2018 NFL Draft recap

4 things we know after the 2018 NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. It takes a couple years to really know which teams nailed it and which teams whiffed. Thus, the concept of giving out nothing more than simple draft grades in the days immediately following it is fun, but somewhat foolish.

However, we now have a better idea of how teams view themselves and how they will fare in the fall. Here are a few things we learned over the three day extravaganza.

Denver does not view Case Keenum as a stopgap 

After scouting every elite quarterback in the draft, Denver passed on drafting a quarterback altogether. Instead, the Broncos bolstered an already loaded pass rush after Bradley Chubb fell into their lap. Then, John Elway spent five of his remaining picks on running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

Incoming rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in particular could be asked to make an impact right away. A consistent third pass catcher to take the heat off of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders has been lacking for a few years now.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from wralsportsfan.com)

The Broncos clearly think Case Keenum can lead them right back into contention in 2018 and beyond. He has almost everything a quarterback needs to succeed, much like he did in Minnesota. Defense was the centerpiece of the Vikings last year and it will be for the Broncos this year.

It is a little bit surprising that Denver spent only one draft pick on offensive line. The decision-makers there are putting their faith in Garett Bolles to make a huge leap forward in his second year and veterans Ronald Leary and Jared Veldheer to stay healthy and stabilize a unit that has needed help for a long time.

Still, it is now apparent that the Broncos think they can win now and are reloading, not rebuilding.

Cleveland did not learn from history, but also hopes not to repeat it 

Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel are different people, but the comparison really does write itself. They are both undersized quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy after dominating college football for a very short period of time. Moreover, the Browns ignored significant off-the-field concerns in hopes that they could resurrect a dead franchise.

Manziel failed spectacularly, and that is largely on him. But Cleveland has been the worst culture for young quarterbacks to develop in the last 20 years. Manziel had no chance to succeed there. Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback that is more than capable of getting the Browns at least four wins this year. That should lessen the immediate pressure on Mayfield. This, combined with the fact that Mayfield’s rough edges are a little smoother than Manziel’s give him a better chance to do well in Cleveland.

Still, the Browns going with Mayfield after the Manziel experience straddles the line between gutsy and stupid. No one would argue that Sam Darnold is not a safer prospect, even the temperamental Josh Rosen would have raised a few less eyebrows.

The Patriots are not concerned about Tom Brady’s age 

Whether it is Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick calling the shots in Patriot land nowadays, this is the only conclusion that can be drawn. Jimmy Garoppolo is in San Francisco, Tom Brady is 40 and New England passed on taking Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph.

New England did take a quarterback in the seventh round, but LSU’s Danny Etling was not on most radars as a draftable prospect. The Patriots have outsmarted everyone with quarterbacks in the late rounds of the draft before, but it is hard to imagine Etling was drafted with the idea of being Brady’s successor. We know that 32-year-old Brian Hoyer certainly is not Brady’s successor either.

Regardless of how dedicated Brady is, quarterbacks fall off a cliff quickly in the NFL. The most recent example of this is Peyton Manning, who was younger than Brady is now when he played his final season, which was also his worst statistically. The lack of a long-term plan at quarterback is slowly putting New England’s position as the NFL’s gold standard in more and more jeopardy.

Russell Wilson is going to run for his life again in 2018 

When the awesome story of the Griffin brothers is put aside, Seattle’s draft as a whole is worrisome. They reached by as much as two rounds for running back Rashaad Penny and tight end Will Dissly, but that is not all.

2018 NFL Draft recap

(Photo from nocoastbias.com)

Seattle’s offensive line was atrocious last year. At its worst, there were games where Russell Wilson was pressured on a third of his drop backs. The only reason Wilson lived to tell about it is because he is one of the most mobile quarterbacks on the planet. His arm and legs created all but one of Seattle’s offensive touchdowns last year. Wilson was able to keep Seattle relevant until the very end of the regular season.

Wilson will need a repeat performance to do the same this year. The Seahawks continued their long standing reputation of refusing to invest in the offensive line. They only took one and waited until the fifth round to do so. They even traded up to take a punter before paying any attention to their biggest need.

This was a very deep draft for offensive lineman. Thus, it feels like the Seahawks missed a big chance to improve. With the “Legion of Boom” pretty much a memory, Wilson really is the only thing this franchise has going for it. After this draft, the weight of the world remains on his shoulders.

 

Featured image from tylermorningtelegraph.com

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Rookies to target in fantasy football 2018

With the NFL Draft being over, fantasy owners can start plotting their picks for months down the road. A lot of fantasy eligible players were drafted, but not all will have successful rookie seasons. Here are rookies to target in fantasy football for 2018.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

This one is the biggest no-brainer. Barkley is going to be the workhorse back from day one for the Giants. He is capable of handling 20+ carries a game and also provides a good receiver out of the backfield. The Giants likely won’t use him as a returner, but he also is good at that. The most talented running back in the class will have an opportunity to get a lot of touches in his rookie season.

If he doesn’t work out as a great fantasy player, it will be due to his offensive line. It was addressed this offseason with the acquisition of Nate Solder. The Giants also got the best run blocker in the class in Will Hernandez, who will be clearing holes for Barkley for years to come. It still isn’t a great offensive line but it should be vastly improved over last season.

Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Rookies to target in fantasy football 2018

Josh Rosen (Photo by arizonasports.com)

Taking a rookie quarterback in fantasy is always a risk, but if a rookie quarterback does pan out, it will be Rosen. He was selected with the 10th overall pick after the Cardinals traded up to get him. The Cardinals do have Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, but Bradford has been unable to stay healthy throughout his career, leaving opportunity for Rosen to take over if he doesn’t beat them out for the job at the start of the season.

Rosen is one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in the class and playing on the Cardinals will help his development. David Johnson will return from injury to give him a running game and a safety valve of a receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is back for another season and the legend should be able to help Rosen come on more quickly. Arizona also selected Christian Kirk for Rosen to grow with. The offensive line wasn’t good last year, which could be an issue for Rosen if he does get snaps this season.

Calvin Ridley, WR, ATlanta Falcons

Ridley fell all the way to pick number 26 in the NFL Draft, but he ended up in a great position. Matt Ryan will love Ridley’s athleticism and route-running abilities and will likely try to get the ball to him often. He didn’t have the best quarterback play in college and projects as a better pro than a college player.

Steve Sarkisian could hold Ridley back if he calls plays the way he did last year. Ridley could also be the fourth option a lot of times with Jones, Sanu and Hooper. The hope is that he can end up being the number two receiver in the offense when it’s all said and done.

D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

Moore was the first receiver selected in the NFL Draft and even if he isn’t the best receiver in the class, he is going to have a lot of balls thrown his way next season. Cam Newton has Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess to throw to and that’s about it. He figures to get the second or third most targets on the team.

In college, Moore excelled on almost entirely screens and slants, so he’ll have to adjust his game a little bit. He has good run after the catch ability but needs to show he can run routes down the field and be successful. If he does only excel at short routes, he is at risk of having Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel steal some of his targets.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Rookies to target in fantasy football 2018

Rashaad Penny (Photo by fieldgulls.com)

The Seahawks may have reached to select Penny in the NFL Draft but that likely means they have big plans for him. Penny is the most talented running back on the roster with the others being Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise, Mike Davis, JD McKissic and Tre Madden. He should get the majority of the work in the 2018 season.

Penny had a great season at San Diego State and can stay on the field for all three downs with his receiving ability. The offensive line for the Seahawks still isn’t great, with Duane Brown being the only solid offensive lineman on the roster, so he may need to catch more passes for his yardage than if he were on a team with a normal offensive line.

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones was selected early in the second round and will have a chance to be the starting running back. Doug Martin is now a Raider, while Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers leave a lot to be desired at the position. The Bucs will want to establish more of a running game this season to help open things up for Jameis Winston in the passing game.

Tampa Bay is another team that doesn’t have a great offensive line, but it is much better than the Seahawks’ and Giants’. Jones is quicker than fast and will have to use that ability in tight spaces. Winston will need to look for him out of the backfield as a receiver to maximize his potential.

Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins

Guice fell in the draft due to reported character concerns so the Redskins scooped him up late in the second round. If he can stay focused on the field, he was a great value pick. Chris Thompson will be a great third down back for Alex Smith to use as a target out of the backfield, but Washington needed a workhorse back and Guice can fill that role.

There are holes on the offensive line, but they have a few really good offensive linemen as well. Guice has a good combination of speed and power and will be a good running back early on in his career if he sees the field.

 

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2018 NFL Draft grades

This post will be updated after every day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: B-

Picks: Josh Allen QB, Tremaine Edmunds LB, Harrison Phillips DT, Taron Johnson CB, Siran Neal S, Wyatt Teller OG/C, Ray-ray McCloud WR, Austin Proehl WR

The Bills pulled the trigger to move up and select Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. He will get the chance to sit behind A.J. McCarron and learn from him. It doesn’t get the greatest grade though, as Josh Rosen was on the board still and he is a significantly better quarterback. Buffalo was also able to select Tremaine Edmunds at pick number 16 due to a trade with the Bills. Edmunds fills a need and is a physical freak. He will make an impact immediately.

With the third round pick, the Bills got a highly productive, but not very athletic Phillips. He should be in the rotation early in his career.

Day three netted Wyat Teller, who may be able to compete for a starting job on an offensive line that needs help.

Miami Dolphins: B

Picks: Minkah Fitzpatrick S/CB, Mike Gesicki TE, Jerome Baker LB, Durham Smythe TE, Kalen Ballage RB, Cornell Armstrong DB, Quenton Polling LB, Jason Sanders K

Fitzpatrick fell to number 11 and the Dolphins scooped him up. He likely is a safety, but could also play corner which is a huge area of need. Mike Gesicki is a great receiving tight end who will be used early and often in his career.

The linebackers should be much better next season with Raekwon McMillan returning from injuries and the Jerome Baker selection.

Smythe will be a good blocking tight end, while Ballage can develop into a productive running back.

New England Patriots: D+

Picks: Isaiah Wynn OG/C, Sony Michel RB, Duke Dawson CB, Ja’Whaun Bentley LB, Christian Sam LB, Braxton Berrios WR, Danny Etling QB, Kelon Crossen DB, Ryan Izzo TE

Wynn was a tackle in college, which would fill a need for the Patriots, but he projects to be more of an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. Michel is a good running back prospect, but he doesn’t fill a huge need. He will likely be utilized by the Patriots well.

The Patriots filled a need with the Dawson pick.

New England seemingly didn’t get much value on day three either.

New York Jets: B+

Picks: Sam Darnold QB, Nathan Shepherd DT, Chris Herndon TE, Parry Nickerson CB, Foley Fatukasi LB, Trenton Cannon RB 

The player the Jets wanted all along fell to them at number three. Darnold can compete for the starting job with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater and if they deem fit, he can sit and learn behind the two veterans.

Shepherd and Nickerson are value picks who can contribute early.

 

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: B+

Picks: Hayden Hurst TE, Lamar Jackson QB, Orlando Brown OT, Mark Andrews TE, Anthony Averett CB, Kenny Young LB, Jaleel Scott WR, Jordan Lasley WR, DeShon Elliot S, Greg Senat OT, Bradley Bozeman OT, Zach Seiler DE

The Ravens made several trades in the first round. Their first pick, Hayden Hurst, will be 25 when the season starts. He likely won’t get much better than he currently is. Trading up to the last pick of the first round gave the Ravens a replacement for Joe Flacco, at some point in the future. He was a good value pick and will now have a fifth-year option for the Ravens.

On day two the Ravens got value in Brown and Andrews. Brown filled a need, while Andrews was a puzzling pick because they already selected Hurst.

Baltimore got some good value on day three with just about every pick and should have a few players who contribute from those rounds.

Cincinnati Bengals: B

Picks: Billy Price OG/C, Jessie Bates S, Sam Hubbard EDGE, Malik Jefferson LB, Mark Walton RB, Davontae Harris CB, Andrew Brown DT, Darius Phillips CB, Logan Woodside QB, Rod Taylor OG, Auden Tate WR

Cincinnati had a terrible offensive line last year and got one of the best offensive linemen in the class. They traded down with the Bills to get pick 21 and netted Cordy Glenn in return. With Glenn and Price, their offensive line should be improved.

The second round netted the Bengals Bates, who was a little bit of a reach but filled a need. Hubbard and Jefferson both provided great value in the third, while Jefferson will also help fill in during Vontaze Burfict’s suspension for PED usage.

The Bengals continued their solid draft on day three. They filled positions of need and got value.

Cleveland Browns: C

Picks: Baker Mayfield QB, Denzel Ward CB, Austin Corbett OG/C, Nick Chubb RB, Chad Thomas DE, Antonio Callaway WR, Genard Avery LB, Damion Ratley WR, Simeon Thomas DB

Mayfield was a late rumor to be the number one overall pick and the Browns ended up taking the most accurate quarterback in the class. He is the best quarterback in the class, but the better strategy may have been to wait to select him at pick number four, as he would likely still be there. They then selected Denzel Ward, which fills a need, but they could have gotten Bradley Chubb with the pick.

The offensive tackle position was not addressed yet, as Austin Corbett will slide inside in the NFL. Nick Chubb will provide a nice change of pace back to Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde. Chad Thomas will provide good defensive end depth.

Antonio Callaway is talented but has character concerns. Genard Avery was a solid pick and could help out or provide depth.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C

Picks: Terrell Edmunds S, James Washington WR, Mason Rudolph QB, Chukwuma Okorafor OT, Marcus Allen S, Jaylen Samuels TE, Joshua Frazier DT

This was a head-scratching pick but fits what the Steelers usually do. Edmunds wasn’t the best safety available, but the Steelers can now replace Mike Mitchell. The linebackers were off the board, so going safety wasn’t the problem, but reaching for him was.

Pittsburgh was able to replace Martavis Bryant, who they traded to the Raiders, by selecting James Washington. He likely shouldn’t have gone that high, but can be a solid number three behind Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Mason Rudolph is a legitimate quarterback to replace Ben Roethlisberger after he retires. Okorafor provides depth at tackle.

The third round got them some backups on the offensive line, safety and tight end positions.

AFC South

Houston Texans: B

Picks: Justin Reid S, Martinas Rankin OT, Jordan Akins TE, Keke Coutee WR, Duke Ejiofor DE, Jordan Thomas TE, Peter Kalambyi DE, Jermaine Kelley DB

Reid was a steal of a pick in the third round for the Texans. He was a first-round value and should make an impact immediately. Martinas Ranking will also likely start early in his career as a solid player on a very thin Texans’ offensive line. Jordan Akins was a reach and will be 26 by the time the season starts after playing Minor League Baseball.

Day three got the Texans solid players in Coutee and Ejiofor, who can be rotational guys.

Indianapolis Colts: B-

Picks: Quenton Nelson OG, Darius Leonard LB, Braden Smith OG, Kemoko Turay DE, Tyquan Lewis DE, Nyheim Hines RB, Daurice Fountain WR, Jordan Wilkins RB, Deon Cain WR, Matthew Adams LB, Zaire Franklin LB 

Nelson is the best player in the class and the Colts can protect Andrew Luck when he comes back. This was a need, but now they will have to address the defensive side of the ball in the next few rounds.

The Colts were active on day two, but got players that weren’t of great value. The offensive line and pass rushers should both be vastly improved next year, as they double-downed on each position.

Hines can contribute on special teams and Cain can develop into a good wide receiver.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B

Picks: Taven Bryan DT, D.J. Chark WR, Ronnie Harrison S, Will Richardson OT, Tanner Lee QB, Leon Jacobs DE, Logan Cooke P

Jacksonville is so good that they can afford to take the best player on their boards regardless of position. Bryan is very athletic and will be in the rotation of good defensive linemen.

The Jaguars didn’t have many needs to fill and took the best players available. With Chark they got a receiver to help fill in for the loss of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Ronnie Harrison won’t start, but was a tremendous selection in the third round.

Lee shouldn’t have been drafted, while Richardson may have been selected to help a below average offensive line.

Tennessee Titans: A-

Picks: Rashaan Evans LB, Harold Landry DE, Dane Cruikshank DB, Luke Falk QB

The Titans traded up, even though they may not have needed to, in order to select Evans. He fills a huge need and should be an instant impact player for their defense.

Landry was a day one prospect that fell into the second round. Landry and Evans together should help collectively to improve the defense a lot for next season.

Cruikshank and Falk were selected in good spots, but likely won’t see much field time.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: A-

Picks: Bradley Chubb DE/OLB, Courtland Sutton WR, Royce Freeman RB, Isaac Yiadom CB, Josey Jewell LB, Daesean Hamilton WR, Troy Fumagalli TE, Sam Jones C, Keishawn Bierria LB, David Williams RB

Chubb is the best defensive player in the class and the Broncos made a good unit better. It isn’t the biggest area of need, but it is still a good pick for Denver.

The Broncos have needed a third receiver to step up next to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and got a talented, big receiver in Sutton to help out new quarterback Case Keenum. C.J. Anderson was recently cut, so Freeman can help fill that void, but will not be able to do it alone. Yiadom will provide the secondary with some depth.

Denver’s third day started off strong, as Jewell Hamilton and Fumagalli were all solid picks.

Kansas City Chiefs: D

Picks: Breeland Speaks DE, Derrick Nnadi DT, Dorian O’Daniel LB, Armani Watts S, Tremon Smith CB, Reginald McKenzie DT

Kansas City did not have a first-round selection and their selections on day two involved a lot of reaches. They were able to draft defensive players who can help take over for the aging veterans.

Watts is a player who can start out on special teams before taking on a bigger role.

Los Angeles Chargers: A

Picks: Derwin James S, Uchenna Nwosu EDGE, Justin Jones DT, Kyzir White S, Scott Quessenberry OC/G, Dylan Cantrell WR, Justin Jackson RB 

James fell to the Chargers at number 17 and got a player that will start right away. They were a good young defense last year but improved with this pick.

Day two saw more additions to an already good defense with Nwosu and Jones. The Chargers now have talent and depth to spare, even if they selected Jones too early.

The Chargers’ defense should be one of the best in the league next season. They got running back depth in Jackson, who should be able to spell Melvin Gordon.

Oakland Raiders: C-

Picks: Kolton Miller OT, P.J. Hall DT, Brandon Parker OT, Arden Key EDGE, Nick Nelson CB, Maurice Hurst DT, Johnny Townsend P, Azeem Victor LB, Marcell Ateman WR

The Raiders get some credit here for trading down, but they reached for Miller. Their plan going in was likely to select Mike McGlinchey, who was selected a pick earlier. Their defense still needs a lot of improvement.

P.J. Hall and Brandon Parker were both reaches, but at least Hall fills a position of need. Parker will likely struggle to find the field early. Arden Key is a great talent who fell due to character concerns. If he can stay on the field, he will take some blockers off of Khalil Mack and could be a star.

The last several picks were great for the Raiders and saved their grade a little bit. Key and Hurst can be impact players next season.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: C+

Picks: Leighton Vander Esch LB, Connor Williams OT, Michael Gallup WR, Dorance Armstrong EDGE, Dalton Schultz TE, Mike White QB, Chris Covington LB, Cedrick Wilson WR, Bo Scarbrough RB

While it wasn’t a reach, Rashaan Evans and Calvin Ridley were still on the board which would have been home run picks.

The Cowboys made a great selection in the second round when Connor William’s name was announced. He will either play tackle or guard, depending on what the coaches want to do with La’el Collins. Gallup will help a lackluster receiving core, but there were better wide receivers on the board.

There were some good value picks that also filled needs and depth out in the Cowboys with the selections of Armstrong, Schultz, Wilson and Scarbrough.

New York Giants: A+

Picks: Saquon Barkley RB, Will Hernandez OG, Lorenzo Carter EDGE, B.J. Hill DT, Kyle Lauletta QB, R.J. McIntosh DT

The Giants got one of the best players in the class and a player of need. The Barkley pick indicates that the Giants are trying to win now and are still in need of a developmental quarterback.

New York City can’t wait to see Barkley, but the Giants had a great day two as well. Hernandez is the best run blocker in the class and helps a bad offensive line get a little better. Carter can play on the edge or linebacker and can do anything asked of him on the football field. B.J. Hill can be a good rotational player on the defensive line.

Day three gave the Giants the opportunity to select Lauletta who could be Eli Manning’s replacement.

Philadelphia Eagles: C

Picks: Dallas Goedert TE, Avonte Maddox CB, Josh Sweat DE, Matt Pryor OT, Jordan Mailata OT

Philadelphia isn’t hurting for talent and traded down from the first round. Goedert is a decent tight end prospect, but better tight ends were available. This likely signals more two tight end sets coming for the Eagles.

Sweat was a great pick if he can stay healthy. Other than him, this is a lackluster rookie class.

Washington Redskins: A

Picks: Da’Ron Payne DT, Derrius Guice RB, Geron Christian OT, Troy Apke S, Tim Settle DT, Shaun Dion Hamilton LB, Greg Stroman CB, Trey Quinn

Washington needed to improve the interior of their defense to stop the run and got the perfect player to help them do so.

On day two, the Redskns traded up to get Guice, who has character issues, but also is very talented. The offensive line will also be solid next year, as Christian can aid in protecting Alex Smith and blocking for Guice.

Settle and Hamilton will both be great bakcups for Washington and could develop into more.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: B+

Picks: Roquan Smith LB, James Daniels C, Antohny Miller WR, Joel Iylegbunlwe LB, Bilal Nichols DT, Kyle Fitts DE, Javon Wims WR

Smith does it all on defense and can play all three downs. The pick didn’t fill a huge need, but Smith will start next to Danny Trevathan.

The Bears kept their good draft going with the picks of Daniels and Miller, who filled needs and were taken in good spots. Daniels will help keep Trubisky clean. Miller struggled with some drops at Memphis, but makes acrobatic plays that fans of the Bears will come to love.

Day three didn’t provide much for the Bears draft, but the first two days were great.

Detroit Lions: D+

Picks: Frank Ragnow C, Kerryon Johnson RB, Tracy Walker S, Da’Shawn Hand DT, Tyrell Crosby OT, Nick Bawden RB

Ragnow was a late riser and was selected with the 20th pick. He fills a need and should play better now that he is healthy.

The pick of Johnson fills a need, but Guice was still on the board. Walker was a huge reach and shouldn’t have been selected anywhere near where the Lions chose him.

Hand and Crosby were great day three picks.

Green Bay Packers: A+

Picks: Jaire Alexander CB, Joshua Jackson CB, Oren Burks LB, J’Mon Moore WR, Cole Madison OT, JK Scott P, Marquez Valdez-Scantling WR, Equanimeous St. Brown WR, James Looney DE, Huntre Bradley LS, Kendall Donnerson DE

The Packers moved down and then moved up to get Alexander. He fills a definite need and presented good value for Green Bay.

Green Bay attacked their needs hard and got great value with the pick of Jackson. Jackson and Alexander could be a good corner pair for years to come. Burks was a welcomed selection, as the Packers don’t have too much talent at the position.

Wide receivers were picked at good value in day three and at least one should be able to develop into a great receiver for Aaron Rodgers. St. Brown is a player to watch out for with his size and speed.

Minnesota Vikings: B

Picks: Mike Hughes CB, Brian O’Neill OT, Jalyn Holmes DE, Tyler Conklin TE, Daniel Carlson K, Colby Gossett OG, Ade Aruna DE, Devante Downs LB

Hughes is a physical corner that Mike Zimmer will love. He can provide good depth and step in on sub packages for the time being.

The offensive line was a position that improved last year, but O’Neill can make it better, even if there were better players available at the position.

None of the picks on day three were great, but they weren’t terrible either.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: A

Picks: Calvin Ridley WR, Isaiah Oliver CB, Deadrin Senat DT, Ito Smith RB, Russell Gage WR, Foye Oluokun LB

Ridley will join a good receiving group in Atlanta. They weren’t desperate for a wide receiver but made a good unit better.

The Falcons wanted a corner to go across from Desmond Trufant and got him in round two in Oliver. He is a physical corner that should fill in nicely on the defense. They didn’t get value with the Senat pick, but he can at least provide a breather to the starters at the very least.

Smith can make the roster as a day three pick, but the other selections will likely not make the cut.

Carolina Panthers: D+

Picks: D.J. Moore WR, Donte Jackson CB, Rashaan Gaulden CB, Ian Thomas TE, Marquis Haynes DE, Jermaine Carter LB, Andre Smith LB, Kendrick Norton

The Panthers don’t have many good receivers so it fills a needs, but Moore excels at short routes with good run after the catch. Carolina already has that in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Moore was a reach even though some have him as the best player available. Calvin Ridley was still available making the pick worse.

Carolina doubled-up on corners in this round. Jackson was a good pick and can play in the slot or outside. Gaulden, on the other hand, should’ve been selected closer to the end of the draft.

Thomas is a player that could eventually take over for Greg Olsen.

New Orleans Saints: F

Picks: Marcus Davenport DE/OLB, Tre’Quan Smith WR, Rick Leonard OT, Natrell Jamerson S, Kamrin Moore CB, Boston Scott RB, Will Clapp OC

New Orleans gave up a lot to move up to pick 14 and selected Davenport. It fits his range, but there were no other edge rushers selected after him in the first round, so the Saints likely could have gotten a better player at their original pick.

The Saints didn’t improve their 2018 draft with their pick of Smith. He’s a solid player, but will not be a superstar unless Drew Brees makes it happen.

The third day of the draft wasn’t much better for the Saints, but Will Clapp was a decent pick in the seventh round.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+

Picks: Vita Vea DT, Ronald Jones RB, M.J. Stewart CB, Carlton Davis CB, Alex Cappa OT, Jordan Whitehead S, Justin Watson WR, Jack Cichy LB

Vea is huge and has light feet. He will fit in next to Gerald McCoy and be a great player from day one.

Tampa Bay was active on day two and filled some more needs. Jameis will love having Ronald Jones to hand off to and throw to out of the backfield. Carlton Davis was a great pick and M.J. Stewart will give them a lot of young corners to develop. Cappa may not be able to start but can be a decent backup.

Whitehead was a great pick who can compete for a job.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: B+

Picks: Josh Rosen QB, Christian Kirk WR, Mason Cole C, Chase Edmunds RB, Chris Campbell CB, Korey Cunningham OT

Arizona traded up to get Rosen after he fell. He will be needed for when Sam Bradford inevitably gets injured.

The Cardinals need a wide receiver with Larry Fitzgerald again and John Brown leaving and Kirk can be the next playmaker in the desert. Mason Cole was selected to high but can play either tackle or center.

The last few rounds didn’t give the Cardinals much.

Los Angeles Rams: C-

Picks: Joe Noteboom OT, Brian Allen OG/C, John Franklin-Myers DT, Micah Kiser LB, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB, John Kelley RB, Jamil Demby OG/C, Sebastian Joseph DT, Trevon Young DE, Travin Howard LB, Justin Lawler DE

The Rams keep trading picks but finally selected late in the third round. They turned some of the picks into good players, but Noteboom will need some time to develop.

They had a lot of picks, but only a few of the players were good quality: Kiser, Okoronkwo and Kelley.

San Francisco 49ers: C

Picks: Mike McGlinchey OT, Dante Pettis WR, Fred Warner LB, Tarvarius Moore S, Kentavius Street DT, D.J. Reed CB, Marcell Harris S, Jullian Taylor DT, Richie James WR

This was a reach for McGlinchey and also doesn’t fill the biggest need. McGlinchey will be a solid player for the 49ers from day one though.

The 49ers took Pettis too soon, but he provides a great return specialist as well. Warner fills a dire need and can cover well for a linebacker. Moore can take over if one of their current safeties leave in free agency soon.

More reaches occurred on day three for the 49ers.

Seattle Seahawks: F

Picks: Rashaad Penny RB, Rasheem Green DE, Will Dissly TE, Shaquem Griffin LB, Tre Flowers S, Michael Dickson P, Jamarco Jones OT, Jake Martin DE, Alex McGough QB

Penny is a solid running back but likely wouldn’t have been selected until round three. This fills a need but was a tremendous reach.

Green was a really good pick, but not even the solid pick in Green can make up for the craziness of the Penny pick.

The Seahawks neglected the offenisive line until the selection of Jones, but this isn’t a draft that will be remembered for the quality players they got.

 

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2018 NFL mock draft April 26

The 2018 NFL Draft is today! All NFL teams will be looking to bolster their rosters for the 2018 NFL season and here is how it could go down. Check back for updates throughout the day.

1. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns have smoke-screened so much, that they may not even know what they are doing with this pick. Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are supposedly the favorites for this pick, but Allen has accuracy issues and now twitter problems. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Although he went to the NFL Combine, he didn’t compete on the field and just interviewed with teams. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making and ball security need to improve. Hue Jackson also has ties to USC and may be familiar with Darnold.

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

If Darnold is off the board, it is likely the Giants select Barkley. This is a little earlier than running backs usually go, but he is a transcendent talent. He can do a little bit of everything at the position and the Giants can use him to have some semblance of a running game.

2018 NFL mock draft April 26

Baker Mayfield (Photo by nj.com)

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

Mayfield has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic enough to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. He said as much in his interviews with the media at the NFL Combine. The Jets have been tied to Mayfield and will want to scoop up a quarterback to develop.

4. Cleveland Browns- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He displayed a good combination of size and speed at the combine. He is the best defensive player in the class and can be a cornerstone for the defense. The Browns could go Barkley if he’s available, but if he’s not they will likely select Chubb. Hue Jackson has publicly praised him and would be a good pair with Myles Garrett.

5. Denver Broncos- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Denver is in a prime position to get the fourth best quarterback in the class, Quenton Nelson or trade down to other teams seeking quarterbacks. C.J. Anderson was just released, so they could be looking to draft Barkley, but he’s off the board. If they stay at this pick and John Elway isn’t enamored with the remaining quarterbacks, he will select Nelson. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon. He has Hall of Fame potential.

6. Indianapolis Colts- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Ohio State product is a good cover corner, who isn’t afraid to get physical. He is a little slight and will need to put on some weight. The Colts top corner is Quincy Wilson and they’ll need to get some defensive help.

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

He is athletic but doesn’t necessarily have a set position, which is turning some teams off. He ran a 4.48 at the combine and has great size for a defensive back, making him valuable. Tampa Bay can continue to play Justin Evans at free safety and get James to play strong safety.

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

Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. He is also big and athletic. The Bears miss out on Ward to improve their secondary, but can get a linebacker that can develop into a great linebacker.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

Jimmie Ward is at best an average NFL safety, so the 49ers can fill out a solid secondary with this pick. He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. His 4.47 40 yard dash time at the combine was right in line where he should have run.

10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT/NT, Washington

Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, depending on the scheme a team runs, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds, which makes him disruptive. Vea did suffer a hamstring injury at the combine. Oakland needs to get someone on the interior of the defensive line to stop the run and take some of the blockers off of Khalil Mack.

11. Miami Dolphins- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith was the best linebacker in college football this year and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. The Dolphins have Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso, but McMillan got injured before his impact could be seen. They will still need a third linebacker.

2018 nfl mock draft April 26

Josh Rosen (Photo by buffalonews.com)

12. Buffalo Bills- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Reports are that Rosen is falling. No major questions about Rosen arose from the NFL Draft Combine interviews, which is good news for him. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season.The Bills are reportedly not looking to move up anymore, but can still get a solid quarterback at pick number 12 and would get a steal here.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. He is very athletic for his size and even played some offense in certain situations for Nick Saban at Alabama.

14. Green Bay Packers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Packers are reportedly looking to trade up to get an impact player and may need to do so to get Ward if everything doesn’t go their way. Green Bay needs secondary help badly and can fill a need here. The Ohio State product is a good cover corner, who isn’t afraid to get physical. He is a little slight and will need to put on some weight.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Josh Allen falls a bit in this mock, but teams will likely trade up to get him before this point. While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. He competed in all the drills at the combine and got some audible cheers when he displayed his arm strength.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and only lacked production in college because of the system he played in and inconsistent quarterback play. The Ravens signed Michael Crabtree, but still need a lot of receiver help, which they can fill with this selection.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Chargers’ offensive line is not good at all. If they want Phillip Rivers to play much longer, they need to protect him better. Orlando Brown had a rough combine, while Connor Williams has some questions about his length. McGlinchey might be the safest pick because even if he can’t be a great left tackle, he can move over to the right and be successful.

2018 NFL mock draft April 26

Joshua Jackson (Photo by the gazette.com)

18. Seattle Seahawks- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. Seattle needs to replace Richard Sherman and find someone to play across from Shaquill Griffin.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. He can fit in next to Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee. With Lee’s injury history it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have another linebacker ready to step in as well.

20. Detroit Lions- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia

Detroit needs to have a better run game in order to have a more balanced offense. Running back is a position they will likely address in this draft, but can start by improving the interior offensive line play. Wynn played well in the Senior Bowl and the College Football Playoff for Georgia. He played tackle in college and will move inside for the NFL.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Cincinnati got Cordy Glenn with their trade down to this pick, but their offensive line is still very weak. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

22. Buffalo Bills- James Daniels, C, Iowa

When Eric Wood had to retire, the Bills lost a great player. They also traded Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and need to upgrade their offensive line. Daniels has risen up draft boards lately and can immediately fill in for Wood. This pick may be traded if they move up higher to draft a quarterback.

23. New England Patriots- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Patriots just traded for this pick by giving the Rams Brandin Cooks. Having two first-round picks is an odd territory for New England to be in. They are reportedly interested in Rudolph and have brought him in for a visit. Brian Hoyer is the current backup, but the Patriots need another young quarterback after trading Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo.

24. Carolina Panthers- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher and can rush from the outside linebacker position, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do. The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end.

25. Tennessee Titans- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

Tennessee has Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but can use a young pass rusher as well. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map but is a little undersized for the position.

2018 NFL mock draft April 26

Jaire Alexander (Photo by stripehype.com)

26. Atlanta Falcons- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Alexander is a fast and physical corner that will likely go in round one. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The buzz surrounding Jackson is that he will go in the first round and be selected in the first half of the round. He is the most dynamic athlete at the position since Michael Vick. Drew Brees needs a successor.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch has been moving up draft boards. With Ryan Shazier not playing next year, the Steelers signed Jon Bostic. He and Vince Williams will start, but that leaves a lot to be desired.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers but could use some more help at the position after the loss of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. D.J. Moore is a late-riser on big boards and mock drafts everywhere. He put up good production without great quarterback play at Maryland.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Brown had a bad combine, which may hurt his stock a little, but his game tape is great and shows a mauler. He may not have the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL but could be a great right tackle. The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better.

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

With Malcolm Butler leaving, the Patriots need more help at corner. Hughes is a good cover corner but has some off the field concerns.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.

 

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NFL draft trades

Intriguing NFL draft-day trades

All the waiting and anticipation is almost over. Only one more day until the 2018 NFL Draft begins and all our questions are answered. That is why today, we will be listing some potential NFL Draft trades that you should look out for once the draft comes around.

Denver Broncos trade the fifth overall pick to the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins or Arizona Cardinals

NFL draft trades

Four of the quarterbacks projected to go in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. (Photo from Sporting News)

All of these teams could trade up to draft their signal caller of the future, especially if Josh Rosen from UCLA or Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma are still available, as at least one should be. The Buffalo Bills possess the 12th and 22nd picks in this year’s first round, which is very valuable ammunition. Those firsts and a second or two could make this trade very persuasive for the Broncos.

Conversely, maybe the Dolphins or Cardinals first rounders this year and next will be considered more valuable. They could feel this way because the chances of the Dolphins or Cardinals having a first-round pick lower than 22nd next year are pretty likely.

In the end, it probably depends on how Denver feels about the prospects in this year’s draft versus next years.

Philadelphia Eagles trade the 32nd pick for a couple of day-2 selections

The Philadelphia Eagles lack a selection in the second and third rounds. This, compiled with the fact that teams often like to trade into the end of the first round, means that there will most likely be suitors should the Eagles want to trade back. Teams like to trade into the last spot because it secures the extra fifth-year option in the rookie contracts of the player they draft. Therefore, if a player a team loves is left on the board at 32nd, they could be tempted to make the trade.

In addition, Philadelphia has the luxury of not having large holes on their roster, which means they can draft the best player available. Therefore, if the Eagles have similar grades on a few prospects at 32nd, it would not be surprising for them to trade away the pick and add some picks later on in the draft.

New England Patriots trade up for Lamar Jackson

NFL Draft trades

Lamar Jackson (Photo from Chowder and Champions)

After Lamar Jackson’s visit with New England  it was reported that the Patriots were intrigued and impressed by the former Louisville quarterback. That being said, it would not be surprising if the Patriots move up a few spots to secure Jackson. The Patriots have two first-round selections and two second-round picks, so if he is still on the board into the teens, New England could move up to draft him.

The Baltimore Ravens trade back, potentially with the Patriots

The Ravens have the 16th pick in the draft. This position lines up very well with where Lamar Jackson is expected to be drafted. The Ravens, on the other hand, have holes at the playmaking positions on offense. Due to the potential flood of quarterbacks selected early in the draft, much of the offensive skill players could slide. This means that Baltimore could trade down and gain some additional draft capital while still being able to take a premier wide receiver like Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore or Courtland Sutton at New England’s 23rd pick.

Philadelphia Eagles trade Mychal Kendricks on day 2 for a pick in the third or fourth round

NFL draft trades

Mychal Kendricks and Jalen Mills celebrating. (Photo by Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Mychal Kendricks had a bounce-back year last season. That means this could finally be the year this trade happens. Kendricks filled in admirably for Jordan Hicks, who was lost for last season with an Achilles tear. A team could have interest in Kendricks to fill a weakside linebacker role for a second-day selection.

Kendricks has two years left on his contract, both with a cap hit of around $8 million. That is pretty expensive, which limits his value as a trade chip. However, a  team trading a third or fourth for the speedy linebacker is not out of the question.

New York Giants trade left tackle Ereck Flowers for a late-round draft pick

Ereck Flowers has been largely a disappointment after being selected ninth overall by the Giants in 2015. The Giants signed left tackle Nate Solder this year and are expected to trade Flowers. A trade could be the best option for both the team and Flowers, who could benefit from a fresh start. A team could be interested enough to part with a late draft pick because he still has the athleticism that made him a top-10 selection in 2015.

 

Featured image from Russell Report

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

The Game Haus Staff 2018 NFL mock draft

Over the last few weeks, The Game Haus staff has written draft profiles for each NFL team. Now Draftmas culminates with our Staff mock draft. The staff acts as general managers for each NFL team to make selections for the first round of the NFL Draft. The picks may not be what happens Thursday night, but they are the picks that our staff thinks will make these teams the best they can be. Some of our staff has been kind enough to give their reasonings for their picks. Here is how the draft shook out.

Staff mock draft

1. Cleveland Browns (Josh Burris)- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

“Barkley completes a stellar skill position group. Taylor has always had a good run game around him in Buffalo, and Duke Johnson is not a starting running back. Barkley is a freak and will also help the passing game.”

2. New York Giants (Manuel Finale)- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

“I have the NY Giants taking OG Quenton Nelson to keep Eli Manning healthy and provide a kick-butt mentality to the g-men. For me, picking a QB would be disrespectful to Eli, and Nelson can deploy, pull, and run block with authority.

3. New York Jets (Daniel Baldwin)- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

“The Jets originally thought Darnold to the Browns was a done deal, but after Allen to the Browns buzz picked up steam they brought Darnold in for a visit. They love Darnold’s build and toughness. However, the jets love Baker Mayfield’s leadership and fit in the west coast offense. Don’t be surprised if Maccagnan chooses the fiery Heisman winner Thursday night.”

4. Cleveland Browns (Burris)- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

“Defensive line was already weak, and after trading Danny Shelton, it got weaker. Chubb is the best defensive lineman in the class and is also a freak. He will be making an impact across from Myles Garrett for years to come.”

5. Denver Broncos (Dylan Streibig)- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

6. *Buffalo Bills (Braxton Angle)- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

“Once Denver decided to pass on Rosen, if felt like the logical move to make a deal with the Colts. We got a great talent at the Quarterback position and didn’t have to give up too many assets to do so.”

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Angle)- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

“Minkah is a versatile, technically sound defensive play maker. This secondary needed an infusion of young talent, and Minkah does exactly that.”

8. Chicago Bears (Blake Van Poucke)- Derwin James, S, Florida State

9. San Franciso 49ers (Kenneth Hesse)- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

10. Oakland Raiders (Joe DiTullio)- Vita Vea, DT/NT, Washington

“Vea is big but has light feet. The Raiders are weak up the middle of their defense and need to take a defensive tackle in the draft. Taking Vea will help in the run game and should be able to take some blockers off of Khalil Mack on pass rushing situations.”

11. Miami Dolphins (DiTullio)- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

“The quarterbacks are falling, but the Dolphins liked Rosen. He’s not available and Adam Gase may like working with Ryan Tannehill over the other rookies. With Smith, the Dolphins can upgrade their very weak linebacking core. He’s the best linebacker in the draft and can just about everything on the football field. His speed is a great asset.”

12. *Indianapolis Colts (Rob Hanes)- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

“Chubb was the pick at 6 and while there were some other options the opportunity came to get the 12th and 22nd and that was too much to pass up. Clavin Ridley is a nice piece to go opposite of TY Hilton. With great route-running and 3 years of experience with the Crimson Tide this guy should finally give Luck someone else to throw to.”

13. Washington Redskins (Cecil Walker)- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

“The Redskins have holes all over the field. Defensive tackle is, both literally and figuratively, the biggest hole they need to fill. Payne is a great prospect and would be the best tackle prospect if not for the athletic freak Vita Vea.”

14. Green Bay Packers (Finale)- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

“Their pass defense was bad, and Jackson can give the secondary coverage help and make crucial plays.

15. Arizona Cardinals (Angle)- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

“Despite his apparent off the field red flags, Baker is incredibly accurate, something you can’t teach. Having him play in a warm-weather climate and not have be forced into a starting role. Given Bradford’s injury history, Baker is a viable option as a backup when needed.”

16. Baltimore Ravens (David Schneider)- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

17. Los Angeles Chargers (Rob Doerger)- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

18. Seattle Seahawks (Walker)- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia 

“Protecting Russell Wilson must be a top priority for the Seahawks this season. Wynn is a great prospect that has the versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line.”

19. Dallas Cowboys (DiTullio)- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

“With no wide receivers, safeties or defensive tackles worth taking, the Cowboys can select Evans and fill out their linebacker core. Every time Sean Lee gets injured, the defense completely loses its way. Jaylon Smith still doesn’t look totally at home on the football field after his gruesome knee injury in college. Evans can start from day one and can give some insurance to the team if Lee goes down again.”

20. Detroit Lions (Schneider)- Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

“Derrius Guice is too talented a back to pass up at 20th overall. If he is still on the board when the Lions pick I would expect GM Bob Quinn to stick to his M.O. and take the best play available. In this draft it was clearly Guice. However, I could also see them taking Landry or Davenport in this spot if Guice is gone.”

21. Cincinnati Bengals (Hanes)- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

“Wanted McGlinchey or Wynn and thought most of the centers would be available in the 2nd or 3rd round. Thus, Connor Williams made the most sense here as the Bengals upgrade a position of need and have now turned their 12th round pick into their starting tackles by getting Williams and Cordy Glenn.”

22. *Indianapolis Colts (Hanes)- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

“Getting a second first round pick was absolutely worth it as we upgrade in a major area of need with Alexander. He was probably the best player on the board and just happened to fit.”

23. New England Patriots (Schneider)- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

“DJ Moore could turn out to be the best receiver in this class and if he does, what a steal to get him at 23 for the Patriots. With very few young stars on the team, New England needs to address that in the draft, which is why I see them staying pat and not trading up for a QB.”

24. Carolina Panthers (Burris)- Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

“Hernandez is the best guard available to replace Andrew Norwell. He can start immediately and develop into a pro bowler very soon.”

25. Tennessee Titans (Hesse)- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

“The Titans fill the void left by middle linebacker Avery Williamson, who left in free agency. Vander Esch will spend his rookie season playing alongside veteran Wesley Woodyard, and should make an immediate impact at inside linebacker. As one of the most instinctive players in the draft, Vander Esch has the potential to become the centerpiece of Tennessee’s defense.”

26. Atlanta Falcons (Walker)- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

“With the losses of Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborne, the Falcons desperately need to shore up the defensive line. Davenport has excelled at every level and shined at the Senior Bowl this year. With the top wide receivers and offensive guards off the board, Davenport is a no-brainer.”

27. New Orleans Saints (Angle)- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

“Andrus Peat and Max Unger have been steadily declining. Price’s versatility on the offensive line gives the Saints great depth, and will allow them to dominate the line of scrimmage even if an injury occurs.”

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Finale)- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

“Harrison has a good frame for a safety, and has proven he can help disrupt the ground attack as well as anticipating routes so he can quickly adjust.”

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (Doerger)- Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

30. Minnesota Vikings (Hesse)- James Daniels, C, Iowa

“The Vikings missed out on Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez, so trading down is also likely here. Pat Elflein has settled in as the team’s starting center, so Daniels will likely play as an undersized guard. The former Hawkeye will provide an immediate boost to one of the league’s thinnest offensive lines.”

31. New England Patriots (Schneider)- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

“Harold Landry falling all the way to Belichick and the Patriots at 31 would be a great scenario for them. Even with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen still on the board in this draft scenario, Landry is too naturally gifted at rushing the passer for New England to pass on him.”

32. **Cincinnati Bengals (Hanes)- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

“I know Bengals fans may not like this pick but getting a quarterback that has his talent who can sit behind Dalton for a year or two and grow is a no-brainer.”

*The Bills trade picks number 12 and 20 to the Colts for pick number six overall.

**The Eagles trade number 32 for the Bengals’ second-round pick this year and next year.

 

Saquon Barkley Browns

Should the Browns pick Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall?

We still have a few days to go until the Cleveland Browns are officially on the clock, but that has not stopped the rampant speculation over who they might take with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen have all been linked to Cleveland as of late. However, there is one common exclusion: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

Mock drafts have placed Barkley anywhere from No. 2 (New York Giants) to No. 7 (Tampa Bay), despite him being the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft. Today, we are going to look at the possibility that the Browns take Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall.

The case for

Saquon Barkley Browns

Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. (Photo by CBS Sports)

In a draft class full of question marks, Barkley’s talent is one of the few things that can be taken for granted. Barkley is ranked as the No. 1 prospect on nearly every draft board available, calling him a generational talent.

Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to enter the draft in the last five years. Barkley has excellent vision and was one of the most elusive backs in the country last season. He is also a dynamic receiver out of the backfield, allowing him to play all three downs. Barkley’s character has also been highly touted and is expected to be an NFL team’s focal point for the next decade.

As if this were not enough, he also put on a show at the NFL Combine. Barkley ranked in the top five in his position in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press, along with impressing during the on-field drills. Barkley also seems like the best option given the uncertainty at the quarterback position.

Unlike years past, there is no clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in this draft class, with each one having one major flaw. Sam Darnold turns the ball over too much. Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield have character concerns. Josh Allen has accuracy problems. None of these four quarterbacks should start right away, and would benefit greatly from sitting behind a veteran for their rookie year. This makes them a hard sell for the first overall pick, while Barkley would be an instant impact starter. Since the Browns also have the fourth overall pick, they would still have their choice from at least two of the top four quarterbacks available.

The case against

Saquon Barkley Browns

Former USC Quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold is a favorite to be the first player selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. (Photo by Kevin Kuo/AP)

Although waiting until the fourth pick to select a quarterback would be ideal, there are reasons why this likely will not happen. If the Browns have their sights set on one quarterback, waiting would be very risky. Selecting Barkley with the first overall pick could risk missing out on a future franchise quarterback.

Quarterback is also by far the more valuable position. Having a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback is essential to making a deep playoff run, and Tyrod Taylor may not be the long-term solution. With the Bills, Taylor never posted a quarterback rating over 100 and struggled to move the ball effectively last season. He may be the starter in 2018, but taking a quarterback with the first overall pick would be beneficial in the long run.

In addition, if Cleveland is interested in Barkley, he may still be available with the fourth overall pick. If the Giants and Jets both pass on Barkley in favor of rookie signal-callers, then he could fall straight into the Browns’ laps at No. 4. In this scenario, the Browns would get the quarterback of their choice and the best player in the draft.

Verdict and Prediction

Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented draft prospects within the last several years. He would provide dynamic playmaking ability to any team that drafts him, and he deserves to be the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Barkley, along with Carlos Hyde, would dominate the Browns’ running game, providing support for any quarterback that falls to them at pick No. 4.

However, it seems unlikely that Cleveland will select him with the first overall pick. The Browns likely have their sights set on a certain quarterback and will select them at No. 1. This allows Barkley to fall to the New York Giants, who have a major need at running back. Cleveland may not get their star running back, but they will have their new quarterback of the future.

 

Featured image by the Associated Press.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 NFL mock draft April 24

It is NFL Draft week! A lot will come and go by Thursday night, but here are how the draft could look. Check back for updates throughout the week.

2018 NFL mock draft April 24

Josh Allen (Photo by newyorkupstate.com)

1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Browns have smoke-screened so much, that they may not even know what they are doing with this pick. While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. He competed in all the drills at the combine and got some audible cheers when he displayed his arm strength. When general manager John Dorsey was with the Chiefs last year, he drafted a risky, strong-armed quarterback in Pat Mahomes and may take a similar risk this year, being that he has Tyrod Taylor behind center.

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

As far as rumors go, the Giants taking Barkley at pick number two is the biggest one going. It is earlier than running backs usually go, but Barkley is the best player in the class and fills a need. He can do a little bit of everything at the position and the Giants can use him to have some semblance of a running game.

3. New York Jets- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Jets fans get who they’ve wanted for over a year now. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Although he went to the NFL Combine, he didn’t compete on the field and just interviewed with teams. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making and ball security need to improve. He can learn behind Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown for the time being if he can’t beat them out for the job.

4. Cleveland Browns- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

With Barkley gone, the Browns would likely take Bradley Chubb. Head coach Hue Jackson has publicly praised Chubb and he is one of the best players in the class. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He displayed a good combination of size and speed at the combine. He and Myles Garrett could be a great pass-rushing tandem for years to come.

5. Denver Broncos- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Denver is in a prime position to get the fourth best quarterback in the class, Quenton Nelson or trade down to other teams seeking quarterbacks. C.J. Anderson was just released, so they could be looking to draft Barkley, but he’s off the board. If they stay at this pick and John Elway isn’t enamored with the remaining quarterbacks, he will select Nelson. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon. He has Hall of Fame potential.

6. Indianapolis Colts- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

With Chubb off the board, the Colts will definitely explore trading down again. Since this mock doesn’t predict trades, Ward would be the pick. Quincy Wilson is currently slotted as the number one corner. He had a decent rookie season, but the Colts don’t have much behind him. The Ohio State product is a good cover corner, who isn’t afraid to get physical. He is a little slight and will need to put on some weight.

2018 NFL mock draft April 24

Derwin James (Photo by sbnation.com)

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

He is athletic but doesn’t necessarily have a set position, which is turning some teams off. He ran a 4.48 at the combine and has great size for a defensive back, making him valuable. Tampa Bay can continue to play Justin Evans at free safety and get James to play strong safety.

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

Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. He is also big and athletic. The Bears miss out on Ward to improve their secondary, but can get a linebacker that can develop into a great linebacker.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

Jimmie Ward is at best an average NFL safety, so the 49ers can fill out a solid secondary with this pick. He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. His 4.47 40 yard dash time at the combine was right in line where he should have run.

10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT/NT, Washington

Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, depending on the scheme a team runs, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds, which makes him disruptive. Vea did suffer a hamstring injury at the combine. Oakland needs to get someone on the interior of the defensive line to stop the run and take some of the blockers off of Khalil Mack.

11. Miami Dolphins- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith was the best linebacker in college football this year and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. The Dolphins have Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso, but McMillan got injured before his impact could be seen. They will still need a third linebacker.

12. Buffalo Bills- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Reports are that Rosen is falling. No major questions about Rosen arose from the NFL Draft Combine interviews, which is good news for him. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season.The Bills are reportedly not looking to move up anymore, but can still get a solid quarterback at pick number 12 and would get a steal here.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. He is very athletic for his size and even played some offense in certain situations for Nick Saban at Alabama.

14. Green Bay Packers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The Packers don’t have much at corner and will need to improve the pass defense to keep up in their division.

2018 NFL mock draft April 24

Baker Mayfield (Photo by insidethepylon.com)

15. Arizona Cardinals- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Mayfield has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic enough to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. He said as much in his interviews with the media at the NFL Combine. The Cardinals will need a quarterback for when Sam Bradford gets injured.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and only lacked production in college because of the system he played in and inconsistent quarterback play. The Ravens signed Michael Crabtree, but still need a lot of receiver help, which they can fill with this selection.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Chargers’ offensive line is not good at all. If they want Phillip Rivers to play much longer, they need to protect him better. Orlando Brown had a rough combine, while Connor Williams has some questions about his length. McGlinchey might be the safest pick because even if he can’t be a great left tackle, he can move over to the right and be successful.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher and can rush from the outside linebacker position, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do. The Seahawks lost Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril may not be the same player with his neck injury. They will need to make up for the loss in production.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. He can fit in next to Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee. With Lee’s injury history it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have another linebacker ready to step in as well.

20. Detroit Lions- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia

Detroit needs to have a better run game in order to have a more balanced offense. Running back is a position they will likely address in this draft, but can start by improving the interior offensive line play. Wynn played well in the Senior Bowl and the College Football Playoff for Georgia. He played tackle in college and will move inside for the NFL.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Cincinnati got Cordy Glenn with their trade down to this pick, but their offensive line is still very weak. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

22. Buffalo Bills- James Daniels, C, Iowa

When Eric Wood had to retire, the Bills lost a great player. They also traded Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and need to upgrade their offensive line. Daniels has risen up draft boards lately and can immediately fill in for Wood. This pick may be traded if they move up higher to draft a quarterback.

2018 NFL mock draft April 24

Mason Rudolph (Photo by cincyjungle.com)

23. New England Patriots- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Patriots just traded for this pick by giving the Rams Brandin Cooks. Having two first-round picks is an odd territory for New England to be in. They are reportedly interested in Rudolph and have brought him in for a visit. Brian Hoyer is the current backup, but the Patriots need another young quarterback after trading Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

25. Tennessee Titans- Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State

Tennessee has Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but can use a young pass rusher as well. Hubbard lacks elite athleticism, but can get after the quarterback and stops the run well for and edge rusher.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Alexander is a fast and physical corner that will likely go in round one. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Saints signed Tom Savage, but that’s not going to solve their issue after Brees retires. Taysom Hill is a backup they reportedly love, but he wasn’t highly thought of out of BYU. Jackson will likely go higher than this with a team trading up for him.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch is another player that has been moving up draft boards. With Ryan Shazier not playing next year, the Steelers signed Jon Bostic. He and Vince Williams will start, but that leaves a lot to be desired.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton is a great outside receiver, who produced a lot at SMU. He does have some questions as to if he can produce against NFL competition. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers but could use some more help at the position after the loss of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Brown had a bad combine, which may hurt his stock a little, but his game tape is great and shows a mauler. He may not have the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL but could be a great right tackle. The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better.

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

With Malcolm Butler leaving, the Patriots need more help at corner. Hughes is a good cover corner, but has some off the field concerns.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.

 

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2018 NFL mock draft April 17

The NFL Draft is just over a week away and teams are prepping for the three days that can bolster their rosters. Here is the 2018 NFL mock draft April 17.

1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The rumors now are that the Browns are going to select Josh Allen with the first overall pick. How long will this rumor last? Nobody knows. While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. He competed in all the drills at the combine and got some audible cheers when he displayed his arm strength. When general manager John Dorsey was with the Chiefs last year, he drafted a risky, strong-armed quarterback in Pat Mahomes and may take a similar risk this year, being that he has Tyrod Taylor behind center.

2. New York Giants- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

When one rumor starts, the other rumors will start. Now it looks like the Giants will select Darnold if he is still available. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Although he went to the NFL Combine, he didn’t compete on the field and just interviewed with teams. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making and ball security need to improve.

2018 NFL Mock draft April 17

Josh Rosen (Photo by washingtonpost.com)

3. New York Jets- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The Jets traded up to three and guaranteed themselves a quarterback, but they don’t even know who they will get. In this scenario, they would take Josh Rosen. No major questions about Rosen arose from the NFL Draft Combine interviews, which is good news for him. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season.

4. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Yes, the Browns did just sign Carlos Hyde, but Barkley is still the best player in the class. With the trades for Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland is making a concerted effort to improve the offense and with Barkley, they would have a lot of options in 2018.

5. Denver Broncos- Quenton Neslon, OG, Notre Dame

Denver is in a prime position to get the fourth best quarterback in the class, Quenton Nelson or trade down to other teams seeking quarterbacks. C.J. Anderson was just released, so they could be looking to draft Barkley, but he’s off the board. If they stay at this pick and John Elway isn’t enamored with the remaining quarterbacks, he will select Nelson. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon. He has Hall of Fame potential.

6. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

The Colts pulled off a fantastic trade and will likely still get their first target in the NFL Draft. They could even trade down again. Frank Reich will be looking forward to working with Andrew Luck. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons. He displayed a good combination of size and speed at the combine.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. His 4.47 40 yard dash time at the combine was right in line where he should have run. Tampa’s secondary needs to be upgraded immediately if they wish to compete in the NFC South.

8. Chicago Bears- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Chicago has signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel to bolster its wide receiver core. This means they may choose to address the secondary. The Ohio State product is a good cover corner, who isn’t afraid to get physical. He is a little slight and will need to put on some weight.

2018 NFL mock draft April 17

Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by roanoke.com)

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

Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. He is also big and athletic. San Francisco could have some serious linebacker issues if Reuben Foster is not able to play due to his off the field issues.

10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT/NT, Washington

Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, depending on the scheme a team runs, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds, which makes him disruptive. Vea did suffer a hamstring injury at the combine. Oakland needs to get someone on the interior of the defensive line to stop the run and take some of the blockers off of Khalil Mack.

11. Miami Dolphins- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith was the best linebacker in college football this year and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. The Dolphins have Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso, but McMillan got injured before his impact could be seen. They will still need a third linebacker.

12. Buffalo Bills- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Bills are trying to move up again to get a quarterback but could be deciding between Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. Mayfield has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic enough to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. He said as much in his interviews with the media at the NFL Combine.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. He is very athletic for his size and even played some offense in certain situations for Nick Saban at Alabama.

14. Green Bay Packers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The Packers don’t have much at corner and will need to improve the pass defense to keep up in their division.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Cardinals signed an injury-prone quarterback in Sam Bradford, and Mike Glennon, so they need to protect them. Orlando Brown had a rough combine, while Connor Williams has some questions about his length. McGlinchey might be the safest pick because even if he can’t be a great left tackle, he can move over to the right and be successful.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and only lacked production in college because of the system he played in and inconsistent quarterback play. The Ravens signed Michael Crabtree, but still need a lot of receiver help, which they can fill with this selection.

2018 NFL mock draft April 18

Derwin James (photo by bucsnation.com)

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

He is athletic but doesn’t necessarily have a set position, which is turning some teams off. He ran a 4.48 at the combine and has great size for a defensive back, making him valuable. The Chargers could use him next Jahleel Addae and have a solid safety pair.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher and can rush from the outside linebacker position, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do. The Seahawks lost Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril may not be the same player with his neck injury. They will need to make up for the loss in production.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. He can fit in next to Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee. With Lee’s injury history it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have another linebacker ready to step in as well.

20. Detroit Lions- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia

Detroit needs to have a better run game in order to have a more balanced offense. Running back is a position they will likely address in this draft, but can start by improving the interior offensive line play. Wynn played well in the Senior Bowl and the College Football Playoff for Georgia. He played tackle in college and will move inside for the NFL.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Cincinnati got Cordy Glenn with their trade down to this pick, but their offensive line is still very weak. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

22. Buffalo Bills- James Daniels, C, Iowa

When Eric Wood had to retire, the Bills lost a great player. They also traded Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and need to upgrade their offensive line. Daniels has risen up draft boards lately and can immediately fill in for Wood. This pick may be traded if they move up higher to draft a quarterback.

23. New England Patriots- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Patriots just traded for this pick by giving the Rams Brandin Cooks. Having two first-round picks is an odd territory for New England to be in. They are reportedly interested in Rudolph and have brought him in for a visit. Brian Hoyer is the current backup, but the Patriots need another young quarterback after trading Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

2018 NFL mock draft April 18

Sam Hubbard (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

25. Tennessee Titans- Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State

Tennessee has Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but can use a young pass rusher as well. Hubbard lacks elite athleticism, but can get after the quarterback and stops the run well for and edge rusher.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early. Davis is a lengthy corner that has experience covering some good receivers in the SEC.

27. New Orleans Saints- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Six quarterbacks going in the first round is looking like more of a likelihood. The Saints signed Tom Savage, but that’s not going to solve their issue after Brees retires. Taysom Hill is a backup they reportedly love, but he wasn’t highly thought of out of BYU. Jackson will likely go higher than this with a team trading up for him.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch is another player that has been moving up draft boards. With Ryan Shazier not playing next year, the Steelers signed Jon Bostic. He and Vince Williams will start, but that leaves a lot to be desired.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton is a great outside receiver, who produced a lot at SMU. He does have some questions as to if he can produce against NFL competition. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers but could use some more help at the position after the loss of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Brown had a bad combine, which may hurt his stock a little, but his game tape is great and shows a mauler. He may not have the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL but could be a great right tackle. The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better.

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

With Malcolm Butler leaving, the Patriots need more help at corner. Hughes is a good cover corner, but has some off the field concerns.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.

 

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2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

Best fits for top 2018 NFL quarterback prospects: Part I

The NFL draft is about two weeks away, meaning all the talk from fans, media and executives is almost over. Quarterback always overshadows all the other positions in terms of pre-draft chatter. This year is no different. The need for solid quarterback play in the NFL is as dire as it has ever been and there are not that many decent ones to go around at the moment.

As many as six quarterbacks could wind up going in the first round. This would match the legendary quarterback class of 1983. That class had a Hall of Famer at the top in John Elway and two others in Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Todd Blackledge, Ken O’Brien and Tony Eason did not pan out nearly as well.

Whether it is the accuracy of Josh Allen, the turnovers committed by Sam Darnold, the character of Baker Mayfield or something else, all of these guys have red flags attached to them. So three of the top six quarterbacks in this year’s class ending up in the Hall of Fame is probably a stretch.

However, they could all be successful in the right situation. If the NFL draft has shown us one thing over the years, it is that evaluating players is an inexact science and no one really knows anything. Still, here is the start of a two-part series exploring the best possible landing spots for this year’s top quarterback prospects.

Sam Darnold: Cleveland Browns

Given its abysmal track record of developing quarterbacks since returning to the league in 1999, it is difficult to call Cleveland an ideal landing spot for any quarterback. Even so, one of these guys has to end up there.

Darnold was the primary starter for two seasons at USC. His 22 interceptions are worrisome to some, but they become more forgivable when you put them up against his 57 touchdown passes.

USC always plays a tough schedule as one of college football’s traditional powerhouses. Knowing that, Darnold’s completion percentage of almost 65 should also translate well to the next level. Perhaps most importantly, he has said all the right things about the challenge of turning around a struggling NFL franchise.

Darnold or some other rookie will most likely not start right away in Cleveland as they just traded for Tyrod Taylor. However, the more recent rumblings have the Browns warming up to another quarterback prospect.

Josh Allen: New York Giants

Cleveland has reportedly become enamored with the University of Wyoming prospect. The word project gets thrown around a lot in regards to Allen, who posted a college completion percentage of just 56.2. That is bad at any level of football. It is especially concerning when you realize that Wyoming does not play against much NFL talent.

2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

(Photo from salutemag.com)

It is his arm strength that has NFL scouts intrigued. He can reportedly throw the ball 50 yards from his knees. That is great, but NFL plays simply do not require that. Cleveland has won one game in two years. The Browns do not have time to develop a raw talent like Allen, but the Giants might.

 

Despite last year’s three-win season, Eli Manning still played pretty well for the Giants all things considered. But the 37-year-old is clearly close to the end of his career. With a year or two to be coached by Pat Shurmur and learn from a two-time Super Bowl champion like Manning, Allen could work out well if the Giants decide to address their long-term quarterback situation early in this draft.

Josh Rosen: New York Jets

Rosen’s biggest issue at UCLA was staying on the field. He missed eight games in three years. The hits only get harder in the NFL. So durability is a legitimate concern, but his play is not. He posted a career passer rating of over 140 for the Bruins.

Some are nervous about the Rosen’s personality. You could consider saying publicly that you want to win more rings than Tom Brady cocky. However, you could also consider it the perfect mentality to play quarterback in New York. Believing you are the best is an asset there because the media will try to tear you down at every opportunity whether it is deserved or not.

2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

(Photo from newyorkjets.com)

Coming off a five-win season, the Jets re-signed 38-year-old Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Bridgewater has missed significant time due to injury, making just two pass attempts in the last two seasons. The Jets also traded with the Colts for their current first-round draft position. Translation: The organization knows they need to get their long-term quarterback in this draft.

Rosen may end up getting thrown out there before he is ready if he ends up with the Jets, but he seems to have the attitude for it.

Be sure to check back over the weekend for the best possible fits for Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Mason Rudolph.

 

Featured image from prosportsextra.com

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