of Campbell, he’s someone who can make everyone around him better. Think about a defensive line featuring Payne, Corey Liuget, Joey Bosa, and Melvin Ingram. Scary stuff, right? The Chargers could also go with an inside linebacker here if they choose, but Payne fills a position of need and is better than any linebacker on the board at this point.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Marcus Davenport (DE – UTSA)
Davenport fits right in with the Seahawks mentality of tough defense, as I wrote that Davenport might actually take a quarterback’s head off at some point. He’s a massive presence on the edge at 6-foot-6 and 264 pounds, but also has the speed to get around tackles, as his 4.58-second 40-yard dash was the second-fastest among all defensive lineman at the NFL Combine. After losing Richard Sherman, Sheldon Richardson, and Michael Bennett this offseason, the defensive rebuilding begins.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
With all the rumors flying around about the Cowboys potentially cutting Dez Bryant after the draft, they are going to need a new No. 1 wide receiver. While Sutton has some question marks, he’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a WR1 mold in this draft. At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, Jerry Jones and the staff can’t help but think of the possibilities of him being their new face of the franchise. Some will say that D.J. Moore should go here instead, and I’d agree with that if the Cowboys plan to keep Bryant. They could use an outside linebacker, too, but they’ll search for one in the second-round.
20. Detroit Lions – Harold Landry (OLB/DE – Boston College)
The Lions are reportedly going to play a mixture of 4-3 and 3-4 defense, which doesn’t give us a clear sense of what they’d look for. But with Landry, he can contribute as both an edge in a 4-3, but can play the outside linebacker role in a 3-4, which is a need for the Lions considering they lost Tahir Whitehead this offseason. Another possibility with this pick would be an offensive guard, as both Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez would make sense for them.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Connor Williams (OT – Texas)
When the Bengals traded back to this spot, they figured they’d be able to get Mike McGlinchey or Williams with this pick, so they’re happy to see Williams on the board. A bit undersized as a tackle, some project him to make the move to guard. My guess would be that the Bengals stick him at right tackle and see how he does, while newly-acquired Cordy Glenn holds down left tackle. Some have said that Quenton Nelson brings the attitude you want on the offensive line, and I believe Williams has that as well.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs) – D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
After the treacherous offseason that the Bills have had, they’re going to need to address the wide receiver position once again. After finding out that Kelvin Benjamin needed another knee surgery, Zay Jones seems to have a mental health issue that we’ve seen knock players out of the NFL, and Jordan Matthews just signed with the Patriots. No matter who the quarterback is, they’re going to need some pass-catchers who are reliable. Moore gives them flexibility as someone who can play on the perimeter or the slot and is sure-handed.
23. New England Patriots (from Rams) – Kolton Miller (OT – UCLA)
Some are assuming that the Patriots will select a quarterback with this pick, and while that’s possible, I think protecting Tom Brady comes first. After seeing Nate Solder leave for New York and Cameron Fleming leave for Dallas, they have some serious holes on the offensive line. Miller is a massive man at 6-foot-9 and 309 pounds, which resembles Solder quite a bit. Now having four picks in the top two rounds, the Patriots have some flexibility.
24. Carolina Panthers – Josh Jackson (CB – Iowa)
When you play in a division with Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas, cornerbacks had better be a priority. They did add Ross Cockrell in free agency, but after watching James Bradberry take a slight step backwards last year, they need to add even more depth. They lost Andrew Norwell in free agency, but it seems they’ll rely on last year’s second-round pick Taylor Moton to step into his place. Another player they could consider here is LSU’s Derrius Guice, who would give them a rock-solid 1-2 punch with him and Christian McCaffrey, but it’s hard seeing them going running backs in the first-round in back-to-back years. If you want them to take one, take a look at their second-round pick in this mock.
25. Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans (ILB – Alabama)
The worst fears were realized this offseason when the Titans lost Avery Williamson to the Jets in free agency, leaving a gaping hole at the inside linebacker position. Evans and Leighton Vander Esch are the two they should consider here, though Alabama players typically get the nod. The only other direction they could go is strong safety, but Ronnie Harrison seems like a big reach at this point in the draft. I’d be shocked if the Titans didn’t go linebacker here.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan (DT – Florida)
Here’s a change in the plan, as I’ve had the Falcons going with a nickel cornerback here for quite some time, but after losing Dontari Poe in free agency, they need to fill the void up the middle. He helped transform that defense up the middle, and with their main rival sticking Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara out there twice a year, they need to shore up that defensive line. They’d love to get one of Maurice Hurst or Da’Ron Payne here, but they have to settle for Bryan. Another direction they could go is guard, as Will Hernandez was extremely close to being the pick here, but if they don’t go with a defensive tackle here, next round would likely look grim.
27. New Orleans Saints – Hayden Hurst (TE – South Carolina)
Most tight ends take time to develop out of college, but the Saints don’t have time on their side with Drew Brees and need someone to contribute immediately. Hurst is already 25 years old, but he’s also the most polished tight end in the draft and is one of the best ball-trackers, which is something the Saints will find useful. Hurst is also extremely versatile in the ways you can use him, which is something Sean Payton covets. Don’t think that just because the Saints signed Ben Watson that they’re set at the position. The Saints addressed three major holes on defense in free agency, allowing them to take a tight end here.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mason Rudolph (QB – Oklahoma State)
Do you think the Steelers are going to be a contender as long as Ben Roethlisberger is the starter? I do, though we don’t know exactly how long that will be. Because of that, you have to think – how many opportunities will they have to draft a franchise quarterback without trading up? Landing someone with the potential of Rudolph at No. 28 is huge and I don’t expect the Steelers to pass on him. If they do, I’d look for them to draft a linebacker, whether it be inside or outside, as both are needs. Safety is another possibility after releasing Mike Mitchell this offseason.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville)
Well, it’s happening. There have been a lot of analysts and fans hoping for this pick to happen, and while I don’t think it makes too much sense from a team-build standpoint, the Jaguars don’t have many holes to fill. They could use an outside linebacker now that Myles Jack will move back to middle linebacker, but there’s not really a first-round talent left on the board at the position. And to be clear, this is not me saying that I don’t think Jackson can be good in the NFL (he might be); it’s me saying that I believe the Jaguars need a game-manager under center with how elite their defense is, and that’s something Jackson won’t ever be. He could turn them into a very exciting offense, however, just imagining him and Leonard Fournette in the backfield.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn (OG – Georgia)
After signing Kirk Cousins to a fully-guaranteed contract, their first objective in the draft is to protect him. Signing Wynn makes plenty of sense, as he’d step right in at left guard, a position that’ll be much easier than the one he played at Georgia (left tackle). Wynn was undersized as a tackle, but should help the pass-blocking in-between Pat Elflein and Riley Reiff on the left side of the line. The Vikings have put an emphasis on rebuilding the offensive line and they feel lucky to land someone like Wynn at No. 30.
31. New England Patriots – Lorenzo Carter (OLB/DE – Georgia)
Most will want to see Leighton Vander Esch here, but with the Patriots expected to move Don’t’a Hightower back to middle linebacker where he’s excelled in the past, it’s highly unlikely. Instead, they add a pass-rusher in Carter who can help them immediately. While they made a great signing in Adrian Clayborn, he’s not really an every-down player at this point in his career. Carter is someone who should make a huge impact in the NFL, as he’s a player who continually popped on film and was regularly in the opponent’s backfield. Patriots fans should love this pick.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Leighton Vander Esch (ILB – Boise State)
Some expect him to go before this, but the Eagles are happy he didn’t. They don’t have many holes on their team, so they can technically go best available, but this is the best of both worlds. Vander Esch is someone who some analysts have compared to Luke Kuechly and Brian Urlacher, though I’m not one of them. He should be a starter in the NFL for a long time, however, and that’s more than enough at the end of the first-round. If he’s gone, the Eagles likely take the top player on their board. While Eagles fans believe they’re set at cornerback, Jalen Mills started to come back down to earth towards the end of the year. While Sidney Jones will start opposite Ronald Darby, we could see them draft a nickel cornerback to replace Patrick Robinson on the roster.
1. Cleveland Browns – Tyrell Crosby (OT – Oregon)
After learning of Joe Thomas‘ retirement, the Browns had to take a long look at the left tackle position with the No. 4 spot in the draft, and it’s why I ultimately believe they may trade out of that spot. But keeping things status quo, the Browns need to take one here and Crosby is the best one remaining. They have all other positions on the offensive line solidified, but with this being the most important one, they cannot ignore it.
2. New York Giants – Will Hernandez (OG – UTEP)
It might seem unlikely that Hernandez falls this far, but if he does, the Giants jump on him. After landing Nate Solder in free agency, adding Hernandez would give the line a complete makeover. The loss of Justin Pugh suddenly doesn’t feel so bad. Hernandez is a much better run-blocker than anything, something the Giants needed to improve on this offseason. I don’t dismiss the idea that they take a running back at some point, but snagging Hernandez here will make life easier on whoever is running behind that offensive line.
3. Cleveland Browns (from Texans) – Harrison Phillips (DT – Stanford)
After trading away Danny Shelton for the Patriots, the Browns have a hole to fill on the defensive line. This is a loaded class for high-end defensive tackles, though Phillips is not in the top-tier. Whatever the case, the Browns cleared up a few of their cornerback spots in free agency, as well as added depth at safety with Damarious Randall (who was apparently playing out of position with the Packers), so they need to solidify their need in the trenches instead of waiting any longer.
4. Indianapolis Colts – Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
After acquiring two second-round picks from the Jets in this draft, the Colts are able to take a luxury pick with Guice. While some expect him to go in the first-round, his lack of receiving capability likely pushes him into the second-round. Knowing the Colts have a good timeshare back in Marlon Mack to play alongside him, they aren’t too worried about his lack of receiving to this point. They’ll add someone else to help out with their aerial attack with their next pick.
5. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets) – Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
The Colts added a top-notch cornerback to help the defense in the first, but add some firepower to the offense with their early second-round picks. After letting Donte Moncrief walk in free agency, the Colts obviously have plans to add a wide receiver in the draft, as T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Grant, and Chester Rogers aren’t going to cut it. Gallup would give Andrew Luck a possession-style wide receiver that he hasn’t had since Reggie Wayne who can operate underneath while Hilton takes the top off the defense.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jaire Alexander (CB – Louisville)
The Bucs had a lot of issues in their secondary last year, as it seems that Vernon Hargreaves might not be the cornerback they thought he would be when they took him at No. 11 overall in 2016. They did re-sign Brent Grimes to a one-year deal, but that doesn’t fix much of anything. Similar to the Panthers, the Bucs have to worry about playing Julio Jones and Michael Thomas in four of their 16 games.
7. Chicago Bears – Braden Smith (OG – Auburn)
After watching the Bucs steal Quenton Nelson from them in the first-round, the Bears need to replace Josh Sitton on the offensive line. Not just that, but Kyle Long apparently had three offseason surgeries, creating some questions at the other guard position. Smith may be considered somewhat of a reach at this point, but he’s a former tackle who gives the Bears some flexibility.
8. Denver Broncos – Mike Hughes (CB – UCF)
After trading away Aqib Talib to the Rams, the Broncos have a void on the left side of the field. Both Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby are solid, but they stay firmly planted at their spots on the field. Last year’s third-round pick Brendan Langley didn’t look to be starter material in the snaps he did play last year, so they go after Hughes, who some have graded as the No. 2 cornerback in this draft.
9. Oakland Raiders – Dallas Goedert (TE – South Dakota State)
With Jon Gruden looking to turn back the clocks to 1998, he’ll be running a lot of 2TE sets. After releasing Clive Walford, they have a void to fill, and Goedert provides a massive weapon in the passing attack. We’ve heard about the Raiders potentially looking to add a wide receiver in the draft, so Goedert could solve two problems with one pick. He’s the top tight end on most draft boards, but the upgrade in competition is the biggest question mark.
10. Miami Dolphins – Malik Jefferson (LB – Texas)
After going defensive tackle in the first, the Dolphins go after their linebacker here. They need more than one, but Jefferson would be a solid pick in the second-round. He is a tad inconsistent in his play and may take some time to fully develop, but the Dolphins aren’t a contender at this moment. He has tremendous length and when he flashes, he looks just as good as Tremaine Edmunds. He’s likely best-suited as an outside linebacker but offers some versatility. He likely presents the most upside at linebacker at this point.
11. New England Patriots – Mike Gesicki (TE – Penn State)
It seemed likely that the Patriots would take a wide receiver here, but with news dropping that the Patriots had signed Jordan Matthews, we had to re-evaluate. We’ve all heard the rumblings about Rob Gronkowski considering retirement at times, and we also know that the Patriots run a lot of 2TE sets. Gesicki is the most gifted athlete in this tight end class and would be a great successor to Gronkowski in New England. Most think the Patriots will take a quarterback somewhere, but none of the ones they wanted were there.
12. Washington Redskins – Billy Price (C/OG – Ohio State)
Once the Redskins lost Spencer Long in free agency, they needed to figure out who would play where on the offensive line. Last year’s sixth-round pick Chase Roullier played well in relief, but will that carry over a full season? Because of that, they take the versatile Price, who can play either center or guard. He did suffer a torn pectoral muscle at the Combine, but will be ready for the start of the season. The other direction they could go is cornerback, but most of the names they wanted are likely gone.
13. Green Bay Packers – James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
After dismissing Jordy Nelson this offseason, the Packers wide receiver depth chart is looking pretty slim. Fortunately for them, Washington is the perfect replacement, as he’s someone who can track the deep ball as well as anyone. While Davante Adams plays the possession receiver role, Washington could be the long-term solution for the Packers on the other side of the field.
14. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels (C – Iowa)
After snagging their new right tackle in the first, the Bengals continue to replenish their offensive line. Daniels is the top center on plenty of draft boards (not mine) and should offers what might be the lowest-risk at the position, as he’s solid all-around. The brand new offensive line would allow the run-game to shine and it would give Andy Dalton more time to find his receiving options, something that was simply not there in 2017. If they feel as if they’ve invested enough on the offensive line, linebackers should be on their radar.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Isaiah Oliver (CB – Colorado)
An underrated loss for the Cardinals this offseason was Tramon Williams, who took over for Justin Bethel, who was continually torched in coverage and eventually benched. While I don’t view Oliver as a No. 1 cornerback, he wouldn’t need to be with Patrick Peterson shadowing opposing No. 1 wide receivers. They could also go with Donte Jackson from LSU as a speed cornerback while Peterson takes on the more physical wide receivers, but I don’t think Jackson deserves to be a second-round pick.
16. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Reid (S – Stanford)
It’s been eating at me throughout free agency why the Chargers have not re-signed Tre Boston, but news came out recently that they view him as a strong safety rather than the free safety position he played last year. Whatever the case, they have not re-signed him, leaving a void at free safety. Reid can play both safety positions but is likely a better free safety.
17. Indianapolis Colts (from Jets, from Seahawks) – Darius Leonard (LB – SC State)
This is a pick based on flexibility, as Leonard can play both inside and outside linebacker, with the Colts have some holes at both positions. After losing Jon Bostic and Bartavious Mingo in free agency, they need to address the position. While I don’t believe Leonard is a special talent and that the Colts may have another player graded higher, they value his versatility which is why he’s here.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Dorian O’Daniel (OLB – Clemson)
After adding Sutton in the first-round, the Cowboys need to focus on the defense. O’Daniel will help fill the void left by Anthony Hitchens. He’s worked his way up the draft 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.
19. Detroit Lions – Frank Ragnow (C – Arkansas)
It seems that Ragnow is just now starting to move up draft boards which is odd because he’s been my No. 1 center the entire time. If we’re being honest, I don’t know what’s changed in everyone’s mind. He’d be a welcomed addition to the run-game that’s struggled for quite some time in Detroit. Drafting him would allow Graham Glasgow to go back to left guard and they can move on from Travis Swanson. I’d consider Ragnow a steal at this point.
20. Baltimore Ravens – Sam Hubbard (OLB/DE – Ohio State)
With Za’Darius Smith and Matthew Judon failing to show that they’re difference-makers, the Ravens snag Hubbard to play opposite Terrell Suggs, who is going to be 36 years old this year. The Ravens have a lot of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but they can’t simply ignore the defense. Hubbard is a versatile player who comes from the highly-regarded Ohio State program.
21. Buffalo Bills – Jerome Baker (OLB – Ohio State)
I’m still questioning whether or not the Bills have this pick by the time it comes around due to trades, but Baker would make sense if they do. He did benefit by playing around a ton of good players at Ohio State, but tape tends to look better when you do. While I believe he’s just an average talent, the Bills need to get a linebacker and he is one of the better ones available.
22. Kansas City Chiefs – Arden Key (OLB/DE – LSU)
There are major questions surrounding Key as someone who “lost his passion” for the game and walked away for a chunk of time. The Chiefs have lost plenty of their veterans on defense and it’s time to rebuild, so taking a player with Key’s upside makes sense. He would step in and play opposite Justin Houston immediately. Cornerback could be a consideration as well but pressuring the quarterback should be the top concern.
23. Carolina Panthers – Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
The Panthers didn’t expect to have Kirk as an option, but he slots in perfectly with Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith. While they did draft Curtis Samuel last year, he’s never going to be the possession slot receiver that Kirk can be. The Panthers found out that having Cam Newton check-down a bit more can be helpful to their overall offense, and good luck trying to figure out a defensive package to stop both Christian McCaffrey and Kirk over the middle of the field.
24. Buffalo Bills (from Rams) – Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
LeSean McCoy is playing out his last season or two, though it shouldn’t shock anyone if he’s dealt to a contender, especially if they land Michel. The Bills can cut McCoy after this year while taking a cap hit of just $2.6 million and they have nobody of relevance outside of Chris Ivory behind him on the depth chart. Michel is a foundation running back and one that I’ve personally compared to McCoy.
25. Tennessee Titans – Ronnie Harrison (S – Alabama)
One of the only weak points left on the Titans roster. After releasing Da’Norris Searcy, we have to assume the Titans are in the safety market. Johnathan Cyprien has been a disappointment over his career to this point, so I can’t imagine they’d be planning to go forward with him as the clear-cut starter at strong safety. The Titans could use another guard on the offensive line, so Wyatt Teller could be another possibility here.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Donte Jackson (CB – LSU)
After passing on cornerback in the first-round, the Falcons try to find someone to replace Brian Poole. During his time at LSU, Jackson did cover the slot at times, which is where he’d start as a nickel cornerback. I’m personally not a fan of Jackson’s game, but his athleticism has teams moving him up draft boards. As the Falcons No. 3 cornerback, they could do worse.
27. San Francisco 49ers – Tim Settle (DT – Virginia Tech)
While the 49ers lost a bunch of players in free agency, their defense continues to get rebuild. Adding Settle to play alongside DeForest Buckner would be a massive upgrade over Earl Mitchell. The 49ers haven’t what would be described as a good run defense the last few years, but the 330-pound Settle will help with that. He’s extremely agile for a man of his size, and there’s still room for him to grow as a player.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Quin Blanding (S – Virginia)
After releasing a couple safeties this offseason, the Steelers had some holes to fill. They added Morgan Burnett in free agency, but still need someone to man the free safety spot. Blanding is a hybrid that can play both safety positions, so he can give the Steelers some flexibility. While I’m not a fan of Blanding’s game, he seems to be high on a lot of boards. Most of the better safeties on the board are strong safety/in-the-box type of players. Drafting a quarterback in the first-round might come back to bite them in other areas.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Mark Andrews (TE – Oklahoma)
Some believe the Jaguars will draft a wide receiver with one of their top two picks in the draft, but after signing Donte Moncrief and Marqise Lee, it’s not really a need to draft one this high because he wouldn’t see the field right away, though I do believe they add one in the later rounds. Instead, they snag Andrews, who is essentially a wide receiver. The Jaguars did bring in Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but on a two-year deal, which is about the time it takes for a rookie tight end to learn the adjustments to the pro game. Andrews can contribute earlier if they don’t want him to block, as his hands are rock-solid.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Holton Hill (CB – Texas)
The rich continue to get richer. The Vikings take a chance on Hill, who might wind up being a steal at this point in the draft, as he’s got the size and skill-set to be a top corner in this league. There are some off-the-field concerns about why he was suspended by Texas in 2017, but if a team can figure out why and move past those issues, he’s a player. The Vikings need to prepare for life after Terence Newman, as 2016 second-round pick Mackensie Alexander doesn’t appear to be the solution.
31. New England Patriots – Josh Sweat (DE – Florida State)
After watching their defense take 10 steps back last year, the Patriots are rebuilding their entire defensive front and adding some much-needed depth. Sweat is a difference-maker, though there are some serious questions about his knee that was dislocated in high school. Because of that, he’ll need to likely rotate on and off the field, which is a perfect compliment for newly-acquired Adrian Clayborn.
32. Cleveland Browns – Shaquem Griffin (LB – UCF)
After showing off at the NFL Combine, Griffin is absolutely in the Day 2 conversation. He has overcome the obstacle of missing a hand throughout his life and has an incredible motor. He’ll immediately become a fan favorite in Cleveland, though they may not ask him to start right away. The Browns could use depth at both inside and outside linebacker, so taking a player with the upside of Griffin could make plenty of sense.