I’m not the biggest fan of mock drafts. For the most part I see them as an exercise just to generate clicks on a website. It’s next to impossible to predict what a team thinks of a certain player and if they would draft them. On top of that, one trade can completely ruin a mock draft. I’ll let you in on a little secret, despite all the trade rumours surrounding the draft at the moment, there are going to be trades that nobody could have predicted. Last year for example, there were six trades in the first round alone. Just to understand how inaccurate a mock draft can be, Daniel Jeremiah, who is one of the most respected draft analysts there is, only had three of the top ten picks right in his final mock draft of 2017. In terms of predicting what pick a player would be taken at in the first round, Jeremiah was 7-for-32. Predicting which team a player would go to, Jeremiah was also 7-for-32. Just goes to show how much of a crapshoot this entire process is.
I won’t lie though, I do dabble in mock drafts every now and then. Despite my opinion on mock drafts as a whole, they can be interesting to read. The reason being that it gives fans an idea of who their team could possibly draft, whether they end up actually drafting them or not.
So, with all that said, here’s my mock draft!
I’m going to be doing two mock drafts here; ‘What I Would Do’ and ‘What I Think Will Happen’. I’m not going to include possible trades, just because, as I mentioned above, there’s no way of knowing what kind of trades will happen on draft night. Some trades I think could happen in the top ten though would be Buffalo, Miami or Arizona trading up to select one of the big four quarterbacks. But other than that, I have absolutely no idea what moves might be made. I’m also only going to be doing the top ten. Doing the full first round, or seven rounds, which some people actually try to do, would be pointless. So, here we go.
What I Would Do
1st Overall - Cleveland Browns - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
I think Baker Mayfield will be the best quarterback from this class. Think Drew Brees but more athletic. Mayfield is by far the most accurate passer in this class, completing 68.5% over his college career, including over 70% in each of the past two seasons. In 48 career games, he threw 131 touchdowns with only 30 interceptions. That’s a 4.4/1 TD-INT ratio, for those keeping track at home. He also won the Heisman, and would’ve been playing for the National Championship this past season, if it wasn’t for some lousy play-calling in the second half of the Rose Bowl against Georgia. The biggest knock on Baker is a video from early 2017 that shows him trying to drunkenly run away from cops who tackle him to the ground. Other than that one incident, he’s done nothing but be one of the best college football players of all-time. You’ll see people try to say he won’t be successful due to his height, but in reality, he’s slightly above 6 feet tall. But for some reason, people think that a guy who’s taller than Drew Brees and Russell Wilson is too short to succeed in the NFL. I don’t think the Browns will actually pick him, due to their bad experience from drafting Johnny Manziel, which is unfair to Baker since he’s better than Manziel was, and has nowhere near the amount of red flags that surrounded Manziel. Baker won’t be the first player taken in the draft, but he should be.
2nd Overall - New York Giants - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Darnold might be the most “can’t miss” quarterback in this class. In two seasons at USC, Darnold completed 64.9% of his passes and threw 57 touchdowns. The problem with Darnold is his turnovers. This past season Darnold was picked off 13 times, and fumbled 11 more. However, those things can be worked on, so it shouldn’t scare teams away. The Giants might go with a skill player or a defensive player at this spot, if they feel that they can contend over the next two or three years. However, Eli Manning isn’t a good quarterback anymore. He’s near the end of the road, and the Giants might not get the chance at drafting top five again, so they need to grab their next QB while they can.
3rd Overall - New York Jets - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Allen is the most interesting player in this class. Among the quarterbacks, he has the highest ceiling, while also having the lowest floor. Allen is 6’5”, 237 pounds with 10 1/8 inch hands. His build is pretty much perfect when it comes to a QB. He also has the ability to throw the ball more than 80 yards downfield. He seems like the perfect prospect, so why does he has the lowest floor? Well, his accuracy wasn’t great in college and while playing in a relatively soft conference, he never really dominated. Allen’s career completion percentage in college was 56.2%, which isn’t great. However, if he completed 25 more passes throughout his career, which is only one more completion per game, his percentage would be at 60 and people wouldn’t be making as big of a deal about his accuracy as they are. New York needs a franchise QB, and Josh Allen just may be that guy
4th Overall - Cleveland Browns - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I’ve made this comparison for months, and I still stand by it; Barkley is a more talented version of Ezekiel Elliot, without the off-field issues. He’s a great runner, good pass catcher, and an elite kick returner. The Browns have Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry, so now they just need a stud running back to round out this offence. They signed Carlos Hyde in the off-season, but he’s not the future of this team. Saquon can be.
5th Overall - Denver Broncos - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
It seems that with each passing day Rosen’s draft stock takes a hit. Many analysts describe Rosen as the best thrower of this year’s quarterback class, but it’s off the field stuff that’s hurting him. People are questioning Rosen’s commitment to football and whether or not he’s coachable. Rosen wants to have a greater impact than just being a football player, and has a very strong personality, which some people see as a negative. I don’t see either of these things being a problem in the coming years, but when a team is investing millions of dollars into a player, everything has to be taken into consideration. The Broncos signed Case Keenum this off-season, but for all we know, he was a one year wonder. He’s also 30, so he’s not the future of this team, and Paxton Lynch looks like a complete bust. Rosen could be the future play-caller that the Broncos need.
6th Overall - Indianapolis Colts - Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
The best defensive player in this draft. Chubb might go as high as second overall. He’s an absolute monster on the defensive side of the ball, which is something that the Colts desperately need.
7th Overall - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Bucs addressed their need for a pass rusher with their trade for Jason Pierre Paul this off-season. Now they need to address their secondary. Ward is the best cornerback in this class, and will help the Buccaneers deal with facing Julio Jones and Michael Thomas four times a year.
8th Overall - Chicago Bears - Quinton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Nelson might be the best player in this draft, but unfortunately for him, guards aren’t sexy when it comes to the NFL. Nelson has the skill to be a first team All Pro for many years, but he plays a position that isn’t a priority for most teams, which is why he probably won’t be drafted in the top five. If he falls to eighth overall, it will be an absolute steal for the Bears, who are looking to protect their franchise QB, Mitch Trubisky.
9th Overall - San Francisco 49ers - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
This one’s pretty simple; with Reuben Foster’s football future up in the air, the 49ers are going to need a linebacker to run this defence. Edmunds might benefit greatly from a terrible situation.
10th Overall - Oakland Raiders - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Roquan Smith was incredible this past season. He’s got some serious speed, and is a very good tackler. This seems like an easy pick for the Raiders, but with Jon Gruden in charge of things, who knows what they’re going to do.
What I Think Will Happen
1st Overall - Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Cleveland have repeatedly failed to find a franchise quarterback. They can’t afford to fail again, so they go with the safest QB in the draft.
2nd Overall - New York Giants - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Giants seem to think that Eli Manning still have some fuel left in the tank, so they give him some help on offence with the best running back in the draft.
3rd Overall - New York Jets - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
New York needs a QB. Baker Mayfield was born to play in New York. This makes too much sense for it not to happen.
4th Overall - Cleveland Browns - Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
The Browns miss out on Saquon Barkley, so they pair Chubb with Myles Garrett to make one of the scariest defensive duos in the league.
5th Overall - Denver Broncos - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Josh Allen can already throw a ball more than 80 yards. It’s hilarious to think what he can do in the thin air of Denver. They grab their QB of the future, and he learns under Case Keenum for a year or two.
6th Overall - Indianapolis Colts - Quinton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
If Andrew Luck’s shoulder ever ends up healing, they’re going to have to protect him so he doesn’t continue to take a beating. I think if Barkley or Chubb fall this far, the Colts will pull the trigger. But Nelson is an incredible third choice.
7th Overall - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
This doesn’t change. They have two of the league’s best receivers in their division and need a way to stop them.
8th Overall - Chicago Bears - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
They miss out on Nelson, so they go to the defensive side of the ball.
9th Overall - San Francisco 49ers - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
They need a backup plan in case Reuben Foster’s time in San Francisco, or the NFL for that matter, is over. If Foster ends up returning to the team, it gives them a great linebacker group.
10th Overall - Oakland Raiders - Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
I’m not sure why, but he just seems like a Gruden guy. He can play either safety or cornerback, although safety seems like the most likely scenario. When in doubt, draft Alabama.