The draft is just a few short weeks away and trades continue to happen throughout the NFL that are shaking up the first round. Quarterback needy teams like the Bills and Cardinals are trying to secure their spot in the top 5. In this scenario, I think Buccaneer fans will be pretty happy come April 26th at around midnight.
1. Cleveland Browns – Josh Allen QB (Wyoming). The Browns have been searching for a QB for decades and they can’t mess this one up. Allen has the biggest bust potential out of all the QB prospects, but he also has the highest ceiling. The Browns upgraded their offensive personnel with the additions of Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, as well as a nice bridge QB in Tyrod Taylor. Allen reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley will have a chance to turn Allen into Big Ben.
2. New York Giants - Sam Darnold QB (USC) - If Darnold goes #1 the Giants will look to trade this pick to the Bills, but in this mock draft he is available for the G-men and they pull the trigger. Darnold is ready to play in the NFL, but the Giants will have him sit and learn for a year behind Eli Manning. It’s a no brainer for the Giants as they get arguably the best quarterback prospect in the draft.
3. New York Jets – Josh Rosen QB (Wyoming). The Jets didn’t give up three second round picks to take Baker Mayfield and his antics both on and off the field. Rosen is the franchise QB the Jets have been waiting for and the team hopes he takes them to the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
4. Cleveland Browns – Saquon Barkley (Penn State). The Browns end up with the best offensive player in the draft at #4 after selecting their franchise quarterback with their first pick. Barkley adds another dimension to Cleveland’s offense and gives Todd Haley another weapon to work with.
5. Denver Broncos- Quenton Nelson OG (Notre Dame). John Elway is disappointed that Josh Allen is not on the board at 5. He instead goes with Nelson who will be a pro bowl guard and make an immediate impact on the Broncos offensive line and help protect Case Keenum. Baker Mayfield is also an option here if Elway likes what he sees in the next few weeks.
6. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb DE (NC State). The Colts missed out on nearly every player in free agency and it looks as if Chris Ballard is going to build this team through the draft. The team is disappointed Quenton Nelson isn’t on the board, but Chubb, who is considered the best pass rusher in this draft gives the Colts a much needed spark on the defensive side of the ball.
7. Buffalo Bills – Baker Mayfield QB (Oklahoma). The Bills have been positioning themselves to trade up in this year’s draft to select their franchise QB. Mayfield is available at 7 and with the Dolphins lurking the Bills don’t wait any longer to make their move. The Bills give up their 12, 22, and 121 in order to move up to #7.
8. Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick DB (Alabama). The bears are thrilled to see Fitzpatrick available for them with the 8th pick. After resigning Kyle Fuller in free agency and giving Mitchell Trubisky new weapons, the Bears add more talent to their secondary with the Alabama standout.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Ward RB (Ohio State). The 49ers #1 target all along has been Denzel Ward and they get their guy at 9. Ward will play along Richard Sherman and give the 49ers a very respectable pair at corner. Ward is lockdown and will allow more time for the 49ers d lineman to get to the quarterback.
10. Oakland Raiders – Tremaine Edmunds LB (Georgia). New head Coach Jon Gruden gets a 19 year old player who could have the highest ceiling in the draft. The Raiders back seven is one of the worst in the NFL and Edmunds can play any linebacker spot and also rushed the passer on occasion in college. Gruden had an extremely successful defense in Tampa Bay and will look to build the same type of team in Oakland.
11. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea DT (Washington). After releasing Ndamukong Suh the Dolphins suddenly have a need at defensive tackle and Vea would step in on day 1 and fill the void Suh has left on the defensive line. Vea was dominant in college especially against the run, but he can also collapse the pocket.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James DB (Florida State). The Buccaneers have addressed both the offensive and defensive lines in free agency, but have yet to address a secondary which ranked last in defending against the pass. James is a straight baller and will be the leader on the defense next to Kwon Alexander for the next decade. Pairing him with Justin Evans also gives the Buccaneers a very promising secondary.
13. Washington Redskins – Marcus Davenport EDGE (UTSA). You can never have too many pass rushers and the Redskins take one with unlimited potential. Davenport is extremely raw, but will be able to learn from Ryan Kerrigan who is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the NFL. The Redskins have a very solid defense as is and it just got better.
14. Green Bay Packers- Harold Landry EDGE (Boston College). The Packers need a pass rush as bad as anyone in the NFL. Landry is the best 3-4 Edge rusher in the draft and would be a perfect fit in Green Bay alongside pro bowler Mike Daniels
15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson QB (Louisville). The Cardinals would like to trade up into the top 5, but they simply don’t have the resources to do so. They are also the only team in the NFC without a franchise QB. Jackson has some learning to do, but he is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. I think he will be great he just needs to be put in the right situation.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley WR (Alabama). The Ravens have tried to fix their receiving core the last few years and every offseason they fail to do so. They did add Michael Crabtree, but he isn’t a long term option. The Ravens add another receiver to the mix and hope to finally have a true number 1 at the position for the foreseeable future.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Roquan Smith LB (Georgia). The Chargers are one of the more complete teams in the entire NFL, but have a need at middle linebacker. Adding smith to their defense would elevate the team even higher.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Josh Jackson CB (Iowa). The legion of boom has come to an end and the Seahawks have a desperate need at cornerback. Young talent needs to be added to that secondary and they start by selecting Jackson.
19. Dallas Cowboys – D.J. Moore WR (Maryland). The Cowboys have signed some receivers in free agency, but I don’t anticipate that from changing their draft strategy. With this likely being Dez Bryant’s last season with the team and Jason Witten becoming another year older the Cowboys get Dak Prescott a young receiver to work with for years to come.
20. Detroit Lions – Maurice Hurst DT (Michigan). New head coach Matt Patricia continues to build the defense in Detroit. I could see them adding a running back with their first pick, but because of Patricia, the Lions select Hurst.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniel OL (Iowa). The Bengals recently traded for left tackle Cory Glenn, but still have needs along their offensive line. Daniel behind Quenton Nelson is arguably the second best interior lineman in this draft and he will be the second offensive line piece the Bengals add this offseason.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Via Buff) – Mike Hughes CB (Central Florida). The Buccaneers use the second pick from the Bills to select another defensive back. With Grimes likely only playing one more year and Vernon Hargreaves still an unknown, Tampa Bay injects another talented player to their secondary.
23. New England Patriots (Via LA Rams) –Mike McGlinchey OT (Notre Dame). The Patriots lost both starting tackles in free agency and have to upgrade their offensive line. McGlinchey gives Tom Brady some much needed protection and the Patriots immediately replace Nate Soldier.
24. Carolina Panthers – Courtland Sutton WR (SMU). The Panthers need to give Cam Newton more weapons on offense because he simply does not have much to work with. The team selects Sutton who will attempt to fill the void left by Kelvin Benjamin.
25. Tennessee Titans – Leighton Vander Esch LB (Boise State). The Titans were very active in free agency, but did lose their starting middle linebacker Avery Williamson. Vander Esch fills the need and adds another talented piece to the Titans defense.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne DT (Alabama). Dontari Poe went to the Carolina Panthers in free agency which leaves a need on the defensive line for the Falcons. Alabama defensive lineman are very productive in the NFL and Payne is a nice fit for this Falcons team.
27. New Orleans Saints – Mike Gesicki TE (Penn State). The clock is ticking on Drew Brees and Sean Payton knows that. The Saints have been trying to acquire a tight end all offseason, but haven’t been able too. Gesicki ran a 4.54 40 at the combine and will be a nice weapon for Drew Brees.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Malik Jefferson LB (Texas). The absence of Ryan Shazier was detrimental to the Steelers last season. It has already been announced that he won’t play in 2018 and there is no guarantee he returns to his form before the injury. Jefferson gives the Steelers a nice young linebacker.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – D.J. Chark WR (LSU). The Jaguars lost both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in free agency so they spend their first round pick on Chark, who ran a 4.3 40 yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. I don’t see many mocks with Chark in the first round, but his 4.3 40 puts him in conversation for a late first round pick.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn OL (Georgia). The Vikings might have the best roster top to bottoms in the entire NFL. With the addition of Kirk Cousins the Vikings bolster their offensive line even more to help in both the pass and run game.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Via NE) – Sony Michel RB (Georgia). The Buccaneers trade up 7 spots and give up the extra fourth round pick they obtained in the Bills trade to do so. With many RB needy teams at the top of the second round, Tampa Bay can’t afford to wait and hope one falls. Michel is a game changer who will add another dimension to an already talented offense and should help take the pressure off of Jameis Winston.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Jarie Alexander DB (Louisville). The Eagles really don’t need much, but Ronald Darby is in the final year of his contract and they lost Patrick Robinson in free agency. Alexander and last year’s first round pick Sydney Jones will be a nice one two punch for the defending super bowl champions.