The Combine is right around the corner and we should start to get some clarity on this upcoming 2018 NFL Draft class once it’s over a week from now.
But until then, it’s time to have some fun with the annual guessing game known as mock drafts. Here is my attempt to project some interesting trades in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.
Are any of these trades realistic? I’d like to believe there is a hint of realism involved, but I won’t deny some of these moves are nothing more than having a little fun.
I’ll outline the potential details of these trades, looking at recent similar trades to get the most realistic compensation between teams.
I should also note that I’m making several assumptions as far as cap cuts and free agency goes. But any significant moves that I factored in my thought process, I will mention in the description discussing each first-round pick.
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold, Southern California
The Browns get their franchise quarterback in Darnold. While Darnold is far from the “cleanest” quarterback prospect in this draft, he has the best combination of immediate impact and long-term upside. Darnold will come in and start right away for the Browns and hopefully end their streak of awful quarterback play for good.
2. *TRADE!!!* New York Jets (from NY Giants) – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Trade Details: Jets trade first-round (6th overall), two second-round picks (37th and 49th overall) and their first-round pick in 2019 to Giants in exchange for a first-round pick (2nd overall).
If/when the Jets lose out on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll be eager to move up to make sure they get the quarterback of their choice. With two second-round picks, they have the ammunition to move up a few spots and make sure they get Rosen.
3. *TRADE!!!* Buffalo Bills (from Indianapolis) – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Trade Details: Bills trade two first-round (21st and 22nd overall), two second-round picks (53rd and 56th overall), QB Tyrod Taylor and OG John Miller to Colts in exchange for their first-round pick (3rd overall) and QB Jacoby Brissett.
The Bills picked up a bunch of draft assets over the past six months, putting them in prime position to move up to get their franchise quarterback of their choice. This is a wild trade, with the two teams exchanging quarterbacks, as Tyrod Taylor becomes the Colts’ new insurance policy in case Andrew Luck is still limited at the start of the season. Mayfield may not fit the classic NFL model in terms of height and arm strength, but should be a good fit in Brian Daboll’s new offense in Buffalo.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
The Browns are expected to make Jabrill Peppers into more of a box safety this season, freeing up their need to get a safety that can play deep. Fitzpatrick will also get a ton of work in the slot as well and his versatility and high work ethic should help solidify the changing culture in Cleveland.
5. *TRADE!!!* Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Denver) – DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Trade Details: Bucs trade first-round (7th overall) and third-round picks (69th overall) to Broncos in exchange for their first-round pick (5th overall).
The Bucs desperately need pass rush help and may look to jump up to make sure they secure Chubb, who is by far the best edge-rusher in this year’s draft class.
6. New York Giants (from NY Jets) – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
The Giants move back to pick up some extra picks and still manage to get their developmental quarterback to groom behind Eli Manning for the next year or so. Allen is raw, but his special arm talent will intrigue the Giants as they look to move back, add some picks and rebuild their offensive line later in the draft.
7. Denver Broncos (from Tampa Bay) – OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
The Broncos are expected by many to win the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes and if so that frees them up to potentially move back a few picks and still get one of the best players in this draft in Nelson. He helps solidify what has been an erratic offensive line group on the interior the past few seasons.
8. Chicago Bears – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
If the Bears can help fill some of their holes at wide receiver and cornerback in free agency, that should free them up to take an inside linebacker like Smith, giving them another rangy, athletic playmaker to team with Danny Trevathan now that Jerrell Freeman is gone.
9. San Francisco 49ers – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The 49ers wait and get the player that many believe is the best in the draft. Barkley may slide simply due to the facts that this is such a strong running back class coupled with teams moving up for quarterbacks. Barkley gives Kyle Shanahan a dynamic option out of the backfield that can be a workhorse in the ground game and a difference-maker in the passing game.
10. Oakland Raiders – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Expect the Raiders to seriously focus on bolstering their lackluster defense early in the draft. Linebacker has been a problem spot for them the past few years and Edmunds has the combination of speed and size that new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther craves.
11. Miami Dolphins – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
With Jarvis Landry potentially being shopped, the Dolphins will be looking for a brand new No. 1 option in the passing game. Ridley fits the bill, being an upgrade over the likes of DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills.
12. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
The Bengals hope a big, physical road-grader like Brown upgrades what has been very problematic offensive tackle play since Andrew Whitworth’s departure.
13. Washington Redskins – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
The Redskins need to upgrade their cornerback play with Kendall Fuller being traded, Bashaud Breeland hitting free agency and Josh Norman reportedly unhappy in Washington. Ward adds the speed and athleticism to be a good matchup potentially with Odell Beckham Jr. within the division.
14. *TRADE!!!* Los Angeles Rams (from Green Bay) – OLB Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio
Trade Details: Rams trade first-round pick (23rd overall) and OLB Robert Quinn to Packers in exchange for first-round (14th overall) and fourth-round (114th overall) picks.
The Rams might be willing to unload Robert Quinn for the right price. Davenport is raw, but has upside and allows the Rams to free up some space by swapping him in for Quinn via trade.
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
While the Cardinals might pursue a veteran quarterback like A.J. McCarron or Case Keenum to fill their immediate need at the position, they can’t afford to walk away from this draft without securing their long-term future at the position. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is capable of making the proper adjustments to fit his offense to the unique skill set of a player like Jackson.
16. Baltimore Ravens – S Derwin James, Florida State
James fits as a hybrid box safety and linebacker within the Ravens scheme that can man up tight ends and be a rangy enforcer to re-instill that elite physicality back in the Ravens defense.
17. Los Angles Chargers – DT Vita Vea, Washington
The Chargers will be happy to take a dominant interior player like Vea at this point in the draft, only further solidifying what is potentially one of the league’s best defensive lines with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the edges.
18. Seattle Seahawks – DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
The Seahawks are likely to re-shuffle their defensive line this offseason and are hopeful that Hurst can be the interior disruptor the team envisioned when they selected Malik McDowell a year ago and traded for Sheldon Richardson.
19. Dallas Cowboys – WR Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist
While Dez Bryant should be safe from being cut, the Cowboys need to give Dak Prescott some more weapons to throw to. Sutton is a local guy from SMU and adds both size and speed to be a significant upgrade over the likes of perennial underachieve Terrence Williams on the outside.
20. Detroit Lions – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Payne helps solidify the Lions interior defensive line where the team is still looking for that difference maker they lost when Ndamukong Suh signed elsewhere back in 2015. Payne isn’t on Suh’s level but should be a solid piece in the middle of Matt Patricia’s reformed defense.
21. Indianapolis Colts (from Buffalo) – OLB Harold Landry, Boston College
The Colts could be moving to a 4-3 defense and need another edge-rusher to team with the likes of Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, as neither lived up to expectations in 2017. Landry doesn’t have ideal size but offers ability and upside to the difference-maker this team covets.
22. Indianapolis Colts (from Kansas City through Buffalo) – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
The Colts are likely to reshuffle their cornerback depth chart this offseason with top corner Rashaan Melvin hitting free agency. Jackson offers size, speed and ball skills to be the guy that can match up to the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Corey Davis and/or Allen Robinson within the division.
23. Green Bay Packers (from LA Rams) – CB Carlton Davis, Auburn
Davis is a big, press corner that can line up on the outside where the Packers are in the market for an upgrade over the likes of Davon House.
24. Carolina Panthers – OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
If the Panthers lose out on free agent guard Andrew Norwell this offseason, they’ll need a guy like Wynn that can step in immediately and solidify this interior line. Not to mention center Ryan Kalil is expected to retire after this season, meaning that Wynn further helps stabilize this group.
25. Tennessee Titans – OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
One of the better offensive lines in 2016 slipped a bit in 2017. With guard Josh Kline reaching free agency and Quinton Spain being upgradable at left guard, a big, physical road-grader like Will Hernandez makes sense for the Titans.
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan, Florida
The Falcons get an interior pass-rusher like Bryan that could also get a look as a base defensive end down the road. Bryan’s got the raw tools and explosiveness that the Falcons would like to mold long-term to go alongside the likes of Grady Jarrett, Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley.
27. New Orleans Saints – DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Cameron Jordan was practically a one-man wrecking crew for the Saints last season. But they need to provide more help, particularly on the edge. Hubbard gives them that.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Evans has the speed, range and physicality to help make the loss of Ryan Shazier less of a problem. He can step in immediately and be a playmaker at inside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Connor Williams, Texas
With Blake Bortles locked up for the next few years, that should free up the Jaguars to bolster an offensive line in desperate need of an upgrade. Williams can step in right away at right tackle to go along with Cam Robinson at left tackle.
30. *TRADE!!!* Indianapolis Colts (from Minnesota) – RB Sony Michel, Georgia
Trade Details: Colts trade their second (36th overall) and third-round picks (67th overall) to Vikings in exchange for their first-round pick (30th)
The Colts need to find a feature back to replace Frank Gore and give their offense a stable rushing attack to take pressure off Luck. Michel is the guy that some think is a better prospect than Barkley.
31. New England Patriots – CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida
With the impending loss of Malcolm Butler in free agency, the Patriots need to solidify their secondary. Hughes has the athleticism and speed easily replace Butler as their preferred option to cover the Antonio Browns of the world.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
The Eagles don’t possess many needs, but their ability to line up and play man coverage was tested at points last season. Oliver is an intriguing fit as he offers good size to help match up with the bigger receivers they will face in the future.
33. Cleveland – OT Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
34. N.Y. Giants – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
35. Cleveland (from Houston) – RB Derrius Guice, LSU
36. Minnesota (from Indianapolis) – OC/OG Billy Price, Ohio State
37. N.Y. Giants (from N.Y. Jets) – OC James Daniels, Iowa
38. Tampa Bay – DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford
39. Chicago – WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
40. Denver – RB Ronald Jones, Southern California
41. Oakland – CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
42. Miami – OT/OG Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
43. New England (from San Francisco) – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
44. Washington – LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
45. Indianapolis (from Green Bay) – OT Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
*TRADE!!!* Details: Colts trade their second-round (53rd overall) and fourth-round picks (104th overall) to Packers in exchange for their second-round (45th overall).
46. Cincinnati – LB Malik Jefferson, Texas
47. Arizona – OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
48. L.A. Chargers – S Justin Reid, Stanford
49. N.Y. Giants (from Seattle through N.Y. Jets) – OG Braden Smith, Auburn
50. Dallas – TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
51. Carolina (from Detroit) – RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
*TRADE!!!* Details: Panthers trade their second-round (55th overall) and third-round picks (85th overall) to Lions in exchange for their second-round (51st overall) and fifth-round picks (161st overall) as well as TE Eric Ebron.
52. Baltimore – WR James Washington, Oklahoma State
53. Green Bay (from Buffalo through Indianapolis) – WR Dante Pettis, Washington
54. Kansas City – DT Tim Settle, Virginia Tech
55. Detroit (from Carolina) – RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
56. Indianapolis (from L.A. Rams through Buffalo) – TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
57. Tennessee – OLB Arden Key, LSU
58. Atlanta – CB Quenton Meeks, Stanford
59. San Francisco (from New Orleans) – LB Uchenna Nwosu, Southern California
60. Pittsburgh – S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
61. Jacksonville – TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
62. Minnesota – S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
63. New England – LB Jerome Baker, Ohio State
64. Cleveland (from Philadelphia) – CB Donte Jackson, LSU
There you have it, two rounds including some noteworthy trades! Expect my next mock draft to occur after we get to free agency and see some player movement.