The NFL combine is now over and college prospects are being shuffled around as people reconfigure their draft boards. While free agency can change the draft layout for some teams (like, where Kirk Cousins lands), we can start to get a feel for the type of players teams will be interested in at the draft. My colleague, Michael Sisemore, and I have put together a complete first-round mock for all the teams making selections on Day 1. We have alternated selections, taking the player we feel each organization would take based on the available talent and team needs.
Let’s get this thing started - the Cleveland Browns are on the clock...
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State (Danny Phantom)
If the Browns have a quarterback they absolutely must have, then they could go that route with the first overall pick, but owning the fourth pick means they’ll stand a great chance to still have a shot at one of the elite QB prospects. The top pick would be better served to grab another star elsewhere and they can’t go wrong with the electric playmaker Saquon Barkley. The Nittany Lion running back completely owned the combine and removed all doubt that he is a special player in this draft. The Browns busted out when they took Trent Richardson with the third overall pick in 2012, but Barkley is the real deal.
QB Sam Darnold, USC (Michael Sisemore)
The Giants have a new regime and though Eli Manning may not be the biggest contributor to their failures of 2017, he wasn’t exactly playing well. Sooner rather than later, the Giants have to make a move. Sam Darnold looks like an NFL quarterback walking off the bus, they have a lot of pieces in New York that will help this young quarterback but it’s all offensive linemen from here on out. Darnold is a big guy with big arm talent and he’ll fit right in with that organization.
G Quentin Nelson, Notre Dame (Phantom)
The Colts need help on the offensive line and the Fighting Irish guard is a fighter in the trenches. Nelson’s power and body control is one of the reasons he’s one of the top prospects in the entire draft. If he gets his hands on you, it’s over. The Colts need a lot of help on the offensive line and this is a case where need and talent align perfectly for Indianapolis.
QB Josh Rosen, UCLA (Sisemore)
He’s the most gifted passer in this draft and the Browns need to fall in love with a passer as soon as possible. They have lots of talented pieces but Deshone Kizer is not the guy and turns the ball over with reckless abandon. Rosen is a smart player (sometimes too smart) with elite arm talent and all the physical gifts a franchise passer in this league must possess. Just maybe the Browns can finally end the awful carousel of bad quarterback the city of Cleveland suffered through all these years.
QB Josh Allen, Wyoming (Phantom)
The Broncos have struggled immensely at the quarterback position recently and unless they are able to land Kirk Cousins in free agency, they must look to the draft to get help. As luck would have it, this year’s draft class is top-loaded with talented quarterbacks and even though two are already off the board when Denver is on the clock, they are still able grab a good one. Wyoming’s Josh Allen impressed at the combine showing off his amazing arm strength and he has the physical tools that will make him an early selection on Day 1.
DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State (Sisemore)
Don’t force the quarterback here, just sit back and take the best player on the board. Chubb is an elite pass rusher that has the length you want coming off the edge. He has a natural ability to make himself small around the edges and beat his blocks. Chubb has a great combination of speed and power with an amazing first-step. He’s an explosive pass rusher and the Jets need more pass rush.
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (Phantom)
The Bucs land the draft’s best corner in Fitzpatrick. He’s a super-intense player who is a magnetic for the ball. He draws a lot of comparisons to Jalen Ramsey as he’s one of those players that is athletic enough to play both the corner and safety position at a high level. Ramsey is already an All Pro and Fitzpatrick has a good chance to follow suit.
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (Sisemore)
Maybe the Bears can get it right in the receiver department? They need to and Mitchell Trubisky needs more talent to throw to as well. Ridley creates his own separation and is the best receiver in this draft class. He’s got size, speed, and reliable hands that will make him an elite prospect in the NFL rather quickly.
CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State (Phantom)
Pound for pound, Ward is arguably the top corner in the draft. At 5’10”, he’s a little smaller than you’d want from a top 10 guy, but his skill is just too good to overlook. He is a very instinctive player and has the quickness to cover in the slot and the raw speed to handle the outside. The 49ers can stick him out on an island and rest easy because Ward has the ability to go toe-to-toe with teams WR1.
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia (Sisemore)
The Raiders need more speed in the middle of their defense and Smith is exactly what the doctor ordered. He’s got elite speed for the position and can maker plays sideline-to-sideline. The Raiders get the best linebacker that can start in all three linebacking position but is just one heck of an instincts-driven playmaker.
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech (Phantom)
The Dolphins get themselves an explosive linebacker who is just breaking the surface of his potential. Edmunds has great quickness for a guy his size and has been extremely productive over the last two seasons. He will be able to take that lateral quickness to South Beach to help chase down ball carriers and provide a boost to the Dolphins defense.
OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame (Sisemore)
The Bengals offensive line is a mess, so much so, the former coach Paul Alexander hitched a ride out to join the Cowboys. McGlinchey isn’t the most elite athlete but he’s got incredible size, strength, and power. He’s one of the most consistent tackles in a week class of tackles, he’s got the toughness and ability to become an All-Pro in the NFL. That’s music to the ears of Andy Dalton.
DT Vita Vea, Washington (Phantom)
It pains me to send the best interior defensive lineman to a division rival, but the Redskins need help at the position and Vea is just the guy for the job. He has great explosiveness for a guy his size and will be a force to be reckoned with. For a team who will have to contend with Ezekiel Elliott twice a year, Vea will be a nice add to help improve the team’s run defense.
SS Derwin James, Florida State (Sisemore)
The Packers are elated that such a talented athlete like James makes it to the middle of round one. They need all kinds of help in a secondary that is weak in multiple areas, pair James with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and let him become the Packers defensive captain in his first year. James is not only one of the best athletes in this draft but he’s a measuring stick for any defense. James is a war daddy in the secondary and that’s something the Packers have missed for a while now.
WR DJ Moore, Maryland (Phantom)
The Cardinals were hoping that Calvin Ridley fell to them so they would have an elite WR prospect to eventually replace Larry Fitzgerald. Fortunately for Arizona, another receiving prospect has skyrocketed up the draft boards. He’s fast, he’s not small (as it turns out), and he’s a coaches dream. Moore has managed to be a productive receiver despite the high turnover of Terrapin pass throwers and could help provide the Cardinals with some big playmaking opportunities.
TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State (Sisemore)
Ozzie Newsome can do no wrong in selecting a pass catcher of any type for the Ravens. Joe Flacco is not the most “elite” passer so give him an easy target in Goedert. He’s by far the best of his position and could be the next Jason Witten. Goedert is going to make an offense very happy and the Ravens need receiver and tight end help like no other.
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (Phantom)
The Chargers already have an ultra-competitive quarterback who will finish his career in the top 10 all time with over 50,000 passing yards. But at 36 years old, Philip Rivers won’t last forever. Grabbing a quarterback who is driven to win is the perfect replacement. While there are concerns when it comes to Mayfield’s maturity, there is no doubt this Heisman Trophy winner performs at a high level on the football field.
G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (Sisemore)
If you can get an elite offensive lineman for the Seahawks, it’s a no brainer. Russell Wilson won’t last long if he has to go through the beatings he’s taken over the last two seasons. Wynn is a nasty man and will fit right into an offensive line that needs as many upgrades as it can get. You can play Wynn at tackle but his best fit is guard and he can go a long way in keeping the pocket clean for Wilson in the years to come.
DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (Phantom)
After trying to band aid this position in free agency, the team desperately needs a big run stuffing body in the interior of the defensive line. However, the brain trusts at Cowboys camp have expressed a lack of interest in making a first-round investment on a nose tackle unless they have pass rushing ability. While Payne is the top run-stopping defensive tackle in the draft, he turned some heads at the combine with his speed and explosiveness. He ran a 4.91 40-yard dash and a 1.67 time for his 10-yard split (which is faster than edge rusher Joey Bosa). Adding a talent like Payne could be the last piece of the puzzle in building a formidable defensive line in Dallas.
This is my way-early prediction for the Cowboys first-round draft pick. pic.twitter.com/6zOp4GaVk7— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) March 5, 2018
DE Harold Landry, Boston College (Sisemore)
As far as pure speed rusher, this is the best option for the Lions to pair with Ezekiel Ansah on the other side. Landry has some injury concerns he will have to prove are behind him but he’s DE2 behind Chubb. Landry has elite speed but is an underrated run defender too, he is a solid defensive lineman that upgrades a porous Lions’ pass rush.
G Will Hernandez, UTEP (Phantom)
Fans should tap the breaks on the idea of having Cowboys try to move back in the first round to acquire a player like Hernandez, because he won’t last very long. The behemoth guard from UTEP showed off his strength by putting up 37 reps at the combine. While that feat wasn’t too surprising, his 5.15 40 time and 3-cone drill performance alerted everyone that this big boy can move. The Bills need help in a lot of areas and the interior of their offensive line is one of them.
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville (Sisemore)
Stick that in your pipe, Mr. Bill Polian! The Bills like Tyrod Taylor but with the right coaching, Jackson could be the second coming of Michael Vick. Jackson improved with every year at Louisville and saw extensive improvements as a passer. He respectfully declined to work out as a receiver and good for him. Give this kid a chance to play quarterback, the Bills got the passer with the most upside in terms of athleticism.
DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA (Phantom)
His game tape gets people excited, but the level of competition has backed off the enthusiasm for some. At the combine, he showed off his athletic traits and put up very comparable numbers to Jadeveon Clowney, who was selected first overall in 2014. The Rams are trading All Pro edge rusher Robert Quinn to the Miami Dolphins to free up cap space, but that leaves a big void at defensive end. Grabbing this up-and-coming talent helps keep the Rams defensive front strong.
S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama (Sisemore)
The Panthers have struggled in the secondary since Josh Norman took his talents to D.C. and they could really use a difference maker at safety. Harrison is a guy with versatility but could be best utilized as the hard-hitting strong safety that punishes tight ends and receivers in his coverage lanes. Harrison is a phenomenal defender that will change a Carolina defense that needs some serious help on the back end of their defense.
DE Arden Key, LSU (Phantom)
Someone is going to roll the dice on the talented pass rusher Arden Key and the Titans could be that team. After two-straight 9-7 seasons, Tennessee is trying to take the next step and advance further in the playoffs. They already have two good rushers on the edge in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, but both of those guys are getting up their in age. If they do their homework on Key and he checks out, they could groom this high upside pass rusher to sustain success in the future.
DT Tavon Bryan, Florida (Sisemore)
Bryan is not talked about enough as one of the best defensive tackles in this class. He’s got all the athletic traits of an elite three technique as he’s incredibly gifted pass rusher. He gets favorable comparisons to Fletcher Cox and that spells S-A-C-K-S for the Falcons. This is the pick that completes the trifecta with Grady Jarett and Takk McKinley, giving Atlanta a scary defensive line.
TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (Phantom)
The Saints have struggled at tight end ever since they traded away Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks. After a successful 2016 that featured the highest producing yardage offense in the NFC, the team would love to add another weapon to their arsenal. At 6’5”, Hurst demonstrated he can run extremely well for a guy his size at the combine, but his smooth pass-catching ability was what impressed people the most. There are a few different tight ends that fans are intrigued by, but Hurst is the creme de la creme.
Tonight Jordan, you are the.... pic.twitter.com/FqQki6PpLU— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) March 5, 2018
LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama (Sisemore)
Another great linebacker for the Steelers to turn into a Pro Bowler. Evans is a run and hit linebacker that was quite the difference maker for a solid Crimson Tide defense. The Steelers are a question-mark at linebacker and any help is warranted. Evans will be a day one starter that helps upgrade their front seven.
G James Daniel, Iowa (Phantom)
There was a time where the Hawkeye guard James Daniel was a “hold your breath” target for the Cowboys in the second round. That time has passed as Daniel has demonstrated such great movement and technique where he might not make it out of the first round. The Jaguars made it to the AFC Championship game on the strength of their defense, but will look to give their recently-extended franchise quarterback, Blake Bortles, some much needed protection.
DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (Sisemore)
Mike Zimmer is going to fall in love with Phillips for the middle of his defensive line. This defense is stacked but could use some beef in the middle with pass rush ability. Phillips is a try-hard guy with a motor that never quits. He’s helped himself at every turn this offseason from the Senior Bowl to the Combine. Phillips is underrated but he’s an aggressive mauler that eats up blocks and frees the playmakers. He also has position flexibility and gives his own push as a pass rusher.
CB Donte Jackson, LSU (Phantom)
The Tigers’ Donte Jackson won’t be the top cornerback available at this point on most team’s draft boards, but the Patriots do things their own way. To the surprise of no one, Jackson had the fastest 40-time at the combine at 4.32, however he fell short of breaking the record like he predicted. While need still needs to work on things to become a more complete corner, the Patriots jump on this speedster and use his great recovery speed to strengthen their secondary.
RB Ronald Jones II, USC (Sisemore)
The Eagles have no need to re-sign over-the-hill running back LeGarrette Blount and even though they traded for Jay Ajayi, he’s got injury concerns. Jones is a dynamic playmaker on offense that can serve multiple purposes for an already elite Eagles’ offense. Jones is not only a great runner but he offers all sorts of wrinkles as a pass catcher and makes the Eagles all the more terrifying on offense.