Early 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Defensive Linemen Fly Off The Board

The NFL season has hit its quarter point. Division races are starting to shape, and there are teams that are gravitating towards the top of the draft board. Yet, the season is still surprising to this point.

Right now, the Atlanta Falcons are drafting in the top 10. The Patriots currently sit at pick 16, and the Bengals and Ravens are in the last five picks at the end of the first round.

Sounds like a season that everyone predicted.

The other part of the equation is becoming clearer as well. After five weeks of college football, we are learning plenty about the incoming draft class. Everyone has found out by now that defensive line and wide receiver are both very deep in this class. Getting a strong pass rush is important, and teams are seeing that first hand with how the Bears are playing with Khalil Mack.

So, without further ado, here is my first mock draft for 2019, the first of many to come in the next six months.

1. Arizona Cardinals: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

The Arizona Cardinals have needs on both the offensive and defensive line. However, the offensive line performed alright against the Seahawks on Sunday, giving Josh Rosen ample time on many longer forming plays. It’s the defensive line that could use the bigger boost to create pressure. They go with Ed Oliver from Houston, a player who has gotten comparisons to Aaron Donald. Oliver plays very quick for his 290 pound frame, and is a pass rusher from the interior as well as a strong presence to play gaps in the run game. He will thrive wherever he goes.

2. New York Jets: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

Like the Cardinals, the Jets sit atop the draft with their quarterback situation figured out. Sam Darnold looks like he is full of potential. The defense is playing better this season as well, especially in the secondary and at linebacker. The one thing they are missing is someone who can consistently get after the quarterback. This is where Nick Bosa comes in. Bosa is an excellent pass rusher with a good get off and the ability to win with many different moves. He uses his hands very well and doesn’t give up ground while he does, which is an elite trait for rushers. Bosa and Leonard Williams would be a nice duo on the line.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

The 49ers would love it if Bosa would have fallen to them, but they don’t get lucky in this scenario. If going edge is out of the question, getting help on the perimeter for their secondary should also be up there on the priority list. While they did sign Richard Sherman in the offseason, he isn’t a long term solution. Second year corner Ahkello Witherspoon is getting good reps this season, but it’s likely he won’t be a number one corner. So, the Niners go with Greedy Williams. Williams is a physical corner with plenty of speed and the ability to mirror routes. He would come in and provide a spark to that defense.

4. Houston Texans: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

If you’ve watched the Texans this year, you’ve seen a team that has been in games with their defense, but the offense hasn’t been anywhere near as explosive as they were with Deshaun Watson last season. This is due to the lack of talent along the offensive line, something the Texans haven’t put focus into the line in a while. If they end up picking this high, finding someone to protect Watson is of utmost importance. Adding Jonah Williams is a first step to a complete rebuild. Williams is a powerful presence at left tackle with strong hands and good footwork to handle opposing rushers. He can play from the get go.

5. Indianapolis Colts: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama

The Indianapolis Colts are still very much a work in progress, even with the return of Andrew Luck. After investing heavily in the offensive line in the 2018 draft, 2019 needs to be about getting studs for the defense. It starts for them on the defensive line, where there is no true difference maker. Either edge or the interior would work to build around, and the Colts ultimately go with Raekwon Davis. Davis is a taller defensive lineman with a lot of length. He does a great job getting low and winning with his lower body, but he can also use his hands well and move quick to get around blocks. The Colts have to start somewhere, and Davis would be a good one.

6. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

The Lions unquestionably need help along the edge, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Ziggy Ansah. If he walks after the season, the Lions pass rush is on life support. Adding someone with the talent of Clelin Ferrell would be a big help. Ferrell has good bend for his size and strong hands. He would provide immediate help, and the Lions would have the opportunity to double up later in the draft.

7. Buffalo Bills: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

The Bills just got their quarterback in 2018, and they could use some help to protect him, but it’s tough to say that another tackle is worth of a top 10 selection at this point. The defensive line is one of the better groups in Buffalo this season, but they could use an elite talent. Rashan Gary would probably play end for the Bills even with his current size, but he has enough twitch to become a dominant player. It hasn’t shown up much on the stat sheet for Gary this season, but he has the traits to eventually get the production where it needs to be.

8. New York Giants: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Finally, a team with a need at quarterback. The Giants have drafted a quarterback in the last two drafts, but they didn’t give Davis Webb much of a chance and Kyle Lauletta isn’t the long term answer. It’s time to actually get a strong plan in place for when Eli Manning finally hangs it up. This quarterback class still has plenty of questions, but right now, Justin Herbert is the top guy. Herbert has the arm to make special throws, and he’s had a very good season so far. He still needs to work on handling pressure and will need to take snaps under center throughout the draft process, but he is the best the class has to offer right now.

9. Atlanta Falcons: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

Atlanta has struggled so far in the season, and they have had so many injuries on defense. The roster is still extremely good, and the Falcons can afford a luxury pick here. The offensive line is getting older, and having some depth is important for Matt Ryan. Dalton Risner started out as a center for Kansas State, and he’s playing right tackle this season. His versatility is something teams will like, and the Falcons would love to be able to play him at multiple spots along the line.

10. Oakland Raiders: Devin White, LB, LSU

The Raiders still need pass rush help (no matter what Gruden says), but Oakland hasn’t had a dominant linebacker for a very long time. It’s time for that to change. Devin White would bring some much needed athleticism to the linebacker position. He is excellent as a sideline-to-sideline player and will be an effective blitzer with his speed. With the depth the Raiders currently have, White could come in a be a starter, even with how raw he still is.

11. Minnesota Vikings: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin 

This trend has been getting pretty old, but the Minnesota Vikings one roster hole right now is on the offensive line. The group just doesn’t have the technicians at tackle, and their interior line has suffered injury. If they want to sustain success, especially on offense, the Vikings need to find a better option at tackle. David Edwards continues a long line of Wisconsin offensive linemen with very good NFL potential. Edwards is a powerful right tackle with enough technique to move over to the left side. He would be a great addition for Minnesota’s line.

12. Cleveland Browns: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Browns got one future stud at corner in the 2018 draft (Denzel Ward), but the secondary is far from a finished product. He isn’t getting a lot of buzz on draft boards, but Deandre Baker definitely has the league’s attention at cornerback. He is a tough, physical player at the line of scrimmage with very good coverage skills. He already has two picks in 2018, and hasn’t yet allowed a touchdown. He would look great on the opposite side of Ward in 2019.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

It’s no secret that the Steelers are in need of defensive help after their performance through four games in 2018. Secondary and linebacker are two major points of concern, and the linebacker position has been hurting since the loss of Ryan Shazier. Mack Wilson could come in and be the linebacker the Steelers have been missing. Wilson has the speed and size to play in today’s NFL. He has great anticipation and is a physical downhill tackler.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

The Dallas Cowboys are in an odd situation. It looks like this year won’t be a playoff year for them, but the roster really isn’t too bad. The defense is young, but is improving greatly, especially in the secondary. It’s a crazy thought, but quarterback might not be out of the question come next April if the organization feels like Dak Prescott isn’t the guy. The Cowboys ultimately settle on defensive line. Dre’Mont Jones would be a great addition along that line. David Irving is finally back, and Demarcus Lawrence has played great the last two seasons, but it never hurts to add more to the mix. Jones is an athletic lineman with plenty of quickness to get around blocks. He will be a great presence rushing the passer from the interior.

15. Seattle Seahawks: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

The Seattle Seahawks are a shell of the defense they had back in 2013. With Earl Thomas going down last Sunday, their true difference makers left are Bobby Wagner and Frank Clark. Here, they add another difference maker who can help get their defense back to where it was. Brian Burns is an edge rusher with excellent bend around the edge. He also possesses good counter moves. Burns would fit right in opposite Clark.

16. New England Patriots: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

It’s odd to see the Patriots picking this high, but through four weeks, this is where they stand. Their team just isn’t built like it was earlier in the decade. Instead of picking a defensive star, the Pats begin the plan of life after Tom Brady. Brady has likely two seasons or so left in the tank, and they need a back up plan after Jimmy Garoppolo was traded last season. Will Grier would be a perfect prospect to bring in to wait for a bit. He has the arm strength and touch down the field to succeed in the NFL. Working with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels would ensure his development.

17. Denver Broncos: Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State

The Broncos brought in Case Keenum in the offseason after his very good 2017 in Minnesota. So far this season, he has been underwhelming, and Denver’s recent draft picks at quarterback haven’t been good. They need to go out and find a signal caller for the future in this draft. Here, they end up with Brian Lewereke from Michigan State. Lewerke has a strong pocket presence and throws with good timing and anticipation. Another strong season in 2018 will see him rise up draft boards.

18. Philadelphia Eagles: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

The Eagles have started slow in 2018, and part of the blame has to come from their pass catcher depth. Alshon Jeffery finally got into action last week, and before that, the group was being carried by slot receiver Nelson Agholor. It’s important that they continue to supply Carson Wentz with weapons. Mississippi wideout D.K. Metcalf would be a great addition to the Eagles. He is a big receiver who can win above the rim, and he also has a great release off the line to separate from defenders. Having another big target in Philly would be a huge benefit.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

The Bucs got off to a strong start in 2018 thanks to some Fitzmagic, but the past two weeks have humbled them a bit. This team may not find themselves in the postseason, which will put Dirk Koetter on the hot seat. It is entirely possible that they could pick a quarterback in April with the up and down career Jameis Winston has had, but here they elect to go with defense. Justin Evans is a nice player on the back end, but adding Deionte Thompson gives them help near the line of scrimmage as well. Thompson could play either safety spot, as he has the range and anticipation to play deep as well as the physicality to play near the LOS.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State

The Chargers are still contending in the twilight of Philip Rivers’ career, and adding pieces around him should be the top priority. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are a great duo on the edge, but they could use some help on the interior. Los Angeles gets a break with Jeffery Simmons falling to them. Simmons has been an absolute force on the Mississippi State line this season, and he would make the Chargers defense even more dangerous.

21. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

The Packers finally got help at corner in last year’s draft, leaving edge as their most important position to address for 2019. Both Nick Perry and Clay Matthews are underperforming right now, and adding someone to ignite the group is huge. Montez Sweat is a long edge rusher with good bend and hand usage. He would fit right in in Mike Pettine’s scheme.

22. Washington Redskins: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

The Washington Redskins have been a pleasant surprise through four weeks in 2018. Alex Smith and the offense have been doing well, and the defense is getting plenty of pressure on opponents. However, it wouldn’t hurt to give Smith another weapon on the outside. Adding an electric playmaker like N’Keal Harry would be a big benefit to the offense. Harry is a tall, lanky wide receiver who can win above the rim and also create big gains after the catch.

23. Miami Dolphins: Zach Allen, DL, Boston College

The Dolphins are another surprise through four games this season, and they can contend for a playoff spot in a weak AFC. When looking to 2019, getting help along the defensive line will be a big priority. They have already lost William Hayes to a torn ACL this season. Robert Quinn isn’t getting any younger. The Dolphins also haven’t gotten much out of Charles Harris so far. Adding someone like Zach Allen, who can play in multiple spots along the line, would be a nice get for Miami.

24. Tennessee Titans: Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson 

The Titans are quietly building a strong defense under head coach Mike Vrabel. They are already getting returns from second round pick Harold Landry, and Jurrell Casey continues to be a beast in the middle. Rashaan Evans will likely contribute as well at linebacker real soon. Here, the Titans add another interior presence with game wrecking potential. Dexter Lawrence moves well for 340 pounds, and he can take on plenty of double teams to free up guys on the outside. He will also be a big help against the run.

25. Carolina Panthers: Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State

The Panthers got some relief at corner in the 2018 draft, selecting burner Donte Jackson. Now, they add someone with a much more technical skill. Levonta Taylor got plenty of hype entering the season for Florida State. With the Seminoles not getting much attention, Taylor is quietly putting together a strong year. He is great in man coverage and has great anticipation to jump in front of routes.

26. Oakland Raiders (from Bears): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

The Raiders continue to add to their defense here, getting a versatile safety in Taylor Rapp. Rapp plays all over for the Washington Huskies, from a deep third to man coverage in the slot. He has the speed to hang with receivers, and is a great filler in the run game as a tackler. He is an aggressive playmaker as well, something Oakland seriously needs.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State

The Jags are committed to Blake Bortles, so they pass on a potential stud at quarterback. The offense has a decent group of receivers, but they are still in need of a number one guy. Kelvin Harmon has the potential to be that guy. At six foot three, he has the size and frame to be a big time red zone target. He can win above the rim with very strong hands. He isn’t a precise route runner, but he can come in and thrive in the red zone and be a bailout guy for a 50/50 ball.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Probably the biggest surprise of the first round, the Bengals decide to get a plan in place to replace longtime quarterback Andy Dalton, despite a strong start to the 2018 season. The weapons are in place, and the Bengals can take their time developing Drew Lock, who has good potential. Lock has a very good arm and can make high difficulty throws, including the back shoulder throw. He needs to work on developing as a quarterback who can take snaps under center, but his ceiling is higher than Dalton’s at this point.

29. Green Bay Packers (from Saints): Marqise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

The Packers moved on from Jordy Nelson in the offseason, and their receiver group, while a reliable bunch, still needs to find a gamebreaker who can threaten defenses down the field. Here, they select Marqise Brown, who is dominating the Big 12 right now. He has the speed and explosiveness the Packers are looking for, and adding a consistent influx of playmakers to help Aaron Rodgers is important down the stretch of his career.

30. Baltimore Ravens: Anfernee Jennings, DE, Oregon

The Ravens drafted two tight ends in the 2018 draft in order to give quarterback Joe Flacco more weapons on offense. In the 2019 first round, they shift back to drafting defense. Even though Ozzie Newsome completed his last draft as the Ravens GM, that doesn’t mean the Alabama ties completely go away. Anfernee Jennings is a strong edge defender with strong hands and a great presence in the run game. He lacks some explosiveness around the edge, but he is a sound player who will give the Ravens some depth.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

Remember. This. Name. Florida edge defender Jachai Polite is turning heads after his last couple performances, most recently against Mississippi State. Polite has serious explosiveness and bend around the edge, and teams are always looking for that dynamic presence. The Rams have great depth on the interior, but they are still looking for a difference maker on the edge. Polite can be that guy for them.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State 

The Chiefs are riding high thanks to the great play of Patrick Mahomes and the offense thus far. However, the Chiefs are finding themselves having to win in shootouts, pointing to a need on the defensive side of the ball. They traded away Marcus Peters in the offseason, but did Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade. Kansas City still needs help at corner, and adding Kendall Sheffield would help. Sheffield is the latest talent to come out of Ohio State and his technique and speed are important traits to have as a corner.

Thoughts on your team’s selection? Who is the first round missing right now? Let me know on Twitter @JakeNFLDraft. 

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Final 2018 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings

The draft is on its way as the first round begins tonight! Before the festivities, a lot of content from yours truly will be up to view. So get your draft reading in for the day before the bright lights shine at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT.

The quarterback class is one that has been hotly debated since the beginning of the last college football season. Many analysts and teams have different views on the quarterbacks in this draft. On one hand, you have the ones who love upside and arm talent, and on the other side, you have the ones who believe in accuracy, footwork, and the film you see. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen get a ton of buzz for their potential, but are they the top guys? Or do guys like Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield belong at the top? What about Lamar Jackson? Teams don’t give him enough credit and often say he should change positions (they’re dumb). Also, is there a sleeper in here somewhere? Let’s take a look at my top 10 quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft.

1. Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen is the best pure passer in this draft. He consistently shows the best mechanics of anyone in the draft. Rosen has mastered every throw you could imagine, including the very difficult back shoulder throw. There are numerous examples of perfect back shoulder placement on tape. While the big arms in the draft get the noise, Rosen’s arm is plenty strong enough to make the throws. He puts plenty of zip on the ball when he needs to, and he can get the ball down the field if need be. The more games he got under his belt at UCLA, the better his anticipation, touch, and accuracy got. He is outstanding between 10 and 20 yards, something many quarterbacks need to work on. As far as mechanics go, he keeps his eyes downfield and his feet moving to the target. He’s also not immobile, as people keep believing. He can make throws on the run out of the pocket.

No prospect is without faults though. Rosen has things he needs to work on. There are times where he isn’t ready for the blitz and ends up getting rid of the ball out of bounds quickly. Another small issue with Rosen is that he sometimes lacks awareness on his blind side. The final concern from teams is the durability. He took plenty of hits at UCLA and he doesn’t have the biggest frame.

Grade: Round 1

2. Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield rose up big time during the fall and for good reason. Many weren’t sure if he could handle the spotlight after an off the field incident last winter. However, he bounced back in a big way. Mayfield looked like a hesitant thrower early in his career, but that changed drastically as time went on. His best attributes are his quick release, his downfield accuracy (he throws some of the prettiest deep balls of anyone), and his ability to maneuver and escape the pocket when he needs to. In 2017, he got passes out on time with very good anticipation. He has the quick release and zip on the ball to put it where he wants and quickly when he sees open receivers. Another plus with Mayfield that shows a lot in 2017 is him setting his feet even when he’s out of the pocket. Quarterbacks can easily just keep running and try to throw on the run, but Mayfield was very good about setting his feet and getting them to his target.

A couple things exist for Mayfield to work on. Sometimes Mayfield will hold the ball too long. This is good for keeping turnovers low, but he will sometimes take unnecessary sacks trying to do too much. There are also times where Mayfield will stare down a certain target. Teams will pick up on that immediately if it becomes a habit. Finally, Mayfield doesn’t have a ton of work under center. However, I don’t see that becoming an issue.

Grade: Round 1

3. Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold is a prospect that can be very polarizing. On the positive side, you see a guy with a rocket arm. Even though he has the zip, he can put some air under the ball and be very accurate down the field. His touch shows big time on his intermediate throws. He is excellent at buying time in the pocket and finds a way to improv out of the pocket and find open receivers. Darnold also throws extremely well on the run, something very difficult for quarterbacks. You will also get plenty of splash plays and wow throws with Darnold. Sometimes it looks like the throw should not be made, but Darnold throws the receiver open and it makes your jaw drop. Another thing Darnold does very well is his eye manipulation on leveled routes. On play action, you will see Darnold’s eyes look to the flat, sucking the linebacker down. Then, Darnold will fire a dart to a wide open receiver at the second level. This is something you see often.

Darnold does have things to work on though. He has some real bad turnovers on tape, some of which come from staring down receivers, and others come from him relying on his arm too much and throwing with his feet not pointed anywhere near the target. This will cause the ball to float and get picked at the next level. Darnold also can get antsy if his first read isn’t there. He needs to realize he can maneuver the pocket smoothly to look elsewhere in his progression.

Grade: Early Round 2

4. Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is perhaps the most polarizing player among teams and scouts. Some have said he belongs at wide receiver, which is a complete joke. Jackson is a quarterback, plain and simple. Early on in his career, he did struggle a lot to make throws. He often looked like his mind was working faster than his body. He would recognize where the ball needed to be, but he wouldn’t get set quick enough when his mind wanted the ball out.

This changed in 2017, in a drastic way. Jackson has the ability to process and read a defense while getting the ball out on time where it needs to be. He moves around the pocket much better than in previous seasons, and he keeps his eyes downfield. Something very important you want to see is a quarterback aligned toward the target. Jackson does this very well, and he will set his feet again if he gets out of the pocket (just like Mayfield). He works the short and intermediate parts of the field very well, and he’s got plenty of zip on the ball himself.

As a runner, everyone knows how good he is. It is almost impossible to keep him in the pocket, because his speed and elite change of direction are constantly making defenders miss. He has great vision and lateral quickness when he runs.

What can Jackson work on? Deep accuracy is an issue that shows up a lot on tape. If he can get his rhythm down more, he will see an increase in accuracy down the field. Something else to watch is his feet in the pocket. He sometimes forms a really narrow base, which can get him off balance. I think fixing that can help a lot of accuracy and rhythm issues.

Grade: Early Round 2

5. Josh Allen

Josh Allen is the most polarizing draft prospect from the NFL community as a whole. Scouts and analysts love his potential and arm strength. Allen does possess the arm to make any throw on the football field. There are examples on tape where he makes throw that most quarterbacks dream of making. He sometimes makes those throws on the run as well. He is a good athlete who isn’t afraid to tuck and run with the ball. At the Senior Bowl, he showed flashes of good touch and accuracy in some tight windows.

The issue with Allen is still the accuracy. Many will point to the fact that his receivers dropped a lot of passes. In reality, Jackson and other quarterbacks had a higher percentage of dropped balls. Allen has the arm strength, but the ball ends up all over the place at times. He also looks bad with pressure in his face, and he panics and throws to receivers who are heavily covered. Against good competition, Allen folded a lot under pressure. He is a project as a quarterback.

Grade: Round 3

6. Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph is often the man forgotten in this quarterback class, and he should garner attention. Rudolph is the ultimate rhythm machine at quarterback. He consistently gets the ball out on time and where it needs to be, especially on short, in breaking routes. He has everything on time and accurate to the catch point. Rudolph also has the arm strength to make any throw. He has great touch and accuracy on his deep ball, which you see multiple examples of on tape.

The issues with Rudolph make him someone who needs development. He often only looks for his first read, which was open a lot of the time. Rudolph operates extremely well when things are clean, but when the pressure gets there, Rudolph often folds.

Grade: Round 3

7. Kyle Lauletta

Kyle Lauletta gained headlines at the Senior Bowl back in January. On tape, you see a good rhythm thrower with very good ball placement. Lauletta does a good job of taking what the defense gives him. He’s also good at manipulating defenders. At the Senior Bowl, Lauletta stared at the safety off of play action, knowing full well D.J. Chark would be open.

The issues with Lauletta lie in the fact that he sometimes looks like it’s tough for him to get the ball where he needs to. He is a great processor, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t get there. His arm is not very strong, and that could be an issue if he can’t get the ball where he wants to on time at the next level.

Grade: Early Round 4

8. Mike White

Mike White is a name who I was intrigued to see at the Senior Bowl. In the game, he did not disappoint. White possesses a quick release which helps him get the ball out on time and accurately. When everything is working, White looks like he can play in the NFL. His physical tools are above average overall.

His issues lie in reading defenses. He will panic if his first read isn’t there and will often look to the check down. He needs to learn how to process and work through progressions. He does flash promise, and he could find a job in the NFL if he can develop for some time.

Grade: Round 4

9. Kurt Benkert

Benkert looked abysmal at the Senior Bowl with poor accuracy and decision making. However, he does have some positives. Benkert does possess a good arm that can make throws at all levels when he has his rhythm. He exceeds when he gets his footwork moving toward the target. When that happens, you see the flashes.

However, the issue with Benkert is inconsistency. There are times where he is just off as a whole and his play just withers away. He will throw with bad footwork at times and it shows in turnovers and wildly inaccurate throws.

Grade: Mid Day Three

10. Luke Falk

Luke Falk certainly has the production for a quarterback in the draft. He does get the ball out quick and works the short and intermediate areas of the field well when things are on. When he is kept clean he does show some promise.

However, the issue with Falk is sometimes his accuracy falls completely off of the table. If he feels the slightest bit of pressure, you see him panic in the pocket and make erratic throws. I just don’t see a lot of promise when it comes to Falk.

Grade: Mid Day Three

Agree with the rankings? Comments? Who are your top quarterback in the draft? Follow Jake on Twitter @JSchyvinck13 and discuss!

Also, tune in to our live show tonight and tomorrow @SportsGuysBlog! We will answer draft questions and give analysis on every pick!

2018 Mock Draft 3.0: Bills, Cards Trade Up, Packers Get Aggressive

The day is finally here! The NFL Draft is upon us! There is so much excitement building around the league, and plenty from yours truly as well! I won’t make this too long, because you have to get your final reading in before the big night! Let’s take a look at my last mock draft for 2018!

What’s funny to me is that 90 percent of these picks could be wrong. It’s the true beauty of knowing nothing at all.

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns have been doing a great job keeping things quiet thus far. With most not sure what will happen on draft night, the Browns keep with what many have thought the pick to be for months. Sam Darnold has plenty of upside, and will benefit from sitting behind Tyrod Taylor. He has the arm and the potential to be the savior in Cleveland.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

The Giants have consistently said that they are fine with Eli Manning and aren’t looking for his replacement. It’s tough to believe with Manning so far along in his career. But, if they want to make one final run with Eli, they need to give him help on offense. A trio of weapons in Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, and Evan Engram is a darn good start for the Giants.

3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Jets have also done a good job keeping things quiet. It’s clear they are targeting a quarterback, but analysts and insiders are unsure as to which one they are taking at three. Baker Mayfield feels like the pick. He rose big time in 2017 due to his arm and accuracy, but his leadership ultimately is the thing the Jets covet the most.

4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, North Carolina State

The Browns could certainly end up trading this pick, but the better idea is to stay put. Even with Barkley off the board, the Browns get a blue chip pass rusher in Bradley Chubb. Chubb is a relentless rusher with the strength and moves to become a star. Pairing him with Myles Garrett creates a juggernaut duo off the edge that will haunt the AFC for years to come.

5. Buffalo Bills (from Broncos): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Broncos and John Elway lose out on the Baker Mayfield sweepstakes and decide to move down. The Bills are happy to make a deal, sending 12 and 22 Denver’s way (Elway squeezes 22 out of them) to get their quarterback of the future. Josh Allen will have to sit for a bit to learn and develop, but Buffalo takes a chance on his strong arm and potential.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The Colts have their pick of almost any elite prospect they want. No one offers them a good enough deal for six overall, and they opt for the best player in the draft. Quenton Nelson can play right away and will be a key cog in protecting Andrew Luck for the Colts in 2018.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Bucs desperately need secondary help moving forward. Here, they decide to take Derwin James. James pairs  with Justin Evans to form a real nice duo in the secondary. James can cover receivers and tight ends, blitz, and may just play some linebacker moving forward for the Bucs.

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

The Bears lose out on their favorite guy in Quenton Nelson, but they still have plenty of options with the eighth pick. Every level on the defense could use some work, but the Bears opt to solidify their front seven. Roquan Smith was an outstanding player at Georgia, and he would fit in as a three down linebacker from day one. He can play downhill and sideline-to-sideline. He’s also not just a tackling linebacker; he packs a punch too.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Niners are still searching for their guy in the middle of the defense. Reuben Foster looked like he’d be that, but then he got into trouble off of the field. Now, John Lynch needs to move forward with a new plan. Luckily, Tremaine Edmunds lands in his lap. Edmunds, only 19, has sky high potential as a linebacker. His versatility is his best attribute, as he can play on the edge as well as a run and chase linebacker.

10. Arizona Cardinals (from Raiders): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Josh Rosen is finally off the board here. The Cardinals make a deal with the Raiders, who unfortunately don’t land one of the top linebackers. The Raiders pick up 47 overall in the deal, and the Cardinals get their franchise quarterback. Josh Rosen is the best pure passer in the drat. His mechanics and accuracy are unmatched, and he’s better out of the pocket than he gets credit for.

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

The Dolphins miss out on a quarterback, but they turn elsewhere. The secondary needs some help in Miami, and Minkah Fitzpatrick can help the secondary in so many ways. He can play a deep safety, cover the slot, and even blitz. Miami gets a big time chess piece here.

12. Denver Broncos (from Bills): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

After a trade back, the Broncos are sitting pretty with two first round picks. With Aqib Talib gone, the Broncos could look to help out the secondary. Denzel Ward is a great fit as a physical corner who could help them out right away. His physicality and speed is a fantastic combo. Teams will still fear that Denver secondary with Ward’s arrival.

13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DL, Washington

The Redskins miss out on getting one of the top safeties in the draft, but their backup plan works out just fine. Vita Vea is a very talented interior defender with plenty of upside. The Redskins could pair him with Jonathan Allen to create a dominant interior duo.

14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College 

The Packers are rumored to trade up in round one, but it doesn’t happen here. Instead, Green Bay opts to help out the pass rush. Harold Landry has the quickness and bend to get around the edge with ease. He would likely start out as a pass rushing specialist on third down, but could quietly work his way into the rotation. The front seven now looks much more formidable in Green Bay.

15. Oakland Raiders (from Cardinals): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

After the trade back, the Raiders still have options with their pick. One of those options is to find a long term answer at tackle. Donald Penn is on the tail end of his career and the Raiders need serious help at right tackle. Mike McGlinchey could come in and play on the right side right away with the idea that he would eventually play left tackle when Penn retires. McGlinchey has all the tools to be a franchise left tackle.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The first real shocker of the evening! While the Ravens do need help surrounding Joe Flacco, instead they opt to move in a different direction. Lamar Jackson has the opportunity to sit and learn an offense while Joe Flacco plays out the rest of his contract. There is plenty to like about Jackson. He is electric when he takes off and runs. He is also a better pocket passer than people realize, and his arm and accuracy make him a potential franchise quarterback.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

The Chargers continue to fight injuries every year, especially along the offensive line. They don’t have a tackle of the future at the moment, so Connor Williams is the pick here. Williams was hurt in 2017, but his 2016 tape suggests he is a franchise left tackle. Los Angeles takes a chance on Williams here to build a strong line for Philip Rivers on his final title push.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA

The Seahawks have plenty of needs, with two of them being offensive line and corner. However, with Michael Bennett gone and Cliff Avril’s deal up soon, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Seahawks pull the trigger and select a pass rusher. Marcus Davenport is still a bit raw, but he has the power and speed along the edge from his athletic ability that is hard to find.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia

The Cowboys do have a glaring need at wide receiver. The problem is I’m not sure any are worth taking at 19 overall for them. They’d be better off waiting until day two for their guy at wide receiver. Instead, they opt to help reload the offensive line again. Isaiah Wynn has the versatility to play guard or tackle for them, and he gives them another powerful tackle with a good anchor and good athleticism.

20. Detroit Lions: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

The Lions are continuously getting mocked defensive linemen, because that just seems like the way Matt Patricia wants this team to improve. Da’Ron Payne played very well down the stretch at Alabama, constantly shredding offensive lines to get in the backfield. The crazy thing? His best football is in front of him.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

The Bengals are a team whose offensive line needs a major overhaul. Getting Cordy Glenn in the trade with Buffalo helped, but it didn’t do everything. Here, the Bengals opt to get Frank Ragnow. He is a powerful center with quick feet and the ability to effortlessly work to the second level. Injuries are the question for him, and if he stays healthy, the Bengals got a good one here.

22. Denver Broncos (from Bills): James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

The Broncos second pick in the trade with the Bills likely puts them in position to draft offensive line. While most teams will be looking to draft James Daniels to play center, the Broncos draft him with the intention of playing him at guard. He is a quick and powerful player with a great anchor to hold blocks once he gets a hold of you. He would fit well on that line to protect Case Keenum and open running lanes.

23. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

This is the name that many say will be a first round pick. Kolton Miller is very raw as a pass protector, but some team will fall in love with his athleticism. The Patriots do just that here. Miller reminds many of Nate Solder, who just left via free agency. The Pats desperately need a left tackle, and they go get their guy with the first of their two first round picks.

24. Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Panthers need to add more weapons for Cam Newton in the passing game. Calvin Ridley would be a major help right out of the gate. He is a crisp route runner who can also take the top off of a defense. Don’t be surprised if Ridley sees 800 yards as a rookie if he is indeed taken by the Panthers.

25. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Front seven is the name of the game for the Titans. Rashaan Evans fits in perfect with this team as a linebacker on early downs who can move over to the edge on passing downs. Evans run and chase ability is impressive, along with his tackling downhill. He is also very good at getting off of blocks to make plays.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

This has been the pick for the Falcons for so long that it might be too easy now. The Falcons could use some interior rush ability to complement speed rushers Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. Bryan is raw, but his best football might just be in front of him. He could become a dangerous interior rusher.

27. New Orleans Saints: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

The Saints lose out on getting Lamar Jackson, so their focus turns to helping out Drew Brees on offense. Hayden Hurst is a great balanced tight end. He can stretch the middle of the field as a pass catcher while also getting involved in the run game as a blocker. He is on the older side coming out, but the Saints are in win now mode and get a nice tight end to pair with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

The Le’Veon Bell talks seem to be going nowhere, and he could only see one more year in a Steeler uniform. The Steelers may look for a running back of the future, and he falls right into their lap at 28. Derrius Guice is a do-it-all running back with three down potential in the NFL. He runs angry with so much power, but he has the lateral quickness and straight line speed to break runs for long gains. The Steelers wouldn’t lose a step if he came in.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The Jaguars have so few needs, that Will Hernandez falling into their lap makes so much sense. Protecting Blake Bortles and paving way in the running game is important, and nobody plays meaner than Hernandez. He would start instantly and form a powerful duo on the left side with Cam Robinson.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G, Ohio State

Minnesota, like Jacksonville, doesn’t have a lot of holes on the roster. The offensive line is still improving, and adding someone like Billy Price would only make it stronger. Pairing him on the interior with Pat Elflein would make Dalvin Cook very pleased about his return this season.

31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

The Patriots use their second first round pick on some secondary help. The Eagles torched them up and down the field on Super Bowl Sunday, so adding a true cover corner is a priority. Mike Hughes is an extremely talented corner with excellent man coverage skills. He also has the awareness to find the football when it’s in the air to make a play on it.

32. Green Bay Packers (from Eagles): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

A final surprise to end the first round. The Packers failed to trade up early in round one, so they sneak back into the end of the round for a cornerback. The Eagles are happy to trade back to acquire more picks, and the Packers get their guy. Josh Jackson has elite ball skills and mirrors receivers pretty well in coverage. He needs to continue to improve his instincts and physicality, but he can instantly provide turnovers to a defense that needs it.

Like your team’s pick? Who would you pick if you were them? Find me on Twitter @JSchyvinck13 to discuss all things draft leading up to tonight!

Join Nate and Jake as they live stream the first two nights of the draft, providing analysis and answering your questions all night long! Go to @SportsGuysBlog at the start of day one and two and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Strategies For NFC Teams In The 2018 NFL Draft

Draft day is finally here! The excitement is building as fans gather to see who will be joining their team in 2018. Before the festivities begin, Jake has plenty of draft reading for you to do! So dive in!

Hey guys! Instead of the usual mock drafts or big boards, this piece will analyze teams’ strategies for the upcoming draft. Here, we will take a look at every NFC team and what their strategy could look like for the weekend! Enjoy!

Chicago Bears – Help Out Every Level Of The Defense

Number of picks – Seven

The Bears have plenty to address in this draft, but the list was shortened thanks to free agency. With receivers and a tight end coming in to help Mitchell Trubisky, the focus shifts to the defensive side of the ball. The Bears could use help at all levels of the defense, and they could have their pick of the litter at eight overall. If Quenton Nelson is there, then scrap the defense first plans. Nelson would be excellent in forming a great interior trio with Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long.

If they don’t get Nelson, back to defense we go. If he’s there, Roquan Smith would be my pick for the Bears. He is excellent as a three down linebacker with sideline-to-sideline abilities. After that, Denzel Ward and Tremaine Edmunds are the next two the Bears should consider. Ward would help out the cornerback group immediately while Edmunds could be moved all over the front seven.

Let’s say the Bears go with Roquan at number eight overall. Next on the list would be some help at either corner or wide receiver. Corner would be the smarter move, with players like Mike Hughes and Isaiah Oliver available in that range. If they look for a receiver, D.J. Moore would be a name to throw out there.

If Chicago adds another weapon and fills the holes at every level, their fans should be pleased.

Green Bay Packers – Defense, Defense, Defense! And A Wide Receiver

Number of picks – 12

The Packers could have a decision to make at pick number 14. Rumor has it they might move up, but let’s assume they stand pat here. At 14, the obvious pick is either adding an edge rusher or a cornerback. With Denzel Ward likely gone by this point, the Packers should opt for either Harold Landry or a corner, my preference being Jaire Alexander. If either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is available, that further complicates things. I’m a huge fan of Derwin James, and I’d probably lean his way if he’s available.

In the second round, the Packers will also have a tough decision. Let’s stick with Harold Landry to the Packers to keep it simple. Green Bay should still be looking corner here, and shouldn’t hesitate if Jaire Alexander or Mike Hughes are still there. If they aren’t, then wide receiver is in play. Anthony Miller, D.J. Chark, and James Washington would all fit well in Green Bay. Chark can take the top off, Miller is very polished, and Washington just feels like a producer in that offense.

If they do indeed go wide receiver, the late rounds still provide cornerback help. Duke Dawson would be an excellent nickel player, along with Rashan Gaulden. Quenton Meeks is another to consider, but he’d be a better fit outside. They should also consider offensive linemen, since their right side is up in the air at this point. Braden Smith, Sean Welsh, and Alex Cappa should be on the Packers minds as well.

Minnesota Vikings – Fill The Offensive Line And Let Draft Come To You

Number of picks – Eight

The Vikings, like the Jaguars in my AFC article, don’t have a ton of holes on the team. However, the offensive line could use some help. Someone like Will Hernandez or Billy Price would be a great add for the Vikings in round one. They would help protect Cousins while also paving holes for Dalvin Cook.

After that, the needs get interesting. The defensive line could use some more depth. Luckily for Minnesota, the interior defensive line class is deep. Someone like Derrick Nnadi would be a great add at the end of round two. Further back, teammates Justin Jones and B.J. Hill are bargain players that can help push the pocket.

If they really want to, finding another pass rusher never hurts. I recently mocked Arden Key to them in round two, and he could definitely be there for the taking. However the Vikings play it, they will be able to pick and choose where they want to add depth in the draft.

Detroit Lions – Find Your Running Back and Help The Defensive Line

Number of picks – Six

The Lions are moving in a new direction with new head coach Matt Patricia. The team needs help in two major spots, running back and defensive line. The Lions could take Derrius Guice at 20, but the class is deep this year and I wouldn’t spend the pick on Guice (even though I’m a huge fan of his).

That means we are headed to the defensive line. Harold Landry could be available if the Packers pass, and if he’s there, he’s the pick. However, the Packers could take him, so it comes down to either Marcus Davenport or someone like Da’Ron Payne in the middle. If I’m the GM, Payne is the pick to start off the draft for the Lions.

After that, it’s about finding edge help and help at running back. One of the Georgia backs is my target for the Lions in round two. Either way, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are both excellent backs that can change a game. Later, edge help from someone like Obo Okoronkwo or Tyquan Lewis can make a lot of sense for Detroit.

Dallas Cowboys – Let Board Come To You, Draft Balanced

Number of picks – 10

The Cowboys are a flashy team, and they want to get back to that 14-2 season they had in 2016. However, the draft needs to go well to get back to that point. Dallas has gotten better with the draft in the past few seasons, and they need to do it again.

Let’s start with the 19th overall pick. Wide receiver is a need with Dez Bryant gone, but most receivers are a reach for me at 19. Offensive line should be the move here, and someone like Isaiah Wynn makes a ton of sense. He played tackle for Georgia in a tough conference, but he can slide into the guard spot if needed.

Round two is the sweet spot to take care of the receiver issue. Guys like Anthony Miller, Courtland Sutton, and James Washington. Any of those guys make sense for Dallas in round two. After that, it’s about helping the defense. Someone to complement DeMarcus Lawrence would be smart, and guys like Kemoko Turay could help out there. Interior guys could also be in play. Derrick Nnadi could certainly help, along with Maurice Hurst, should his freefall occur.

New York Giants – Bolster The Offensive Line And Defense

Number of picks – Six

The Giants certainly should think about the future, but management clearly believes in Eli Manning. Let’s say I believe in him as well, so trading back is a must. To do this, I’m taking 12 and 22 for the second overall pick, allowing the Bills to get their guy. With only six picks beforehand, it’s an easy decision. I also pick up a round two selection.

To start, help along the offensive line is important. I lose out on Quenton Nelson, but plenty of guys are still there. So let’s take a swing to help the pass rush with Harold Landry. Landry has great bend around the edge and will instantly boost what was a lackluster pass rush last season. After that, it’s time for an offensive lineman to help protect Eli Manning. James Daniels and Frank Ragnow are players to watch here, and I’ll scoop up Daniels to be the starting center after the departure of Weston Richburg.

The later rounds have the Giants looking running back and corner. Players like John Kelly, Royce Freeman, and Rashad Penny are players to watch for Big Blue. For corner, it’s players like Quenton Meeks and Tarvarus McFadden. The Giants can get back to where they were in 2016, and a good draft is the way there.

Philadelphia Eagles – With Few Needs, Look For Best Available

Number of picks – Six

The Eagles are the reigning Super Bowl champs, and they got richer along the line after acquiring Michael Bennett. This group can sit back and let the draft come to them. If Derrius Guice is available at 32, pull the trigger. He’s well worth it at the end of round one to be a bell cow with LeGarrette Blount gone. If not, the offensive line could use some help. If someone like Connor Williams falls to them, he would be the heir apparent to Jason Peters. If neither of those are options, someone like Mike Hughes or Isaiah Oliver would be good picks for a secondary that could use reinforcing.

Let’s say Guice is there and they take him. Their next pick is a couple rounds down the road, so a linebacker like Fred Warner could be available for them. Someone like Tyrell Crosby could be available as a right tackle with Lane Johnson moving to the left. In any sense, someone like Royce Freeman or Kerryon Johnson could become an early down back for the Eagles should they pass on Guice or avoid a running back early. The Eagles have options, and the board will dictate their moves.

Washington Redskins – Help Alex Smith And Boost The Defense

Number of picks – Eight

The Redskins pulled a stunner trading for Alex Smith in the offseason. The Redskins sent Kendall Fuller, one of the best slot corners in the league, to Kansas City in that trade. Washington has a whole bunch of needs entering the draft.

Their first priority should be to help out the secondary. With pick 13 in round one, they should be able to get either a top secondary player or someone to help the defensive line. Minkah Fitzpatrick should be their top choice. He can play in the slot or play with the defense in front of him at the safety spot. Derwin James is also a possibility for them there, along with defensive linemen Vita Vea. If both safeties are gone, pairing Vea with Jonathan Allen would be a great duo.

If they go with Vea, adding someone like Justin Reid or Jessie Bates in round two would certainly help. Jaire Alexander would be a great option in round two as well, but he’s unlikely to fall. Helping Alex Smith out would be another good possibility for them. D.J. Moore is an intriguing day two option, along with a big target like Courtland Sutton or Auden Tate. A good balance of picks to address multiple needs would help the Redskins back in the right direction.

New Orleans Saints – Pass Rush and Secondary Are Priorities

Number of picks – Eight

The Saints are a team that is contending for a Super Bowl title, but they could also be looking for a long term solution at quarterback. Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph could be in play at 27, but let’s say the Saints go with the short term idea of winning now. Getting more of a pass rush should be the priority for the Saints at 27, but there might not be a top tier talent waiting for them. Josh Sweat is an option, but teams may stray away due to medical issues. A final option for them is to get another weapon. Hayden Hurst would be an excellent option as a pass catching tight end to work the middle of the field. If Calvin Ridley were to fall, he would be an option. Let’s go with Hurst at 27.

As for the rest of the draft, the Saints could use some help to rush the passer to take the pressure off of Cam Jordan. Someone like Andrew Brown or Nathan Shepherd (even Hurst) could be available in the third round. Obo Okoronkwo is another name to watch as an edge rusher. Chad Thomas is a pass rusher not often mentioned, but he’d be fun to watch in New Orleans.

Helping the defense is a priority, but the Saints may be forced to go offense early without many options.

Atlanta Falcons – Reinforce The Trenches First

Number of picks – Seven

The Falcons are one of the rosters in the league that don’t have many holes. The only spots that could use some depth and improvement are the trenches. Atlanta will have options at the 26th pick. One of their main interests is in Taven Bryan, who would bring some pass rush from the interior. Da’Ron Payne is another interior linemen who would be a good fit in Atlanta. It sounds likely that Payne won’t be available, so Bryan is their best pick along the line. If they go to the other side, guys like Will Hernandez and Billy Price would be available. Getting an impact player there will be important for them.

If they go Bryan in the first round, the second round still offers help at the guard spot. Braden Smith and Austin Corbett are both very good guards who will still provide a day one impact. If they go interior line on the first night, then a falling Maurice Hurst could be the pick on day two.

Atlanta could also throw a curve in the trenches plan and go with a corner in round one. Jaire Alexander could be available and would fit perfectly in the slot. If they don’t address that position early, late round options do exist. Duke Dawson would be an excellent later round selection.

Carolina Panthers – Get Cam Newton Some Help

Number of picks – Eight

The Panthers need to find help for Cam Newton in this draft after trading Kelvin Benjamin last season. If the draft goes their way, they could have their pick of wide receiver at 24 overall. Calvin Ridley would be their likely selection, and it makes sense. He is a great route runner with the explosiveness to stretch the field. He would provide a day one impact. If Ridley isn’t the pick, it would likely be a cornerback. Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson are two corners who could find a home in Carolina.

If the pick is Ridley early, the Panthers would then shift their focus to defense. Corner and pass rusher are big needs for the Panthers, and adding someone like Donte Jackson or Sam Hubbard in round two would make a ton of sense. If they opt for a corner in round one, someone like Dante Pettis could make sense in round two. Either way, adding some combination of those positions should be Carolina’s move. If it were me, I would opt for a corner in round one and move on from there.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Help Out Winston Along With The Defense

Number of picks – Seven

The Bucs only have seven picks, so they need to hit on their picks in the draft. The secondary needs some work, along with the offensive line. If Quenton Nelson falls to the Bucs at seven, he should be the pick. If not, drafting a safety should be next. Derwin James would fit nicely with Justin Evans as a safety tandem. Let’s say that James is the pick in round one.

After that, cornerback and offensive line would still be needs. Isaiah Oliver is mocked to them in my two round one from last week, but they could also opt for Austin Corbett at guard to help protect Jameis Winston.

If they go with Corbett, finding help in the secondary would be the next priority. M.J. Stewart and Nick Nelson would be interesting options for the Bucs in the later rounds. If they refill the secondary and get some offensive line help, the Bucs are moving in the right direction.

Los Angeles Rams – Edge And Linebacker Are Big Needs

Number of picks – Eight

The Rams don’t have a pick in the first two rounds, so the draft will be a lot of late round talent to add depth to the roster.

Edge and corner are the biggest needs for the Rams after free agency. A couple options along the edge are Kylie Fitts and Tyquan Lewis could be good fits along the edge. Fitts is more of a pure pass rusher with the skill to come on in later downs, while Lewis has three down potential. He could move inside to rush the passer on third down.

The linebacker spot is the other position where the Rams need help. Many players exist in the middle rounds for the Rams to select there. Fred Warner is a prospect that many like as a linebacker who works through blocks and is a great tackler. Guys like Josey Jewell, Jack Cichy, Shaun Dion Hamilton, and Tegray Scales will all be in play for the Rams in the later rounds.

San Francisco 49ers – Linebacker, Weapons In Play For Niners

Number of picks – Nine

The Niners have options with their first round pick. The best option is to fill the need at linebacker with either Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith. They could move up to make sure they get one, but they should be able to get one of the two with their first pick.

In the second round, the Niners did trade away the 43rd pick to the Pats, but they do own the Saints second rounder. Offensive line or wide receiver would be the move in the second. Someone like Chukwuma Okorafor or Braden Smith would be a nice pick to protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Otherwise, someone like Dante Pettis would be a good pick for San Francisco, or a bigger target like Auden Tate or Deon Cain.

If they can add weapons and find their long term answer at linebacker, the Niners will contend sooner rather than later.

Seattle Seahawks – Secondary and Offensive Line Are Big Needs

Number of picks – Eight

The Seahawks are in a big transition. They still have their quarterback in Russell Wilson, but they need pieces back around him. Their defense is also going through a transition and could use more impact players.

I fully expect the Seahawks to look for a corner in round one, even though offensive line should be the focus. If it were me, I’d opt for someone like Connor Williams, but the Seahawks usually don’t take linemen that early. It’s more likely Seattle takes Josh Jackson or Marcus Davenport with their first selection.

After selecting Josh Jackson, they may shift to look for edge help later. Players like Jalyn Holmes and Jeff Holland could provide the pass rush with help in the mid rounds. They don’t have a second round pick, which hurts them a little.

In the later rounds, tight end could be a focus. Durham Smythe and Tyler Conklin are intriguing names late on day two or early on day three. If they opt there, they could fill a hole left by Jimmy Graham but get an all-around player to take his place and fit better in Seattle’s system.

Arizona Cardinals – Quarterback Is An Option, But The Roster Needs Help

Number of picks – Eight

The Cardinals may get the opportunity to trade up in this draft. If they can land Josh Rosen via a trade, they should absolutely do so. Rosen is the best quarterback in the draft and would be a player to build around in future drafts. If they stand pat, Lamar Jackson should be available for the taking.

If Rosen is the play early, they would likely lose their second round pick. Looking for offensive line help and corner help would be their strategy in the later rounds. Alex Cappa is a name being thrown around as a mid round tackle who could end up being a very good starter. Putting someone like Rashan Gaulden or Quenton Meeks opposite Patrick Peterson would also be a smart move for Arizona.

If the Cardinals stay put, they could get some receiver help early on day two. Anthony Miller or James Washington would work well under the mentorship of Larry Fitzgerald, then take over as the top guy in the near future.

However Arizona attacks the draft, they need to continue to add talent to a mostly lackluster roster.

Think your team has a good strategy? What would you do for your team? Follow me on Twitter @JSchyvinck13 to talk NFL Draft!

Also, join us for our second annual NFL Draft live stream @SportsGuysBlog on Twitter! We will stream the first two nights of the draft, so come with questions and discussion! It’s going to be a great time! See you there!

Pre-Free Agency 2018 NFL Mock Draft

The combine came to a close last week, and with many putting on a great display in front of coaches and scouts, rankings and mocks will change. Many players, including Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, and Derwin James, checked off the boxes, while others, including Shaquem Griffin, showed us that they are ready for the big stage.

Now, we look forward to the craziness that is free agency. Many big names will be on the move, and it should be crazier than what we’ve seen this past week. Before the madness begins, let’s do a quick mock draft.

Free Agency Note: This mock assumes Kirk Cousins lands with the Vikings.

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns made a ton of moves with and ended up acquiring Tyrod Taylor with those moves. However, Taylor might not be the long term solution. He is a perfect bridge quarterback for Sam Darnold as Darnold develops behind him.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

The Giants really should take a quarterback here, but I don’t think new GM Dave Gettleman wants to go in that direction. He has stated Eli Manning is the guy going forward. With that in mind, the Giants take the best running back in the draft to instantly boost their poor running game.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, North Carolina State

The Colts have a ton of needs right now, with the biggest coming on defense. Indy is missing that game changer who can consistently get after the quarterback. Luckily, Bradley Chubb is right there for the taking. Chubb is a relentless pass rusher with good hands and a motor that doesn’t quit. He can become a leader on defense quickly.

4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

I can definitely see the Browns trading out of this spot with Barkley gone, but let’s keep them here for now. The biggest need on defense lies in the secondary. Minkah Fitzpatrick can do a lot of things for a defense. He can cover in the slot, play a deep safety, and play a hybrid linebacker role near the box, giving the Browns a versatile chess piece.

5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Broncos cannot go on with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch at quarterback. I expect they’ve made a strong pitch to Kirk Cousins, but like we assume, that ultimately fails. A backup plan is in place, but that plan also includes drafting a quarterback for the future. For some reason, I think John Elway will fall for the arm strength and potential that Josh Allen provides. He can’t start right away, but he can develop into a starting quarterback.

6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Jets lose out on the Cousins sweepstakes, but that isn’t the worst thing. They instead land a quarterback with the swagger to handle the Big Apple spotlight. Baker Mayfield is rough around the edges at times, but he’s a great competitor and has the arm and accuracy to succeed in the NFL.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DL, Washington

The Bucs can go a lot of different ways here due to their needs on defense. The biggest need is to get a better pass rush. With no pass rushers left worthy of taking at seven overall, they opt for another beast in the middle. Vita Vea has the power and quickness to thrive in the middle of a defense. Combine him with Gerald McCoy, and interior offensive lines will have issues with them.

8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Bears obviously want to help out their young quarterback, but receiver isn’t worth a top 10 selection. Instead, the Bears look to beef up the front seven by adding Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds can play on the edge or play off the ball, two things Chicago could use. He’s also only 19 years old with his best football ahead of him.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

The Niners added Richard Sherman just yesterday to boost the secondary, and they are now looking to be a contender now. With Reuben Foster in some trouble after his first season, linebacker needs more reinforcements. Roquan Smith plays with sideline-to-sideline speed and is a fierce tackler. He would fit right in on that defense.

10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Raiders miss out on the linebacker position, but they still need help in the secondary. Last year’s first round pick Gareon Conley figures to be in line for serious reps this season, but other than that, they’re washed up. Bring in Denzel Ward and the Raiders immediately become more physical on the perimeter.

11. Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The fall ends for Josh Rosen. The Dolphins have a decision to make regarding Ryan Tannehill. At this point, it’s better to look to the future, and the future lands right in their lap. Rosen is the best quarterback prospect in the draft. He has the accuracy, pocket presence, and the ability to work through progressions well. Rosen can start right away.

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Many analysts have Quenton Nelson as the top prospect in the draft. When the tape goes on, it’s easy to see why. Nelson plays with a mean streak, but his technique is also unmatched. The Bengals need help along the line, and Nelson automatically shores up a spot.

13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Redskins can go a lot of directions here, especially on defense. They need some help in the secondary and at linebacker. Derwin James helps this defense on both accounts. James is from the same mold as Jalen Ramsey. He can cover bigger receivers and tight ends while also possessing the speed to blitz and play in open space.

14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

The Packers, once again, need defense in the first round. Pass rush is a good place to start, as Green Bay needs more speed coming off the edge. Harold Landry is exactly the player to provide that. His best move is a quick first step and the bend to get around the corner. That speed could ignite the pass rush from day one.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, OL, Texas

The Cardinals could go Lamar Jackson as he sits on the board. However, it seems that Arizona will look elsewhere here. Fixing the offensive line would be a good start. Connor Williams had a disappointing 2017, but he’s still a top tier tackle prospect who can also move in to guard if need be.

16. Baltimore Ravens: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Receiver seems likely for the Ravens in round one to help out Joe Flacco. D.J. Moore checked off the boxes at the combine and could end up being the first receiver off the board. His explosiveness in the open space and ability to make plays down the field give the Ravens a more dynamic passing game.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia

The Chargers are in win-now mode, so finding another big body up front to protect Philip Rivers is key. Forrest Lamp will return from injury this year and Dan Feeney is coming off a good rookie season. Now, they shore it up by adding Isaiah Wynn. Wynn projects as an NFL guard, but he did play tackle in the toughest conference to do so. He is a powerful player with good balance in pass protection. Tackle isn’t out of the question for him.

18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

The Legion of Boom is likely going to be split up this offseason, which puts corner back on the list of needs for the Seahawks. Seattle would love to have a game changing corner with great ball skills to come in and fill the void. Josh Jackson can do exactly that. He is a perfect zone corner with top tier ball skills.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan

The Cowboys tagged pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, giving them a year to work out a long term deal. Now, they add Maurice Hurst to make their front even more dangerous. Hurst has an explosive first step with the power to match. He has the potential to wreck defenses from the interior.

20. Detroit Lions: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

With new head coach Matt Patricia in town, the Lions will look to revamp the front four of the defense. Haloti Ngata is aging, and they need another presence along the interior to create pressure. While his stats didn’t pile up at Alabama, Da’Ron Payne is a force on the inside who gets upfield to make plays.

21. Buffalo Bills: James Daniels, OL, Iowa

The retirement of Eric Wood makes center an important position to fill. James Daniels isn’t being talked about enough in this class, but he is an excellent lineman with the ability to start right away.

22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs): Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

The Bills use their second pick to help out the defensive line. While he isn’t a perfect prospect and requires some development, the potential in Taven Bryan is very high. He can come in and add some juice to the rotation right away with the chance to be a top player down the road.

23. Los Angeles Rams: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

After acquiring top talent at corner, pass rusher is the biggest need now for the LA Rams. Marcus Davenport, like Bryan described above, has all the physical tools to succeed as a rusher, but he needs to refine his game. Wade Phillips is the perfect coach to develop and maximize his talent.

24. Carolina Panthers: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

The Panthers, outside of the ageless wonder Julius Peppers, need help along the edge to get to the quarterbacks in the NFC South. Sam Hubbard, a converted safety, brings a lot to the table as a pass rusher. He has a plethora of moves and tested well at the combine to check off the athleticism box.

25. Tennessee Titans: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The Titans will almost certainly be looking for help on defense early with Mike Vrabel running the show as head coach. The front seven could use a boost, but there aren’t any pass rushers left worth a gamble at 25. Even though Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson are there, another corner wouldn’t hurt the Titans. Jaire Alexander was hurt most of 2017, but he is the best corner in this class and would provide immediate impact.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

The Falcons have one of the best rosters in the NFL, which means there aren’t many holes for them. The one area that could use a little boost is the offensive line. Andy Levitre hasn’t worked out excellent at guard, so bring in Will Hernandez, a guard who can play right away and will play with a mean streak.

27. New Orleans Saints: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The fall ends here for Calvin Ridley. After a poor showing at the combine, many analysts are cautious about Ridley’s stock. If there’s anyone who can get the most out of him, it’s the Saints and Sean Payton. Pairing the quicker Ridley with Michael Thomas gives Brees another target to work with on offense.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Steelers have a huge need at inside linebacker with Ryan Shazier sidelined for 2018. Rashaan Evans is a perfect fit for the Steelers in this spot. He plays like a heat seeking missile like Reuben Foster before him.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

With the extension for quarterback Blake Bortles, it’s likely the Jags won’t use this pick on a quarterback. Other than that, a couple spots need some help. The tight end position is one of those spots. While he won’t do a ton for you as a blocker, Mike Gesicki is a big-bodied target who moves extremely well in the open space. Adding Gesicki creates a whole new dynamic for the Jags passing offense.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, OL, Ohio State

Yes, yes, I know Billy Price partially tore his pec at the combine, but that shouldn’t deter teams from picking him. He is still a top interior line player in the draft, and the Vikings could use some help there. Teaming him back up with Pat Elflein would make Dalvin Cook and the backfield very happy.

31. New England Patriots: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado 

It’s always hard to predict what the Patriots will do with their pick. Most likely, we will see a trade down. Since there are no trades in this draft, the Patriots will opt for some help at the cornerback spot. Malcolm Butler is on the way out, so someone opposite Stephon Gilmore is necessary. Isaiah Oliver is a long corner with very good coverage skills. The Pats could use him for a number of situations.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

The rich get richer. Should the Eagles lose LeGarrette Blount to free agency, the backfield could use depth. Pairing up Derrius Guice with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement creates a very dynamic backfield for the reigning champs.

What do you think of the selections? Comments? Not happy with your team’s pick? Find Jake on Twitter @JSchyvinck13.

2017 Mock Draft 4.0: Browns Find Trade Partner

Let me welcome you all to NFL Draft week!  It’s going to be a busy time for us here at the site, and the draft content has barely begun.  With only three days to go until the first round of the draft, it is time to release my final mock draft of the season.  There is so much buzz circulating about what will go down on Thursday night, and the buzz has ultimately fallen on the Cleveland Browns.

Everything revolves around what Cleveland will do when they send the first ticket in with the newest Brown’s name on it.  If it is indeed Myles Garrett, as most of us expect, then a flurry of teams desperate to trade down begins, along with the Browns trying to find a partner to trade up and get another guy they really like in this draft: Mitchell Trubisky.

If the pick turns out to be Trubisky at number one, then a different chaos could ensue.  I don’t think the Niners would hesitate knowing Garrett is still there.  But after that, teams could be desperate to move up with the likes of the Jets and Bills standing in their way (I’m looking at you, Arizona).

No matter what happens, it’s going to be one heck of a night.  Let’s dive in to my last mock of the season.

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M

The Browns have a franchise altering decision here at number one overall.  There is a considerable divide amongst the front office on who to pick here.  With enough draft capital to trade up to get the quarterback they want, it’s time to be smart at one and take the best player in this draft.  Garrett has a plethora of ways to get to the quarterback and has the potential to grow into a perennial all pro.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford

The 49ers will likely try to field calls in order to trade out of this point, but there’s no guarantee that there will be takers for the obviously large capital they would want for it. Let’s assume here the Niners don’t find a trade partner and stay here.  I think Fournette and Adams would both be in play here, but they have a chance to build a young and lethal front with the addition of Solomon Thomas.  Thomas off the edge with Armstead and Buckner in the middle would rebuild what the Niners had under Jim Harbaugh.

3. Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Bears have plenty of ways to go here, but the secondary is an obvious need, with Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller being their best options on the outside.  Quarterback is a wild card, but it seems they are ready to go with Mike Glennon.  With Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford as constant nightmares for the Bears secondary, it’s time to upgrade.  Marshon Lattimore has elite coverage and ball skills to thrive at the next level.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The Jags have built a very good young core on the defensive side of the ball, so it might just be a luxury pick no matter where they turn there.  Turning to the offensive side of the ball, the Jags need help for Blake Bortles.  He regressed significantly last season, and that was partly due to an ineffective running game.  It’s time to add a true playmaker at running back, and who better than a guy who some are declaring to be the next generational prospect at running back, Leonard Fournette.

5. Cleveland Browns (from Tennessee Titans): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC

(Browns get: No. 5 overall. Titans get: No. 12 overall, No. 33 overall)

The Browns are too darn tempted to sit back and wait, even if that means they don’t get a quarterback in this draft.  The Titans would love nothing more than to pick up a second round pick in exchange for moving back seven spots.  As for the Browns, it’s the best of both worlds for the franchise.  The front office gets both players they have coveted, and the city of Cleveland has plenty of hope with a stockpile of picks in the next two seasons. Trubisky’s main concern is the amount of games he started in college, but he has solid tools to be a franchise quarterback.

6. New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

The Jets are one of the teams that will need a quarterback at some point to resurrect the franchise.  I just don’t think they believe that any of the quarterbacks are worthy of a first round pick.  So, the Jets turn to the defense.  Calvin Pryor hasn’t worked out well, and they need help on the back end.  Malik Hooker is sitting right there as a guy who has spectacular ball skills and instincts to get to the ball.  I believe that he is exactly what Todd Bowles wants on the back end of his defense.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

The Chargers are building something really nice on the defensive side of the ball.  Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are very good pass rushers.  Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman are a nice duo on the second level.  They have solid corners on the outside in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett.  Now, they could use a leader on the back end.  Jamal Adams has top five player written all over him.  He can come up and play in the box against the run, and can play on the back end as well as cover in the slot.  Adams can step up and be a big leader on this defense for years to come.

8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

The Panthers lost out on the Fournette sweepstakes, and they also lost out on both safeties and Marshon Lattimore.  So, it’s time for best player available to take effect.  The Panthers did lose some depth with Kony Ealy being traded away, and the best part about Allen is that he can play on the interior of the line or he can come off the edge.  That versatility will come in handy for the Panthers, who could use a rusher off the edge that currently features aging vets Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee

The Bengals have lost a ton the last two seasons in free agency.  If there was a top offensive lineman in this draft worthy of a top 10 pick, this would be a perfect fit.  But, there aren’t any worthy of that honor.  So, let’s go get someone to help out Carlos Dunlap off the edge.  The Bengals love bigger, stronger pass rushers, and a guy like Derek Barnett fits right in.  He has been extremely productive with Tennessee, and has a motor that won’t quit.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Could the Bills take Watson here?  Absolutely.  But, I think they still believe in Tyrod Taylor, and that if this team can put it all together, Taylor will thrive.  So, with some serious offensive weapons on the board, the Bills decide to give Taylor some help and pair up two Clemson wide receivers.  Mike Williams is a pretty solid complement to Sammy Watkins in that while Watkins has the speed to win outside, Williams brings a big time red zone threat who is a better route runner than advertised.

11. New Orleans Saints: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

There are plenty of options for the Saints, a team who has struggled on defense for some time.  With the top three edge rushers off the board, the Saints turn to the cornerback position, where they continue to look for a number one guy.  Gareon Conley could be the guy that they have been searching for.  Conley often gets lost in the mix when Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker are mentioned, but he is an impressive corner with very good ball skills and the ability to play in the slot.

12. Tennessee Titans (from Browns): OJ Howard, TE, Alabama

The Titans pick up a pick in round two, and that will help towards building their team into a contender.  As for this pick, the Titans pull the trigger on one of the best players available.  OJ Howard fits perfectly with what the Titans want to do on offense: run the ball effectively and open up the field with the play action.  Howard is a very good blocker, and he can stretch the field and be a very dangerous threat in the passing game. Plus, Delanie Walker isn’t getting younger.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

The Cardinals are not a playoff team right now.  There are major weaknesses on both sides of the ball, and their offense is getting weaker with their once promising group of receivers weakening.  Even with holes on both sides, Bruce Arians and company are too tempted with seeing their quarterback of the future on the board.  Patrick Mahomes has the strong arm to thrive in the vertical offense the Cardinals run.  With Arians’ help, Mahomes could develop into a franchise quarterback.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Yes, the Eagles need help at corner.  But, with how much depth this draft has at that position, the Eagles instead decide to bring balance to the offense.  Christian McCaffrey can be a true difference maker and matchup nightmare in Philly.  He can run between the tackles and line up in the slot as a receiver.  Second year pro Carson Wentz would love some help as he continues to develop.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB/EDGE, Temple

The Colts could pick any spot on their defense to address and it would be a good pick.  They could really use a playmaker who can step in and become a leader on that defense. Haason Reddick can be that guy.  Reddick’s versatility is what makes him special.  He played on the edge last season at Temple, but at the Senior Bowl, he dominated in off ball linebacker drills.  The Colts can use him as a two down off ball guy who can come down and rush the passer on third down.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Marlon Humphrey is going a lot higher than people think he is.  You just don’t get big, physical, and fast corners very often.  The Ravens have strong ties to Alabama prospects in recent drafts, so why not here?  Humphrey can come in and learn how to refine his game when the ball is in the air and become a dominant force in press coverage.

17. Washington Redskins: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

The Redskins are a serious wild card in this draft.  Everyone thought they’d go defensive line last year, and they surprised with a receiver.  With no top tier defensive linemen outside of Jonathan Allen, the Redskins elect to grab a guy who can lock down the second level.  Jarrad Davis isn’t as far behind Reuben Foster as some may think.  He can come downhill in the run game and he can stay on the field on third down in coverage.

18. Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

After addressing the offense with their first pick, the Titans now turn to the defensive side of the ball.  With not too many corners off the board, and with their secondary lacking playmakers, the Titans jump at the chance to grab a top five corner in the draft.  Quincy Wilson has exceptional ball skills and instincts to thrive at the next level.  He will be an important cog in the Titans defense.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami

This pairing has been very common over the past couple months.  The Buccaneers are a team where it is hard to find a real draft need.  Offensive line is a possibility, but this year’s class really isn’t worth a first round pick.  The defense is solid in Tampa, so why not grab another weapon for Jameis Winston.  David Njoku has serious potential with all of his physical abilities.  He is more built for a receiving tight end role, but that doesn’t mean he won’t put in the effort to block.  With all that raw potential, and a tag team buddy in Cameron Brate, Njoku could really thrive in Tampa.

20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

It’s no secret that the Broncos need help on the offensive line.  They gained rhythm on offense when they could run the ball effectively, and the success of the running game wasn’t where they wanted it to be last season.  They need someone who can be effective in the run game as well as protecting Siemian/Lynch.  Garett Bolles has the mean streak you want to see in an offensive lineman, and he can make a difference for that sputtering line.

21. Detroit Lions: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA

The Lions need to work on getting off the field on third downs, and that starts with finding someone besides Ziggy Ansah who can pressure the quarterback.  Takkarist McKinley would be a nice fit for Detroit.  Yes, McKinley is still a little raw and needs to refine some of his technique while setting an edge, but there is plenty to like.  McKinley has an extremely high motor and has so many effort plays where he won’t give up.  Plus, he has great speed and quickness.  The Lions land a potential star.

22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky

The Dolphins really found themselves down the stretch last season, which resulted in a playoff berth.  Running the ball effectively was a key to Adam Gase’s offense being successful, and they will want to continue that.  With Branden Albert gone, it’s likely that Laremy Tunsil moves to left tackle.  Enter Forrest Lamp, who has Pro Bowl potential no matter where you put him on the line.  Lamp can play either tackle or guard, and that gives the Dolphins options when it comes to the offensive line.

23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

The Giants will be bringing back an elite defense in 2017.  What they won’t be bringing back is a top flight offense.  Adding Brandon Marshall was good for the Giants, but now they need to make sure their quarterback can stay upright.  Ryan Ramczyk has Pro Bowl potential at the tackles spot, and his technician-like abilities will translate to the NFL.

24. Oakland Raiders: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

The fall ends here.  Reuben Foster is too darn good to fall out of the first round, and it’s doubtful that a Super Bowl contender who needs help at linebacker will pass on him.  Foster is exactly what the Raiders need on defense.  He can be a big time leader and playmaker, and can anchor a defense that gave up over six yards per play.

25. Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson

The Texans cannot afford to enter 2017 without someone who they believe can lead this franchise deeper into the playoffs.  With DeShaun Watson still on the board, the Texans select a quarterback who is no stranger to playoff runs.  He has the leadership and gamer qualities you covet in a quarterback.  Watson may not have the best arm, but with the talent around him, he doesn’t need to do it all right away.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

There isn’t much intrigue to this pick.  Seattle’s offensive line has struggled recently.  They need to address the position if they want to run the ball effectively and keep Russell Wilson upright.  Cam Robinson could come in and play a big role in their revival.  Robinson is a body mover who can be very effective in the run game, while also having the strength to stave off edge rushers.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

With three quarterbacks off the board, it’s hard to see the Chiefs reaching for one that shouldn’t be drafted in the first round.  So, they look elsewhere.  With Derrick Johnson’s career winding down, it’s time to find a viable replacement.  Zach Cunningham has improved significantly in his time at Vanderbilt, and can come in right away and be a tackling machine.  He has the quickness and instincts to become a centerpiece on that defense.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan

The Cowboys desperately need defensive help.  With two corners from last season gone, and no guarantees with the pass rush, the Cowboys elect to go with a big, strong edge rusher who can help rejuvenate this group.  Taco Charlton has the power and quickness to win on the outside, and the strength to stack up blockers when defending the run.  His physical traits show that he has the potential to succeed in the NFL.

29. Green Bay Packers: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri

Yes, Packer fans, one at a time.  The need for more corners is apparent.  There isn’t much depth at that spot right now, but with young guys developing, the Packers elect to wait till later to draft a corner.  Even though Nick Perry re-signed with the Packers, they still need help off the edge.  Charles Harris could come in and shine from day one.  His spin move is second to none in this class, and he has quickness and power to consistently win against tackles.  This move could also allow Clay Matthews to move around the Packers defense.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

The Steelers see too much value here to let Corey Davis slip any further.  His stock is slipping only because he hasn’t been talked about.  That is ludicrous.  With Martavis Bryant’s future still uncertain, and not much progress being made by Sammie Coates, Corey Davis would fit right in here.  Antonio Brown needs someone to complement his game, and Davis’ route running ability and the danger after the catch make him the pick here.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

It’s quite clear that Atlanta needs to find help for Vic Beasley, who can’t do it all himself off the edge, but with all the top guys gone, it’s time to be patient there.  Instead, the Falcons look to a secondary that was more vulnerable without Desmond Trufant in the lineup.  Adoree Jackson has the makings to play corner on the outside.  He has good speed and quickness to keep up, and can also make his presence known in the return game.

32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots): John Ross, WR, Washington 

The Saints are also looking for a pass rusher, but they find themselves in the same spot as Atlanta.  So, with Cooks departing for New England, why not grab his replacement right here?  John Ross is more than just a burner.  He can run very good routes and would be very tough to cover wherever you line him up.  Drew Brees and Sean Payton would love another chess piece on the offensive side of the ball.

What do you think about this draft?  Agree on your team’s pick?  Disagree?  Put your thoughts in the comments or reply on Twitter.

Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and NFL Draft for The Sports Guys. For more draft content, follow him on Twitter @JSchyvinck13.

Complete Packers Offseason Guide

The Green Bay Packers have continued to be a contender in the NFC.  But, in recent seasons, they haven’t been able to finish the deal.  They have gotten to two NFC title games in the past three seasons, but everyone knows that isn’t the goal.  This offseason will be an important one for the Packers.  They have a lot of free agents that could hit the open market, but many Packer fans are hoping that Ted Thompson reaches out elsewhere to find free agents who will help the Packers, especially on defense.  As far as the draft goes, it is one of the deepest drafts many have seen, especially at the areas of need for the Packers.  The Packers must reload in order to reach the Super Bowl.  Let’s take a look at what to expect from Green Bay this offseason.

Will Ted Look For Free Agents Outside Of His Own?

When will this not be a narrative heading into a Green Bay offseason?  Fans continue to get angry at Thompson for his work during free agency, or lack there of.  Yet, if you look at what Thompson does compared with the teams that have lots of money to spend, he does find good bargains and never overspends.  When he does spend, though, it’s a good thing.  Charles Woodson was a great addition to Green Bay, and became a centerpiece on defense. Adding Julius Peppers three seasons ago brought experience and depth to the pass rush.  And we can’t forget about Jared Cook, who was very good down the stretch and another good bargain in free agency.  But, even with these on Thompson’s record, fans and analysts alike know that it’s going to take more than drafting and developing to reach the top again in the NFL.

What Positions Should He Address?

Clearly, the front seven needs work.  If you subtract everyone who is a free agent this season, this is what the Packers are left with: Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Christian Ringo, Letroy Guion, Dean Lowry, Clay Matthews, Jayrone Elliot, Kyler Fackrell, Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez, Joe Thomas.  That’s pretty concerning as far as a front seven goes.  This is all the evidence you need that Ted needs to find some help outside of Green Bay.  Nick Perry is the in house guy fans would love to see come back, but the market may be too rich for the Packers to retain him.  Julius Peppers wasn’t as productive as he has been in Green Bay this past season, so you can bet Green Bay won’t bring him back.

Guard is another big hole that could open up in Green Bay.  Both TJ Lang and JC Tretter are free agents, and once again, their market could heat up too much for the Packers to afford them.  It would be nice if Thompson were to bring one back, but with reports of JC Tretter possibly getting $8 million plus in free agency, and with TJ Lang guaranteed to get north of $10 million per year, the Packers might not want to use that much cap space on an offensive lineman.

There’s an obvious need in the secondary for the Packers.  It isn’t likely that they’ll make a splash in this year, because 1) the secondary market is massively driven up based on need and the cap rising and 2) the depth in the draft, especially at cornerback.  I don’t expect the Packers to do anything in free agency to upgrade the secondary, and with Micah Hyde likely moving on, the Packers will have to seriously look at drafting multiple corners in April.

As far as the offensive skill spots go, running back and tight end are not big needs, but they need depth.  Ty Montgomery isn’t going to be a three down back, but he is a nice player in a two man rotation who can take over on third downs with ease.  Jared Cook came up big down the stretch for Green Bay, and signing him to a longer deal is a big priority on the offensive side of the ball.  Let’s address both markets.  The Packers would like to have Lacy back, but the running back is heating up, and other teams with more room to spend may sway Lacy to come play for them.  As far as tight ends go, there isn’t much on the open market.  Jack Doyle appears to be returning to Indy, which leaves Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook at the top of the market.  Cook was integral to their offense down the stretch, and even if the market is strong, I expect Green Bay to make a run for him.

Who Do The Packers Sign?

Let’s start with the pass rushers.  Nick Perry is unlikely to return, but don’t count him out just yet.  The Packers know about their depth at pass rusher, so he could return.  Julius Peppers is also unlikely to return along with Datone Jones, but the Packers may extend team friendly offers.  I expect a dry free agency for the Packers at pass rusher should they not re-sign Nick Perry.

Defensive line is something we haven’t talked about much, but the Packers could use some help there.   With Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels as the only current guys with starting experience (I expect Guion to be gone), they may reach for someone with a lower asking price.  Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams is way out of Ted’s spending tendency, so he’s out.  Dontari Poe is a good option at nose tackle, and he may opt to sign with a contender, and he would be a good veteran presence at the spot like Peppers has been.  Johnathan Hankins is too young and will command too much.  There are two guys I like that Green Bay could sign.  Bennie Logan and Chris Baker can both play on the interior in a 3-4 and are great run defenders.  Chris Baker also had 4.5 sacks last season, proving he can get to the quarterback as well.  Watch those two names.

Micah Hyde is on the way out, and I don’t expect the Packers to pursue top guys like Malcolm Butler, AJ Bouye, and Stephon Gilmore.  The market will drive their price to a point that is too much that anyone should pay, let alone a smart shopper like Ted Thompson.  Rumors have shown that the Packers may bring back former corner Davon House, who was cut by the Jags this week.  I expect this to be their only effort in the corner market.

I think Eddie Lacy might be too pricey to sign.  He is likely to find a home somewhere else. That leaves injury prone vets like Peterson and Charles, but I think even they might get overpaid.  One intriguing option is Raiders running back Latavius Murray.  Overall, I think it’s Lacy or nothing for the Packers when it comes to running backs.

Finally, Jared Cook.  You know what I think about this.  Rodgers isn’t going to let the front office let him go.  He is coming back to Green Bay.

What Should The Packers Do In The Draft?

There are four or five spots that I hope the Packers address in the draft, and two spots that are absolutely necessary.  The two biggest holes that could use depth are cornerback and edge rusher.  Green Bay parted ways with Sam Shields, who was an important piece to their secondary coming into the season.  He only played in one game and it is a mystery whether he will play again.  Losing Sam Shields, combined with lingering injuries that bothered Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, forced Ladarius Gunter into a starting role and forced the Packers to use Micah Hyde and even Morgan Burnett in the slot.  Yes, Randall and Rollins still need time to develop, but the Packers need young depth.  Edge rusher is another important position to address.  The Packers are set to lose Julius Peppers, and even if they re-sign Nick Perry and Datone Jones, they need some young talent out there.  Clay Matthews seems to have begun his decline, and no one is sure if Jayrone Elliott or Kyler Fackrell will make a big impact in the coming seasons.  Obviously running back is important, but with a deep group this year, I don’t think the Packers will draft one early.  I don’t think Jake and Blake are the answer at middle linebacker, although I do credit Jake Ryan for his improvement in coverage this past season.  Adding an athletic linebacker would be nice for Green Bay for depth.  Guard will probably be another need for Green Bay with the likely departure of Lang and Tretter, and there should be options there as well.

Luckily for Green Bay, both the corner class and the edge class are extremely deep.  The corner class is the best I have seen in my time covering the draft, which isn’t lengthy I admit.  But ask some experts about it, and they will say the same.  There are a large number of corners who are first round talents, and some will fall to the third round.  The edge class is strong too, and there are nice finds when you get to rounds three and four.

Who Should The Packers Target?

There are plenty of names that come to mind at each position, but let’s start where the Packers need help the most: corner.  Green Bay needs speed and physicality at the position, and there are multiple corners who fit that description.  Gareon Conley and Sidney Jones are top corners who would fit the Packers well, but it is unlikely that either get to the Packers at 29.  Jones and (especially) Conley tested real well at the combine, and both are top 20 players in this draft.  Should either get to Green Bay, that could be the pick.  Tre’Davious White is very physical at the line of scrimmage, and he can play zone as well.  Fabian Moreau has been a big riser in this draft, and his speed and physicality are exactly what Green Bay needs.  Kevin King and Chidobe Awuzie are day two players that would be great adds, especially King with his size and speed.  Some later round options include Cam Sutton, Corn Elder, and Ahkello Witherspoon.

Edge rusher is very deep too.  There is a possibility that Charles Harris or Takk McKinley make it to the Packers, but it is unlikely.  McKinley is excellent against the run and a fastball off the edge.  Harris is a technician with a nasty spin move.  Many have TJ Watt mocked to Green Bay, but that feels like a name-based pick.  Day two edge guys include guys like Derek Rivers, Tim Williams, and Carroll Phillips.  Williams and Phillips bring serious speed off the edge as rushers, and Rivers is very underrated.  Don’t forget about guys like DeMarcus Walker, Jordan Willis, and Trey Hendrickson, who all have interesting potential.  The depth at that position will allow the Packers to find good contributors on day two should they not grab a big name in round one.

As far as the other positions go, the Packers can mix and match.  Guys like Raekwon McMillan and Duke Riley are good options at linebacker later in the draft.  Forrest Lamp is mocked to Green Bay in my current round one mock draft, but he might not be there.  Guys like Dorian Johnson, Nico Siragusa, and Isaac Asiata are late round options.  Last, but not least, the running back class is deep.  I’m warming up to the idea of McCaffrey in Green Bay with Rodgers, but odds are that does not happen.  Middle round running backs that look good include TJ Logan, Jamaal Williams, Kareem Hunt, and Elijah McGuire.

What’s The Outlook?

I expect the Packers to reload through the draft and retain a big piece or two in free agency.  This might even be the year that the Packers reach outside their walls to grab a couple free agents.  Packer fans, I know the struggle.  March is hard to watch.  But, have faith in the front office and this team.  They will contend.

Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and NFL Draft for The Sports Guys.  He dabbles with the Packers, his favorite team.  Follow him @JSchyvinck13 to stay caught up on all things free agency during this crazy month in sports.