2018 NFL Draft: Packers upgrade secondary in two-round mock draft

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield /
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1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Sam Darnold could easily be the pick here, but in the end I think John Dorsey will tap Josh Allen to be his franchise quarterback.

I believe some of the moves the Browns made this offseason tend to point to Allen being the pick.

First of all they brought in a bridge quarterback with Tyrod Taylor, should they not be able to fix Allen’s accuracy issues by the time the regular season rolls around.

They also brought in a experienced offensive coordinator in Todd Haley who has experience dealing with big quarterbacks with strong arms which he did in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger.

John Dorsey loves gunslingers and they get one here. He’ll either be a Pro Bowler in the mold of Roethlisberger, or he’ll be Jake Locker and out of the league in a few years.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

I would go with Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen here but the GIants will look to extend the Eli Manning era a little bit longer and give him a generational talent with Saquon Barkley and go the safe route.

The NFL is a copycat league, and it may seem unlikely that the Giants would pass on a premier quarterback prospect like Darnold, but I think the Giants will look at the success teams have had drafting running backs in the top 10 in recent history and make Barkley their pick.

3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

If the top two picks play out the way I think they will, the Jets will relish the opportunity to draft Sam Darnold.

Darnold brings the same upside the Jets could get with Josh Allen, but I think his floor is a lot higher than Allen’s.

Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles both have the potential to be on the hot seat if the Jets miss the playoffs again this year. As a result they will also be more inclined to take a pro ready quarterback like Darnold over Baker Mayfield.

4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, N.C. State

Miami, Buffalo, or Arizona could trade up at this spot, but I don’t like projecting trades. If the Browns stay put it would make sense to add a difference maker on defense like Bradley Chubb opposite Myles Garrett.

If the Browns were to stay put at four and pick Chubb, it would remind me of when Houston added Jadeveon Clowney opposite J.J. Watt.

Drafting Chubb would make a ton of sense for Cleveland if they want to catch up to Pittsburgh, as they will need more than just Garrett to get to Ben Roethlisberger on a regular basis.

5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

John Elway and the Broncos could be a little weary of drafting a quarterback in the first round after the Paxton Lynch debacle, but I don’t think they believe Case Keenum is their long-term answer.

If this were another front office I would be less likely to mock a quarterback here as most GMs don’t get to draft multiple quarterbacks in the first round, but Elway is one of the least-likely GMs to be fired due to the fact that he is the best athlete in Denver sports history and has basically won the city three Super Bowls (two as a player, one as a GM).

Baker Mayfield is one of the most polarizing players in this year’s draft and it would serve him well to end up in a bit smaller market compared to New York or Miami.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

This pick is one of the most fascinating in this year’s draft, as the Colts could go in multiple directions since they lack elite level players on their team besides Andrew Luck (if healthy), T.Y. Hilton and Adam Vinatieri.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Indy traded down, but since I am not doing trades in this mock I will assume they are staying put.

I am leaning towards the pick being Denzel Ward. Bradley Chubb will likely be off the board by six, but if he is somehow there I think Indy would sprint to the podium to take him.

Quenton Nelson is a wrecking ball but is still a guard and Indy would likely prefer to add a difference maker at a more valuable position like cornerback.

That is where Ward comes in.

He is excellent in man coverage and has shown he can excel in the slot. This pick wouldn’t fix the Colts’ secondary, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Bucs could go in a lot of directions with this pick. If the first six picks play out this way, the Bucs would likely be inclined to go with either Quenton Nelson, Derwin James, or trade down.

I think all three of these options would make sense for them, but I think they would go with James over Nelson due to his versatility and position value.

8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The Bears have a lot of needs on their roster, and drafting a defensive player like Minkah FItzpatrick or Tremaine Edmunds here would make a ton of sense. But Quenton Nelson has ties to the Bears’ new offensive line coach, Henry Hiestand, who was his offensive line coach at Notre Dame.

The Bears chose to let Josh Sitton walk this offseason, and they need to find another guard to pair with Kyle Long. Nelson would immediately fill the void, and is in my opinion a future Pro Bowler.

It may seem odd to see a guard go in the top 10 but it’s happened before. Most recently it happened in 2015 with Brandon Scherff, but Nelson is an even better prospect than Scheff.