With the 2018 NFL Draft around the corner, the Downtown Ram Team presents you with their mock first round.
In order to give the readers the draft coverage they deserve we believe that it is important to give the readers different ideas and perspectives of where prospects could fall, what teams may be looking at the players you like, and of course, an idea about who may fall to the Rams. This year the Rams are do not own a second round pick, so making sure the right player is selected is vital to the success of the 2018 season.
Throughout the off-season, the Downtown Ream Team will present a new group mock. Each of the contributors assigned a team took the role of General Manager of that team and drafter for them. The DTR Staff debated and decided on the Rams pick. The next expected DTR Staff mock draft is planned for after the combine.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Allen seems like a favorite in Cleveland and very well may end up as the pick. He has all of the potential in the world but is still very raw. He has the traits that you want in a franchise quarterback minus his accuracy (which is huge, don’t get me wrong). He is built to succeed in the Combine so expect him to get lots of love from that. If he can show improvement on accuracy there you can start seeing him becoming the odds-on-favorite.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
It seems like a no-brainer for a team that is likely never going to find themselves picking this low again, to pick a franchise QB. Eli Manning is up there in age no matter what people want to hear, it’s the truth. Manning could likely play another year or two and the highest upside besides Lamar Jackson at QB is Sam Darnold. Darnold would fit the new scheme employed by new Head coach Pat Shurmur very well. Sure, it’s hard to pass up on possibly the best talent in the draft Saquon Barkley, but there are so many great running backs to choose from in this class and the value would be much greater later on. Darnold gives the Giants a huge piece moving forward. For the record, no, I don’t think Davis Webb is the answer.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, PSU
Barkley is the best player in the draft. He has speed, elusiveness, and great vision. Best of all, he is a willing pass protector, which is something Andrew Luck will need. Barkley will instantly transform the Colts into a powerhouse offense. New coach Frank Reich could really benefit from more toys for this lack-luster Colts offense.
4. Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, BAMA
With Saquon Barkley off the board, this would be the best pick for the Browns at number four. Fitzpatrick will translate to the NFL as a safety, slot corner, and even linebacker. Fitzpatrick is very smart and is rumored to be the only Alabama player ever to be invited to a coaches only meeting under Nick Saban.
The Browns have a young defense and Fitzpatrick is another piece they can hang their hat on during the next few years as the team grows.
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, OKLA
Broncos select Baker Mayfield, quarterback from Oklahoma. It is looking more and more like Broncos
are going to the draft without a starting quarterback. If Mayfield falls to the number 5 spot, expect the
Broncos to pick him up.
Mayfield, 6-0, 216 pounds, completed 70.5 percent of his passes as a senior at Oklahoma, totaling 4,627
yards through the air with 43 touchdown passes against six interceptions. He also performed well at the
Senior Bowl both on the field and in interviews. One of those interviews was with Broncos staff. Many
scouts believe that Mayfield had the best performance on all quarterbacks who attended the Senior
Bowl, and with a quarterback needy league, it would be a surprise to see him here.
Broncos are looking for a franchise quarterback and Mayfield can be that guy. Even if he goes earlier in
the draft, the Broncos may take one of the top ranked quarterbacks of this draft class.
6. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
With three quarterbacks already off the board the Jets have a hard decision to make. Do they go classic Jets and punt on the QB issue for arguably the best defensive player in the draft class in Bradley Chubb. While the Jets use whoever they can get at quarterback, they have been able to create a defense that reeks with talent using this method. Last year the Jets took Adams over one of the many quarterback choices available, including rookie stand out DeShaun Watson.
This time, the Jets luck into Josh Rosen, who is widely considered the best or second best quarterback prospect in the class. With the selection of Rosen the Jets could even bring back Josh McCown to start the year and mentor Rosen, who will love playing in New York.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NCST
Tampa Bay had a league low 18 sacks last year and looks to change that this year. Bradley Chubb will pair nicely with Gerald McCoy and bring some respectability back to Tampa’s pass rush. This may end up being considered the steal of the due to the run of quarterbacks before hand.
Chubb may be the best defensive player in the draft class. If Tampa can Chubb without having to move up, they will be deemed winner of the quaterback rush at the top of the first round.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, ND
Is there anything wrong with the Bears adding more meat inside the offensive line and better yet picking arguably the most dominant player in the draft? Quenton Nelson is a future All-Pro talent and he’s only going to fall this far because he’s a guard and doesn’t play the blindside. The Bears have talent especially in Kyle Long and Josh Sitton. However, Sitton is 31, it’s BPA for me and Nelson is even beyond that. Instant game-changer.
9. San Francscio 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, OSU
Ward has allowed a measly 32% completion percentage against him over the past two years. He is excellent at mirroring routes, and has elite footwork. The 49ers know they play the pass happy Rams twice a season and will draft Ward to lock down the likes of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
The 49ers still have a long way to go if they want to compete. Adding a defensive back like Ward will go greatly help the secondary and help better the defense.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, UGA
Roquan Smith is slightly undersized at 6-1, 225 pounds, but what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in explosiveness and sideline to sideline coverage. His ability to stop the run and drop into coverage, and do both well, give him the 2 for 1 defensive talent that the Raiders desperately need on the defensive side of the ball. In his 3 years at Georgia, Smith has 252 total tackles, 14 for loss, 6.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.
Raiders may look to fill any of several weaknesses on defense, Smith gives them the most bang for their buck. His aggressive defensive style and flexibility may be a perfect fit for the Raiders. Smith will make an immediate impact wherever he lands so if he is available here, Raiders should take him.
11. Miami Dolphins: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
At 11, the Dolphins are at a wait and see position. They are one of the teams of that will benefit from QBs going early. While Jackson wasn’t my original target here, I think the defense will be happy with the addition. Jackson has a big frame and a good sense of where the ball is. He is an explosive play that could add the youth and excitement missing from Miami’s team.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, ND
The Bengals had a solid offensive line in years past but lost 2 key cogs last year in Whitworth and Zeitler. They start the rebuilding process by grabbing McGlinchey to hold down the left side. This team is a mess, as they have proved throughout this Marvin Lewis saga. A solid offensive tackle like McGlinchey may quickly become the most stable thing in Cincinnati.
13. Washington Redskins: Da Ron Payne, DL, BAMA
The NFC East has become an arms race. If the Redskins want to return to the top of the NFC East they will need to be able to get to the talented quarterbacks in the division. Payne will be able to help a weaker unit get stronger, as he will face off against some of the better offensive lines in the league, notably in Philadelphia and Dallas.
14. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, DE, LSU
The Packers are not-so-secretly one of the worse rosters in the league. It is evidentiary, last season, without Rodgers, how dependent they really are of him. If the Packers want to get serious, they need to add impact players. Arden could be the Key (pun intended) to the Packers defense. With Key’s ability as a pass rusher, the defense has a much better chance to force turnovers and keep the score reasonable.
15. Arizona Cardinal: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Some people are just born to be Cardinals. Lamar Jackson, a former Heisman winner, has great vision and speed as a runner. Steve Wilks, after his time in Carolina with Cam Newton, will appreciate his ability to make plays with his legs. Cardinals get the final QB of the first round and with Palmer’s retirement this January the Cardinals need to start grooming for the future.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, BAMA
The Raven struggled at the receiver position last season and may be looking for a receiver that can make the biggest immediate impact. At Alabama, Ridley posted 224 receptions for 2,781 yards, and 19 touchdowns over 3 seasons. Ridley is sure handed and has no trouble catching the ball away from his body or making contested catches. His route running ability is strong and versatile. Scouts believe that Ridley is the most NFL read receiver in this draft, which means he can make the immediate impact that the Ravens need.
Ravens are one of the teams looking to trade back in this draft if Ridley isn’t available, but if he is, I am guessing they take him.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, FSU
The Chargers are in good position here to get a good player. With offensive-line still a need the Chargers will consider some of the remaining linemen. But James is to good to pass on when you have a defense like the Chargers. James is going to add an element in the secondary that will match the new and explosive defensive front they have built over the past year or so. Chargers will look for offense in the future goods and maybe even a quarterback to groom.
18: Seattle Seahawks: Isiah Wynn, OG, UGA
Let’s be honest. Seattle’s Offensive line was atrocious last year. If Russell Wilson wasn’t so dang good the Seahawks would’ve had a losing record. Isaiah Wynn will come in and be the best player on that O-line. If Seattle can’t protect Wilson they may quickly find themselves at the bottom of the up-and-coming NFC West.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, VT
This is simply the best player available option. The Cowboys will then have the best linebacking core with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and now Edmunds. Anthony Hitchens is also a free agent so there is a hole at LB. If the Cowboys plan on competing in an improving NFC East they will need to sure up their defense this off season.
20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Lions need lots of help on the defensive side of the ball. With pass rush and run stop needs, they take Marcus Davenport, defensive end from Texas-San Antonio. Davenport’s strength and ability to work against the double team make him a threat to the run. His lateral quickness is also great for plugging run gaps. He has good length at 6-6, and he uses it well to get to the edge quickly. Davenport is also capable of using his length to separate and get to a quarterback. In 2017, Davenport accumulated 43 pressures (eight sacks, six hits, 29 hurries). Vita Vea is the more flashy option here, sure, but the Lions need someone who is going to be productive in the pass rush and run stop. Davenport is that guy. While he does require some work, Davenport ranked third amongst all defensive ends in the country. Lions should be able to put him to good use.
21 . Buffalo Bills: Vita Vea, NT, Washington
Vita Vea is the prefect fit to replace the void left my Dareus’ move to Jacksonville. Vita is big and strong and should match-up well with inside linemen smaller than he is. He is a magician with his hands and should eat up blockers, allowing the tacklers behind him to make easy tackles. Rashaan, the Bills’ next pick, will soon become best friends with Vea.
22. Buffalo Bills: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Having two picks in a row in allows Buffalo to take risks and treat themselves. Evans is the biggest treat in this first round. Many would argue he has top ten talent but some injury concerns have allowed him to fall. Buffalo is a need with many needs and bringing the nation’s top collegent linebacker is sure to help that defense.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The DTR Team had a hard decision to make here. With edge rushers and defensive backs available we ended up taking Connor Williams. It’s not that we don’t recognize that the defense does have honest and true needs in the secondary and in the LB Core. We know that. But we’re unsure what will happen with players like Tru and Barron and know there will be legitimate free agency markets for those positions. Williams is a very strong prospect with a lot of upside. There is talk he could be a top 10 pick, or fall all the way down to this point. He is a little raw but has the potential to be our long term left tackle after Whitworth. This offensive line needs to continue to grow and the importance of a long-term left tackle can not be understated. Williams can play on the right side this year and hone in on some skills before moving to left tackle after Whitworth.
We also considered CBs such as Hughes, Oliver, and Alexander and Edge players such as Hurst and Ororankwo.
24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Panthers have just had no luck surrounding Cam with talented receivers. At 6’4, Sutton is unlike many of the big WRs that the Panthers have brought in. Sutton’s strengths include his ability to use his hands to fight and get open. He’s also a much better catch then a player like Benjamin, who he would hope replace as the “number one” guy. Sutton will be a gift that can extend the Cam’s career, but the staff will have work with Sutton to hone in his skills if they want him to reach his potential.
25. Teneesse Titans: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Mike Hughes is only 5’11” and had some attitude problems at UNC before he was persuaded to play for UCF. That said, he is a physical and fast corner who catches the ball like a receiver. The Titans weakest point is in their pass defense, and could use a talented corner like Hughes to shore up their secondary. With the team taking a new direction this off season Hughes could be a safe pick that impacts the defense on the first snap.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Billy Price, C/OG, OSU
Alex Mack has been a great Center for the Falcons but is getting up there in age. Atlanta decides to draft their center of the future in Billy Price. He can swing inside at guard until Mack is ready to call it quits but Price instantly makes the O-line better. Good teams think ahead and Atlanta will be excited to get a long term piece at 26.
27. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert, TE SDST
A picture says a thousand words, and Drew Bress loves throwing to athletic pass catching TEs.
Since the departure of Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees has been missing that TE target he loves so much. Even with the emergence of Michael Thomas as a potential super star, the Saints can still use more fire more. New Orleans is in full on win-now mode before Brees ends his career in the next few years. The addition of Goedert could be the missing piece to that electric offense. Drafting a player like Goedert also allows the team to prepare for a life after Brees.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, BSU
Steelers lost a valuable inside linebacker in Ryan Shazier and will look to fill that gap by taking Leighton Vander Esch, inside linebacker from Boise State.
Vander Esch, registered 188 total tackles of which 62 of them resulted in lost yardage in the 32 games that he played in at Boise State. He also had 4 interceptions to go along with 5 sacks and 5 pass breakups. Vander Esch has the strength, agility, and sideline to sideline ability that the Steelers love to work with. His fluid body movement means he can change directions quickly and easily and allows him to make his lateral movements quickly.
Vander Esch has lots of upside, which is what the Steelers need at this position. Some work on his ability to shed blocks and the Steelers have themselves a one man wrecking crew at the middle linebacker position.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Orlando Brown, OT, OKLA
Jacksonville has a lot of ways they can go where and have the over looming question of what to do with Blake Bortles. However, it is unlikely that any of the top quarterbacks are left here. The next best thing is to ensure you can protect the future quarterback and running back Fournette. Orlando Brown is the best linemen available and will be able to improve the line right away.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Maurice Hurst, DE, MICH
The Vikings are coming off a season filled with injuries and successes. Hurst is a luxury pick that the team could afford. Adding another defensive linemen with this type of talent will only make the Vikings defense more fearsome.
31. New England Patriots: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Malcolm Butler is on his way out of New England and they are going to need a good player to replace him. Enter Isaiah Oliver. Oliver can come in and instantly be a solid #2 corner behind Stephon Gilmore, ensuring that the Patriots secondary remains a strength.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Will Hernandez is a rock at left guard, and likely should not have fallen this far. He is 6’2” 348 lbs. And may have fallen mainly fallen due to his lack of height and length. The Eagles draft Hernandez to provide even more help blocking for the run.
The official first round draft order is:
1. Cleveland Browns
2. New York Giants
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. Cleveland Browns
5. Denver Broncos
6. New York Jets
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers OR Oakland Raiders (coin flip)
11. Miami Dolphins
12. Cincinnati Bengals
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
21. Buffalo Bills
22. Buffalo Bills(Via Kansas City)
23. Carolina Panthers
24. Los Angeles Rams
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles
I want to give an extra special thank you to:
Alex Kelly, who drafted for the Browns Vikings, Redskins, Cowboys, and the Saints
Jake Ellenbogen, who drafted for the Giants, Bears, Packers, and the Bills
James Lamar, who drafted for the Eagles, Titans, Cardinals, Colts, and the 49ers
Jonah T., who drafted for the Lions, Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, and the Steelers
Joshua Hill, who drafted for the Seahawks, Bucs, Bengals, Falcons, and the Patriots
Please note that descriptions of the draft picks were mostly written by the contributor in charge of drafting for that team and then edited by me.