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Full first round NFL mock draft 3.0

Another Alabama player heads to Baltimore in this mock draft

Tennessee v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Heading into a Ravens bye week, here comes my third 2018 full first round NFL mock draft. The draft order was determined solely by record and strength of schedule. If two teams had the same record, the more difficult schedule received the better pick. First up, the San Francisco 49ers:

1) San Francisco 49ers - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Really simple pick. The 49ers took themselves out of the quarterback market after trading for Jimmy Garappolo. Thus, San Francisco will look for the top overall player. That is undoubtedly Saquon Barkley. Barkley is the best running back to enter the draft in years, and he is the type of offensive weapon that the 49ers will feature for many seasons to come.

2) Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns will be quarterback hunting yet again, and Sam Darnold still remains at the top of my quarterback rankings. There have been reports saying that he may return to USC next year, but until that becomes official, I’m assuming he will be in the draft. He’s had issues with interceptions, but is the most talented overall passer in this class. The Browns need to select a top tier quarterback this year, and not trade out of a spot where an eventual stud is selected (i.e. Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson). The Browns finally get the quarterback they’ve been looking for.

3) New York Giants - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Eli Manning is nearing the end of his career, and it’s time for the Giants to plan for the future with such a high draft pick. Rosen is the clear best quarterback option available here. Rosen is yet another talented passer, and unlike Darnold in Cleveland, Rosen may not need to be immediately thrown into the starting lineup.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Connor Williams, OT, Texas

The Buccaneers need help along their offensive line in a big way. Jameis Winston’s shoulder injury should be a clear indicator of this. Williams is the top tackle available despite an injury that has held him out for most of the season. Tampa Bay can’t pass up on this premier tackle.

5) Indianapolis Colts - Bradley Chubb, EDGE, N.C. State

Chubb is the best edge rusher in this class. The N.C. State defensive end has both burst and power. Offensive line is a big need for the Colts, but the Colts also need help everywhere on defense, and they surely can’t pass up on a player of Chubb’s caliber. Indianapolis lands its premier pass rusher of the future.

6) Cincinnati Bengals - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

After losing Andrew Whitworth along with other key pieces on the offensive line, the Bengals have struggled up front on offense. Adding the huge and extremely talented McGlinchey would work to change that. McGlinchey will slide in as the starting left tackle, and reliably protect Andy Dalton’s blind side.

7) Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans) - Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

Fitzpatrick may very well be the best defensive player in this draft. He is both the best safety and the best cornerback. At Alabama, Fitzpatrick started as a corner, and moved to safety after an injury to Eddie Jackson last season, and he excelled to the highest level in each role. Having already selected a quarterback, the Browns can now add this versatile stud to their secondary.

8) Los Angeles Chargers - Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The Chargers are another team that has big needs on the offensive line. Nelson isn’t just the best guard by light years in this class, he may be the best overall offensive lineman. The Buccaneers and Bengals each took tackles, but the Chargers get the guard. Any type of help on the offensive line would be greatly appreciated in LA.

9) Denver Broncos - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Trevor Siemien started 2017 off strong, but has dramatically fallen off since then. It’s gotten to the point where Brock Osweiler is now the starting quarterback for the Broncos. This is clearly not a good scenario. The next best quarterback available is the big-armed Josh Allen. Allen already has experience playing at altitude and cold at Wyoming. Allen has some mobility and a canon to fire the ball downfield. Allen could the solution in Denver.

10) Chicago Bears - Arden Key, EDGE, LSU

The Bears are a huge winner in this scenario as one of the best defensive players in the draft falls right to them. An edge rusher may not be the biggest need, but getting Key at this point in the draft is a pretty big steal. This is a top five talent heading to Chicago.

11) Baltimore Ravens - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Colorado State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Ravens are offensively challenged this year. It’s been one of the worst units in the NFL. The Ravens are lacking talent in a lot of areas on offense. A lot of the failure on that side of the ball has been a result of poor wide receiver play. The Ravens could go a number of routes here, but I think the best one would be to go with Ridley, the number one receiver in this draft class. Ridley is a precise route runner, and he has incredible ability with the ball in his hands. Ridley can turn any play into a home run, and he would be a home run pick for the Ravens who are well known to love Alabama players. Below is film of Ridley against Florida State this year, and Kentucky last year.

12) New York Jets - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Josh McCown hasn’t been as bad as everyone expected, frankly the Jets haven’t been as bad as everyone expected. However, they still need a quarterback. Rudolph is yet another talented quarterback in this class. He may not be of the tier of the first three quarterbacks off the board, but he has a great skill set.

13) Oakland Raiders - Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Raiders need help in their secondary. Right now, the secondary is a unit that is preventing the Raiders from becoming the AFC power that it should be. Adding James, at this point is a steal, as he slid out of the top 10. This is the best possible scenario for the Raiders.

14) Arizona Cardinals - Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals were interested in taking a quarterback in the first round last year, but took Haason Reddick instead. This year, the Arizona Cardinals select the Louisville Cardinal Lamar Jackson. I see Jackson as a slimmer Michael Vick. Both Jackson and Vick have great running ability and a big arm. Jackson’s slim frame could be an issue in the NFL, but his combination of arm strength and mobility should be enough for the Cardinals to take the Heisman trophy winner here.

15) Miami Dolphins - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

The Dolphins traded away Jay Ajayi at the deadline, and now are in desperate need of a running back. Guice has been a star with a large workload for LSU this year. Guice is a powerful runner who is not afraid to lower his shoulder. Guice does a very good job of picking up yards after contact. He will set a physical tone for the Miami offense that has not seen much success this year.

16) Atlanta Falcons - Christian Wilkins, DT/DE, Clemson

The Falcons score here as they get another extremely talented defensive player that took a bit of a slide. Wilkins has top 10 talent, but teams addressed needs on offense ahead of the Falcons. Atlanta drastically improves their defensive line that has struggled this year by adding the very talented Wilkins into the fold.

17) Green Bay Packers - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

With his play this season, Ward has hopped over Tavarus McFadden and into second place in my cornerback rankings. Ward may not be the biggest, but he has excellent cover skills. Ward is a fantastic athlete than can smother any receiver. On top of this, Ward has excellent ball skills, and playmaking ability.

18) Detroit Lions - Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

The Lions are another team who benefit from the run of offense as Landry, one of the draft’s most talented pass rushers falls into their lap. Pass rush is undoubtedly an area where the Lions hope to improve, and adding a talent like Landry, who led college football in sacks last year, would really bolster that defense.

19) Washington Redskins - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The Redskins impressed with a win in Seattle last week. However, one spot that has not been totally impressive for the Redskins has been their interior defensive line. Maurice Hurst of Michigan is one of college football’s premier defensive tackles. Hurst is excellent against the run, and scouts rave about his first step. Hurst is able to cause a lot of disruption in the backfield off of an excellent first step.

20) Seattle Seahawks - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Seahawks have found their left tackle in Duane Brown, and with Orlando Brown, the team locks up a right tackle. Brown is a very large human, coming in at 6-8, 345 lb. Brown is one of the strongest offensive lineman the class, and despite his size, he has good athleticism. Brown’s best fit in the NFL will be at right tackle.

21) Tennessee Titans - Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

The Titans are second to last in the NFL in sacks this year. Adding a pass rusher seems like a no brainer. Ferrell has emerged as a star pass rusher for Clemson. College offenses have made slowing down Ferrell a top priority, a plan that has not often found success. Ferrell is a part of the nation’s best defensive line, but the talent around him in no way shadows Ferrell’s ability.

22) Dallas Cowboys - Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

The Cowboys secondary has been better than expected this year given how much talent was lost, but it’s a unit that still needs to be addressed. Ronnie Harrison is a very talented safety for Alabama, and he makes a lot of sense for Dallas.

23) Buffalo Bills - Tavarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

McFadden slides down the board further than he probably should before the Bills scoop him up. Tre’Davious White has been excellent for the Bills this year, but he needs a partner. McFadden will step in immediately, and provide the Bills with one of the league’s best young cornerback duos.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Welcome to the run on wide receivers in the first round. Calvin Ridley is already off the board, and the next receiver to go is the dynamic Kirk. Once healthy, Allen Robinson gives the Jaguars a receiver with size. Adding Kirk would give Jacksonville an electric weapon to use as a complement. Kirk will return punts and kicks, and is a threat to stretch the field. The Jaguars really just need to get the ball to Kirk, who’s best with the ball in his hands.

25) Carolina Panthers - Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton has been pushing Ridley for my top receiver in this class. I really like his combination of size (6-4) and playmaking ability. Sutton has great hands and knows how to use his size. He has good speed to go on top his large frame. The Panthers just lost a big receiver as they traded Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills, they get one back in Sutton.

26) Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs) - James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

The Bills are back on the clock, and this time they get an offensive playmaker. Washington is this draft’s premier deep threat, a trait that will complement well with the size of Kelvin Benjamin.

27) Los Angeles Rams - Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma

Okoronkwo has emerged as a star for the Sooners this year, and has eight sacks this season, good for seventh in the nation. The Rams don’t have a ton of holes, but they could surely use more youth in the pass rush. Okoronkwo brings his talented pass rushing ability, and youth to LA.

28) Minnesota Vikings - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Xavier Rhodes is one of the best corners in the NFL. Trae Waynes, who starts opposite Rhodes was drafted in the first round, but has never become what the Vikings hoped he would be. It’s time to move on from the Michigan State product. In this mock draft, the Vikings bring Jaire Alexander, a playmaking corner for Louisville. Alexander has missed most of the season with injuries, but he is talented enough to still warrant a first round pick.

29) Pittsburgh Steelers - Luke Falk, QB, Washington State

I mocked Falk to the Steelers in my previous mock draft, and I’m sticking with it here. I just can’t see Ben Roethisberger being back next season and I don’t think Joshua Dobbs is the right guy to take over. Falk seems to be a better fit that Dobbs for the Steelers, as he becomes the heir to Big Ben.

30) New England Patriots - Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

The Patriots defense has improved after a horrid start, but it’s linebacking corps is weak. Jefferson is a versatile middle linebacker who can both make tackles reliably and rush the passer.

31) New Orleans Saints - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

I had Smith going to Saints in my last mock draft as well. Here’s what I wrote then:

“Smith is a lesser known prospect in this draft, but he’s an excellent player. He reminds me a lot of Deion Jones as a result of his versatility. Smith has been a star for the top five ranked Georgia Bulldogs, and he will enter an improved Saints defense. The Saints still need to add talent to its defense, and Smith will solidify up the linebacking corps.”

The one weakness of the Saints defense has been its linebacking corps. Smith will change that.

32) Philadelphia Eagles - Deon Cain, WR, Clemson

Alshon Jeffery is only on a one year deal. Nelson Agholor has finally developed, but the Eagles could give Carson Wentz one more weapon in the passing game. Enter Deon Cain. Cain is a little raw, but with the right development, he can emerge into a number one option on a loaded Eagles team.