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Mock Drafts

Thor's Mock Draft: April 28

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Editor's note: Thor Nystrom is a resident blurber for Rotoworld's NFL Draft section, as well as covering baseball news for the site. As you can tell, trades were not allowed in this mock. Starting next week, site writers will have updating mocks leading up to May 8's event.


1. Houston TexansJadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. Through Houston’s own volition or a trade, Clowney is destined for top billing. He’s a generational talent.

 

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins) – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. This pick once seemed assured of being traded, but GM Les Snead has watched in dismay as the league has panned the QB class, killing his leverage. Perhaps stuck in this spot, he tabs the draft’s most talented offensive lineman.

 

3. Jacksonville JaguarsKhalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. Don’t discount the possibility of Houston making this selection, with the Jaguars having jumped to No. 1. Jacksonville covets Clowney, while Mack is a better fit for Houston’s 3-4 scheme. If the Jaguars stay put, I think they keep Mack for themselves and grab a QB in Round 2.

 

4. Cleveland BrownsSammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. With their choice of all QB prospects or the last of this class’ four “can’t-miss” super prospects, Cleveland jumps on the latter. With the Nos. 26 and 36 picks, there is absolutely zero reason to bypass a Hall of Fame talent for the incremental grade jump from, say, Derek Carr to Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel.

 

5. Oakland RaidersMike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. The Raiders desperately need receiver help, but this pick might be made by the 49ers. Rumors have it that San Francisco will dip into their war chest of top 100 picks to leap up for a star WR.

 

6. Atlanta FalconsJake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. Atlanta explored the possibility of trading up for Clowney, but it’s likely that they balked at a bounty-esque asking price. Instead, they stand pat and ensure Matt Ryan doesn’t spend as much time staring up bleary eyed into Georgia Dome luminescence next season.

 

7. Tampa Bay BuccaneersJohnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. With popular mock pick Mike Evans off the board, the Bucs have a choice: Swing for the fences on Manziel’s Fran Tarkenton upside, or reach for a WR like Odell Beckham. Reports have them enamored with Johnny Football.

 

8. Minnesota VikingsBlake Bortles, QB, UCF. Anthony Barr and Aaron Donald will be discussed, and Peter King reported that the club won’t take a QB here, but I’m banking on Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner not being content with their futures in Matt Cassell’s shaky grip.

 

9. Buffalo BillsC.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama. Perfect schematic fit if the team decides to bypass needs at OT (Taylor Lewan) and TE (Eric Ebron). Kiko Alonso is shifting to weakside linebacker, and Mosley would pair with him to give Buffalo a downright scary unit.

 

10. Detroit LionsTaylor Lewan, OT, Michigan. After months of speculation that they’d make a move up to grab a flashy Megatron complement in Watkins or Evans, Detroit stays put, stays local, and goes (big) ugly.

 

11. Tennessee TitansJustin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. Industry sentiment is moving towards the Titans taking a corner in this slot, and this scenario presents the top-rated CB in a close call over TE Eric Ebron.

 

12. New York GiantsEric Ebron, TE, UNC. With all three elite OTs off the board, and the most gifted TE still around, this card gets to the podium quickly.

 

13. St. Louis RamsHa Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. Odell Beckham’s speed and agility would set the Edward Jones Dome turf aflame, but a safety need and the allure of the class’ best prospect at the position prove too much to ignore. Plus, St. Louis is particularly pragmatic, and you can bet that they understand this year’s WR class is far, far deeper than the S class; immediate wideout help will be readily available in Round 2.

 

14. Chicago BearsAaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh. A no-brainer pick. Chicago reps jump over beleaguered old men and run across tables to get the card in lickity split if Donald is still available.

 

15. Pittsburgh SteelersOdell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU. With 4.3 speed and joystick agility in a 5-foot-11 1/4 and 198-pound frame, Beckham is an ideal fit for Ben Roethlisberger’s play-extending, field-stretching style. Ike Taylor says the Steelers will take a CB, but we’ll see what happens if Beckham drops to No. 15.

 

16. Dallas Cowboys Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA. Dallas bypasses the ability to patch its interior hole with Ra’Shede Hageman or Timmy Jernigan by taking a neat DeMarcus Ware replacement. Barr is a boom-or-bust proposition in need of a great teacher to smooth over the unrefined technique of a former RB; Dallas DL coach Rob Marinelli fits the bill, and reportedly told Barr he sees him as a DE.

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17. Baltimore RavensZack Martin, OT, Notre Dame. In need of a right tackle, Baltimore finds a potential future Pro Bowler in the mid-first.

 

18. New York JetsBrandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. The Jets are going to take a WR or a CB here, and I think they side with Cooks over Darqueze Dennard. The Beavers’ star has the athleticism of Tavon Austin in a bigger package, and would nicely complement Eric Decker.

 

19. Miami DolphinsDarqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. The Dolphins need all sorts of offensive line help and highly covet both Martin and Lewan. I had them taking Virgina’s Morgan Moses until the Miami Herald reported that they hadn’t given him a first-round grade (Tennessee’s Jawuan James reportedly got one, but I don’t think the Fins are crazy enough to take him here). Instead, they tab Dennard, great value on the best corner in the class in the humble estimation of this scribe.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. The NFL cracks me up: Analysts implore the public not to overreact to combine numbers and pro day workouts, and then they turn around and deem Teddy B radioactive because he inexplicably had the worst exhibition they’d ever seen. Bridgewater, who doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t panic, buys extra time, is the most accurate QB in this class, and has enough arm strength to make all the throws, would be a steal here. Arizona would provide a soft landing spot, and he wouldn’t even have to change team colors or names.

 

21. Green Bay PackersCalvin Pryor, S, Louisville. Ryan Shazier intrigues the Packers as an upgrade over Brad Jones at ILB, but safety is a need of desperation. Green Bay could find a decent backup LB option on Day 2, while the quality safeties in this class dry up quickly.

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles -- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State. I’d rather have Marqise Lee or Cody Latimer, personally, but Chip Kelly’s stated interest in adding a big WR inform this pick. Benjamin is that at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, but his concentration lapses scare me.

 

23. Kansas City ChiefsMarqise Lee, WR, USC. The Chiefs will go WR, and they’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Indiana’s Latimer, another wideout fit for the West Coast offense, is also in play here.

 

24. Cincinnati BengalsKyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech. Bengals fans long ago sniffed out this potential marriage, and you can see why. Fuller is far more consistent than local product Bradley Roby, he comes with less baggage, and he’s proven to be an ace cover man both from the slot and on the perimeter.

 

25. San Diego ChargersBradley Roby, CB, Ohio State. San Diego could also use offensive and defensive line help, but their CBs were atrocious last year and they simply can’t contend for a title in a pass-happy league when chunks of yardage are available at Peyton Manning’s whim. Roby is a bit of a knucklehead, but corners with his ability usually aren’t available at No. 25 and you have to respect his tangibly elevated play after Jared Abbrederis publicly humiliated him in September.

 

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts) – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State. After passing on a QB at No. 4, the Browns get their man here. And I will question it: Sure, it’s all well and good that Carr’s right shoulder is equipped with a mortar capable of cutting through the harsh Cleveland wind, but did you know that more than one-fifth of his passes last year were screens? Tim DeRuyter is no fool: Carr retreats from pressure, throws off his back foot, and makes mistakes under duress—do those sound like traits associated with a guy that will maximize elite arm strength in the pros?

 

27. New Orleans SaintsRyan Shazier, LB, Ohio State. The Saints will have intriguing options here to fill holes at WR (Latimer?), CB (TCU’s Jason Verrett?), or C (Weston Richburg in a surprise?), but Shazier also fits a need and is simply too gifted to pass up at this point.

 

28. Carolina PanthersMorgan Moses, OT, Virginia. Carolina reportedly likes the versatility and toughness of Nevada’s Joel Bitonio, and Riverboat Ron’s crew might swing for the fences on Cyrus Kouandjio’s Pro Bowl LT upside, but Moses combines Bitonio’s productivity with Kouandjio’s potential and doesn’t have the durability concerns to go with it. Will Carolina trust that OL coach John Matsko can fix Kouandjio’s wavering technique? Or do they tab Moses, a mountainous force who performed best in college against elite edge rushers like Vic Beasley, Jeremiah Attaochu and Kyle Van Noy?

 

29. New England Patriots -- Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota. New England could use a high-upside DL to rotate with the aging duo of Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly and then help replace them. In this scenario, they’d have their pick of three: Hageman, or Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt or Louis Nix. With the right coach, Hageman, accustomed to playing in the frigid cold, could be special.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana. If San Francisco doesn’t trade up to get either Sammie Watkins or Mike Evans, Latimer would make for a good consolation prize at No. 30. Latimer’s stock continues to ascend, so it’s no certainty that he’ll be here.

 

31. Denver BroncosJason Verrett, CB, TCU. Denver’s secondary has far too many question marks (Will Aqib Talib stay healthy? Will Chris Harris be the same coming off a torn ACL?) to let an ace prospect like Verrett drop any further. Verrett’s diminutive stature, at least initially, might render him to slot duties, but he could be one of the league’s best in that capacity right out of the gate.

 

32. Seattle SeahawksStephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame. What do you get for the team with everything? They could stop the freefall of Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan, or they could strengthen the interior OL (Xavier Su'a-Filo), or find Breno Giacomini's replacement (Kouandjio or Bitonio), but ultimately I think they talk themselves into the idea that Tuitt’s down 2013 campaign was due to injuries and he’s still the star-in-the-making that jumps off 2012 tape.

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is Rotoworld’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!