The 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl is this week, with a week of practices leading up to the game on Saturday, so it’s time to release my first mock draft of the year. The Houston Texans and Denver Broncos will be coaching the teams and leading practices, so be sure to check out coverage on the NFL Network.
The Browns moved on from GM Sashi Brown in December and brought in John Dorsey to replace him. Look for Cleveland to draft a QB here and likely move on from DeShone Kizer. I believe that the Browns will favor Sam Darnold over Josh Rosen here, but don’t be surprised if they heavily consider Josh Allen as well, although there are some major accuracy concerns there.
The Giants have an opportunity to get out of Eli Manning’s contract this offseason. If they choose to go in a different direction without Manning, look for the front office to bring in Josh Rosen here. In my opinion, he’s the most ‘Pro Ready’ QB in this draft. He had a couple of concussions in 2017, but should pass medicals without any issues.
The Colts have several directions that they could go here, so let’s give them the best available player. Bradley Chubb is a disruptive force on the edge and immediately upgrades the Colts here. The Colts still need to improve their offensive line to protect QB Andrew Luck, so OT Connor Williams from Texas could be an option here.
The motto for the Browns in this year’s draft, much like past years, should be to get better. Fitzpatrick can fit in at Cornerback or Free Safety and will provide playmaking ability to a lackluster Browns defense. Saquon Barkley could be an option here as well if the Browns choose to address their running game.
I’m going to be a little unconventional here. The Broncos are probably going to be looking for a new franchise QB fairly soon, likely within the first few rounds this draft. There are also likely to be several options available in free agency. So let’s give the Broncos the best option at running back here to compliment their QB of the future. If they decide to draft a QB in the second round, Jared Goff, Case Keenum, Dak Prescott, and Carson Wentz all benefited from successful running games. Barkley, paired with C.J. Anderson, would go a long ways in taking pressure off of the Broncos passing game.
The Jets are going to have an opportunity here to upgrade their offensive line and should take it. Williams was an anchor for the Longhorns at Left Tackle and would be an immediate boost for the Jets. If New York decides to go in a different direction, QB Josh Allen could be looked at as well.
This pick just makes sense here. The Buccaneers need to upgrade their offensive line and Quenton Nelson is the best available player. With the regression that QB Jameis Winston suffered last season, giving him more time in the pocket should be the focus here.
New Head Coach Matt Nagy needs to give QB Mitch Trubisky a top weapon here. Calvin Ridley is the best available receiver in the NFL Draft. The Bears could also look to protect their QB with some OL help, but look for them to do that in the next few rounds.
Picking right behind the Bears isn’t going to help the 49ers front office given that both teams have similar needs. I have the Bears picking Ridley, so let’s give the 49ers some help in the secondary. Much like the Bears, they could also look to protect their new franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Head Coach Jon Gruden needs to focus on the improving the defense here. With Fitzpatrick and Ward off the board at CB, I have them going after much needed help at Inside Linebacker by way of Roquan Smith.
The Dolphins have needs across the board. I’m giving them the best available pass rusher here. However, don’t be surprised if Marcus Davenport, the DE from UTSA, makes his way up here, especially if he has a strong week at the Senior Bowl.
The Bengals have to get better offensively, plain and simple. Orlando Brown will go a long ways in shoring up the offensive line woes, and give QB Andy Dalton more time in the pocket.
I’m assuming here that Washington will move on from Kirk Cousins, rather than using the franchise tag again. Wyoming’s Josh Allen is going to have all eyes on him this week at the Senior Bowl, which will give him the opportunity to silence his critics. Allen might be the most raw prospect, with concerns over his accuracy, but much like Carson Wentz, he has a high ceiling.
The Packers have plenty of needs in this draft, with one of them being in the secondary. Green Bay also needs to address the Wide Receiver position, as well as Offensive Line.
With Carson Palmer retiring, the Cardinals are going to address the QB position this offseason. They may look to bring in a free agent to fill that role for a season or two, but don’t be surprised if they make a move here early. Mayfield has some size concerns, but has succeeded at every level thus far.
I’m not particularly high on Courtland Sutton, but I believe that he has a high ceiling, especially under the right situation.
The Chargers need to shore up some holes on the offensive line. It’s a bit of a reach for them to go after an Offensive Tackle here, so they could opt to go with an Interior Lineman instead.
Davenport may not be available here, but if he is, look for the Seahawks to pounce. Their defense isn’t what it was several years ago, which should be a primary focus.
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see a Wide Receiver come off the board here, but instead, let’s shore up the interior defensive line a bit.
If Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia does indeed get the Head Coaching gig, look for him to revamp the defense a bit. If the Lions aren’t able to retain Ziggy Ansah, we could see a Defensive Tackle here as well.
I’m going to upgrade the Bills pass rush here. That being said, they have several needs and could go a variety of directions. Offensive line help is a real possibility here, too.
I’d be surprised to see the Bills keep both of these picks here, but if they do, look for it to be a Quarterback. I’m not sold on Lamar Jackson as a franchise-type player, but I could be wrong.
The Rams front office will have to address their secondary, and for their benefit, it should play right into their hands to address it early. Carlton Davis is the 2nd Corner on my Big Board and should be able to step in and contribute right away.
The Panthers are going to have an opportunity to address the Offensive Line here, which they should jump on.
Newly hired Head Coach Mike Vrabel may look to revamp the defense here instead, but the offensive line shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Vita Vea is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. I’m not entirely sold on him making to 26, but if he does, it’s a gift for the Falcons.
The Saints will likely look to address the Quarterback situation here, but I’m not sure if they’ll be able to do it without moving up from 27. Instead, let’s give them another weapon on offense.
Pittsburgh may have to address their Linebacker position here given the Ryan Shazier situation, but the secondary is just as important.
If the Jaguars decide to retain Blake Bortles next season, then giving him a safety net at Tight End would be a pretty good decision.
It doesn’t matter who the Quarterback is going to be for the Vikings next season, they’ll have to address the interior offensive line.
I’m not sold on the Eagles going Offensive Line here, but it is going to be a position that they should address.
The Patriots will have some work to do if they indeed lose both coordinators to head coaching gigs. Harrison Phillips is at the Senior Bowl this week and could create some buzz.