Mock draft season is about trying to make things interesting, especially a month out.
With the main part of free agency behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at the draft with a better idea of what needs teams still have moving forward. Some teams have had holes created by losing players or letting high-priced players walk.
This mock, which is 4.0 for me, features a trade up by a team looking to get a quarterback — not a real one like the Jets made last week to get to the third overall spot in a trade with the Colts, but a fake one.
I have the Cardinals making a bold move to go up from the No. 15 spot to the No. 6 spot in a trade with the Colts. That sixth pick came from the Jets last week. The Colts, with so many needs, would trade down to the Cardinals spot and add Arizona’s second-round pick (47th overall) and their second third-round pick (97th) in the deal. That would be fair trade based on the trade chart.
The Cardinals would then draft Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen to be their long-term future at the position.
I have three quarterbacks going in the top six in this mock, with five going in the first round. With more trade activity expected in the coming weeks, we could — and should — see even more quarterbacks go in the top-7.
1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. They need to land a quarterback for the future who can learn behind Tyrod Taylor for a year. They opt for Darnold.
2. New York Giants
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. You can never have enough pass rushers as the Giants learned when they beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. And now after dealing Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers on Thursday there’s even more of a need.
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. They moved up for a reason, which is to land a franchise quarterback. They decide to take Rosen over Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. They get their quarterback and then come back and take the player some consider to be the best in the draft. I wouldn’t do it, but I would understand if they did.
5. Denver Broncos
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. They pass on a quarterback and take the player who might be the cleanest in this draft. He will be one of the best guards in the league for a long time.
6. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade with Colts)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. After the Colts traded down to this spot with the Jets, they trade down again with Arizona, who badly wants a young passer. The Cards move up from the 15th spot.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB-S, Alabama. The Bucs need help at both safety and corner, and Fitzpatrick could help at either spot. He has a chance to be a dominant free safety.
8. Chicago Bears
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. He can play inside or outside and would give the Bears a nice young playmaker on their defense.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Derwin James, S, Florida State. They need a playmaker on the back end. With Eric Reid gone, James would step in and start.
10. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. He can run and they need more of that on their defense. He could play in the middle for them and keep Tahir Whitehead outside.
11. Miami Dolphins
Vita Vea, DT, Washington. With Ndamukong Suh let go, they need to get a power player inside. Vea is that and he can push the pocket.
12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. They traded up to this spot likely hoping one of the quarterbacks would fall, and in this scenario that guy is Mayfield.
13. Washington Redskins
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. They need to get another corner even after adding Orlando Scandrick from the Cowboys. Ward could come in and compete to start right away.
14. Green Bay Packers
Marcus Davenport, OLB, UTSA. Davenport is a raw player who could end up being a really good pass rusher. It’s risky, but they need help there and he’s the best left on the board here.
15. Indianapolis Colts (via mock trade with Cardinals)
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. Their cornerback situation isn’t good, so they need to use a few picks on the spot, and Jackson is a player whose best football might be in front of him.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. They added some receiver help in free agency, but they need a pass-catching tight end in the worst way. Goedert is exactly that.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. They need to get better inside against the run and Evans is that type of player.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF. With Richard Sherman and DeShawn Shead both gone, they need help at the all-important corner spot. Hughes was outstanding last year.
19. Dallas Cowboys
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. They have to get more speed in their passing game. Ridley is that type of player.
20. Detroit Lions
Da’ron Payne, DT, Alabama. They need to get another power player inside in their defense. They could also go for a pass rusher here, but Payne would be better value.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)
James Daniels, C, Iowa. After picking up Cordy Glenn from the Bills to play left tackle, they need to get a center. Daniels is that guy.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City)
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. Moore is a player who will be drafted higher than many expect. He had a really nice combine that impressed a lot of personnel people.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College. With Robert Quinn traded away, they lack an outside edge rusher. Two years ago, Landry was dominant in that role.
24. Carolina Panthers
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. They lost Andrew Norwell to the Jaguars, so they take a power player to take his place.
25. Tennessee Titans
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. They lost Avery Williamson in free agency, so getting a replacement would be nice. Vander Esch really came on in 2017.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. They lost Dontari Poe in free agency, so they need to add a player next to Grady Jarrett. Bryan isn’t the same type of player that Poe is, but he would be a nice addition to the defense.
27. New Orleans Saints
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. After nosing around Jimmy Graham in free agency, they missed out so they take the player who might be the best all-round tight end in the class.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU. They have some young corners, but you can never have enough. And this kid can fly.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. They filled a lot of needs in free agency, so they can take a shot on a potential quarterback of the future – and maybe sooner.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame. They need to find an upgrade at right tackle if Mike Remmers is going to stay at guard. McClinchey could play the right side after being a left tackle in college.
31. New England Patriots
Kolton Miller, T, UCLA. They lost Nate Solder to the Giants, and there is little behind him if Antonio Garcia isn’t back all the way. Miller could step in and be a rookie starter.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma. They can afford to take a player who can sit for a year or two. Once Brown gets with an NFL strength coach, he will develop into a long-time starter.