It’s NFL Draft day -- easily the best day in the NFL offseason. This year's draft -- no matter how the players turn out -- will be talked about for a long time.
It is already being compared to two drafts that had vastly different outcomes: the ’83 Draft which saw 6 Quarterbacks go in the first round, and the ’99 Draft which had five quarterbacks go in the first round, including three in the top three.
The 1983 Draft is considered by many to be the best quarterback draft in NFL history; John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly all had Hall of Fame careers.
Whereas the 1999 Draft is remembered for having Tim Couch, Akili Smith, and Cade McNown.
The 2018 crop can go either way. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are as close to prototype QB’s as you can get coming out of college. Baker Mayfield, my favorite in this years group, is a play-maker in ever sense of the word. Josh Allen will step in day one and already possess one of the best deep balls in the league.
Lamar Jackson has the skill set of a game changer. And depending on who you ask, Oklahoma State Quarterback Mason Rudolph may be the best pocket passer in the draft.
All six will probably go on day one, with the top four having a chance to be off the board within the first five picks.
Here's my final NFL Draft first round mock:
1. Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
As I said, Baker is my favorite QB this year. Today’s NFL calls for QB’s that can deliver on the move, Baker looks like Russell Wilson when he breaks the pocket.
2. New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State.
Giants are in a great position at number 2. They can stand pat and take Barkley, the Drafts best prospect, or trade back with a QB desperate team. It wouldn’t shock me if the Giants decide to draft a replacement for Eli Manning, but for me, Barkley is too good to pass up.
3. New York Jets, Sam Darnold, QB, USC
This is why the Jets traded with the Colts, to draft their future franchise player. Darnold has the ceiling of the Quarterbacks; the biggest question with him will be if he can handle the New York media and fan base.
4. Cleveland Browns, Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
This is where I think we will get the nights first trade with either the Bills or Cardinals moving up to take Josh Rosen or Josh Allen. There are enough good defensive players in the draft where the Browns could still get an impact player by moving down, all while picking up extra picks. If teams aren’t worried about a run on QB’s, the Browns would be thrilled to pair Chubb with last years number 1 picks Myles Garrett.
5. Denver Broncos, Josh Allen, QB, UCLA
The Broncos signed Case Keenum to a 2-year deal in the offseason, which is the perfect amount of time to be a placeholder QB until the future of the franchise is ready to take over. The only way the Broncos don’t select a QB here is if they truly feel they can contend for a Super Bowl with Keenum. If that’s the case, then Quenton Nelson should be the pick.
6. Indianapolis Colts, Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
If I had to pick one player that’s going to end up in Canton, Nelson would be the guy. He is the absolute best Interior Lineman I have ever seen coming out of college. He did the job of 2 men at Notre Dame on seemingly every play.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
I love Fitzpatrick’s versatility. He can play Corner or Safety, and most importantly, he can cover the slot receiver. He is a Swiss Army knife.
8. Chicago Bears, Roquon Smith, LB, Georgia
The Bears Defense out performed last season, but still aren’t anywhere near where they need to be to compete in the NFC. Smith is a 3-down backer with the athleticism of a safety. This guy makes plays, plain and simple.
9. San Francisco 49ers, Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
A true cover corner, Ward steps in day one and can cover top receivers. The NFC West is playing catch up to the Rams ridiculous offense, drafting defense would be a smart move for John Lynch.
10. Oakland Raiders, Vita Vea, DT, Washington
If the draft plays out this way, the Raiders are in a great spot. With the Dolphins in the QB market, and Josh Allen still on the board, the Raiders would receive a lot of calls. Moving down would be ideal for Coach Gruden, but if he has to make a pick at 10, he could do a lot worse than Vea. Its not everyday you find a player that is as big as Vince Wilfork, but moves like Richard Seymour.
11. Miami Dolphins, Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I hate replacing a player after an injury, but Ryan Tannehill just isn’t the answer for Miami. Allen has an absolute rocket for an arm and can make every single throw in the NFL. I don’t buy into the low completion percentages from college too much, lot of the incompletions were drops, or receivers not being where they were supposed to be.
12. Buffalo Bills, Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech
The Bills just miss out on the top 4 QB’s by not trading up. This is why tonight, they will certainly move up in the draft to draft their future signal caller. Edmunds is a freak athlete with the highest upside of any defensive player, Chubb included.
13. Washington Redskins, Derwin James, S, Florida State
Washington has the luxury of going best available player here at 13. They would love Vea to fall to them as the down line is more of a place of concern than the secondary, but James is a top 10 talent at 13.
14. Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Too much speed and athleticism to pass up. The Packers need play makers on defense, Alexander can turn a turnover into points.
15. Arizona Cardinals, Lamar Jackson, CB, Louisville
Much like his college teammate Alexander, Jackson possesses too much play making ability to pass on at this point in the draft. Jackson is the biggest wildcard in the draft this year; he is equal parts Johnny Manziel and Deshaun Watson. I’m fairly confident in saying the Cardinals are hoping for Watson.
16. Baltimore Ravens, Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The heir apparent to Terrell Suggs, Davenport looks the part; he just needs to be molded into a football player. Not many better organizations than the one Ozzie Newsome runs.
17. L.A. Chargers, Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Chargers surprised a lot of people with the way they played the second half of the season. Phillip Rivers can still make plays in the pocket, keeping his upright only increases the chances of big plays. McGlinchey isn’t as good as his college teammate Nelson, but the fact that he can play both Tackle positions is a huge plus for teams.
18. Seattle Seahawks, Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Malik McDowell was supposed to set it and bring some creativity to the Seahawks line, which obviously didn’t happen. With Payne, you just need to watch the Clemson game from this past season to know what he can do for a defense. He has a nose for the ball, think a young Haloti Ngata.
19. Dallas Cowboys, Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Sutton is the reason Dallas decided to part ways with Dez Bryant. He is the red zone threat Dez used to be, and provides a big, consistent target for Dak Prescott.
20. Detroit Lions, Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
I am sticking with my 2.0 pick, and going Landry again. Before I get into why Landry should be the pick, let me hit on a few other guys that Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia will be looking at.
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. Payne most fits what Patricia will want to do this season defensively. He can play across the entire line, enjoys stuffing the run, while still being able to get to the Quarterback. The only reason to stay away from Payne, from the Lions perspective is the fact that you already have A’Shawn Robinson. Patricia should be able to use Robinson the way he would want to use Payne.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. Unlike Payne, Jackson is still on the board in my mock, but I’m still passing on him. It’s not that I don’t like Jackson, it’s that I value the pass rush over the pass defense. I am a firm believer that a solid pass rush helps the secondary more than good coverage helps the pass rush.
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. Again, like Jackson, Bryan is still on the board but there is just a little too much risk associated with Bryan to keep me away. Bryan is very raw, and for Patricia that could be a selling point because he would be able to mold him into the exact player that he wants him to be. For me, that’s worrisome for a first round pick. I want a player that I know exactly what I’m going to get from him year one.
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP. Hernandez plays angry, just the way you’re supposed to play on the interior line. If you look at the Lions offensive line as a whole, what are you confident about moving forward? I like Taylor Decker, and think he can be the Left Tackle for years to come. Other than that, I see a need for improvement. Ricky Wagner came in with the big contract, but didn’t play up to it on the right side. T.J. Lang is the best of the rest, and still has a lot of football left in him, but he has missed a handful of games over the past 2 seasons. Ultimately improvements can be made to the offensive line, but I think Quinn throws Patricia a bone and gives him a new toy to play with on his defense. That leads us to the actual pick.
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College. The Lions were 20th in the NFL with just 35 sacks season. Only 2 playoff teams, the Bills and Chiefs ranked lower than the Lions, so its safe to say that having a good pass rush increases your chances of making it to the playoffs. Landry can step in day one and improve the production of the entire defensive line. Landry’s first step off the snap is as quick as you can get, that, combined with his multiple pass rush moves and smaller build reminds me of Dwight Freeney. Freeney, who will probably be in Canton in 5 years was able to set up offensive lineman off the snap because he always kept them guessing throughout the game. Landry has the ability to do that, and by doing so, it will open up a lot of lanes for the rest of the line. Adding a guy like Landry doesn’t just give you the 10 sacks he will probably get in his rookie season, it will give you an extra 5-10 sacks from other players who without Landry wouldn’t have been able to get to the Quarterback. The biggest fear with Landry is he may be too good to slip to 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Frank Ragnow, C/G, Arkansas
With Ragnow it’s all about versatility. He can play all 3 interior positions, which is very valuable to a team with a lot of holes on their O-Line.
22. Buffalo Bills, D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
The Bills need to add speed and explosiveness to their WR group. They don’t have a home run hitter, and that’s exactly what Moore is.
23. New England Patriots, Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Pats are picking here because of the Brandin Cooks deal with the Rams, so WR is in play, but it seems like the Patriots have more success with plug and play guys on offense. It’s the defense that needs the help, and Evans can step in and run the same defense he ran at Alabama for New England.
24. Carolina Panthers, Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Said everything I could about Hernandez earlier, he will start week one.
25. Tennessee Titans, Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
If teams aren’t scared about him medically, this would be a steal for Tennessee. Hurst provides creativity to a position that normally doesn’t have any. Very quick feet, if healthy, can produce early on in his career.
26. Atlanta Falcons, Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Much like Hurst, Bryan gives you a lot of looks on the defensive line. Much more of a project than Hurst, but the upside is uncapped for Bryan.
27. New Orleans Saints, Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
When you know you only have a few more years left with Drew Brees, why not give him as many weapons as possible and hope for the best.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers, Derius Guice, RB, LSU
Am I overthinking this too much?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars, Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Smooth route runner, can provide the big target Blake Bortles needs to complete passes.
30. Minnesota Vikings, Kolton Miller, UCLA
Miller spent the past few years protecting Josh Rosen, now he can do the same for Kirk Cousins.
31. New England Patriots, Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Taking a page out of the Saints book, you can never have too many talented RB’s on your team. Am I crazy to think that Michel could have 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie?
32. Philadelphia Eagles, Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
It’s hard to imagine a player this good falling to 32, but it just goes to show how deep of a draft class we have this year.