Soapbox NFL Mock Draft 2018 – Our Experts Weigh In With Their Predicted Draft Pick Order

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1.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS – RB SAQUON BARKLEY, PENN STATE

Barkley is the best player in the draft, and to me it doesn’t make sense to take a quarterback at number 1 when you also have pick 4. The Colts aren’t taking a quarterback, so the Browns will have their choice of Rosen, Allen, Darnold, Mayfield, or whoever’s left when their second pick comes around. The Browns just need talent. Take the best overall player and get your QB a couple picks later.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS – SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, Penn State

Although Saquon Barkley doesn’t directly address one of the Browns’ significant needs at quarterback, cornerback, or right tackle, this pick is an absolute no-brainer. Barkley, a freak athlete coming out of Penn State, will make his impact felt instantly, as he is the most talented player in this class and should thrive behind the Browns’ highly upgraded offensive line. The Browns, who recently traded for ex-Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, will likely use one of their later picks (4, 33, 35) to address their need for a franchise quarterback, as Barkley is a generational talent that they simply cannot pass on.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS – RB SAQUON BARKLEY, PENN STATE

Nothing has changed here. Barkley is the best player in the draft, and he’s a perfect fit for the Browns new look offense. They have a quarterback, an offensive line, and receivers, but now they need a dynamic running back. Barkley is the only smart pick here because he’s not lasting until pick four.

2.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
NEW YORK GIANTS – QB JOSH ROSEN, UCLA

Eli Manning will likely still be there, but the Giants are going to have to replace him soon. Rosen can come in and learn from Manning for a year or two, eventually taking over his spot. This would allow the Giants to not have a huge hole at the position when the time comes for Eli.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
NEW YORK GIANTS – OG QUENTON NELSON, Notre Dame

With Saquon Barkley off of the board after the Browns’ pick, Quenton Nelson becomes the best player available in the draft. With both Eli Manning and Davis Webb still on their roster, the Giants front office won’t feel pressured to fix their situation at quarterback with this pick, as Manning is a veteran quarterback, while Webb has high development potential. Instead, the Giants will likely choose to address their glaring need on their offensive line, which will help to both protect Eli Manning and bolster their lackluster run game. Nelson, the undisputed top offensive lineman in this year’s class, will certainly be able to alleviate this need.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
NEW YORK GIANTS – QB JOSH ROSEN, UCLA

I think the Giants are hoping the Browns don’t take Saquon Barkley. They can get a couple more years out of Manning, and having a running game would really help him. If the Browns are smart, the Giants will have to go with a backup plan and draft their quarterback of the future. Rosen is considered the best pure passer in the draft and has been compared to Eli Manning several times. He can learn under Manning and then take over in a couple years.

3.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – DE BRADLEY CHUBB, N.C. STATE

The Colts need to get some pressure on the edge. They ranked 31st in the league in sacks last season. Chubb won’t fix the whole problem. Not one player can, but he’s a great start. Not only is Chubb the best Defensive End in this class, but he’s also one of the best players available at this point.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS –DE BRADLEY CHUBB, NC State

The Indianapolis Colts could not have been luckier with their draft position, as Bradley Chubb, an elite edge rusher out of NC State, will almost certainly still be available at the 3rd overall pick. The Colts desperately need an edge rusher to ease their transition to an upfield 4-3 attack, and luckily for them, the best pass-rusher in this year’s class will fall in their lap. Chubb, an absolute wrecking force in college who has drawn comparisons to Joey Bosa and Chris Long, looks to continue his family’s dominance in football (he and Nick Chubb are cousins) at the perfect landing spot in Indianapolis.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – DE BRADLEY CHUBB, N.C. STATE

This defense ranked 31st in sacks last season (25). That has to be better if the Colts want to improve. Bradley Chubb can step in the building from day one and instantly improve that sack total. The defense improved a little bit toward the end of the season, but there’s still a lot to improve on. Start that by taking the best defensive lineman in the draft.

4.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS – QB SAM DARNOLD, USC

Now it’s time to take the QB. Picking Darnold to go with Barkley could give the Browns a QB/RB combo teams will fear for years to come. Hopefully Darnold can avoid the curse of being a Browns quarterback.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS (FROM HOUSTON TEXANS) – QB SAM DARNOLD, USC

Even after the Browns’ recent trade with the Buffalo Bills that sent Tyrod Taylor, a dual-threat quarterback, to Cleveland, it is overwhelmingly likely that the Browns address their glaring need at quarterback with the 4th overall pick. After bolstering up their offensive line, trading for an elite receiving target in Jarvis Landry, and picking Saquon Barkley with the 1st overall pick, selecting quarterback Sam Darnold with the 4th overall pick would complete the Browns complete revamp of their offense. Darnold, albeit a turnover machine, is likely the best quarterback in this year’s class and will thrive under Hue Jackson’s offense in Cleveland.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
CLEVELAND BROWNS – DB MINKAH FITZPATRICK, ALABAMA

Quarterback will be a popular pick here, but to take a quarterback this high I think the Browns need to love one of these guys. I’m not sold on that. With Tyrod Taylor now in Cleveland, they have a capable quarterback to hold them until they find the guy they love. Fitzpatrick would be a great pick because he could do so much for this defense, which was horrible last season by the way. Play him anywhere and he’ll get the job done.

5.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
DENVER BRONCOS – G QUENTON NELSON, NOTRE DAME

Denver is one of the front runners to sign Kirk Cousins, which would make this a perfect pick. Even if they don’t get Cousins, the offensive line needs an upgrade for whoever plays quarterback. Nelson is the best in the draft at his position and he fills a major need for this team.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
DENVER BRONCOS – QB JOSH ROSEN, UCLA

After dealing with a frustrating combination of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch at the quarterback position over the past two seasons, it has become clear that the Broncos are ready to move on from all three and look to draft their replacement at the 5th overall pick. Unlike other teams towards the top of the draft, the Broncos have much more of a ‘win-now’ attitude, which makes Josh Rosen, the most pro-ready passer in this year’s class, the perfect pick. Although Rosen certainly has had his share of issues over the past year, he is still a fantastic quarterback who will be a nice fit in Denver.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
DENVER BRONCOS – G QUENTON NELSON, NOTRE DAME

Now that the Broncos are going to have Case Keenum, they’re going to have to protect him. Quenton Nelson is the best offensive lineman in the draft. He’d give Keenum a lot more time in the pocket to make better throws.

6.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
NEW YORK JETS – QB JOSH ALLEN, WYOMING

The Jets need a quarterback. I’m personally not a fan of Allen, but I don’t think the Jets can pass him up because of need and his potential. If they pick Allen, they can’t expect him to be a quick fix for their quarterback problems.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
NEW YORK JETS – QB BAKER MAYFIELD, OKLAHOMA

Possibly more than any other team in the draft, the New York Jets need to fill their gaping hole at the quarterback position, as their search for a franchise quarterback has spanned nearly a decade. Mayfield, an electric quarterback coming out of Oklahoma and the most recent winner of the Heisman Trophy, stands to perfectly fill this need, as he is an ultra-talented quarterback with culture-changing intensity. He continues to have his share of doubters, as he is an undersized spread quarterback (that combo has typically not fared well in the NFL), but he flourished in that command system in Oklahoma and should do so at the next level as well.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
NEW YORK JETS – QB JOSH ALLEN, WYOMING

This was a possible destination for Kirk Cousins, but it looks like the Vikings are in the driver seat now after offering him $84 Million over 3 years. They have to take care of their quarterback problem. Josh Allen had a great combine performance showing teams what he can do as a quarterback. He’s got a big arm and his accuracy was exactly what everyone wanted to see.

7.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – CB MINKAH FITZPATRICK, ALABAMA

The best available player in the draft goes here. Fitzpatrick can play multiple positions. Any team would be more than happy to have him. One of Tampa Bay’s needs is a corner, so plugging Fitzpatrick in as a corner on this team would be perfect.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – CB MINKAH FITZPATRICK, ALABAMA

With Bradley Chubb off of the board after the Colts’ pick, no other edge rusher seems worthy of the 7th overall pick, even though that is by far the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ greatest need. Minkah Fitzpatrick, a hybrid defensive back who is quite possibly the most dynamic defensive player in the draft, is the best player available and addresses another need for improving their secondary. Fitzpatrick, a projected safety in the NFL, carries a huge value because of his versatility, which is due to his athleticism and size; he has extensive experience playing both as a traditional cornerback and slot cornerback, as well as in linebacker and safety sub-packages.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – S DERWIN JAMES, FLORIDA STATE

One of the major needs this Bucs team has is in the secondary. They also need a running back and a defensive end, but I think they could get a running back early in the second round and I don’t like the value of any defensive ends at this pick. Derwin James is the best secondary player available right now. While corner may be more pressing than safety, a player like Derwin James doesn’t come along every day. They can’t let him get away.

8.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
CHICAGO BEARS – CB DENZEL WARD, OHIO STATE

Chicago needs a lot of things. Receiver is one of the most common positions mocked here, but I don’t like the value of the receivers at number 8. Instead the Bears fill another major need and upgrade their secondary.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
CHICAGO BEARS – CB DENZEL WARD, OHIO STATE

Even after recently signing cornerback Kyle Fuller to a transition tag, the Chicago Bears still have a massive hole in their secondary, particularly at the cornerback position across from Fuller, which remains wide open. Denzel Ward, an athletic, lock-down corner out of Ohio State, is undisputedly the best cornerback in this year’s class (excluding Fitzpatrick since he is projected to be a safety in the NFL) and should immediately satisfy this need. The Bears do have a more pressing need at wide receiver, however, they will likely address this need in the 2nd round with a selection, such as James Washington, Michael Gallup, or DaeSean Hamilton.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
CHICAGO BEARS – CB DENZEL WARD, OHIO STATE

Using the transition tag on Kyle Fuller helps them in the CB department, but they need more. Just like in my last mock draft, WR is a popular pick here, but the Bears have agreed to a contract with Allen Robinson. Denzel Ward is a speedster who can keep up with just about any receiver. This defense needs more cover men like Ward.

9.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, VIRGINIA TECH

San Francisco could go many ways here. Linebacker isn’t one of their top needs, but this team needs to improve in several areas, so picking one of the top players on the board is what they’ll do. Edmunds is an athletic linebacker who can cover and rush the passer.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – LB ROQUAN SMITH, GEORGIA

With looming news regarding the legal status of linebacker Reuben Foster, the 49ers’ already present need for a stack linebacker has only been expanded. Roquan Smith, a slightly undersized yet ultra-talented linebacker prospect coming out of Georgia, serves as the perfect man to fill this role, as he is quite possibly the best shut-down run-defender in the entire draft. The standout Georgia linebacker has drawn comparisons to Bobby Wagner and Deion Jones in regards to his athleticism and elite play-making ability outside of the hashes.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, VIRGINIA TECH

I think San Francisco’s best bet is to take whoever they think is best. This may not be a pressing need, but it will be hard to pass him up. Edmunds is a very young player with a lot of potential. Plug him in right away and he’ll make them better.

10.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
OAKLAND RAIDERS – LB ROQUAN SMITH, GEORGIA

Smith is a linebacker who can go from sideline to sideline on every play. Oakland needs to improve on defense, and linebacker is a big need for their defense. Having Smith and Mack in the linebacking department would be big time.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
OAKLAND RAIDERS – LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS,VIRGINIA TECH

The Oakland Raiders have an extremely pressing need at the linebacker position, and Tremaine Edmunds, an incredibly athletic linebacker coming out of Virginia Tech, perfectly fills this need. Edmunds is easily the best player available at this point in the draft and is thought by many to be the best defensive player in this entire draft class, so the fact that he also fills a need makes him a no-brainer pick for the Raiders at #10. Edmunds’s unique combination of size and speed, as well as his versatility and playmaking ability has NFL teams salivating, especially considering he hasn’t even hit his full potential yet due to his mental mistakes.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
OAKLAND RAIDERS – LB ROQUAN SMITH, GEORGIA

Same pick as last time here. The Raiders need an upgrade at the LB position and Smith is the best on the board. Almost every mock draft I’ve seen has Smith going at this spot.

11.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
MIAMI DOLPHINS – QB BAKER MAYFIELD, OKLAHOMA

Miami needs a new quarterback. Ryan Tannehill will be back, but he hasn’t gotten them anywhere in his NFL career so far. It’s time for a change. It’s my opinion that Mayfield can be a great leader in the NFL, and the Dolphins need that from the quarterback position.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
MIAMI DOLPHINS – CB JOSH JACKSON, IOWA

Since cornerbacks Minkah Fitzpatrick and Denzel Ward are already off the board courtesy of the Buccaneers at #7 and the Bears at #8, it would be quite logical for the Dolphins to draft Josh Jackson to address the team’s biggest need: cornerback. Josh Jackson, an absolute ballhawk with very good size for a cornerback, is the top remaining cornerback on the board and would perfectly fill the Dolphins’ void at the cornerback position across from Xavier Rhodes. Jackson’s elite instincts and incredible ability to defend the ball make him a nice fit in the Dolphins’ secondary.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
MIAMI DOLPHINS – QB SAM DARNOLD, USC

It may be a bit of a surprise if Darnold falls to this spot. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He may be considered one of the best in the draft, but teams have to have a concern about his turnovers. That could make him fall. The Dolphins could be in the market for a new quarterback, and one team is going to overlook the turnovers for his potential.

12.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
CINCINNATI BENGALS – OT ORLANDO BROWN, OKLAHOMA

Protection issues were a big part of why the Bengals had a down season. They also need to be able to move the ball in the run game. An upgrade is needed across the line, and Brown is one of the top tackles in this class.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
CINCINNATI BENGALS – OT CONNOR WILLIAMS, TEXAS

The Cincinnati Bengals are in a nearly identical draft situation to the Miami Dolphins, as the top lineman in this year’s class, Quenton Nelson, is off the board, but Connor Williams, who is not only the best player available, but also fills the Bengals’ greatest need, is still on the board. Williams, a top-tier offensive lineman out of Texas, is an incredibly intriguing option for the Bengals, as he would fill a massive void on the offensive line, either at guard or tackle because of his versatility. Williams is extremely athletic and has good size, both of which should allow him to be a productive starter from Day 1.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – QB BAKER MAYFIELD, OKLAHOMA

I love this trade up to pick 12 by the Bills. They traded away their starting quarterback and they knew they had to do something to get a new one. Sitting at picks 21 and 22 wouldn’t have worked for them to get who they want. I’m not 100% certain Mayfield is the quarterback they want, but his play and potential more than justify taking him here. Go get your future signal caller!

13.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – WR CALVIN RIDLEY, ALABAMA

With Jamison Crowder being the leading receiver a year ago, the Redskins need an upgrade at receiver. Ridley is considered by many to be the best receiver in the draft. He’s a great route runner who can help this offense. Alex Smith needs more weapons in order to succeed.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – S DERWIN JAMES, FLORIDA STATE

A personal favorite of mine, Derwin James would go huge lengths to alleviate the Redskins’ need to replace Su’a Cravens, a hybrid safety who played in linebacker sub-packages as well. James, a freakishly talented athlete coming out of Florida State, is an extremely versatile and impactful player, who has the ability to single-handedly transform a defense with his presence. James has not reached his full potential and if his play catches up to his talent (which it likely will), he will absolutely terrorize opposing offenses. James, an alpha male leader, will certainly make his presence felt in the locker room as well.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – WR CALVIN RIDLEY, ALABAMA

Washington has a couple receivers who could be on their way out in free agency. If they don’t fill those spots, they need to get one of the top receivers in the draft. Ridley could be a dangerous weapon for the Redskins and Alex Smith.

14.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
GREEN BAY PACKERS – DT VITA VEA, WASHINGTON

Green Bay needs someone who can plug the middle and free up others along the line, as well as the linebackers. Vea is a huge presence in the middle. Even at his size, Vea can make an impact inside and outside. This defense needs that kind of presence.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
GREEN BAY PACKERS – DE MARCUS DAVENPORT, UTSA

The Green Bay Packers, who desperately need an edge rusher that can provide pressure, have often been linked to Marcus Davenport in mock drafts, as he is an intriguing pass-rusher out of UT San Antonio that can fill this void. After a monstrous performance at the Senior Bowl, Davenport’s stock has been red-hot and has led to comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney and Danielle Hunter. Davenport is still relatively undeveloped, but his incredible upside and untapped potential have NFL teams very excited about his future outlook.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
GREEN BAY PACKERS – CB JOSH JACKSON, IOWA

After trading Damarious Randall, the Green Bay Packers should be looking for a new corner. Jackson is a ball hawk. He seems to know where the ball is at all times. Pairing Jackson with their young corner Kevin King will give them a corner back combo teams could fear in a couple years.

15.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
ARIZONA CARDINALS – QB LAMAR JACKSON, LOUISVILLE

I’m not sure if taking Jackson at this spot is the right value, but the Cardinals need a new quarterback. Who they have now is not going to get it done. The other top quarterbacks have all been taken, so Arizona needs to pull the trigger on Jackson here and get their quarterback of the future before they miss out.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
ARIZONA CARDINALS – QB JOSH ALLEN, WYOMING

After Carson Palmer’s retirement earlier this year, the Cardinals have been left scrambling to find a quarterback, but have not had much success finding one at the beginning of the NFL offseason. Therefore, the Cardinals are really left with no choice and are forced to turn to the draft to find Palmer’s successor. Since Darnold, Mayfield, and Rosen have already been drafted, Josh Allen is the undisputed top option available at the 15th overall pick. Allen, a gunslinger out of Wyoming, has had limited competition and success against the good teams he has faced, but he has once-in-a-generation arm strength that NFL scouts absolutely love.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
ARIZONA CARDINALS – QB LAMAR JACKSON, LOUISVILLE

I saw a video the other day of Chris Simms saying Lamar Jackson is the best quarterback in this draft class. Jackson has also been compared to Michael Vick. Jackson does have his issues, but if he has Michael Vick potential I don’t have trouble seeing him as the top quarterback. The Cardinals need a quarterback, and waiting any longer in the draft probably won’t get them one they truly like.

16.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
BALTIMORE RAVENS – WR COURTLAND SUTTON, SMU

Joe Flacco needs some weapons on the outside. Sutton is a big receiver who can be that guy. The offense struggled for a good portion of last year. If Sutton can maximize his potential, he’ll be a great weapon for Flacco and the Ravens offense.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
BALTIMORE RAVENS – WR CALVIN RIDLEY, ALABAMA

Given that the Ravens have one of the most pathetic receiving corps in the NFL, it would be highly surprising if they did not select a receiver with the 16th overall pick. Calvin Ridley, the class’s clear-cut top receiver, had a poor combine showing, which should allow him to fall to the Ravens at #16, but make no mistake, Ridley is an elite receiver. Ridley’s fantastic speed, which allows him to separate from cornerbacks on routes, as well as his rare route-running ability will allow him to excel at the next level. On top of the Ravens’ dire need for a receiver and Ridley’s great fit, Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome is known to love Alabama players as well.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
BALTIMORE RAVENS – WR COURTLAND SUTTON, SMU

Baltimore desperately needs an upgrade at the receiver position. Sutton has the talent to be a number one receiver. This offense needs to get better for the Ravens to compete. Joe Flacco is probably begging for a new weapon, so the Ravens go and get him one.

17.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – OT CONNOR WILLIAMS, TEXAS

The Chargers offensive line is in desperate need of an upgrade. They have to protect Rivers and move the ball better on the ground. Williams is great in protection and his ability move the line is exactly what the Chargers need.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – LB RASHAAN EVANS, ALABAMA

Even with an elite set of pass rushers on the edge of the front 7, the San Diego Chargers desperately need help both on their defensive line and at inside linebacker position. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chargers select Washington DT Vita Vea, however, the need at inside linebacker is more pressing, so it is more likely the Chargers select Rashaan Evans, an incredibly athletic and versatile “new-breed” linebacker out of Alabama. Evans was a crucial part of Alabama’s championship-caliber defense, and his unique size and length that allowed him to fly sideline to sideline should transfer well to the NFL.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – DT VITA VEA, WASHINGTON

The Chargers have the edge rushing down, but what they need is someone to eat up the middle while Bosa and Ingram are wreaking havoc on the edge. Could you imagine what their defensive line would be like with Vea plugging up the middle?

18.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – S DERWIN JAMES, FLORIDA STATE

You can’t ignore the potential Derwin James has, especially in this defense. Seattle could be losing Earl Thomas in the near future, and James would be a perfect replacement. He could step in right away and the Seattle defense wouldn’t take a step back at all.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – DE ARDEN KEY, LSU

Even with red flags regarding his injury history and character concerns, it would be incredibly difficult for the Seahawks to pass on Arden Key at the 18th overall pick, as he has clear-cut top 10 talent in this class and fills a need on the defensive line. After trading away Michael Bennett to the Eagles, the Seahawks have a massive hole on their defensive line that Key, a dynamic edge rusher with great length, could fill immediately. Key’s potential, if not limited by lack of discipline or injuries, is sky-high as he has the ability to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – DE MARCUS DAVENPORT, UTSA

There’s a lot of different ways the Seahawks could go here. Offensive line, receiver, corner, and defensive end are just a few needs. With Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett now gone, corner and defensive end will be two highly considered picks. Marcus Davenport has potential to fill Bennett’s spot on the defensive line.

19.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
DALLAS COWBOYS – DT DA’RON PAYNE, ALABAMA

Dallas needs an inside presence on their defensive line. Da’Ron Payne showed that he can be exactly that over the course of last season, especially in the College Football Playoff. With Demarcus Lawrence putting the pressure on from the outside, Payne’s presence on the inside would greatly benefit him and the entire defensive line.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
DALLAS COWBOYS – DT VITA VEA, WASHINGTON

With many wide receivers such as Allen Robinson, Danny Amendola, and Sammy Watkins still available in free agency, as well as a very deep receiver class this year, the Cowboys will likely not address their pressing need for a wide receiver with their 1st round pick. The Cowboys likely could pick Vita Vea, an absolutely massive defensive tackle out of Washington, to fill their next biggest need. Vea’s humongous frame, light feet, and overpowering blocking will allow him to be a force at the next level, especially considering that he has great ability, but is still a very raw talent.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
DALLAS COWBOYS – DT DA’RON PAYNE, ALABAMA

Payne is still my pick here. Dallas improved their defensive line last season, but they were missing a real presence in the middle. Da’Ron Payne is a disruptive player inside. He may not get a lot of sacks, but he would easily open things up for the likes of Demarcus Lawrence.

20.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
DETROIT LIONS – RB DERRIUS GUICE, LSU

When your leading rusher a season ago had 552 yards and 3.3 yards a carry, your running game needs an upgrade. Guice is one of the best backs in this class. He can give the Lions what they’ve been missing on the ground. His speed isn’t elite, but he can pound his way through defenders. A better ground game would only benefit Stafford.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
DETROIT LIONS – LB HAROLD LANDRY, BOSTON COLLEGE

With many of the premier defensive lineman already off of the board, the Lions look to Harold Landry, a speedy edge rusher out of Boston College, to address their hole at the outside linebacker and pass rusher position. Landry, who has drawn comparisons to Bruce Irvin and Vic Beasley in regards to his pass-rushing style, has the speed, athleticism, and length to be extremely effective at the next level, even with his below average size and strength. Landry has the potential to be a huge steal at the 20th overall pick, as he was thought by many to be the top senior in this class before his performance slowed after injuries at the middle of the season.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
DETROIT LIONS – RB DERRIUS GUICE, LSU

I know there are other areas the Lions could go, but I still think they need to upgrade the running back position. Their running game has to get better if they want to be serious about contending. Guice can instantly improve the Lions run game. He can have the same impact of a Leonard Fournette last season.

21.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – DT MAURICE HURST, MICHIGAN

Buffalo may look at a quarterback here, but with the top quarterbacks all off the board, they shouldn’t reach for one. With Marcell Dareus not in the picture anymore, the Bills need a presence in the middle of their defensive line. Maurice Hurst has what it takes to be that guy.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – QB MASON RUDOLPH, OKLAHOMA STATE

After recently trading quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns, the Buffalo Bills have a glaring need at the quarterback position, as the infamous Nathan Peterman is first on the depth chart at the moment. With somewhat limited options in free agency and Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, and Allen already off of the board, the Bills are left to draft Mason Rudolph, who very well might be the best quarterback this class has to offer. Rudolph, a downfield pocket passer out of Oklahoma State, has consistently improved over his college career and has great field reading capabilities as well as the ability to make everyone around him better.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
CINCINNATI BENGALS – OG WILL HERNANDEZ, UTEP

Cincinnati traded back in the draft, which some people may not like, but they did pick up a quality starting left tackle. The rest of their offensive line could improve also. Picking Hernandez would upgrade their line once again, giving Andy Dalton some much needed time in the pocket and create room for the running backs.

22. 

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – LB HAROLD LANDRY, BOSTON COLLEGE

Again no top quarterbacks left on the board, so they go back to back defense and fill two needs. Landry excels at getting pressure off the edge. He had a bit of a down year in 2017, but 2016 was incredible. His pass rushing skills are there, along with the potential.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – OT MIKE McGLINCHEY, NOTRE DAME

Since the Bills just addressed their most glaring need with the previous pick, they can now look to draft their biggest hole, which is their offensive line. Mike McGlinchey, a humongous, athletic offensive lineman out of Notre Dame, is the perfect man to do the job, after co-leading the most dominant offensive line in the country at Notre Dame. Although McGlinchey likely needs to bulk up in regards to both his strength and weight, he already has pro-ready talent, technique, and instincts that should allow him to be a plug-in starter from Day 1.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
BUFFALO BILLS – C BILLY PRICE, OHIO STATE

Buffalo got their quarterback, and now they need to upgrade their offensive line. Center is a top priority on the line, and Billy Price is the best available. He is recovering from an injury, but he shouldn’t be out for long. He’s a first round talent.

23.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
LOS ANGELES RAMS – C BILLY PRICE, OHIO STATE

Price is the best center in this draft class. What makes him even more valuable is that he can play both center and guard. I’m not sure this is the biggest need for the Rams, but it is a need. They might lose some pieces on the interior line, and what they do have right now isn’t an elite group.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
LOS ANGELES RAMS – LB LORENZO CARTER, GEORGIA

After trading for cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, the Los Angeles Rams now look to address their needs at linebacker and edge rusher. Lorenzo Carter, an aggressive, lengthy hybrid linebacker with pass rushing capabilities, is an incredibly ideal fit for the Rams. Although Carter might have not lived up to the sky-high expectations placed on him when he came out of high school, he still excelled during his time at Georgia, especially in this past year. Carter’s lengthiness, toughness, and sideline-to-sideline range will allow him to be highly effective as an edge rusher or outside linebacker in the NFL.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
LOS ANGELES RAMS – LB HAROLD LANDRY, BOSTON COLLEGE

After trading for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, the Rams are set at corner. They traded away Alec Ogletree, so they should be in the market for a young playmaking linebacker. Harold Landry can be a difference maker rushing the passer. With Peters and Talib in coverage, his pass rush ability would be huge.

24.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
CAROLINA PANTHERS – OT MIKE MCGLINCHEY, NOTRE DAME

Carolina wants to be a running team. Whether that’s through their running backs or through Cam Newton, that’s what they want. For that to happen, they have to have a stronger offensive line. Both on the ground and when dropping back to pass, Cam Newton has taken too many shots and needs to be protected.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
CAROLINA PANTHERS – WR COURTLAND SUTTON, SMU

Even after Devin Funchess’s breakout season, the Carolina Panthers are still extremely deprived at the wide receiver position without Kelvin Benjamin, so they will likely look to address that glaring need with the 24th overall pick. This wide receiver class is extremely deep and filled with intriguing options, but Courtland Sutton, a large possession receiver coming out of SMU, sets himself apart from the remaining options. Sutton, although a possession receiver, has the ability to separate both horizontally with his speed, as well as vertically, with his elite jump-ball ability and toughness against opposing cornerbacks.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
CAROLINA PANTHERS – OT MIKE MCGLINCHEY, NOTRE DAME

Same pick as my last draft for the Panthers. The offensive line needs to improve. Cam needs protection and the running game can get better. McGlinchey had a good combine that likely cemented his first round status.

25.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
TENNESSEE TITANS – DE MARCUS DAVENPORT, UTSA

Marcus Davenport is a guy who excelled against his competition. He played at a lower level than most, which makes some shy away from him, but I think he can make the transition . Davenport has the length you want in a defensive end, along with the traits you look for in a potential elite pass rusher. The Titans must get better in this area if they want to improve their defense.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
TENNESSEE TITANS – DE SAM HUBBARD, OHIO STATE

The Tennessee Titans have been missing a consistent yet dominating edge presence for quite some time, and will definitely look to bolster that weakness as their top priority. Sam Hubbard, a very solid pass rusher who played a key role on Ohio State’s lethal defensive line, is the easily the best player available to fit this job, as other intriguing options in Arden Key, Lorenzo Carter, and Harold Landry are already gone. While Hubbard won’t wow anyone with big-time plays or devastating power moves, he is exactly what the Titans need in a consistent edge rusher.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
TENNESSEE TITANS – DT MAURICE HURST, MICHIGAN

Hurst may be a bit of a risk because of his heart condition, but his talent can’t be denied. It was made known that his heart condition was known about at Michigan, and it didn’t stop him from playing then. If Hurst is cleared to play and he stays healthy, this could be a steal at pick 25.

26.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
ATLANTA FALCONS – DT TAVEN BRYAN, FLORIDA

Atlanta is likely going to be losing some of their interior lineman, so they need someone who can step in and fill that soon to be hole. Bryan has the athletic ability you want from the position, but he still needs to develop a little bit. The potential is there, but it might be a little while before he fully grows into it.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
ATLANTA FALCONS – OL BILLY PRICE, OHIO STATE

The Atlanta Falcons have built a solid offensive line on the foundation of Alex Mack and Jake Matthews, but still lack another elite lineman, which has prevented their run game from flourishing. This has also not allowed the Matt Ryan to Julio Jones connection to be as lethal as it could be, so the Falcons will likely address this need by selecting Billy Price, an ultra strong and explosive center/guard out of Ohio State. While Price plays a little bit impatiently and crazy at times, his power, leverage, and explosiveness put him on another level and should make him a force from Day 1.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
ATLANTA FALCONS – DT TAVEN BRYAN, FLORIDA

Being compared to J.J. Watt is a pretty good way to get drafted in the first round. He had a great combine and showed his athletic ability. He may need time to fully develop, but his potential is sky high and the Falcons will likely be looking for a new DT.

27.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – WR CHRISTIAN KIRK, TEXAS A&M

With a much improved defense, the offense can be focused on. Michael Thomas is a good receiver, but other than that there’s not much. Kirk can be a nice compliment to Thomas on the other side.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – QB LAMAR JACKSON, LOUISVILLE

Although Drew Brees is still producing like one of the top quarterbacks in the league, the truth is that he is 39 years old and is nearing the end of his storied career. Therefore, the New Orleans Saints will likely look to find his eventual successor with the 27th overall pick, and there is no better fit than Lamar Jackson, an elite playmaker with dual-threat capabilities out of Louisville. Jackson, who has drawn many comparisons to Michael Vick, has rare speed and athleticism that allows him to single-handedly win games. Jackson’s talents would absolutely thrive under Payton, who has been known for making the most of unique players.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – TE MARK ANDREWS, OKLAHOMA

Drew Brees is coming back, so I’m going to skip over a quarterback here. They would be reaching for a quarterback here anyway. Brees needs some better pass catchers, especially at the TE position. Andrews is a big tight end who can move well and has good athletic skills.

28.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – LB RASHAAN EVANS, ALABAMA

The Steelers need to get another linebacker who can make plays for them. Rashaan Evans just feels like a Steeler to me. He’d be a perfect fit for this defense and could make an impact right away.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – S JUSTIN REID, STANFORD

With many of the top-notch linebackers and quarterbacks already off of the board, the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely instead choose to address their need at safety. Justin Reid, a standout safety out of Stanford and the brother of Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid, is far and away the best option still on the board and a primary candidate to fill this hole. Reid, a highly athletic and versatile player, has great size and speed that allows him to be absolutely phenomenal in coverage. Reid has great instincts and a high football IQ as well, which both contribute to his elite ball-hawking skills.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – LB RASHAAN EVANS, ALABAMA

Linebacker is still a need for the Steelers. As I said in my last mock draft, Evans feels like a Steelers draft pick to me. An Alabama player who’s well coached should be able to make an impact right away.

29.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – WR JAMES WASHINGTON, OKLAHOMA STATE

Jacksonville will have some receivers leaving in free agency, so they need to get more depth. This may be a reach, but they have to get better at the receiver position to help Bortles.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – WR D.J. MOORE, MARYLAND

With Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee set to leave during free agency, the Jacksonville Jaguars are scrambling to find their replacements in an already weakened receiving core. At this point in the draft, there are still many intriguing receivers still on the board, as Ridley and Sutton are the only ones who have been drafted, however, DJ Moore looks like he is the prime target for the Jaguars. Moore, a quick, speedy receiver with elite after the catch skills, plays very similarly to ex-Terrapin Stefon Diggs and is even a little bigger than him. Moore may move to the slot full-time in the NFL, which would suit him quite well.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – WR D.J. MOORE, MARYLAND

I had James Washington in this spot previously, but D.J. Moore had a great combine that significantly boosted his stock. He seems like a more dynamic receiver than James Washington, who has been criticized for his lack of route running. Unless they take care of their receiver needs in free agency, the Jaguars will be on the hunt for a new weapon for Bortles.

30.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – OG WILL HERNANDEZ, UTEP

Their defense doesn’t have many holes, so the focus should be on offense. The offensive line needs to be better at the tackle and guard spots. The top tackles are off the board at this point, so the Vikings go with a top guard in Hernandez to start building the offensive line for whoever their quarterback is.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – DT DA’RON PAYNE, ALABAMA

Given that almost all of the elite offensive lineman prospects have been drafted at this point, with the exception of the rapidly falling Orlando Brown, the Minnesota Vikings will likely instead address their need at defensive tackle with this pick. Da’Ron Payne, a key contributor to Alabama’s championship caliber defense, is likely the best player left on the board and fills a need, which makes this a no-brainer selection for the Vikings. Payne’s premier strength and athleticism for an interior lineman make him possibly the best run-stuffer in this entire draft class.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – OT KOLTON MILLER, UCLA

Kolton Miller was one of my combine winners because he had a great workout. He boosted his stock into the first round. Minnesota is hoping to take care of their quarterback need by signing Kirk Cousins in free agency. It looks like that may happen after the contract they offered him today. Whoever they have at quarterback will need some protection. Kolton Miller can man a tackle spot for years to come.

31.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – CB JOSH JACKSON , IOWA

After what happened with Malcolm Butler, he’s probably not coming back. One CB spot is locked up, but the Patriots need help and depth at the position. Jackson is a pretty good value at this spot.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – CB JAIRE ALEXANDER, LOUISVILLE

After all the drama between the New England Patriots’ front office and Malcolm Butler, it appears unlikely that he will return next season so the Patriots will have to fill a gaping hole at cornerback. Jaire Alexander, an athletic, tough, and quick cornerback out of Louisville, is the perfect guy to fill this role, as he is the only elite cornerback left on the board. Alexander is an instinctive cornerback who has the speed and recognition to jump routes and make plays on the ball, which will make him a valuable cornerback at the next level.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – CB JAIRE ALEXANDER, LOUISVILLE

Unless they sign someone in free agency, the Patriots will need a corner to replace Malcolm Butler. Jaire Alexander had a really good combine workout, which was huge for him after dealing with some injuries this past season. The Patriots could use a corner with his skill set.

32.

(Joel Deering – pre-combine pick)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – LB MALIK JEFFERSON, TEXAS

There’s a few different ways the Eagles could go here. LT could be an option with the injury to Peters last season and his age. The CB unit on this team could look for an upgrade also, but I think where they look for help first is at the linebacker position. Jefferson has the size and is athletic enough to help this team from the start.

(Jason Platkin – post-combine pick)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – WR CHRISTIAN KIRK, TEXAS A&M

After trading Torrey Smith to the Carolina Panthers, the Philadelphia Eagles desperately need help at wide receiver and have been tied to drafting a receiver with the 32nd overall pick in many mock drafts. Christian Kirk, a well-built, tough slot receiver out of Texas A&M, seems like the right guy to fill this role, as the Eagles already have a possession, red-zone threat in Alshon Jeffrey. Kirk isn’t known for his speed but has learned how to use his good footwork, soft hands, and after the catch skills to be an extremely productive receiver in college. Kirk also has high value as a top-notch kick returner as well.

(Joel Deering – post-combine pick)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – WR D.J. CHARK, LSU

With the departure of Torrey Smith, the Eagles could be in the market for a replacement. Chark is rising up draft boards after a huge combine performance. He’s a big receiver with a lot of speed. Carson Wentz would love to have this guy.

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Soapbox NFL Mock Draft 20…

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