2018 NFL Mock Draft: Derwin James lands in Seattle to be Chancellor's understudy
The Seahawks get a dynamic strong safety in Derwin James to learn from the game's best at that position
Pete Carroll's squad will continue to ride those three -- and linebacker Bobby Wagner -- for as long as it can, but who says another ultra-athletic play-maker can't be added in Seattle?
Derwin James has been an alpha dog since high school, and although his best collegiate season came as a true freshman, he's still one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2018 class.
As we're heading into Week 10, I've used the official draft order for this mock.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. A team with the first overall pick should technically be interested in following the "best players available" philosophy, and there's a realistic chance Nelson will be the top prospect on a few team's boards. San Francisco will do whatever is necessary to protect Jimmy G, pave lanes for the run game, and slow down strong interior rushes in Los Angeles and Seattle. Enter Nelson. Think about it this way ... how high would Zack Martin go in a 2014 re-draft? Top five?
2. Cleveland Browns
Ryan Finley, QB, NC State. Surprise. Not Darnold. Not Rosen. Not Jackson. The Browns side with the experienced, refined pocket passer who might not have All-Pro upside but doesn't need much development. Finley is still flying under the radar a bit, especially after back-to-back N.C. State losses. There's a lot to like about his game. He has mature pocket presence, quality accuracy and adequate athletic ability.
3. New York Giants
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Another quarterback prospect entering the NFL with tons of experience and a polished skill set inside the pocket. Eli Manning's downfield accuracy has rapidly decreased in each of the last three seasons, and Rudolph flourishes delivering the football deep. Because of his NFL-readiness, the Giants won't have to wait two or three years to get serious production from their quarterback position.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma. Donovan Smith, the Buccaneers' 2015 second-round pick, has disappointed on the left side protecting Jameis Winston. While I don't expect Tampa Bay to be done with Smith after two seasons, it wouldn't hurt to draft more offensive line help. Brown is tremendous in all areas. After Winston's shoulder injury, the Bucs will be fine grabbing a top left tackle in this class.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. This won't be the last time I'll mock Sutton to Indianapolis. T.Y. Hilton is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He needs a complement. Donte Moncrief is likely to leave in free agency. Sutton looks like a modern-day No. 1 NFL wideout. He's big, elusive, and wins in many contested-catch situations.
6. Cincinnati Bengals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. The Bengals need to make widespread changes. Andy Dalton isn't a brutal quarterback. He's not the type of player to carry the franchise. His time just might be up in Cincinnati. Jackson is a rising prospect because of the development he's displayed as Louisville's starting quarterback. Oh, and he's quite impressive running the football too. Maybe you've heard.
7. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The Browns aren't worried about the ghost of Trent Richardson, the last first-round running back selected by Cleveland. Barkley is an exceptionally well-rounded talent with impeccable receiving ability. He runs with a low center of gravity, has deceptive long speed, desired vision, and lethal lateral agility.
8. Los Angeles Chargers
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. The Chargers continue their investment in the offensive line for the tail end of Philip Rivers' underrated career. Williams is brilliant in pass protection and can hold his own blocking for the run. There is some risk with this selection, as Williams suffered a knee injury this season. However, when healthy, he's one of the best offensive players in this class.
9. Denver Broncos
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. The Broncos have Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and spent a third-round pick on yards-after-the-catch specialist Carlos Henderson -- who's now hurt -- yet that doesn't mean they won't look to upgrade their wideout spot. After all, Sanders and Thomas are entering the late stages of the prime of their careers. Washington is the best deep threat in this draft and has serious possession wideout skills.
10. Chicago Bears
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Receiver will be a trendy mock selection for the Bears. How about a pass-catching tight end? Andrews has an occasional problem with drops. Chicago can live with those, particularly given his speed and craftiness as a route runner. This Sooners star is the premier receiving tight end in the class.
11. Baltimore Ravens
Arden Key, DE, LSU. Many will suggest an offensive skill-position player for the Ravens in Round 1. Baltimore can't pass on Key at this juncture. He's too talented. At 6-feet-6 and 265 pounds, Key has All-Pro ability as an edge-rusher and isn't limited at all athletically. He'll fit in wonderfully as a Terrell Suggs replacement.
12. New York Jets
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. The Jets need stability at their left tackle position, something they haven't had since D'Brickashaw Ferguson retired after the 2015 season. Okorafor isn't a finished product yet, but he's close. He's played in many games for Western Michigan and has natural ability that simply can't be coached.
13. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. The Raiders need a long-term solution at off-ball linebacker. Point blank. And they get the best off-ball linebacker prospect in the 2018 class here with Smith, a rocket at middle linebacker for Georgia who sheds blocks as well as he runs with tight ends down the seam.
14. Arizona Cardinals
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. When protected, Rosen can make every throw -- even the extremely difficult ones. It's just that when he faces pressure, he's decidedly less effective. While Arizona may not have the sturdiest offensive line, expect Cardinals GM Steve Keim to address that in free agency. Learning from Bruce Arians will be good for Rosen, who has the arm strength to push the ball down the field.
15. Miami Dolphins
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. Without Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins have a glaring need at running back, even if they do like Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake. Guice has Ajayi-type skills, and is more explosive. Guice will add a fun element to Adam Gase's offense in South Beach.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC. The Falcons could use a young speedy receiver who can also make tough catches outside his body frame. That's Burnett. Sure, Atlanta may have similar wideouts in Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel, but Burnett will enter the NFL as a more complete receiver.
17. Green Bay Packers
Mike McGlinchey OT, Notre Dame. The Notre Dame left tackle might not be on the board this long, but if he is, expect the Packers to pounce. Bryan Bulaga has unfortunately dealt with an assortment of serious injuries in his career. McGlinchey could fortify a vital position for Green Bay. He has some problems against smaller speed rushers but stymies any other type of rusher.
18. Detroit Lions
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Lions are a straight-forward, 4-3 team, and in those defenses, the down linemen are obviously crucial. Detroit has gotten good production out of Ziggy Ansah, and it could use another powerful outside rusher to play all three downs.
19. Washington Redskins
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. Fitzpatrick and Josh Norman would be one heck of a cornerback tandem in the nation's capital. Both are long, rangy and best when they have their eyes on the quarterback in the pocket. Some like Fitzpatrick as a safety. I think he'd be a stud zone cornerback right away in the NFL.
20. Seattle Seahawks
Derwin James, S, Florida State. So James probably won't be there at pick No. 20, but crazier things have happened during the first day of the NFL Draft. Anyway though, this would be a compelling fit, wouldn't it? James is a true strong safety who'd be the perfect understudy to Kam Chancellor and checks all the boxes of the athletic profile Seattle loves.
21. Tennessee Titans
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. I want to see Okoronkwo as a movable chess piece for Dick Lebeau, and I hope the latter never retires. Okoronkwo has the most dynamic speed and bend combination among outside pass-rushers in the 2018 class and is totally comfortable in coverage and defending against wide receiver screens near the sideline.
22. Dallas Cowboys
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson. Dallas desperately needs a downfield burner to complement Zeke Elliott and Dez Bryant. Cain can be that guy for Dak Prescott. He has averaged 16 yards per catch in a somewhat overlooked Clemson career and glides effortlessly when he's in full stride.
23. Buffalo Bills
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. The Bills would be ecstatic with Hurst being available at pick No. 23. He's a super-experienced, penetrating defensive tackle who'd fill a major need in the middle of Buffalo's defense. No interior defensive linemen has a more electric burst off the snap than Hurst, something that fits perfectly with what Sean McDermott wants from his down linemen.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State. The Jaguars are loaded on defense and have invested a large sum of money on that side of the ball. While Leonard Fournette will be their offensive foundation for a while, getting Blake Bortles a high-pointing extraordinaire is a good idea. Ateman is a 6-4 monster who tracks it and goes up to get it as well as any wideout in this class.
25. Carolina Panthers
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. Panthers GM Marty Hurney was a part of the team's front office when Steve Smith was drafted in the third round of the 2001 draft. This selection is made because Hurney sees a lot of Smith in Miller, a small, feisty, speedster with outstanding ball skills. He's piled up 203 receptions, 3,033 yards and 30 touchdowns so far in his three-year Memphis career.
26. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Braden Smith, G, Auburn. The Bills need upgrades at their guard position. Smith is an SEC-tested guard with over 30 starts in his time at Auburn. He excels on the move when blocking for the run and at 6-6 and 303 pounds, he has the size and length to deal with NFL pass-rushers. Smith would be a perfect fit in Buffalo.
27. Los Angeles Rams
Kameron Kelly, CB, San Diego State. A dark-horse first-round prospect to the Rams in this mock. Kelly is a 6-2, 200-pound total package cornerback. He flies downhill in run support often, has a knack to recognize routes and make plays on the football. He has nine interceptions in his last three seasons with the Aztecs and already has 48 tackles in 2017. He'd be a welcomed addition to Los Angeles' secondary.
28. Minnesota Vikings
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State. The Vikings reunite Price with his former teammate at Ohio State Pat Elflein in hopes of cementing the interior of their offensive line. Price can play guard or center -- doesn't matter. And for Minnesota, hopefully his presence boosts the play of Elflein who's had a rough go of it as a rookie.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. The Steelers like what they've gotten out of Joe Haden thus far in 2017 yet realize he's not a long-term solution at the cornerback spot. Oliver can be. He's a smooth athlete and has the track speed to stay with wideouts down the field. He has three interceptions and 22 pass breakups in his Colorado career.
30. New Orleans Saints
Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas. Max Unger just isn't the elite center he once was. He had an outstanding run. The Saints would love to draft his immediate replacement, and Ragnow is far and away the best center in the class. He's arguably the second-best overall offensive linemen behind Quenton Nelson. He falls this far due to the fact that he'll be nursing a serious ankle injury for the early stages of the draft process.
31. New England Patriots
Taven Bryan, DL, Florida. Bryan is the ideal defensive lineman for the Patriots' varied front. He can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment and use his refined hand use to beat interior offensive linemen en route to the quarterback. At 6-5 and 293 pounds, he undoubtedly can hold up at end in a 3-4 and make an impact against the run and pass. With Bryan, Trey Flowers, and Deatrich Wise -- not to mention 2017 draftee Derek Rivers who's on IR -- New England will have an assortment of youthful versatile defensive linemen.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Dorian O'Daniel, OLB, Clemson. Mychal Kendricks is an unheralded linebacker who does it all for the Eagles. And Philly likes the upside of youngster Jordan Hicks. That doesn't stop them from adding another multi-faceted off-ball linebacker in O'Daniel, a weakside linebacker with reliable tackling and coverage abilities.
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