There are, roughly, 3,321,213,094 mock drafts available to read right now, on these very inter webs. There are one round mock drafts, and seven round mock drafts. There are pre-combine mock drafts, and post-combine mock drafts. If you can think of a type of mock draft, chances are there is one out there. But this, my friends, this is the first of its kind.
I love mock drafts. I read them all the time – NFL mock drafts, NBA mock drafts, way too early 2019 mock drafts. I read MLB mock drafts and I can’t stand watching baseball. Shoot all the mock drafts straight into my veins.
I get the feeling a lot of time, though, that they aren’t based on any inside knowledge, or special scouting. That a lot of times, these writers have just read Mel Kiper’s or Chad Ford’s most recent mock draft, made a few tweaks so as to not make the copying too obvious, and pressed Publish. I mean, how many people actually take the time to create a personal Big Board, really? Who goes back and watches THE TAPE, and studies THE MEASURABLES? I have a feeling it’s one or two nut jobs and everyone else is basically just copying them, but passing it off as their own independent research.
Well, dear reader, I’m not going to bullshit you. We tell the truth here at the Norm Seat. I haven’t watched a second of college football all year. I certainly haven’t poured over hours of FILM to see which prospects have better timing, or better jump off the ball, or better INSTINCTS. No, this is a mock draft based solely on what I’ve read in other mock drafts. I’ve never heard of most of these people below until I read about them in Mel Kiper or Todd McShay’s Mock Draft Version 1.0. But that doesn’t stop me from passing judgment, and falling in love with certain players. Did you know that Josh Jackson intercepted J.T. Barrett 3 times? 3 times!!! That right there is enough to land you in the first round, apparently.
This is not going to be a copy of other mock drafts, mind you. No, this is what I think each team should do, but the analysis of each player, how high or low they ranked, is based solely on information gathered from reading other mock drafts. Team needs identified here are based on a combination of Bill Barnwell articles, needs identified in the aforementioned mock drafts, and my own general understanding of the NFL.
1. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
I know this isn’t a popular pick, and I swear I’m not doing this just to be a contrarian. I know they took Myles Garrett number 1 overall last year. Just hear me out.
The Browns picked up a starting QB, slot receiver, and starting-level corner on Friday. Lots of conventional wisdom has them taking Saquon Barkley number 1 overall now, to complete their offensive makeover. HOWEVER (Stephen A. Smith voice), from a value perspective, finding a running back can be done much later in the draft. By taking Chubb here, they can solidify their defensive line, force offenses to figure out how to stop both Garrett and Chubb coming off the edge, and put the decision of ‘which quarterback should we take?’ to the rest of the teams thirsting for a QB.
If there was a clear-cut number 1 quarterback, I’d say go for it. But I’ve seen Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen all in the number 1 spot, along with Barkley. So here’s the idea – draft Chubb, which immediately upgrades not only your pass rush but your pass coverage too (by forcing opposing QBs to get the ball out quicker) and then let other teams put their neck out there and draft a QB. See who falls to you at 4, let them sit behind Tyrod Taylor and develop without the pressure of being the number 1 pick.
The draft is a crapshoot anyway – what if you take Allen number 1 but Darnold turns out to be better? Or vice versa? This way, you can still get an impact player at a high-impact position (and he doesn’t even have to be the best at that position on his own team!), and, assuming all QBs are equal in this draft, you still get a potential franchise QB at 4. In the words of Michael Scott, that’s win-win-win.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
I know there are the rumors flying around that the Giants love Eli and want to make a run at the playoffs this year. So Saquon Barkley is a popular choice here if he’s available, as would be Chubb. I just love the idea of a QB who turns the ball over too much (Darnold) going to the Giants and following in the footsteps of Eli Manning, notorious for throwing interceptions at the worst possible time. Sure, Darnold might win you a couple of Super Bowls, but he’s also going to break your heart a few hundred times in between. He’s the perfect Giants QB.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
If the draft actually plays out in this scenario, there is almost a 100% guarantee the Colts trade out of this for some schmuck team that just KNOWS which QB they want to draft. If I’m the Colts I take that offer and trade down and take Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame. I’m not projecting trades here because NFL trades sometimes seem to make zero sense at all. But if Barkley’s here, and the Colts keep the pick, I don’t see how they pass on Barkley. Finally, the Colts get another player who has the same pedigree as Andrew Luck to get tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
4. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Baker Mayfield is my favorite of all the QBs. Give me the guy who sideline-trash-talks other teams and grabs his junk while doing it. Give me the guy who does this. For the Browns, though, he feels a bit too Johnny Manziel-y, so instead I’m going with my second favorite QB. The one who is ‘too smart’ for NFL coaches. Give me Chosen Rosen.
5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I mean, this is almost too perfect. John Elway definitely catches feels every time he looks at Josh Allen. Even though I like Mayfield better than Allen, this just feels too perfect to not happen.
6. NY Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
I love Baker Mayfield to the Jets. The Jets finally get an exciting player, and not some random defensive player or offensive lineman. Mayfield may be the second coming of the Sanchize or Johnny Football, but at least the Jets have brought some excitement again. If the team is going to be perennially bad, it should at least be fun. And Baker Mayfield will definitely be fun.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Tampa is always that team every year that you think should be good, but then they always end up sucking. This pick is not going to change that – the only way that’s going to change is whether Jameis ends up being any good or not. So who should they draft? I’m going with someone who might actually make Jameis play a little better, while simultaneously improving their shit-ass running game.
8. Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Fitzpatrick appears to be the modern-day DB that all teams need – a hybrid corner/safety position that the Honey Badger seemingly invented a few years ago. The ability to line up all over the field, against WRs, TEs, RBs, or hell even QBs, Fitzpatrick apparently possesses all those traits. Ideally, the Bears would be able to pick up help for their second year QB, but the value just doesn’t seem to be here at this point, so the Bears go with the 2nd best defender in the draft.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
I like James here for the 49ers, particularly after they signed Richard Sherman. James is in the Minkah Fitzpatrick mold in that he can play all over the field. His play dropped off after an injury in the 2016 season, but his combine performance impressed. The 49ers have used a lot of draft capital on defense recently, and I would continue that trend here. Spend their oodles of cap space on offense to put talent around Jimmy G, get James here, and the 49ers will be challenging the Rams as soon as this season.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, ILB, Alabama
Every year, it seems, there’s a perfect intersection where team need meets value; supply meets demand. Last year it was O.J. Howard and the Bucs. Previously, it’s been Sheldon Rankins and Brandon Cooks with the Saints. This year, it’s Roquan Smith and the Raiders. Under normal circumstances, this would be a no-brainer pick and we could simply move on. But with Jon Gruden now in Oakland, who the hell knows what’s going to happen? Have you seen some of his quotes? He could draft a fullback here. Or a kicker. I can’t wait to see what happens with the Raiders over the course of free agency and the draft. With Chuckie leading the charge, nothing is certain. I’m like John Elway looking at Josh Allen’s hand size I’m so excited.
11. Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
You know that old gift-giving saying, ‘What do you get for the person who has everything?’ The Miami Dolphins draft is just like that, except the exact opposite. What do draft for the team that has nothing? The Dolphins finished 10-6 in 2016 and then, after Ryan Tannehill got hurt and they had to live through the Jay Cutler experience, finished 6-10 in 2017. Are they settled at any position? Tannehill is OK, but not really good. Jay Ajayi is gone, Jarvis Landry is gone. They have Cameron Wake, but have a real possibility of cutting Ndamukong Suh. They need help at pretty much every position group. So here, they draft a corner, and hope he turns into the next Revis Island.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
There’s virtually no consensus on who the Bengals should or will take with this pick. They are consistently one of the most boring teams in the league. Andy Dalton is OK, A.J. Green is really good. Tyler Eifert is always injured, and the defense is usually solid if unspectacular. McGlinchey feels like a boring pick for a boring team. They’ve struck out on offensive lineman recently, but the only way Andy Dalton is above average is if he has time to throw, so they might as well draft an offensive lineman, hope a few bounces go their way and eke out that 10-6 season and playoff berth again. Marvin Lewis FTW!
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Vea is my 2nd favorite type of player in every draft. The ginormous defensive lineman who has feet like a ballerina. If he wouldn’t have an injury at the combine, we would have been inundated with stories about how Vea is basically a dancing bear. Regardless of the rest of the needs on the Washington roster, every team needs a guy like Vea.
14. Green Bay Packers: Tremaine Edmunds, DE/LB, Virginia Tech
Did you know Tremaine Edmunds is only 19? 19! In the words of Hubie Brown, that gives him Tremendous Upside Potential. In all honesty, the only thing that matters for the Packers is whether Aaron Rodgers stays healthy. But, since you can’t draft Health, a ‘freakish’ athlete like Edmunds will suffice. And he’s only 19!
15. Arizona Cardinals: Conor Williams, OT, Texas
If the Packers draft doesn’t matter because they’ll be good as long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy, than the Cardinals draft doesn’t matter because they’ll be bad no matter who gets injured. I just don’t see a path for them to be good next year. Too many holes, too many free agents, not enough talent waiting in the wings. Who is going to play quarterback? Their once-stout defense is no longer stout, and has a bunch of free agents. Their offensive line is back to its late-2000s crappiness. No matter who they draft here, it’s not going to have a huge impact on their 2018 season. I’m going with offensive line help because, well, you gotta start somewhere. Williams gets the nod because I like his name and he didn’t embarrass himself at the combine like Orlando Brown did.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
My favorite type of player in every draft. Someone that casual college football fans have never heard of, someone only people who follow mock drafts know about, someone who kills the workouts and makes everyone wonder why the hell they didn’t go to a better school. I love these guys. The Ravens have to be counting down the days until the cut get rid of Joe Flacco’s contract. In the meantime, they take a high-upside pass rusher and hope he can re-produce peak Terrell Suggs.