Mock Draft Version 1.0 - Bills go offense at 21 and 22

February 06, 2018 - 5:56 pm

Derek Kramer

There is a lot of buzz for this offseason for Buffalo Bills fans, after making the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. In addition to a playoff team, the Bills also have two first round picks, at 21 and 22, in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

There is a lot of hype surrounding the quarterback class, with as many as 6 quarterbacks that could crack the first round. There is more hype amongst Bills fans, with Buffalo showing signs of moving on from current starter Tyrod Taylor and having the draft capital to move up and down the draft board as they see fit, including the possibilty of moving up to select a quarterback. 

With the first mock draft of the offseason on, there won't be any predictions of trades and the teams will remain at their spots. As the draft approaches, there will be mock drafts that include trades. That said, let's get underway! 

1. Cleveland Browns - 
QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
6'4", 218 lbs.

There is NO way that Cleveland passes up on a QB at #1 overall. Browns GM John Dorsey seems to be making it clear that they will be taking a passer here. The Browns can't afford to get cute and wait for pick 4 to select their new franchise player. It's Rosen at 1, as he's the top QB on my board.

2. New York Giants - 
QB Sam Darnold, USC
6'4", 220 lbs.

The Giants may be all in on having Eli Manning back for 2018, but that doesn't mean that the Giants will pass up on a quarterback. Add in that New York was a playoff team blasted with injuries, including All-Pro WR Odell Beckham Jr., they can afford to take a QB high to prepare for life after Eli in the Big Apple. 

3. Indianapolis Colts - 
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
6'1", 203 lbs.

There was a debate in my head between Fitzpatrick and Saquon Barkley, but the Colts need so much help on defense that Fitzpatrick makes too much sense for them to pass up on him. Fitzpatrick has elite covering skills and the Colts could use a shutdown corner to deal with the top QBs of the AFC, including Houston's Deshawn Watson. 

4. Cleveland Browns (from the Texans) - 
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
5'11", 229 lbs.

The Browns offense gets revamped in a big way, first with Rosen and now with Barkley. Cleveland's defense was fairly impressive last season, it's now time for their offense to step up. Barkley is one of the best players available in this draft, and he'd be a welcome addition to the Browns offense. Expect Cleveland to also look to deal this pick. 

5. Denver Broncos - 
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
6'0", 216 lbs.

The Broncos were a playoff team and a Super Bowl contender heading into the season, as long as the quarterbacks could play at an average level. Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch cost this team's core a season. Denver looks ready to move on from Lynch, a first round disappointment who never cracked the starting lineup.

6. New York Jets - 
DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State
6'4", 276 lbs. 

When 3 QBs go in the top 5, it's going to start hurting teams. The Jets, who played better than many assumed they would last season, would not think to reach on a QB here when the value is not there, so here they take the best player on the board in Chubb, a fierce pass rusher who some experts think is the best player of the draft class. 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 
DE Arden Key, LSU
6'6", 265 lbs. 

There is no doubt that the Bucs fell off the map this season, and a large part was due to a defense that was the worst in the NFL against the pass and last in the league in sacks with 22. While the Bucs fall one pick shy of Chubb, Key is still a top 10 player in this class, and one that would help shore up the Buccaneers woeful pass rush. 

8. Chicago Bears - 
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
6'1", 190 lbs. 

If I was in charge in Chicago, I'd move on from Kevin White. Some Buffalo fans liked to complain about the injuries of former Bill Sammy Watkins, but White has played in just FIVE games in three years due to injury since being drafted by the Bears in 2015. The Bears could at least get some help for QB Mitch Trubisky, in the event White gets injured again. 

9. San Francisco 49ers - 
WR Cortland Sutton, SMU
6'4", 216 lbs.

The 49ers have their quarterback moving forward with Jimmy Garoppolo, who played well despite the collective of receivers that San Fran carried last season. Sutton has the size and speed to be a top wideout for an NFL team and could be helpful to let Marquise Goodwin (962 yards and 8 TDs last year) bump down to the second WR or slot position. 

10. Oakland Raiders - 
LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
6'1", 225 lbs

The Raiders had a terrible defense last season, despite the talents of Khalil Mack. Oakland has a lot of issues, but getting a rangy, sideline-to-sideline pursuer like Smith can only help solidify one of the weaker front 7s in the NFL. This team could use secondary help as well, so Derwin James could be in play as well. 

11. Miami Dolphins - 
G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
6'5", 330 lbs. 

Another year, another issue with the Dolphins having a subpar offensive line. However, they could use a player that is naturally an interior lineman, instead of bumping down a tackle to play guard like they usually do. Nelson is a steadying presence for the interior and agile enough to be mobile and get to the second level with ease. 

12. Cincinnati Bengals - 
OT Connor Williams, Texas
6'6", 288 lbs. 

The Bengals have a lot of solid pieces that have not been able to put it together. One thing that never hurts is the best tackle of the draft class falling to 12, which would allow Cincy to keep the line as steady as possible before they decide on what direction to go with Andy Dalton in the coming years. 

13. Washington Redskins - 
CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa
6'1", 192 lbs.
The Redskins aggressively pursued QB Alex Smith, and in the deal to acquire him, they dealt a starting corner away. Luckily, they have a good shot at Jackson, who was an absolute ball hawk last year in Iowa with 8 interceptions. With good size and closing speed, Jackson would be able to fill in well for the spotty Washington secondary. 

14. Green Bay Packers - 
DE/OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
6'1", 240 lbs. 

The Packers defense and lack of a pass rush has not been too kind to this team. With almost no shot at Chubb or Key, Green Bay could have their sights set on the versatile Okoronkwo, who can play well as an edge rusher or dropping back at linebacker. 

15. Arizona Cardinals - 
QB Josh Allen, Wyoming 
6'5", 233 lbs. 

The Cardinals have a lot of uncertainty at the quarterback position, with both head coach Bruce Arians and QB Carson Palmer retiring. While the Cardinals could use a combination of Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert to allow Allen to ease into the job, Arizona still needs a new answer at the position. 

16. Baltimore Ravens - 
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
5'11", 218 lbs.
The Ravens don't have too many holes on their defense, it is still very good. However, their offense has been pathetic. Baltimore can't really ditch the Joe Flacco contract, but strengthening the running game with a long term solution would not be a bad idea. Alex Collins did well, but the Ravens shouldn't pass on the best player available, and they rarely do. 

17. Los Angeles Chargers - 
DT Vita Vea, Washington
6'5', 340 lbs. 

The Chargers are very talented from top to bottom and are a low key player in the quarterback conversation. However, seeing 4 quarterbacks taken early likely stops the Chargers from taking one in the first round and try for one more run with Philip Rivers. Vea is a big defensive tackle who helps plug holes in a 3-4 defense and has good pass rushing technique. 

18. Seattle Seahawks - 
FS Derwin James, Florida State
6'3", 211 lbs. 

With the speculation that safety Kam Chancellor's neck injury could end his career, the Legion of Boom could reload with James, a hard-hitting, rangy safety that simply makes plays in many situations. Even if Chancellor doesn't retire this season, he could be the perfect mentor to James. 

19. Dallas Cowboys - 
DT Da'Ron Payne
6'2", 308 lbs. 

The Cowboys are simply average on defense, but this class is very stacked at the defensive tackle position. Payne could be a fit as a 3-4 or 4-3 DT, which allows the Cowboys to put him anywhere they need to in order to help free up their talented linebackers like Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens and Jaylon Smith. 

20. Detroit Lions - 
OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
6'8", 348 lbs.
The Lions could use some offensive line help for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who's been prone to taking beatings facing the pass rush of Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews in the NFC North. Brown is a mauler in the run game as well, which the Lions desperately need to improve. 

21. Buffalo Bills - 
WR James Washington, Oklahoma State
6'0", 205 lbs. 

It's no secret that these two picks at 21 and 22 might not both be used by the Bills, more useful as ammunition to move up into the draft. However, if the Bills do stay at 21 and 22, help is still on the way offensively. Washington has that speed to take the top off of defenses that the Bills desperately need, in addition to some clean route running. As for who's throwing to him... 

22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs) - 
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville 
6'3", 211 lbs. 

Despite improving mechanics in each of the past two seasons, as well as improving his accuracy, Jackson remains a polarizing player in this draft. Jackson could use some time on the sidelines to learn, which is something the Bills could provide. In addition to a rocket arm and solid mechanics, Jackson is a dangerous runner who could dazzle any time he's out of the pocket. 

23. Los Angeles Rams - 
CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville 
5'11", 192 lbs. 

The Rams missed E.J. Gaines at points during this season after trading him to Buffalo. Alexander only played 6 games this past season, but the talent is there to help out an already solid defense. Alexander also has ability to help in the return game, where the Rams are likely to release Tavon Austin and saw Pharaoh Cooper muff several punts in their playoff game. 

24. Carolina Panthers - 
WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M 
5'11", 200 lbs. 

After building a receiver corps based mainly on size to the point of redundancy (and lost their speed element when Ted Ginn left last season for rival New Orleans), the Panthers could be gearing up to draft some speed to aid Cam Newton in the passing game. 

25. Tennessee Titans - 
DE/OLB Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
6'5", 265 lbs.

The Titans offense is fine, as long as Marcus Mariota recovers from this past season's slump. However, the defense still has some holes to be addressed, including their pass rush. Enter Hubbard, a player who maximizes his talents as an edge rusher on the outside. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan have contracts expiring next season, so this move would allow Tennessee to fill a hole. 

26. Atlanta Falcons - 
DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
6'2", 280 lbs. 

Hurst is a tenacious pass rushing defensive tackle who could further help a Falcons defense that was steady this season. Hurst would allow Atlanta to get Takkarist McKinley in more one-on-one matchups, and that would make plenty of quarterbacks tremble with his own capabilities as a pass rusher. 

27. New Orleans Saints - 
QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
6'5", 230 lbs. 

The Saints are one of the most complete teams in the entire league and lost a playoff game simply due to a bad playcall and a bad play by a promising young safety. As good as Drew Brees is, he is 39 years old and the Saints have a deep roster that could allow them to take a young QB to groom to start two years from now. 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers - 
ILB Tremaine Edwards, Virginia Tech
6'5", 250 lbs. 

With the Saints grabbing the "next in line" QB, the Steelers hold off and focus on a need that was created late last season with Ryan Shazier's injury. Shazier is just getting back to walking, which means he'll be a bit of time from even trying to return to football. Edwards is more of a thumper, where Shazier was crazy athletic. Edwards would still fill a hole in the middle of their defense. 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars - 
OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
6'3", 330 lbs.
The Jaguars don't have many holes, Blake Bortles aside. With Doug Marrone's love for smashmouth football, a powerful guard like Hernandez is a match made in football heaven for the run-heavy Jags. Jacksonville can worry about their quarterback situation next season and ride that elite defense and running game to another playoff run. 

30. Minnesota Vikings - 
OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
6'8", 310 lbs. 

With the return of Teddy Bridgewater as the Vikings starter being the most likely scenario (coach Mike Zimmer seems to love him like a son), Minnesota could use a new bookend tackle to help keep the rhythm passer upright in the pocket. The Vikings line played better this past season, but a new tackle would still be nice. 

31. New England Patriots - 
CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
5'10", 191 lbs. 

With Malcolm Butler clearly on the way out of New England and Eric Rowe better served as a nickel corner or backup safety, the Patriots could use another corner to bookend the solid play of Stephon Gilmore in the secondary. 

32. Philadelphia Eagles - 
OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
6'8", 315 lbs. 

The Eagles are still a dangerous offense, but they could use a left tackle to groom into the lineup to replace Jason Peters, who is 36, after his contract expires next season. McGlinchey could go anywhere from the middle to the end of the first round, and here the Eagles could take him and stash him for next season or play him right away if Peters doesn't recover on time. 

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