Here it is – the inaugural Paddy Power NFL mock draft. Before we start; a couple of disclaimers:
* No trades will occur in these mock drafts – each team will select in accordance with their current slot.
* In the case of the 49ers/Raiders coin toss, we’ve tossed majestically in Power Tower – and we can confirm that San Francisco have won the right to select ninth overall.
Without further ado..
#1 Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold (USC)
Without doubt, they’ll make a balls of it. Expect them to pick the worse quarterback of the two possibilities here. In this scenario, they do. Darnold has a high ceiling, but he’s incredibly raw and throws more picks than the guitarists in Iron Maiden.
#2 New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
I’m hearing far too much about the Giants moving on from Eli Manning. The firing of Ben McAdoo is a confidence boost for the younger Manning sibling – and they’ll take the best player in this class to enhance their Super Bowl credentials.
#3 Indianapolis Colts: DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)
He’s no Joey Bosa, but he’s the best pass rusher in this draft – one of the Indianapolis’ biggest needs. It’s a weak positional group.
#4 Cleveland Browns: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
It is very, very hard to mess up the first overall pick. It’s even harder to mess up having two picks in the first four. Thankfully for Cleveland, they hit a home run here with the best defensive back in the draft.
#5 Denver Broncos: QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)
They’ll miss out on Kirk Cousins in free agency to NYJ and have to take a signal-caller here. Luckily for John Elway, he’s the best one since Andrew Luck.
#6 New York Jets: OG Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
How do you ensure you get the most out of Kirk Cousins? You protect him. Quenton Nelson is the best offensive lineman I’ve ever seen at collegiate level.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
Metrics nerds are triggered all over the United States – at just 5ft10, he’s a lot shorter than most defensive coordinators would like. However, he’s extremely talented.
#8 Chicago Bears: WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama)
Some idiots are going to jump at the alleged best wideout in a bad receiver class. He’s not the best one. It’s an awful receiver class. Well done, Chicago.
#9 San Francisco 49ers: LB Roquan Smith (Alabama)
It looked like the Niners were set at linebacker until Reuben Foster started acting the boyo. Now, they’ll have to rethink – bagging a jackhammer of a tackler in the process.
#10 Oakland Raiders: CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)
Cory James as your starting corner? No thank you.
#11 Miami Dolphins: DE Marcus Davenport (UT-San Antonio)
They refrain from pulling the trigger on Baker Mayfield by convincing themselves that Ryan Tannehill is the answer. I don’t want to know what the question is.
#12 Cincinnati Bengals: LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)
The reason everyone’s so high on this kid, is because he’s exactly that – a kid. At only nineteen, it’s unsure whether or not he’ll have the maturity to embrace NFL environments. Naturally talented, but there are question marks.
#13 Washington Redskins: DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
The best pick at this point of the draft. They can go in any direction here, but Smith has enough to work with – and they can go after any of the plethora of talented runners in the later rounds.
#14 Green Bay Packers: S Derwin James (Florida State)
Finally – FINALLY – the Packers get a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball.
#15 Arizona Cardinals: LT Connor Williams (Texas)
Really good technique with his feet and has enough flexibility to deal with rush moves on the outside.
#16 Baltimore Ravens: WR Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)
It feels like Baltimore’s receivers are cursed, but they’ll go back in here for another one. Luckily for them, this pint-sized phenomenon is the second coming of Antonio Brown.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers: DT Vita Vea (Washington)
With Brandon Mebane pushing on and Corey Liuget underperforming, they need an interior push to benefit the Ingram/Bosa tangent on the outside.
#18 Seattle Seahawks: OT Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
So many would prefer Orlando Brown here, but Seattle need athletic lineman, and there are mountains that move faster than the Oklahoma behemoth.
#19 Dallas Cowboys: DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
With Demarcus Lawrence, they have a cornerstone in the trenches. Now they need some stodge. Payne fits the bill.
#20 Detroit Lions: CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
Honestly, the biggest steal in the draft to this point. He’s the most talented cornerback in this group by some distance.
#21 Buffalo Bills: QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
An absolute blockbuster. The new era in Buffalo has begun.
#22 Buffalo Bills: DE Arden Key (LSU)
There was talk last year that Key could go as the first overall pick. The Bills roll the dice on a player with a huge ceiling.
#23 Los Angeles Rams: OT Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)
There are buildings smaller than Orlando Brown. A long-term replacement for Andrew Whitworth.
#24 Carolina Panthers: DE Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)
He plays alongside Nick Bosa. That must stand for something? Surely? Surely?
#25 Tennessee Titans: CB Mike Hughes (UCF)
The Titans probably played far better than their roster gave them a right to last year – so they’ve a lot of holes to fill, with a low draft pick to do it. They improve the secondary with a solid pick-up.
#26 Atlanta Falcons: C Billy Price (Ohio State)
A leader and a brilliant pick, Price is the ultimate master communicator pre-snap and he’ll work wonders for Matt Ryan in pass protection.
#27 New Orleans Saints: LB Rashaan Evans (Alabama)
Unrefined, unheralded and underwhelming – the Saints miss a trick by taking Evans this early. He has a lot of work to do and makes Manti Te’o look like Ray Lewis.
#28 Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Harold Landry (Boston College)
This is a good pick and for once, it’s a best player available pick. Landry aggressive and will fit right into the culture of Pittsburgh.
#29 Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Josh Allen (Wyoming)
One of the biggest stories of the opening night – the slide of Josh Allen. He finally finds himself at a team that’s in win-now mode.
#30 Minnesota Vikings: OT Kolton Miller (UCLA)
A bit of a reach for a positional need, but the Vikings are a bit of protection away from a Super Bowl. Who exactly they’re protecting, is another story.
#31 New England Patriots: DT Harrison Phillips (Stanford)
A high-IQ defensive tackle from Stanford, Phillips will an instant starter on a team that will build around him.
#32 Philadelphia Eagles: CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado)
Maybe the most impressive athlete in this cornerback class, Oliver stands at six-foot-one and plays even taller.