Welcome back to Part 2 of the Mock Draft of Mock Drafts (aka the Greatest Mock Draft of All Time). If you missed the first half, click here and catch up on picks 1-16. Hopefully no one will make anymore trades or signings that render this completely irrelevant.
17. San Diego Chargers: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
The Chargers are one of my favorite teams in the NFL. Not because I’m like, an actual fan. But because they are perennially good enough to be a playoff a contender, but perennially incompetent enough to always find a way to fuck it up. Whether its blowing leads or blowing kicks, they have to be the most snake-bitten team in the league. Here, they draft a linebacker to help their defense. He’s from Alabama, so he must have been pretty good in high school.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
I’m an Iowa alum. I used to have season tickets. If there is one college football team that I follow or pay attention to, it’s Iowa. I had never heard of Josh Jackson before this year, and even as the season went along, I had no idea he would even be considered a first round pick. But then I started reading mock drafts and found out he intercepted J.T. Barrett 3 times in the game against Ohio State. 3 times! 8 interceptions on the year! That is pretty much the stock line given every time he’s ‘selected’ in a mock draft. I have no idea if he’s any good, and I have a sneaky suspicion he’s going to be a bust. Seattle can sell this as a Richard Sherman replacement – before anyone sees him play, anyway.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Over the last few years, with the emergence of the league’s best offensive line, ‘Zeke, and Dak, it’s the Cowboys defense that needs to emerge. You can never have too many good defensive lineman. With DeMarcus Lawrence coming back and Rod Marinelli, there’s a good chance this isn’t a bust.
20. Detroit Lions: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Lots of mock drafts have Derrius Guice getting taken here. I’m of the belief your running back doesn’t matter if your offensive line is shit. Guice got some notoriety after the combine for being this year’s draft pick to discuss how teams asked him if he was gay or his mother was a prostitute. These stories leak seemingly every year, which means it has to be incredibly common. Can you imagine what an NFL locker room is like? That’s another column for another day.
21. Buffalo Bills: Arden Key, DE, LSU
The Bills traded this pick to the Bengals, along with Cordy Glenn, to move up to the number 12 overall pick. But I’m keeping this pick with the Bills because I already drafted for the Bengals and it’s too depressing to think about their team again. Arden Key has my favorite name of all the potential first round picks, so he goes here.
22. Buffalo Bills: James Daniels, C/G, Iowa
There’s somewhere between a 99 and 100 percent chance this pick gets packaged, along with the aforementioned newly acquired 12th pick, to move the Bills up further to draft a quarterback. But in a hypothetical world where the Bills pick here, I’m going with another Hawkeye in the first round. Fun fact – James is the younger brother of LeShun Daniels. LeShun was a running back at Iowa and highly touted coming out of high school. He was supposed to be the The Truth. And now he’s probably his little brother’s personal trainer. Funny how that works out.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown had one of the worst combines of all time. Like, seriously, ever. But I don’t need a workout warrior, just look at THE TAPE (from what I read about, anyway). The Rams have been doing work this offseason, and it almost feels like this pick is a bit of a luxury. I’m going offensive line here because the Rams haven’t had much luck with offensive lineman at the top of the first round. Maybe the bottom of the first round will work out better for them.
24. Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Cam Newton’s receivers suck (even with Torrey Smith), and Ridley is the top WR in the draft. Sometimes its that easy, folks.
25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
At this point in the draft, its nearly impossible to find a consensus on which players will be drafted by which teams, let alone what team needs are. Landry impressed at the combine, and pass rusher is always a need. How can you not love a guy named Harold? Are there any other Harolds in the NFL?
26. Atlanta Falcons: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State
The Falcons could go in a number of directions. This is a high target for the classic ‘team trading back into the first round’ trade that always happens. I wonder how much value teams place on the 5th year option that comes with a first round pick? Would the Browns trade 33 and 35 overall for 26, just to get the 5th year option? Or is having two cracks at drafting a meaningful player more valuable?
27. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
I’ve seen Lamar Jackson here in mock drafts, but I think the Saints are focussed on finishing off the Drew Brees era as strong as possible, rather than drafting his potential replacement. There are plenty of defensive options they could get here, but I think an impact tight end can help goose the offensive enough when teams stack up against the run. Plus, my favorite Drew Brees passes are the ‘up the seam to the tight end’ passes. Let’s bring that back, please.
28. Pittsburgh: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
A value pick for the Steelers, that all happens to fill a need. The Steelers offense is pretty much set. They need to just keep throwing bodies at the defense and see what happens.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
How happy are the Jaguars to be picking this late in the first round? There would be a temptation to take a wide receiver here, given that Allen Robinson is on the way out. But I think the way Bortles performed throwing to a bunch of no names at the end of the year prevents them from going that way this early. Even with the free agent signing of Andrew Norwell at guard – for a team built on defense, running the ball, and a caretaker quarterback, you can never have too many offensive lineman.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolten Miller, OT, UCLA
The Vikes are reportedly the winners in the Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes, and are set at the skill positions. Their defense is good enough that they don’t need to go that well this early. They are sort of like the Jaguars; set a pretty much every position. Hitting on an offensive lineman here can make the whole team better.
31. New England Patriots: Leighton Vander Esch, OLB, Boise State
This just feels like a Patriots pick, doesn’t it? I just want to see them line up Kyle Van Noy and Leighton Vander Esch next to each other.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Another team that’s set at virtually every position (which might be why they won the Super Bowl). They traded away Torrey Smith already this season, and I think Kirk is a good fit here. Alshon Jeffrey can be the big receiver, they have tight ends for days, and now Kirk can be the small (he’s 5’11), shifty receiver that every team needs.
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