I’ve mocked the Bills going up to No. 2 to draft a quarterback multiple times, but what if the Giants just refuse to move down? It takes two to tango, and there’s nothing that says the Giants have to trade their pick if the Bills are willing to overpay.
In this scenario, the Giants’ speculated No. 1 quarterback is available at their pick, so they hang tight and take him. The ripple effect? After a third quarterback goes to the Jets, the Bills make a move to get in front of the Broncos and take a signal-caller of their own.
That’s right: four picks, four quarterbacks.
If it’s going to happen any year, it’s this one, where enough teams need a long-term option at the position to create a market for the four quarterbacks that look like they’ve set themselves apart from the pack. If the Broncos miss out on those four guys, could they then make if 5-for-5 and take Lamar Jackson?
I don’t have that happening here; instead, the Broncos end up with the guy many have pegged as the best overall player in the draft: Saquon Barkley. The ripple effect allows the Colts to get Bradley Chubb, which should be a welcome surprise after trading out of the No. 3 pick, and the Bears to land a blue-chip offensive lineman at No. 8.
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. After Sam Darnold’s pro day, where Jimmy Haslam was spotted chatting up Darnold’s parents in the stands, everyone pivoted to making Darnold the No. 1 pick. After Allen’s pro day, which Haslam also attended, many pivoted to making Allen the No. 1 pick. I’m going to stick with what I have, thinking Allen is the preferred choice for the Browns at this point.
2. New York Giants
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. I’ve previously had the Giants trading down from this pick so the Bills could move up and take a quarterback, but it’s starting to sound like the Giants would grab Darnold if he’s available. Though that’s not an instantly gratifying pick for Giants fans, I believe it’s the best course of action for the future of the franchise.
3. New York Jets (from IND)
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The trade-up for the Jets was all about getting into position for a quarterback, and if they can find a franchise signal-caller here, it’s well worth the overpay to move up a couple spots. Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell compares Rosen to Jay Cutler, a quarterback with which new Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has plenty of experience. Rosen could be the best fit for the Jets moving forward.
4. Buffalo Bills (CLE mock trade)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. I wouldn’t be shocked if Denver takes Mayfield should he be on the board at No. 5, so here’s where the Bills have to target if they’re going to get their guy. In this scenario, I have the Bills sacrificing their 2019 first-round pick to move up, and it might take even more than that if they buy the Broncos could be interested in making a deal with the Browns themselves. Throw in Buffalo’s fourth-rounder this year and call it an overpay, but the Bills get their franchise QB.
5. Denver Broncos
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The Broncos land Case Keenum as their starter at QB, and it’s a good thing, as the top four names at the position could be off the board by the time they pick. I like adding Quenton Nelson as the final piece of the offensive line puzzle, but with the Jared Veldheer trade strengthening the unit at right tackle, I’m going to pivot to the Broncos taking the player many people have as their No. 1 overall prospect this year in Barkley. Sure, the team like Devontae Booker, but Barkley looks like a generational talent, and adding him and a legitimate quarterback in one offseason could put the Broncos back in the playoff hunt.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ)
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Colts should be jumping for joy if they can get Chubb after trading back to No. 6. The NC State pass rusher is one of the two or three best players in the draft, and he happens to fill a big need for a Colts defense switching to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. A front consisting of Chubb, Jabaal Sheard, Henry Anderson and Al Woods could be nasty.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derwin James, S, Florida State. The Buccaneers are in a perfect spot to help their secondary with this pick by selecting either cornerback Denzel Ward, slot corner/safety Minkah Fitzpatrick or James. I think the Florida State safety is the best option for the Bucs, as he’ll be able to give them what T.J. Ward couldn’t at the strong safety position. James could quickly develop into an All-Pro caliber player.
8. Chicago Bears
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. The board falls in what may be the best-case scenario for the Bears, with Nelson plugging one of the team’s biggest needs. Chicago surprisingly declined Josh Sitton’s option, making guard one of their key needs that has yet to be addressed this offseason. There’s some speculation he could handle tackle as well, and the Bears could use an upgrade on the right side at that position. Worst case, they’ll have a locked-in interior lineman with All-Pro upside.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. The 49ers still need help in the secondary after adding Richard Sherman, who is coming off a major injury himself. Enter Fitzpatrick, who could slide in at slot corner with Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon on the boundaries, or at free safety if San Francisco decides it wants to move Jimmie Ward to corner. Either way, the Alabama product is a talent you want on your defense.
10. Oakland Raiders
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. The Raiders are seeing massive turnover at the cornerback position with David Amerson, Sean Smith and T.J. Carrie out the door. Rashaan Melvin was a nice pickup, but Shareece Wright is nothing more than depth. Enter Ward, an elite cover corner who has everything but prototypical size. He’ll be an excellent slot corner and should excel in Oakland, where Melvin and Gareon Conley can match up with bigger receivers.
11. Miami Dolphins
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. The Dolphins have been showing interest in Smith, one of the draft’s top linebackers. He’d be the long-term stud the team needs next to Raekwon McMillan, and the team could make him the immediate starter at WILL and look to trade Kiko Alonso to another team where he’d be a better fit. They can also think about getting out from Alonso’s deal next offseason if nothing else.
12. Cleveland Browns (BUF mock trade)
Vita Vea, DT, Washington. The Browns move down and miss out on one of the top non-QBs in the draft in a trade with Buffalo that nets them an extra first-round pick next year. Here they grab Vea, a defensive tackle who will give them the size they had with Danny Shelton but more pass-rush ability than the former first-rounder ever had.
13. Washington Redskins
Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia. The Redskins should be looking to upgrade the interior of their offensive line with an early pick in this draft, and this is about the range where we expect Wynn to come off the board. He doesn’t really have the size to stick at tackle, but he’s an excellent blocker who will immediately solidify the left side of the team’s offensive line, as long as Trent Williams can stay healthy.
14. Green Bay Packers
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Davenport rushed with his hand off the ground at UTSA, so playing outside linebacker in Green Bay’s base set wouldn’t be completely foreign to him. His best fit in the NFL might be as a down lineman rushing off the edge, but with NFL defenses playing nickel more than their base sets nowadays, he’d have ample opportunity to do just that even with a 3-4 team. His massive upside is well worth selecting him in the top half of the first round.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. Jackson isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the Cardinals have an offensive coordinator in Mike McCoy who can build the offense to the dynamic prospect’s strengths. Jackson isn’t ever going to be the best passer in the league, but good luck defending a running game that features David Johnson and the threat of the QB running at any time. The Cardinals would ideally trade up for one of the top four QBs, but with so many holes on the roster, they can’t afford to sacrifice picks.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. The Ravens get a great value here in Edmunds, who doesn’t turn 20 until after the draft and has as much upside as any prospect this year. He’s scheme versatile and should be an interesting chess piece for the Ravens’ defense, someone who can line up next to C.J. Mosley inside or potentially be groomed to take over for Terrell Suggs down the road.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. The Chargers address the interior of their defensive line after allowing 4.9 yards per carry in 2017. With Corey Liuget suspended to start the year and taking up way too much cap space in 2019 ($10.25 million, with a $1.5 million dead cap hit), Payne comes in to not only provide improvement against the run, but team with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to give the team a fierce pass rush on third down.
18. Minnesota Vikings (SEA mock trade)
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. The Seahawks have some rebuilding to do, but they have zero picks on Day 2. The Vikings don’t have many needs, but one glaring one is guard. They can certainly sacrifice their second-rounder to move up and get one of the top-tier guards behind Nelson, and Hernandez and Isaiah Wynn are unlikely to make it to No. 30 with guard-needy teams like the Cowboys, Lions, Panthers and the Seahawks themselves ahead of Minnesota.
19. Dallas Cowboys
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. The Cowboys addressed their receiver need by signing Allen Hurns, so even though Calvin Ridley is on the board, I have them passing on the position. Dallas has shown plenty of interest in Vander Esch in the run up to the draft, and he’d be an excellent replacement for Anthony Hitchens who could slot in as the long-term heir to Sean Lee as a three-down tackling machine.
20. Detroit Lions
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. The Lions re-signed Nevin Lawson and brought in Deshawn Shead, but neither should prevent them from selecting a potential starter at the position across from Darius Slay should the right opportunity present itself. Matt Patricia gets a ballhawk with this pick who led the nation in interceptions last year.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF)
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. The Bengals took a step toward addressing their offensive line woes by acquiring left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Bills and moving down to this pick. They should keep adding talent to the position with McGlinchey, who is a fit at either tackle spot. He’ll slot in at right tackle initially but could move to the left side if Glenn can’t stay healthy. Either way, drafting the Notre Dame standout puts the Bengals halfway to fixing their line issues.
22. Buffalo Bills
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. The Bills traded up for a quarterback earlier in this mock, but with the key piece going out being their 2019 first-round pick, they still have all their picks on the first two days of the draft with which to address their many needs. Here they go with possibly the best receiver in this draft in Sutton, a big-bodied receiver who would fit in perfectly with the type of receivers Brandon Beane’s old franchise used to acquire in Carolina. With Kelvin Benjamin not under contract long-term and Zay Jones dealing with off-field issues, Sutton gives the team’s new franchise QB a No. 1 target with which to grow.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama. The Rams threw a lot of resources at upgrading their secondary and defensive line while dealing away linebackers Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree this offseason. That makes both rush linebacker and inside linebacker a need for the team heading into the draft. Evans is the last blue-chip linebacker available, and he’s a better fit for Wade Phillips’s 3-4 than Ogletree or Mark Barron.
24. Carolina Panthers
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The Panthers brought in Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright to help at the receiver position, but neither can be mistaken for a No. 1 option. But Ridley, who had a terrible combine and could slip further than some expect, would give Cam Newton a potentially excellent No. 1 receiver, pushing Devin Funchess back to the No. 2 role and leaving Smith, Wright and Curtis Samuel as strong depth options.
25. Tennessee Titans
Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. Landry is an athletic freak as an edge rusher, but he’ll likely be better served not playing a large role as a rookie while he adjusts to the NFL and potentially bulks up. That should be just fine for the Titans, who will have a huge need at edge rusher next offseason with Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan slated to reach free agency. Landry can be a subpackage player in Year 1 and eventually take over one of those starting spots in 2019.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. The Falcons don’t have many needs, but one spot they could be targeting in the first round is defensive tackle, with Dontari Poe only signing a one-year deal last offseason. Bryan has earned some J.J. Watt comparisons despite the lack of stats at the collegiate level, and he put up similar numbers to Watt at the combine. Defensive tackle is one of the Falcons’ few needs, and they’ll be fortunate if Bryan makes it to them.
27. New Orleans Saints
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. The Saints should be looking at receiver, tight end and defensive end with this pick, if Sean Payton is to be believed, unless an unbelievable value presents itself. With that not being the case, they go with Moore, who should step in and be a fantastic weapon out of the slot immediately.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. If the Steelers don’t get Le’Veon Bell signed to a long-term deal by the draft, it’s possible they pivot to selecting Guice, a player in whom they’ve shown plenty of interest in the run up to the draft. It would be fascinating to see if the Steelers could turn around and trade Bell after selecting Guice; could they get the Eagles to send over a Jordan Hicks or Mychal Kendricks plus a pick for the talented back? Could you even begin to imagine Bell on that offense?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Blake Bortles signed an extension that doesn’t necessarily lock him into being the Jaguars’ long-term option at the position. With value not on the board at other potential positions worth targeting, the Jaguars grab Rudolph with the hope they can develop him into a guy who can raise the ceiling on the offense higher than Bortles has shown capable.
30. Cleveland Browns (SEA/MIN mock trade)
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. The Seahawks move down again, picking up No. 35 and 114 and giving them two seconds (including the one received from Minnesota in a previous mock trade), two fourths and four fifths to address several issues and move around a bit more on Day 2 and 3. The Browns move up to snag a potential Joe Thomas replacement at left tackle before the Patriots and Eagles have the chance to take him.
31. New England Patriots
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. There weren’t many players that had a better combine than Miller, who set a record for offensive linemen with a 10-foot-1 broad jump while also running a 4.95 40 at 310 pounds. Coupled with the expected fall of Orlando Brown after his woeful showing, Miller could earn a ticket to the first round in the draft. With the Patriots unable to retain Nate Solder, Miller gives them a potential blindside blocker for Tom Brady.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Reid, FS, Stanford. With two potential tackle options coming off the board right before their pick, the Eagles pivot to taking Reid, a safety they’ve reportedly had a lot of interest in. Corey Graham is a free agent, so Reid can come in and immediately fill the third safety role for the Philadelphia defense while giving them a long-term plan when Malcolm Jenkins or Rodney McLeod get too old or expensive to keep.
33. Cleveland Browns
Ronnie Harrison, SS, Alabama. The Browns have strengthened the rest of their secondary, but Harrison gives them a great player to pair with Damarious Randall at safety, shifting Jabrill Peppers to a more fluid role.
34. New York Giants
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. The Giants get great value with this first-round talent to address an area of need.
35. Seattle Seahawks (CLE mock trade)
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn. The Seahawks finally make a pick after trading down twice, taking Richard Sherman’s replacement in Davis.
36. Indianapolis Colts
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF. The Colts will need to find a cornerback in the second round, and Hughes is the best available. He also has experience in zone, which helps in the team’s new scheme.
37. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ)
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State. Price injured his pec at the combine and had surgery to repair it, but he should be fine for the start of the season. He should immediately plug into a guard slot for Indy.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. The Bucs boosted the secondarly earlier with a safety, and here they find a long-term starter at corner in Oliver.
39. Chicago Bears
Arden Key, OLB, LSU. Key has the talent of a top-10 pick, but he struggled in 2017 and brings off-field red flags. Even so, expect a team to gamble on his upside on Day 2.
40. Denver Broncos
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. The Broncos add another playmaker on offense with their second pick in Goedert, who will give Case Keenum a quality passing-game option at tight end from the jump.
41. Oakland Raiders
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. Brown’s stock tanked after a woeful combine performance, but he improved his numbers at his pro day. The Raiders have a massive need at right tackle.
42. Miami Dolphins
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State. The Dolphins met with Gesicki at the Senior Bowl, and he’d be an excellent passing-game weapon after blowing the doors off the combine.
43. New England Patriots (from SF)
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State. The Patriots signed Adrian Clayborn in free agency but can’t pass up this great value in Hubbard, who might fill a Rob Ninkovich-type role with New England.
44. Washington Redskins
James Daniels, C, Iowa. Washington lands a plug-and-play center to replace Long, who didn’t have the ceiling of the Iowa pivot anyway. Along with Wynn in the round, this team should feel confident about its O-line upgrades.
45. Green Bay Packers
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU. The Packers will need to find a cornerback early in the draft, and Jackson gives them elite speed at the position to pair with Kevin King.
46. Cincinnati Bengals
Martinas Rankin, C, Mississippi State. The Bengals keep attacking their offensive line issues by taking Rankin, who should be a great fit at center in the NFL.
47. Arizona Cardinals
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State. The Cardinals must upgrade their tackle situation, and Jones is the best option on the board.
48. Los Angeles Chargers
Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC. The Chargers added help at defensive tackle earlier, and here they take a talented USC ‘backer who could also give them even more pass rush from the position.
49. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ/SEA)
Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State. The Colts have a major need for linebackers who can play in the new 4-3 scheme, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t use a second-round pick to get one. Pencil in Leonard at WILL.
50. Dallas Cowboys
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. This would be great value for the Cowboys after Hurst went through a medical issue at the combine.
51. Detroit Lions
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia. The Lions signed LeGarrette Blount, but that shouldn’t prevent them from drafting a potential long-term answer at the position.
52. Baltimore Ravens
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. The Ravens land a good all-around tight end to address a position that’s been an issue for years.
53. Buffalo Bills
Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas. The Bills find their replacement for Eric Wood with Ragnow, who brings physicality and leadership at the pivot.
54. Kansas City Chiefs
Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia. The Chiefs use their first pick on an upgrade for their edge rusher who should eventually develop into a three-down starter.
55. Carolina Panthers
Jessie Bates, FS, Wake Forest. The Panthers added Da’Norris Searcy to help at strong safety, but with Mike Adams 37 years old, Bates gives them a long-term option at free safety.
56. Buffalo Bills (from LAR)
Josey Jewell, ILB, Iowa. The Bills grab a linebacker who has great instincts and mental toughness, even if he’ll be seen as undersized by many.
57. Tennessee Titans
Rasheem Green, DE, USC. Finding another 3-4 DE isn’t the biggest need for the Titans with DaQuan Jones re-signed, but Green is an excellent rotational option at the position who could dominate as an interior rusher on passing downs.
58. Atlanta Falcons
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M. The Falcons get great value here in Kirk, who can take over the slot from Mohamed Sanu once the team moves on from his contract.
59. San Francisco 49ers (from NO)
Braden Smith, G, Auburn. The 49ers have issues at guard, where former first round picks Laken Tomlinson (by the Lions) and Josh Garnett (by the previous regime in San Francisco) have struggled.
60. Pittsburgh Steelers
Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas. Jefferson would fit better in a 4-3, but with the Steelers needing to find help inside in their 3-4 scheme, he’s too talented to pass up.
61. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC. The Jaguars went big at running back in last year’s draft, and here they get a nice complement who can be lethal in small doses at a great value.
62. Seattle Seahawks (MIN mock trade)
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon. The Seahawks find a potential starter at right tackle in Crosby, and if he pans out, it would go a long way toward solving Seattle’s line issues.
63. New England Patriots
Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech. The Patriots find a potential heir to Vince Wilfork with this pick, just in case Danny Shelton doesn’t pan out.
64. Cleveland Browns (from PHI)
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. The Browns brought in Jarvis Landry but he’s on the franchise tag and Josh Gordon is one strike from never playing again. Washington helps fortify the position.