It’s that time of year where even the most amateur of sports writers have the privilege of creating their own NFL Mock Drafts. We’re doing it too because (1) it’s fun, (2) it’s easy content, baby, and (3) we gotta get those clicks somehow.
Now, I’m not exactly a draft expert, but I pretend to be. I read enough mock drafts during my classes to plagiarize from several websites without making it too obvious. (To be completely honest, I’m pretty much Mel Kiper does the same, but he puts Josh Allen #1 because he has a wild sense of humor.)
Anyway, here’s the first Ralphie Report mock draft of the season:
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Personally, I see Allen as a larger Jay Cutler, but it would be absolutely hilarious for the Browns to screw up again. After living in the dreary wasteland of Wyoming, he’s not afraid of Cleveland and apparently wants to play there. The Browns aren’t going to find anyone else wanting to play here, so they must take Allen.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen is the fourth coolest QB in this mock draft, but that’s still saying a lot. He has the vision, accuracy and confidence to be a star in the league, and it will certainly help to have Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepherd to help him along.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
I haven’t watched a Colts game in about three years, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they don’t have much talent on the defensive line. Bradley Chubb is plenty good and should be their foundational piece on the defense.
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
It’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence will take us over. The Browns are preparing for that by drafting a bionic running back capable of dismantling hordes of killer robots with a single cut.
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Drafting tall QBs isn’t exactly working out for the Broncos. Now we’re hoping they go the complete opposite direction and draft Baker Mayfield, who doubles as the most electric player to play in Mile High Stadium since Phillip Lindsay.
6. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Sam Darnold is a lot more Tony Romo than I think people realize, but Romo was actually really good* and the Jets would be fine having an above average quarterback for the next 10-15 years. They just need to fix the rest of their offense for Darnold to look good.
*except in the playoffs
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The Bucs need a defensive playmaker and that’s exactly what Fitzpatrick does best. At corner, safety or in the slot, he’s always flying around the field causing havoc. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t fall this far in the draft, but if he does, it would be foolish for Tampa Bay to not choose him.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
As far as I’m concern, Nelson is a generic Notre Dame offensive linemen who is apparently the best guard prospect in a long time. From the mock drafts I’ve read, it seems that the Bears may need help on the interior and Nelson would be an instant starter.
9. Oakland Raiders: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Derwin James is one of the most Raiders players imaginable, and I mean that as a compliment. James may be a reach here, but he can fortify their secondary and form a devastating safety duo alongside Karl Joseph.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The 49ers have their future QB in Jimmy Garoppolo and now they need to surround him with weapons. At 6’4, 220-lbs. and with speed to spare, Sutton is monstrous. He has issues with consistency (as I’ve read somewhere), but his tools are tantalizing enough to take the risk at a potentially elite receiver.
11. Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Lamar Jackson won’t go this high and that’s a damn travesty. He’s soooooo good it doesn’t even make sense. Criticize him for being thin and relatively raw, but so too is Josh Allen and he’s getting hyped despite being significantly worse in everything besides arm strength and height. Jackson to Miami would be ideal because he’s from there and he would look cool as hell in those sweet uniforms. In related news, here’s a ranking of the uniforms Jackson would look coolest in: Chargers, Raiders, Steelers, Lions, Saints, Dolphins, Vikings, Ravens, Broncos, Cardinals, Falcons, Eagles ...
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
I’ve read that Brown is an excellent lineman and that Cincy needs help there, but the real reason I have this pick is because the name Orlando Brown just sounds like a Bengals player.
13. Washington: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Washington has a recent history of getting throttled in the passing game, so it would make sense for them to go after Ward, who looks like he’s settling in as the second best corner in the draft.
14. Green Bay Packers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Packers are probably the best team in the NFL for having ultra-fun fat boys making plays all over the field. That’s exactly what Payne does best.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Carson Palmer has retired so the Cardinals should be prudent and draft Rudolph, who could very well be the next Carson Palmer. He has enough talent and polish for Arizona to feel comfortable drafting this high.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Try not to laugh, but the Ravens starting receivers last year were Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman. Let’s, uh, let’s just say they need help there. Ridley is a terrific all-around receiver and should be too good to pass up here.
17. L.A. Chargers: Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
This is the pick Jack Barsch deserves. Roquan Smith is every college football writer’s favorite defender and in this mock we stick him on Jack’s favorite team. Smith is so cool and so good that even Broncos fans will fall in love with him as he shuts down the run and pass simultaneously.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Another generic Notre Dame offensive lineman I assume to be a great prospect. This also fits the mock draft tradition of penciling in an OL for the Seahawks.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, Texas-San Antonio
When we talk about freak athletes in the draft, the name that will come up more and more is Marcus Davenport, the 6’6, 260-lbs. edge rusher from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has a ton of upside and could turn the Cowboys’ pass rush into a strength alongside DPOY-candidate DeMarcus Walker.
20. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Hurst is so good on the interior it doesn’t even make sense. It’s too early to say if his skills will translate to the next level — it’s difficult to dominate at only 280-lbs. if you’re not an elite athlete — but he was arguably the most disruptive defensive tackle in the nation this past year.
21. Buffalo Bills: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson may not be a physical freak, but he is still plenty freakish. I wish a cooler team would draft him, but there’s nothing wrong with being an anonymous shutdown corner putting up crazy stats in games no one is watching.
22. Buffalo Bills: Vita Vea, NT, Washington
Without Marcell Dareus destroying the trenches, the Bills’ defense predictably struggled after trading him. They can right that wrong by drafting Vea, a massive human being who has swallowed every offensive line in the Pac-12.
23. L.A. Rams: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Oliver is a freak athlete who should rise in the draft once he demonstrates his track star abilities at the combine. As we all know, he’s elite in press coverage and has excellent ball skills that will translate to interceptions and tons of pass deflections. The Rams take him here because that defense with this cornerback would be even more terrifying.
24. Carolina Panthers: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Similar to the Seahawks, the Panthers will be scheduled to draft an offensive lineman until further notice. Maybe that notice will be soon, since they were starting Russell Shepard at receiver despite him being a Madden-generated rookie to auto-fill their roster.
25. Tennessee Titans: Arden Key, OLB, LSU
The Titans’ edge rushers, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo, are getting old, and that pains me especially because it feels like three years ago I was in a Blockbuster renting NCAA Football 10 with Orakpo on the cover. Anyway, Arden Key could start on Day 1 and be a dynamic player for years to come.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
The Falcons’ high-flying defense still needs more talent and they look here for Phillips to shore up the defensive line. I don’t know anything about Phillips, nor do I even know what he looks like, but I figured the Falcons need a defensive lineman and he was the highest rated player available. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
27. New Orleans Saints: Tremaine Edwards, OLB, Virginia Tech
As surprising as it sounds, the Saints defense looks a piece or two away from being one of the best in the league. Edwards would immediately be their best playmaking linebacker as he’s capable of doing a little bit of everything all around the field.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
Ryan Shazier’s injury is one of the saddest things in sports this decade, and now that his career is likely over, the Steelers need find a similar presence in the middle of the field. Rashaan Evans doesn’t have the speed of Shazier — no linebacker does — but he’s really good and should be able to man the middle for a long time to come.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
The Jaguars need a quarterback above all else, but in this mock there are none available and I’m pretending they sign Alex Smith or Tyrod Taylor in free agency. The next best option would be to go get another playmaking receiver, which they find in Biletnikoff winner James Washington. As Chidobe Awuzie and every other corner who has tried to contain Washington can tell you, he’s physical as can be and he has an extraordinary knack for getting open.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, OG, Texas-El Paso
The Vikings could go a number of ways here, but I’m guessing they go with Hernandez, mostly because he sounds and looks like he belongs on the Vikings.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
Everything I’ve read has suggested the Eagles need help on the offensive line. Part of that is because they don’t really need help anywhere else, but mostly it’s because their current starters are either mediocre or old. The only reason I know of O’Neill is because he’s a Piesman winner, but I hear that his athleticism plays very well at offensive tackle and he has quite a bit of potential there.
32. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State
I can’t figure out what exactly it is, but there’s something about Hubbard that Boston fans would qwhite like about him. Maybe it’s because he looks like a cross between Rob Ninkovich and Mike Vrabel, with a bit of Julian Edelman and a touch of Tom Brady mixed in. Whatever it is, though, he’s a proven winner, a gym rat, a football guy, and one of the most intelligent players I’ve ever seen. The Patriots have proven that the Patriot Way trumps all else, so that’s what they do here.