This is second-half of the mock draft that was published last night. To check out part one click here.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
The Chargers have a great defensive front, spearheaded by ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and a solid secondary. However, they do not have a single linebacker of note on the roster. With Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds already off the board, Rashaan Evans is next in line. Evans slid into the middle linebacker spot that was vacated when Reuben Foster departed for the NFL, and there was no drop-off. He may not be the flashiest player jaw-dropping measurable, but he will get the job done every Sunday.
18. Seattle Seahawks: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Seattle could go a few directions with this pick. They could bolster the offensive line to protect Russell Wilson, they could trade down since they won’t pick again until the 120th pick, or they could draft a lockdown cornerback to replace Richard Sherman. The pick for me is a corner and Denzel Ward. Ward is the best corner in the draft and falls into the Seahawks lap at 18. The trend of success of DBs coming out of Ohio St. will continue with Ward.
19. Dallas Cowboys: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are slot receivers and Terrence Williams is best served as a number 2 or 3 receiver. The Cowboys are in desperate need of a #1 receiver that fits Dak Prescott, and drafting a true #1 past round 1 is highly unlikely. Enter D.J. Moore. Moore is an unbelievable athlete who can stretch the field for Dallas, forcing safeties to stay deep and not load the box against Ezekiel Elliot. He can also be utilized no sweeps and screens, something Dez Bryant could not do.
20. Detroit Lions: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
The Lions ranked dead last in rushing yards per game at 76.2. That is dreadful. Play-action passes are pointless for this offense because they cannot run the ball. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are not starting RBs in the NFL. Derrius Guice is. Guice can take pressure off of Matt Stafford by churning out 3-4 yards on first down and he is a capable receiver out of the backfield. For all the issues on defense, having a serviceable running game would allow the offense to eat up more clock and give the defense more rest.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: G Will Hernandez, UTEP
The Bengals acquired OT Cordy Glenn for the price of swapping picks for Buffalo. This helps offset the lose of Andrew Whitworth, but guard Kevin Zeitler still needs to be replaced. Will Hernandez is a hulking guard from UTEP who will open enormous holes for Mixon to run through, as well as protect Andy Dalton.
22. Buffalo Bills: C/G Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
The Bengals drafted a player to pair with Cordy Glenn, the Bills need to draft a player to replace him. However the Bills also lost a guard and a center in the offseason, so they can kill two birds with one stone by drafting Frank Ragnow. He is the best center in the draft but is capable of playing either guard as well.
23. New England Patriots: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville.
New England needs to replace OT Nate Solder, but I have them doing that with their other first-round pick. They need another CB to play opposite Stephon Gilmore especially after the performance of the secondary during the Super Bowl. There are a couple of corners still available but the pick here is Jaire Alexander out of Louisville. He is a big, physical CB who has a knack for finding the ball.
24. Carolina Panthers: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
The Panthers do not have a #1 receiver. They had hopes that Kelvin Benjamin could be, but he was never really healthy and had way too many drops, so they shipped him to Buffalo. Courtland Sutton is another big receiver like Benjamin, except he is much more than just a big red-zone threat. Sutton ran a 4.54 40 yd dash and can go across the middle and make catches in traffic. He could take the Panthers’ offense to the next level.
25. Tennessee Titans: DE Harold Landry, Boston College
Mike Vrabel is a defensive coach, so it would make the most sense if he drafted a defensive player. Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are getting old. Harold Landry might be the best true pass-rusher in the draft, he just doesn’t have the athleticism that teams picking higher covet. The Titans will be happy for him to fall into their laps.
26. Atlanta Falcons: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
This is the one pick that most experts are convinced will happen. Its crazy how universal this pick is. Taven Bryan only started one year at Florida, but he showed enough potential to warrant being picked late in the first round.
27. New Orleans Saints: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Drew Brees loves to throw to his tight end. Unfortunately, his tight end has been the unreliable Coby Fleenor. Hayden Hurst is a great athlete and also happens to be the best tight end in the draft. Former tight end Jimmy Graham was a great pass-catcher. Hurst is a great pass-catcher, but also a fantastic run-blocker, which is a critical skill to possess in this new-look running offense.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Teams are very high on Vander Esch so he might not last this far, but in my iteration of the NFL Draft I have him landing with the Steelers. He would slide directly into the position that was patrolled by Ryan Shazier before his horrific injury. Vander Esch might be better suited playing outside linebacker, but he is capable of playing inside, and the Steelers would not be able to pass on him if he were to fall.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: G/OT Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
There defense is insane, so they do not need help on that side of the ball. They should look to the offensive line and look to upgrade at the guard position. Isaiah Wynn out of Georgia was a tackle in college, but he is not tall enough to be a tackle in the pros and is better suited to be a guard. By transitioning to guard, he will be able to translate his skills from playing tackle inside, and be one of the best guards in this class.
30. Minnesota Vikings: CB Mike Hughes, UCF
The Vikings will need to address the offensive line at some point in the draft, but their secondary was ripped apart by the Eagles. They need a young corner to eventually replace the ageless wonder, Terrence Newman. Mike Hughes is a tremendous athlete out of UCF who could develop into a shutdown corner. Thats tantalizing for a team picking as late as the Vikings.
31. New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
With their second first-round pick, the Patriots draft their replacement for Nate Solder by drafting a Nate Solder clone. UCLA OT Kolton Miller has really long arms like Solder, and has great athleticism, just like Solder. Miller is much more adept at pass-blocking than run-blocking, which is prefect because Brady throws the ball 35-50 times pre game.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Sony Michel, Georgia
The Eagles have the luxury of drafting any position they want because they do not have any glaring weaknesses. Sony Michel would be interesting for them because he is a physical runner who also has great hands coming out of the backfield. So instead of using a committee of running backs with Clement and Blount, they can use one running back in Michel.
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