2018 NFL Mock Draft: Redskins replace Kirk Cousins with Sam Darnold
If Kirk Cousins leaves in free agency, Washington will turn its attention to the 2018 draft for its next QB
Let's say Sam Darnold has a good October, a tremendous November, and an even better December and bowl game.
He'd enter the 2018 NFL Draft and be quite the highly-touted prospect, although some teams will have concerns.
Let's say Kirk Cousins receives an offer he can't refuse from his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and signs with the San Francisco 49ers. Tell me Darnold to D.C. wouldn't be a fun fit. And heck, how awesome would it be if the Giants picked Josh Rosen and the two former Los Angeles stars face each other for the next decade in the NFC East?
Reminder: SportsLine's latest win-total predictions were used for the current draft order.
1. Cleveland Browns
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. The Browns have to take a quarterback at this juncture, right? I mean, even if Kevin Hogan plays well for the remainder of the season, he won't be enough to stop Cleveland from addressing the most important position on the field. Rudolph is experienced, super productive, and is mature beyond his years passing from the pocket. Hue Jackson will be enamored with the Oklahoma State signal-caller.
2. New York Giants
Josh Rosen, QB, New York Giants.
Ahhh Rosen in the Big Apple. From L.A. to NYC. So perfect. There is some Eli to Rosen's game, but I think Rosen has more upside than Eli ever did. After gearing up for what looked like a deep playoff run this season, the Giants are 0-5, Odell Beckham Jr.'s out for the year, and Manning looks like he's on his last legs. The offensive line hasn't been good either. Rosen ushers in a new era for the G-Men.
3. San Francisco 49ers
If you read the intro, you know that in this mock, I'm assuming Kyle Shanahan traded for Kirk Cousins to run his offense in San Francisco. With Joe Staley nearing the end of his underrated career at left tackle, McGlinchey would make plenty of sense as a shrewd investment along the offensive line, even if he needs to play right tackle to begin his career. The NFC West has its fair share of quality edge-rushers.
4. Chicago Bears
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame. Back-to-back Fighting Irish linemen in the top 5. Yep, the duo is that good. In this hypothetical, the Bears hit the free-agent market hard to bring in wide receivers for Mitchell Trubisky. What else does he need to succeed? Sound pass protection. Nelson can provide that on the inside and will be a boon for the fun running back tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
5. Los Angeles Chargers
Derwin James, S, Florida State. The Chargers need a stopper on the back end. The secondary hasn't been the same since Eric Weddle left. James is a similar type of player to Weddle, and he's much bigger. James can be utilized everywhere in the secondary and even down in the box as a weakside linebacker. With Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa in front of him, James will be in prime position to make a ton of plays.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. Indianapolis continues its defensive rebuild. Fitzpatrick is long, rangy, athletic and will enter the NFL after a super-productive collegiate career... sounds like Colts' 2017 first-rounder Malik Hooker. The Alabama star can be a lockdown corner against the league's larger receivers or drift back to safety if he's needed there.
7. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. Smith is a 225-pound rocket at the linebacker position. Oakland is fine on the outside but is severely lacking at the inside linebacker position. This Georgia product is a cool customer in coverage and makes a major impact against the run regardless of the the direction of the run play.
8. Arizona Cardinals
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. Bruce Arians will always love the deep ball, and Washington is the most explosive, consistent deep threat in college football. Regardless of who the quarterback is in Arizona next year, he'll be greatly benefited by the NFL-ready speedster out on the perimeter. Washington is a home run hitter and can occasionally fill in as a possession target due to his muscular frame.
9. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The Browns taking a running back in Round 1? OK, Cleveland, I understand if you'd have Trent Richardson flashbacks. But Barkley is an incredibly complete ball-carrier who will give the Browns the spark it needs on the ground. He'd take a lot of pressure off Cleveland's passing game too.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Mitch Hyatt, OL, Clemson. Hyatt possesses the feet of a guard and the power and technique of an offensive tackle. More than anything else, the Bengals need offensive-line reinforcements regardless of where it is on their front. The Clemson standout has plenty of experience in big games against elite competition and has almost always fared well in those situations.
11. Tennessee Titans
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. The Titans used one of two first-round picks in 2017 on cornerback Adoree Jackson. Ward offers much more polish on the outside and has the twitchiness to bump inside to the slot and still perform admirably. Tennessee has an offense loaded with potential, but it's the defense -- particularly the secondary -- that needs more talent.
12. Dallas Cowboys
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli loves nothing more than defensive linemen who get upfield. That's precisely where Hurst thrives. He was smart to return for his final year of eligibility because he has looked liked a first-round lock every week at the outset of the 2017 season. Dallas is in dire need of pass-rushing help on its defensive interior.
13. Miami Dolphins
Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma. The Dolphins' offensive woes start with their shaky unit of blockers. With Ryan Tannehill expected to return to 100 percent by the start of next season, Miami will want to sell out to protect him. Brown Jr. is a refined pass-blocker who can play either tackle spot and push Laremy Tunsil back to guard, where he flashed as a rookie.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronnie Harrison, CB/S, Alabama. You know multiple Alabama defenders are going in the first round. It's become like clockwork every year. Harrison is the 6-foot-3 counterpart to Fitzpatrick, and with the Crimson Tide poised for a variety of marquee games down the stretch, Harrison's physicality and play-making ability will be on full display. Tampa Bay needs size its in secondary. Harrison will undoubtedly add that.
15. Washington Redskins
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. Remember the Cousins scenario I mentioned in the paragraph on the 49ers pick. Yeah, well that comes into play here. Washington is captivated by Darnold's sky-high potential and believe he's more ready for the NFL than a few other teams. With a sturdy offensive line and a tough defensive front, he won't be joining a bad team.
16. New Orleans Saints
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M. The Saints have been rumored to be ready to part ways with safety Kenny Vaccaro, and if that happens in the offseason, they'll need to replace him. Watts is actually a similar player. He's not a physical specimen in terms of his height, yet he hits like a linebacker and routinely finds the football in coverage. New Orleans needs to continue fixing its secondary.
17. New York Jets
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Jets are overjoyed to land Chubb in the middle of the first round. At 6-foot-4 and around 275 pounds, he can play with his hand in the dirt in Todd Bowles' base 3-4 or rush the quarterback from a two-point stance on the edge. With teams focusing almost all their attention on Leonard Williams on the inside, Chubb will be in an environment conducive to plenty of disruption as a rookie.
18. Los Angeles Rams
Billy Price, OG, Ohio State. The Rams added the flashy pieces to their offense this season and have seen how sizable of an impact outstanding blockers can have on those skill-position players. Price can play guard or center, and Sean McVay will be a fan of the versatility of the ultra-experienced interior lineman.
19. Detroit Lions
Arden Key, DE, LSU. The Lions take a little risk here with the built-in-a-lab specimen Key who was one of the best defenders in the SEC in 2016 but has yet to get going in 2017. If he's fully healthy, he and Ziggy Ansah can be two foundational pass-rushers in Detroit for a long time.
20. Minnesota Vikings
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. The Vikings have an underrated pair of wideouts in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. They could use some size at their other pass-catching spots, especially if Kyle Rudolph isn't in the plans for 2018. Andrews isn't quite as big as Rudolph yet is more dynamic after the catch.
21. Buffalo Bills
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. The Bills must address their wide receiver position early in the 2018 draft. At this juncture, there's no better option than Sutton, the 6-foot-4 monster with surprisingly good agility and burst in the open field. Buffalo's new regime prioritizes size at receiver, so the SMU product will be appealing to Brandon Beane and Co.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford. The Ravens need a true bell cow for their run game. With past connections to the Ravens organization and GM Ozzie Newsome, current Stanford coach David Shaw raves about his superstar running back to his former employer, which helps Baltimore decide to pick Love in Round 1.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The Jaguars are getting it done with defense thus far this season, but they have to address weak spots on offense. Can they rely on Allen Robinson long-term? Even if they bring him back on a one-year deal, they'll want to give Blake Bortles as much help as possible at receiver. Ridley is ready to produce from Day 1.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. Okoronkwo can sink into coverage on zone blitzes or fly off the edge to get after the quarterback, and he's a willing run defender too. His complete skill set will catch the eye of defensive coordinator Keith Butler. Pittsburgh likes the idea of T.J. Watt and Okoronkwo as their building blocks on the outside for many years.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon. Another "surprise" Seahawks pick in Round 1. Crosby is 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, and is well-versed in pass-protection. The end of that sentence in music to Russell Wilson's ears. Also, the Ducks have run the football often during Crosby's tenure in Eugene.
26. New England Patriots
Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson. New England desperately needs aggressiveness on the edge of its defense. Bryant brings that, and has some versatility based on how he's used at Clemson. At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, he won't need a year to gain strength or add weight. The productive Bryant can be a three-down defensive end for Bill Belichick right away.
27. Denver Broncos
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. Second-straight mock with this selection. I just love it too much. Yes, C.J. Anderson is there, but that won't stop John Elway from grabbing Guice, who has nearly as much franchise back potential as Barkley. A somewhat "down" final season with the Tigers featuring a mysterious injury is the reason Guice goes this "late" in the first round.
28. Atlanta Falcons
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. The Falcons have to like what they have on the edges of their defense, yet they could use some upgrades on the interior. Wilkins pairs up with another former Clemson star, Grady Jarrett, at defensive tackle in Dan Quinn's defense. He'd instantly improve Atlanta's run defense and actually make Jarrett more effective due to his block-eating ability.
29. Carolina Panthers
Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi State. The Panthers need to realize Matt Kalil is not the answer at left tackle. The sooner they do that, the better. Rankin is a somewhat overlooked SEC-tested tackle with size, length, and point-of-attack power. He's an ideal selection for Carolina at this stage of the first round.
30. Green Bay Packers
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College. Landry came into the season as a potential first-round pick, yet he hasn't been the bendy, speed-to-power rusher many thought he'd be. As an edge-setter and when he needs to use strength to get to the quarterback, Landry is the most effective. Sounds like he'd fit with some additional weight as an end in Green Bay's 3-4.
31. Philadelphia Eagles
Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson. The Eagles have one of the NFL's better defensive fronts, so secondary may be the top priority here. But with the state of the inside linebacker spot somewhat in flux, Howie Roseman and Co. can't pass on the springy Joseph to play behind Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Brandon Graham where he'd accumulate a ridiculous amount of tackles.
32. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. The Bills moved up in the second round in 2017 to grab Temple offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, and he's had a so-so start to his NFL career. Like most young tackles, he's further ahead as a run-blocker than he is as a pass-blocker at this point. Even if the Bills believe in him as one of their starting tackles of the fture, they need an upgrade at right tackle, a spot currently occupied by Jordan Mills. Okorafor kept 2016 Round 2 pick Taylor Moton at right tackle during their time together at Western Michigan and has All-Pro potential due to his length, balance, and athletic talents.
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