2018 NFL Mock Draft: Lamar Jackson first QB off the board in a bonkers first round
Week 6 in the NFL was filled with shocking results. Let's go that route with this mock draft
The NFL was bonkers last week, wasn't it? Instead of a "normal" mock draft, I'm traveling well past what right now would be considered outside the box to pinpoint some unusual team-prospect pairs and to introduce some fresh names into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
When you really think about it, how often are October mock drafts even remotely spot on when April rolls around? There's bound to be current "sure-fire" first-rounders who fall into Round 3, and "who?" prospects that'll catapult into Day 1.
Reminder: The current draft order was constructed using SportsLine's latest win-total predictions.
1. Cleveland Browns
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. Think back to 2013, when a rock-solid offensive tackle from the MAC aced the pre-draft process and ultimately found himself going No. 1 overall. That player was Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, now of the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's become one of the better left tackles in football. A similar scenario unfolds here with Western MIchigan's Okorafor, a tremendously gifted athlete with refined blocking technique and NFL-caliber size at 6-foot-5 and around 330 pounds. In this scenario, the Browns traded for Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason. Okorafor locks down the left side for Cleveland after Joe Thomas.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. Remember when Robert Griffin III supposedly transcended the league in 2012 with his mobility and throwing prowess? His offensive coordinator was Kyle Shanahan. Hmmm. Interesting. Make no mistake... Jackson has made clear strides as a passer and often looks to prioritize throwing from the pocket over scrambling. And while he's made some mistakes, his arm strength and pocket poise are excellent, and the latter is steadily improving. Jackson would be a blast in Shanahan's system that utilizes a variety of bootlegs and rolling pockets.
3. New York Giants
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. The 225-pound Georgia linebacker has played better each week for the Bulldogs, and as his team ascends up the rankings, he could receive more notoriety. Over the years, Giants GM Jerry Reese has neglected the linebacker spot early in the draft, but are we sure Reese will be around in 2018? Even if he's retained, he goes against the grain and takes the do-it-all, physically gifted linebacker at No. 3 overall.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Donte Moncrief is set to be a free agent, and after T.Y. Hilton, the Colts could use receiver reinforcement. They'll get that and more with the muscular 6-foot-4 wideout who moves like he's much smaller. Indianapolis spent a good deal of money and draft picks on defense this year. They make offense a priority in 2018 for Andrew Luck.
5. Chicago Bears
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. A tight end with No. 5 overall pick? In this mock... why not? The Bears aren't enamored with any wideout options here, and they desperately want to provide Mitchell Trubisky with as many game-changing pass-catchers as possible. Andrews is another supremely talented athlete with desired size to be a field-stretcher and yards-after-the-catch playmaker for the Chicago offense.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers spent a second- and third-round pick at the guard spot in 2017, yet they hedge their bets here with another guard. Not only has the Chargers' tackle position been in an issue for years now, the interior blocking has hurt Philip Rivers and the run game. Nelson is the best offensive linemen in the draft.
7. Oakland Raiders
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame.
With McGlinchey, the Raiders can patch their hole at right tackle and plan for the future. Left tackle Donald Penn will be 35 in 2018, and the Notre Dame tackle can slide over to that side when need be. McGlinchey is pro-ready pass-protector who's gotten plenty of experience as a run-blocker this season in South Bend.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. The Buccaneers need size in their secondary. That's not the first nor the last time I'll write that this season. Fitzpatrick is all of 6-foot and 200 pounds with seemingly long arms, and an explosive vertical. He's an aggressive run-defender too. With all the offensive weaponry in the NFC South, Tampa Bay is fine picking its second first-round cornerback in three years.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Derwin James, S, Florida State. With George Iloka and Shawn Williams on the back end, safety may not be the most glaring need for Cincinnati, however, management simply can't pass on a defender with James' natural ability here in the top 10. The Florida State safety is a long, twitchy athlete with reliable tackling skills who flashes in coverage.
10. Dallas Cowboys
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. The lack of the deep ball has been the weakness of the Cowboys offense this season. Terrence Williams can make some plays downfield, but he's not a player against which defensive coordinators need to game plan. Washington is. The sturdy 6-foot wideout not only has impressive long speed... he boasts strong hands and excellent body control to make the tough catches look easy. He'll take an extra safety out of the box and eventually stop double teams on Dez Bryant.
11. New York Jets
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. In this mock, I'm assuming Mayfield continues his torrid pace and ends the season on a high note, even if it's not winning the national title. While the Jets have gotten admirable play from Josh McCown so far in 2017, they're decidedly in the market for a franchise quarterback. This move would be met with some criticism, but Mayfield's confidence and play-making skills make him an ideal fit for the New York City market.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The Cardinals prepare for life after Carson Palmer with, arguably, the most polished quarterback prospect in the class. Rosen doesn't come without faults though, as he's repeatedly shown the tendency to force the issue and make some bad decisions even when he's in a clean pocket that lead to interceptions. Awesome landing spot with Bruce Arians.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Terrell Suggs is still making quarterbacks' lives miserable at 35 years old. His contract is up after 2018, and Baltimore grabs rocked-up, productive, high-motor defensive end to be Suggs' heir apparent. Ozzie Newsome has been one of the league's finest GMs for quite some time now, and this is a fantastic get at No. 13 overall.
14. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. The Jimmy G-led Browns need top-flight receivers for their new quarterback. Miller has emerged as one of college football's most exciting players due to his speed, quickness, and knack to snag highlight-reel catches. He'll form a fun combination with Corey Coleman and whichever wideouts Cleveland signs in free agency.
15. Tennessee Titans
Taven Bryan, DE, Florida. Get to know this name. Bryan is a 6-foot-5, 293-pound havoc-wreaker at multiple defensive line positions. He has long arms that he knows how to use to beat offensive linemen, a nice burst off the snap, and enough strength to win with power on occasion. If he has a standout combine, Bryan's stock could soar, and the Titans could use an injection of youth to their edge-rushing unit.
16. Detroit Lions
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick have proven to be productive, dual-threat running backs, but they're both more third-down types than feature backs. Barkley, as you almost assuredly know, can take over the bulk of the backfield duties, and he has star potential in Detroit on a team that possesses a dynamic passing offense for which defenses must account.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma. Jacksonville likes what it has in second-round pick Cam Robinson, he just runs too hot and cold. Even if he improves and becomes a steady left tackle, the Jaguars need a road-grader at right tackle. While Brown Jr. has manned the left tackle spot for the Sooners, he can jump into the right tackle spot and thrive on pass and run plays.
18. Miami Dolphins
Billy Price, OG, Ohio State. I have a hard time not going offensive line for the Dolphins. Price can play center or guard -- well, I should add -- and there's a good chance he'll begin his NFL career at the latter position. Right guard Jermon Bushrod has struggled thus far for Miami, and left guard Anthony Steen hasn't been much better.
19. Denver Broncos
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. John Elway is tempted to go quarterback, here... instead he goes BPA. Hurst is a penetrating interior lineman who'll instantly produce due to the attention offensive linemen pay to Denver's awesome contingent of edge-rushers.
20. Washington Redskins
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. Behind Josh Norman, Washington has Bashaud Breeland, who's been up and down in his professional career, and the Redskins need to invest in their secondary. Ward has played plenty of man coverage during his time at Ohio State and follows a long line of Urban Meyer-recruited cornerbacks who've become first-round picks. His tenacity fits well with the high profile wideouts in the NFC East.
21. Atlanta Falcons
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. Williams is currently sidelined with injury, but expect him to be 100 percent for pre-draft work. When he's healthy, he's a lockdown left tackle, yet the Falcons will use him on the right side to start his pro career. One of his first and probably most difficult tasks will be to slow down Saints underrated left defensive end Cam Jordan.
22. Buffalo Bills
Arden Key, DE, LSU. Jerry Hughes is at home in Sean McDermott's 4-3 defense. Shaq Lawson has showed glimpses of magnificent run-stopping ability. But more outside pass-rush certainly wouldn't hurt the Bills. Key is a 4-3 defensive end all the way at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. He labored through a slow start to 2017, but he had his best game of the season against Auburn on Saturday. His immense length and athleticism can't be coached.
23. New Orleans Saints
Lorenzo Carter, DE, Georgia.
Another potential late-riser at the defensive tackle spot. Carter hasn't had loads of production, yet his length, polished hand usage and size -- 6-foot-6, 243-pounds -- make him an intriguing addition for the Saints, a team that's played better defense of late but still needs defensive end depth.
24. Seattle Seahawks
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett aren't in their mid-20s anymore, and Seattle could use an outside pass-rusher with versatility to sink into coverage and trail run plays from the backside. Okoronkwo thrives in all those areas, and the Seahawks will love his length and hustle to the football.
25. Green Bay Packers
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M. Just like he did with the selection of Randall Cobb in 2011 when the Packers had Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and Jordy Nelson, Ted Thompson plans ahead at receiver and grabs a nifty possession receiver with some similarities to both Cobb and Davante Adams.
26. Los Angeles Rams
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. Is Robert Quinn going to be a Ram in 2018? If the former Defensive Player of the Year is released, he'll save the team more than $11 million. If Los Angeles does decide to move on from him, Ferrell is an ideal replacement due to how he compares athletically to the former North Carolina star. Ferrell is explosive with long arms.
27. Carolina Panthers
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College. The Panthers can't stop, won't stop drafting defensive linemen early. Seriously though, Charles Johnson has had a hard time getting to the quarterback this season, and Landry can move into his spot on the outside as a rookie. Though the Boston College standout doesn't have an elite first-step or a myriad of pass-rushing moves, he can bend the edge and is strong at the point of attack.
28. Minnesota Vikings
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC. The Vikings love Stefon Diggs. As they should. The guy is amazing. Burnett has many of the same attributes as Diggs, and is similarly sized. Together, the two would eat deep coverage, aid Minnesota's run game and potentially become the best young long-ball tandem in the NFL.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State. The Steelers defense has overachieved so far in the 2017 campaign, and there needs to be a contingency plan for the cornerback spot after the Joe Haden experiment. McFadden is a lengthy cornerback with the skills to mirror wideouts at all levels of the field.
30. New England Patriots
Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson. Dont'a Hightower is the best Patriots defender right now, and he needs a quality linebacker mate. Enter Joseph. With a decent amount of two-gapping on New England's front, the Clemson star will find himself with many free runs to the ball-carrier, and his athleticism will be honed to make him an asset in coverage.
31. Philadelphia Eagles
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford. With this pick, the team-building around Carson Wentz will, in essence, be complete. Love is a 50-plus yard touchdown waiting to happen and will flourish running behind Philadelphia's dominant offensive line. By the way, how about the recent run Stanford's had at the tailback spot.
32. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State. After a 2016 season that featured 4.34 yards per route run -- the highest among returning draft-eligible receiver per Pro Football Focus, Gallup has accounted for a whopping 42.8 percent of Colorado State's receiving yards this season -- anything above 30 percent is good. Clearly, the 6-foot-1 wideout is super efficient. Buffalo needs wideout help, and Gallup has an alluring combination of size, quickness, and advanced receiver skills.
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