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The Heartthrob’s Mockery Draft ’18

*Disclaimer: This Mock Draft was done before the trade between the Rams and the Patriots. A second version of this mock will be out before the draft as well.

My annual “Mockery Draft” is a way to poke fun of those who take themselves to seriously and be completely bias in what I want to happen.  Sure, I watch and love college football so I may know a little something here and there just from watching the games week to week, but does any of that really matter?  Trades and the unpredictable is what makes the draft interesting.  Here is my take on all of this craziness that may or may not happen in the first round of this year’s draft. . .

1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC: Just do something that makes sense for once, Cleveland.  I’m personally not in love with any of these quarterbacks but Darnold seems to be the one the Browns like the most.

Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America

2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: They say Eli still has more in the tank, but they’d be foolish to not take a quarterback at this spot.  Once again, not in love with this quarterback class, BUT the guys this year have higher ceilings than those projected to come out next year.  Giants have to make this move now.

3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma:  Yeah, I know – three quarterbacks in a row, won’t happen.  Well, it should.  Jets didn’t trade up to take anything else but a quarterback, trading into the third spot and not one or two means they have more love for another candidate not named Darnold or Rosen.  Mayfield comes with the fanfare and personality the Jets have been craving to see at the QB position.

4. Cleveland Browns  – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State: Last year with the first overall pick they selected the draft’s best pass rusher in Myles Garrett.  Why not do the same this year and “book-end” these boys for the road ahead?

5. Buffalo Bills (in MOCKERY TRADE WITH DENVER) – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: In a move of pure desperation, the Bills draft up and select the next quarterback on their big board.  Allen is said to have the ability to throw the ball 80 yards downfield. . .that’s a talent you never need to really see in game situations though, so. . .yeah.

6. Indianapolis Colts  – Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State – Colts traded with the Jets and got themselves the sixth pick a few weeks ago, and they better start doing something to help out Andrew Luck.  Barkley is one of my favorite players in the draft – but that’s because I’m a Penn State fan.  There isn’t anything that screams “3 down back” or “franchise back” about his game.  He’s a good kid, with talent that needs to be in the right system.  Colts have no system.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech; Bucs struggled with their pass rush this year.  Edmunds doesn’t get the acclaim Chubbs does, but in my opinion you’re splitting hairs about who’s better.

8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: This is my favorite team, this is their biggest need and this is my mock draft.  So in turn, they get the guy I want them to get.

Source: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America

9. San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Ward,  CB, Ohio State: Some may have them nabbing wide out Calvin Ridley here but for a team that has to play against three above average quarterbacks twice a year, taking the best corner in the draft is the smart move.

10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, ILB/OLB, Georgia:  I put this here because this is what I’ve been hearing for months now. At this point if it doesn’t happen, this entire draft will be a disappointment.

11. Seattle Seawhawks (in MOCKERY TRADE with Miami) – Derwin James, DB, Florida State: In my “complete trade” Miami also gets Kam Chancellor, so the Seahawks now have two glaring holes in their secondary.  James can play both safety and corner. . .but not at the same time. . . regardless, it’s a start in the right direction.

12. Denver Broncos  (in MOCKERY TRADE with Buffalo)-  Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA: They didn’t like that April Fools joke that Von Miller played on social media, about him being traded to the Browns. . . Elway doesn’t like people with bigger egos than his so he’ll look for Miller’s eventual replacement, who can in the meantime give them important snaps now.

13. Washington Redskins – Mike Huges, CB, Central Florida: Huges might actually be the best man to man coverage corner in this draft.

14. Green Bay Packers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama:  Packers have Burnett and Dix at safety but Fitzpatrick is probably better than either of them.

15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: Cards got kinda-sorta lucky and didn’t have to give anything up to get the quarterback who is the biggest risk but comes with the biggest upside in this draft.

Source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

16. Baltimore Ravens -Colton Miller, T, UCLA:  They took the wrong tackle.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: Hey, look who took the right tackle!

18. Miami Dolphins (in MOCKERY TRADE with Seattle) –  Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State:  This is a smart pick by Miami to get a guy who can play different spots on the line.  Adam Gase has got to start building this offense somewhere.

19. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama:  Ridley was once projected to be a top 10 pick, but here he falls to the Cowboys and this makes keeping Dez Bryant a little bit less of a thing after 2018.

Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America

20. Detroit Lions -Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma: In a lot of games, quarterback Matthew Stafford had to run out of the pocket a lot and just chuck it deep. . .I don’t know if that’s just how he’s played his whole career or because the o-line is bad.  I’ll guess a little bit of both.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Vita Vea, DT, Washington:  Will he last this long in reality?  Probably not.  I just didn’t want Green Bay to get him.

22. Buffalo Bills – Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa: This pick ends up being a better long term one than their quarterback pick of Josh Allen (woof)

23. New York Giants (in MOCKERY TRADE with L.A. Rams) Isiah Wynn , OL, Georgia:  Yeah, I’m believing in the hype.  The Giants trade Odell Beckham to the Rams, get this pick and probably a bunch more but they use it wisely and add a much needed piece to this offensive line (who can play every position).  Giants can easily take a wide out in the second and a running back in the third and have their offense set for the future.

24. Carolina Panthers – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame:  The only reason they choose Brown over Sutton is because he’s bigger.

25. Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry, DE, Boston College: This ends up being a steal for this team.  They won’t make the playoffs because they have no quarterback but whatever.

Source: Leon Halip/Getty Images North America

26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne , DL ,Alabama: Falcons defense played better last year, no reason to stop adding to it.  Adding d-line talent against teams that like to run it like Carolina and New Orleans would help them out greatly in taking the NFC South.

27. New Orleans Saints – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina: Oh lets just give one of the best offenses in football, the best tight end in the draft.  Brees can make this guy a pro-bowler in his first season.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama: I kind of wanted to make them trade Bell in this draft and take a Sony Michel here, but I went with the boring pick. . .sorry guys.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars -Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU:  If it’s Sutton, Brown or Moore, they need to take a wide-out here.

30. Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez , G, UTEP: A little bit of optimism here for a team that has very little needs, except for this one.

31. New England Patriots  – Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford: You would think after that Super Bowl debacle that they’d take a corner back here, but nah.  “The Hood” is too stubborn to admit when he was wrong, so instead goes with help on his d-line and with a player who we will be told is very intelligent and the kind of personality that will fit the New England Patriots way of blah blah blah blah. . .

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Sony Michel, RB, Georgia:  This team knows Jay Ajayi can’t be the answer and they also know that Michel is one of the best offensive threats in this draft who can be a three down back.  The offensive minded head coach, can’t resist.

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

NFC North Draft Needs

Minnesota Vikings:

Draft Day needs in the Draft: Defensive Tackle and Guard.

Picks in rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, (three in 6) and 7

Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

When you look pretty dominant all season long and then get embarrassed in the NFC Championship game, the disappointment will be pretty tough to brush off your shoulders for the coming months.  The Vikings showed no faith in any quarterback that was on their roster last year and let them all go in free agency.  Luckily for them, they won “the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes” so that is one less position to worry about in the draft. Having the 30th overall pick isn’t too sexy of a first round pick, but it also shows that you’re a good team that needs “just a little more” to push them to that next level.  There are some pretty good guards in this draft but they’d need a miracle to land  Quenton Nelson and some of luck for either Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn to fall to them at 30.  Texas tackle Connor Williams seems like someone who just may fall to them though.  In the second round, they may land a talent like USC Rasheem Green, who is  a versatile and athletic defensive linemen who can line up at defensive tackle but would probably be best suited attacking from the outsides.  When you’re a good team, you can also afford to be a little cute in the third round, like getting a wide-receiver/special teams threat like Dante Pettis or a guy who is a nice polished receiver like Daesean Hamilton out of Penn State.  Either one of these guys can go in the third or fourth, and with no fourth round pick, the Vikes would have to make up their mind quickly here.  Later in the draft, watch for another sleeper pick in the receiving core like South Florida’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling, or someone to add to their defensive rotation like Ohio State’s Chris Worling.

Detroit Lions:

Draft Day needs: Linebacker, Defensive tackle and Running back

Pick in every round except for the 6th:

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Let’s just be honest when it comes to the Lions: they are mediocre at best.  Sure with a new head coach, comes a newfound optimism, but we all know what Matthew Stafford is (a stat filler, who is praised by the Fantasy Football geeks) and we all know the limitations of their roster.  With the twentieth pick in the first round, their best bet is to go “best player available.” If they are lucky they should be able to get one of tho Alabama alums on their front seven.  Linebacker Rashaan Evans or defensive tackle Da’ron Payne could fill right in and be a day one starter. In the second round they could find themselves an athletic linebacker in South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard.  Offensively they’ve needed a running back since Barry Sanders, and this draft has plenty of them.  The Lions, could maybe hold out until the third or fourth and get themselves a quality back.  Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage is a nice sleeper who could go in that third or fourth round area.  Ballage is a big back (6’2″, 228 lbs) with power, speed and good hands who can prove to be a sleeper for any team in need of a back.  With a defensive minded coach though, he may look at some sleepers on defense in the sixth and seventh rounds like Tre Flowers, safety out of Oklahoma State, Garret Dooley, linebacker out of Wisconsin or Troy Apke, a safety out of Penn State, projected to go late in the draft, but adds some top level speed to the position.

Green Bay Packers:

Draft Day needs: Corner back, guard and tight end

Packers have 12 overall picks (one in each of the first three rounds, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh)

Source: David Becker/Getty Images North America

The NFL is just dying to help out Aaron Rodgers, so they gave them four compensatory draft picks this season.  Rodgers doesn’t like his organization or his coach much and at this point the two sides seem like a marriage who will stick it out “for the kids.”  With that being said they are, as of now, the second best team in the division and need to compete with top tier teams in this league.  Although the goal with the 14th overall pick should be to take a corner, it might be hard for them to pass up a pass rusher like Marcus Davenport if he is around – but luck may be on their side and they’ll be able to nab the corner out of UCF Mike Hughes or even the safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who’s versatility all over the secondary and tackling ability would help them from day one.  This is another team that can go running back crazy in the third, fourth or maybe even fifth rounds.  Jimmy Graham has been added to a list of targets for Aaron Rodgers which includes Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, but Cobb at this point is just an overpaid part of this puzzle and adding a wide-out.  The sleeper wide receiver that I see fitting in well with Green Bay is Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson.  He’s a hard worker, with good hands and route running ability.  He’s also a tall receiver with speed who can be a red zone guy AND a deep threat.  The Packers have so many picks, their scouting team must be looking at players like Wilson and even more players like him who are on an even smaller raider with a high upside. . .

Chicago Bears:

Draft Day needs: Offensive Line,  Linebacker, Corner back

Draft Picks: 1, 2, two in round 4, 5, 6 and 7

Source: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images North America

The Bears were the talk of last year’s draft who moved up to get “their guy,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky of UNC.  Mitch didn’t look like a franchise guy last year, but the Bears barely resembled much of a football team in general in 2017.  The Bears addressed their wide-receiver issue by signing Allen Robinson as their new number-one wide-out and they even added Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton for good measure.  The offensive line seems to always be an issue with the Bears, even when they get it right personnel wise – an injury or two wreck all kinds of havoc. The Bears are hoping and praying they land Quenton Nelson, the Notre Dame guard, who might not only be the best offensive lineman in the draft but one of the drafts best players, over all.  If the Bears don’t land him in the first, they may try to trade back to land either Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn or another Notre Dame talent, the tackle Mike McGlinchey.  Chicago kept themselves busy in the offseason and even signed linebacker Aaron Lynch from the 49ers, but that’s not the “umph” that will help to put this linebacker rotation into the next level.  Much like what was mentioned earlier with the Detroit Lions, Chicago may find themselves looking at South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard or maybe even the freakishly athletic linebacker out of Georgia, Lorenzo Carter.   The Bears will look to get some depth and hopefully some sleeper talent with the corner position, and they may be able to find that in  later rounds with Arizona’s Dane Cruikshank or they may look in their state, Illinois State product Davontae Harris to be more specific.

 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Not Bending For Beckham

New York Giants star wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr., said he would not step onto a football field without his contract issue being resolved.  The “issue” being that Beckham wants to be the highest paid wide-out in the NFL.  This is a problem for the NY Giants because they are not used to being threatened by a player and because they are generally not known as a team who will overpay for talent – no matter who it is.  But this problem might find a very satisfying remedy if the rumors coming out are true.  The rumor is that the NY Giants are indeed shopping Beckham around – and the price would include a first round pick for this year’s draft.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

The New York Giants were 3-13 last season and find themselves with the number two overall pick in the draft.  The whole direction of the draft kinda-sorta depends on what the Giants want to do with that #2 overall pick.  Now, with the possibility of getting another first round pick – the Giants can try to revamp their roster the right way and look to a bright future that won’t be that distant.

The Giants have options here if they trade Beckham.  “Options” aren’t essentially granted to a team coming off of a three-win season.

The first team that comes up in trade talks with the Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. is – surprise, surprise – the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns have been very aggressive in the off-season and are making moves that actually “make sense” for a change.  The Browns have the money under the cap to pay Beckham what he wants, they already acquired Jarvis Landry (a close friend of Beckham’s), and they have more than enough “draft-pick-capital” to trade to the NY Giants.  The Browns have the 1st and 4th overall picks and also have three picks in the second round.

Source: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images North America

Depending on how the Giants wanted to play this, they could end up with the 2nd and 4th overall picks of this year’s draft, and in addition pick up maybe two more second round picks — if the Browns wanted to get really crazy they might throw in a first or second round pick in the 2019 draft – but that probably wouldn’t be necessary.

With those picks, the Giants could do literally whatever they wanted. They could draft a quarterback and maybe  Bradley Chubb, the pass rusher out of N.C. State.  They could take Quinton Nelson, the offensive lineman from Notre Dame and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley OR they could trade that number two overall pick to a team like Buffalo or Arizona who might trade their first round pick and some more goodies to the Giants so they can grab a quarterback.

The bottom line is, why WOULDN’T the Giants trade Beckham?  Although he is undeniably one of the most talented receivers in the league, he’s also a loud mouth, a self entitled diva -with a target on his back – and he is also coming off of an ankle injury that ended his 2017 campaign.  The Browns would and should do this deal because they can get their QB with the number one overall pick and have him set up with a pretty decent offense (better than what ANY of these top ranked quarterbacks had for themselves at college).

Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

The wide-receiver position is NOT the position you pay the big bucks to when you have other needs, and especially if you’re rebuilding.   The Giants have to think “big picture” here and right now they are the third (and maybe even) the fourth best team in their division.  Trading Beckham would help get things in the right direction for them, immediately.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio