2018 NFL Mock Draft: Rams trade for Odell Beckham; Cardinals, Bills both trade for QBs
WE'VE GOT TRADES, BABY
You want some trades? WE'VE GOT TRADES. So many wonderful trades, which are things that editors and readers love equally.
We'll probably discuss these trades on the newly reformatted Pick Six Podcast -- coming at you daily, 30 minutes, every morning, six topics, tailor made for a commute, subscribe on iTunes here -- but here's the skinny on what I'm thinking for the three trades in the first round of this mock draft.
Rams send two first-round picks for Odell Beckham: OBJ is on the move to L.A., where he can live his #brand lifestyle, get real #paid and the Giants can recoup some value, including No. 23 this year and the Rams' TBD pick in the first round next year. The Rams hope it's No. 32. Dave Gettleman gets out from under a troubled talent who wants big bucks and is able to either trade his No. 2 pick for more picks or grab two stud players. He opts for the latter below.
Bills trade two firsts (12, 22) and a second (53) for Browns' first (4): That's a LOT to give up for the No. 4 pick, but with a quarterback, even one who is a millennial, sitting there, the Bills have to shoot their shot. The Browns pick up a massive haul and are able to really put together an incredible package of first-round players, including a franchise QB, a franchise left tackle and a stud RB.
Cardinals trade two firsts (15, future) and a third (79): This is a ton to give up, but it lets the Cardinals move from 15 to 6 and land a franchise quarterback. They might be comfortable enough with their current setup to let the draft unfold and I don't see Steve Keim panicking and giving up too much, but the value of having a long-term answer is worth the gamble. Chris Ballard just wants to pile up the picks.
Oddly enough, of all these trades, I think the last one, involving the least capital, is also the least likely. But Arizona could still be plenty aggressive in pursuing a long-term answer at the quarterback position.
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: It's a coin flip for me on Allen vs. Sam Darnold. Part of me keeps coming back to how Allen is a perfect fit for what John Dorsey had with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
2. New York Giants
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)
Sam Darnold, QB, USC: It's pretty bananas that the Jets would trade here assuming they are fine with any one of three draft prospects and that will work for them. But here they are, getting Darnold at three.
4. Buffalo Bills (via mock trade with Browns (from Houston))
5. Denver Broncos
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama: The Broncos could take Baker Mayfield here, OR they could grab another weapon for a defense that is going to be the focal point of a team trying to avoid a rebuild. Chris Harris, Bradley Roby and Fitzpatrick is an absurd group of versatile defensive backs.
6. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade with Colts (from New York Jets))
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The Cardinals might feel comfortable with Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, but they would feel a lot more comfortable knowing they secured a quarterback early in this draft. And trading up to get one is the only way to ensure that.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: I get that people think Barkley won't fall this far, and that's fine. But he is a running back, and running backs aren't guaranteed to go top five when there are nearly a half dozen quality quarterback prospects.
8. Chicago Bears
Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame: This has to be the dream scenario for Chicago, a situation where four quarterbacks go ahead of them (highly likely) and then it's Chubb, Fitzpatrick and Barkley. They have another piece around Mitchell Trubisky.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Derwin James, DB, Florida State: Also an excellent situation for the 49ers, who can kind of hang back at No. 9, hope that a bunch of quarterbacks get taken, and scoop up one of the five best prospects in this draft class.
10. Oakland Raiders
Roquon Smith, LB, Georgia: This has been a logical fit for months and nothing about Jon Gruden's "1998" approach to building a team should create any speculation to the contrary.
11. Miami Dolphins
12. Cleveland Browns (via mock trade with Bills (from Cincinnati))
13. Washington Redskins
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF: Upside-filled cornerback who may take a little time to develop, but that can work for Washington given the presence of Josh Norman and Orlando Scandrick. They're short on corners.
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Indianapolis Colts (via mock trade with Cardinals)
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: Bad news for both Geno Smith and Cardale Jones, but Jackson's the type of quarterback who could be the long-term answer in post-Philip Rivers life. The only hangup here is the Chargers could see themselves in win-now mode.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa: Drafting a cornerback early doesn't fit the Seahawks' M.O., necessarily, but a long corner with ball skills who could develop in Pete Carroll's system would be an interesting fit here.
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)
22. Cleveland Browns (via mock trade with Bills (from Kansas City))
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: And here's the argument for not taking Barkley in the top five. Trade down, grab a bunch more picks and come away with a quarterback, a left tackle and a running back of the future. John Dorsey will have praise heaped on him from high.
23. New York Giants (via mock trade with Rams)
Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia: Drafting a wideout in the first would be a cost-effective move but then that guy is directly compared with Beckham. Instead, Gettleman gets his hog molly and his pass rusher in the first round.
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan: Feels like you can always count on the Falcons landing some upside-filled, versatile defender and they need help on the defensive line for the long haul. Hurst falling a bit because of health issues lands Dan Quinn another nice first-round haul.
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: Running back wouldn't be surprising here, but the Steelers could still use an improvement of the linebacker position with Ryan Shazier's long-term prognosis not looking like it involves football.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: The Jags' wide-receiver plan hasn't made any sense so far this offseason, so why not draft another one?
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State: In lieu of trading back out of the first round, which is ultimately what Bill Belichick will do in this draft, let's give him a prospect that just seems to fit the mold of the Patriots' defensive strategy.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: Local product, athletic freak who will create mismatches in the Eagles passing game and can replace Trey Burton on the depth chart. An explosive offense gets more dangerous.
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