NFL coaching staffs and front offices spent the last week in a whirlwind of interviews, test scores and medicals, and began building out their draft boards in earnest in Indianapolis. So with that in mind, here's our latest mock draft, with another one coming after free agency dies down -- and, most importantly, we know where Kirk Cousins winds up.
1. Cleveland Browns
JJ: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Josh Allen left the NFL Combine with plenty of buzz (and not just because of DraftJoshAllen.com), but Darnold still seems like the top quarterback in this class for now.
Moon: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The far-and-away top rusher in this draft lit up the Scouting Combine, and the cluster of QB prospects, none as high-rated as Barkley, still give the Browns options at No. 4.
2. New York Giants
JJ: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Even with Eli Manning in the twilight of his career, and with a number of highly regarded quarterbacks on the board, the Giants go with a guy who looks like the best player in this draft. Is a running back at No. 2 too high? This is how general manager Dave Gettleman responded to that question last week: “The bottom line is, is the guy a football player? This whole myth of devaluing running backs, I find it kind of comical. At the end of the day, if he’s a great player, he’s a great player.”
Moon: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Drills and interviews will strike teams differently but with Barkley gone and Eli’s time running out, Rosen rates as best of this year’s QB clump. Sam Darnold has been prominent but USC QB’s have a very suspect history (for every Carson Palmer, there are Matt Barkley, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez and even Todd Marinovich). Rosen could be the last ‘SC guy to plummet on draft day. Of course, UCLA did produce Cade McNown, but Troy Aikman was also a Bruin.
3. Indianapolis Colts
JJ: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
The Colts’ woeful pass rush generated only 25 sacks last year, and Chubb is the best defensive player in this class and the only clear-cut elite pass rusher available. With Barkley off the board at No. 2, this is a layup for Chris Ballard.
Moon: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Defense is such a priority for the Colts and its new coaching staff. Frank Reich likely can work Andrew Luck into something and a franchise pass rusher raises everything on that side of the football.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston)
JJ: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
With Allen, Rosen and Baker Mayfield still on my board here, and Barkley off it, the Browns very well could trade down here. But in the event they don’t, Fitzpatrick would be a strong pick with the ability to play either safety or cornerback at an elite level.
Moon: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Measurables may not be ideal (6-foot-1) but they weren’t for Russell Wilson either. Mayfield made all the throws and has the benefit of coming from a big-time program.
5. Denver Broncos
JJ: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Broncos wouldn’t necessarily have to play Allen right away, which seems like a good situation for a guy with off-the-charts talent but some accuracy issues at Wyoming. Don't be surprised if Denver goes quarterback if there's a healthy debate between Allen and Mayfield, given the Broncos' coaching staff had the benefit of coaching both during the Senior Bowl.
Moon: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Denver needs a QB hit and evaluations will determine which one. If the Broncos land Kirk Cousins, they’ll try to trade out of here but John Elway needs to hit on a QB somewhere.
6. New York Jets
JJ: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
With some feelings around Indianapolis last week that Kirk Cousins could sign with the Minnesota Vikings, even if it means taking less money than the Jets could offer him, New York goes with a quarterback here. Quite a few teams came away impressed with Mayfield at the Combine, as was the case at the Senior Bowl. He could be a media star in New York if he were to lead the Jets to be competitive in the AFC East.
Moon: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
QB a more pressing need but this is the top DB in the draft. Jets have been in the Kirk Cousins Derby, too, which could ultimately scramble the top 10 by the time teams are on the clock.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
JJ: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Tampa Bay’s rushing attack was brutal last year, averaging a paltry 3.7 yards per carry (27th in the NFL). Nelson is an absolute mauler, and is one of the best offensive line prospects to come out of college in recent memory. That he’s a guard shouldn’t matter much here.
Moon: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward was a backfield mate of Marshon Lattimore and consistently solid. Bucs haven’t gone DL at No. 1 in five years and want to remain elite up front but Ward projects as day-one starter.
8. Chicago Bears
JJ: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is a freak athlete who only turns 20 a few days after the NFL Draft. While he only had 5 1/2 sacks last year with Virginia Tech, he said last week he’s confident he could succeed at outside linebacker, which would certainly help fill a glaring need for a Bears team that needs at least one more reliable edge rusher. “I don't limit myself so I can perfect my craft at whatever position it is,” Edmunds said. “Whatever position they ask me to play, I'll be fine."
Moon: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
If there’s a trade-down scenario for Nelson, Bears would seriously consider. But the need after releasing Pernell McPhee is for rush-LB and those are too rare and too expensive in free agency. Edmunds has length for 3-4 OLB or possible ILB when Bears go nickel. Decision will be between Edmunds, with length, and Roquan Smith, with better production (6.5 sacks, 14 TFL in ’17).
9. San Francisco 49ers
JJ: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Ridley is the most polished route-runner in this draft class and would be a good fit for Jimmy Garoppolo and that hype-fueled 49ers offense. He’s probably not worth the No. 8 pick for the Bears, unless they whiff on all their top receiver targets, but if they were to trade down and he was available at, say, No. 11, that may make more sense.
Moon: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Assuming Bears don’t grab Smith, he is a hedge against Ruben Foster injury and deepening character issues. Calvin Ridley may be too good to pass up as complement to QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
10. Oakland Raiders
JJ: Vita Vea, DT Washington
Vea did approximately 500 bench press reps and ran a ridiculous 40-yard dash for a man of his 347-pound size. He could be an interior force for years to come for whatever team drafts him.
Moon: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Ridley would fit Raiders’ tradition for impact passing offense if he lasts this long, and Raiders very likely to go offense to muscle up for Jon Gruden’s program and support Derek Carr. But Gruden’s Oakland and Tampa Bay teams were stout on defense.
JJ's picks Nos. 11-32:
11. Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OL, Texas
13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
14. Green Bay Packers: Mike McGlinchey, OL, Notre Dame
15. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
16. Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
18. Seattle Seahawks: Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
21. Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
22. Buffalo Bills: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
23. Los Angeles Rams: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
24. Carolina Panthers: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
25. Tennessee Titans: Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC
26. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
27. New Orleans Saints: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OL, UCLA
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia