Am I the only one who can barely contain their excitement? We’re in full-on draft season, and the 2018 class is really rounding into form. With some absolute elite talents in Saquon Barkley and Quenton Nelson, and a terrific quarterback class led by Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, I think we’re in for a dramatic finish to a process that started many months ago.
Enough talk, let’s get into Mock Draft 3.0!
1) Cleveland Browns (0-16): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
If I’m John Dorsey I’m taking the best prospect in the draft at number one, and the best QB available at four. In this case, you’d get your choice of Darnold, Allen, and Mayfield. That’s not bad. Barkley is the best prospect I’ve graded in my three years covering the draft. I don’t really care that he’s a running back. This kid is a franchise-changer from day one.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (1): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) February 27, 2018
2) New York Giants (3-13): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Newly-hired head coach Pat Shurmur couldn’t be happier. He lands the best signal-caller in the draft and sets his future up with an offense built around Rosen, Odell Beckham, and Evan Engram. Under Shurmur, Rosen would bloom quite well into the franchise quarterback we all know he can be. He’s the best pure passer in this class and his long-term stats would be downright silly if New York were able to patch up the offensive line.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (2): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
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3) Indianapolis Colts (4-12): Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
I’m more confident in this pick than any other. The only way I don’t see this marriage happening is if Barkley is available, or if a QB-needy team trades up to get their guy. Chubb is simply an amazing blend of size, athleticism, strength, and bend. He should have a handful of double-digit seasons by the time he hangs up the cleats.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (3): Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) February 10, 2018
4) Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans (4-12)): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Neither Darnold, Allen, or Mayfield would surprise me here. Obviously, Cleveland needs a quarterback, and it’s just going to come down to who general manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson like the most. Darnold is my QB2 for a variety of reasons, the main one being his high floor. His accuracy and mobility in the pocket have me thinking he can consistently be who Case Keenum was for Minnesota in 2017.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (4): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
5) Denver Broncos (5-11): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Since the clock hit zero on the Wyoming Cowboys regular season, Josh Allen has been nothing short of brilliant. He threw for a combined five touchdown and zero interceptions through his bowl game and the Senior Bowl. And oh yeah, he absolutely crushed at the combine. He finished third in the 40, first in the vertical jump and broad jump, and second in the three-cone drill. Pretty amazing stuff. I think Allen has become a top ten lock.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (5): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
6) New York Jets (5-11): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield is the only quarterback I graded at above average on every category on tape. If he’s even half as good in the NFL as he is on film, he’s got a bright, bright future. His 6’1″ frame is my only real concern, which I understand, can be a tall barrier to hurdle. Yet another Heisman trophy winner is entering the NFL. Let’s hope Mayfield doesn’t lose his magic.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (6): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Tampa Bay fell flat on their face in 2017. Coming in as an NFC dark horse, the Bucs ended up finishing fourth in the south, a full five games behind the division’s third-place finisher, the Atlanta Falcons. What can we point to that needs improvement? How about a pass defense that finished last in the entire league. Enter Minkah Fitzpatrick. This is a match made in heaven. Fitzpatrick would step in from day one and be the Bucs best defensive back. This would be a good get at number seven for Jason Licht.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (7): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Renfrow made the catch, but even still, Minkah Fitzpatrick showed amazing hip and change of direction quickness! This kid is a special talent. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter @minkfitz_21 pic.twitter.com/LxcT3wDrlQ
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) February 17, 2018
8) Chicago Bears (5-11): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward cemented his status as a top-12 pick with his 4.32 40, 39 inch vertical, and class best 11’4 inch broad jump. Along with his elite athletic ability, he might just have the smoothest hips of anyone in this group. My only concern with the Buckeye is his 5’10” height and somewhat mediocre ability in the run game that could hold him back. But corners with his pure cover skills don’t grow on trees, and he’s worth a top-ten pick.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (8): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
9) San Francisco 49ers (6-10): Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Even I as the author have a lot of pause with Quenton Nelson lasting this long in the draft. If not for Barkley, he’d be the best pure talent in this entire class. Don’t be surprised if Nelson is an All-Pro as a rookie. Kyle Shanahan appears to have his franchise guy in Jimmy Garoppolo, now it’s time to simply add quality talent.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (10): Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
10) Oakland Raiders (6-10): Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Jon Gruden lands my draft crush. Tremaine Edmunds is my dream Sam linebacker. 6’5″, 253 lbs, and runs a 4.54 40. Intrigued? Throw in the fact that he has 34 inch arms and is one of the best tacklers you’ll see, and you have yourself an NFL starter. And we haven’t even gotten to his ability man coverage, and ease shedding blocks. Give me Tremaine Edmunds (who hasn’t even turned 20) all day, every day.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (9): Connor Williams, OT, Texas
11) Miami Dolphins (6-10): Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Miami finished a respectable 16th in the league in pass defense but still needs a franchise cornerback. Joshua Jackson didn’t have an overly impressive combine, but plug in the tape and you’ll quickly see why that doesn’t matter. Jackson combines outstanding cerebral ability with ball skills you just don’t see from corners out of college. He should be an interception magnet and quality man and zone defender throughout his entire career.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (11): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) January 16, 2018
12) Cincinnati Bengals (7-9): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The heart and soul of a Georgia Bulldog defense that lost the National Championship by the slimmest of margins, Roquan Smith is a football player through and through. He’s a rangy athlete with the toughness and strength to make plays in the run game. Another player with great football IQ, Smith is about as solid as they come at the linebacker position.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (12): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
13) Washington Redskins (7-9): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Woah! Perhaps the first shocker? Washington lands their next signal-caller in former Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson. What is there left to be said about Jackson? The kid is simply the best athlete I’ve ever scouted at the quarterback position and has enough of an arm to make plays through the air. His accuracy over the middle has been scary as I’ve watched him, but his upside is too tantalizing to pass on for a QB-needy team.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (13): Derwin James, SS, FSU
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) March 7, 2018
14) Green Bay Packers (7-9): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Green Bay was tough to mock for. Going with a corner would be ideal, but after Ward and Jackson, there a definite drop off that puts the Pack in a bad spot. So, I ended up going with McGlinchey. I mean, it’s never a bad idea to upgrade your protection of one of the best quarterbacks this league has to offer. A two-year captain in South Bend who honored that title by being a pretty damn consistent tackle, McGlinchey should be a solid starter for many years.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (14): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
15) Arizona Cardinals (8-8): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
While McGlinchey has been at the top of draft boards for a long time, Kolton Miller has seen his stock rise immensely over the past few months. And after his captivating show he put on at the combine, he should be here to stay. The offense would still need a lot of work in Arizona, but this is a good start for Steve Keim.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (15): Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist
16) Baltimore Ravens (9-7): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Even after Ridley’s relatively underwhelming combine, expect him to be a mid-first-round pick. The tape is too promising. Whether it’s his route running, burst off the line, or after-the-catch ability, Calvin Ridley has proven himself to be the best WR in the draft. The Baltimore offense was about as stale as I’ve ever seen in 2017, so adding playmakers like Ridley is a must.
Mock Draft 2.0 Selection (16): *Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Check back soon for picks 17-32 and the second round!