Perry's Mock Draft 3.0: Pats trade down for a QB
Will the Patriots trade up in the draft to land one of their top-rated quarterbacks? We know they have the capital to do so. We don't know if can they find a partner.
In this scenario, they do. But then that partner finds another partner. We'll explain. Stick with us.
This is our third two-round run-through, and we've had the Patriots take a variety of players in our two previous mocks. In the first, before the Brandin Cooks trade, they ended up with a front-seven athlete (Georgia's Lorenzo Carter), a quarterback (Richmond's Kyle Lauletta) and a tight end (South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert. In the second, they selected a tackle (Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey), a linebacker (Alabama's Rashaan Evans), a quarterback (Mason Rudolph) and a defensive end (USC's Rasheem Green).
This time, we try a different setup, where the Patriots offer up their two first-rounders for No. 9 overall, which belongs to the Niners. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has slipped, and New England is trying to maneuver up the board.
The Niners like the proposal, but Buffalo, also hot on Rosen, offers up its best first-rounder (No. 12) and their second-rounder (No. 56) to jump three spots. It's a strong package, maybe an overpay, and more valuable than what Belichick offered, per the Jimmy Johnson trade chart. The Niners take the Bills deal, and the Patriots are stuck.
Let's see how this plays out . . .
1. Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
It's been about a week since the Josh-Allen-is-going-first hype began. It hasn't slowed down. GM John Dorsey seems close to snagging his big-armed quarterback.
2. Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Is GM Dave Gettleman being a little too obvious in his praise of Barkley? Coaches and scouts love the player. He has the chance to be truly special. But isn't this a little early for a running back?
3. Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
This is another marriage that continues to get all kinds of buzz. Mayfield is the most accurate passer in the draft. But if the Jets draft him, they'll have to tailor their offense to his skill set. It'll look different than if the Jets had landed Kirk Cousins, as they might've hoped.
4. Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
There's reports flying that the Browns have thought about taking two quarterbacks in this draft. And high. This high? Could you imagine? Me neither.
5. Dolphins (via Broncos): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
BRONCOS TRADE NO. 5 AND NO. 160 TO DOLPHINS
DOLPHINS TRADE NO. 11 AND NO. 42 TO BRONCOS
The Dolphins give up significant draft capital to move up six spots. But for them, for the opportunity to land the player who may end up the best quarterback in the class, it's worth it.
6. Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Bills would like to move up to this spot -- would the Broncos grab Rosen at No. 11? -- but they can't get the Colts to bite. They have a Hall of Fame guard on their hands here in Nelson and GM Chris Ballard won't pass him up.
7. Buccaneers: Derwin James, DB, Florida State
Tampa Bay could use a significant influx of talent to bolster its secondary, and James just might be the most well-rounded defensive playmaker in this draft.
8. Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Looking for a cover man? The Bears already have Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara on the roster, but it never hurts to have another good corner. Would be smart for Chicago, or any team, to load up here.
9. Bills (via Niners): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
BILLS TRADE NO. 12 AND NO. 56 TO NINERS
NINERS TRADE NO. 9 TO BILLS
The Bills are desperate for a quarterback to build around, and Rosen has all the tools to be that player. How will he impact Sean McDermott's cultural revolution in Buffalo? We'll find out.
10. Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
If Jon Gruden really wants to mold his team as he might've 20 years ago, then grabbing Edmunds -- whose size makes him look like an old-school linebacker, but whose athleticism makes him a rare specimen -- feels like the play.
11. Broncos (via Dolphins): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Broncos really need an offensive tackle and pass-rush help, but they can't look past Smith. One of the most talented players in the draft, Smith has the power to make any team briefly forget about its draft needs.
12. Niners (via Bills): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
By trading down, the Niners picked up an extra second-round pick, and they were still able to add one of the top defensive backs in the draft. Not a bad haul for what is still a relatively green head coach and GM combo.
13. Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Washington finally finds the nose tackle it has been looking for since it began running a 3-4 defense since 2010. As far as space-eaters go, Vita (who is surprisingly agile) is the best in the class.
14. Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Packers could draft a receiver here to try to appease their seemingly-disgruntled quarterback, but there isn't one in this class who would be worth a top-15 pick. Jackson's length and ball skills are too rare to let slip past this point.
15. Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Cards GM Steve Keim seemed to hint recently that he wouldn't trade up for a quarterback. Well, he didn't have to. Jackson's explosiveness and his ability to make accurate throws over the middle will quickly make him one of the most exciting players in the league.
16. Ravens: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Quarterback? Receiver? Some kind of offensive help here? Nope. Landry is a special talent. Too special to pass up. He gives the Ravens an intriguing blend of flexibility and athleticism off the edge.
17. Chargers: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine, Hurst said recently that he's known about the condition for years. If he checks out medically, he'd be an immediate upgrade for a run defense in need.
18. Seahawks: James Daniels, C, Iowa
Arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the draft, Russell Wilson should be able to one-two step all over the backfield upon Daniels' arrival.
19. Cowboys: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Ridley is considered to be this draft's best route-runner and a "plug-and-play starter," according to NFL.com. The Cowboys could use one of those at this position.
20. Lions: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Matt Patricia. Bob Quinn. Patriots ties. Another prototypical Patriot off the board. Hubbard's height, weight, his ability to change direction (6.84-second three-cone), and his ability to play multiple positions should make him a Day 1 contributor in Patricia's 4-3.
21. Bengals: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
Cincinnati just traded for Cordy Glenn so they leave tackle Mike McGlinchey on the board. (The Bills will have to thank them later.) Wynn will likely make the move from tackle to guard in the NFL, where the Bengals will be able to plug him into the interior of their offensive line and put Andy Dalton at ease.
22. Bills: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Senior Bowl director Phil Savage told Quick Slants the Podcast that McGlinchey might be the lone NFL-ready tackle in this year's class. That's good for Buffalo, because it all of a sudden has a franchise quarterback who needs protecting.
23. Patriots: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Patriots weren't one of the teams Vander Esch was able to remember off the top of his head when he was rattling off to Pro Football Talk the pre-draft visits he's made. But Matt Patricia's Lions were, and Vander Esch sure seems like someone Bill Belichick would be intrigued by. At 6-4, 256 pounds with 34-inch arms, Vander Esch has all the size he needs to play at the next level, and his frame looks like it could fill out even more. He tested very well (4.65-second 40, 39.5-inch vertical, 10-4 broad jump, 6.88 three-cone) and looks like an ascending player. In his one year as an every-down player, he produced as one of the best linebackers in the country, and his instincts served him well in both the run and passing games. He's not the most powerful player at the point of attack, but with more experience and coaching, he could be New England's next all-purpose second-level defender.
2018 Draft Reel: Leighton Vander Esch, LB Boise State
24. Panthers: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
The Panthers could go with a receiver here, but instead they opt to invest at corner. They need one after Bashaud Breeland failed his physical and Daryl Worley was traded to Philly.
25. Titans: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Mike Vrabel may see a little of himself in Vander Esch, but with Boise State's finest off the board, he'll settle for one of the most physically impressive edge players in the class. Good length, good athleticism, good motor . . . Davenport has the tools to be an impact player. He just needs to learn how to use them.
26. Falcons: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
Bryan's explosive first would give Atlanta a potential big-time interior rusher to play alongside Grady Jarrett. Will his first-step quickness work at the next level? Atlanta better hope so.
27. Saints: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Kenny Vaccaro started 12 games for the Saints last season. He's still a free agent. Reid isn't exactly the same kind of player, but he could man the slot effectively for New Orleans. Reid is an NFL athlete (4.4-second 40, 6.65 three-cone) and at 6-1, 204 he has the ability to play deep or in the box.
28. Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
This is almost a two-for-one for Pittsburgh. They get the inside linebacker help they need in Evans, who is an athletic heat-seeking missile from off the line. But they also get a potential pass-rushing presence on third downs. The former outside 'backer can do both. He has a knack for getting into the backfield, either through the A-gaps or off the edge.
29. Jaguars: Connor Williams, OL, Texas
The Jaguars just made Andrew Norwell the highest-paid guard in the league, but they still need another. Williams was a tackle for the Longhorns but may not have the length to hold up on the outside. No matter. If he can start Day 1 on the interior, he'll be worth the first-round choice.
30. Vikings: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
After making the investment the Vikings did at quarterback, it's time to make sure that investment is protected. In Hernandez, Minnesota gets someone who can maul in the run game and handle himself well enough in the passing game.
31. Browns (via Patriots): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Another first-round trade here. The Patriots look at the board and see an opportunity to move down, get the player they want, and pick up a 2018 fourth-round pick -- something they didn't have headed into the draft. With their eyes on either Oklahoma State's quarterback Mason Rudolph or Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, the Patriots feel confident they'll have a chance to land one at No. 35 given who picks between now and then. The Browns, meanwhile, get an uber-talented and aggressive corner to replace Jason McCourty. Win-win.
32. Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
At No. 32 the reigning champs snag a power runner, who can handle workhorse responsibilities. Most other years, without a generational talent at the top of the class at this position, Guice would be the best of the bunch.
33. Browns: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
Cleveland wisely passed on Barkley in the first round to get one of the draft's best defensive players. In the second, they grab the best back available in what is an extremely talented class at that position. Jones should help take some pressure off Allen and provide him with a safety valve out of the backfield.
34. Giants: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
The Patriots would love to have their choice of either Rudolph or Lauletta at No. 35, but the Giants make the choice easy for them. Passing on a quarterback in the first, Gettleman lands who some believe is a first-round talent at the top of the second.
35. Patriots (via Browns): Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
Months ago, this would've seemed like a reach. And maybe some would still argue that it is. But the Patriots need a quarterback. The trade of Jimmy Garoppolo has backed them into somewhat of a corner, forcing them to get aggressive if they think a passer in this range has the potential to be a dependable starter. Lauletta is just that. One of the most accurate quarterbacks in the draft with experience in a variety of offenses -- including pro-style systems -- Lauletta has the mind to succeed at the next level. He was the MVP of the Senior Bowl, quickly taking to the sliver of Bill O'Brien's offense he was given, and shredding higher-level competition. Lauletta also tested well at the combine and showed on tape that he can make plays on the move. He's not Jimmy Garoppolo, but he might be the closest thing to Garoppolo in this draft class.
2018 Draft Reel: Kyle Lauletta, QB Richmond
36. Colts: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Colts need help on the line of scrimmage. Both sides of the ball. And they need it quickly. Payne's strength in the trenches should give them a quick upgrade on the interior of their defensive front.
37. Colts: Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia
After going with a big-time talent on the offensive line in the first round, GM Chris Ballard doubles-up on defensive front-seven help here. Carter can play on the edge, but he's athletic enough to play off the ball as a run-and-chase linebacker. The only question will be if Indy can manage to keep his motor running to the point where Carter maximizes his athletic gifts.
38. Buccaneers: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
After suffering a devastating knee injury in 2015, Chubb returned to action the following year and wasn't quite himself. Last season, though? He was a stud. He'll be a more than capable complement to Jameis Winston in this offense.
39. Bears: Brian O'Neill, OT, Pitt
O'Neill is far from a finished product. But he has the traits to someday be a franchise left tackle and protect Mitch Trubisky's blind side.
40. Broncos: Carlton Davis, DB, Auburn
Davis has all the tools to be a big, physical corner. He just has to take all those tools and figure out how to use them properly.
41. Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Donald Penn is getting up there in age, and the Raiders will need a plan to keep Derek Carr upright. Miller can be that guy if he's given the year to refine his game. He's an athletic specimen.
42. Broncos (via Dolphins): Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
If John Elway isn't thrilled with what he's gotten from Shane Ray off the edge, Turay offers an exciting blend of pass-rushing traits that could blossom opposite Von Miller.
43. Patriots: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
The consensus on this draft class of receivers, according to multiple NFL evaluators, is that it is not a good one. Ridley is probably the only first-round prospect, and even that may be a stretch. But to land Moore at this stage of the draft could be viewed as a coup for Belichick and Nick Caserio. He's not the most polished route-runner of the class, and he doesn't have a ton of experience running a variety of patterns, but Moore is an explosive inside-outside threat who is a monster after the catch. He also has some punt-return experience. Because of his size, toughness and big-play ability, Moore has drawn some comparisons to former Panthers and Ravens wideout Steve Smith. Moore meets all the athletic traits that the Patriots have looked for in their top-end receiver draft picks in the past (they've never drafted a first-rounder at that position under Belichick) with a 4.42-second 40, a 39.5-inch vertical and a 4.07-second short-shuttle, and the team reportedly had him in for a pre-draft visit. They've shown real interest in some of the top receivers in this year's draft crop with Julian Edelman
2018 Draft Reel: D.J. Moore, WR Maryland
44. Redskins: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
The fastest man in the draft and one of the quickest, Jackson's size (5-11, 175) won't help him as a force player against the run, but he'll be able to run with all types of receivers. Inside, outside . . . won't matter. Redskins could use some help in the secondary.
45. Packers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
There are worse ways to attack a draft than to seek out productive defenders from Nick Saban's program. Harrison is too talented and the Packers are too deficient in the secondary to pass on him here.
46. Bengals: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Bengals could use some size and speed at the second level and Jefferson possesses both. He may not be the most polished of linebackers on the board, but his physical traits could get him drafted relatively early on Day 2.
47. Cardinals: DJ Chark, WR, LSU
By bringing in Chark -- who has the frame (6-3, 200 pounds) and athletic ability (4.34 40, 40-inch vertical) to turn into a true No. 1 -- the Cardinals would be importing a player who can play alongside Larry Fitzgerald now and perhaps replace him down the line.
48. Chargers: Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
He's not the fastest defensive back in the draft, but Bates might be one of the quickest. His three-cone (6.78), short shuttle (4.26 seconds) and long shuttle (11.34) proved he's one of the best change-of-direction safeties in the class. Combine those skills with his ability to process on his feet, and he seems ready to contribute in Year 1.
49. Colts: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
What better way to help out your banged-up quarterback than with a big-bodied (6-3, 218) and surprisingly agile (6.57-second three-cone) receiver?
50. Cowboys: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Opinions vary on Goedert, who in some circles is considered the top tight end in the class. In others he's viewed as a 6-5, 255-pound man child who simply dominated lower-level competition. Dallas needs its Jason Witten replacement, and Goedert could be just that.
51. Lions: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Mini-tight end run here . . . and suddenly the Vikings offense looks even more loaded. Hurst is a good complement to Kyle Rudolph, and receivers Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs should continue to thrive with Kirk Cousins behind center.
52. Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Ravens could've used a pass-catcher (or a quarterback) in the first round, but they went with defense. Kirk is a solid option here to provide Joe Flacco -- or the next quarterback in Baltimore -- with a reliable weapon underneath.
53. Bills: Billy Price, C, Ohio State
What an offensive overhaul for Buffalo in this draft. Price suffered a pec injury on the bench press at this year's combine, but he's one of the top interior linemen in the class, and he makes his way to a team that could use all the help it can get protecting its new franchise quarterback.
54. Chiefs: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Chiefs sent one starting corner away and picked up another this offseason. They still need some help. Oliver is an ascending player who can press on the outside. His blend of size (6-1, 190) and speed (4.5-second 40) make him an exciting prospect, even if it may take him some time to find his footing at the next level.
55. Panthers: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
Good size (6-1, 205). Good speed (4.5-second 40). Good route-runner. Good production in college. Just . . . good. Not great. But good enough for Cam Newton to trust right away as a dependable option.
56. Bills: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Offense, offense, offense. Can you blame the Bills, given their passing game last season? Washington was a ridiculously-productive down-the-field option for the Cowboys and would serve as a nice complement alongside Zay Jones, last year's top pick who is more of an intermediate option.
57. Titans: Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC
The Titans added a base end in the first round. In the second, they add a tremendous athlete who could play a variety of roles (something head coach Vrabel did during his playing days) in Tennessee's front.
58. Falcons: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Gesicki isn't going to be moving people in the running game, but he can flat out move. The 6-5, 247-pounder lit up the combine in just about every event. The good news for Gesicki is that none of the top-end tight ends in this class are real impact players in the run game so he could be the first taken based on his athleticism alone.
59. 49ers: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Miller can play both inside and out, and his route-running ability should make him an immediate contributor. The Niners take him here in the hopes that he'll develop with Jimmy Garoppolo and provide him with a long-term go-to option in the passing game.
60. Steelers: Sony Michel, Georgia
Michel can serve as a between-the-tackles runner, he can catch it, and he's experienced in pass-protection. He'll give the Steelers an all-around option to turn to whenever Le'Veon Bell's contract becomes such an issue that the Steelers decide to move on.
61. Jaguars: Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
Josh Allen is getting all the attention for having the biggest arm in this draft class, but don't sleep on White. At 6-4, 225 he has a cannon that should get someone to call his name on Day 2 of the draft.
62. Vikings: MJ Stewart, CB, North Carolina
The Vikings defense was the best in football last season, but there isn't a team in the league that couldn't use more help at corner. Stewart is the kind of physical, versatile corner that coach Mike Zimmer will love.
63. Patriots: Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
Making comparisons this time of year can be a little dangerous, but when it comes to Ejiofor, it's hard not to be reminded of Trey Flowers when Flowers was entering the draft out of Arkansas in 2015. Ejiofor checks in at 6-3, 265 pounds (Flowers was 6-2, 265 at the combine), with 35-inch arms and 10-inch hands (Flowers had 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands). NFL.com's scouting report for Flowers three years ago? "Consistent with hand placement and is technically sound." NFL.com on Ejiofor? "Possesses a mature approach as a pass rusher." Neither player fits the description as a quick-twitch player, but Flowers has had great success as an interior rusher and Ejiofor projects similarly because of his length and power. He's spent the pre-draft process recovering from shoulder surgery, but late in the second round he's worth a roll of the dice. The Patriots reportedly hosted Ejiofor on a pre-draft visit.
2018 Draft Reel: Duke Ejiofor, DE Duke
64. Browns: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
This 6-5 receiver has all kinds of athleticism, and if he'd had better quarterback play last year he might've been considered a first-rounder. With Allen throwing the passes in 2018 and beyond, the Browns should welcome big targets who can help mask some of their new quarterback's accuracy issues.