John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Post Free Agency Edition

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<> at Levi's Stadium on December 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.

Personally, people who write seven, ten, or even sixty-eight mock drafts in a year annoy me. It seems like every time something happens, a new mock draft needs to be written.  So much happens through the draft process and that makes it difficult to nail where players will be going every year. Mock drafts floating around all of the time are click bait for people wanting to see how the “draft process” is going.

Honestly, mock drafts are the worst way possible to see how the draft process is moving before free agency.

Once the free agency market has died down, mock drafts are a little more relevant. The mock draft you are reading at this moment was compiled by reports and rumors of what prospects NFL teams are looking at, combined with a little bit of common sense. Franchises like to send out false reports and “smoke screens” to talk up certain players so that their man can slide down the board to them. Reports aren’t always the most accurate for this reason.

I write three mock drafts a year. One before the Combine, one after free agency and one the before the draft. I use them as more of an accuracy test to see how well I scouted players before the combine.

Without further adieu, here is John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0!

John Vogel’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Projected Trade – New York Giants trade 2nd overall, 66th overall and 2019 4th round pick to Cleveland Browns for 1st overall pick.

Rumor is that the New York Giants value USC quarterback Sam Darnold above all other prospects in the draft, a player Cleveland has been eyeing up for quite some time. With so many good quarterbacks to choose from, Cleveland gives New York the green light to go ahead and take the trade to move down one pick and secure their sixth pick in the top seventy selections… Something never accomplished before in NFL history.

1. New York Giants (From Cleveland) – QB Sam Darnold, USC

So it finally happened. Darnold is the first man off of the board, entering a very good situation. Not only will he have time to adjust to the speed of an NFL game, but he will learn from Eli Manning, a two time Super Bowl champion. Darnold has most of the physical tools people like to see in a quarterback, but last season’s rise in turnovers with no logical explanation was problematic. He was also shredded by an NFL caliber Ohio State defense in the Cotton Bowl.

Overall this would be a good move for the Giants and a great move for Darnold. He could inherit a good team potentially in the future instead of being called upon to be the instant savior.

2. Cleveland Browns (from New York Giants) – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

The week of March 19th-25th was a busy one for the Browns scouting organization. Tuesday they traveled to Los Angeles to work out with Josh Rosen, before meeting up with Sam Darnold for dinner Tuesday night. Wednesday they attended Darnolds pro day. Thursday, they traveled to Oklahoma for a private workout with Baker Mayfield. Friday they attended Josh Allen’s pro day before going out to dinner with him Friday Night. Monday morning, March 26th, the first name that popped out of the bag from Cleveland was Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield, as many of you readers know, is my favorite prospect entering this draft class. He has the attitude that people need to see in athletes and he is a grinder. His skills on the field are always so downplayed by the media. He’s got the best football IQ entering this class. He’s a two time walk on. The Browns like this guy, and deep down inside they know he is the only quarterback in this class that can carry their team. This is a great move on the Browns part, as they get their locker room leader and franchise star in one pick.

3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis) – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Josh Allen has the strongest arm in the league as soon as he is drafted. His skills with throwing the football are second to none. However, the accuracy has always been the issue with Allen and the questions everyone asked. The Jets have a tendency to chase after the strong arms and muscle, and overlook everything else (AHEM, Christian Hackenburg, Bryce Petty). Allen is being walked into a better situation, as he has Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown in front of him to learn from. Still, Allen is a good couple of seasons away from starting in the NFL.

Projected Trade – Oakland Raiders trade 10th overall, 2019 2nd round pick, 75th overall and 2019 6th round pick to Cleveland for 4th overall pick and 2019 4th round pick.

The Raiders aren’t looking for a quarterback, but they want to make a big splash. The Browns aren’t hard pressed for collecting draft picks after robbing the Giants, so they settle for some additional help later on in next season’s draft.

4. Oakland Raiders (from Houston through Cleveland) – DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

Oakland needs to get someone on the other side of Khalil Mack. After his emergence in 2016, where he collected 14.5 sacks, teams game planned around him, limiting his on the field impact. Mack is a very special player and more then deserves his big contract Oakland gave him.

Put Bradley Chubb on the other side, where Mario Edwards is now, and you have yourself a killer defensive line. Newly anointed head coach John Gruden is all about the biggest splash, and this would be a big splash to throw into the league.

5. Denver Broncos – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

Denver get’s left with whomever falls here, and Rosen is the big winner! Or would that be looser… Rosen has drawn Jay Cutler comparisons because of his apparent lack of interest in playing football. Rosen has a very nice set of skills but seems to loose focus during games. Elway is hard pressed to find a quarterback and doesn’t really have another option.

6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)  – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

The 2017 Butkis award winner, Roquan Smith is a bad man with bad intentions. Has great instincts and follows the football extraordinarily well. The Colts don’t have a playmaking linebacker, something that has seriously hurt their defense since the retirement of D’Qwell Jackson. Smith could bring stability to the inside as the Colts work on acquiring the other linebackers to the team.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Vernon Hargreaves III has worked out well for them, and is beginning to solidify himself as a top cornerback in the league. Now they need a shutdown corner on the other side, so why not bring in the most versatile guy you know? Minkah can play either safety and cornerback, and has the ability to be shutdown right away, and wherever they need him to play the most.

8. Chicago Bears – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Chicago is building themselves an offense around their young quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, and trying to set him up with all of the pieces for success. Whit Kevin White not being able to stay healthy, it may just be time for the Bears to move on from him. Chicago added Allen Robinson from Jacksonville and Trey Burton from Philadelphia, and now they will add the crispest route runner entering the league.

Ridley is the most complete player I have ever seen coming out of school. He has everything you want to see in an NFL receiver, quickness, hands, speed, release. Everything is there at a pro level. Ridley has the ability to be one of the best receivers in the league.

9. San Francisco 49ers – RB Saquan Barkley, Penn State

San Francisco has built their team up the right way. By completely blowing up what they had last year, and pulling off one of the biggest trades of the year, the 49ers are building to sustain long term success, and are doing a brilliant job at doing so. They let the injury prone Carlos Hyde walk, and then signed former Minnesota Viking Jerick McKinnon to a big deal. Not they need another piece. San Francisco was graced with Barkley falling to nine, so they take him there to be the future of the organization.

10. Cleveland Browns (from Oakland) – OT Connor Williams, Texas

Long time left tackle and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas retired unexpectedly this year, leaving Cleveland a gaping hole on the offensive line. Connor Williams is the best offensive tackle entering this draft, and the perfect replacement for Thomas. So Cleveland reaps the rewards of a quarterback heavy top ten picks and lands a future stud to protect Mayfield.

Picks 11-15

11. Miami Dolphins – RB Derrius Guice, LSU
12. Buffalo Bills (From Cincinnati) – OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
13. Washington Redskins – WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
14. Green Bay Packers – S Derwin James, Florida State
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Miami needs a running back to carry the load for Ryan Tannehill, something they have been missing all through his career there. Now, add Guice from LSU and they have themselves a running back who averaged seven yards per carry in his SEC college career.

Buffalo needs help along the offensive line and they know it. Nelson is projected to be one of the can’t miss players of this draft. He certainly holds up very well on the eye test, and has the strength and power to be in this league a very long time.

The Redskins need to get Alex Smith weapons, and failed miserably to do so in free agency. Ryan Grant and Terrelle Pryor are both gone, leaving just Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder to play wide receiver. Jay Gruden would have a field day with Christian Kirk on his hands, adding special plays to the offense for him.

Green Bay feels very susceptible in the back end of the defense, so they nab Derwin James to play the strong safety slot. James is a very instinctive player and should fit the bill pretty well in Green Bay.

Arizona knows that Sam Bradford often times can’t stay healthy, so they grab Lamar Jackson here before someone else does. Jackson is special on the field, but may struggle to pick up and grasp an NFL playbook.

Picks 16-20

16. Baltimore Ravens – WR James Washington, Oklahoma State
17. Los Angeles Chargers – C Billy Price, Ohio State
18. Seattle Seahawks – S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
19. Dallas Cowboys – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
20. Detroit Lions – OT Mike McGlichney, Notre Dame

Baltimore is desperate to get receiver help. Washington may seem to be a big play guy, but I doubt he will ever come close to what he accomplished his college career. Washington comes from the Big 12, where a lot of receivers struggle to transition over to the big leagues. Breshard Perriman 2.0.

Billy Price is probably the second best interior lineman entering this draft. The Chargers want to protect their quarterback for a long time, whether it be Phillip Rivers or his successor. Price has the skills to stay in the league for a long time, and be an elite level player.

Seattle is moving to build the new Legion of Boom. Ronnie Harrison is that prototype tall safety built more like a linebacker with the skills of a cornerback guy. Its a great starting piece for a depleted secondary.

Dallas needs a better interior on their line, so who would be better to add then Payne? A standout athlete at over 300 pounds, Payne is going to be a solid defensive tackle in this league for years to come.

Detroit needs to protect Matthew Stafford better, and this is the first stop they have to make. McGlinchey is a good offensive tackle and will probably play on the right better then the left. However, Detroit needs fixes now and this is a fix right now.

Picks 21-32

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) – DE Harold Landry, Boston College
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City) – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
23. Los Angeles Rams – TE Mike Gesecki, Penn State
24. Carolina Panthers – DE Arden Key, LSU
25. Tennessee Titans – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

26. Atlanta Falcons – TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
27. New Orleans Saints – OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
30. Minnesota Vikings – OT Geron Christian, Louisville

31. New England Patriots – De Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
32. Philadelphia Eagles – LB Trumaine Edwards, Virginia Tech

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