Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip. That started from this desert port aboard this tiny site. The mate was a mighty sailin’ lad. The skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day, for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The day job started getting rough, the tiny site was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, You’re Ducking Right would be lost. You’re Ducking Right would be lost.
The site set ground on the shore on this uncharted desert isle. With Top Ducker, Mrs. Ducker too. Slim Mex, and his JJ, the Dude, Ice, and Twink, here on You’re Ducking Right.
Sorry folks, it was supposed to be a three hour tour (…. a three hour tour), but this little ship named You’re Ducking Right got tossed aside by the daily rigors of life. But we managed to get internet connectivity using four coconuts and some mangos, and we’re back to bring you our 2018 NFL Mock draft, first round edition.
The NFL hosts its annual entry draft next week (April 26-28) in Arlington, Texas (aka, Dallas). We’re less than a week away, and there is no consensus number one pick. It seems safe to say that it’ll be a quarterback, but who will the Browns select? The more polished Sam Darnold? The high upside Josh Allen? The mechanically sound Josh Rosen? Or the Heisman Trophy award winning Baker Mayfield? By all accounts the Browns have it down to Sam Darnold and Josh Allen.
From everything I’ve seen, heard, and read, the top three prospects in this draft are, in some debatable order, running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State, guard Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame, and defensive end Bradley Chubb of N.C. State. The Browns have the luxury of having two picks in the top four selections, so they’ll be able to have their choice of QBs while also landing a top talent.
For the sake of being fair to a new management regime (again), we’ll assume the Browns won’t screw the pooch on this one, though they are the Browns so lets not totally dismiss that option.
Without further adieu I present our mock draft. I present it with this caveat. I expect there to be ALOT of trades in this round. With the push up of the quarterbacks to the top of the draft, you’ll see a lot of very talented players slipping, as a result you’ll see some teams looking to jump 3 or 4 slots to get the guy they want. In spite of knowing its a futile gesture, we’re gonna go ahead and throw our 2 cents in anyways. Enjoy!
1. JOSH ALLEN QB CLEVELAND BROWNS WYOMING
The Browns select the more raw talent with higher upside knowing they just traded for Tyrod Taylor as a one year place holder. GM John Dorsey will be fine with this, just like he was last year letting Patrick Mahomes Jr. sit behind Alex Smith for a year. But Hue Jackson, who has 1 win in 2 seasons as Browns Head Coach can’t be thrilled as he likely won’t be around to see the fruits of Dorsey’s patience.
2. QUENTON NELSON OG NEW YORK GIANTS NOTRE DAME
I’ve gone back and forth on who the Giants select here more often than a Kardashian ruins an NBA player’s career. I can see them taking the possible generational talent running back Barkley. I can also see them seizing the opportunity to snag the heir apparent to Eli Manning. I can see them looking to grab Chubb harkening back to their winning ways when Lawrence Taylor or even Michael Strahan was wrecking havoc in the backfield, but then I ended up on Nelson. New GM Dave Gettleman was an offensive lineman at Springfield College back in the day, but more relevant is that he just paid a butt load of money to Nate Solder, meaning he is keenly aware of the financial value a solid offensive lineman presents, and being able to get a blocker of Nelson’s caliber on a rookie contract is too good a value to pass on. They should look at a RB in round 2, and that back will look even better running behind Nelson and Solder on that left side.
3. BAKER MAYFIELD QB NEW YORK JETS OKLAHOMA
Brash, boisterous, maturity issues, will either be the toast of the town, or be eaten alive by the city that never sleeps, sounds like a quintessential Jets pick to me. I’d jump at the chance to nab Darnold here, but as that’s the right move, we’ll assume the Jets don’t make it.
4. BRADLEY CHUBB DE CLEVELAND BROWNS N.C. STATE
Do the Browns take Barkley? Off season signee Carlos Hyde is essentially a one year deal. Do they add Bama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, allowing last year’s first round pick Jabrill Peppers to move up into a linebacker/safety hybrid role he is likely best suited for? Or do they select Bradley Chubb and form what is very likely an unstoppable pass rushing duo of Garrett & Chubb? Chubb’s ferocity as a pass rusher is only overshadowed by his run stuffing prowess. I go back to Dorsey’s history where he found Kareem Hunt in the 3rd round and watched the combo of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston flourish together as bookend pass rushers. So for me, Chubb is the choice here.
5. SAM DARNOLD QB DENVER BRONCOS USC
Broncos Pres John Elway has said all the things he is supposed to say. That big ticket free agent Case Keenum, the former journeyman QB Case Keenum, is their guy this year regardless of who they draft. That he is willing to listen to offers for the 5th pick, and that they’ll do whats best for their team. That being said, Elway is a QB and just got done watching the last two seasons (three seasons really since in his last year Peyton Manning had the arm strength of a snake) with his team struggling without consistent quarterback play. The Broncos also last week released starting running back C.J. Anderson, and Elway didn’t win any rings until he was paired with Terrell Davis, so does that make Saquon Barkley the pick here? Ultimately I think this pick is traded to someone who wants Darnold. Whether that’s the Bills, the Cardinals, or maybe a semi-surprise team like the Ravens or Dolphins. But for now, we’ll slot Elway with the best long term pick for his franchise.
6. SAQUON BARKLEY RB INDIANAPOLIS COLTS PENN STATE
If Barkley slips all the way to 6 after the Colts were able to trade down 3 spots all the while acquiring additional draft capital they will sprint, not walk, to get this draft card in. If he’s here, this is the no brainer pick of the draft. Three “elite” talents in the draft, the first two are already gone, and the Colts have no need for a QB. Couple that with a glaring hole at running back, and like I said, no brainer.
7. MINKAH FITZPATRICK S TAMPA BAY BUCANEERS ALABAMA
Tampa has their franchise signal caller on the offensive side of the ball, now they get their leader on the back end of the defense. They’ve been linked via rumors for a while to FSU safety Darwin James, but there are also reports that James has refused to interview with the Bucs. While James maybe has a higher ceiling, Fitzpatrick is a more sure thing, and his ceiling isn’t anything to sneeze at.
8. TREMAINE EDWARDS LB CHICAGO BEARS VIRGINIA TECH
Already with a young stud linebacker in Leonard Floyd, the Bears should consider Denzel Ward to pair with Kyle Fuller, but in the end will look to find the heir apparent to the Butkus-Singletary-Urlacher chain of linebacker greatness, and Edwards, though young, appears to have all the tools needed to be the next link worthy of being on that chain.
9. DENZEL WARD CB SAN FRANCISCO 49ers OHIO STATE
With a lot of draft capital invested in their front seven already (4 first rounders in the last 3 drafts, including Reuben Foster and his legal troubles) and faced with the possibility of relying upon Richard Sherman coming off an injury and aging, coupled with word that they’ve been considering moving Jimmie Ward back to CB, the obvious solution is to select the best corner back in the draft while you’re in the top 10. Ward is an instant starter for the 9ers, regardless of what Sherman can give them.
10. VITA VEA DT BAKERSFIELD RAIDERS WASHINGTON
Khalil Mack is filthy. Bruce Irvin, when allowed to focus on putting his hand in the dirt and pinning his ears back, is a high quality pass rusher. Toss in some interior pressure coming from Vea, reminiscent of what Gruden enjoyed back in the day with Warren Sapp? That’s a recipe for a defensive turnaround in the bay area. And yes, I named them the Bakersfield Raiders, since I’m too lazy to use google maps, I, without supporting facts, decided that’s about the halfway point between Oakland and Vegas.
11. Harold Landry OLB MIAMI DOLPHINS BOSTON COLLEGE
One of the nations most dominant pass rushers in 2016, Landry slipped a bit in 2017 due to injury. The best player to grace the Heights since Luke Kuechley, Landry will slide into the DE/OLB rotation as a rookie and replace Cameron Wake shortly since Wake’s first sack was taking down Joe Namath back in 1971.
12. JOSH ROSEN QB BUFFALO BILLS UCLA
With lots of draft capital available, including 2 first rounders, the Bills are well positioned to move up and get the QB they want. Their patience pays off though as the 4th of the alleged “big 4” QBs falls to them at 12. They could fool everyone if they believe they found their QB in the form of AJ McCarron, but I don’t believe they think that. I believe they’re counting on walking out this draft with their new QB1.
13. DERWIN JAMES S WASHINGTON REDSKINS FLORIDA STATE
With a bevy of quality options here, Roquan Smith, Mike McGlinchy, Calvin Ridley, and Jaire Alexander would all be worthy of this selection, the Redskins make a move to shore up their defensive secondary with the selection of James, a playmaker.
14. JAIRE ALEXANDER CB GREEN BAY PACKERS LOUISVILLE
Perpetual injury issues along the offensive line, an aging Clay Matthews Jr., and a secondary lacking play makers…. where do the Packers go here? Again, Smith, and McGlinchey make sense here, but so doesn’t Alexander, which is where I think they’ll end up landing.
15. LAMAR JACKSON QB ARIZONA CARDINALS LOUSIVILLE
Strong arm, quick feet, electric playmaker. Where has new Head Coach Steve Wilks spent the last 6 seasons? In Carolina watching Cam Newton. There is no way the Cardinals think Sam Bradford makes it a full season. They could look to Smith here as his talent value at this point is undeniable, and he is the proverbial “best player available”, and maybe the Cards go that way if they like a Kyle Lauletta, Luke Falk, or Mike White, or if they believe that Mason Rudolph slips to round 2, but I think they take Jackson, pair him with their new head coach and look to the future.
16. ROQUAN SMITH LB BALTIMORE RAVENS GEORGIA
The steal of the 1st round if it all plays out as I’ve laid out (spoiler alert, it won’t). The Ravens don’t have a GLARING need at linebacker, but they’re not exactly fielding unit of pro-bowlers either. The off season additions of Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, and John Brown mean they’re likely to concentrate of the defensive side of the ball this draft.
17. DA’RON PAYNE DT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS ALABAMA
Former first round defensive tackle Corey Luiget just took a massive paycut to stick around, and is facing an early season league suspension. With the edges already set the Chargers look to shore up the middle of the line with run stuffer Da’Ron Payne. He may end up only being a 2 down player, but those 2 downs are damn good.
18. MARCUS DAVENPORT DE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS UT- SAN ANTONIO
The Seahawks defense has gotten awfully old, awfully fast. They could use skill at wide receiver, replacements for the legion of boom, and new pass rushers. With the scarcity of pass rushers available, coupled with the depth of the cornerback pool in this draft, I think they lean towards adding Davenport who is a bit rough, but has the physical traits needed to succeed at the position. He’s been compared to Ziggy Ansah when he was coming out, and the Seahawks would be thrilled with that quality of player here.
19. COURTLAND SUTTON WR DALLAS COWGIRLS SMU
Hhhhhmmmmm, think the Cowgirls need a wide receiver? Honestly, I think the drop in Dez Bryant’s production is a direct result of Dak Prescott not being a very good thrower of the football. I think he can lead, he can run the ball, and he can hand off to Zeke like theres no tomorrow, but actually throw the ball… eh. That being said, Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, and Ryan Switzer ain’t gonna cut it regardless of who is slinging the rock. Calvin Ridley has been rated as the top wide receiver for most of the year, but in the words of the great Tim Riggins, Texas Forever, the Cowgirls stay in state and select Sutton.
20. TAVEN BRYAN DT DETROIT LIONS FLORIDA
It isn’t rocket science to know that new Head Coach Matt Patricia will need some new bodies in Detroit. They’ve invested in their linebacker corps via free agency this spring bringing in Devon Kennard and Christian Jones. Having a big bodied defensive tackle in front of you makes any linebacker’s job easier. Bryan has just such a body and knows how to use it.
21. JAMES DANIELS C CINCINATTI BENGALS IOWA
The Bengals actually have three viable starting tackles, but are putrid on the interior. It wouldn’t shock me to see tackle Cedric Ogbuehi traded this week, regardless though McGlinchy isn’t a fit here, but fellow lineman James Daniels (how his parents didn’t name him Jack Daniels instead of James is beyond me…. I mean, imagine being able to walk into a college party and saying “hey baby, wanna swallow some Jack Daniels”? I mean, c’mon) is a day one starter. Slides in and you don’t have to think about that position for the next decade.
22. ISAIAH WYNN OG BUFFALO BILLS GEORGIA
McGlinchy is a possibility, so isn’t a linebacker like Rashaan Evans or Leighton Vander Esch. Do they look to draft a Calvin Ridley and let him and Rosen grow together? In the end I look at Vladimir Ducasse starting inside and I think, boy, that sucks. And honestly, I don’t think the Bills expected to have this pick as they likely felt they’d need to pair it with 12 to move up and get a Rosen level QB.
23. RASHAAN EVANS LB NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ALABAMA
If McGlinchy is gone before now, I think the Pats select UCLA’s Kolton Miller. But as both tackles are still on the board and there are only seven selections between now and when the Patriots select again, I think they decide to add speed and skill to their linebacker corps. Badly needed speed and skill.
24. JOSHUA JACKSON CB CAROLINA PANTHERS IOWA
The Panthers could certainly look at Calvin Ridley. Lorenzo Carter is also a viable choice, but I think they choose to address the cornerback position as a quality receiver should be available when they select later in the draft.
25. LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH LB TENNESSEE TITANS BOISE STATE
The Titans have surprisingly few holes to address, having both quality and youth at multiple levels on both sides of the ball. Two areas that could use a boost though are interior offensive line, and the linebacking corps. In this case, I think they lean towards Vander Esch who just feels like a Mike Vrabel kinda guy.
26. HAYDEN HURST TE ATLANTA FALCONS SOUTH CAROLINA
Do you look to add Ridley to showcase a trio of Julio Jones-Mohammed Sanu-Calvin Ridley? Or go with adding more diversity to your offensive options in drafting the mature tight end? I think they lean towards finally having a viable replacement for Tony Gonzalez.
27. MASON RUDOLPH QB NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OKLAHOMA STATE
And the 6th quarterback goes off the board in the first round. This will go down either as an all time great QB draft, or one of the most bust worthy QB drafts ever, littered with stories of teams passing on future all pros at other positions in favor of reaching for a QB. (I tend to think the later will be the story 5 years from now). In a game of musical chairs the Saints look to draft their future signal caller before one of the other teams mulling future QB options (Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Chargers) swoops in and nabs who is considered to be the last of the first day worthy quarterback selections in this draft.
28. ISAIAH OLIVER CB PITTSBURGH STEELERS COLORADO
I was tempted to send McGlinchy here, if for no other reason than that’s what good organizations do, nab guys that fall in the draft for no reason. I’d also love to send an inside backer here with Shazier’s future seriously in doubt, but there is no value there. But Joe Haden is not the Joe Haden of five years ago, and Artie Burns has not exactly been a revelation on the outside, so I think the Steelers go corner here.
29. MIKE McGLINCHY OT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS NOTRE DAME
One slide was ending here one way or another, either McGlinchy or Ridley. Either way the Jaguars are happy. I think in the end the value of a potential franchise left tackle here is too much for old school football guy Tom Coughlin to resist.
30. MAURICE HURST DT MINNESOTA VIKINGS MICHIGAN
Linval Joseph’s contact is about to expand to levels where its not realistic to keep him, Sheldon Richardson is on a one year make good deal, and if he makes good, will not be retainable, and Shariff Floyd’s career ended prematurely. Hurst had some medical red flags pop up at the combine, but word is those have been resolved and he is good to go.
31. KOLTON MILLER OT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS UCLA
The Patriots drafted a UCLA tackle in the 6th round last year. He didn’t make it through training camp before he was cut. Miller is a lot less Connor McDermott, and a lot closer to former left tackle Nate Solder as far a physical traits. Long and strong the Patriots fill a need here, allowing Antonio Garcia to develop as a swing tackle and heir to Marcus Cannon.
32. CALVIN RIDLEY WR PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ALABAMA
When you’re the reigning SuperBowl champs and you don’t exactly have any holes in dire need of filling, what do you do? You take the best player available. You can debate whether its Ridley, or Maryland wide out D.J. Moore, maybe Central Florida corner Mike Hughes, or Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter, but at the end of the day I think Ridley fills a need and allows them a cost effective alternative after this year to keeping Alshon Jeffrey.
So there you go. Laugh now, laugh next weekend watching the draft unfold, or laugh at me 3 years from asking how I missed future studs taken in the 5th round like happens every year. Either way, I welcome you back to You’re Ducking Right. If it ain’t You’re Ducking Right, then its just fucking wrong.
- Jason Sullivan
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