It’s been over four weeks since the Super Bowl, but the NFL doesn’t rest, even in the offseason. Free agency will be kicking off in a couple of weeks, and the annual Scouting Combine will begin its workout portion later today for the incoming rookie class. With that in mind, it’s the perfect time to update our previous mock draft from January.
1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Browns have been linked to all the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft somewhere along the line. With two picks in the top-five, they can afford to go after the best player in the draft. Barkley is a monster, plain and simple, and with the general lack of talent on the Browns roster right now, they can afford to get a little creative with the top pick.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
If the Giants do decide to take their QB of the future with this pick, it’ll be the guy that new head coach Pat Shurmur can do the most with right away. Out of all the passing prospects in this year’s draft, that could very well be Rosen, who looks to be the best all-around signal caller in the class. The Giants may shy away from him due to his reported “character concerns,” but the talent may be too much to pass up on.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, NC State
The Colts need impact players on defense, and with their anticipated move to the 4-3, finding a pass rusher to go with Jabaal Sheard will be key. Chubb is a dynamic, versatile player who could make his mark as soon as he steps on the field.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Predicting where all the QB prospects will end up may come down to figuring out personal preferences amongst team management. Well, newly hired Browns consultant Scot McCloughan has publicly stated his admiration of Mayfield. That’s enough to put Mayfield here. Statistically, he’s the best of the rookie QB crop.
5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Where the Broncos will go at this pick will depend on what they do in free agency. If they can lure Kirk Cousins or one of the other free agent QBs, then they’ll most likely go with the best player available here. If not, they’ll go with whoever they think the best QB on the board is. Darnold fits the bill; he was shaky in 2017 but showed a lot the previous year.
6: New York Jets: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Jets are ready to bring in a long-term option at QB, though their draft position might leave them with the lesser options. Allen’s stock is based largely on his arm strength and physical attributes. His actual numbers are lacking, however, but he could iron out many of his weak points with immediate playing time.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
The pass defense was a huge weak point for the Bucs this season, and it doesn’t help that Brent Grimes is headed to free agency. Fitzpatrick could conceivably line up at corner or safety, so they can slot him in at whichever spot he fits best at.
8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Matt Nagy has arrived as the Bears new head coach, and the hope is that he’ll be able to help Mitch Trubisky develop rapidly. Trubisky will need better receivers to throw to, and Ridley is currently the top wideout prospect in the draft.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
There are plenty of logical options for the Niners here, but Jackson could be an under-the-radar choice. Pairing him with Ahkello Witherspoon would give the defense a talented young duo at cornerback.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Raiders defense needs a lot of help, and things could get worse if NaVorro Bowman departs in free agency. Smith would be a solid fit as they shift to a 4-3 look.
11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The interior offensive line was a mess for the Dolphins in 2017, and they definitely need to improve their blocking as a whole. Nelson could very well go higher than this; he’s that skilled.
12: Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
Losing Andrew Whitworth was too much for the Bengals this year. They need better long-term players at both tackle spots. McGlinchey is by far the top player at the position in the draft.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
With Alex Smith set to come in as the Redskins new QB, they should turn their attention to the other side of the ball, where they could use a more effective nose tackle. Vea is a physical marvel and has the potential to make an impact against the run and as a pass rusher.
14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Morgan Burnett is a free agent, and the Packers secondary struggled for the most part in 2017. James has an athletic presence that allows him to play well in run support and against the pass.
15: Arizona Cardinals: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
The Cardinals are in a poor position to snag one of the rookie QB options, so they might be better off targeting someone like Case Keenum in free agency. Instead, they can add to their pass rush. Davenport had a great Senior Bowl week and looks poised to fly up draft boards.
16: Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
There wasn’t much to speak of in regards to the Ravens passing offense, and Mike Wallace will be hitting free agency anyway. Washington is a similar type of deep threat who could readily help expand their aerial attack.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State
The Chargers had a ton of injury problems on the interior offensive line this year, and neither of the rookies, Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp, did much. Adding Price, who could play center or guard, would give them multiple options.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Connor Williams, T, Texas
The Seahawks need to do something to improve their blocking at some point. Drafting Williams as a right tackle would allow them to move Germain Ifedi to right guard, killing two birds with one stone.
19: Dallas Cowboys: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Anthony Hitchens is a free agent, and the Cowboys could use a younger option to go with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. Edmunds is the youngest player in the draft anyway and could affect the game in a variety of ways.
20: Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Haloti Ngata will be going to free agency, and at 34, it’s hard to imagine him lasting much longer. The Lions also lacked a potent interior pass rusher. Hurst could go a lot higher than this, so he’d be a bargain.
21. Buffalo Bills: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Bills signed Vontae Davis this week, but three of their corners (E.J. Gaines, Leonard Johnson and Shareece Wright) are still unrestricted free agents. Pairing Ward with Davis and Tre’Davious White would give them a much more dangerous coverage unit.
22: Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs): Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Whoever the Bills go with at QB next season will need better receivers to throw to. Sutton is a physical wideout who would fare well across from Kelvin Benjamin.
23: Los Angeles Rams: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU
Key is a top-15 talent who might slide in the draft due to character concerns. The Rams would gladly take him, as their pass rush will take a hit if Connor Barwin leaves as a free agent.
24. Carolina Panthers: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado
It’s been a skeleton crew approach for the Panthers at wideout as of late. Cam Newton can’t do everything himself. Gallup was extremely productive at Colorado and could serve as a steady option in the passing game.
25. Tennessee Titans: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Jurrell Casey is great, but the Titans could use another pass rusher on the interior. Payne is also strong against the run and has tremendous physical abilities.
26: Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
There are a plethora of free agents on the defensive line for the Falcons this offseason, so they’ll need to restock in the draft at some point. Bryan didn’t fully live up to expectations with the Gators but could develop nicely if given the right opportunity.
27. New Orleans Saints: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
Alex Okafor was a surprise for the Saints this year, but he’s a free agent who tore his Achilles in November. Landry took a step back after a great 2016 campaign but is talented enough to get through the standard rookie growing pains.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
It’d be a disaster if Le’Veon Bell left in free agency, so the Steelers need an insurance plan. Jones is a dangerous threat in both the running and pass game.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Blake Bortles is the man at QB for now, so why not give him an intermediate weapon to throw to? Goedert is an athletic player who could create a ton of nightmares for opposing defenses.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, G/C, Georgia
Let’s assume that the Vikings win the Cousins sweepstakes. They’ll need to strengthen their protection on the offensive line, especially if Joe Berger leaves or retires. Wynn came on strong for Georgia this year and could line up at center if need be.
31. New England Patriots: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
The Patriots were desperate enough to sign an aging James Harrison to bolster their pass rush. How about bringing in Okoronkwo, who has many of the physical traits that Bill Belichick loves.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
Jason Peters tore his ACL and MCL in October and turned 36 two months ago. It’s time to find a long-term replacement. Brown is a giant who could sit and develop until Peters moves on.
Check out Salute Magazine’s offseason preview series here.