Pre-Combine 2019 NFL mock draft

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine starts tomorrow! That means we’re one step closer to the 2019 NFL Draft. Being closer to the NFL Draft can only mean one thing. An NFL Mock Draft! Who doesn’t love an NFL mock draft?

My first 2019 NFL Mock Draft comes before the combine, meaning my NFL mock draft picks are based on where teams view prospects as of right now, as well as team needs. Which player(s) will your favorite team land in the first-round this year?

NFL Mock Draft
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Pre-Combine NFL mock draft

1. Arizona Cardinals: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

There’s a lot of speculation around the Cardinals ending the Josh Rosen experiment early to take QB Kyler Murray. It’s a real possibility that does happen, but I’m not sure it’ll be with the first overall pick. If the Cardinals are looking to draft Murray, they could trade down a few spots with teams who aren’t looking for a QB. For this NFL mock draft, the Cardinals are picking first. That means they’re going to, or at least should take the best player in the draft. That player is Nick Bosa.

 

2. San Fransisco 49ers: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama

DT may not be the biggest need for the 49ers, but it’ll be extremely hard for them to pass on Quinnen Williams. Williams is more than just a DT. He can play all along the defensive line. It didn’t really matter where he played at Alabama, he dominated. The 49ers have the second pick, and should take the second best player in the draft.

 

3. New York Jets: DE Josh Allen, Kentucky

One of the biggest needs the Jets have this offseason comes along the offensive line. Sam Darnold needs more protection. The problem with that is, is there an offensive lineman in this class who’s worth taking at No. 3 overall? Most people would say no. With that being the case, the Jets can look to fill that need in a later round. With the third overall pick, they’ll choose to fill another need by getting one of the best pass rushers in the draft. The Jets weren’t horrible at pass rush last season, totaling 39.0 sacks on the season. However, they definitely need to get better on the edge with an elite pass rusher, as no player on their defense had more than 7.0 sacks this past season. Josh Allen is a big, explosive pass rusher who the Jets desperately need on their defensive line.

 

4. Oakland Raiders: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan

Oakland’s pass rush was almost non existent last season, recording a league low 13.0 sacks the entire season. Finding an edge rusher who can make an immediate impact for this defense should be their number one priority. With three first-round picks, I could see a possibility of Oakland moving up to land Nick Bosa, but this NFL mock draft doesn’t include trades. Regardless of if they stay put or move up, a DE will likely be their first selection. I also think Gary would make a nice addition next to former teammate Maurice Hurst.

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Greedy Williams, LSU

Greedy Williams has been highly ranked throughout the season, but many question some of his abilities. How he does at the combine will heavily determine where he’s drafted, but for now, we’ll keep him here. Williams sticks out because of his 6’3″, 183 lbs size. We all know how much teams are loving those bigger CBs in today’s NFL. Williams can help the Bucs fix one of their biggest problems from a season ago. In terms of pass defense, this team was bad. They gave up the seventh most passing yards per game last season. In addition to that, they allowed the highest passer rating to opposing QBs. Greedy Williams can instantly improve a pass defense that mightily struggled.

 

6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

I know there’s some speculation about the Giants sticking with Eli Manning, but I think that’d be a mistake. If they do stick with Manning as the starter, it’s time to get a guy who can take over for him when they finally realize they’re not going anywhere with Eli. Dwayne Haskins is the top QB in this class, so the Giants should pull the trigger on him here.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Who really knows where Kyler Murray will go? He could go first overall. He could go in the later part of the first. I think a team with an early pick will see his potential and take him. If the Jaguars know what’s good for them, they’ll take a QB here. They could go with guys like Drew Lock or Daniel Jones, but I’m not sure they’re the right fit for the Jaguars. I’m also not sure they’re worth drafting this high. I believe Murray is the right fit for this team and is worth taking at this spot.

 

8. Detroit Lions: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

There’s a good chance the Lions will be losing Ezekiel Ansah, who is their best pass rusher. That means they’ll have to find an elite pass rusher in the draft who can take his spot. That pass rusher is Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell was highly effective during his time with Clemson. I think he can come into the NFL and produce right away.

 

9. Buffalo Bills: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida

There are many options for the Bills with this pick, but I think addressing the offensive line is the best one. They’ve got their so called franchise QB, although I don’t think that’s the case. Anyway, if they want Josh Allen to develop into who they think he can be, they need to protect him better. The Bills gave up 41 sacks last season. That’s too many for a young QB who struggles with accuracy. He needs protection and he needs it now.

 

10. Denver Broncos: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma 

It looks like the Broncos are rolling with Joe Flacco this coming season. For Flacco to be effective in Denver, he needs to have weapons. After shipping DeMaryius Thomas away, that left the Broncos with Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton as the top two weapons. Sutton had a good rookie season and should continue to grow, but Sanders tore his achilles not too long ago. Even if he does return next season, he likely won’t be the same player. Having a big receiver in Sutton will be nice, but now they need a speed guy to take the top off the defense. Maybe Antonio Brown’s cousin Marquise Brown can be that guy.

 

11. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Drew Lock, Missouri

Cincinnati may continue to roll with Andy Dalton at QB, but I believe they should end the Dalton era and move on to someone else. I’m still not sure how I feel about Drew Lock as an NFL QB, but he’s thought of as one of the top QBs in the draft by many. With Haskins and Murray off the board in this NFL mock draft, Lock is the best QB option for the Bengals with the 11th pick.

 

12. Green Bay Packers: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

The Packers could go multiple ways here, but I think their best bet is to go with an edge rusher. This team recorded 44.0 sacks last season, but there never seemed to be the constant edge pressure teams like to have at the position. I believe Montez Sweat can be just as good as the DEs predicted to go ahead of him. He can be a constant pressure to opposing QBs, which will help out the young secondary of the Packers in a big way.

 

13. Miami Dolphins: QB Daniel Jones, Duke

If the Dolphins haven’t realized that Ryan Tannehill isn’t going to take them anywhere by now, I don’t know when they will. Tannehill has always been destined to be a quality backup QB, but not a franchise QB. It’s time for the Dolphins to move on from him. It might be a bit of a stretch taking Daniel Jones 13th overall, so they could trade down, but again, this NFL mock draft doesn’t cover potential trades. However, if they feel like he or another QB still on the board can be their true franchise QB, they have to pull the trigger.

 

14. Atlanta Falcons: DT Ed Oliver, Houston

There’s a possibility DT Grady Jarrett could be gone this offseason. If that’s the case, that would be a huge blow to the Falcons on defense, meaning they’d need to find his replacement. If he stays, drafting another DT won’t hurt either. Ed Oliver is projected as one of the better players in this draft by many. Some have him top two. I’ve seen others rank him around this spot. We’ll have to wait and see how he tests to get a more accurate feel for where he’ll go. I believe he’ll do well and move way up in my next NFL mock draft. If he does land here, the Falcons would be getting a top notch player who can help this defense, regardless of if Grady Jarrett sticks around.

 

15. Washington Redskins: WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

The Washington Redskins have been looking for a number one receiver for a while now, so it makes perfect sense for them to target one of the top receivers in this draft. D.K. Metcalf has the size to be a dominant receiver in this league, especially in the red zone. I think his fellow Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown might be a better prospect right now, but Metcalf definitely has the potential to be a great NFL receiver. With questions at QB, it would also make sense for them to target a top QB in this draft, but they’ll likely have to trade up to get the guy they want. In this NFL mock draft, all the first-round worthy QBs are already off the board.

 

16. Carolina Panthers: LB Devin White, LSU

The Carolina Panthers won’t be getting Thomas Davis back next year, which means they have a hole to fill at LB. Enter Devin White. White is a big, athletic LB who could step in and fill the open spot left by Davis from day one. There may be other needs the Panthers need to fill, but I think it’ll be too hard to pass on Devin White if he’s available here.

 

17. Cleveland Browns: CB Byron Murphy, Washington

There are several ways the Browns could go here. They could solidify their offensive line. They could choose to get a true number one WR for Baker Mayfield. Or they could choose to draft one of the best CBs in this draft and pair him with last year’s No. 4 overall pick, Denzel Ward. Ward played exceptionally well for the Browns last season, and it looks like he’s going to be a great CB for years to come. Now the Browns need to find a guy who can play alongside Ward for years to come. Byron Murphy has all the tools to be great CB in the NFL. The CB tandem of Ward and Murphy could be scary a couple years down the road.

 

18. Minnesota Vikings: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama

There’s no question in my mind what position the Vikings need to address in the first-round. That position is offensive line. It doesn’t matter if they go OT or G, they just need offensive line help. With no Gs really having the first-round pedigree in this class, OT looks like the choice. Jonah Williams is one of, if not the best OT in this draft class. He would instantly upgrade the Vikings’ offensive line, helping them protect their big investment in Kirk Cousins.

 

19. Tennessee Titans: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

The Titans had a great defense last season, but their offense held them back. Derrick Henry didn’t get going until late in the season. Hopefully he can carry that over into next season, but even if he does, Marcus Mariota still needs more weapons. The Titans’ leading receiver last season was Corey Davis, who had 891 yards and four TDs. He improved a lot last season, and should continue to improve. Delanie Walker should be back at TE, but the Titans still need more, which is why I have them drafting a top WR in N’Keal Harry. He and Davis could be a scary duo down the road.

 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

If the Steelers really are parting ways with Antonio Brown, they’re going to need someone to fill his spot. Nobody is going to step right in and produce the way he did, but they need someone with potential to do so down the road. For now, JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to be the number one receiver. He had a great season, but will he be able to produce the same without Brown demanding so much attention? Pittsburgh needs to draft a receiver who can come in and take the pressure off JuJu.

 

21. Seattle Seahawks: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Despite the Seahawks being very good defensively last season, the middle of their defensive line needs a little bit of work. They have some nice pieces on their defensive line, but they need more help. You can never have too many pass rushers. Christian Wilkins is a guy who can not only be an effective pass rusher on the inside, but a guy who can also make big plays against the run. He would help solidify the young defensive line the Seahawks have.

 

22. Baltimore Ravens: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia

John Brown led the Ravens in receiving last season, recording 715 yards and five TDs. In order for Lamar Jackson to develop as a passer, the Ravens have to surround him with receiving threats. Riley Ridley didn’t put up huge numbers in college, but he projects to be a better pro than college player. He has all the tools he needs to be an effective receiver. He may not produce right away, but he would provide Lamar Jackson with a young receiver to grow alongside of.

 

23. Houston Texans: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State

After allowing Deshaun Watson so be sacked more times than other QB last season, the Texans must make offensive line their priority in the first-round. Andre Dillard could step in right away and increase protection for the Texans’ franchise QB. Their line was so bad last season, I might even consider moving up in the draft to try and get one of the top two OTs if I were them. If they choose to stay put, Andre Dillard is another great OT prospect who should develop into a really solid NFL starter.

 

24. Oakland Raiders (From Chicago Bears): LB Devin Bush, Michigan

After getting Rashan Gary with the fourth pick, the Raiders will come right back to Michigan for their second selection in the first-round. Not only is this another selection of a Michigan player, but it’s a selection of another defender. Improving the pass rush will help the Raiders defensively, but they’ll need a lot more than that. This defense gave up the most points in the league last season. LB is also a need after getting rid of Khalil Mack. I’m not saying Devin Bush is Khalil Mack, but he is a solid LB with the tools teams want from the position. Bush may be a little undersized, but he makes up for it with his play. If he has a good performance at the NFL Combine, Bush could move up in my next NFL mock draft.

 

25. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

Philadelphia is in need of an upgrade at the RB position this offseason. Jay Ajayi is coming off a torn ACL and is set to be a free agent. Darren Sproles missed a lot of last season and is also set to be a free agent. The Eagles still have Corey Clement, but he’s also coming off a knee injury. There’s not a guy on that roster right now who you could consider a true workhorse RB. Alabama RB Josh Jacobs is considered the top RB in this draft class. He has all the tools and skills a team could want from their workhorse RB. He should be able to provide Carson Wentz with the run game he needs to get back to his MVP form.

 

26. Indianapolis Colts: DE Jachai Polite, Florida

Indianapolis improved defensively throughout the course of the season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t holes to fill. For this defense to take the next step, they have to get a more consistent pass rush. Last season they ranked 19th in sacks, totaling 38.0. If this defense is going to be taken seriously, they have to find a guy who can be their consistent pass rusher. Jachai Polite had 11.0 sacks last season. Before that, he had only recorded 4.0 sacks in two seasons. That’s why he’s ranked lower than the other top pass rushers, but you can see the potential and growth is there.

 

27. Oakland Raiders (From Dallas Cowboys): CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

Now that the Raiders have taken care of their front seven with their first two picks, it’s time to take care of the back end of their defense. Oakland actually ranked 14th in passing yards allowed last season, which is good considering how bad this defense was, but it’s not good enough. Oakland needs a CB who can develop into a shut down guy. CB Rock Ya-Sin might not be well known because of where he played football, but NFL fans will soon know his name. He’s got great ball skills and natural instincts. His 6’2″, 190 lbs size will also be something he can use against bigger receivers in the NFL.

 

28. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma

The Chargers actually did pretty well along the offensive line last season, until late in the year. As the Chargers began to play some of the better defensive teams, it became more clear the offensive line needed some work. The LT position is in good shape right now, but the RT position could use an upgrade. In order for the Chargers to stay competitive, they have to keep Philip Rivers upright as much as possible.

 

29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia

The secondary for the Chiefs was absolutely terrible last season. Their defense totaled 52.0 sacks, which was tied for the most in the league, but even with the pressure put on opposing QBs, the secondary always let them down. Giving up the second most passing yards per game is not a good way to help out one of the best offense’s in the league. I’m not worried about the offense at all, but something has to be done about the secondary. Georgia CB Deandre Baker can help with that.

 

30. Green Bay Packers (From New Orleans Saints): TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Packers fans might be pushing for a WR at this spot, but in this NFL mock draft, there’s not a guy left who’s worth taking here. Instead, the Packers will go another route in this NFL mock draft to give Aaron Rodgers a weapon. I know the Packers already have Jimmy Graham, but there’s nothing wrong with having two TEs who can make plays. T.J. Hockenson might not be as athletic as his Iowa teammate TE Noah Fant, but he’s more polished as a TE in the areas of receiving and blocking. He does both very well. I’m sure Aaron Rodgers could find creative ways to use him.

 

31. Los Angeles Rams: S Jonathan Abram, Mississippi State

There’s a good chance Lamarcus Joyner won’t be returning to this team next season. If that’s the case, they’ll need to find a replacement. Even if Joyner does return, it’s not like he had the greatest season last year. The Rams can use an upgrade at S regardless. Jonathan Abram is the top ranked S in the draft by many, so a team in need of a S, such as the Rams, would be wise to target him with their first pick.

 

32. New England Patriots: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

I can honestly see the Patriots trading out of this spot, but they’ll stay put for this NFL mock draft. With their selection, the Super Bowl champs get the other Iowa TE with the final pick in the first-round. Noah Fant may not be as polished all-around as T.J. Hockenson, but he’s a big bodied TE who’s a great receiving threat. With questions about the future of Rob Gronkowski, drafting a TE would be a good direction for the Patriots to go. If Gronk doesn’t stick around, they’ll have a potential replacement. If he does stick around, they’ll have another receiving threat for Brady. We’ve seen two TEs be heavily involved for the Patriots before and work out nicely on the field.

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As is always the case after the NFL Scouting Combine, things will change based on how players perform, so keep an eye out for my second 2019 NFL Mock Draft shortly after the combine wraps up!

What did you think of your teams’ selection(s) in my first NFL mock draft of the season? Comment below who you’d have your team taking in an NFL mock draft below!

Post NFL Draft Record Predictions for Each Team

Aaron Rodgers
All Pro QB” by Brook Ward is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Scrolling through my Bleacher Report feed yesterday morning, I came across an article titled, “Post Draft Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team.” This immediately caught my attention because I love seeing the opinions of different NFL experts. What I was mostly looking for was who this writer had as surprise teams or teams who have great expectations who will fail to live up to them. After looking through the record for each team, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

The worst record given to any team in these record predictions was 6-10. I asked myself, “When was the last time the worst team in the NFL was 6-10?” I then proceeded to find the best record given, which was 11-5. “When was the last time the best team in the NFL was 11-5?,” I asked myself. Before even looking into the numbers, I knew these record predictions were not an accurate representation of what the NFL standings will look like when next season is over.

Just to be sure, I went to NFL.com to check out the team standings from previous years. The records date back to 1970, but the league didn’t start playing 16 regular season games until 1978, so we’ll go from then to now. Excluding 1982 (Only 9 games played that year), the best record of the worst team in the NFL is 4-12. The worst record of the best team in the NFL is 12-4.

To add some additional insight to these numbers, most of the time there’s at least one or more teams who match or are within one or two games of being the best or worst team. If you look through the numbers, you won’t see just one team who’s 1-15 and then the next worst team is 6-10. Almost always there’s a team who went 2-14 or 3-13. It’s the same with the best teams.

So what I’m saying is, the record predictions in this Bleacher Report article are not what you’re going to be seeing when the 2018 regular season comes to an end. The best team will be better than 11-5 and the worst team will be worse than 6-10. There were only five teams who were predicted to get double digit wins. Again, something that’s not likely to happen. The last time there were less than 10 teams in the NFL who had double digit wins was in 2011. Nine teams had double digit wins that year. Basically what this Bleacher Report writer is saying, is that almost every team in the NFL is going to be mediocre. No. No way. Like every other year, there will be teams who are horrible and win four games or less and there will be very good teams who win 12 or more games.

Below you’ll find my post draft record predictions for every team in the NFL next season. I’ve taken a look at each teams recent history, who they’ve acquired this offseason, and who they play this year to predict each teams record.

Arizona Cardinals: 7-9

The Cardinals lost some key pieces during the offseason, but they’ve also made some good additions. They’ll get David Johnson back, who will help the offense a ton. Between Sam Bradford and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, there may be some struggles there, but I can see the Cardinals being a decent team.

Atlanta Falcons: 9-7

Starting the season against the Eagles, Panthers, and Saints will be tough. Their best situation coming out of those games I think is 2-1. They play the Steelers a couple weeks later, with the Packers, Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins later in the season. I still think this team can make the playoffs, but they won’t have it easy.

Baltimore Ravens: 6-10

Baltimore’s defense can only do so much to keep them in games. Joe Flacco got some new weapons, but it may take a while for those weapons to develop. With Lamar Jackson waiting behind Flacco, there will be a lot of speculation about when he’ll play. If Flacco has a few bad games, Jackson is in. It may take him a while to adjust to the NFL game.

Buffalo Bills: 5-11

Tyrod Taylor is better than both quarterbacks who could potentially start for this team when the year begins. McCarron can win a few games, but Josh Allen will start at some point and there’s not going to be instant success with him.

Carolina Panthers: 9-7

This team can’t seem to put together good back to back years. They’re good one year and the next they struggle. Well last year they were good, so now they struggle again. I don’t really see them as an improved team going into this year.

Chicago Bears: 6-10

Chicago is getting better. They made some good picks in the draft and offseason to help their defense, and more importantly their young quarterback. They’re not going to be contenders just yet, but I do see them improving from last season a little bit.

Cincinnati Bengals: 5-11

Let’s face it, Andy Dalton is not the answer at quarterback for the Bengals. They’ve now missed the playoffs the last two years and Dalton’s play is a big reason why. I predict they’ll be picking at the top of the draft next year, meaning they should target Dalton’s replacement.

Cleveland Browns: 4-12

Yes, the Browns have acquired a lot of good talent this offseason, but you have to remember they went 0-16 last year. They have pieces to be better, but how long will it take them to put it all together? I can see them improving to be contenders in the near future, but not the future of next season.

Dallas Cowboys: 10-6

Dallas has a tough schedule this year. Put that with the probable loss of Jason Witten and the release of Dez Bryant and everyone thinks they’re going to be terrible. Last year they were 9-7 and almost made the playoffs. That was without Zeke for 6 games, arguably the best left tackle in the game for several games, and one of the best linebackers in the league for several games. Those were just some injuries. This team was right there without their best players. Enter Zeke for 16 games and healthy star players, and the Cowboys are back to having the best run game in the NFL and are in the playoffs.

Denver Broncos: 9-7

Even with the signing of Case Keenum, I still see the Broncos offense holding them back from being true contenders. Their defense can still be a force, especially the pass rush, but the defense needs a capable offense to function properly. They’ll be better than last season, but not where they want to be.

Detroit Lions: 9-7

I think the Lions running game will be better this year with the additions they’ve made, but not where it should be for the Lions offense to reach its full potential. With the Packers and Vikings in the division, it will be tough for the Lions to not only win the division, but make the playoffs. I think they’ll be close again, but just miss out.

Green Bay Packers: 12-4

Green Bay doesn’t have an easy schedule, but that doesn’t matter when you have Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback. Rodgers wasn’t healthy for much of last season, which is why they struggled. With Rodgers back, the Packers are contenders. They also made some nice additions to their team in the draft, boosting their defense. A better defense can only benefit Rodgers.

Houston Texans: 8-8

Houston has made improvements to their defense, which should get a boost if their star players can get and stay healthy. With Watson coming back from injury, it may take him some time to adjust. I expect him to be a little shaky early on and then settle in once he gets more comfortable. It’s not an overly tough schedule for them, but the start the season has them against the Patriots and a few playoff teams from last year.

Indianapolis Colts: 5-11

Andrew Luck is hopefully coming back, but will he be the same Andrew Luck right away? I think it will take time for him to get back in the swing of things. This team has problems way past Andrew Luck. The defense has to play much better. It made strides at the end of last season, but we’ll see if they can build on that.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 10-6

This team had one of the best defense’s in the NFL last season, and I expect it to be that way again. Their running game on offense was pretty good, but the passing game wasn’t great. With the loss of both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, I don’t expect this passing game to be any better. The defense is going to ball out, keeping the Jaguars as contenders, but can Bortles get the passing game going?

Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7

Alex Smith was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL last season, and now he’s gone. Patrick Mahomes has shown in a small sample he can play well, but I don’t expect him to dominate right away. He’s got some very good weapons around him, but let’s not get too hyped about this offense just yet. The offense will be good, but I don’t think it will be one of the best. The defense took a big hit losing Marcus Peters, so we’ll see how they can function without him and his great playmaking abilities.

Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6

Phillip Rivers and the Chargers won six of their last seven games last season, so I expect that to continue into this upcoming season. The defense is emerging, and they just got a steal in the draft with safety Derwin James. Perhaps the best pass rushing duo in the league may have an easier time with some improved coverage from the rookie safety. The offensive line should be better, giving Rivers more time in the pocket and an improved run game. It’s an average schedule for the Chargers this year, so I think their improvement on both sides of the ball gets them into the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams: 12-4

I love what the Rams have done this offseason. Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, etc. An already very good defense looks like it will be one of the best in the NFL. Their defensive line dominates and their cover guys can really cover. The guys they acquired aren’t just big names, they’re good players. They’ve got some tough games on the schedule just like everyone else, but I expect this team to continue winning playoff like games, which will hopefully allows them to win a playoff game next year.

Miami Dolphins: 3-13

This team has lost probably its three best players in Landry, Suh, and Pouncey this offseason. That’s not a winning formula. I don’t believe in Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback. I don’t see this offense or defense being good enough to win games for them. It’s time for a rebuild in Miami.

Minnesota Vikings: 11-5

This defense is still going to be one of the best in the NFL. Having Kirk Cousins as quarterback is solid, but I don’t see a real improvement there from Case Keenum. They’ll get Dalvin Cook back, who will hopefully get back to his pre-injury self. He was having a great rookie year until the injury. This team has a tough schedule, having to play the Packers twice, Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Saints, and Patriots. Despite the schedule, I believe they can win several of these games because of their defense.

New England Patriots: 13-3

New England is always one of the best teams in the NFL. That will continue next season. We thought they might struggle last season after starting 2-2, but then they finished with a 13-3 record anyway. Like every year, the Patriots lost pieces and add pieces, but it doesn’t really matter who those pieces are as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around.

New Orleans Saints: 10-6

If the Saints offense continues to dominate and the young players on their defense continue to improve, I don’t see them taking a step back. This team knows its Super Bowl window is open right now, but won’t be for long with Drew Brees getting up there in age. Their division gives them a tough schedule, but they also have to play the Rams, Eagles, and Steelers. If they start 0-2 again, I’m not sure they’ll be able to get out of that hole this time, but I don’t see the bad start happening. Their first two games are against the Buccaneers and Browns.

New York Giants: 10-6

One of the worst offense’s in the league should be much better this season. Their offensive line wasn’t great last year, they had a lot of injuries, and they didn’t have a running game. Right now they’re healthy, they addressed the offensive line, and they drafted the best running back in the draft. Saquon Barkley and the rushing attack is going to boost the passing game significantly. I expect the Giants to be one of the most improved teams.

New York Jets: 6-10

I like what the Jets did in the draft. They got some good pieces who should contribute right away. I think the Jets are an up and coming team, especially if Sam Darnold develops like he’s expected to, but they’re not ready to be contenders right now. Give them a couple more years to develop, but know they’re on their way.

Oakland Raiders: 5-11

Having Jon Gruden as their coach is exciting, but I feel like Gruden is building the team for the past NFL, not today’s NFL. I don’t like what they did in the draft and I don’t think they addressed their biggest needs. I expect this team to struggle all around once again. Maybe Gruden’s plan is more of a long term build, but I don’t think it’s going to help much right now.

Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4

If you look at what the Eagles did this offseason, they’ve reloaded the roster. They added to the defensive line that was already dominating teams, and they got some new weapons for Carson Wentz. The reigning Super Bowl champs will remain one of the best teams in the NFL, but winning 13 games is not easy. Everyone is coming after them now.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5

If Le’Veon Bell is on the field, this team is going to do well. Roethlisberger can still play at a high level, and of course Antonio Brown will be a huge factor. The defense played very well last season, so if they can continue that play they’ll be able to win their division easily. Playing the Browns and Bengals twice should give them wins, although they’re not automatic victories, and the Ravens are on the decline I feel.

San Francisco 49ers: 10-6

Having a long term quarterback in place will allow this offense and team to thrive. Ending last season on a high note will give this team a lot of confidence going into this next season. 49ers fans should be excited for their future. They have a favorable schedule, especially during the second part of the season when it matters most. 49ers are going to the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks: 8-8

Russell Wilson is going to have to carry this team this year. They lost a lot of pieces who still need to be replaced. They didn’t really address their offensive line problem, so I expect that to still be an issue. Wilson will keep them in games, but the defense isn’t what it once was. It could get even worse if Seattle trades Earl Thomas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-13

The Bucs start the season off against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers. An 0-3 start is going to be tough to recover from, especially when they have to play the Saints again, Panthers twice, Falcons twice, Cowboys, 49ers, Redskins, and Giants.

Tennessee Titans: 9-7

During the NFL Draft the Titans took care of two of their biggest needs, so I expect the defense to improve because of those. The offense on the other hand didn’t get much better, if better at all. This passing game wasn’t highly ranked last year and they didn’t get any big additions. I expect the running game to be about the same, even with the loss of DeMarco Murray. Derrick Henry can handle things. I see this team being about the same as they were last season.

Washington Redskins: 8-8

I expect the NFC East to be one of the most competitive divisions in football this coming season. I have the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants all winning double digit games. Unfortunately for the Redskins, it means they’re left out. They won’t be a bad team, but they’ll keep getting knocked off by their NFC East opponents.

Winners and Losers of the 2018 NFL Draft

33574358192_0d0af24290_o
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The NFL Draft this past weekend was exciting to watch, although it came with great sacrifices. I recently moved to a new apartment and don’t currently have WiFi set up, meaning I sacrificed my data. 100% worth it. I was able to watch all of rounds 1-3, but Saturday didn’t allow me to watch all of rounds 4-7. It’s for this reason I’m later than most getting out my winners and losers of the draft. I spent time yesterday reviewing and examining picks for each team, which has led me to create my list of winners and losers for the 2018 NFL Draft.

As always, it’s hard to be 100% sure who won and lost because none of these guys have played a single snap in the NFL yet. Because this is the case, I’ve chosen my winners and losers based on which teams filled needs and where they drafted each player in comparison to where they should have gone.

Winners

New York Giants

With their first two picks, the Giants took care of a major need that’s been a problem for a long time, the running game. Saquon Barkley is going to be a force at running back. To help him out, they drafted G Will Hernandez, who’s strength is run blocking. This is going to help Eli significantly. Three out of their four remaining picks were defense, where they got some great value in guys like LB Lorenzo Carter and DT B.J. Hill. They also drafted a quarterback in the fourth round by selecting Kyle Lauletta, who is considered a sleeper at the position in this draft. Regardless of who they would have picked after Barkley and Hernandez, the Giants get a win from me because they took care of one of their biggest problems.

Cleveland Browns

Despite what many people have to say about the Browns screwing up in the draft again, I believe the Browns made good choices, starting with their number one pick, Baker Mayfield. I always believed Baker Mayfield is the best quarterback in the 2018 draft class, so I loved the pick. The other guys have big arms or come from the right systems, but none of them can match Mayfield’s accuracy. The Browns need someone who can actually get their receivers the ball. After Mayfield, many criticized their pick of Denzel Ward. I think it’s a good pick. Yes, they could have had Chubb, but DE isn’t a need for them. Corner is a need, which they filled by selecting Ward. QB, CB, and OT were their three biggest needs heading into the draft, and they addressed every single one in their first three picks. I also like the addition of RB Nick Chubb, who I think can be a very good running back in the NFL.

Tennesse Titans

Although the Titans only had four picks in the draft, I think they did very well with those picks. Their two biggest needs were an edge rusher and an inside linebacker. With their first two picks, the Titans drafted and inside linebacker (Rashaan Evans) and an edge rusher (Harold Landry). When you take care of your two biggest needs with your first two picks, that’s a win. They did have other needs they didn’t address, but those needs aren’t nearly as glaring as their top two were.

Shaquem Griffin

Griffin could be considered a loser because he had to wait so long to be drafted, but it has to be worth the wait for him. Being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks has to be a dream come true for Griffin because he now gets to play with his brother Shaquill. After playing together at UCF, the brothers can continue making an impact together on the Seahawks defense. This was destiny. It was meant to be. It couldn’t have happened any other way.

Denver Broncos

Denver was able to get the best pass rusher in the draft by waiting at pick five. Many thought he would be gone, but the surprise pick of Denzel Ward to Cleveland made this possible. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rushing the passer, offensive lines are going to have an even harder time protecting their quarterback. In the second round, the Broncos selected SMU receiver Courtland Sutton, who many thought would go in the first round. Then in the third, they drafted RB Royce Freeman, who I believe was very underrated. I’m an Oregon Ducks fan and loved watching Freeman dominate. The Broncos also added ILB Josey Jewell, WR DaeSean Hamilton, and TE Troy Fumagalli. Addressing needs on both sides of the ball, it was an all around great draft for the Denver Broncos.

Losers

New Orleans Saints

I have the Saints as losers primarily because of their trade for Marcus Davenport. Pretty much everyone thought this was going to be the selection of Lamar Jackson to be their future quarterback, but no. They traded their first round pick next year to get a pass rusher. I don’t get it. Pass rushers are good to have, but I wouldn’t trade a first round selection for one. Another shocking pick was OT Rick Leonard in the fourth round. From what I’ve heard, Leonard was ranked below 400 on most teams big boards. In other words, this guy wasn’t projected to be draft at all. The Saints picked him 127th overall.

Oakland Raiders

I only saw one situation for the Raiders where they could be considered a winner in this draft. That is with the selection of DT Maurice Hurst in the fifth round. Hurst is a first round talent, but fell very far in the draft because of a heart condition. If he stays healthy, this is a big steal. Other than Hurst, the Raiders selections felt like reaches. Kolton Miller in the middle first, P.J. Hall in the second, and Brandon Parker in the early third. All reaches. Then they drafted Arden Key in the third, who is talented, but has off field concerns. They obviously saw something in these guys they liked and wanted to make sure nobody else got them.

Seattle Seahawks

Not really sure what the Seahawks were doing in this draft. I think they got some good players, but where they took those players shouldn’t have been the spot where they were selected. Nobody had Rashaad Penny going in the first round. Instead of selecting him in the first, Seattle should have either traded back and picked him in the second round, or used their first round pick on a top offensive lineman and then traded up for Penny later. The Shaquem Griffin pick was a win for them, but because they reached and didn’t address probably their biggest need until late in the draft, I have them as losers this time around.

Detroit Lions

Detroit got some good picks later in the draft in Oregon T Tyrell Crosby and DL Da’Shawn Hand, but their early picks were reaches in my opinion. Frank Ragnow was not the best lineman available when they selected him. RB Kerryon Johnson wasn’t the best running back on the board when they selected him either. Derrius Guice was still on the board and they passed on him. The Lions need a better running game, and I don’t think Johnson makes it that much better, if better at all.

Joe Flacco

Even though the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson, Joe Flacco is still the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. The problem for Flacco, is he may not be the starter for much longer. If you look at what happened with Alex Smith and the Chiefs this offseason, this feels like a similar situation. If Flacco can’t get the offense to thrive early, Jackson will start sooner than later. Even if Flacco has a great year, much like Smith did last season, he could still be on his way out the door. Flacco’s time with Baltimore seems to be coming to an end.

 

 

 

Jets 2018 draft grades

New York Jets
2012 New York Jets Schedule Wallpaper” by Charlie Lyons-Pardue is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Furtakes

The 2018 draft is officially over. The Jets made a lot of nice moves to end up in this position. The Jets had to give up plenty of picks this year to move up to three. Some fans felt we actually should have just stayed put at six. It wasn’t as exciting because most Jets fans have been waiting to be able to use those two second round picks we had, but we had to give those to Indianapolis to trade up. After a three-day period of college players becoming New York Jets, here are my final grades on who they drafted.

Round 1 Pick 3 – QB Sam Darnold, USC

In the first round the Jets drafted Sam Darnold, who is a quarterback out of the University of Southern California. Darnold was projected by most to be the top pick in the 2018 NFL draft, but somehow fell to the Jets. Darnold, in my mind, is the most ready quarterback from this draft class. He may have had some turnover issues in college, but those are mistakes he at least realized. He has an above average arm and is very good sensing pocket pressure. To bring up what I said in my mock draft, him having two veterans in the Jets organization is a major key for any rookie quarterback. Getting Darnold was a great move to by the organization because it brings the fans back to life. It gives them hope that this guy can be the savior we need. Draft Grade A+

Round 3 Pick 72 – DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State

The Jets decided to re-tool the defensive line in the third round by drafting Nathan Shepherd from Fort Hays State, which is a division two school. Some fans may find that alarming, but it doesn’t make that big of a deal. There are plenty of players that can translate success from the division two level to the pros. Shepherd is a big nose tackle who will likely take the spot of Steve Mclendon. I’ll be honest, I have never heard of this guy till the Jets drafted him, but Head Coach Todd Bowles has done a decent job drafting defensive players. Shepherd has all the intangibles you would look for in a prospect. He could play anywhere on the line if need be. Draft Grade B

Round 4 Pick 107 – TE Chris Herndon, Miami

The Jets drafted a tight end out of Miami in Chris Herndon IV. I really like this guy a lot. He seems to always give it his best shot while blocking, even though it’s not his best strength. Herndon is more of a receiving tight end like Jordan Leggett. It’s interesting to see the Jets would draft another similar tight end, but the loss of Austin Seferian Jenkins hurt the Jets and here they addressed a depth need while also giving Darnold another weapon. Tight ends are great to have for rookie quarterbacks simply because of check downs. Draft Grade B+

Round 6 Pick 179 – CB Parry Nickerson, Tulane

Here is my favorite pick outside of Sam Darnold. The Jets drafted Parry Nickerson out of Tulane. Nickerson plays cornerback, but with the Jets will most likely take over for Buster Skrine in that nickel role. Nickerson ran the fasted 40-yard dash at the combine, so the speed is clearly there, something the Jets have lacked in the secondary. Nickerson being on the short side as well doesn’t help, but when you’re that fast it will make up for it. Lets be real here, there are plenty of undersized players all over the NFL making a difference on teams. I could see him starting opening day for the Jets. Draft Grade A

Round 6 Pick 180 – DT Foley Fatukasi, UCONN

This pick was a surprising one. It wasn’t a bad pick, but the Jets could have addressed another position issue, preferably offensive line. The Jets drafted Folorunso Fatukasi. Listed at 6’4″ and 315 pounds, he seems to be the new breed of defensive lineman the Jets want in their scheme. He will most likely play anywhere form a one tech to a five tech in their scheme when they wish to throw teams off a bit in their 3-4 look. Fatukasi will help on the depth and may even have to be called into action sooner rather then later. A versatile player is always good to have on the defensive front. Draft Grade C+

Round 6 Pick 204 – RB/KR/PR Trenton Cannon, Virginia State

The Jets drafted Trenton Cannon, who is a division two player from Virginia State. He has the ability to be a kick returner, which is why they made this pick. I doubt he will play much at running back given the addition of Isaiah Crowell, while Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire will all be in the backfield. Hopefully Cannon can make an impact on special teams, and who knows, maybe be the next Terrell Davis. Draft Grade B-

Bonus Grade!!!

The Jets traded a seventh round draft pick to the Colts for Henry Anderson. Anderson will fit nicely into the 3-4 scheme the Jets run and has started a couple of NFL games in his career. Even though he is coming off some big injuries, their is a lot of value and upside getting a guy like Anderson for just a seventh round pick. If healthy, I expect him to start opposite of Leonard Williams this upcoming season, a great move by the Jets. Grade B+

 

 

 

Winners and Losers From Day Two of the NFL Draft

NFL Draft
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Day two of the NFL Draft is now in the books. Three rounds have been completed, with rounds four through seven up next. It’s been fun to watch the draft up to this point, and I expect more of the same as we continue to finish things up. Day two saw a few prospects fall a bit more than we thought. On the other side, we saw several players go much higher than expected. Who won and lost day two of the NFL Draft?

Winners

Chicago Bears

I love what the Bears did. After going defense in the first round by selecting former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, the Bears came out of the second day of the draft with some help for Mitch Trubisky. They started by selecting James Daniels, who was the number one ranked center on many people’s boards. Daniels can also play guard. Instant help for the offensive line and protection for Trubisky. Then they go and grab Trubisky a receiver in Anthony Miller. Not sure if Miller will be a star in the NFL, but he’ll be a solid player to help Trubisky progress as a quarterback.

Connor Williams/Dallas Cowboys

Some might call Connor Williams a loser because he fell to Dallas at pick 50 after being considered a for sure first round pick, but the fact that he gets to stay in Texas and play for the Dallas Cowboys makes him a winner. He was announced as a guard, so he’ll probably be the starter at left guard. This places him between one of the best left tackles in Tyron Smith and one of the best centers in Travis Frederick. Huge win for Williams. Many people had Williams ranked in their top 20 prospects, so getting Williams at 50 is a steal for them.

Washington Redskins

Derrius Guice was the second ranked running back on the board for most people, so getting him at pick 59 is a steal. Guice does come with some off the field concerns, which is why he fell, but in terms of talent he’s one of the better prospects in this class. Washington now has a running back to compete with the other good running games in the NFC East.

Green Bay Packers

After getting Jaire Alexander in the first round, the Packers got Josh Jackson in the second round. They’ve double dipped on corners. I don’t think this was the plan, but Jackson falling to them was a no brainer. Jackson could have easily gone in the first round of the draft.

New York Giants

Getting Saquon Barkley improved the Giants running game. Getting Will Hernandez improved it even more. New York is making the right moves this offseason to finally get a ground game going. After selecting two offensive players, the Giants added two very talented defensive players in LB Lorenzo Carter and DT B.J. Hill. I love the value of both those picks. All around solid draft for the Giants so far.

Losers

Dallas Cowboys

I have Dallas as a winner, but also as a loser. They got great value with the selection of Connor Williams, but they missed out on drafting the last premier tight end prospect in Dallas Goedert, who went to the Eagles one pick ahead of them after the Eagles traded up. They needed to get a top talent at TE after finding out Jason Witten is probably retiring. They also lose big time because they got absolutely roasted by a former Eagles kicker.

Derrius Guice

Guice could have gone in the first round, but instead he fell all the way to pick 59 because of off the field concerns. How teams viewed him changed for the worse during the course of meetings and workouts. What’s a win for the Redskins is a loss for Guice, although he could have a good career in Washington. Should have been a late first to very early second round pick.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks still haven’t selected an offensive lineman to protect Russell Wilson. Can anyone explain to me what they’re doing? First they super reach on a running back in the first round and then they come out of day two with no improvement on the offensive line. I like Rasheem Green’s potential with them, but they haven’t addressed their biggest need.

Oakland Raiders

Almost every pick the Raiders have made has been a reach in my opinion. They could have waited much longer to draft players such as P.J. Hall and Brandon Parker. There were much better players on the board at the time of those selections.

Detroit Lions

Detroit picked running back Kerryon Johnson 43rd overall. Derrius Guice was on the board. Guice would have been a much better choice in my opinion. Guice is a much bigger talent. The pick of Johnson doesn’t feel like it’s going to help the Lions improve their mediocre running game at all.

Instant Analysis: 2018 NFL Draft

NFL Draft
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2018 NFL Draft was full of intrigue for months leading up to tonight. A lot of the intrigue had to do with the fact that the Browns held the first pick and fourth picks and had just revamped their entire front office. The Draft was live from AT&T Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas and started with what has become a yearly tradition and the round of boos aimed at the Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell thought he would walk out with a bevy of Cowboys stars from the past, but to no avail. The crowd let him know what they thought of his leadership abilities as the head of the NFL. The best part of the draft coverage was from ESPN. After months and months of making terrible decisions, the decision to put Kirk Herbstreit on the draft coverage was gold. Herby is as knowledgeable as anyone when it comes to the college game. His knowledge of every top player is unbelievable and really added to the coverage. Without further ado, here are the 32 first round picks and analysis from myself, social media, and others that I trust and know are knowledgeable about the game of football.

1. Cleveland Browns– Baker Mayfield QB, Oklahoma

As was predicted by this site weeks ago, Mayfield was the top pick. He instantly gives the worst franchise in all of sports buzz. Mayfield may be the most polarizing player in the draft. The Twitter fallout was about 50/50 from people who loved the pick to people that hated the pick. A friend of mine told me earlier in the week, “If Mayfield were 6’3″ it would be a no-brainer he would be the number one pick.” I agree with him, Mayfield’s ceiling is the highest of maybe any prospect on the board.

Grade A+

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

Dave Gettleman had to be salivating since the combine when he knew the best overall player in the draft was going to fall to him. Barkley can do it all and gives the Giants an explosive punch at RB to go with Manning at QB and Beckham at WR.

Grade A+

3. New York Jets (via Colts)– Sam Darnold QB, USC

Probably the second best QB in the class. Darnold will be going into a QB room that includes Josh McCowan and Teddy Bridgewater, two veteran pros. Plus coming from LA he will be able to handle the pressure of playing in a big media market.

Grade A

4. Cleveland Browns- Denzel Ward CB, Ohio State

The Browns finally take a player from OSU and some fans are upset.  The Browns have struggled with finding a number one CB as much as they have finding a QB. They got both in the first four picks this year.  OSU has become the new DBU of college football.

Grade A+

5. Denver Broncos– Bradley Chubb DE, North Carolina State

Chub has the highest potential to be this year’s draft bust. He can be an elite pass rusher, but he struggles to defend the run. Denver is hoping he can fit opposite Von Miller to form a formidable pass rush.

Grade B

6. Indianapolis Colts– Quenton Nelson G, Notre Dame

Best overall player in the draft. A mean, nasty, offensive guard that the Colts need to protect their franchise QB Andrew Luck. Nelson will be a Hall of Famer in 15 years.  The Colts needed to rebuild their offensive line and they needed to do that from the inside out.      

Grade A+

7. Buffalo Bills (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers)– Josh Allen QB, Wyoming

Buffalo got the QB they needed and did not have to give up all of that much. They only had to give up one of their first-round picks to get him too.                                               

Grade B

8. Chicago Bears- Roquan Smith ILB, Georgia

Smith was the best linebacker in college football last year. The SEC Championship game and the CFP showcased his skills running sideline to sideline making plays.

Grade A+

9. San Francisco 49ers– Mike McGlinchey OT, Notre Dame

The reason ND rushed the ball for 270 yards a game last year? Two top ten offensive linemen! The 49ers just got their insurance policy for Jimmy G.

Grade A

10. Arizona Cardinals (via Oakland Raiders)– Josh Rosen QB, UCLA

The fourth QB in the top ten and the second one traded up for in first round. Rosen is the best available when the pocket is clean, but lacks the ability to make plays on the move.

Grade A

11. Miami Dolphins– Minkah Fitzpatrick DB, Alabama

First player from the national champions is their best defensive player. Fitzpatrick was the quarterback of the best defense in the country last year and will get a chance to shine early with the Dolphins.

Grade B

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Vita Vea DT, Washington

A bit of a strange pick here. Seems to be a reach since Vea wasn’t the best defensive linemen on the board.           

Grade C

13. Washington Redskins– Da’Ron Payne DT, Alabama

Washington had to be ecstatic that the best defensive lineman fell to them. Payne is the second Tide player in first round.

Grade B

14. New Orleans Saints– Marcus Davenport DE, UTSA

He is a boom or bust player and the Saints traded up for him.

Grade C

15. Oakland Raiders– Kolton Miller OT, UCLA

Gruden with his first pick for the Raiders is an offensive tackle to help protect their franchise QB, Derek Carr.                      

Grade B 

16. Buffalo Bills– Tremaine Edmunds OLB, Virginia Tech

Worked out last time the Bills took a pass rusher from Virginia Tech right?

Grade B

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

Second best safety in the draft and an absolute stud. Chargers got a player that can go week one and fill a hole at safety.

Grade A

18. Green Bay Packers– Jaire Alexander CB, Louisville

Smooth cornerback that can cover guys. A little weary of taking defensive players from teams that struggled on defense.

Grade C+

19. Dallas Cowboys-Leighton Vander Esch LB, Boise State

Fills a need for the Cowboys with durability issues for Lee and Smith.

Grade C

20. Detroit Lions– Frank Ragnow C, Arkansas

Bret Bielema expressed a bit of hyperbole by calling Ragnow the best offensive linemen he has ever coached. Joe Thomas anyone?  Ragnow began climbing draft boards after his combine and pro day and ends up with the Lions and new Head Coach Matt Patricia.

Grade B

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price C, Ohio State

Solid performer and should solidify the center position for the Bengals.

Grade C+                                    

22. Tennessee Titans– Rashaan Evans LB, Alabama

Great linebacker from the Tide and will fit in nicely with the Titans.

Grade B+

23. New England Patriots– Isaiah Wynn OT, Georgia

The Patriots lost two of their three offensive tackles to free agency so Wynn should fill that void.        

Grade B

24. Carolina Panthers– D.J. Moore WR, Maryland

Big Ten wide receiver of the year will give Cam Newton a good target to go too in 2018.

Grade C+

25. Baltimore Ravens– Hayden Hurst TE, South Carolina

The final first-round pick of the great Ozzie Newsome’s career is a TE. Fitting right?

Grade B

26. Atlanta Falcons– Calvin Ridley WR, Alabama

Another Bama receiver going to Atlanta. He will team up nicely with the other Bama product Julio Jones.  Matt Ryan has to be smiling.

Grade B+

27. Seattle Seahawks- Rashad Penny RB, San Diego State

Seattle needs offensive line help to protect Russell Wilson and they take the fifth best RB in the draft? This pick is a mystery.

Grade D at best                                                                                                    

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Terrell Edmunds S, Virginia Tech

Third best Safety in the draft, but way behind Fitzpatrick and James.  Edmunds picked 12 spots behind his brother, that’s a pretty athletic family. He will be the physical safety the Steelers have been missing.                                                                  

Grade B

29. Jacksonville Jaguars– Taven Bryant DT, Florida

Jaguars loading up on defense so their franchise QB does not have to win them games, just keep them in it. Jags defense just got better and it was already awesome.

Grade B

30. Minnesota Vikings– Mike Hughes CB, Central Florida

A silky smooth CB, but has red flags from off the field altercations. If Hughes can get his life in order he will be a solid pro.

Grade C+

31. New England Patriots– Sony Michele RB, Georgia

Great pick by NE. Michele had great games against the best teams on Georgia’s schedule and adds an explosive RB option.

Grade A

32. Baltimore Ravens– Lamar Jackson QB, Louisville

Ravens trade back up into the first round to take the athletic former Heisman Winner. Great value pick by Ravens, Jackson has a high ceiling.

Grade C

 

Draft by Conference:

  1. SEC- 10
  2. Big Ten- 4
  3. Big 12- 1
  4. Pac 12- 4
  5. Others- 5
  6. Independents- 2
  7. ACC- 6

Winners:

  1. Browns
  2. Dolphins
  3. Ravens
  4. Patriots
  5. Falcons
  6. Titans
  7. Chargers

New York, New Year, New Quarterbacks?

Eli Manning
Eli Manning” by Mike Lizzi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Brandon Furrer

Most football fans know that this upcoming draft is very quarterback friendly. However, fans in New York are feeling a lot more pressure and feel very nervous. The New York Giants and Jets have back to back picks, respectively the second and third overall picks. The New York Giants have had Eli Manning at the helm for almost a decade and a half. The New York Jets, since around the time Manning was drafted, have gone through multiple quarterbacks that didn’t pan out the way the organization thought they would. Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Kellen Clemens and Christian Hackenberg are just a few of the many quarterbacks who didn’t live up to expectations.

Now it’s possible the Giants finally find Eli Manning’s replacement in this years draft with their second overall pick. I know in my mock draft I chose them to draft Saquon Barkley, but if they choose to go quarterback it shakes up everything. The Jets will obviously go quarterback. It’s the reason they traded up from sixth to third. They wanted to be sure they could select one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. This means the possibility of both teams finding their guy of the next 10 years in this draft. Thats a pretty big deal when it has to involve one of the biggest cities of them all from a media stand point. This seems like it could, in 30 years, be one of those ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries. You sit here and say, what if Giants get Darnold and the Jets get Rosen? New York fans will always look back to this draft. Which guys will win more Super Bowls, who will become and All-Pro or go to Pro Bowls.  This draft really has the chance to impact the city and metropolitan area in New York and New Jersey.

What even makes it bigger is that the Giants and Jets every year play each other in the third week of the pre-season. This game would instantly become the biggest game of the pre-season. All eyes would be on this game to see which team got it right, even though it’s three weeks into their careers. The media of New York would tear this game apart limb by limb and dissect every little thing these guys do,whether it’s the combination of any of the top four quarterbacks of Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield.

On the bright side, it’s good that any of these rookies taken by either team will have good veterans to show them how it’s done. The Giants, as I mentioned before, have two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning. The Jets have Josh McCown, who is the epitome of NFL journeyman, he has played for seven different teams. The Jets also got Teddy Bridgwater, who is a former first round pick and could teach the rookies how to deal with the pressures of being a first round pick. The Giants drafted Davis Webb last year to be a backup, but no one is sure if he can really be the guy from what I understand. There is a lot on the line today for both New York football teams, and I encourage you watch the draft because this is going to be a fun one. It doesn’t happen a lot where two teams in the same city are picking back to back in the top five with the same position need. Get ready and buckle up football fans!

Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft

Josh Rosen
Josh Rosen” by Michael Li is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

It’s Draft Day!!!!! The first round of the NFL Draft is tonight and I couldn’t be more excited! We finally get to know who our teams will be selecting. All the draft speculation will be cleared up over the next few days. I thought I’d put out one final mock draft before the real NFL Draft happens, so here it is!

1. CLEVELAND BROWNS – QB JOSH ALLEN, WYOMING

Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are the two quarterbacks being considered for the number one overall pick. This morning’s reports are that the pick will be Mayfield, but I’m not sure. I personally think the Browns should take Baker Mayfield, but what I think they should do and what I think they’re going to do are different. The Browns won’t be able to pass up Allen’s big arm.

2. NEW YORK GIANTS – RB SAQUON BARKLEY, PENN STATE

The closer we’ve been getting to the draft, the less I’ve been thinking the Giants are taking a quarterback. According to recent reports, the Giants love Barkley. This offense was one of the worst in the NFL last season. With a much improved running game, it will not only help Eli Manning, but the entire offense. When Eli’s time in New York is done, Barkley could help the offense stay afloat during the transition period.

3. NEW YORK JETS – QB SAM DARNOLD, USC

Unless the Jets are planning something to shock us all, quarterback will be the pick here. Sam Darnold is still on the board after the Browns passed on him, and he’s believed to be the best quarterback in the draft by many. Baker Mayfield is very much in play here, but I’m picking the Jets to go with Darnold.

4. CLEVELAND BROWNS – DE BRADLEY CHUBB, N.C. STATE

Cleveland may trade this pick, but I think it’s time for the Browns to stop trading and just pick the best available guys. They need talent everywhere, so why not pick the best player remaining on the board? With Garrett and Chubb, nobody will want to go against the Browns defensive line.

5. DENVER BRONCOS – QB BAKER MAYFIELD, OKLAHOMA

This pick is a likely trade spot, but the Broncos need to get a long term quarterback. If they trade back, the chances of them getting that long term guy significantly decreases. They stay put and select Baker Mayfield. Mayfield would be a perfect fit for this offense with his confidence, swagger, and most importantly, accuracy. The fact that Mayfield is in the conversation for number one overall says a lot about what teams looking for a quarterback think of him.

6. BUFFALO BILLS (TRADE WITH COLTS) – QB LAMAR JACKSON, LOUISVILLE

With Josh Rosen falling down boards, Lamar Jackson could go ahead of him. Jackson is projected to be a top 20 pick, so the Bills may not even need to trade up to get him, but I don’t think they want to take the risk of waiting. If Jackson isn’t ready to play right away, the Bills can put him behind AJ McCarron until that time comes.

7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – DB MINKAH FITZPATRICK, ALABAMA

Fitzpatrick hasn’t been talked about as much recently, but you could probably say that about any prospect who isn’t Saquon Barkley or a quarterback. Tampa Bay needs to upgrade many positions, with the secondary being one of the biggest needs. Fitzpatrick can cover multiple areas of the secondary, making him a valuable player for any defense.

8. CHICAGO BEARS – G QUENTON NELSON, NOTRE DAME

I’ve still got Quenton Nelson going to the Bears. He’s the best player on the board and would instantly upgrade the Bears offensive line. Trubisky needs protection if he’s going to develop into the franchise quarterback the Bears hope him to be.

9. ARIZONA CARDINALS (TRADE WITH 49ERS) – QB JOSH ROSEN, UCLA

The Cardinals are in need of a long term quarterback and there have been talks of them trading up to get one. Josh Rosen is the best available quarterback left at this point. With the 49ers trying to reload their roster and build upon late season success last year, I think they’d love to pick up an extra pick or two.

10. OAKLAND RAIDERS – S DERWIN JAMES, FLORIDA STATE

Oakland lacks play makers in the secondary and needs to upgrade. Derwin James has the potential to be a great safety in the NFL. He would instantly make the Raiders secondary better, although it would still need some work.

11. MIAMI DOLPHINS – DT VITA VEA, WASHINGTON

No quarterbacks worthy of this pick are left on the board, so the Dolphins go another direction. With the loss of Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins need to find a player who can be disruptive in the middle of their defensive line. Vita Vea can be the disruptive guy they need and can make an impact from day one.

12. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (TRADE WITH BILLS) – DE MARCUS DAVENPORT, UTSA

Instead of getting the best pass rusher in Bradley Chubb, the Colts trade back and pick up an extra pick and also the second best pass rusher in the draft. Davenport has the potential to become a very good pass rusher, which the Colts need after producing only 25 sacks a season ago.

13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS – LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, VIRGINIA TECH

Much like several players in this draft, Edmunds falls a little bit because of the run on quarterbacks, but the slide stops here. Washington is in need of a linebacker, and the potential of Edmunds is too much to pass up at 13.

14. GREEN BAY PACKERS – CB DENZEL WARD, OHIO STATE

It’s reported the Packers are looking to trade up to secure top talent, but they won’t have to if the draft plays out like this. Ward is another guy who slides because of the quarterback run, but he won’t get past the Packers. With the loss of Damarious Randall, the Packers need to add secondary help. They can pair Ward with last years pick, Kevin King, forming a solid corner back duo for years to come.

15. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (TRADE WITH CARDINALS)– LB ROQUAN SMITH, GEORGIA

The 49ers need help at linebacker, especially with the trouble Rueben Foster is in. Roquan Smith is a sideline to sideline playmaker who can excel with the 49ers and help them build a defense teams fear.

16. BALTIMORE RAVENS – WR CALVIN RIDLEY, ALABAMA

Signing Willie Snead will help the Ravens, but it’s not enough for them to be out of the market for a top receiver in the draft. Calvin Ridley has been the top guy at the position throughout the draft, so the Ravens grab him and get another weapon for Flacco.

17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – DT DA’RON PAYNE, ALABAMA

Most of my mock drafts have Vita Vea here, but because he’s off the board in this draft, the Chargers go with the second best DT. Payne is a disruptive guy who will help increase the pressure put on quarterbacks by Bosa and Ingram.

18. CAROLINA PANTHERS (TRADE WITH SEAHAWKS) – WR D.J. MOORE, MARYLAND

I believe Seattle will trade down because they don’t have another pick until the fourth round if they stay put. They pick up an extra pick from the Panthers, who select D.J. Moore. They get an upgrade for Cam Newton at the receiver position.

19. DALLAS COWBOYS – WR COURTLAND SUTTON, SMU

Dallas would have liked to get D.J. Moore, but the Panthers jumped up one spot in front to get him. Instead the Cowboys go with Courtland Sutton, who has often been compared to Dez Bryant.

20. DETROIT LIONS – RB DERRIUS GUICE, LSU

Something has to be done about the Lions running game. It hasn’t been good for a long time, which never helps Matthew Stafford. They did sign Blount this offseason, but I think they could be looking for another running back to pair with him.

21. CINCINNATI BENGALS – C JAMES DANIELS, IOWA

The Bengals need help all over the offensive line, so they make a smart pick and get a guy in Daniels who can play multiple offensive line positions. He will almost surely be used on the interior, but the fact that he can play both center and guard makes him very valuable to a team who needs to improve their offensive line.

22.  INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (TRADE WITH BILLS) – G ISAIAH WYNN, GEORGIA

One of the problems for the Colts has been keeping Andrew Luck healthy. The offensive line has never been great during Luck’s time with the team. With him returning from injury, it’s even more important he stays healthy. Isaiah Wynn can be one of the first steps in building protection for Luck.

23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – LB RASHAAN EVANS, ALABAMA

Two of the Patriots biggest needs are corner and linebacker. With corner having a lot more depth at the top of the draft, I think the Patriots go linebacker with their first pick and select a corner later in the first round. Evans played under one of the best coaches in College Football. He’s well coached, which Bill Belichick, one of the best coaches in the NFL, will love.

24. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (TRADE WITH PANTHERS) – OT MIKE MCGLINCHEY, NOTRE DAME

Seattle has to get more protection for Russell Wilson so he’s not running for his life every play. Seattle could go several different ways with this pick, needing several different position upgrades, but the offensive line has been a problem for years now and needs to be fixed.

25. TENNESSEE TITANS – LB HAROLD LANDRY, BOSTON COLLEGE

The Titans need to improve their pass rush if they want their defense to improve and help them be real contenders. Harold Landry is a pass rushing specialist who can step in right away and help the Titans defense.

26. ATLANTA FALCONS – DT TAVEN BRYAN, FLORIDA

Atlanta needs to find a DT to step in now that Dontari Poe is gone. Taven Bryan is the best DT left on the board, which is why I have them taking him here. He needs to develop a little more, but his athleticism is elite.

27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – TE HAYDEN HURST, SOUTH CAROLINA

The receiving group in New Orleans needs to improve at both TE and WR. We’ve seen what Brees has been able to do with a top TE before, so I think they’ll target one of the top TE’s in this draft to give Brees another nice target in the passing game.

28. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – LB LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, BOISE STATE

Pittsburgh could use an upgrade at the linebacker spot to help their defense stay one of the best in the NFL. Vander Esch didn’t have a lot of starting experience in college, but from what scouts saw they love his potential to develop into a star linebacker in the NFL.

29. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – OT CONNOR WILLIAMS, TEXAS

Jacksonville needs to get better at the tackle spot to protect Blake Bortles. Bortles needs time to throw for him to be effective, so protecting him is a must. Williams would probably play the swing tackle position and then transition to RT whenever he’s ready.

30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – G WILL HERNANDEZ, UTEP

Minnesota can’t exit the first round without a top offensive lineman to protect Kirk Cousins. They have to protect Cousins as much as possible if they want to get the most out of their huge investment.

31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – CB Jaire Alexander, LOUISVILLE

Here is where the Patriots will target a corner to help fill the void left by Malcolm Butler. They need to get faster in the secondary, which fits Alexander perfectly. He’s a fast corner with good coverage ability. I’m sure the Patriots can find a spot for him right away.

32. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – TE DALLAS GOEDERT, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

Why not make one of the best offense’s even better? Having a TE like Goedert to throw to would help this offense a ton. Carson Wentz will rely on his playmakers as he makes his way back form injury, so getting as many playmakers as possible makes sense.