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Mock Drafts

Norris' Mock Draft: Top 20

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

You will see surprises in this mock draft. Embrace them. It is why some love draft weekend, so get used to seeing them in mocks. The goal of this exercise is to generate a discussion, either about a certain prospect’s fit with a team or the likelihood a team selects a certain position.


Obvious needs are fairly apparent, but expiring contracts or declining big-name players with large cap figures are often areas teams target to reload at positions. The latter is not discussed enough.


You might see a lack of cornerbacks and offensive tackles early in this draft. Conversely, edge rushers and wide receivers will frequently show up. For tackles, it remains to be seen if the NFL still considers them “safe” picks. Recent history has shown otherwise. The EDGE group is stacked, and I expect the first-round to fittingly unfold thanks to some tremendous athletes at the position.


As more teams are eliminated from the playoffs, they will be added to this mock. Maybe once a week? Feel free to leave your commentary in the comments below. Let us break groupthink together.


1. Tampa Bay Bucs - QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon: The clear and correct choice. Mariota will receive the “system quarterback” comment from many, but it does not apply. He consistently shows comfort in the pocket to evade pressure with his eyes up and does work to multiple receivers in a progression. His receivers are frequently open, but that is something we must accept at the college level. Mariota will remain my No. 1 overall prospect throughout the process.


2. Tennessee Titans  - QB Jameis Winston, FSU: I cannot comment on Winston’s off the field questions. It is the same stance I take with every other prospect. NFL teams will have FAR more information than you or I could find online, so they will be able to factor it into their decision. On the field, Winston already handles what are traditionally called “pro-style” concepts and displays anticipation as a passer. For more on Winston’s specific passing struggles, read Cian Fahey’s piece. Underneath coverage is a consistent issue.


3. Jacksonville Jaguars - EDGE Randy Gregory, Nebraska: You will not find a bigger supporter of interior disruption vs edge pressure than here, but I consider Gregory the top defensive front prospect in this class. We know about his tremendous straight-line and lateral athleticism, however, Gregory has added hand use and counter moves and has length to use to his advantage. His get-off can be suspect, but place Gregory in a rotation that gives him breaks and he can be an outstanding edge rusher.


4. Oakland Raiders - DL Leonard Williams, USC: Pairing Williams with Khalil Mack should get everyone excited. Both have true versatility, meaning they can line up from a variety of alignments and win. Williams uses his strength and length to win in singular matchups both from the 3 and 5 techniques and we have seen him split double teams. Like Gregory, his get-off can be suspect due to his reactive style (likely coached). Williams can play in multiple fronts and was productive despite being injured.


5. Washington Redskins - S Landon Collins, Alabama: The top four picks (depending on how the info on Winston pans out) seem to separate themselves from the pack. This is where things get interesting. Collins has shined at multiple safety spots, including in single high looks. He is aggressive, assertive and reads his keys to attack early. Hopefully we will have an All-22 piece on Collins, but here is the first from Cian Fahey.

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As more teams are eliminated from the playoffs, they will be added to this mock. Maybe once a week? Feel free to leave your commentary in the comments below. Let us break groupthink together.


6. New York Jets - WR Amari Cooper, Alabama: I do not think Cooper should be selected this early, but I do believe teams will. Cooper creates separation on the ground thanks to acceleration and sustaining speed in his breaks. I know the Jets paid a lot for Eric Decker and traded for Percy Harvin (will he be on the roster), but adding Cooper would finally give them a viable receiver group.


7. Chicago Bears - EDGE Shane Ray, Missouri: Ray is another prospect I expect the NFL to like more than I do. I know the Bears invested money in Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, but can you go into next season relying on two edge rushers coming off (serious?) injuries… I would not. And if they do return, utilizing a rotation could help all three.


8. Atlanta Falcons - EDGE Eli Harold, UVA: Harold is another name you will be hearing about soon, likely around the Combine. However, he might be this year’s "don’t count it twice" poster boy in terms of his workout numbers. Harold’s evaluation is already based on the athleticism and frame that continuously shows up. The Falcons added strength up front last offseason, but they need speed and pass rush potential.

9. New York Giants - EDGE Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky: I was not a fan of how the Wildcats used Dupree this season. He seemed to be in a bit over his head in terms of multiple responsibilities form multiple alignments. He is at his best as an edge rusher. The Giants can move on from Kiwanuka (if they want) as well as look ahead at JPP’s future contract. Rotating young edge rushers in Damontre Moore and potentially Dupree on rookie deals is enticing.


10. St. Louis Rams - WR Kevin White, West Virginia: The Rams roster is very interesting when projecting possible positions to target. Teams have won with worse WRs than they currently have, but Kevin White is a developing talent who can win on the ground, in contested situations and with the ball in his hands. I would not be surprised to see him as the No. 1 receiver on some boards.


11. Minnesota Vikings - T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: Stanley has ranked as the No. 1 tackle for weeks. I know the Vikings need more talent at receiver, but giving Bridgewater time to look at his options (which he is willing to do thanks to patience and mobility in the pocket) is even more necessary. Stanley as left and right tackle experience. If he does not declare, La’El Collins and Brandon Scherff are options.


12. Cleveland Browns - WR DeVante Parker, Louisville: I could see Parker’s draft process going one of two ways. One, teams sour a bit due to him deferring the Senior Bowl after he missed a large portion of the season. Or two, he emerges as a top 20 pick after making good on his reported athleticism at the Combine. Parker can win at the catch point and does his best work in the “big” receiver game. The Browns did not select a receiver in last year’s loaded class. Is Josh Gordon back next season?


13. New Orleans Saints - EDGE Dante Fowler, Florida: I am a huge fan of Fowler’s game. However, I am unsure how he will test. Regardless, few edge rushers are as technical as Fowler in terms of hand use, length and counter moves. He was able to attack offenses from multiple gaps this season and he has one of the best motors at the position.


14. Miami Dolphins - OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa: Last year I liked Zack Martin at guard more than tackle, but expected a team to draft him in “tackle territory.” Protecting the interior of the pocket is just as important, if not more, than drafting edge protectors. I think Scherff can succeed at either spot thanks to his functional strength and athleticism for his size. He will have a couple of terrible plays per game, but the full product is very good. In this case, Scherff would likely play inside (maybe a Scherff, Pouncey back at center, Billy Turner G/C/G combo).


15. San Francisco 49ers - WR Devin Funchess, Michigan: Funchess has his issues and his play seemed to mirror Michigan’s losses. Still, his game is very similar to Kelvin Benjamin’s and I expect Funchess to be used in the same capacity (vertical target). He might not be as good as KB in contested situations, but he offers more YAC ability.


16. Houston Texans - LB Shaq Thompson, Washington: With Clowney suffering a major injury that takes some time to recover from, adding another edge rusher is not out of the equation. Outside of Brian Cushing at off-LOS LB, I do not see much talent. Thompson can cover a lot of ground and is an aggressive tackler. Offensive linemen are equally, if not more, scared of quick linebackers who swiftly knife around blocks than power backers who stand up and embrace contact.

17. San Diego Chargers - OL La’El Collins, LSU: It is fitting that Collins could go to a team who also has King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker on the roster. As with those two, Collins has a few poor plays each game but the total package is worth the investment. Collins is extremely strong and wins with thanks to that power even if he gets off balance. Like Scherff, he is another who some teams will likely project at guard and tackle. Philip Rivers is one of the best pocket managers in football.


18. Kansas City Chiefs - LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA: A few weeks ago I highlighted Kendricks as the top prospect not receiving enough attention. He is incredibly good, not only against the run but also displays comfort in coverage. Outside of an aging and injured Derrick Johnson, the Chiefs do not have much at off-LOS LB. Imagine Kendricks running free behind Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey…


19. Cleveland Browns (via BUF) - RB Todd Gurley, Georgia: I know the Browns started playing Isaiah Crowell, a personal favorite, more often. And I know they spent a third round pick on Terrance West. But there were times when the coaching staff did not seem pleased with either. I do not believe you allow a UDFA and third-round pick prevent you from selecting a talent like Gurley. Especially when you consider his potential success behind Cleveland’s offensive line.


20. Philadelphia Eagles - LB Paul Dawson, TCU: Now that Kendricks is receiving more attention, Dawson is next on the list. I know Demeco Ryans is a leader but the Eagles can save $6.9 million by cutting him. Dawson displays speed and comfort in coverage and attacks ball carriers near the line of scrimmage rather than waiting on them. I guess Marcus Smith was moved back to an edge rushing role at the end of the season...

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .