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2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the season at a close and the Eagles officially Super Bowl Champions (!!!); we as fans will eventually start looking to the offseason. The team will continue to add talent to an already stacked team and grow the young core of this championship roster. While there is a lot of draft content on the way, it is always fun to start the offseason off with a mock draft. These projections are bound to change as combine approaches; but there is no harm in learning some players names and getting a feel for the buzz. As with all my mock drafts; I try to avoid guessing what will happen and instead mock how I would draft to show where I’m at with different players in the class.

Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma

The Browns have won a single game in the two seasons since they decided that Carson Wentz wasn’t worth drafting in 2016. Unsurprisingly, they are left still needing to fill the void at the quarterback position. It is a major conundrum as to who would fill in given there are a lot of talented signal callers in this class. Josh Rosen has the prototypical size and arm strength, Sam Darnold has jaw dropping moments and is still such a young player, Lamar Jackson is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to enter the draft in a while and Josh Allen has some executives drooling with his potential. However, I can’t help but feel the most comfortable with Bake Mayfield. He will get knocked for his size, but the Heisman winner has incredible arm strength, accuracy and improvisational skills. Moreover, he has an infectious personality that galvanized his teammates at Oklahoma and that type of electricity would be immediately needed in Cleveland.

New York Giants: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

The Giants need to start thinking about life after Eli Manning. The beleaguered quarterback has experienced many ups and downs through his career and he is a few seasons from being out the door. Josh Rosen would be perfect as a guy to groom behind Manning for one or two seasons. Rosen has arm strength, guts and is highly intelligent. He would mesh well with Pat Shurmur and give the Giants hope in the future when they decide to move on from Eli Manning.

Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, Edge Defender, NC State

There are a lot of different directions the Colts could go here, but adding a playmaker to their defense certainly wouldn’t hurt. The defense has missed a certain toughness for a few years now and Chubb is exactly the type of player who could change that. He is big, physical and has an incredibly high motor that make him monstrous both as a run defender and pass rusher. While he won’t fix the unit all together, he will get them trending in the right direction.

Cleveland Browns (From Houston Texas): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama

Saquon Barkley is tempting here, but adding Minkah Fitzpatrick to a defense already bubbling with young talent is an exciting thought. Fitzpatrick is as solid as prospects come and has the versatility to play all over a secondary. While he could play cornerback, he might be best suited playing safety where he can play over the top or in the slot. The Browns have stocked up on front seven players in the last two drafts and now could add an immediate impact player to their secondary.

Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC

The Broncos could go in a lot directions here; but Darnold feels like too good a fit in Denver to pick anyone else. Darnold is young and is prone to inconsistency; but it is hard to deny the raw physical gifts he possess. Few players make the plays Darnold can make in and outside of the pocket. The Broncos should be enamored with Darnold and he will fit nicely into an offense that already has a lot of pieces, finally giving them the future at quarterback they failed to attain when drafting Paxton Lynch.

New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville

While the discourse about Lamar Jackson is currently a mess, I bet he rises dramatically in the media view over the next few months. He is bound to light up the combine and do well on the whiteboard in interviews and hopefully people will see that he is a very legit quarterback prospect. Jackson is incredibly gifted in terms of mobility; but has effortless arm strength to go along with it. His accuracy is spotty, but he is a cerebral passer who has improved every year of playing. The Jets need new blood at the quarterback position. Jackson, while he needs improvement (like any quarterback prospect) will bring excitement and competence to the Jets offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame

While adding a guard might not be at the top of the Bucs’ needs; Quenton nelson is too good to pass up. He is among the best players in this class and would immediately improve a middling offensive line. Nelson is a blue chip player who is nasty and extremely good as a run and pass blocker. While this isn’t pick; Tampa would be smart to continue building around Jameis Winston and keeping him upright.

Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, SMU

This is tough considering the Bears’ biggest need is arguably where the draft is weakest at the top (wide receiver) but Courtland Sutton could still make them and Mitch Trubisky very happy. The big bodied, dominating pass catcher would make for a great red zone target and player Trubisky could trust in tough situations. Sutton may be viewed as somewhat of a reach here; but he could prove to be the best receiver from class that is heavier more in the middle.

Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia

Besides Khalil Mack and Karl Joseph; the Raiders defense is a whole lot of nothing. They are in desperate need of speed, competence and tenacity. Roquan Smith is, to me, the best player in the class this year. He is everything a linebacker should be in terms of speed, intelligence, polish and absolute violence. He is a tone setter who can reshape the entire Raiders unit by him being in the middle of it.

San Francisco 49ers: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State

While it is unlikely that Saquon Barkely falls this low in the draft, the Niners would be absolutely silly not to add him to their offense. The unit took on new life with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm and adding another spark like Saquon Barkley could make the group truly dangerous. Barkley is a true home run threat with excellent athletic ability to go with his size. His polished receiving ability makes him perfect for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but also for a young quarterback who will need easy passing options out of the backfield that can make the most from short yardage targets.

Miami Dolphins: Joshua Jackson, Cornerback, Iowa

The Dolphins are a weird team to project for. They were a playoff team with Ryan Tannehill and Jay Ajayi in the mix during the 2016 season; but losing Tannehill to injury and Jay Ajayi to the trade with Philadelphia (which was and is still utterly stupid on their part) made them look like a different team. With Tannehill back in the mix; they are poised to rebound next season but in how big a way is dependent on how both sides of the ball look. Adding a tall, athletic cornerback with ball skills never hurt anyone. Jackson would be an excellent addition to a defense that could use more youth in the secondary.

Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, Offensive Tackle, Texas

The Bengals have had their second successive year out of the playoff picture and are looking for answers. Their offensive line was a liability this season and they could stand to add some young players to the mix. Connor Williams had an excellent career at Texas and the athletic and experienced player would be a welcome addition to a struggling unit.

Washington: Derwin James, Safety, Florida State

Washington made the move to trade for Alex Smith and give him a four year deal worth 70 million dollars in garhahahahahahahahahahahahhaha... Anyway, their quarterback outlook is decided in the short term so it is unlikely they look for a top prospect in this year’s class. They could, however, stand to add more athletes to their secondary. Washington’s defense has been a solid unit for the last few years but adding an athletic tone setter like Derwin James could put them in a very nice place for the foreseeable future.

Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, Edge Defender, Boston College

Green Bay had a throwaway season with Aaron Rodgers missing much of the year, but it was evident that they needed to make changes on defense. After firing Dom Capers, the unit should be reloading with more players who can get after the passer. Harold Landry had a down year as he struggled with some injuries, but he is a twitched up pass rusher whose high motor makes him dangerous on every down.

Arizona Cardinals: Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

The Cardinals are in a weird spot where they have no quarterback since Carson Palmer retired but lack the current draft position to get a quality prospect. They could take gamble on Josh Allen, but that could basically be a punt of a first round pick given how much work he needs to improve. The Cardinals are best off adding another young, talented offensive line and build the core of the team so it is ready for a young quarterback to step in eventually. McGlinchey has been underrated this season due in part to playing with Quenton Nelson. He is still a very athletic tackle who thrives in pass protection and should make the Cardinals very happy with their tackle group for a while.

Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma

The Ravens have been in need of a deep threat for years, it feels like. James Washington was a big play machine over the last three seasons in Stillwater and would be an immediate boost to a stagnant Baltimore offense. The Ravens are locked into Joe Flacco for a long time and if they want to succeed, they need receivers who can actually strike fear into defenses. James Washington has done just that and will continue to do that in the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers: Maurice Hurst, Defensive Tackle, Michigan

I get a feeling Hurst goes higher than this but this would be an outstanding pick for the Chargers. Their defense was really solid last year due mostly to Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram wreaking absolute havoc in opposing backfields. Adding an explosive defensive tackle like Maurice Hurst to the mix would take that line from good to great; finally giving them the defensive firepower to match their offense and push them over the playoff hump.

Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, Running Back, LSU

The Seahawks suffered somewhat of an identity crisis in 2017 that led to them missing the playoffs. The offense was all over the place and the defense faltered as it lost key starters. They need to get back to what made them a dangerous team in the first place and rededicate to running the ball. As good as Russell Wilson is; no quarterback should be a team’s leading rusher. Adding a dynamic running back like Derrius Guice could make the offense scary again and help Seattle return to NFC supremacy.

Dallas Cowboys: Christian Kirk, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

Dallas stays in state to upgrade their offense. After a dominant 2016 season; the Cowboys offense faltered in part due to Zeke Elliott’s absence but also the general incompetence of the team’s pass catchers. A lot of pressure shifted to their young signal caller and often he was asked to do too much. Adding a player like Christian Kirk, who is not only a savvy route runner but also dangerous after the catch, would add an explosive element to the passing game that has seemingly been lost in the last few seasons. Kirk can stretch the field; giving more space for Elliott to run and Dez Bryant to find more yardage underneath.

Detroit Lions: Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State

The Lions underachieved a bit in 2017, but remain a talented football team with the roster to compete for the top spot in their division. Where they could improve, however, is adding more juice to their secondary. While Darius Slay and Glover Quin are very good players; you can never have too many cover guys when Aaron Rodgers is the biggest competition in the division. Denzel Ward might be a smaller cornerback, but he remains an outstanding cover guy with a great attitude for a defender. With a defensive head coach now in the fold; it couldn’t hurt to add some more defenders to mold the defense in Matt Patricia’s vision.

Buffalo Bills: Billy Price, Interior Offensive Lineman, Ohio State

The Bills enjoyed a surprise playoff season even though their front office seemed dead set on trading all of their talent away. Anyway, Buffalo got some bad news this postseason though when Eric Wood, their long standing center, announced retirement due to a neck injury. He was a big part of the team’s offensive success and they should look to replace him ASAP. Billy Price has experience at guard and center; playing both at a high level. He is a pro-ready blocker and should give the team a seamless transition while possibly even upgrading the offensive line.

Buffalo Bills (From Kansas City): Mark Andrews, Tight End, Oklahoma

The Bills need to add some playmakers to their offense. While they could go after Calvin Ridley; adding a matchup nightmare like Mark Andrews could be really good for their offense. Andrews is a new age tight end who has great athletic ability, hands and yards after the catch skills. While he is not a classic, in-line type; he will make a dynamic middle of the field target for whoever is under center next season in Buffalo.

Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Oliver, Cornerback, Colorado

The Rams enjoyed an outstanding season as they won the NFC West with a dynamic offense and the Defensive Player of the Year on the other side of the ball. However, their defense could stand to add some more talent, especially in the secondary, and Isaiah Oliver would be a nice choice for the young group. He is a physical, man-cover cornerback and regardless of whether or not Trumaine Johnson sticks around; the Rams will be happy with what Oliver can do for them.

Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama

I am a bit uneasy about older prospects, but there is no doubt that 23 year old Calvin Ridley is a polished receiver. The Panthers are in need of some juice in their passing game and Ridley would be a dependable addition who could potentially take some pressure off of Devin Funchess and a soon emerging Curtis Samuel. That trio, as well as Greg Olsen and Christian McCaffrey making contributions to the passing game, will give Cam Newton the most talented group of pass catches since he got to Carolina.

Tennessee Titans: Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker, Virginia Tech

Edmunds is another player who has fallen well bellow his talent level in this mock. While he should go something like 10 picks earlier, the Titans would be ecstatic to see a defender like Edmunds available to them. Edmunds is as physical as they come at the linebacker position and the 20 year old prospect is a freakish athlete with tons more room to grow. There are debates about whether or not he should be a true edge defender or an off ball linebacker, but the truth lies somewhere in the middle. He could be an Anthony Barr like player in the NFL and Mike Vrabel would probably love to get his hands on a defender with this type of versatility.

Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, Guard, Georgia

After being one of Philadelphia’s victims on their way to a Super Bowl win, the Falcons have to look to improve after underachieving on offense all year. Atlanta has a talented group, no doubt, but play calling and interior protection hurt them from week to week. Staying locally with Isaiah Wynn gives the team a physical interior blocker who will immediately upgrade a weak guard group. However having Wynn with Alex Mack, Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder would be nice for the offense next season.

New Orleans Saints: Arden Key, Edge Defender, LSU

The Saints had a breakout year on defense that finally helped them over the playoff hump for the first time since 2013. However they could benefit from adding even more young talent to the improving unit. They could be beneficiaries of Arden Key’s slumping junior season to snag him late in the first round. Key, who underperformed this year, is still a highly athletic and talented pass rusher. If they can unlock his potential; the Saints have the potential to have a scary defense next year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Vita Vea, Defensive Lineman, Washington

The Steelers had an early exit form the playoffs after Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars embarrassed them on their home field. Vita Vea is the type of big man who could strengthen the Pittsburgh front in the middle. He could play a variety of spots along the line and would not need to come off in sub packages, as he is an adept pass rusher to go along with his run defense. While he is not really a sexy type of defensive lineman, he is exactly what the Steelers need.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Orlando Brown, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

While it would not be surprising if the Jaguars moved up for a quarterback; in this no-trades mock, they stay put and land a talented offensive tackle. Orlando Brown is a huge, intimidating blocker on the edges and would pair fantastically with Cam Robinson on the other side to give the Jaguars a nasty offensive line so they can stick to funding the ball on offense.

Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, Guard, UTEP

The Vikings had an outstanding year on both sides of the ball and while their quarterback situation is a bit of a question mark; there is a lot to be excited about with Dalvin Cook returning next year from injury. The Vikings could add a smaller school talent to their offensive line to shore up the group. Hernandez would be talked about like a top fifteen pick if he had a different logo on his helmet and the Vikings will fall in love with his attitude and run blocking savvy.

New England Patriots (Super Bowl Losers): Harrison Philips, Defensive Tackle, Stanford

Among the many reasons the Patriots lost the Super Bowl (besides their quarterback choking) was how abysmal their defensive line was all game. Between getting absolutely gutted in the running game; they Patriots got no pressure on Nick Foles all night. Harrison Philips is a versatile and disruptive defender who can play against the run or pass. He would be a huge boost to a mediocre at best group of defensive linemen. Maybe the excitement of drafting Philips will ease the shame of getting absolutely dive bombed by Nick Foles for 60 minutes of football.

Philadelphia Eagles (Reigning Super Bowl Champions for at least another 363 Days): Ronald Jones, Running Back, USC

The Eagles have very few weaknesses on their roster. They could add an offensive linemen to be the heir apparent to Jason Peters. They could add a linebacker, considering Nigel Bradham is a free agent and Jason Hicks’ health is a question mark. They could go in a bunch of directions because they have the luxury of having few needs. My opinion is that the Eagles could use a home run element to their offense. While the unit was obviously outstanding this year with Carson Wentz at the helm and played out of its mind in the post-season; it would be nice to have a player who can score on any touch. With Legarrette Blount likely heading towards retirement, the team could add some lightning in the backfield to pair with Jay Ajayi’s thunder. Jones is dynamic with the ball in his hands and considering Jay Ajayi has one more year on his deal, it would be smart to draft someone as talented as Jones is as insurance.