2018 Midway Mock by JohnnyFire - 11.10.17
Published at 11/10/2017 11:34:47 AM
I'm working off a few assumptions here: first, that there are no projected trades just to keep things simple; second, that the rumors of Sam Darnold and Clayton Thorson returning to school are true; third, that Kirk Cousins remains with Washington; and fourth, the following remainder-of-season projections - https://playoffpredictors.com/Football/NFL?L=EzCMLdOlT8GLJe9nIejaMXVPOPFIxNKVciM7WAokkhrbUnctzS+7u3DxgLLcqqJmKREgA
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The Browns really have no better option at this point in the first round; they absolutely need to take their QB of the future with the first overall pick. To me, that appears as though it will be Josh Rosen; Rosen looks like the most pro-ready QB and may be fairly comparable to Jared Goff, who, after getting locked in to a solid coaching scheme with better receiving talent, improved quickly and emphatically. It's no time to get cute for the Browns; get the best QB in the draft and move along.
Some will argue that this pick is better spent on a RB, or an O-Lineman, but I think the Giants see the writing on the wall with Eli Manning at this point; while he played admirably and led them to 2 Super Bowl rings, he isn't getting any younger. Jackson does have some major hurdles to get over, but as a pure, raw talent, he makes too much sense in Manhattan.
By and far, Barkley is the top RB prospect in this class, and for good reason; he's an obscenely productive offensive presence. With the Niners making the move for Jimmy Garoppolo, this pick is no longer necessary for a QB, and now can be spent on building up the team around Jimmy G; Barkley creates an immediate safety valve for moving the ball down field and gives them a chance to compete in a suddenly top-heavy division sooner rather than later.
First, I admit this may be getting carried away as far as where the Browns will be picking using the Houston pick, but in all fairness, nobody knows how far the bottom will fall out without Watson yet. Secondly, the Browns took Jabrill Peppers last year with the assumption that his hybrid skill-set could help, so looking at Minkah Fitzpatrick, a dynamic safety who has the skills of CB, seems right up Cleveland's alley, particularly with no WR worthy of this high a selection.
Hooooooooo buddy. So the Jets are, in all essence, screwed, barring a trade up, at the moment. If the Giants and Browns don't take the top two QB's, they risk teams like the Chargers, Broncos, Cardinals, and etc. trading up to get their man. Since we are not doing trades, and since the Jets emphatically need a QB in this draft, we go to Mason Rudolph. Working on the assumption that Darnold stays in school, Rudolph will be the draft's "big guy" who is more of a system QB than a pro-ready passer, but has a lot of pros to his game already. I think someone will fall in love with his decision making and size and grab him in the first, evaluations be damned.
Much like Houston, we don't know how far the bottom is falling out for Green Bay yet, but it's not impossible to think they end up with a top-end pick. So, they get the chance to add a dangerous and dynamic pass rusher to the corps. Chubb has, so far, taken over Arden Key as the top DE in this class, but I doubt the Packers would be mad adding either one.
And speaking of Key, the Colts manage to snag him here with little trouble. Another team desperately lacking in pass rush talent, Key would be an immediate upgrade to an absolutely dismal defense, and allow the Colts to consider making moves around the rest of an incomplete roster with their remaining picks. They need a defense capable of complementing Andrew Luck, and need to fortify their trenches in the rest of the rounds.
Tampa would probably love to grab one of the prior DE's, but their gone, so they can afford to split the difference between need and BPA here. Quenton Nelson is goddamned good at being an interior lineman and has probably lapped some of the tackles in this class by his play; he immediately upgrades a dismal interior OL in Tampa that's going to need to stop getting Jameis Winston murdered ASAP.
The other OL worth noting from Notre Dame, Mike McGlinchey is an equally phenomenal prospect, and by and far my favorite OT in this class. The Chargers won't be in position to add a QB at this point, so fortifying their lines is their next best move; McGlinchey, paired with a healthy Forrest Lamp, lays down a decent foundation for the trenches moving forward in Los Angeles.
For Mitch(ell) Trubisky to succeed in Chicago, he's going to weapons, and plenty of them. It's a weird class for WR talent, but Calvin Ridley has, as of yet, separated himself from the rest of the pack, and although he may lack prototypical size, his playmaking ability is out of this world. Maybe that will open the offensive playbook for the Bears' young QB finally.
Orlando Brown is a polarizing prospect, because he seems to not have the physical makeup to be an NFL-level left tackle, but so far, on he field for Oklahoma, he's been moving that conversation in the opposite direction. And with other OL talent seeming to take some steps back, a team like Cincinnati, who oh-so-damn desperately needs to upgrade a ravaged OL, is going to have no bones about grabbing him this early.
I have absolutely no clue what a "Domata Peko" is, but it's currently listed as the Broncos' starting DT. That's not good. Christian Wilkins is far and away my favorite DT in this class and has been impressive from the point of attack thus far this season; he gives the Broncos some breathing room on one end of their trenches, even as they continue to search for help on the OL (and possibly QB?)
Arizona may be tempted to grab a QB at this point, but I think provided that the front office and coaching staff remain in tact, which is, of course, somewhat questionable at this point, their next best move is to find a successor for Larry Fitzgerald. Sutton is likely going to be a combine and draft-process stand-out due to his size and strength, a pure WR1 who would make an excellent target for whoever ends up backing the Cards in 2018 and beyond.
What the Dolphins probably favor obtaining the most would be a new RB, or an interior OL, both of which have no viable players worthy of selection here. So, they turn to a highly underrated need; safety. Next year, the Dolphins lose four safeties and a CB, so there may be some moves to renovate the group due to Miami's strap against the cap. James is probably worthy of an even higher pick than this, as he is a true game changer as a secondary player and could cause immediate headaches in the AFC East.
Connor Williams has fallen under scrutiny in the scouting community (hell, here on this site) in recent weeks but I have a feeling that provided he can be 100% for the start of the 2018 campaign, Williams will still be a first rounder out of pure need at the position. The Vikings have a patchwork OL at best, and with Teddy Bridgewater potentially returning to the fold, they'll need to fortify their group ASAP.
Last year, with a chance to take several top-line RB's, the Raiders balked, adding Marshawn Lynch to the fold instead. Lynch has looked proficient, but is in no way the same player he once was, and the Raiders have paid a price as a result. While there will be some advocating to add another player on defense, I'd imagine Oakland (or Las Vegas, or Los Angeles, or San Antonio) would much prefer adding a viable safety valve for Derek Carr. Guice has succeeded Fournette more than capably and is looking like a potential first round sleeper at this point.