NFL Mock Draft From a Devy Expert

1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
This may come as a shock. The “football” guys take over a franchise with a bounty of picks. Rosen is the cleanest passer in this draft and comes with an edge. Ultimately, the Browns are able to identify him as the best quarterback in the draft and someone they can trust on and off the field to point the franchise in the right direction. He displayed the mechanics, the arm strength, the football IQ, and comes with the ideal size that is typically admired by “football” guys.

2. New York Giants
Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
Dave Gettleman is staying put at number 2 overall not to draft a running back, but because he believes they found their guy in Sam Darnold. Darnold was able to play at a high level in the brightest of lights on the west coast, and the feeling is that he can sustain that success in another large market on the other side of the country. Darnold comes with mobility at the position that Gettleman knows all too well from his previous stint with Carolina. Darnold benefits most by sitting a year and going to the Giants allows him that luxury with Eli Manning still rostered.

3. New York Jets (From Colts)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Broadway Baker is in full effect with his flashy play and fiery persona. His ability to elevate the players around him fits well with a team that needs just that. He can create with his legs and play off-script while still showing understanding of the game and playing in rhythm. The current roster lacks ideal weapons, but Mayfield can compensate for that while conducting a rise to the top of the AFC East within his first few seasons.

4. Cleveland Browns (From Houston)
Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
After grabbing a top quarterback with the first pick, the Browns come back and address the defensive side of the ball. They grab one of the top defenders to pair with Myles Garrett on the defensive line and rotate with Emmanuel Ogbah. Greg Williams had his fair share of first-round defensive linemen during his stint with the Rams, and the trend continues in Cleveland. Building a strong young core on defense has proven its value across the league and adding the top two defensive ends in consecutive drafts will help give the Browns hope of becoming an NFL team.

5. Denver Broncos
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The departure of Aqib Talib leaves a need in the secondary. Ward can find a home in any scheme with his ability to play off or mirror receivers at the line. He shows terrific recognition skills and pairs it with excellent footwork along with nice closing speed. He can come in and play right away for the Broncos while making an instant impact as a rookie.

6. Buffalo Bills (From Colts by way of the Jets)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Bills have been rumored to be on the phone trying to move up for a QB. The Dolphins who were originally slotted ahead of them at 11 overall are also in need of a QB, so to avoid the possibility of losing out on their guy, they call up the Colts who have shown interest in stockpiling picks. They trade #12 overall and #22 overall to come up and grab Josh Allen. Allen has had an underwhelming college career, but the intrigue of a big arm seems to be too much for the Bills to pass up. They get a player they feel can be their future and trade two picks in the first round to do so.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The “slide” of Barkley ends with Tampa Bay. They moved on from Doug Martin and currently have a lackluster group of running backs on the roster. Adding Barkley helps turn this skill group into the potent offense they were expected to be in 2017. Barkley is the best RB prospect in recent years and helps the Buccaneers create their own big 3, pairing Barkley with Winston and Evans.

8. Chicago Bears
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
A match made in heaven. The departure of Josh Sitton leaves a need at guard and Nelson fills it. Grabbing their young franchise quarterback last year and surrounding him with pass catchers was the first step in helping Trubisky succeed. They now grab a franchise offensive linemen to protect their signal caller.

9. San Francisco 49ers
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Reuben Foster forces this pick. They traded up to grab Foster last year in hopes of him becoming a top-tier playmaker at the linebacker position. He then proceeded to rack up a number of off-field issues that may lead to him never playing in the league again. Roquan is a top 10 talent and the perfect linebacker for this day and age. He flies around with tremendous range and can change a defense from day 1. The 49ers are able to right a wrong and grab the best linebacker in the draft.

10. Oakland Raiders
Derwin James, S, Florida State
James is a difference maker with a ton of versatility. He can blitz the passer, play linebacker, big nickel, and safety. He’s a chess piece that will make an impact on a defense that lacks a big-time playmaker outside of Khalil Mack. With needs at a number of positions, the value of James at 10 may seem like a luxury pick, but he’s another Florida State talent that a team won’t want to pass on.

11. Miami Dolphins
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Vea is a very special talent. His combination of size and explosiveness is a rarity. He won’t come in and get after the passer quite like Suh, but that doesn’t mean he can’t develop into a consistent pass rushing defensive tackle. He is built to disrupt and stop the run. Vea should make his presence felt as a rookie with his size and strength. The Dolphins could have gone a number of ways with needs at QB, LB, and DB but defensive line is a premium position as well, and Vea is a premium player.

12. Indianapolis Colts (From Bills)
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
Landry’s production took a hit due to missed games and an ankle injury in his senior season. A case could’ve been made for Landry going in the first round during last years draft, and he comes with a top 15 pick this year. Landry is the second edge defender drafted and rightfully so. He can add production from the edge that the Colts desperately need. They fill a hole on the defensive line while still having an extra pick in the first round by way of their trade with the Bills.

13. Washington Redskins
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The top CB on many boards, Alexander replaces the departing Bashaud Breeland who is not expected to be back in Washington after a voided contract with the Panthers. Alexander is a dynamic athlete and a terrific corner who fills a need opposite Josh Norman. He fits well in the secondary and creates a potent duo at cornerback within their defense.

14. Green Bay Packers
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds has the ceiling to be a top 3 player in this draft. He comes in with a great athletic build, length, and youth on his side. Edmunds can play both inside and outside linebacker. He has the closing speed, range, cover skills, and ability to rush the passer. The Packers end up with a difference maker that may develop into a top 5 linebacker in the league.

15. Arizona Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
In today’s NFL Jackson has the feel to come in and play as a rookie. He is without a doubt the most dynamic quarterback in this draft with his threat both as a passer and a runner. The Cardinals finally utilize the draft to grab their future at the quarterback position.

16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Ravens slightly addressed their wide receiver need through free agency and likely add another somewhere in day two. They use the first round to grab another offensive tackle to help protect the quarterback and pair with Ronnie Stanley.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (From Chargers)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
They send pick #77 and pick #112 to the Chargers. Sliding within range, the Bengals jump at the opportunity to move up and grab a top defensive back. Fitzpatrick is viewed by some as a safety and others as a corner. He has the ability to play either position, but his calling card with this pick comes at the safety position. Fitzpatrick was the heartbeat of Alabama’s defense and adds a distinctive edge to the Bengals secondary.

18. Carolina Panthers (From Seahawks)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
They send the Seahawks pick #85 (From Bills) and pick #161. The Panthers felt the need to jump the Cowboys and come up to grab their wide receiver. A position they have tried to fill over the past few seasons but still need a ton of help heading into the 2018 season. Ridley gives Cam Newton a receiver that can separate as well as stretch the field.

19. Dallas Cowboys
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Linebacker is looked at as a need for the Cowboys, but Sean Lee continues to play at a high level, and Jaylon Smith is rumored to be making significant strides, so the Cowboys look to shore up their defensive line. Bryan is project- but a very disruptive and athletic project. His ceiling pushes him up to 19 and gives defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli a terrific player to groom.

20. Detroit Lions
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Davenport has a tremendous athletic profile and solid length at the position. He will, however, need to refine his technique, use of hands, and footwork. It’s clear he is capable of becoming a dynamic pass rusher and pairing him Ziggy Ansah suits the Lions defense.

21. Los Angeles Chargers (From Bengals)
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Corey Liuget is suspended for the first 4 games and Brandon Mebane is old. The Chargers will need another difference maker on their interior defensive line, and Payne gives them that luxury. The edge is a strong group for the Chargers and continuing to build on the defensive line should help put them in a position to compete for the AFC West.

22. Indianapolis Colts (From Bills by way of the Chiefs)
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Colts score big by getting two key pieces in the first rounds to sure up the trenches on both sides of the ball. The verdict on Luck’s return is to be determined, but it is imperative that when he does make his comeback there are pieces in place to protect him. Pairing Hernandez on the interior with center Ryan Kelly also gives the Colts a good foundation for a run game.

23. New England Patriots (From Rams)
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Malcolm Butler has moved on from the Patriots, and good cornerback play has been a considerable part of their success over the past few seasons. Jackson has the ability to play press and man up receivers. He has some of the best ball skills in the draft and eight interceptions in 2017 to show for it. The Patriots add a ball hawk to the secondary.

24. Seattle Seahawks (From Panthers)
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice won’t completely fix the run game. That falls on the mediocre offensive line and their ability to improve in 2018. He will, however, add a crazed mentality to the Seahawks offense and help give them an identity. He packs a ton of fire and runs angry which in turn will help pick the offense up and take some pressure off of Russell Wilson. Some may compare Guice’s running style to Marshawn Lynch and it just so happens the Seahawks make their selection of Guice at #24.

25. Tennessee Titans
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vander Esch adds a top-tier defender in the middle of the Titans defense. He displayed excellent range, tackling ability, and instincts on tape and then backed his play speed with terrific testing at the combine. Edge wasn’t the right value at this point for the Titans, so they grab their linebacker of the future.

26. Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Hurst Jr, DT, Michigan
Hurst falls due to the concerns surrounding his heart condition and the Falcons benefit. They grab one of the best interior defenders in the draft who at one time was regarded as a top 10 talent. The departure of Dontari Poe opens up a need on the inside, and Maurice Hurst fills it.

27. New Orleans Saints
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Saints had a rotating door at the linebacker position in 2017. The defense took a turn for the better and played at a high level but they still need to add a difference maker to the front seven and Evans is that guy. He’s another rangey, hard-hitting linebacker with a great ability to rush the passer.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Reid’s value lies in his ability to play almost anywhere in the secondary. He is terrific playing in the slot, outside, in the box, and deep. He fits with the Steelers as a safety and can be called upon to come up and guard the slot. Landing a player like Reid in the secondary should help the Steelers defense right away.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Jacksonville lost their true X wide receiver Allen Robinson to the Bears in free agency and don’t currently have a legitimate red zone threat on the roster. Sutton is raw in his ability to run routes, but he gives Bortles a reliable target with the ability to develop into a top receiver.

30. Minnesota Vikings
Connor Williams, OL, Texas
Williams played offensive tackle in college, but he is primed to move inside and start at guard right away for the Vikings. The Vikings will need to give their new QB Kirk Cousins as much protection as possible, and Williams helps shore up the offensive line.

31. New England Patriots
Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia
The Patriots are in need of offensive line help, but Carter’s ceiling is too much for them to pass up. He is an explosive player off the edge but needs to add power to his rushes. He fits well in the Patriots defense and gives them a developmental pass rusher who is built with a ton of length and athleticism.

32. Philadelphia Eagles
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
The Eagles have been rumored to trade out of the first round, but there are several teams just beyond their selection at 32 overall that are in need of offensive line help. They pull the trigger on Crosby at 32 and receive an offensive tackle who can play right away. If there are any needs within the Eagles roster, offensive tackle might be it. Crosby is a very smooth, controlled offensive tackle who has an excellent understanding of how to play the position and gives them a starting tackle, or at the very least a terrific depth piece.

lawrence_chaney

DFF Co-Owner. VP College Scouting & Development. Host of The Devy Watch Podcast. Focused on watching the development of athletes all the way from high school to the NFL.

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