So if the NFL Draft, the NFL in general, or for that matter sports, isn't your thing, the rest of this article is pointless for you. But thanks for clicking and stay tuned for my next article on ministry, family, politics, or whatever crazy liberal idea emerges next for the rest of the world to be forced in line with.
So here is my final Mock Draft 2.0 with the assumption that the teams stay in their current positions. After the pick, I'll post my rationale and if I think a trade may take place at the pick. I'm no pro at this by any means, but it's always fun to see where everyone goes and how close I am to being right.
Here we go . . .
I actually like Carson Wentz better than Goff, but the Rams are looking for someone who can come in and compete right away. Wentz may take some time to learn the game. Goff is opening day ready. I'm not a fan of his arm strength or frame. He reminds me of Matt Ryan who is NOT a franchise QB.
2. Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz - QB - North Dakota St.
There's a whole lot to like about Wentz. He has the size and strength of a NFL signal caller. He's got a cannon for an arm, and he has good mobility. The knock on him is that he played at NDSU and he's not made a ton of starts. Wentz has all the measurables and intangibles to be someone special which is why the Eagles mortgaged their future to move up and get him.
3. San Diego Chargers - Laremy Tunsil - T - Ole Miss
No one knows what the Chargers will do. I'm not sure they know. With this pick they'll have their choice of the the consensus best players on OL, DL, and DB. I think I'd personally go for Jalen Ramsey, but I think they'll opt for Tunsil. The AFC West is loaded with solid defenses and pass rushers and if Rivers goes down for San Diego, it's over. I wouldn't be shocked though if the Chargers fill a need at CB / S with Ramsey.
4. Dallas Cowboys - Joey Bosa - DL - Ohio St.
Many would like to see Ezekiel Elliott go to Big D and run behind their vaunted offensive line. The truth is, their vaunted offensive line is exactly why I don't think they'll grab Elliott. Signing Alfred Morris and returning Darren McFadden is more than enough with their elite line to compete. What Dallas doesn't have is a strong defense, in particular, a strong defensive line. With two of their returning defenders suspended for the start of the year, this is a need they can't pass up.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jalen Ramsey - CB / S - Florida St.
Many mock drafts have UCLA LB Myles Jack going to JAX, and he'd be a great pick, but the Jaguars have a need in the secondary as well. Ramsey is one of the top overall players in this year's draft and can be a star from day one. Jack's knee has been the subject of bad reports with his medical recheck. I can also see the Jaguars possibly trading down to get Jack later with the anticipation that he slides. If they do trade down, Leonard Floyd or maybe even Jack Conklin may be a possibility.
6. Baltimore Ravens - Deforest Buckner - DL - Oregon
Ozzie Newsome would love nothing more than to start rebuilding that once vaunted championship defense in Baltimore again. Buckner is the number one rated DL in the draft and will cause havoc in Baltimore's scheme.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Ronnie Stanley - T - Notre Dame
I don't think Chip Kelly gets a QB here even if he loves Paxton Lynch. If Baltimore goes with Stanley at number 6, I think the 9ers end up with Buckner. Whoever the QB is in San Francisco, they are going to need protecting. Kelly's offense also requires a more athletic offensive line, and Stanley fits the bill. Some draft prognosticators actually have Stanley ranked ahead of Tunsil.
8. Cleveland Browns - Ezekiel Elliott - RB - Ohio St.
I don't think the Browns will keep the 8th pick, but if they do, I think it'll be Elliott. I think this is too high to take Paxton Lynch (though I actually like him better than Goff and Wentz in many ways). They may go with Myles Jack, but the Browns need solid, All-Pro, star players. If they draft Jack and his knee is as bad as some are saying, it's a waste of a pick on a team in desperate need of players. Cleveland needs some excitement, so I think they stay in state and get a bonafide three down running back to get some offense going with a hopefully resurgent RGIII. If they trade down, I believe they'll be targeting the top WR in the draft, Laquon Treadwell. If they can trade down and get a second day pick and Treadwell with their other haul of picks, it'll be a tremendous day for the Dawg Pound. Look for either Miami or Tennessee to be Cleveland's trade partners should they trade. Miami would trade up for Elliott and Tennessee would trade up for a tackle, possibly Stanley if he's still on the board or more likely, Jake Conklin from Michigan St.
9. Tampa Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves - CB - Florida
Almost every single mock draft from the beginning of mock drafts have penciled in Hargreaves to the Bucs. They need secondary help and if Jalen Ramsey is the best safety in the draft, then Hargreaves is the best corner in the draft period. Incredible get for the Bucs at nine.
10. New York Giants - Myles Jack - LB - UCLA
The Giants are beefing up their defense as they try and return to their former glory, and if Myles Jack is still there at 10, I think they grab him. Jack's knee makes him undraftable for some teams, while other teams have agreed with his agent's assessment that his knee will not cause him significant problems in the future. If Jack can come in and give a team All-Pro play for his entire five year rookie contract without injury concern, then the pick is a steal at ten. If the Giants don't go with Jack, they may look at the offensive line where they also need a tackle to protect Eli Manning. Here is where Jake Conklin would go if they don't go with Jack, and that's precisely what the Browns will be selling to the Titans if a trade goes down.
11. Chicago Bears - Leonard Floyd - LB - Georgia
If the Giants go with Conklin, Jack is going to be a major consideration for the Bears, but in this mock draft, I think the Bears take Floyd who may be the best edge rushing linebacker in the draft. The Bears have been lacking on defense the last few years, and John Fox likes his defense. It seems like years ago that fans enjoyed Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs running around the field. Floyd will be a big step in rebuilding.
12. New Orleans Saints - Shaq Lawson - DE - Clemson
The Saints at 12 are a lot like the Chargers at 3 minus all the number one options in that no one really knows where they may go. Some of that is because their defense has been absolutely atrocious for the last few seasons and they literally have holes everywhere on that side of the ball. They also need an heir apparent to Drew Brees, not to mention some help on their offensive line and another pass catcher as well. They drafted Garrett Grayson to learn from Brees and if they like what they've seen, then that satisfies the QB need. Taylor Decker is a possibility here if they go on the offensive side of the ball, but ultimately, I think they address the pass rush on defense and go with a player that some scouts believe is a better pure pass rusher than Bosa. There are some injury history with Lawson, but his medicals have checked out and the Saints could be getting a heck of player at 12. If they pass on Lawson, I think they'll still stay on defense and go CB with possibly Eli Apple.
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple - CB - Ohio St.
As mentioned earlier, I think the Dolphins are going to try to get up and get Elliott. If Cleveland was to select Myles Jack and the Giants pass on Elliott for Jack Conklin, the Dolphins prayers are answered and Elliott should fall to them here. If they don't trade up and Elliott does indeed go in the top 10, I think they address their defense and pick up the next best corner in the draft with Eli Apple. Apple is rangy and has the build of the taller, bigger corners many teams are wanting. The Dolphins face the Patriots twice a year. Enough said.
14. Oakland Raiders - William Jackson III - CB - Houston
I am a big fan of what the Raiders are doing. I love their young nucleus and their defensive front seven is getting stout. One of their weaknesses on defense though is their secondary, and I think they use this pick to get a corner. If Apple is here, I think they go with him. Jackson is the next best corner, but probably won't be ready to step in on day one. Jackson is a rangy corner with good instincts, but speed may cause him some issues at first. I hesitate to go Jackson here simply because the last corner the Raiders took in the first round from Houston (DJ Hayden) hasn't exactly panned out like they hoped. The well might still be a little bitter.
15. Tennessee Titans - Jack Conklin - LT - Michigan St.
If the real draft turns out like this Mock Draft and the Titans can get their man without trading up, the Titans War Room will be beyond ecstatic. Their offensive line coach, Russ Grimm, is said to really like Conklin, and I believe the Titans will do what they have to do to get him. If they sit tight at 15 and a team like the Giants get Conklin, then I think the Titans end up with Taylor Decker from Ohio St.
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker - LT - Ohio St.
If Decker goes to Tennessee being Conklin was gone, then the Lions may look defense, in particular, a linebacker. But for this mock, I think they start getting Stafford some more protection. Decker is an underrated pass blocker and is athletic. Stafford was getting blown up last season and without Megatron as the big target, Stafford won't be able to just heave it down the field anymore. If the Lions can keep Stafford upright, they've always got a chance in every game.
17. Atlanta Falcons - Darron Lee - LB - Ohio St.
Some mocks are having Myles Jack fall all the way to the Falcons. If that happens, it'll be the steal of all steals and no doubt Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff would have the card ready the second the Lions announce their pick. But I don't see that happening. Instead, the Falcons go with Lee who immediately upgrades their defense. Lee is the fastest linebacker in the draft and is great in coverage. He is also a great rusher in space though his strength doesn't always match up with some of the big bodies inside. For Quinn's defensive scheme, Lee could become a star. The Falcons may look at trading back if Lee is not there or if they get an offer they can't refuse. They are in desperate need of impact players and only have five picks in the draft. If they do trade back, they will probably target safety Keanu Neal out of Florida who Quinn also has ties with.
18. Indianapolis Colts - Cody Whitehair - G/C - Kansas St.
For the love of all things decent, the Colts have to protect Andrew Luck. If they draft another wide receiver in the first round, Lucas Oil Field will go up in smoke. The top tackles are off the board at this point, so the Colts go with the safest offensive line pick in the draft. Whitehair is the complete package on the interior line and can slide over to center from guard if needed. The Colts have already seen what their team looks like minus Luck. This is a no-brainer. If they want a tackle, they may look at Jason Spriggs or Le'Raven Clark.
19. Buffalo Bills - Kevin Dodd - DE - Clemson
There is some intrigue here for a Paxton Lynch pick if he's still on the board. No one saw Tyrod Taylor playing like he did last year, and it's clear some in the Bills organization don't know that he can duplicate the numbers. Even with that, there were times that Taylor looked outmatched in games. EJ Manuel surely is not the answer. There are many in the Bills organization that love Lynch with Jim Kelly supposedly being one of them. Nevertheless, I think they go with Rex Ryan's first love here and go defense. The Bills' defense looked old and worn down last year. Love him or hate him, Rex Ryan can coach defense and with the right personnel, the Bills could make some noise. Rex Ryan has connections to the Clemson program and is said to love Lawson and Dodd. I think he grabs one of the two left on the board, and for this draft, that's Dodd. Some have him as the better rusher over Lawson. I think either would be a beast for Rex Ryan.
20. New York Jets - Paxton Lynch - QB - Memphis
Here is where the fun begins. If no one has traded up to get Lynch, I think pick 20 is the first time that Lynch could legitimately come off the board. The Jets need a QB worse than the Broncos. While Mark Sanchez doesn't incite good feelings for anyone, those feelings are high and above the ones you get after considering Geno Smith as your starting QB. If the Jets are moving on from Ryan Fitzpatrick, they have to have someone to take over the reigns. Paxton Lynch is right up there with Carson Wentz for most upside. Playing at Memphis didn't afford Lynch the opportunity to play against top competition on a regular basis, but week in and week out, Lynch performed superbly. He has a cannon for an arm to go with a quick throwing motion. He's very quick and at 6'7 / 245 lbs, he can be a handful to bring down when he starts running. He'll need some polishing before he can take over first team snaps for a team, but this kid has all the intangibles you look for in a leader, a QB, and a face for your franchise. If the Jets pass on this kid, I think they'll regret it. With the Jets poised to possibly take him possibly, you may see teams look to trade up with the Lions or even the Falcons who are desperate for more picks to grab Lynch. Cleveland is a team to watch, especially if they trade down from the 8th spot. If Cleveland does trade down, they may take the extra ammunition and come up from 32 to grab Lynch to pair with someone like Laquon Treadwell who I've mocked to them if they trade with Miami or Tennessee.
21. Washington Redskins - Ryan Kelly - C - Alabama
Depending on who you talk to, Kelly is either overvalued for the first round or undervalued for the second round. It comes down to need, and with the Redskins making a commitment to Kirk Cousins at QB, they need to be sure he has protection. Pairing Cousins with a solid championship winning center in college like Kelly could make for a good tandem for the next few years.
22. Houston Texans - Corey Coleman - WR - Baylor
Here is where the run on receivers begins. I think Treadwell is the better receiver here, but his game matches up too much with already featured Texans' star, De'Andre Hopkins. The Texans need weapons for new franchise quarterback Brock Osweiler, and Coleman is a burner, and a local kid at that. He'll stretch the field and give running room for newly signed Lamar Miller. I think Hunter Henry, tight end out or Arkansas, will also get some consideration here as a safe underneath option, but this might be too high even though Henry is easily the number one tight end in the draft.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Laquon Treadwell - WR - Ole Miss
Mike Zimmer and Teddy Bridgewater are doing somersaults. The best wide receiver in the draft falls to them at 23. While Treadwell doesn't have blazing speed, his size and hands are next to none. He's been compared to Dez Bryant and De'Andre Hopkins. The Vikings sorely need a receiver and Treadwell fits the bill of the prototypical number one guy. Should the Vikings decide they want a burner though, they may look at someone like Will Fuller out of Notre Dame.
24. Cincinnatti Bengals - Will Fuller - WR - Notre Dame
With the departure of Marvin Jones and Muhammed Sanu, the cupboard is a little bare for the Bengals' receiving corps. Obviously AJ Green remains as the number one target for Andy Dalton along with emerging tight end, Tyler Eifert. Drafting Fuller here provides the Bengals with someone that will help stretch the field. Green will be a great teacher for Fuller as well and Bengals fans will forget Jones and Sanu ever played when it's over.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Artie Burns - CB - Miami
The Pittsburgh offense is one of the best in the league, but the Pittsburgh defense has seen its better days. Indeed, the script has flipped for Pittsburgh, and it's time to start putting the Iron Curtain back together. They'll be some consideration for the defensive line with so many rushers and big bodies available in the top part of this year's draft, but I think Tomlin and the Steelers address the secondary where they've been lacking for a few seasons. Some would mock Clemson's Mackensie Alexander here, but his lack of plays on tape is concerning. Burns didn't have a blistering tape himself, but his measurables fit the tall, rangy corner better. Burns' work ethic will also stick out to Tomlin, and I think he would be a sneaky pick for the Steelers.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Le'Raven Clark - LT - Texas Tech
It's almost impossible to peg the Seahawks in their drafting. They simply follow their system each and every year. No one, I mean no one, mocked them taking Frank Clark last year with their first pick in the second round, and that's exactly what they did. They have a system, and if they find a guy that fits what they need, they grab him regardless. They love defense and I could easily see them going with either of the two top 10 talent defensive line prospects in Nkemdiche or Spence here despite their character concerns. But they have to protect Russell Wilson as he spent most of last season running for his life. Le'Raven Clark has the potential to be a Pro Bowl tackle with the floor of an average rotation guy. He's quick and athletic, but probably needs to bulk up a bit.
27. Green Bay Packers - Reggie Ragland - ILB - Alabama
Ragland would be a perfect pick up for the Packers at the end of the first round. I could see them possibly trading this pick as well. The Packers defense has been suspect for a while, and with the retirement of BJ Raji, I could see the Pack taking a defensive lineman like A'shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, or Sheldon Rankins here. Instead, I think they get one of the best prospects on the board in Ragland and put him inside allowing Clay Matthews to move back outside where he's more comfortable and productive.
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Josh Doctson - WR - TCU
There is a possibility that the Chiefs may grab someone like Connor Cook to groom for the future with this pick. If Paxton Lynch is somehow still here, I think he'll the pick for two reasons. First, Alex Smith isn't getting any younger and potential franchise QB isn't always available this far back in the draft. Second, the Chiefs could make sure their division rival Broncos don't get their QB for the future. If Lynch is gone, and I think he will be, I think the Chiefs add another weapon at receiver with Doctson. He has great size and good, not great, speed. He has good hands as well. Many don't see him developing into a number one receiver, but he is projected to be a very solid number two. Teaming him Maclin and Kelce would be a nice stable going forward.
29. Arizona Cardinals - Mackensie Alexander - CB - Clemson
If the Chiefs don't get Cook, the Cardinals may get Cook as their heir apparent to Carson Palmer. Otherwise, they have needs at S, LB, and CB. With those needs, I think they get the top rated corner still on the board in Alexander. As mentioned earlier in the Burns comparison, Alexander's tape doesn't jump out at you from the outset, but he has great ability and talent. Allowing him to work with Patrick Peterson and Mathieu when he's back will land the Cardinals a young and talented secondary for years to come.
30. Carolina Panthers - Noah Spence - DE - Eastern Kentucky
The Panthers don't have many glaring holes as they return the majority of their Super Bowl caliber team. The biggest hole is obviously the departure of Josh Norman. If Alexander is still out there at this pick, I think they grab him here. It's too early for someone like Rashad Robinson out of LSU or KelVarae Russell from Notre Dame, so I think they add some pass rushing help up front. Spence has character issues, but has seemingly owned up to them and has made a concerted effort to prove he's learned from them and matured. His ability is unquestionable, and while he's got some polishing to do, he could easily become a top line starter for the Panthers by year two.
31. Denver Broncos - Germain Ifedi - G - Texas A&M
I know the Broncos need a QB, but unless Lynch is there at 31, I don't see the Broncos drafting one in the first round. The defending Super Bowl champions have some holes to fill on the offensive and defensive lines. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is if he's running for his life. I think the Broncos can probably wait until the second round to get someone like Christian Hackenberg as their QB of the future. With Bill O'Brien as his coach at Penn State, Hackenburg looked like a first round talent. So with that said, I think the Broncos take the top remaining offensive lineman on the board in Ifedi. He has a very high ceiling, but will need some work in the passing game. Even with that, he would be a solid addition on the inside for a team that will probably rely heavily on its run game and top level defense again to make a run at a repeat championship.
I'm really excited to see what the Browns do in this draft. I've been a long distance Browns fan for a long while and really want to see that team turn it around. I like Hue Jackson and the new analytical approach of the front office. With essentially a second first round pick with the Patriots having lost their pick due to Deflategate, the Browns have the potential to land a top RB or WR along with a top defensive player to go along with their haul of picks in the next few drafts. If they were to trade down from 8 and get another second round pick this year, they could conceivably turn their first three picks into Laquon Treadwell, Derrick Henry, and Chris Jones. If they trade down and then use the newly acquired pick to trade back up into the back half of the first round, they could leave with Treadwell, Paxton Lynch, and a top defensive lineman (Jones, Reed, Billings, Butler, Ogbah). Without a doubt, the Browns are the team to watch this draft.
When I'm not preaching this weekend, I know what I'm going to be doing!!