It hasn’t been long since the Ravens ruined New Year’s Eve as they choked away their playoff chances, leaving fans heartbroken. I frankly did not think I would be writing my first mock draft of the offseason this early, but here we are. The order of the first 20 teams is finalized, with the exception of the coin flip for the ninth and tenth pick between San Francisco and Oakland. I simulated that coin flip, and San Francisco received the ninth pick. The playoff teams are ordered based on record, and obviously is subject to change once the playoff games are played.
The Ravens have the 16th pick, and they need a playmaker. In this mock draft, they’ll get one. On the clock first is the Cleveland Browns, who select...
1) Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Both Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, who are better players than Allen, appear to not want to go to Cleveland, though it’s been a little more obvious from Rosen than Darnold. Frankly, there are some more questions about Darnold after his performance against Ohio State. In this mock draft, I’ll say both Darnold and Rosen enter, but Cleveland doesn’t select a player who doesn’t want to play there. Instead, Cleveland goes with Rosen, who would be the top QB prospect most other years.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Darnold, however, is still my top QB prospect. The Giants need to find a replacement for Eli Manning, and Darnold is that guy. Darnold has an incredible ability to make plays when there isn’t one there, reminding me of Aaron Rodgers. Darnold has all the traits that scouts look for in an NFL quarterback, and has the potential to be a star, but turnovers are a serious concern. Luckily, Darnold’s shortcomings are coachable.
Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
The Colts could go a number of routes here, but I think they have to look towards their awful defense. Chubb is certainly the best defensive lineman in this class, and may be the best overall defensive player. Chubb provides the Colts defense with a pass rush, and an anchor up front.
4) Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Browns got the quarterback, and now they get the draft’s best player. I’m not sure what’s left to be said about Barkley, he’s the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. He can do it all, and will be an immediate superstar in the NFL. This is where the turnaround for the Browns begins.
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Broncos have the draft’s second best quarterback fall to them. Rosen may be the most pro-ready for the quarterbacks in the draft, which is perfect for a Broncos team that desperately needs helps at the position.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield’s spectacular season with the Sooners led him to Heisman trophy. He has simultaneously soared up draft boards. The biggest reason for this jump is Mayfield’s improved accuracy. Improved accuracy has helped him pilot the Sooners dominant and efficient offense, without any star receivers like Sterling Shepard or Dede Westbrook. The QB needy Jets land the most exciting college quarterback at the sixth pick.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The Buccaneers land a potential superstar for their poor secondary. If Chubb isn’t the best defensive player in the draft, then it’s Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is versatile, having experience at both cornerback and safety, and excelling in both roles.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Bears, like the Ravens, have a dire situation at wide receiver. The Bears desperately need a reliable pass catcher for Mitchell Trubisky. Enter Calvin Ridley, the draft’s best receiver. Ridley is the most pro-ready target, with excellent route running and hands. In addition, he should run solid 40 at the Combine.
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
It’s not often that a guard is the best offensive lineman in the draft, but that is the case this year. Nelson has garnered many comparisons to Zack Martin of the Cowboys, and some scouts say Nelson is even better. San Francisco enters the offseason with as much momentum as any team in the NFL, and they should continue to climb after improving its offensive line.
10) Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Raiders were the biggest disappointment in the AFC this season. Oakland was thought to be ready to take on the Patriots, but instead the Raiders couldn’t find a rhythm on offense, and struggled mightily on defense. This all led to the firing of Jack Del Rio. The Raiders need help on defense, and they get it with Roquan Smith, the athletic linebacker from Georgia. Smith is the heart and soul of the Bulldogs defense,
11) Miami Dolphins
Arden Key, OLB, LSU
Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Christian Wilkins, DE/DT, Clemson
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
16) Baltimore Ravens
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Part of the reason why I was so high on Corey Davis to the Ravens last year was the size he would bring to the team (in addition to a lot of other factors). I still think the Ravens need size at the wide receiver position, and they can get it with Courtland Sutton on the board here. However, what the Ravens offense needs more than anything is a playmaker. This year proved the Ravens wide receiver group frankly doesn’t have that. Adding someone with size would be great, but I don’t see the same playmaking ability in Sutton that I do in Christian Kirk. Kirk is smaller, listed at 5’11”, but he can take anything to the house. Whether it be a screen pass (which makes him a good fit if the Ravens keep Marty Mornhinweg), or a kick/punt return, Kirk is electric with the ball in his hands. This is different than Breshad Perriman, who we thought would be a big playmaker, because Kirk simply can do more. Perriman is a pure deep ball receiver, and while Kirk does that too, he can make things happen in the open field off a short pass. Kirk’s return ability is unmatched in this class as well. Kirk would provide an explosive element to a Ravens offense that so desperately needs it.
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
18) Seattle Seahawks
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
19) Dallas Cowboys
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
20) Detroit Lions
Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
21) Buffalo Bills
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
22) Tennessee Titans
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
23) Atlanta Falcons
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
24) Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City)
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
28) Los Angeles Rams
Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
31) New England Patriots
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama