With the NFL Draft nearing, a team of Unfiltered Access writers worked together in creating a mock draft for the first round only. There were some trades as picks were made for nearly every team in the first round. Here were the results below:
1. Cleveland Browns: USC, Sam Darnold, QB
Jones: The quarterback with the highest ceiling. Don’t discount the Hue Jackson USC alumni connection as this is the quarterback he has the most knowledge on. Remember when he was with the Raiders and traded several picks for Carson Palmer? He’s salivating at the chance to draft the next Trojan great.
2. New York Giants: UCLA, Josh Rosen, QB
Koatz: After months of speculation surrounding what they’d do with the second overall pick, the Giants could end up not trading down and select their next franchise quarterback. Although other prospects might be in heavy consideration, the Giants shouldn’t pass on Rosen’s talent and let him slip to their hometown rival, the Jets. The Giants finally would have their successor to Eli Manning and they could develop Rosen behind the two-time Super Bowl MVP for a year or two.
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield, QB
Gude: The Jets moved up from six to the third spot in the draft to possibly draft a quarterback. That is exactly what they could do in selecting the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback out of Oklahoma. Having veteran quarterbacks in Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgwater, Mayfield would get to work behind and learn from them. His personality and fire would be a good fit in New York especially with the media.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): NC State, Bradley Chubb, EDGE
Jones: Chubb is considered one of the best defenders in the 2018 class. Cleveland cannot miss on the opportunity to add a top flight pass rusher. Adding Darnold then Chubb at four, two of the most important positions in the league, Cleveland would have solved both positions in the long haul.
5. Denver Broncos: Notre Dame, Quenton Nelson, OG
Frost: The Broncos signed Case Keenum this offseason so a quarterback does not have to be a top priority here. Nelson instantly improves the Broncos with his number one Pro Football Focus interior offensive lineman ranking. He would help protect Keenum as the Broncos ranked third in the NFL in terms of most sacks given up with 52. Expect a few All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections in Nelson’s future.
6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Penn State, Saquon Barkley, RB
Townes: Shocking right? This would be a dream scenario for the Colts as they would get arguably the best player in the draft. Barkley would help a rushing attack that finished in the bottom-third of the league. In addition, his pass-catching ability would help Andrew Luck or Jacoby Brissett as quick dump offs should decrease the 56 sacks Indy gave up last year.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Florida State, Derwin James, S
Hall: The Bucs struggled in pass defense last season, finishing last in total passing yards. James could be able to step in immediately and fill the void in the defensive backfield. At Florida State, he was a ball hawking safety who had the athleticism to play sideline-to-sideline as well as rack up interceptions and sacks.
8. Chicago Bears: Alabama, Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB
Franz: If Fitzpatrick is still here at eight, he makes the most logical sense for the Bears. The team spent the entire free agency period beefing up the offense so expect them to focus more on defense, especially early on. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback so his versatility makes him a useful piece in the secondary and one of his strengths at Alabama was blitzing. All of that combined into one can make him a defensive centerpiece for years to come and that’s a bargain at the eighth overall pick.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Georgia, Roquan Smith, LB
Rollins: In an absolutely loaded defensive class, the Gold Nation could select the linebacker out of Georgia. Smith is rock solid in the middle of the defense and he gives the team a nice balance of need and stud potential. With former first round pick Reuben Foster banned from team activities this offseason, the 49ers need to secure some talent at the linebacker position and most scouts believe Smith is the most ready at his respective position.
10. Arizona Cardinals (projected trade w/Oakland Raiders): Wyoming, Josh Allen, QB
Gude: It would be a smart move to move up to select Allen especially with Miami at number 11 and Buffalo at number 12 needing quarterbacks. So trading up to 10 to grab Allen makes a lot of sense. He would learn under Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon for the next couple of seasons, which could help him grow as a NFL quarterback and help him transition into a starter.
11. Miami Dolphins: Louisville, Lamar Jackson, QB
Cohen: All offseason Miami has been linked to the idea of drafting a quarterback in the first round. Ryan Tannehill who is coming off ACL surgery, is in a make or break year, with a team option on his contract for the 2019 season. Head coach Adam Gase showed his ability to maximize a quarterback’s skills in Denver with Peyton Manning, so it makes sense why the Dolphins would want to start developing a young signal caller. Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, While there were no questions surrounding his arm ability, there were as to why he did not run in the combine after being touted the fastest quarterback in the draft. Nonetheless, the Fins would be thrilled to have him.
12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Ohio State, Billy Price, C
Berger: With multiple glaring needs to fill there is none bigger than that of quarterback. With the “top tier” already gone in this scenario, the Bills would select their replacement for Eric Wood in Price. With excellent explosiveness, the interior linemen can come in and start right away in the middle or slide over to guard if Richie Incognito does not return to the team. With his biggest weaknesses being his impatience as a blocker, working with a hard nosed, no non-sense coach such as Sean McDermott can do him well. While it may not be the flashiest pick, it can be one that sets the tone for the organization for years to come.
13. Washington Redskins: Washington, Vita Vea, NT
Townes: This is not the most glamorous pick to fans, but football is won in the trenches. Sticking with that notion, Vea is 6’5 and 340 pounds so he just makes sense here for a unit that struggled stopping the run. After all, Washington did allow a league-high 134.1 yards on the ground.
14. Green Bay Packers: Ohio State, Denzel Ward, CB
Franz: Ward is the best cornerback in the draft. He plays his receivers tight and mirrors their routes as if he’s the one running them. He plays physical enough to breakup passes, but not cause pass interference penalties. He’s a nearly perfect cornerback. If he slips to 14, there is no other option for the Packers. In a division with Allen Robinson, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Marvin Jones, and Golden Tate, taking away one side of the field on defense is a necessity if you want to win games.
15. Oakland Raiders (projected trade w/Arizona Cardinals): Virginia Tech, Tremaine Edmunds, LB
Jones: Edmunds solves the Raiders long standing linebacker deficiency. If they re-sign NaVorro Bowman, he can play outside as he learns the middle position from the veteran. Think of what defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was able to do with Vontaze Burfict in Cincinnatti.
16. Baltimore Ravens: UTSA, Marcus Davneport, EDGE
Cohen: Marcus Davenport might not be Bradley Chubb, but he is defintely a beast and that is for certain. The Ravens have an aging defensive line anchored by Haloti N’Gata and Terrel Suggs. At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds Davenport is a noticeable man on the football field, with great height for an edge rusher. In 2017, he was voted Conference USA with 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He can provide a burst on the outside and open up holes making taking some of the workload off aging veterans like Suggs and N’Gata.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Alabama, Da’Ron Payne, DT
Townes: The Chargers feature an underrated secondary capable of giving quarterbacks and receivers fits. Selecting a linebacker might be in play here at 17. On the contrary, Los Angeles, like Washington, struggled against the run, finishing ranked 31st in the league.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Iowa, Josh Jackson, CB
Frost: Richard Sherman is no longer with the Seahawks as he signed with NFC West rival San Francisco. His ball hawking skills were one of the factors that made the Seahawks defense lethal for many years so it makes sense to take the college football leader in interceptions. Jackson led college football with eight interceptions in 2017, earning himself first-team AP All-American honors. The “12s” would be pleased with Jackson as they rebuild their defense.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Alabama, Calvin Ridley, WR
Williams: With Cowboys picking Ridley, he is the best option to replace the departed Dez Bryant. Ridley comes from a winning organization having played at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. Ridley also was able to make big plays. One example was on September 2, 2017 when he used his speed to get behind the Florida State defense and catch a pass for a 53-yard touchdown. Also, last season, the Cowboys only converted on 87 of the 203 third down attempts. Ridley could help in that aspect as well.
20. Buffalo Bills (projected trade w/Detroit Lions): Oklahoma State, Mason Rudolph, QB
Berger: The Bills may have missed out on the “top tier” of quarterbacks in this year’s draft, but Rudolph is a nice consolation prize without having to trade a plethora of picks. The senior led the FBS with 377 passing yards per game (4,904 total), completing 65 percent of his passes, and finishing among the nation’s leaders with 37 touchdowns while throwing just nine interceptions. Perhaps the best long ball thrower in this draft, Rudolph can sit behind apparent starter A.J. McCarron as the front office had originally planned. In a run heavy offense, the big-armed quarterback would be able to stretch the field in Orchard Park for years to come.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): Alabama, Rashaan Evans, LB
Koatz: Showing his explosive talent throughout his four-year Alabama career, Rashaan Evans would provide a much-needed boost to the Bengals linebacking core. Since Vontaze Burfict can be unreliable at times, it would make sense for the Bengals to bolster this position. With Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and possibly a new rookie throwing in the division, the Bengals will need a bevy of options to help pressure the opposing quarterbacks.
22. Detroit Lions (projected trade w/Buffalo Bills): Michigan, Maurice Hurst Jr., DL
Hall: The Lions are thin at defensive interior lineman after losing Haloti Ngata this offseason. Hurst would be a phenomenal fit for what the Lions need most. Getting to the quarterback wasn’t the strength of the Lions last season and Hurst has proved he’s one of the best interior lineman at doing so. In his final two seasons at Michigan, Hurst registered 10.5 sacks. The only thing stopping Hurst from reaching his full potential would be a heart condition that was discovered at the combine. If he can overcome that, he’ll fit right in to new Lions head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive scheme.
23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Notre Dame, Mike McGlinchey, OT
Williams: With the Patriots pick of McGlinchey would bring quick feet, athleticism, and brute strength to the team. He has the ability to play both right or left tackle so he would provide plenty of options for the Patriots as they look to replace Nate Solder who departed to free agency. Last season, the Patriots only allowed 35 sacks. The Patriots will hope that a younger McGlinchey can use his ability to protect Tom Brady.
24. Carolina Panthers: Georgia, Sony Michel, RB
Gude: This pick might be a head-scratcher, but Michel did have 4,234 yards from scrimmage with 39 total touchdowns. Having Christian McCaffrey already in the backfield could possibly mean Carolina could have two dominant all-purpose backs at Cam Newton’s disposal. Another aspect that Michel can bring to the Panthers is in the special teams department as a punt/kick returner with his 4.54 speed he could be someone they look to put back there to set the table.
25. Tennessee Titans: Boston College, Harold Landry, EDGE
Frost: In 2016, Landry racked up 16.5 sacks and had the makings of a top 10 selection in this years draft earlier in the season. However, an ankle injury caused him to miss five games and cause some worry to teams. The Titans should not worry as Landry has all the makings of an elite pass rusher: good burst, length, and the ability to bend around opposing blockers. Landry has something to prove so the Titans will be happy with this selection.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Georgia, Isaiah Wynn, OL
Rollins: The Falcons would stay local with their pick of Wynn. The Georgia Bulldog was a 2017 captain on a team that made it to the National Championship game and if that’s not enough he started all 15 games in the Bulldogs’ season run. Although most of Wynn’s playing time came at offensive tackle, many believe he will make a comfortable shift to guard in the NFL.
27. New Orleans Saints: South Carolina, Hayden Hurst, TE
Cohen: The Saints have made it no secret that they are looking to draft a tight end early in this year’s draft. It seems that ever since the Saints traded former Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham for center Max Unger, they have not found a viable solution to replace him. Hurst, the 2015 walk-on, could fill the massive void that has been left behind for three seasons. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, he is more than capable of being a starting tight end after posting 44 catches and 559 yards at South Carolina. The window is closing with Drew Brees and adding Hurst would give the future Hall of Famer a new target down the middle of the field.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alabama, Ronnie Harrison, S
Hall: The Steelers could go linebacker, quarterback, and even running back with the 28th selection. Howver, safety is the spot they need to address immediately if they want to keep championship hopes alive. Harrison would be a great fit to slot in at either safety spot. He has excellent range and ideal size. Modeling his game after the late Sean Taylor, Harrison would bring a level of nastiest and aggression to the Steelers’ defense.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Maryland, DJ Moore, WR
Franz: The Jaguars need a new top receiver after the departure of the aforementioned Robinson (see pick 14). Moore brings something different than Robinson to the table though. Robinson created separation through crisp route running. Moore knows he’s at a disadvantage because of his height, standing at 5’10, but he has the speed to make up for it. He also adds an element of surprise to an offense. Maryland would run jet sweeps with him as well as have him throw the ball and line him up as a running back in some sets. There’s a lot that Moore can do and the Jags could use him to continue the growth with Blake Bortles and the offense.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Texas, Connor Williams, OT
Townes: The Vikings just signed Kirk Cousins in the offseason and the best gift for him, in the draft, would be getting him some help up front. The offensive line finished ranked 22nd in the league according to Pro Football Focus with Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers graded below the average (70). They were inconsistent when rushing the ball despite finishing seventh in the league in rushing. Williams could be a step in the right direction to bringing stability as he is a nasty run-blocking tackle.
31. New England Patriots: South Dakota State, Dallas Goedert, TE
Koatz: With Gronkowski’s future with the team seriously in doubt, the Patriots could be looking for another tight end. Bill Belichick loves to use two tight ends in his offensive formations. If Gronk leaves the Patriots at some point, they can play Goedert. Goedert has great hands for his size and is a capable blocker that would fit perfectly into the Patriots’ offensive scheme.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Oklahoma, Mark Andrews, TE
Berger: After losing franchise favorite Brent Celek and Super Bowl star Trey Burton this off-season, the Eagles land their replacement and complement to starter Zach Ertz. The Oklahoma product who hauled in 62-receptions for 958-yards his senior season allows the Eagles to give opposing defenses match up nightmares. With 22 touchdown receptions in his collegiate career, the big red zone threat is just another weapon at Carson Wentz’s disposal.