2018 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars nab huge SMU wideout, Giants land a franchise QB
Courtland Sutton's NFL-ready frame helps him consistently dominate smaller cornerbacks
The most surprising outcome on Sunday in Week 1 in the NFL was the Jacksonville Jaguars' thrashing of the Houston Texans on the road. Doug Marrone's team dominated in every phase of the game en route to a 29-7 victory.
However, in their big divisional win, the Jaguars lost star No. 1 wideout Allen Robinson for the year with a torn ACL. The 2014 draftee is in the final year of his rookie contract, meaning, there's a reasonable chance Jacksonville will let him hit the open market next March.
Because of that, the Jaguars will need an alpha receiver to replace him. Enter 6-foot-4 Courtland Sutton from SMU. The high-point specialist reeled in 19 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016 and already has five scores through two games this season.
1. Cleveland Browns
Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma. Brown Jr. has been spectacular to start the season for the Sooners. In Saturday's statement win against Ohio State, the 6-foot-7 monster shut down reigning Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year Tyquan Lewis and kept Sam Hubbard and Nick Bosa at bay ... not easy tasks. His father played in the NFL for over a decade and begin his pro career in Cleveland. Brown Jr. will be the ideal candidate to ultimately man the left side of the line after Joe Thomas.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. Brian Hoyer has become the consummate bridge quarterback, and he's currently the 49ers starter. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch will likely dive incredibly deep on the 2018 quarterback class. Darnold is in need of some fine-tuning (mainly his elongated release) but plays with a gunslinger mentality and has the arm strength and accuracy to be effective at all levels of the field. His mobility and throw-on-the-run skills make him a tremendous fit in Shanahan's offense, which features plenty of boot-action.
3. New York Jets
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. The Jets selected a pair of receivers in the 2016 draft, but neither are as naturally talented and explosive as Washington. Some of the Oklahoma State wideout's numbers may be inflated due to the Cowboys' spread-em-out attack, but the 6-foot, 200-pound pass-catcher hits home runs in seemingly every game.
4. Los Angeles Rams
Arden Key, DE, LSU. Key has yet to play in 2017, so this is admittedly more projection than anyone else in this mock. Then again, as a 20-year-old in 2016, he had 12.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. At 6-foot-6 and around 250 pounds, Key is a menacing figure on the edge with a springy get off. Key had been dealing with a shoulder injury and was cleared by doctors earlier this week. If the Rams move on from Robert Quinn, Key will slide right into his spot on the outside.
5. Chicago Bears
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson. What will likely be three years of top-end production at a powerhouse program from a top-end athlete is reason enough for Cain to land in the top five. No, he's not the contested-catch phenom Mike Williams was a year ago. In fact, he's quite the opposite. Cain flourishes down the field and after the catch. The Bears need to bolster their wideout group after the unfortunate injuries to Kevin White.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. Williams rebounded from -- by his standards -- a poor outing against Maryland and looked like his normal self in the huge win over San Jose State. The offensive line in front of Philip Rivers is better now than it was a few seasons ago, but it still needs work, especially on the edges.
7. Miami Dolphins
Derwin James, S, Florida State. James is a free safety, strong safety, weakside linebacker, quarterback spy ... whatever you want him to be behind the defensive line. The Dolphins like Kiko Alonso and will get 2017 second-round pick Raekwon McMillan back from a torn ACL next year, but that doesn't stop them from adding a true playmaker on defense.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. Jameis Winston could use an old-school feature back to balance out the Buccaneers' new-look attack. Barkley runs with power and elusiveness and can handle a large workload if needed. He'll face much fewer eight-man boxes in Tampa Bay than he does while at Penn State.
9. Detroit Lions
Maurice Hurst Jr., DT, Michigan. Hurst doesn't mess around. He just routinely disrupts the opponent's backfield and sniffs out slow-developing screens. Haloti Ngata is in the twilight of his career. Hurst is an energetic interior defensive lineman who'll make a seamless transition to Ngata's position in Detroit.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Allen Robinson has made a ridiculous amount of catches with a high degree of difficulty in his NFL career. If Jacksonville decides to let him walk in free agency, they'll need those game-altering receptions back. That's where Sutton comes in. He wins at the catch point with size, length, and strong hands.
11. Buffalo Bills
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College, The Bills want to get pressure without blitzing. They like their interior pass-rushers and should be content with Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes on the edge. There's nothing wrong with adding more outside pass-rush though. Landry certainly can get to the quarterback and won't have to leave the field either. He's a edge-setting force against the run too.
12. Indianapolis Colts
Cameron Smith, LB, USC . The Colts are in dire need of a impact, sideline-to-sideline linebacker. Smith is quick to react to plays in front of him, fluid in coverage, and dynamic enough to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. He'll be welcomed in Indianapolis.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. Guice is a thunderous runner with the rare ability to run over linebackers and defensive backs or just effortlessly make them miss in the open field. He's done plenty of work between the tackles and has good enough long speed to hit some 30- or 40-yard runs in the NFL. Another offensive piece for Carson Wentz.
14. New Orleans Saints
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. Ferrell is somewhat of a late bloomer who'll win over scouts with his hustle, angular frame, and athletic talents. He had 12 tackles for loss and six sacks in Clemson's national title season and has a sack to go along with 11 tackles through two games this year. The Saints really need another quality edge-rusher beyond Cam Jordan.
15. Denver Broncos
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame. The Broncos need more stoutness on their offensive line, especially on the interior. Nelson is wide but agile and packs a powerful punch at the point of attack. He'll instantly improve Denver's run game and give its quarterback more time in the pocket.
16. Washington Redskins
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. Let's say the Kirk Cousins ship sails after a disappointing 2017 campaign. That would leave quarterback as the most glaring need for the Redskins offense. Rosen has squeaky clean mechanics and will bring a great deal of experience into the NFL. He has the personality for the bright lights of the NFC East.
17. New York Giants
Lamar Jackson, QB, Lousiville. Eli Manning is, well, let's say, now a liability for the Giants offense. In his last 10 games (nine from 2016 and the 2017 season opener), the former No. 1 overall pick has completed 63.1 percent of his passes at just 6.18 yards per attempt with 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a passer rating of 84.3. Jackson is the antithesis of Eli; he's an excellent scrambler and has taken a step forward from the pocket. He'll instantly gel with Odell Beckham Jr. in the Big Apple.
18. Tennessee Titans
Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State. The Titans need a sturdy edge-rusher. Lewis has dropped into coverage on a few instances at Ohio State but has made a name for himself with a powerful bull rush and the capability to shed blockers for help against the run.
19. Oakland Raiders
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. Wilkins is a penetrating defensive tackle who can win strength battles with offensive linemen at 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds. He hasn't gotten off to the fastest start in 2017. I'd be stunned if he's held in check for much longer.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. Davin Bellamy, Georgia's finest edge-rusher, exposed McGlinchey on multiple snaps in the Bulldogs' narrow defeat of the Fighting Irish on Saturday. Typically a stalwart in pass protection, the Notre Dame left tackle struggled with Bellamy's burst and hand use. Regardless of that, McGlinchey is pro-ready and has a first-round resume.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. Andy Dalton will have to make a sizable leap forward to be worth his $16.3 million cap hit in 2018, and that type of improvement rarely happens for a quarterback in his seventh professional season. Allen isn't a perfect prospect. Far from it, actually. And some Bengals fans will hate this selection. But his huge arm and courage as a thrower allow him to make plays Dalton simply couldn't.
22. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. The new Browns regime has spent three early draft picks to build the club's outside pass-rushing profile, and they continue to add to it with Okoronkwo, a defender who's decidedly different from Myles Garrett, Carl Nassib, and Emmanuel Ogbah. The Oklahoma product is a smaller, twitchy edge-bender who hits the spin move after a handful of speed rushes.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Kyle Rudolph isn't super expensive in 2018, but the Vikings could use another mega target down the seam, especially with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen making plays down the sidelines. Andrews has impressive yards-after-the-catch ability.
24. Carolina Panthers
Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State. Chubb fits the profile of defensive linemen Carolina loves: tall and strong with a quality motor. Charles Johnson is nearing the end of his underrated career, and although the 6-foot-5, 266-pound Daeshon Hall was picked in the 2017 draft, Chubb offers more as a pass-rusher.
25. Green Bay Packers
Dorian O'Daniel, OLB, Clemson. Clemson's defense has an almost unfair amount of NFL prospects on its front seven. The "late riser" of this group might be O'Daniel, a SAM 'backer who has the upper-body strength to deal with offensive linemen near the line and the fluidity to chase down running backs on stretch plays. The Packers linebacker group is in need of a player like O'Daniel, particularly with Clay Matthews already 31.
26. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC. The Bills have revamped their receiving group -- going from small and fast to tall with large with contested-catch ability. But they could use a Ted Ginn Jr. type on the roster. Burnett is slight of frame but has displayed the ability to make plays in a multitude of ways for the Trojans. He has blazing downfield speed, suddenness in the open field and excellent ball skills.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia . Blanding can do whatever you ask of him, really, but the Cowboys would let him patrol the deep middle and create turnovers with Byron Jones now more of a slot cornerback and strong safety than anything else. Blanding sees everything happen a split-second before everyone else on the field and is a sure tackler.
28. Atlanta Falcons
Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson. Remember what I said about Clemson's defense? Yeah, Bryant's really good too. At nearly 6-foot-4 and nearly 270 pounds, he doesn't need to add any weight to his frame to play every down in the NFL. He had four sacks and four tackles for loss against Auburn. The Falcons have speed on their defensive front; Bryant would infuse some power.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State. The Ravens picked Ronnie Stanley in 2016, and he has franchise left tackle traits. Losing right tackle Ricky Wagner in free agency hurts, and Rankin is the ideal replacement. Even if Baltimore needs to kick him inside to guard on occasion, this Mississippi State alum can play there too.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas. Jefferson needs some gap-filling refinement, but that's not uncommon for a young linebacker. Physically, Jefferson moves like a bigger safety and hits like he has another 20 pounds on him. In this scenario, the Steelers would love to pair him with Ryan Shazier to form a hyper-athletic linebacker tandem.
31. Seattle Seahawks
Mitch Hyatt, OL, Clemson. Hyatt was a highly touted high school recruit -- 247 rated him as the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country -- and he's acclimated quickly to the ACC while at Clemson. Have you seen the Seahawks offensive line lately? Or, like, for the past two seasons.
32. New England Patriots
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia. Two first-round picks from Virginia? Yep, and it would be the first time since 2008. Kiser is a second-level eraser who can provide some pass-rushing help as a blitzer. Dont'a Hightower is one of the best linebackers in the AFC. He just needs an effective player next to him.
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