Football Garbage Time 2018 Mock NFL Draft – Part 1
By the Football Garbage Time Staff
We all know that the NFL Draft is right around the corner, beginning on April 27th. And we all know that the choices that 29 of 32 teams in the NFL make that night (as the Texans, Rams and Chiefs don’t have a first round pick) will be a significant part in whether they end up with the Lombardi Trophy and the 32nd pick in a future draft, or if they end up with the first overall pick looking to rebuild.
Seeing as how important these decisions are, we here at Football Garbage Time again got together and decided to conduct a mock draft. In fact, this will be our 4th Annual Twitter Mock NFL Draft!
But, for the FIRST TIME EVER, nine different writers & podcasters from three different sites participated, including:
- Wally (@UrbanSportScene) and Ray (@UrbanSportS_Ray) from the Urban Sports Scene Podcast,
- Nick (@BeerFueledFF) and Kris (@HoppBFF) from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Football Podcast, and
- Ryan (@RyanWhitfieldNE), Scott (@NFLFantasy_More), Bobby (@bobbypierson), Joanne (@kongfu4u) and I from right here on Football Garbage Time!
Each one took part as GMs of several teams in the draft, and conducted the mock draft live over four days on Twitter (feel free to check out the back and forth on Twitter by searching for #FGTMockDraft). A few trends became clear and we certainly had more than a few surprises.
Missed it? Don’t want to check Twitter? Well, you’re in luck, because we have Part 1 of the results of that mock draft (Picks 1 through 16) below along with the reasoning for each pick by each writer.
Ha Kung – Sam Darnold – QB
- In 6 of the last 11 NFL Drafts, the Browns have selected a QB in the first 3 rounds. And guess what? None of them are currently starting the NFL, and one of them was Johnny Manziel. So the Browns don’t have history on their side when it comes to drafting QBs, but with Carlos Hyde signed at RB to pair with Duke Johnson, and Tyrod Taylor slated to be the starter as a clear bridge-QB, I think the Browns go back to the well and draft another QB. There’s reason to believe that the Browns might want one of the Josh’s instead, but I think they go for Sam Darnold (as does Browns beat writer, Mary Kay Cabot, who I tend to trust).
- After his redshirt year, Darnold played in all 13 games, starting the final 9, completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards, 31 TDs and just 9 INTs, adding 62 rush attempts, 250 rush yards, two rushing TDs. He was voted first-team All-Pac-12 in 2017, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Pac-12 Conference Champs. In fact, in 2017, he has the MOST total yards (4,225) and MOST total TDs (31) of any QB in the Pac-12. He has the arm strength, passing velocity and football IQ to start right away in the NFL, yet can benefit from some time behind a veteran like Taylor. The Browns need talent, but they also want someone who doesn’t have to wait long to start. Generally speaking, the Browns love to throw their rookie QBs into the fire immediately and set them up to fail, but Taylor gives them reasonable competitiveness without needing to rush their guy along. Perhaps Josh Rosen is the most NFL ready QB in the draft, and Josh Allen may have the highest ceiling. But if the Browns are trying to maximize benefit while minimizing risk, I think Darnold is the right play.
Joanne – Saquon Barkley – RB
- With new head coach Pat Shurmur committing to Eli Manning in the 2018 season, it makes little sense to draft a quarterback with their #2 pick. With that said, what the Giants need first and foremost, is some excitement on their offense. In the 2017 season, the Giants went a dismal 3-13. Their most dynamic player, Odell Beckham Jr., played only 4 games due to injury. An addition of an explosive offensive player in the backfield would relieve some of the pressure off Eli Manning, who clearly has been forcing throws, and potentially give him more targets, pending the offensive line. Manning had one of the worst seasons of his career with 3,468 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 10 fumbles and a QBR of 41.7.
- What can Saquon Barkley add to the New York Giants? Barkley could be the answer to the question the Giants have been trying to answer for the last three years, finding a franchise running back. We’ve seen the success a solid running back could add to an offense, and the Giants could find that with Barkley. With 1,856 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns in his senior year, Barkley is known for his work ethic on and off the field as well as his footwork. Barkley has speed and the ability to scramble and elude defenders, potentially adding the explosive backfield the Giants desperately need.
Joanne – Josh Allen – QB
- The New York Jets…where to begin. From offense to defense, the Jets have major needs. Most importantly, the Jets need a quarterback to build around. With only the Cleveland Browns looking for a quarterback (absent a surprise from the Giants), the Jets are in a prime position to draft this necessary position.
- Why Josh Allen? Allen had the highest score in his class in the Wonderlic Test. For those of you who don’t know what the Wonderlic Test is, it’s a test to gauge problem-solving and critical thinking capacities for skill players. However, it should be noted that just because you score high doesn’t mean you’ll be a great quarterback, and just because you score low doesn’t mean you’ll be bad. Dan Marino is example of a great quarterback with a low Wonderlic score (ever heard of him?). However it should be noted that Super Bowl winning quarterbacks still active in the NFL have an average score of above 30, with 25 being the lowest (Ben Roethlisberger). Josh Allen scored 37.
- Allen has the height, the hand size and the arm strength to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. With the 3rd fastest 40 yard dash (4.75 sec.), the highest vertical jump (33.5″) and longest broad jump (119.0″) of any of the QBs at the NFL Combine, Allen has great potential. Teams might be a little weary because Allen faced lighter competition at Wyoming, but this contender could be the Jets starter with some proper coaching and training.
Ha Kung – Bradley Chubb – DE
- The Browns already have Myles Garrett, but absent an opportunity for a major upgrade at RB with Saquon Barkley, why not pair Garrett with Bradley Chubb? Chubb was a true standout in run defense in college (he was second in the nation in tackles for loss last season with 26) and also provided a significant pass-rush (with 10 sacks, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles). It sounds like Browns general manager John Dorsey also thinks Chubb could pair well with Garrett: “Chubb plays the game a little bit differently [than Garrett], but he’s still an unbelievable defensive prospect for this draft.” Chubb was a first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC in his senior season where he also won the 2017 Hendricks (best DE) and Bronko Nagurski (best defender) Awards. He’s the best defensive prospect in the draft and will have an immediate impact. Actually, with the Carlos Hyde signing, I think the Browns will opt to build their defense at 4 even if Barkley were here.
Joanne – Quenton Nelson – OG
- Investing in Case Keenum with a 2-year $25 million guaranteed contract, the Denver Broncos have obviously decided on their starter for the 2018 season. With the quarterback position secure for the season, the Broncos can now focus on positions to make the team better for subsequent seasons, rather than rebuild the team for the future. Currently, the Broncos can use a dynamic running back. C.J. Anderson looks to be near the end of his career, at least in Denver. Devontae Booker, a third year veteran, has had little production with the Broncos. With Saguon Barkley off the board by the fifth pick, the Broncos will look to fill another need.
- Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) might be that position at guard. Nelson’s size, power and blocking ability should make any defensive player a glutton for punishment. With Nelson’s skill, experts expect an easy adjustment for him in the NFL, which is exactly what the Broncos are looking for — someone to plug into the team immediately. Nelson’s addition could be exactly what the broncos offensive front line needs to protect their newly acquired investment as they head towards a potential Super Bowl season.
Ray – Derwin James – S
- FSU safety Derwin James could solidify the Colts secondary. He has great range and has the tools to be a Pro Bowl caliber safety. He could be the Colts best safety since Bob Sanders.
Nick – Minkah Fitzpatrick – DB
- Quenton Nelson would have been the pick had he fallen here, but otherwise the plan was to grab a defensive prospect. Buccaneers defense is a mess, has multiple holes at all 3 levels and need safe players who can immediately contribute. The best fit on the board is Fitzpatrick, who might not be a dominant player going forward, but he fits in multiple positions and should immediately make this defense better.
Kris – Roquan Smith – ILB
- After The Bears addressed their offensive skill positions in Free Agency and re-signed key members of their secondary they were left with two major needs to fill in the draft: O-Line and Inside Linebacker. With Quenton Nelson gone, they opt to go defense and fill a need left by the departures of Jerrell Freeman and Pernell McPhee. Smith is an athletic linebacker that possesses coverage ability the Bears haven’t had since Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher roamed soldier field. He is also excellent against the run which was a weakness of this young, up and coming Bears defense last season.
Ryan – Marcus Davenport – DE
- San Francisco has two jobs this draft season. Add weapons in the receiving core, and build a defense. I don’t believe that Calvin Ridley is a good fit with Jimmy, and the rest of the receivers are tiered together and you can look at 3 & 4 round targets to help here. So I turn to defense. Marcus Davenport has the potential to be the best pure pass rusher this draft. At 6’7 and 255 pounds, and amassing 15 sacks and 27 TFL the last two years, he can be a cornerstone of your defense. While some may think top ten is a little high for him, Packers are rumored to be very interested at 14. So if I’m San Francisco, I’m not letting him get away.
Ray – Tremaine Edmunds – LB
- The Oakland Raiders need more speed defensively. Tremaine Edmunds is an aggressive ILB/MLB who has great play-making ability and sideline to sideline speed. With questions about signing Navorro Bowman, he would slide in and be an immediate impact starter for the Raiders.
Ha Kung – Vita Vea – DT
- I was really torn on this one. I thought about grabbing Josh Rosen since he was still there, but I know that the Dolphins have already publicly committed to Ryan Tannehill, and if they did go for a QB, they’re more enamored with Baker Mayfield. I think they give Tannehill one healthy year to prove he’s the guy, without using their 1st Round pick on a QB. And if they do that, they’ll look to a DT to fill the gap left by Ndamukong Suh. Vea was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year with 43 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and even 4 passes defended. He’s big, intimidating and can blast guards and centers off the line, plus he has surprising speed for 347 lbs. And he confirmed his strength having the 2nd most bench press reps (41) of any DL at the Combine. The injury risk with Vea scares me a little, particularly with the hamstring issue at the Combine, and how violently he plays, but the raw talent and upside is immense.
Bobby – Josh Rosen – QB
- With Josh Rosen (QB) seen as a top 10 draft pick, the Bills would be happy to have him at the 12th overall pick and hopefully settle their QB uncertainty.
Wally – Da’ron Payne – DL
- The Redskins finished at the bottom against the run and lost a lot when DL Phil Taylor, Matt Ioannidis and Johnathan Allen went down. Da’ron Payne would be the NT that this team has been looking for. Run stopping beast who can make other D-lineman around him better. Also he gets to be reunited with his D-lineman mates from Alabama in Allen and Ryan Anderson.
Ha Kung – Mike Hughes – CB
- Interestingly, Green Bay has selected a CB with its first selection in three of the past four drafts, and yet they ended the 2017 season with only the 26th ranked pass defense in the NFL. Trading Damarious Randall to the Browns and failing to get Kyle Fuller in free agency didn’t help, so looks like the Packers will have to try to grab a CB with their first selection yet again. And I think that CB will be Mike Hughes. Hughes had some shady history at North Carolina, getting himself suspended, but after a successful stint in community college, he managed to land in a dream scenario at UCF in 2017. Huges started 12 of 13 games, getting first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors as a CB (44 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 returned TD, and a team leading 11 pass breakups) as well as second-team honors as a returner (20 attempts, 635 yards, 2 TDs on kick returns; 13 attempts, 233 yards, 1 TD on punt returns). He’ll slot in immediately to improve the Packers secondary as well as have potential impact on special teams.
Ha Kung – Baker Mayfield – QB
- The Cardinals can’t possibly comfortable with newly signed Sam Bradford or Mike Glennon as the QB of the future. If there’s any of the top four QBs in the draft available at 15, and perhaps even Lamar Jackson, I think the Cardinals will bite. And with Baker Mayfield available, I think it would close to a sure thing. Mayfield finished his career as one of the most recognized QBs in college football history, winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and the Big 12 Championship and a spot in the 2017 College Football Playoff. In 2017, Mayfield completed 70.5 percent of his passes, throwing a whopping 43 TDs against just 6 INTs, adding 5 more TDs on the ground. In addition, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year led the NCAA in pass efficiency (breaking his own NCAA record from the previous year) and yards per attempt (11.8). Of course, one expects big offensive numbers in a spread offense like Oklahoma’s, and whether that will translate to a more Pro-style offense is yet to be seen. Plus, his measurables are a tad under what scouts like to see, with hand size (9 1/4″ vs. approximate league average 9 1/2″) and height (6’1″ vs. approximate league average 6’3″).
Ryan – Calvin Ridley – WR
- Admittedly, I am no Calvin Ridley fan. He’s a burner aka – diva and soft. The most damning quote I’ve seen is from NFL.com: “Dominates cornerbacks if they allow him free release”. Okay, so should be easy to stop him, no? I digress. This WR draft is one of the weakest in memory. Baltimore’s biggest question is can they finally solve their wideout issues. If I’m Ozzie Newsome, I’m taking as many shots as I can and Ridley is the best of this class, or so they say at least. If they can give Flacco weapons, that defense is good enough to get to the playoffs. I’d draft three kids and see who sticks. Also, no one is better than Joe at throwing up bombs to fast guys to draw PI flags. Him and Torrey Smith made it an art form, once upon a time.
Don’t forget to check out Picks 17 to 32 of the Football Garbage Time 2018 Mock NFL Draft!