Creating a mock draft is an imperfect science. I do my best to marry a team’s need with the best player available at a position of need. There will be some reaches. Some players you think should go high will fall. The unpredictability is the beauty of the draft.
In this first draft of the season, we’ve incorporated some trades to make things a little more interesting. I cringe to think of the comments.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen - QB - Wyoming
It’s really down to Allen or Darnold for this pick. The Browns are likely dangling their interest in Darnold as an opportunity to have the Giants trade up one spot and they can still get their guy in Allen.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold - QB - USC
From what everyone is saying, Darnold is the Giants main focus. If he’s there, I doubt they pass on him.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield - QB - Oklahoma
The Jets get their shot at a franchise QB who can handle the glare of being under a lot of pressure in the New York media market.
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley - RB - Penn State
Whoever the Browns take here changes the entire layout of the draft for a lot of teams. While Dorsey has never taken a RB in Round 1, Barkley is a unique talent.
5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb - DE - NC State
Everyone talks about Denver considering DB or OG here but the one name I haven’t heard much interest in here is Chubb but he makes a lot of sense to pair across from Von Miller.
TRADE - Buffalo Bills trade picks 12, 22 and 96 to the Colts for pick 6.
6. Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen - QB - UCLA
The Bills are trying like heck to get up into the top part of the draft to get their QB and with Chubb and Barkley gone, Ballard likely trades out of this spot.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James - DB - Florida State
Tampa Bay could go a number of directions here but they should focus on the defensive backfield. Derwin James is rocketing up draft boards and may have a better pro skill set than Minkah Fitzpatrick.
8. Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick - DB - Alabama
The Bears need to continue to shore up their secondary. Fitzpatrick is an immediate starter.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson - OG - Notre Dame
This is likely the floor for Nelson. The 49ers would be happy to stop his slide and shore up a position of weakness.
10. Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds - LB - Virginia Tech
Who knows what Gruden will do with this pick? Edmunds is an athletic freak and plays tough and downhill, that seems like a guy Gruden will love.
11. Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea - DT - Washington
The Dolphins have a gaping hole at DT after the departure of Suh. Vea is the top DT in this class and would provide a long term starter in the middle of their defense.
12. Indianapolis Colts: Roquan Smith - ILB - Georgia
Chris Ballard lucks out again. In this scenario, Ballard gets his pick of Smith, Denzel Ward or potentially Harold Landry. Given the Colts are transitioning to a faster 4-3 defense and they lack a middle linebacker, Roquan Smith is too good a value to pass up.
13. Washington Redskins: Rashaan Evans - LB - Alabama
Washington needs a defensive presence and Evans provides great quality at the LB position. This may seem like a little high for him but he’s one of the better overall players and fits a position of need.
14. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward - CB - Ohio State
The Packers sit smugly at 14 and have the top cover CB fall into their lap. Great fit. Great value.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson - QB - Louisville
Teams get silly when it comes to QBs. Jackson should be considered a first round talent and if you think he’s not worth 15, that’s fine. However, there’s no way he makes it back around to them in Round 2.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley - WR - Alabama
Ozzie Newsome grabbing an Alabama player is about as cliche as they come. This fits on so many levels except Ridley may not accentuate Joe Flacco’s natural talent of throwing deep and hoping for a defensive pass interference call.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Connor Williams - OT - Texas
The Chargers snag arguably the best OT in the draft in Connor Williams to shore up the line in hopes of squeezing a few more good years out of Rivers.
TRADE - Indianapolis Colts trade picks 22, 96 (from BUF) and 195 to Seahawks for pick 18
18. Indianapolis Colts: Harold Landry - DE - Boston College
The Colts make this move to get in front of Dallas and Detroit who likely would not have allowed Landry to pass them. Landry could have easily gone in the top 15 and could be the best speed rusher in this draft. Giving up the third round pick received from Buffalo and a Round 7 pick makes a lot of sense.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne - DT - Alabama
One of the Cowboys biggest needs is along the defensive line. Payne showed flashes of brilliance and if they can get more consistent play from him, he’ll be a great selection.
20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport - DE - UTSA
Davenport got early praise in the process but he is incredibly raw. He needs a lot of work but there is also a lot to work with. This could pay off huge for the Lions but could also Bjoern Werner style bust.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Isaiah Wynn - OG - Georgia
Cincinnati needs to build up their offensive line. Wynn is a fantastic piece that played OT at Georgia but projects to be a mauling OG in the NFL.
22. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson - CB - Iowa
The Seahawks basically get the player they likely would have targeted at 18 in Jackson but also pick up an extra Round 3 and 7 pick in the process. That’s a win-win.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Will Hernandez - OG - UTEP
The Rams filled a ton of holes in trades and signing released players. They still need help on the interior of the OL and Hernandez is a perfect match to what they like to do.
24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton - WR - SMU
Carolina could go a number of directions here. Instead of addressing the secondary, they went with Sutton who immediately provides Cam Newton another offensive weapon.
25. Tennessee Titans: James Daniels - C - Iowa
The Titans need to shore up the interior of their offensive line. Daniels could play OC or OG but would likely step into the starting OC spot immediately.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan - DT - Florida
After having Dontari Poe leave in free agency, the Falcons would do well to find a suitable replacement to play next to Grady Jarrett.
27. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert - TE - S. Dakota State
The Saints should give Drew Brees a new toy to play with at the TE position. You know, one who can actually catch, cough Coby cough cough.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch - LB - Boise State
After Ryan Shazier’s injury, the Steelers need to find a suitable replacement at ILB. Vander Esch just seems to fit the Steelers on so many levels.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kolton Miller - OT - UCLA
The Jaguars don’t have a lot of holes but would do well to address their OT position.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike McGlinchy - OT - Notre Dame
Minnesota gave Kirk Cousins a huge contract and they need to protect him at all costs. McGlinchy could very well be the top OT taken in this draft or he could slide to Round 2.
31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes - CB - UCF
To steal a line from fellow Stampede Blue writer Chris Shepherd, the best part about this pick is the Patriots are picking 31, not 32. Regardless, Hughes is a super talented CB who may excel under the strict discipline of Bill Belichick.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Hayden Hurst - TE - South Carolina
The Eagles don’t have a lot of needs but given the offense they run, their best value could be Hurst. He’s probably the most complete TE in this class but will be 25 when the season starts.
Remaining Colts Picks
36. Derrius Guice - RB - LSU
37. Maurice Hurst Jr. - DT - Michigan
49. Carlton Davis - CB - Auburn
67. Anthony Miller - WR - Memphis
104. Kylie Fitts - DE - Utah
140. Tony Adams - OG - NC State
178. Genard Avery - OLB - Memphis