It’s Mock Draft Time, which means my first foray into the mania that has become Mock Draft season.
This will be the first of many, as the process has really just begun and free agency will change some team needs and create others.
For my first mock, I have Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen going first overall to the Cleveland Browns. I know all the talk about his bad completion percentage, but he played with a bunch of jayvee players last year at Wyoming. He is big, strong, tough and has a rocket for an arm.
New Browns general manager John Dorsey will come to love his skills. As some scouts have said, ”He looks like a young John Elway.”
That’s high praise.
I also have Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph going in the first round, and I think there’s a chance Louisville’s Lamar Jackson could end up at the back end of it as well. That would be six in the first round if that were to happen, which would once again be a reminder of how valuable the position it is in the league and how fervent the chase to find one can be.
The free-agent quarterback class, which includes Washington’s Kirk Cousins and others, will impact the mocks. I have the New York Jets signing Kirk Cousins for the purpose of this mock, which is why they aren’t taking a quarterback in this one.
So dive in, but don’t hold me to this one.
After all, it is just one in about a half dozen to come
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. I know there are a lot of draftniks who don’t like this kid, but the league scouts I’ve talked to love him. He is perfect for the Browns: A big, strong passer who can rip it in the elements.
2. New York Giants
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. They have to get the next guy after Eli Manning and Rosen should be the pick. He is a strong-armed passer who can step in and learn for a year or two behind Manning.
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. This is too high for a back for my liking, but I would understand. Barkley is a special runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. This draft could go a long way to solving their offensive issues.
5. Denver Broncos
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. They have to find a passer if they don’t get one in free agency. Darnold has some issues – hand size and motion – but he understands the passing game and can make all the throws.
6. New York Jets
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. They drafted two safeties a year ago, so now they get a corner who is a playmaker from a top defense. If they don’t land a quarterback in free agency, Baker Mayfield could be in play here.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF. This is a kid who had a lot of impressive games against top-tier receivers and the Raiders have a major need for a corner. This might seem high, but corner value will drive him up boards.
11. Miami Dolphins
12. Cincinnati Bengals
Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma. The son of former NFL player with the same name is a nasty, physical player. He might be more suited to playing on the right side, although that doesn’t matter as much anymore.
13. Washington Redskins
Derwin James, S, Florida State. They need to get better play on the back end of their defense. James has the ability to be a playmaker in a lot of ways, even if he didn’t play as well last season as expected.
14. Green Bay Packers
Arden Key, Edge, LSU. This is a player who was talked about as a top-5 player before the year. He needs to get stronger, but he has the speed the Packers need off the edge for new coordinator Mike Pettine.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. He would step in and compete to start right away, which they need with a major void at the position. He will have to show them his character concerns aren’t much.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. They have to get weapons for Joe Flacco, and there really doesn’t seem to be a receiver worth taking this high after Ridley. So landing one of the top tight ends makes sense. Could also go offensive line here.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Da’Ron Payne, DT-DE, Alabama. They need to get stouter up front inside and Payne could do that. He would be a nice fit in Gus Bradley’s defense.
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio. With Ezekiel Ansah set to be a free agent, they need to get help for a pass rush that was lacking last year. Even if they keep Ansah, they need help. This kid is raw, but has the size and speed scouts love.
21. Buffalo Bills
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Is this too high? Maybe to some, but he is a guy league scouts like more than draft analysts. The Bills have to try and get a franchise passer if they don’t want Tyrod Taylor.
22. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
23. Los Angeles Rams
24. Carolina Panthers
D.J. Clark, WR, Maryland. They have to get speed outside for Cam Newton and Clark is said to be a sub-4.4 receiver. He also has good size at 6-3.
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. When Ryan Shazier went down for the year, their defense suffered. With his future in doubt, they need to get a playmaking linebacker and Smith is that guy.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Connor Williams, T, Texas. They have to get better up front and Williams would give them tackle flexibility with second-year player Cam Robinson if they keep Jeremy Parnell at right tackle. Robinson has ability, but he struggled at times last season and could be moved to guard if they were to land a tackle or to the right side.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame. They need to get better at right tackle and McGlinchey would do that. He played the left side at Notre Dame, but could easily move to the right side.
31. New England Patriots
Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. Their front seven needs upgrading in the worst way. Phillips is a smart player as an Academic All-American, and we know how Bill Belichick loves that about players. Might go a lot higher than this when all said and done.