Here are the rules for my 2018 mock draft
1. The picks are made as if I (Chris James) were the GM of each team
2. The selections are made based off team needs on the roster as of (today’s date)
3. The selections are based on my own player rankings NOT what you see anywhere else
4. There are NO TRADES, period!
5. And last, but not least, RELAX, it’s just a mock draft…enjoy!
Selected Player – Pick – Round – Team – School – Position
Saquon Barkley 1 1 CLE Penn State RB
I’m a believer in generational talent being of higher importance than positional value. In addition, I have the 4th overall selection which allows me to address QB at that stage. Saquon Barkley represents all the requisite factors (athleticism, versatility, low collegiate usage, attitude on and off the field) of a number one selection and face of a franchise.
Josh Rosen 2 1 NYG UCLA QB
The current QB is 37 years old and hasn’t played at a high level consistently. I also doubt that we’ll have the opportunity to draft in the top 2 soon given our recent history. Josh Rosen is the QB that fits the environment best IMO. He’s a strong personality that can handle the NY media market well.
Sam Darnold 3 1 NYJ (via IND) USC QB
Sam Darnold led the nation in turnovers in 2017. Most of these were due to awful decision making in the passing game or mishandling of the ball in an active pocket. The Jets would be a perfect landing spot for Darnold. McCown is a journeymen vet with a similar game to Darnold’s. Bridgewater is another young QB on a prove it deal that can provide long-term competition.
Lamar Jackson 4 1 CLE (via HOU) Louisville QB
Lamar Jackson is the best fit for the Browns considering both their recent history and current roster construction. Jackson would be able to progress naturally without being shoved into action like Kizer. This is due to the addition of Tyrod Taylor via trade. Taylor can also mentor Jackson on how “mobile” QBs are treated in the league. The biggest reason for the Jackson selection is the excitement factor. The Browns tried to bring that with Manziel, but Jackson is an upgrade to Johnny Football in EVERY way.
Christian Kirk 5 1 DEN Texas A&M WR
There are several ways that Christian Kirk can be helpful to this roster. He is considered a slot WR by many but can play flanker IMO. The Broncos could also feel less pressure to re-sign WRs on their roster. And last but most important, he will sure up the biggest issue from 2017…the return game bugaboo.
Bradley Chubb 6 1 IND (via NYJ) NC State DE
The top DE (not edge rusher) in this draft is Bradley Chubb due to his size and technical skill. Chubb would have been second to only Derek Barnett in the 2017 draft class. The addition of a playmaker of this caliber would help remove the mark left by the last five draft classes.
Minkah Fitzpatrick 7 1 TB Alabama DB
The Bucs have done a great job addressing the DL with active edge rushers. The LB level was already well stocked but the back end still needs work. In a division with Brees, Newton, & Ryan you’ll need a match up specialist to counteract these QBs. Minkah Fitzpatrick can play CB or either safety, but his best value is in the slot. He’s a great move piece that could be a high-level performer at FS in Gregg Williams’ defense.
Denzel Ward 8 1 CHI Ohio State CB
The offense was helped throughout the FA period. I’m going to use this pick to address the D, which played well in 2017. Denzel Ward is a great match up CB with the skill to play in the slot. He’s also coming from a Buckeyes program that produces high level DBs since the arrival of Urban Meyer.
Derrius Guice 9 1 SF LSU RB
Jimmy Garappolo was paid, handsomely, during this offseason making him their clear franchise QB. I would continue to add talent to assist him in his role. Derrius Guice is an aggressive runner that can stay on the field all three downs. Guice would function as the lead back (Devonta Freeman) to McKinnon’s change of pace specialist (Tevin Coleman).
Roquan Smith 10 1 OAK Georgia ILB
The Oakland Raiders have a new HC in John Gruden, so some things will change especially on D. The old defensive set up had quick moving pieces, especially at the LB level. Roquan Smith is one of the most instinctive defensive players in this draft. Smith isn’t the big hitter that most expect from an ILB, but he’ll get to the ball carrier more often than most.
Da’Ron Payne 11 1 MIA Alabama DT
The offseason has been an “interesting” one for the Dolphins as Jarvis Landry & Ndamukong Suh were lost via trade & FA respectively. Ryan Tannehill is returning on a team friendly deal, so the appetite for QB isn’t as large. Adding the most talented available player is a priority. Da’Ron Payne is an extremely active DT that play the nose or 3-tech depending on the alignment. Adding Payne with Godchaux & Phillips will give the Dolphins a scary DL interior unit.
Baker Mayfield 12 1 BUF (via CIN) Oklahoma QB
There’s talk of hand size & arm strength being the most important factors for success in cold conditions. These factors mean nothing if you’re not a great decision maker. I don’t question Baker Mayfield’s on field decision making or his “want to” as a starter. I believe that his best chance of success is in an environment that’s isolated from local media distraction. I also think he will also benefit from being in a place where he can compete for a day one starting job. Baker Mayfield would easily be the best QB on this roster with a veteran in McCarron in the case of injury. His attitude would also be embraced by the Bills Mafia!
Harold Landry 13 1 WSH Boston College Edge
The ability to rush the passer is extremely valueable as a trait. In addition, the ability to play in multiple sets is helpful. Harold Landry was a sack master in 2016 and while he didn’t produce the same numbers in 2017, Landry showed he’s an all-around front seven player. Washington has multiple needs in the front seven that would be filled by adding Landry.
Derwin James 14 1 GB FSU DB
The Packers defense was at its best when it had playmakers at every level. The roster is being overhauled and a schematic change is likely in 2018. The addition of another CB would be ideal but Derwin James is too talent to pass on at this spot. James can play deep safety but excels when placed closer to the line. He’s an instinctive player that can freelance but is a matchup piece in the slot.
Calvin Ridley 15 1 ARZ Alabama WR
Larry Legend can’t play forever, even if it seems like he will. I like Chad Williams but he hasn’t quite rounded into form. The loss of John Brown also leaves a void on the depth chart. Calvin Ridley is the most NFL ready WR in this class due to his complete game. He’s a great route runner, has quality speed, and is a solid blocker. The only struggle in his game is the “contested” catch, although the sample size is small. Ridley will be perfect in the slot since he wins so early in a route.
Quenton Nelson 16 1 BAL Notre Dame OG
I would like to match players with the best fit possible and this one is perfect. Quenton Nelson has been considered a top 10 talent due to his clean tape. He’s more David DeCastro than Alan Faneca from a dominance standpoint. Nelson at LG would be ideal for this Ravens squad.
Vita Vea 17 1 LAC Washington DT
The Chargers have done a great job by drafting productive players in the middle rounds (see Desmond King in the 5th last year). This allows me to take a flier on Vita Vea at 17. The physical tools of Vea are undeniable as well as the splash production. The biggest issue is that he doesn’t often dominate a game. Placing him next to Joey Bosa would allow Vea to penetrate more often, while engaging him to play the traditional NT at other times.
Tremaine Edmunds 18 1 SEA Virginia Tech ILB
The Seattle Seahawks are in a “rebuilding” or a “retooling” or a “restructuring” period that’s seen mainstays (Bennett, Sherman) and big names (Graham, Richardson) leave the team. The new approach will be building around, and in support of, Russell Wilson. The perfect RB compliment is off the board (Guice), so I won’t take an offensive player just because. Instead, I’m going to add a player with the height/weight/speed metrics that fits the Seahawks. Tremaine Edmunds is a great addition that can play any LB role and be a situational pass rusher.
Courtland Sutton 19 1 DAL SMU WR
There is a new order in Dallas and it isn’t likely to include Dez Bryant. The WR core was bolstered with the addition of Allen Hurns. Hurns will help Dak by winning as a route runner. I’m still in search of an “X” receiver for the future. Courtland Sutton has a quality game with room for growth. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a local product that understands the expectations in Big D.
Marcus Davenport 20 1 DET UT-San Antonio Edge
The Lions haven’t had a consistent pass rush in a long time. The team took Ziggy Ansah several years ago, but he hasn’t developed into the double team machine they hoped. I’ll add more talent to the DL with Marcus Davenport. He has been a force for UT-San Antonio but it was mainly due to his physical skill rather than his technical proficiency. A talent like this can be molded in a high caliber DE while being used as a splash player in the meantime.
Frank Ragnow 21 1 CIN (via BUF) Arkansas C
Sometimes things fall in line perfectly and this would happen to be one of those times. The Cincinnati Bengals need a starting center, while the team with the next selection is too. Frank Ragnow comes from a HC that knows how to prep OL players. He’ll fit into the Bengals’ scheme quite nicely, providing stability and interior responsibility.
Isaiah Wynn 22 1 BUF (via KC) Georgia OL
The best center in the draft was taken at 21, so let’s take the best OL on the board. Isaiah Wynn can help replace departed former Georgia Bulldog in Cordy Glenn. The Bills are in an interesting position to have rebuilding tools a year after a playoff appearance. Both lines need addressing but the acquisition of QB at 12 leads me to the Wynn selection.
Lorenzo Carter 23 1 LAR Georgia Edge
The Rams have done a great job bolstering the defense via free agency. The DBs and interior DL were improved but the LB core took big hits with the losses of Robert Quinn and Alex Ogletree. A great way to address the edge rushing loss is with a player that’s played it at a high level. Lorenzo Carter was one of UGA’s best players in a 2017 season that saw the Bulldogs in the championship game.
Jaire Alexander 24 1 CAR Louisville CB
The loss of Darryl Worley via trade leaves a void in a secondary that was just coming into form. Jaire Alexander does a great job mirroring the opposition then making a play on the ball. The combination of Alexander and James Bradberry would be a scary tandem for any passing attack.
Rashaan Evans 25 1 TEN Alabama LB
The Titans improved CB depth by acquiring Malcolm Butler in FA. The next void in need of a fill is at RB, so Dion Lewis was added to complement Derrick Henry. The LB level now becomes the most pressing issue for this roster. Rashaan Evans can play ILB next to Wesley Woodyard or OLB in rotation with Dodd, Morgan, & Orakpo.
Mike Hughes 26 1 ATL UCF CB
The Falcons have a recent history of doing well with 1st round selections. Mike Hughes is one of the more polished CBs in this class. He would fit in nicely on a unit that seems to play with a chip on its shoulder every week. This is the third team in the NFC South to take a DB with its 1st round pick.
Hercules Mata’afa 27 1 NO Washington State DL
The Saints could go in multiple directions with this pick, especially in the receiving corp. I’ll hold off on WR & TE until the later rounds, since they want to continue bolstering the defense. Hercules Mata’afa is one of those players that is position agnostic. He can play DT like he did in college, LB like his size “dictates”, or DE/Edge like I have him listed in this mock. A versatile piece of this caliber is a welcomed addition a roster just getting used to success.
Josh Allen 28 1 PIT Wyoming QB
I understand why Josh Allen’s physical ability is coveted by some. He’s tall, has a big arm, and possesses functional athleticism. He’s also inaccurate, doesn’t regulate ball speed, has below average anticipation, and a mediocre resume. It’s EXTREMELY rare that this combination works out in the NFL. I would need the following conditions to select this player in the 1st round: an incumbent at QB that can’t be displaced in 2018, the QB also has a similar skill set for easier mentoring, high level talent at WR & RB, and an organization that doesn’t experience turnover with its coaching or front office staff. Pittsburgh is the perfect environment for Allen to thrive on the next level.
James Washington 29 1 JAX Oklahoma State WR
The current Jaguars WR unit consists of several talented, but often injured, slot receivers and Donte Moncrief. I need to add a guy that can win consistently on the outside. James Washington doesn’t have the “measurements” of a high impact WR but he wins consistently.
Braden Smith 30 1 MIN Auburn OG
The Vikings decided to pay 80+ guaranteed dollars to Kirk Cousins this offseason. This will soon put the salary cap into strain for what, IMO, isn’t an adequate upgrade to 2017’s QB play. Now we need to keep Cousins upright, while opening holes for Dalvin Cook at an affordable price point. Braden Smith possesses the requisite ability to pull and get to the second level but is also an above the board pass blocker.
Orlando Brown 31 1 NE Oklahoma OT
There always seems to be a late day one win by the Patriots. Orlando Brown would serve as that win for a team that needs help across the OL. A lackluster (well, epically bad) performance at the combine destroyed his early round 1 value. The thing that wasn’t lost on me was his impressive collegiate tape. What coach and organization better than the Patriots to utilize a player’s talent.
Tyrell Crosby 32 1 PHI Oregon OT
Several players are on the board that interest me for this roster including Ronald Jones & Donte Jackson. I’ve decided to go with a player that best fits and replaces a perennial pro bowler. Tyrell Crosby is an ultra-athletic OT with quality technique. Crosby will slot in at LT as a day one starter.
Donte’ Jackson 33 2 CLE LSU CB
Hello, Cleveland Browns here! I’m going to take a player that will man the slot CB position for years to come. Donte Jackson has high level footwork, fluid hips, and the recovery speed that will make him a future pro bowler. He provides flexibility for a DC that loves to play his FS in the tunnel.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 34 2 NYG Oklahoma Edge
The loss of JPP made DE a need but the talent of Ogbonnia Okoronkwo made this selection valid. An “undersized” edge rusher with technical prowess, Okoronkwo should be a great compliment to Harrison, Tomlinson, & Vernon.
Maurice Hurst 35 2 CLE (via HOU) Michigan DT
The Cleveland DL continues its evolution into a unit to match Gregg Williams’ vision. Adding a player that can play both the 1 & 3 techs. Maurice Hurst would fit well with Ogunjobi on the interior.
Rashaad Penny 36 2 IND San Diego State RB
Rashaad Penny was a 1st rounder in my last mock for a reason. He’s a day one starter at the position for a roster in desperate need of RB help. Penny has the vision and requisite physical tools to be a pro bowl caliber performer.
MJ Stewart 37 2 IND (via NYJ) UNC CB
The Colts continue to add talent at a position of need. M.J. Stewart is one of the better cover CBs in this draft class. His ability to mirror to opposition, attack the ball, and aid in run support makes him a day one starter as a boundary CB opposite Quincy Wilson.
Sony Michel 38 2 TB Georgia RB
The Bucs underachieved in 2017 relative to the talent on the roster. The RB position became one of concern as starter Doug Martin couldn’t get back to his 2015 form. His departure allows for one of the smoother runners in Sony Michel to step in. Sounds odd to say, but Michel is a runner with an NFL styled game.
Jeff Holland 39 2 CHI Auburn OLB
Jeff Holland’s tape isn’t as “explosive” as some others in the class, but he’s always around the ball. Holland will be a welcomed addition to a defensive unit that needs more consistency from their pass rushers. His game works well in concert with Leonard Floyd on the opposite side.
Taven Bryan 40 2 DEN Florida DL
Taven Bryan offers the flexibility to play multiple positions on the DL. He’ll likely slot in as the 5-tech opposite Derek Wolfe. Bryan will also allow more 4-man line capability than this unit had in 2017.
Ronald Jones II 41 2 OAK USC RB
Raider nation would stand up and cheer if this scenario came true. On the heels of getting a LB the caliber of Roquan Smith, the roster is improved with the explosive Ronald Jones. One of the best run blocking lines in the NFL has never had a back with the game breaking capability of Jones. He would be my choice as the day one starter over both Martin & Lynch.
Dallas Goedert 42 2 MIA South Dakota State TE
The Julius Thomas experiment never really came together in Miami. Now there is a hole at TE being filled by solid players. Dallas Goedert would be an upgrade to what’s currently on the roster. He also functions as a match up issue with high level catching ability.
Micah Kiser 43 2 NE (via SF) Virginia ILB
The Patriots have very little depth on the LB level with Van Noy & Hightower leading the charge. Micah Kiser is a great read & recognition player that would allow Vay Noy & Hightower to move to WLB & SLB respectively.
Natrell Jamerson 44 2 WSH Wisconsin FS
D.J. Swearinger did an admirable job at FS last season but was playing out of position IMO. The addition of Natrell Jamerson would allow Swearinger to move closer to the LOS, and other players (Smithson, Everett, Nicholson) to be used as match up pieces.
D.J. Moore 45 2 GB Maryland WR
There’s great size at WR (Adams, Allison, Clark) on this roster that can win 50/50 passes. The loss of Jordy Nelson leaves the need for a consistent exterior presence that can run the intermediate packet. D.J. Moore is one of the most complete WRs in this class. He can be used to fill what’s lacking on the current unit.
Kentavius Street 46 2 CIN NC State DL
The annual move to get more interior DL talent is upon us, and Kentavius Street is this year’s addition. Street will provide flexibility to a DL that was predictable based on a given package.
Ronnie Harrison 47 2 ARZ Alabama SS
The Cardinals were comfortable letting the Honey Badger go for some reason. I like Budda Baker’s versatility but he’s not a FS or SS. I’ll use this opportunity to add a combo safety with 1st round talent in Ronnie Harrison. He’s more comfortable as a traditional SS but does well as a deep defender.
Jason Cabinda 48 2 LAC Penn State ILB
Increased depth at LB isn’t a bad thing on a roster that has depth at most positions. Jason Cabinda is one of the better tackling players in this class that gives the Chargers package flexibility.
Anthony Miller 49 2 IND (via NYJ) Memphis WR
A continued effort to add talent to this roster is going well with this selection. Anthony Miller is an underrated player that dominated more than a few games. He’s not the guy that will blow you away with his testing numbers, but Miller is a high-level player where it counts…on the field!
Tim Settle 50 2 DAL Virginia Tech DT
The Dallas DL is getting better as they add high level talent (novel idea, right?). The best way to ensure this process is to add more scheme diverse players. Tim Settle has the physique of a NT (6’3″ 330lbs.) but plays like a 3-tech. He would be an upgrade on most rosters including this one.
Mike McGlinchey 51 2 DET Notre Dame OT
The money paid to Matt Stafford means there won’t be as much to protect him moving forward. The addition of a talented OL with the ability to play either tackle is a great decision. Mike McGlinchey is a great fit at RT for the Lions.
Mark Andrews 52 2 BAL Oklahoma TE
The Ravens require great TE play for the offense to function at an optimal level. Ben Watson’s departure, Dennis Pitta’s retirement, and Maxx Williams’ not producing as he did in college all point to additional TE help. Enter Mark Andrews, a player that always seemed to be open at Oklahoma.
Dae’Sean Hamilton 53 2 BUF Penn State WR
The Bills benefit from the Ravens deciding on TE over WR a pick earlier. DaeSean Hamilton is likely the best route runner in this class. He provides this Bills roster with a high-level tactician at WR for Baker Mayfield.
Joshua Jackson 54 2 KC Iowa CB
The Marcus Peters trade leaves the CB position lacking depth. Josh Jackson provides them with a rangy CB with high level ball skills. He doesn’t mirror as well as Peters but he may be as good (if not better) at tracking the ball.
Nick Chubb 55 2 CAR Georgia RB
The Panthers selected a RB in the top 10 last year. McCaffrey can be utilized in multiple facets by adding more depth to replace Jonathan Stewart. I used Stewart as a comp for Nick Chubb during the pre-draft process. Chubb is a complete back that doesn’t have to come off the field on any down. He and McCaffrey in the same backfield is dangerous.
Billy Price 56 2 BUF (via LAR) Ohio State C
The unexpected retirement of Eric Wood put Buffalo in an interesting spot at center. Billy Price is an agile center that can also play guard if necessary. The Bills are lucky to see an interior OL of this caliber more than 50 picks into the draft.
Marcus Allen 57 2 TEN Penn State DB
The Titans’ secondary is becoming a formidable unit with Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan, Kevin Byard, and the addition of Malcolm Butler in FA. There is still room for growth at the SS position as Jonathan Cyprien was solid. Marcus Allen is a quality combo safety that would function as an upgrade at SS.
Connor Williams 58 2 ATL Texas OL
The Falcons had a need at OG during last year’s draft that wasn’t adequately addressed IMO. Connor Williams’ collegiate career was derailed by a knee injury but returned nicely late in 2017. A tenacious run blocking OT whose strengths point to RG on the next level.
Carlton Davis 59 2 SF (via NO) Auburn CB
Richard Sherman was added to the secondary, which will be more beneficial in the meeting room than on the field. I’d take advantage of this by bringing in talent at the position. Carlton Davis is a bigger CB that uses leverage better than most. He will compete for a day one starting role.
Arden Key 60 2 PIT LSU Edge
The Steelers have been looking for a dominate edge rusher for half a decade. TJ Watt was added but his skill as a movable piece is more impactful than strictly being used to rush the passer. In comes Arden Key, a player that was dominant in 2016 but almost none existent in 2017. This is a roster that can afford a flyer on this kid’s upside.
Shaq Griffin 61 2 JAX UCF LB
There is no player that is more 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars than Shaq Griffin. The amount of confidence that he exudes is only rivaled by Jalen Ramsey. He doesn’t fit well since both the WLB & SLB (more likely position on the next level) are manned by Telvin Smith & Myles Jack respectively. I would still take him here knowing that he won’t be around at pick 93.
Kyzir White 62 2 MIN West Virginia DB
The Vikings have a good bit of talent at most positions via past drafts. An area that can be improved is the play at SS, which was quality from Andrew Sendejo. Bringing in Kyzir White would be an upgrade from the physical ability standpoint. White wouldn’t be the day one starter but would be a great depth play until he’s ready.
Ebenezer Ogundeko 63 2 NE Tennessee State DE
The Patriots organization has done a great job working with talent that hasn’t quite lived up to the billing. Ebenezer Ogundeko is worth the flyer to add into a rotation that includes Derek Rivers, Trey Flowers, and newly acquired Adrian Clayborn.
Brandon Parker 64 2 CLE (via PHI) NC A&T OT
The interior of the Cleveland Browns’ OL is a sound unit but OT can’t say the same. Future HOFer Joe Thomas retired and there wasn’t much of a contingency plan in place. The addition of Brandon Parker will add talent that still has room for growth. Parker could develop into a high-level LT on the heels of one that served for more than a decade.
Marquis Haynes 65 3 BUF (via CLE) Ole Miss OLB
There have been a glutton of early round picks for the Bills, with this being their fifth in the first 65 selections. Marquis Haynes is a LB that can rush the passer of function well in the 4-3. Remember, HC Sean McDermott is still trying to install his defensive vision in Buffalo, and Haynes will help.
Tony Adams 66 3 NYG NC State OL
Another starting caliber addition to a Giants OL that struggle (putting it nicely) during the 2017 season. Tony Adams was a four-year starting OG that also saw action at C. His experience in the middle could be helpful considering the departure of Richburg.
Jamarco Jones 67 3 IND Ohio State OT
The Colts still have areas of concern along the OL. Denzelle Good functions as a serviceable option at RT but is better suited as a depth player at the position. In steps Jamarco Jones, who played LT for the Buckeyes the last couple seasons. Jones has the power and physical style to flourish on the ride side in the NFL.
Mike Gesicki 68 3 HOU Penn State TE
DeShaun Watson could be the best young QB in NFL history. He threw 19 TDs & 8 INTs in only 7 games (6 starts) without consistent play at TE. Imagine adding an athletic option to that can be moved outside to cause match-up issues. Mike Gesicki works well in this offense even though he’s not a traditional inline TE.
Chase Edmonds 69 3 NYG (via TB) Fordham RB
The Giants hit a homerun for the backfield with a local product. Chase Edmonds would immediately be the best RB on the roster. Yes, veteran Jonathan Stewart was signed in FA but this was mainly for the presence IMO. Stewart will provide an otherwise young RB room (Perkins, Gallman, now Edmonds) with great insight.
J’Mon Moore 70 3 SF (via CHI) Missouri WR
The WR unit has very similar players in terms of stature and skillset. I’ll provide Kyle Shanahan with a bigger bodied WR that has great body control. J’Mon Moore gives the 49ers a player that “can” win in 50/50 situations but isn’t only that style player.
Isaiah Oliver 71 3 DEN Colorado CB
The Broncos suffered attrition on the back end losing Aquib Talib via trade. The CB position could face further issue if they don’t sign Bradley Roby (picked up his 5th year option) to a long-term deal. Isaiah Oliver is a rangy, physical CB that would be great opposite Chris Harris Jr. His addition also allows Harris Jr. to play more often in the slot. The instate factor doesn’t hurt since the altitude can be an issue for some players.
Ade Aruna 72 3 NYJ Tulane Edge
The 1st round selection was used on the “franchise” QB. The second selection of the draft speaks to protecting said QB, right? Not with this pick. Ade Aruna (a player brought to my attention by Emory Hunt Jr.) would be an excellent addition to the Jets D. There is some splash to the game of Aruna but it’s high level. He’s the type of edge threat the Jets have been searching for over the last half decade.
Darius Leonard 73 3 MIA SC State OLB
The Dolphins have virtually no depth at LB. The Stephon Anthony trade hasn’t quite worked out so a whole at OLB remains. Darius Leonard is the type of player this roster has missed out on for years. He would come in and man the SLB spot immediately.
Martinas Rankin 74 3 SF Mississippi State OT
The 49ers need more on the OL. I appreciate what Joe Staley has done for a decade and Trent Brown has talent, but there’s still a need at OT. Martinas Rankin has a versatile skill set that can translate across the line. I like him as the eventual LT for this roster with the flexibility to kick inside if anyone in year one.
Chad Thomas 75 3 OAK Miami (FL) DE
It’s maddening to watch NFL DC’s consistently remove Bruce Irvin from rushing the passer. He’s one of the best in the league at getting it done, BUT he doesn’t have the “requisite” size to do it every down. [end rant] The Raiders need additional DE help to go along with Khalil Mack. Chad Thomas has the physical tools to be very successful opposite Mack. He would also create a dangerous “Nascar” package with Edwards, Irvin, & Mack.
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi 76 3 GB Toledo Edge
The Packers have starters on the edge with Matthews & Perry but there’s nothing wrong with adding appropriate depth. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi would do well with the design of the Packers roster. Don’t let his perceived lack of height get in the way of his production.
Sean Welsh 77 3 CIN Iowa OG
I’ll make this short and sweet. All the things people like about Quenton Nelson are present in Sean Welsh, he’s just of a small physical stature in comparison. The Bengals get a great OG that can also kick over to center when necessary.
Michael Gallup 78 3 KC (via WSH) Colorado State WR
I say this with all due respect. I feel the need to save Andy Reid from Andy Reid. It’s a disservice to make Tyreek Hill play strictly as a WR, and new addition Sammy Watkins will function in the slot (based on history) for Reid. Michael Gallup has NFL starting WR game but his testing numbers are just average. He’s a perfect piece to balance Reid’s offense from the WR position.
Duke Dawson 79 3 ARZ Florida CB
The Cardinals secondary has been an issue for years, AND that was when they still had Jefferson & Honey Badger. Both are gone and the safety position was addressed in round 2. Duke Dawson will clean up some of the CB issues seen opposite of PP21 for several years. Need proof…please see the 2016 opening Sunday night game against the Patriots.
Harrison Phillips 80 3 HOU (via SEA) Stanford DL
I will start by saying, truth is J.J. Watt is still a great player. In addition, he’s much closer to the end of that greatness than the beginning. So, I’ll add another 5-tech to play in concert with Watt & the rest of the DL. Harrison Phillips is best positioned for success by not being the focal point of a unit. He would be very helpful to the Texans defense from day one.
Jessie Bates III 81 3 DAL Wake Forest FS
It’s clear that the Cowboys need assistance in the secondary, especially at safety. Byron Jones was moved to “free safety” because it didn’t work out at CB. With all due respect, he isn’t a FS at all. He is one of the best slot safety options in the league. Let’s bring in a piece that allows him to function in this manner. Jessie Bates III has high level ball skills and does well as a single high safety. He’s a perfect addition that puts all other DBs on the roster to be used properly.
Mark Walton 82 3 DET Miami (FL) RB
The Ameer Abdullah era didn’t work out in Detroit. He just doesn’t fit with they’re looking to do and would fit better somewhere else (Miami, Philly). LeGarrette Blount was added to help but isn’t the long-term answer. Mark Walton is a one cut runner that’s an excellent game breaker. He would work well with Blount to FINALLY give the Lions a running game.
Jaylen Samuels 83 3 BAL NC State ATH
The Ravens added a TE earlier in this mock to get back to what the offense does well. Another move is bringing in a versatile H-Back option that can also handle single back carries. Whether Kyle Juszczyk or Danny Woodhead, this has been a big part of the Ravens offensive success. Jaylen Samuels is a “position-less” player that is best classified as athlete. He can function as a RB, TE, H-Back, FB, or slot if necessary. A big win for this roster.
Uchenna Nwosu 84 3 LAC USC Edge
Adding more versatile pieces to the LB unit. Uchenna Nwosu showed he can rush the passer. He showed the ability to cover and operate in space at the Senior Bowl. It doesn’t hurt that he played his collegiate ball in LA.
Sione Teuhema 85 3 CAR (via BUF) SE Louisiana Edge
The Panthers need pass rushing depth to help the back seven. Sione Teuhema came into his own after transferring from LSU to SE LA. He would do well learning from the likes of Julius “I’m not a real human” Peppers.
Dejon Allen 86 3 KC Hawai’i OL
Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff returns to man the RG spot in 2018. The Chiefs also signed Mitchell Schwartz to address the vacancy at RT. The OL still needs depth and a player that can play both OG & OT. Dejon Allen is a very athletic OL that will win often as a run blocker. This is a win for the Chiefs.
Kalen Ballage 87 3 LAR Arizona State RB
IMO Todd Gurley was the 2017 NFL MVP. He remained healthy and fresh despite a lack of depth at the position. Malcolm Brown did a solid job as the #2 but is strictly a runner. Kalen Ballage is the best pass catching RB in the class (yes, even with Barkley in the class) and would provide more flexibility to the roster. Sean McVay would be able to have both players on the field, spelling doom for the opposition.
Javon Wims 88 3 CAR Georgia WR
There are some players that make absolute since for a given roster. Javon Wims is a Panthers WR. He high points the ball extremely well and is a good blocker in the run game. He’s not the classic “X” WR but would function more than adequately as one for this roster.
Derrick Nnadi 89 3 TEN FSU DT
The Titans are still running the 3-4 to my knowledge. They also have Jurell Casey & DaQuan Jones playing DE, to my knowledge. I’ll go ahead and add Derrick Nnadi to man the NT position. This would be a great landing spot for a player that wins at the POA often.
P.J. Hall 90 3 ATL Sam Houston State DL
The Falcons have tried to recreate the Seahawks’ defense since Dan Quinn’s arrival. The current area of concern is the DT. Losing Dontari Poe & Hageman leaves both a starting a depth role open. P.J. Hall fits the active DT mold that the Falcons covet.
Antonio Callaway 91 3 NO Florida WR
The Saints need multiple roles filled on offense & special teams. There have been struggles finding a consistent returner. Michael Thomas is “the guy” at WR, while Ted Ginn fits the deep threat role very well. In comes Antonio Callaway, who would be an upgrade at flanker and punt returner. The Saints would be near unstoppable with Callaway added.
Breeland Speaks 92 3 PIT Ole Miss DL
The Steelers continue to address the defensive front seven with another 5-tech. Stephon Tuitt signed a large deal and Cameron Heyward did the same in 2015. I doubt they’ll be able to retain both without some restructuring Heyward’s deal. The addition of Breeland Speaks allows for flexibility both financially and on the field.
Mason Rudolph 93 3 JAX Oklahoma State QB
The Jacksonville Jaguars were so close to the Superbowl last year but fell just short. The defense was stellar in 2017 and the offense had positives. QB Blake Bortles played decent football last year, which got him an extension. The QB situation still isn’t solved by any means. Mason Rudolph could offer competition for Bortles at the low price of the 93rd selection. I’m not as high on Rudolph as some but he was a productive collegiate player.
Malik Jefferson 94 3 MIN Texas LB
Minnesota has done a great job stock piling talent over the last several years. There is still less depth than expected on the second level of the defense. Malik Jefferson has the skill to play all three LB positions. The main goal here is finding depth for both OLB positions which Jefferson can offer.
Kyle Lauletta 95 3 NE Richmond QB
The “GOAT” isn’t going to play forever, even though it feels like it to the Bills, Dolphins, & Jets faithful. Jacoby Brissett was traded because they had Jimmy Garappolo on the roster. Garappolo was traded since they couldn’t financially retain him. Now Brian Hoyer is the back up and that doesn’t give you much in the vain of a future, franchise QB. Kyle Lauletta is an underrated player that should surprise most in this upcoming draft. I think Belichick will be very happy having Lauletta added to the roster.
Kerryon Johnson 96 3 BUF (via PHI) Auburn RB
Shady McCoy has been the most consistent offensive player since joining the Bills. He’s still playing at a high level, but we know how quickly that can change for RBs in this league. I would add an underrated back with complete game to back-up McCoy. Kerryon Johnson is a jack of all trades that would be a great fill for this Bills offense. He’s also a great option in the passing game, which isn’t a strong suit of recently signed Chris Ivory.
Nathan Shepard 97 3 ARZ Fort Hays State DL
I’ll be the first to admit that I missed the obvious signs on Robert Nkemdiche. He never dominated a collegiate game in three seasons. Now he’s been non-existent for two seasons in Arizona. I’ll roll the dice on a young man that pops on tape in Nathan Shepherd. The Cardinals attack would be a great fit for his skill set as he refines his technical skill.
Armani Watts 98 3 HOU Texas A&M FS
Tyrann Mathieu was just signed to play “free safety” for the Texans. I think he’s a move piece that functions much best as a match-up DB. Enter Armani Watts, a FS that has man coverage ability. The major addition is the flexibility offered by bringing in a kid that played his collegiate ball in Texas.
Royce Freeman 99 3 DEN Oregon RB
The backfield has been influx due to injury (especially C.J. Anderson, their best RB), inconsistency (which Devontae Booker is the real one), and inexperience (De’Angelo Henderson…can he be the same guy from the collegiate ranks). It seems apt for the Broncos to add another RB to the mix in Royce Freeman. He has the size that teams covet as well as above average athletic ability.
Nyheim Hines 100 3 CIN NC State RB
Yes, Joe Mixon was drafted last season to be the lead back. Yes, Gio Bernard is on the roster to aid in the passing game. Yes, Brian Hill was added to the roster to replace Jeremy Hill. Nyheim Hines is too good a football player to leave on the board. He would also add an explosive element that to a backfield that doesn’t have it.