Best players available for day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft

The first day of the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. While a lot of good players were selected, there are still good players available for day two. Here are the best available players left in the 2018 NFL Draft:

Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Three corners were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but Jackson did not hear his name called. Denzel Ward, Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes were all selected and now someone is going to get a steal in early round two.

The lengthy corner had a great last season at Iowa making acrobatic interceptions and even took some back to the house. He was somewhat of a one year wonder at Iowa but was highly productive. Teams likely didn’t like Jackson’s speed, but his length and ball skills make him a steal.

Jackson is the best player available and shouldn’t have to wait long on day two to be selected.

Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP

Best players available for day 2 of the NFL Draft

Will Hernandez (Photo by nj.com)

A few interior offensive linemen were drafted in the first round and Hernandez is better than some of them. With teams near the top of the second round needing some offensive line help, a team will likely take him within the first ten picks of the round.

Hernandez is a mauler and a great run blocker. It would not be a surprise to many if he started in the league for 10-plus years. He was able to learn under Sean Kugler, who was his college coach at UTEP, and he has experience coaching NFL offensive lines. Kugler is the offensive line coach in Denver now, who has a pick early in the second round.

He was a top 20 prospect in the class and now a team can get a day one starter who can vastly improve their run game from the trenches.

Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Terrell Edmunds was selected by the Steelers earlier than expected and now Reid (and Ronnie Harrison for that matter) falls to the second round. Reid might be familiar, as his brother Eric is a current free agent at the position.

He has great speed for the position, but sometimes risks too much to make a big play, which ends up costing his team. No one would’ve batted an eye if he went in the first round, but now a team can get great value in the second.

There are several teams picking in the first few picks who could use Reid, including the Giants, Colts and Bucs.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Best players available day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Derrius Guice (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

Three running backs were selected in the first round, but Guice was left out even though he is the second best running back in the class. The Seahawks reached for Rashaad Penny and the Patriots preferred Sony Michel to Guice, so a team can get a workhorse back on day two.

Guice does have some character issues, including reports that he lied about certain NFL Combine questions being asked, but is a good talent. He has a good combination of size and speed. He did have some injuries in college, but projects to be healthy in the NFL.

Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay and Miami all pick early on in round two and could use a running back like Guice.

Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

There were only two edge rushers selected in the first round: Bradley Chubb and Marcus Davenport. Landry will not have to wait much longer to be selected.

He had great production two seasons ago, but was unable to reach the same level this season. Landry also lacks the ideal height and length for the position, as he is only 6’2″. His production from two years ago should entice teams to select him.

Teams will have to start selecting edge rushers soon with only the two off the board so far.

Other notable available players: James Daniels C, Connor Williams OT, Maurice Hurst DT, Orlando Brown OT, Mason Rudolph QB

 

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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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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 II

Welcome to the second of a two part series examining the best fits for the top six quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. You can check out the first part here. Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph go under the microscope this time around.

Playing matchmaker is a little tougher with these three. They are likely to go later in the first round, or perhaps even early in the second, but trades are always possible, especially in that part of the draft.

Baker Mayfield: Arizona Cardinals 

Carson Palmer is retired. No one is mistaking Mike Glennon for a franchise quarterback. Sadly, it is not a matter of if Sam Bradford will get hurt again, but when. Arizona is the most quarterback needy team in the entire draft.

Mayfield’s roughness around the edges is well documented on and off the field. Being drafted to a locker room with veterans like Larry Fitzgerald would go a long way towards smoothing out Mayfield’s character flaws.

On the field, the Cardinals have no long-term quarterback plan, even if Bradford makes it through 2018 healthy. They need one. Mayfield is a legitimate duel threat, but the numbers say he would much rather throw. He never averaged more than 3.2 yards per carry in college. Defense in the Big 12 is bad, but it is not hard to see why there is great intrigue around the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the next level. He threw 81 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions in his last two years of college.

Other than being a tick too short, He has all the stats and physical attributes NFL people look for. There is more than enough there to ignore the concerns over his arrest and less than sportsmanlike behavior on the field. His ability to ad lib when plays break down should also serve him well if he is thrown on the field as a rookie.

Picking at No. 15, Arizona’s quarterback options are somewhat limited without a trade, but there is some talent on the roster. Mayfield’s upside in a situation like the Cardinals is endless.

Lamar Jackson: Buffalo Bills 

This was the toughest prospect to pair with a team. Any quarterback who weighs just over 200 pounds and has 655 rushing attempts in three years of college football is going to have a short and painful NFL career, unless their game is retooled through coaching. Concerns about size and running too much aside, Jackson’s college numbers and pure athleticism are going to earn him a long look in the NFL.

In Buffalo, AJ McCarron is there on a two-year deal to keep the team competitive while it searches for long-term quarterback. Early returns on the Nathan Peterman experiment have been disastrous. Even though Buffalo could not wait to get rid of him, Tyrod Taylor did lead Buffalo to the playoffs last year. Taylor is a decent pro comparison for Jackson, so the coaching staff would be well-suited to coach him.

The former Heisman Trophy winner going to Buffalo makes sense in terms of both need and draft position. Jackson’s college production shows that he is capable of learning how to become an NFL pocket passer.

Mason Rudolph: New England Patriots

Whether he realizes it or not, Tom Brady is 40 years old. With Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, the Patriots have no plan for Brady’s successor. Recent reports have New England taking a shine to Jackson. However, it is hard to imagine Bill Belichick taking a chance on an undersized quarterback who some would argue is a better runner than thrower.

2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks

(Photo from zambio.com)

Rudolph is the all-time leading passer at Oklahoma State. He specializes in the vertical passing game that dominates the NFL landscape today. 10 percent of his dropbacks in college resulted in at least a 25-yard completion. Rudolph needs a little polishing to go from Oklahoma State’s gun-slinging offense to the NFL.

New England is the perfect place for him to get that. He can learn from Brady for a while. Then he can either succeed him or get a big payday somewhere else like other Patriot backup quarterbacks have done. Regardless of which quarterback ends up there, New England is an ideal spot. Rudolph is the best fit.

More than just the six teams mentioned in these two articles could be in the quarterback market early in the draft. New Orleans, Denver and Miami could all be additional players in the market for rookie signal callers. With so many teams potentially needing quarterbacks, some of the prospects ranked seventh and lower in the quarterback class will eventually be asked to make an impact as well.

 

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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.

 

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2018 NFL mock draft April 10

It’s just two and a half weeks until the NFL Draft. With the draft coming up at the end of the month, who will each team pick in the first round?

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.

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.

2018 NFL mock draft April 10

Quenton Nelson (Photo by onefootdown.com)

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. 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.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

Eric Reid is a free agent, which leaves Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt at safety. Neither has been overly consistent throughout their careers and the 49ers will likely feel the loss of Reid. 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.

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 10

Baker Mayfield (Photo by fansided.com)

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- 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 Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.

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.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Chargers need safety and defensive tackle help, but could also use a linebacker. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away.

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. With Richard Sherman gone, the Seahawks need a corner and can take Jackson if they feel he can fit in their zone-coverage scheme.

2018 NFL mock draft april 10

Taven Bryan (Photo by gridironnow.com)

19. Dallas Cowboys- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The Cowboys need interior defensive line depth could pick up Bryan here. He’s very athletic and can be a depth player until he develops into a starter.

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.

25. Tennessee Titans- 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 Titans have Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan but can use a young pass rusher as well.

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.

2018 NFL mock draft April 10

Lamar Jackson (Photo by dawgsbynature.com)

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. Him 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- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

With Malcolm Butler leaving, the Patriots need more help at corner. Jackson is a fast corner who is good in man to man coverage.

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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Arizona Cardinals 2018 NFL Draft profile

The 2018 NFL Draft is a few weeks away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Arizona Cardinals 2018 NFL Draft profile.

Summary

The Cardinals, like a few other NFL franchises, regressed in 2018 due to injuries. It started in game one when David Johnson suffered a broken wrist. The 2017 season ended with 17 players missing at least two games by being placed on injured reserve. Arizona, despite all these injuries, still managed to win 8 games and this franchise will have it’s fair share of challenges heading into the 2018 season.

Arizona Cardinals 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Photo Courtesy of; NFL Draft Diamonds

Before his injury, it was apparent that this offense was going to run through David Johnson. In 2016, Johnson scored 20 total touchdowns and just over 2,000 all-purpose yards.

This offense finished the 2017 season 25th and 22nd in points and yards respectively. Carson Palmer’s injury led to more instability in offensive production (unless you’re Larry Fitzgerald).

Sadly, the Cardinals have not signed a viable bridge quarterback. While Sam Bradford is talented, it’s proven that he will struggle to play all 16 regular season games. To compete in the NFC West, the Cardinals will have to add another quarterback as an insurance policy.

Defensively, the Cardinals finished 19th and sixth in points and yards allowed respectively. This unit was in the middle of the pack for creating turnovers, tied for 16th; however, they were incredibly good on third down. The Cardinals only allowed opposing offenses to convert 35.7 percent of their third downs.

The best word to describe this defense is “solid”. Meaning, they have talent in key positions. Chandler Jones and Markus Golden can rush the passer off the edge. Patrick Peterson, Budda Baker and the newly acquired Bene’ Benwikere round out a good secondary, assuming Tyvon Branch and Antoine Bethea return healthy. There are a few positions they should look to upgrade, but with only a few picks in this year’s draft, the Cardinals will have to nail their selections.

Picks and Needs

The Cardinals are in a precarious position. They are one of the few NFC franchises without their quarterback of the future. With only four picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cardinals need to add as many impact players as possible.

First Round (1): 15

Second Round (1): 47

Third Round (1): 79

Fourth Round (0):

Fifth Round (1): 143

Sixth Round (0):

Seventh Round (0):

Offensive Needs

Tackle: If you plan on having Sam Bradford as your starter, you need to protect him. Andre Smith is slated to start at right tackle since Jared Veldheer has been shipped to Denver. His play has steadily declined since 2014. an upgrade at the tackle position would benefit both Sam Bradford, and David Johnson.

Quarterback: It doesn’t appear that the Cardinals have the ammunition, or the intestinal fortitude to move up and claim one of the top-tier quarterbacks. It’s likely they will have to spend one of their later picks on a developmental prospect and keep their fingers crossed that Bradford’s health holds up.

Wide Receiver: Despite what his continued ability to amaze us, Larry Fitzgerald won’t play forever. He likely has two more seasons at most of being the most productive receiver on this team. The Cardinals need to take advantage of his remaining years and bring in a potential heir to Fitzgerald. His work ethic and attitude are rare, valuable assets that could be passed to a young wideout.

Defensive Needs

Linebacker: The Cardinals front seven of their 3-4 defense is solid. However, there is one flaw. By playing Deone Buchanon, a former safety at inside linebacker, they aren’t stout physically against the run. Hassan Reddick’s snap count decreased as the season went on, signaling he wasn’t adjusting as well to the NFL game. The Cardinals should consider a true inside linebacker with size and experience.

Targets

The prospects in this section are ones that the Cardinals will likely be able to select and are assuming their draft position(s) are not changing.

First Round

Pick No. 15: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Arizona Cardinals 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Photo Courtesy; Indiana Sports Coverage

The Cardinals, if they stay put, can secure the best tackle in the draft. McGlinchey is a well-rounded, experienced and polished player at left tackle.

That is if Arizona decides to play him there. McGlinchey has experience at both tackle positions and would be a great pick to protect Sam Bradford, as well as elevate David Johnson in 2018.

If they decide to go in a different direction, the Cardinals could select Rashaan Evans from Alabama.

While this might seem like a reach, he would step in and start from day one. His experience, size, and athleticism would anchor the middle of this defense. This would let Hasson Reddick focus on rushing the passer more, as opposed to being an inside run stopper.

Overall, McGlinchey makes the most sense for the Cardinals at the 15th selection given their quarterback situation.

Second Round

Pick No. 47: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Sam Bradford has proven he can’t stay healthy for a full season, and he’s only under contract for two years. Rudolph would provide Arizona with quality depth at the quarterback decision. He would also have time to develop, which he needs, and work on some issues. Rudolph is unique in the sense that NFL teams don’t have a consensus on where he should be drafted. Some teams have him as a second-round pick, and others have him as a fifth-round pick. Because Arizona doesn’t have a plan past Bradford, it’s likely they take a chance on him in the second round.

Third Round

Pick No. 79: Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt

Deone Buchanon doesn’t have the size of a normal inside linebacker, and Hasson Reddick’s more natural position is that of an outside pass rusher. Burks would fill a need and serve as a good value in the third round of the draft.

Conclusion

The Arizona Cardinals are in a tough spot. They will have to nail their draft picks and stay healthy to keep pace with the Rams, Seahawks, and the surging 49ers.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Baltimore Ravens 2018 NFL Draft profile.

 

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Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks

The Arizona Cardinals are at risk of becoming a laughing stock again

The offseason quarterback derby has settled as much as it is going to before the NFL draft. The franchise history of the Arizona Cardinals is far from glorious. However, they have spent most of the last decade as a competitive franchise that has gotten to the playoffs and done damage on occasion.

Still, this offseason has suddenly left them in danger of returning to laughing-stock territory for a couple reasons.

No long-term plan at quarterback 

When Carson Palmer retired earlier this offseason, Arizona had zero quarterbacks on the roster. Going by that metric, this free agency signing period has been a smashing success for the Cardinals.

In reality, Mike Glennon is a career journeyman who barely lasted a month before being replaced by then rookie Mitch Trubisky in Chicago last year. Also, Sam Bradford has put up decent numbers in his career including 101 touchdown passes to just 57 interceptions. Despite that, he has never led a team to the playoffs and has only been healthy enough to start all 16 games in a season twice.

By all accounts except his own, Bradford’s knees are in bad shape. He has had two ACL tears as well as an additional procedure last season. It made the news wires when Bradford passed his physical last week. Usually, that only happens if a guy fails a physical. That should tell you a lot.

Even if it is just for a year, handing the keys to your franchise over to either one of these guys is not only risky, but also close to plain stupid. The Vikings, Browns, Jets, Broncos and Bills have all addressed the quarterback position this offseason. Some have added a quarterback. Some are in position to draft one. Some are clearly doing both. There is no way plans will work out for all of these teams, but at least you can see the plan beyond this year.

Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks

Photo from NFL.com

Meanwhile, Arizona only has the fragile Bradford for one year to go with Glennon for two. Glennon has just nine starts in the last four years. Logic would dictate that means Arizona needs to draft a quarterback early. However, being at pick No. 15, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield will all almost certainly be gone by the time the Cardinals are on the clock.

 

That leaves them with two options: trade up to get one of those guys, or reach for someone like Mason Rudolph. Neither option is particularly good. The Cardinals would have no negotiating leverage with another team on draft day, but there is no such thing as too steep a price for long-term stability at quarterback in the NFL. Either option would be helped out greatly by Glennon or Bradford panning out, but that is iffy at best.

The rest of Arizona’s roster is not terrible. A healthy David Johnson is something just about every team would kill to have in the backfield, Larry Fitzgerald is ageless and Patrick Peterson is now the leader of a defense that looks a little different, but should still be pretty good in 2018.

Even so, if you don’t have good quarterback play, the rest of your roster does not matter. A bunch of losses are in your future. Just ask last year’s Denver Broncos.

An unstable future at quarterback is not the only thing that has the Cardinals organization in a delicate spot.

The NFC West is loaded

The biggest key to any NFL team preforming well is playing well within the division. This will be a challenge for Arizona no matter who their quarterback is in 2018 and beyond.

Seattle is in the midst of overhauling its roster and Arizona has played the Seahawks well in recent years, but Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks on the planet. It was him and him alone that kept the Seahawks in it until the very end of the regular season last year. If Wilson needs to, he can carry this franchise again. The defense is certainly not better in terms of name value, but getting younger in the secondary might actually be a good thing.

Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks

Photo from azcardinals.com

Then there are the 49ers and Rams. The Rams were reborn last year as rookie head coach Sean McVay and his high-powered offense took the league by storm. Los Angeles also acquired Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. As volatile as those two can sometimes be, that cornerback tandem is sure to give every offense in the league a hard time.

San Francisco ended the season on a five-game winning streak after Jimmy Garoppolo was inserted as the starting quarterback. There is no reason to think that won’t carry over.

Playing these three teams twice a year with Bradford, Glennon or a rookie is setting rookie head coach Steve Wilks up to fail. The Cardinals should have been more aggressive for guys like Kirk Cousins or Case Keenum. Drafting a quarterback will likely result in some growing pains for the Cardinals, but it is now their only chance at having a clear long-term direction for the foreseeable future.

 

Featured image from usatoday.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 NFL mock draft March 6

The 2018 NFL Combine is now over and all the teams got to see the top prospects personally. The draft is now under two months away and the draft boards are starting to get put into place. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft.

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

Reports are that the Browns have Barkley at the top of their board after his impressive combine showing. Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.

2. New York Giants- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

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 Giants may be without Eli Manning next year and even if he does stay, will need a quarterback of the future.

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

Frank Reich will be looking forward to work 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.

4. Cleveland Browns- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Baker Mayfield to the Browns rumors have started to heat up. The current theory on the Browns is that they will sign A.J. McCarron and draft a quarterback with a top pick. Baker 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 in Indianapolis.

5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Boise, Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. He competed in all the drills at the combine and got some audible cheers when he displayed his arm strength. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team. If they don’t get a player like Kirk Cousins in free agency they need to draft a quarterback.

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

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 needs to improve. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.

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. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed. His 4.47 40 yard dash time at the combine was right in line where he should have run.

2018 NFL mock draft March 6

Calvin Ridley (Photo by clesportstalk.com)

8. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

This pick has changed between a corner and Ridley for most of the year. They had the seventh best passing defense in the league last year, so they may be able to figure that out without using a top draft pick. 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.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. John Lynch showed last year he likes lankier corners with his selection of Ahkello Witherspoon, so Jackson gets the nod here over Denzel Ward. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them.

10. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. With Jon Gruden taking over, he is going to need a Derrick Brooks-like linebacker to cover and make plays.

11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. 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.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Bengals do need a lot of offensive linemen, but if Nelson doesn’t fall to them, there isn’t one necessarily worth taking at 12. They could trade down, but if they don’t, they could vastly improve their defense with the selection of James. 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. At the end of the day he plays well and some team will give him a shot.

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

Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. His combine workout helped display the physical freak he is.

14. Green Bay Packers- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. The Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL. His throwing was questioned at the combine, but he should be seen as a quarterback who can learn and develop into a good quarterback.

2018 NFL mock draft March 6

Denzel Ward

16. Baltimore Ravens- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Baltimore picked Marlon Humphrey last season, but still need a little corner help. Ward is the best player on the board and does just about everything right. 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.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Vita Vea, NT/DT, Washington

The Chargers’ defense is young and promising, but need to get better at stopping the run. 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 this weekend in Indianapolis.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

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. The Seahawks need a few good offensive linemen and might elect to go for the safest pick.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do. Taven Bryan or Maurice Hurst could be the pick here if they decide to go this route.

20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

21. Buffalo Bills- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Bills are thin at linebacker and this selection is an immediate upgrade. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. While he went to the same college as other linebackers that haven’t worked out for the Bills, Reggie Ragland, Evans is a completely different player.

22. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.

23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers, especially after trading Robert Quinn to Miami. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.

2018 NFL mock draft March 6

Harold Landry (Photo by bloggingtheboys.com)

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- Isaiah Wynn, OG/C, Georgia

Wynn played well in the Senior Bowl and the College Football Playoff for Georgia. The Titans need to improve the interior of their offensive line to help their young players at skill positions.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. He ran a great 4.32 40 yard dash time. With his speed he was able to play outside, the nickel and safety at LSU. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Their defense was much improved so they can afford to look to the future. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class. Sean Payton reportedly loves backup Taysom Hill, but he was more of a running quarterback in college than a thrower.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. Jacksonville really doesn’t have too many needs and have said they are sticking with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.

2018 NFL Mock draft March 6

Orlando Brown (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

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- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Arden Key has some off the field issues, but he won’t get away with anything under Belichick. He is very talented and would have gone in the top ten without teams doubting his off the field issues.

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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