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2018 NFL Mock Draft (four analysts making picks as THEY would make them) #25-28

Date:
April 15, 2018

The unfiltered transcripts of a mock draft and chat between four draft analysts -- rotating picks, putting themselves in the place of the GM for that team, making the picks THEY would make when it was their turn with explanations on why...and subsequent comments from the analysts.

We'll be displaying four picks per day over the next 8 days for a complete one round mock and a lot of words/commentary.

Enjoy!

1. XC = Xavier Cromartie...America's foremost mock draft authority, national award winner/record setter in draft accuracy on Huddle.com

2. END = Ender...budding mock draft analyst

3. MC = Myles Crowe...Draft analysts and RB prospect expert

4. RC = R.C. Fischer...College Football Metrics and Fantasy Football Metrics' own...

Fantasy author/analyst Jason Katz will moderate the proceedings

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1.01 Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield

1.02 New York Giants: EDGE Bradley Chubb

1.03 New York Jets: QB Josh Allen

1.04 Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward

1.05 Denver Broncos: QB Sam Darnold

1.06 Indianapolis Colts: RB Saquon Barkley

1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Derwin James

1.08 Chicago Bears: G Will Hernandez

1.09 San Francisco 49ers: G Quenton Nelson

1.10 Oakland Raiders: LB Tremaine Edmunds

1.11 Miami Dolphins: EDGE Marcus Davenport

1.12 Buffalo Bills: OT Mike McGlinchey

1.13 Washington Redskins: DL Vita Vea

1.14 Green Bay Packers: WR Courtland Sutton

1.15 Arizona Cardinals: DL Taven Bryan

1.16 Baltimore Ravens: C James Daniels

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: LB Roquan Smith

1.18 Seattle Seahawks: CB Jaire Alexander

1.19 Dallas Cowboys: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick

1.20 Detroit Lions: EDGE Harold Landry

1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: CB Josh Jackson

1.22 Buffalo Bills: QB Lamar Jackson

1.23 New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller

1.24 Carolina Panthers: CB Mike Hughes

 

1.25 Tennessee Titans: LB Leighton Vander Esch

XC: The Titans are weak at ILB with only Wesley Woodyard and Jayon Brown. Vander Esch is an elite run-stopping LB, and the Titans play in a division where the biggest threat is the Jags' running game. Vander Esch is also solid in coverage. He has great size and athleticism (96th percentile SPARQ). In real life it's possible he goes top 15.

 

1.01 Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield

1.02 New York Giants: EDGE Bradley Chubb

1.03 New York Jets: QB Josh Allen

1.04 Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward

1.05 Denver Broncos: QB Sam Darnold

1.06 Indianapolis Colts: RB Saquon Barkley

1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Derwin James

1.08 Chicago Bears: G Will Hernandez

1.09 San Francisco 49ers: G Quenton Nelson

1.10 Oakland Raiders: LB Tremaine Edmunds

1.11 Miami Dolphins: EDGE Marcus Davenport

1.12 Buffalo Bills: OT Mike McGlinchey

1.13 Washington Redskins: DL Vita Vea

1.14 Green Bay Packers: WR Courtland Sutton

1.15 Arizona Cardinals: DL Taven Bryan

1.16 Baltimore Ravens: C James Daniels

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: LB Roquan Smith

1.18 Seattle Seahawks: CB Jaire Alexander

1.19 Dallas Cowboys: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick

1.20 Detroit Lions: EDGE Harold Landry

1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: CB Josh Jackson

1.22 Buffalo Bills: QB Lamar Jackson

1.23 New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller

1.24 Carolina Panthers: CB Mike Hughes

1.25 Tennessee Titans: LB Leighton Vander Esch

 

END: Fabulous steal by the Titans there. I don’t think Vander Esch gets out of the teens in the real draft.  

1.26 Atlanta Falcons- Da’Ron Payne 

This one is easy. The Falcons would be ecstatic if Payne fell all the way to them and for good reason. He’s one of the rare non-overrated Alabama players. Athleticism, solid play, wish he would have made a few more solo plays in college, but that wasn’t his job. He could be a better pro than college player. Slot him inside beside Grady Jarrett and teams will be hard pressed to run the ball. Great meeting of value and need.

 

RC: Vander Esch is interesting. I don’t get him at all. He might be the best ILB in this draft but what a weird journey — couldn’t make an impact at Boise State until final year. And when I watched the tape I was unmoved. He feels like he should be a no brainer...he ‘looks’ like central casting ILB but I didn’t really see it in my studies. He’s worthy to be taken highly on profile but I don’t think he’s a slam dunk. 

I think him projecting more back end in a lot of 1st round mocks is because there are questions/doubts...which the questions push him 16-32 vs 1-15. A lot of guys have doubts — I think he’s one of them. I don’t think he’s in the no brainer category. Not many true ILBs to really consider so LVE needs to be gambled on 1st round though. 

 

1.01 Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield

1.02 New York Giants: EDGE Bradley Chubb

1.03 New York Jets: QB Josh Allen

1.04 Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward

1.05 Denver Broncos: QB Sam Darnold

1.06 Indianapolis Colts: RB Saquon Barkley

1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Derwin James

1.08 Chicago Bears: G Will Hernandez

1.09 San Francisco 49ers: G Quenton Nelson

1.10 Oakland Raiders: LB Tremaine Edmunds

1.11 Miami Dolphins: EDGE Marcus Davenport

1.12 Buffalo Bills: OT Mike McGlinchey

1.13 Washington Redskins: DL Vita Vea

1.14 Green Bay Packers: WR Courtland Sutton

1.15 Arizona Cardinals: DL Taven Bryan

1.16 Baltimore Ravens: C James Daniels

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: LB Roquan Smith

1.18 Seattle Seahawks: CB Jaire Alexander

1.19 Dallas Cowboys: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick

1.20 Detroit Lions: EDGE Harold Landry

1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: CB Josh Jackson

1.22 Buffalo Bills: QB Lamar Jackson

1.23 New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller

1.24 Carolina Panthers: CB Mike Hughes

1.25 Tennessee Titans: LB Leighton Vander Esch

1.26 Atlanta Falcons: DT Da’Ron Payne

 

MC: 1.27 Saints.   The defensive cupboard is fairly well stocked so this needs to be an offensive pick, and not just any offensive pick but a player who can aid New Orleans' passing offense this year in Brees' age 39 season.  At the moment I'm operating on the belief that Cameron Meredith will be added to the offense, so that eliminates the perimeter receiver I have in mind who tore it up at the Senior Bowl.   With him crossed off the board, there's one guy who stands out to me as the most NFL ready among the tight ends and slot receivers..... and so Hayden Hurst is the pick.     

I originally wanted to dislike Hurst b/c of his age (and because he's a Gamecock), but after studying his tape, I couldn't care less that he'll be 25 this season. Did it matter that Jimmy Graham & Travis Kelce were 24 year old rookies?   The age thing is immensely overblown here.  Hurst's game isn't predicated upon power.  He's an athletic move TE, not a physical inline blocker.  At 6'4 250 he doesn't need to get any bigger, and he's not deficient at the point of attack ala Mr Icky Gesicki, so those 2 concerns can be eliminated. Age has nothing to do with Hurst's athleticism, which is outstanding for a guy his size. It has nothing to do with his hands, tracking ability, or ball skills which pluck passes with natural ease.... and it's got nothing to do with his speed or movement ability, which are also mismatch worthy.  He plays faster and is an even better athlete than his times suggest, even though they're virtually identical to Zach Ertz' who doesn't appear to be struggling in the league.  Hurst plays with the fight and the competitiveness of a Travis Kelce, and is very comparable to Kelce as a player IMO.  Even though Hurst's the most NFL ready TE, he only had 3 years there under his belt, so he's certainly not a finished product compared to many of the tight ends that spend 4 years at the position. That's 1 less year of coaching, 1 less year in a college strength-conditioning program, and 1 less year of repetition & competition than guys like Mark Andrew, Gesicki, Goedert, and Ian Thomas...... and with Hurst spending much of his life as a pitcher, I'm assuming that weight lifting wasn't a high priority compared to these guys who've been football-only players.  Big fan here.

 

1.01 Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield

1.02 New York Giants: EDGE Bradley Chubb

1.03 New York Jets: QB Josh Allen

1.04 Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward

1.05 Denver Broncos: QB Sam Darnold

1.06 Indianapolis Colts: RB Saquon Barkley

1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Derwin James

1.08 Chicago Bears: G Will Hernandez

1.09 San Francisco 49ers: G Quenton Nelson

1.10 Oakland Raiders: LB Tremaine Edmunds

1.11 Miami Dolphins: EDGE Marcus Davenport

1.12 Buffalo Bills: OT Mike McGlinchey

1.13 Washington Redskins: DL Vita Vea

1.14 Green Bay Packers: WR Courtland Sutton

1.15 Arizona Cardinals: DL Taven Bryan

1.16 Baltimore Ravens: C James Daniels

1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: LB Roquan Smith

1.18 Seattle Seahawks: CB Jaire Alexander

1.19 Dallas Cowboys: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick

1.20 Detroit Lions: EDGE Harold Landry

1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: CB Josh Jackson

1.22 Buffalo Bills: QB Lamar Jackson

1.23 New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller

1.24 Carolina Panthers: CB Mike Hughes

1.25 Tennessee Titans: LB Leighton Vander Esch

1.26 Atlanta Falcons: DT Da’Ron Payne

1.27 New Orleans Saints: TE Hayden Hurst

 

RC: 1.28 Steelers select QB Mason Rudolph

This is what I would do as GM at this stage. The worst thing that could happen for the Steelers is Ben going down...and the real terror is if/when Ben leaves after this season or next. It doesn't matter if the Steelers need a DB or LB...they need to do the right thing by the franchise's future and that's take a possible franchise QB while they can. Teams picking this late don't normally get chances like this. It's why the Patriots are meeting with Rudolph...before Belichick can get him at #31...the Steelers take him here. 

 

XC: Until recently I thought Rudolph would go round 2-3 in real life. Teams thought that he was a system QB. But I think that he might go round 1 now, maybe even ahead of Lamar Jackson. Not out of desperation for a QB, but because he belongs in the conversation with the other top QBs.

 

RC: The Patriots meeting with Rudolph news was worth a 30-50 pick move higher. Because that’s the whole of nfl scouting... ‘What’s Belichick think?

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>