The draft is still a few weeks away and all over the web experts are shaping their mock drafts. We have to be honest and admit that EVERY mock draft is -at best- an educated guess. Even guys that do this for a living cannot possibly know what the 32 teams are thinking and planning for the NFL Draft night, on the 26th of April at Arlington, TX.
You really can't make predictions and calculations BEFORE the free agency settles. For example, Kirk Cousins destination will affect the entire draft in a major way. The former Redskins signal caller will trigger a quarterback carousel that will ultimately alter many teams' plans for the draft.
Also at draft day there will probably be several trades between franchises and the draft order will change.
So, all this is just for fun. Sometimes the experts get it right, but usually they don't. But we like to read them and speculate on these scenarios they lay out because it is, as I said, fun. Maybe it’s also a chance for us to express our personal preferences about the players we want our team to snag.
With all that said, here is my Mock Draft 1.0. Hope you enjoy it.
(I will not make assumptions for any trade and I will not alter the draft order. Also for the purpose of this article I will take as a fact that Cousins will end up with the New York Jets, the team that according to various reports is willing to make him the best financial offer).
1. CLEVELAND BROWNS – SAM DARNOLD, QB, USC
The previous years they passed on many great prospects but finally they will address their biggest need. Darnold has a good arm, he is very smart and he has moxie.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS – JOSH ROSEN, QB, UCLA
They have to groom Eli's heir and the ultra smart Rosen is their best chance to find a franchise QB for the future.
3. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – BRADLEY CHUBB, DE, NC State
A dominant pass rusher and the best defensive player in the draft will fill a position of need for the Colts.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS – SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, Penn State
For many people he is the overall best player in the procedure. A jaw-dropping athlete with great upside will upgrade Browns' backfield in an instant.
5. DENVER BRONCOS – BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, Oklahoma
After a fantastic collegiate career Mayfield is ready to bring his talents and mojo into the NFL under the tutelage of the Hall of Fame QB, John Elway.
6. NEW YORK JETS – QUENTON NELSON, OG, Notre Dame
A rock in the offensive line will help the Jets protect Cousins. Nelson is extremely smart and talented.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – MINKAH FITZPATRICK, S, Alabama
He is versatile and very athletic. A leader in a Nick Saban's system and an immediate starter at the next level.
8. CHICAGO BEARS – CALVIN RIDLEY, WR, Alabama
The Bears need offensive weapons for Trubisky and Ridley is that and a lot more.
9. SAN FRANSISCO 49ERS – VITA VEA, DT, Washington
Great combination of athleticism and strength will upgrade 49ers' D-Line.
10. OAKLAND RAIDERS – ROQUAN SMITH, ILB, Georgia
A tackling machine who can help in both the running and the passing game for Gruden’s new “old-school” defense.
11. MIAMI DOLPHINS, MIKE McGLINCHEY, OT, Notre Dame
Like we said about Nelson, McClinchey is an immediate contributor and a vast upgrade in Miami's offensive line.
12. CINCINNATI BENGALS – TREMAINE EDMUNDS, LB, Virginia Tech
He can be a star for every team with his motor and high energy. He would be perfect for Bengals D.
13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS – DENZEL WARD, CB, Ohio St.
The best corner of this class. Ward will help improve the Redskins' pass defense as soon as he steps on the field.
14. GREEN BAY PACKERS – MARCUS DAVENPORT, DE, UTSA
The Packers have many needs and pass rusher is the number 1 priority. His ceiling is very high for the Pack to pass on.
15. ARIZONA CARDINALS – JOSH ALLEN, QB, Wyoming
Many say that Allen has the best arm in the draft. The Cards can find here their QB of the future and supplement him with an experienced player to help him grow.
16. BALTIMORE RAVENS, COURTLAND SUTTON, WR, SMU
They need more weapons for Flacco and Sutton can be an instant threat on the outside.
17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, DERWIN JAMES, S, FSU
An excellent defender who can be the next Eric Weddle for the Chargers.
18. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, CONNOR WILLIAMS, OT, Texas
Seattle needs serious help at their offensive line and Williams is a plug-n-play player.
19. DALLAS COWBOYS, JAMES WASHINGTON, WR, Oklahoma State
Dez's production has fallen off and the Cowboys will need an eventual replacement or a real threat on the other side.
20. DETROIT LIONS, DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU
Detroit needs to upgrade their running game and Guice is a very good option to do so.
21. BUFFALO BILLS, MASON RUDOLPH, QB, Oklahoma St.
The Bills need a new signal caller and the very productive Rudolph can be the long term answer.
22. BUFFALO BILLS, MAURICE HURST, DT, Michigan
They also need a new anchor for their run defense and the Michigan product can help immediately.
23. LOS ANGELES RAMS, ARDEN KEY, DE, LSU
They traded Quinn to the Dolphins so they need to find a replacement on the edge.
24. CAROLINA PANTHERS, CHRISTIAN KIRK, WR, Texas A&M
Carolina needs a deep threat and the speedster from A&M could be an asset.
25. TENNESSEE TITANS – JOSHUA JACKSON, CB, Iowa
A real ball-hawk, Jackson will upgrade their secondary in a big way.
26. ATLANTA FALCONS – HARRISON PHILIPS, DT, Stanford
Smart and extremely athletic Philips can help in the run and pass defense as well.
27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – TAVEN BRYAN, DT, Florida
Another great lineman will help fortify the Saints’ run D.
28. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – ISAIAH WYNN, OG, Georgia
You can never have enough big men and Wynn can slide into the fold right away.
29. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, SONY MICHEL, RB, Georgia
They let Chris Ivory go and with Michel they find a better replacement.
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – KOLTON MILLER, OT, UCLA
They did a great job upgrading their OL and Miller will help continue the improvement.
31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – ISAIAH OLIVER, CB, Colorado
Butler is gone (?) and Oliver provides a younger and taller replacement.
32. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – RASHAAN EVANS, LB, Alabama
Another Saban product who can play immediately and help the defense.