This is the conclusion of my first-ever first round mock draft. The other two portions can be found here here and here . Remember, this mock didn’t have any trades, so a few guys, namely quarterbacks, fell a little more than they are likely to in real life. Here goes:
21. Cincinnati-Mike McGlinchey: The Bengals offensive line is in better shape now than when we saw it last, but it still needs to be the focus of this draft for Cincinnati. McGlinchey is a plug and play tackle that would line up on the right side for the Bengals. There is still a need at center, but adding McGlinchey is a real nice step in the right direction to correcting Cincinnati’s biggest problem area from a year ago.
22. Buffalo-Rashaan Evans: In this mock, as stated above, there are no trades, so the Bills were pigeon holed into the 12th pick (where they pretty much lucked into Josh Allen) and this 22nd pick. There are a lot of directions Buffalo could go, especially after securing their quarterback of the future. The second level of the Bills defense is currently very much in disarray. Evans might need some time to develop as a coverage player, but he has all the ability in the world to do so and could also help the Bills ailing pass-rush in the meantime.
23.New England-Harold Landry: There is much speculation that New England will package their picks to move up for one of this year’s top quarterback prospects. The more likely scenario to me is that they develop someone at that position in the second round range while bolstering the rest of their roster. If McGlinchey were still available, he would be the pick, but rarely do the Patriots get a shot at a potential difference maker off the edge. If they get the version of Landry from two years ago, this pick will pay off huge.
24. Carolina-DJ Moore: The Panthers are another contending team that could go a lot of different directions. Landry would have been of interest to groom behind Julius Peppers, but Carolina is content to add Moore with this selection. Cam Newton could certainly use another reliable receiving option and Moore has a few similarities to Steve Smith. The Panthers would love Moore’s toughness and versatility.
25, Tennessee- Da’Ron Payne: The Titans don’t really have glaring needs. They would love to add a pass-rusher of the future, but that player really isn’t on the board right now. To be honest, there isn’t a real natural fit for this pick the way this mock has gone down. Therefore, when in doubt, add defensive line help. Getting a big man on defense with Payne’s talent this late in the first round isn’t such a terrible consolation prize for Tennessee.
26 .Atlanta-Isaiah Wynn: As the Patriots did, Atlanta keeps it local in adding Wynn. This pick is likely to be a lineman on either side of the ball, but the biggest hole in the Falcons starting lineup is currently at guard. Wynn should be plug and play and could make that weakness a strength in no time at all. Another quiet need and dark horse for this pick could be a wide receiver.
27.New Orleans-Dallas Goedert: A pass-rusher would be ideal for New Orleans here, but that doesn’t present good value in this draft. Adding a tight end to this offense would be superb though, especially bringing in a young guy like Goedert to learn from Ben Watson, an ideal mentor. It could be argued that Mike Gesicki or even Hayden Hurst are superior tight end prospects to Goedert, but I prefer Goedert and think he would be an excellent fit in this offense. However, trading down here would make a ton of sense as well.
28.Pittsburgh-Leighton Vander Esch: You would think that ideally, Pittsburgh has Evans or Vander Esch fall to them at 28. There are also a few safeties to start considering in this range that would be to the Steelers liking. Vander Esch is a different type of linebacker than Ryan Shazier, but adding him would still be an excellent step in the right direction to make up for Shazier’s gigantic loss.
29.Jacksonville-Lamar Jackson: If Jackson actually falls to 29, which is unlikely when trades are factored in, the Jaguars should sprint to the podium to secure his services. Sure, the Jaguars had a very successful year and advanced deep into the playoffs with Blake Bortles, but the tape doesn’t treat Bortles favorably. I am a huge Jackson supporter and think he deserves to get drafted far higher than this, but that is the way it fell in this mock. Jackson to Jacksonville? Absolutely!
30.Minnesota-Will Hernandez: This is an excellent example of need meeting availability. The Vikings starting lineup is nearly complete and this is a roster with very few areas of concern. But adding a power guard like Hernandez is exactly what this team needs.
31. New England-Jaire Alexander: Mason Rudolph could come into play near the very end of round one for New England, but in this instance they add another talented playmaker to the defense to pair with Landry. The Patriots play a lot of man coverage and don’t give their cornerbacks all that much help usually, so this isn’t a position that they can afford to ignore. Alexander fits perfectly.
32. Philadelphia-Kolton Miller: If the Vikings do not have the NFL’s most complete roster, that honor goes to Philadelphia. Maybe the Eagles would be tempted to snatch a running back like Derrius Guice or Sony Michel to pair with Jay Ajayi, but offensive tackles don’t grow on trees. And while this pick might not matter for 2018 as the Eagles try to repeat, finding a long term answer at offensive tackle at the very end of round one is just good business.