This is it. After weeks and weeks of sleepless research and examining endless possibilities, I’ve crafted the perfect mock draft. I’ve seen the future and this is what it will happen on Thursday night.
Okay, so this will probably be off the rails after the first five picks, but who cares? The draft is upon us, and the future of 32 NFL teams is about to be determined. I’m including what I believe each team needs out of this draft and other possibilities for that specific pick as well. I’m also not bothering calling any trades in this mock either, although there is bound to be at least a couple.
1. Cleveland Browns
Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Wide Receiver
Pick: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
For months the debate has raged on. Will it be Darnold or Allen off the board first? The Browns desperately need a franchise quarterback, and Darnold will probably be their best bet. No quarterback in this draft is a guaranteed slam dunk, but Darnold will probably be the safest choice for the Browns. Since they’ve got the 4th pick as well, there’s a small possibility they take Saquon Barkley first overall, then take the best quarterback available with the later pick. Here’s hoping they don’t somehow screw this pick up.
Josh Allen, Saquon Barkley
2. New York Giants
Running back, Quarterback, Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker
Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Running backs have been picked in the top five in the last two drafts, and Barkley is sure to be the third in a row. The Giants haven’t had a bell-cow running back in years. With the recent signing of Jonathan Stewart, Barkley would have the perfect mentor for his transition to the NFL, while also having plenty of playing time. The alternative here is a quarterback to replace the aging Eli Manning, which also makes sense. What would not make sense is going defensive here, unless they trade down.
Josh Allen, Trade down
3. New York Jets
Quarterback, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Offensive Line
Pick: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The hype train for Baker Mayfield is currently plummeting down the side of a mountain, so it’s very likely he goes top 5. The Jets will have a bonafide quarterback competition once the season starts with the extension of Josh McCown and the signing of Teddy Bridgewater. Now that the Jets have traded up to the 3rd pick, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll take a quarterback.
4. Cleveland Browns
Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Wide Receiver
Pick: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Look for the Browns to shop this pick around a little bit to other teams. Considering most of the defensive backs they would go after would likely be available later on in the draft, it only makes sense. If they dont, Chubb makes sense. Having Chubb and Myles Garrett line up opposite each other would be both marketable for the Browns and formidable for opposing teams. If Barkley is still available, this is a no-brainer, but in this situation, he is not.
Trade down for a defensive back, Saquon Barkley
5. Denver Broncos
Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Pick: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
This is where things start to get a little tricky. The Broncos could go any number of ways with this pick. If any of the above quarterbacks are still available, they could go that direction. In this case, though, the safest pick is the best lineman available, and that’s Quenton Nelson in this draft.
Best available quarterback, Bradley Chubb
6. Indianapolis Colts
Offensive Line, Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Running Back
Pick: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
If Nelson or Chubb are still available, the Colts would probably pick one of them. Otherwise, rumors are circulating they’ll go with the best linebacker available in Roquan Smith, although it might be a bit of a reach.
Trade down, Nelson or Chubb if they’re still on the board
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Running back, Defensive Back
Pick: Derwin James, S, Florida State
If Nelson is somehow still on the board, Tampa could use a top notch offensive lineman. Otherwise, their secondary was woeful last year, and James could add a much needed element at safety.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Quenton Nelson
8. Chicago Bears
Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Linebacker
Pick: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Seeing as how Davenport would likely be available later on in the draft, the Bears might trade down from this pick as well. If Smith and Chubb are gone at this point, which seems likely, Marcus Davenport has a high upside at quite possibly their biggest need.
Trade down, Denzel Ward
9. San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Guard, Linebacker, Cornerback, Wide Receiver
Pick: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
With all of the issues going on with Reuben Foster, the 49ers need an answer at linebacker.
Mike McGlinchey, Minkah Fitzpatrick
10. Oakland Raiders
Cornerback, Linebacker, Running Back, Defensive Tackle
Pick: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Raiders made a hard run at Ndamukong Suh, so they’re obviously going to be serious about the defensive tackle position. Denzel Ward could also go here.
Denzel Ward, Mike McGlinchey
11. Miami Dolphins
Cornerback, Linebacker, Quarterback, Defensive Tackle
Pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Dolphins might have to trade up to get Allen, but in this scenario, everyone else passed on him and fell to them anyway, which is a real possibility.
Josh Rosen, Trade Up
12. Buffalo Bills
Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Offensive Lineman
Pick: Josh Rosen QB, UCLA,
Similar to the Dolphins, the Bills might trade up to get a quarterback that they want more.
Josh Allen, Trade Up
13. Washington Redskins
Linebacker, Cornerback, Defensive Linemen, Offensive Guard
Pick: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Redskins defense is pretty terrible top to bottom, so taking the best defensive player available in Ward is the best option for them.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne
14. Green Bay Packers
Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Offensive Tackle
Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cornerback/Safety, Alabama
If Fitzpatrick falls all the way to the Packers, they should count themselves lucky. He might be one of the best defensive backs in the league one day.
Josh Jackson, Harold Landry
15. Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback, Offensive Linemen, Wide Receiver, Defensive Back
Pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
If the Cardinals don’t trade up to get one of the top four quarterbacks, then they should go with McGlinchey, one of the best offensive linemen in the draft.
Trade up, Lamar Jackson
16. Baltimore Ravens
Wide Receiver, Tight End, Linebacker, Offensive Tackle
Pick: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
The Ravens have a need for a decent tight end, and Hurst could provide that at pretty good value at this draft position. They could also possibly trade down a few spots and still get Hurst, so that’s a possibility as well.
Trade down, Lamar Jackson
17. LA Chargers
Offensive Tackle, Center, Inside Linebacker, Safety
Pick: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Miller could be headed right down the street if the Chargers pick him. He would be a good fit at a position of need, although it might be a bit of a reach taking him at 17.
Trade down, Da’Ron Payne
18. Seattle Seahawks
Offensive Linemen, Running Back, Safety, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker
Pick: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
The Seahawks offensive line was atrocious last season, so they’ll have to address that later, but for now, Landry is a potentially great pass rusher.
Kolton Miller, Maurice Hurst
19. Dallas Cowboys
Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Linebacker, Defensive Tackle
Pick: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State
There’s also a possibility the Cowboys go with a wide receiver to replace the departed Dez Bryant, but Vander Esch is a versatile linebacker that fits well in the Cowboys defensive scheme.
DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley
20. Detroit Lions
Running Back, Defensive Tackle, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Inside Linebacker
Pick: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
If Landry is still available, the Lions will take him due to their new defensive coordinator having some background with him. Otherwise, they’ll probably take the best defensive lineman on the board in Payne.
Taven Bryan, Harold Landry
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Offensive Linemen, Linebacker, Tight End, Cornerback
Pick: James Daniel, C, Iowa
Daniel is a bear of a man that can help anchor and lead the Bengals offensive line for potentially a long time.
Frank Ragnow, Jaire Alexander
22. Buffalo Bills
Offensive Linemen, Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Pick: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
Assuming they didn’t have to trade up and give away this pick and they landed a quarterback earlier in the draft, DJ Moore would be a good addition for Buffalo and said new quarterback.
Calvin Ridley, Lamar Jackson
23. New England Patriots
Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Linebacker, Defensive End
Pick: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
This is a great fit. With a veteran and former Bammer Dant’a Hightower leading the defense, Evans could potentially shine in New England.
Calvin Ridley, Jaire Alexander
24. Carolina Panthers
Offensive Linemen, Cornerback, Safety, Defensive End
Pick: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Another member in a line of excellent corners to come out of Iowa lately, Josh Jackson is a safe pick for the Panthers. It’s also likely he’ll be available at 24 for great value. They could also go with an offensive linemen here.
Will Hernandez, Frank Ragnow
25. Tennessee Titans
Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Inside Linebacker, Offensive Guard
Pick: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
There’s too many connections going on here for me to not believe the Titans will pick Hubbard, chief of which being Mike Vrabel’s connection with Ohio State. Don’t be surprised if they opt for an offensive lineman, though.
Frank Ragnow, Will Hernandez
26. Atlanta Falcons
Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Defensive End
Pick: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Falcons need interior defensive line help, and they need it bad. If Bryan is not available, they’ll have to choose between Da’Ron Payne if he still hasn’t been picked and Maurice Hurst.
Da’Ron Payne, Maurice Hurst
27. New Orleans Saints
Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Quarterback, Tight End
Pick: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Even if you don’t like Alabama, you have to admit the idea of Ridley playing in the ever-explosive Saints offense would be quite the sight.
Lamar Jackson, Dallas Goedert
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Inside Linebacker, Safety, Quarterback, Running Back
Pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
If Jackson is still available at this point, the Steelers might be willing to take a chance with him. With Ben Roethlisberger on the wrong side of 30, creating an offense around either Joshua Dobbs or Lamar Jackson might now be too bad for Tomlin and company in the next few years.
Justin Reid, Derrius Guice
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Nickelback, Cornerback, Tight End, Offensive Tackle
Pick: Will Hernandez, Offensive Guard, UTEP
Hernandez played a little bit of offensive tackle in his time at UTEP, so he should be fairly versatile in where he ends up playing. It also wouldn’t be too crazy to see them pick a defensive back here, as there should still be a few good ones available.
Jaire Alexander, Frank Ragnow
30. Minnesota Vikings
Defensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Offensive Guard
Pick: Frank Ragnow, C/OG, Arkansas
Ragnow would be a versatile addition to any offense, and any help they can get protecting Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook would only make this offense even more dangerous.
Jaire Alexander, Isaiah Wynn
31. New England Patriots
Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Linebacker
Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB Louisville
Alexander was going as high as 15 in some mock drafts. Alexander’s value with the 31st pick might be too valuable for Belichick to pass up.
Justin Reid, Mike Hughes
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Running Back, Tight End, Outside Linebacker
Pick: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice was exceptional coming out of Leonard Fournette’s shadow at LSU. Here’s thinking he does pretty great in the NFL too.
Dallas Goedert, Sony Michel