Mock Draft 2.0: Predicting all 32 picks — a new one for Bears — after combine
My colleague Patrick Finley did a commendable job with the Chicago Sun-Times’ first mock draft last week. But the NFL Scouting Combine changed things. There is simply more information to digest, when it comes to free agency and the draft.
Here is the Sun-Times’ mock draft 2.0 after several days in Indianapolis, but also knowing that free agency will change everything soon:
1. Browns – Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB
A running back hasn’t been drafted first overall since Bengals bust Ki-Jana Carter, another Penn State product, was taken in 1995. Since then, 14 quarterbacks have been selected first overall. I think Browns general manager John Dorsey seriously is open to trading the pick. But he’s also open to Barkley, who cemented his top-five status with an outstanding showing at the combine. If the Browns like Barkley, this is spot for him. He might not last past the Giants at No. 2.
2. Giants – Sam Darnold, USC QB
With Barkley gone, the Giants spring for an heir apparent for Eli Manning. Darnold didn’t throw at the combine, but a good pro day could make up for that.
3. Colts – Bradley Chubb, N.C. State DE/OLB
General manager Chris Ballard didn’t provide encouraging news about quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder) at the combine, but it would be a major surprise if they made a move at quarterback. Chubb is the draft’s best pass rusher.
4. Browns (from Texans) – Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma QB
All of the quarterbacks have questions for teams to answer, but Mayfield’s competitiveness and fire surely will win over some. Mayfield and Barkley could be the duo that finally rescues the Browns’ sinking ship.
5. Broncos – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB
The Broncos will consider quarterbacks, but free agency comes first. They’ll target Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum. They’ll land one of them … and then draft a difference-maker in Round 1.
6. Jets – Josh Rosen, UCLA QB
Not only is Rosen a polished prospect, but his personality also seems perfect for Broadway. His willingness to share his opinion should fill up the tabloids for years.
7. Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame OG
The Bears miss out on the best guard in the draft by a pick.
8. Bears – Josh Jackson, Iowa CB
Re-signing Kyle Fuller is a priority for the Bears, but cornerback should still be addressed in the draft. Jackson has top-notch ball skills and the size (6-1, 192 pounds) that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prefers. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds at the combine, silencing some concerns about his speed. Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, who ran the 40 in 4.32 seconds, should strongly be considered, too.
The Bears have been linked to Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, but they can target a receiver in the second round. Day 2 of the draft is considered a good day for receivers. The Bears also are expected to aggressively pursue receivers in free agency, too.
One name to watch, though, is Virginia Tech linebacker/edge rusher Tremaine Edmunds. He’s only 19 and possesses the high-level athleticism that GM Ryan Pace has shown to covet in the first round.
9. 49ers – Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB
The 49ers and Bears have more to compare and contrast after the 49ers take Ward.
10. Raiders — Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech LB
Edmunds makes sense for a defense that needs help.
11. Dolphins — Josh Allen, Wyoming QB
Coach Adam Gase publicly stood by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is returning from a knee injury, at the combine. But there are some doubts that Gase will come the draft.
12. Bengals – Connor Williams, Texas OT
The Bengals needs to solidify their offensive line and Williams should help with that.
13. Redskins –Roquan Smith, Georgia LB
The Redskins had the NFL’s worst run defense last year.
14. Packers – Vita Vea, Washington DT
A massive 6-4, 347-pound brute, Vea ended the combine with a hamstring injury, but he still was impressive. He completed 41 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and ran the 40 in 5.10 seconds. The Packers defense’ needs an influx of talent. Vea could prove to be a steal at this point.
15. Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB
The Cardinals surely will try to move up for a quarterback. Hello, Bears? If the Cardinals can’t, they might have to settle for Jackson, who is widely considered the fifth-best QB in the draft.
16. Ravens – Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame OT
The Ravens have been one of the NFL’s best drafting teams under GM Ozzie Newsome, but this is his last year in control before retirement. He needs to rebuild an offense. McGlinchey could form a solid tandem with left tackle Ronnie Stanley, a 2016 first-round pick who also is from Notre Dame.
17. Chargers – Derwin James, Florida State S
Williams improves a young and talented secondary. But when will the Chargers start planning for life without quarterback Philip Rivers?
18. Seahawks – Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio DE
The Seahawks’ once-vaunted defense is undergoing some major changes. They’re reportedly trying to trade defensive end Michael Bennett.
19. Cowboys – Da’Ron Payne, Alabama DT
Payne is the next in the never-ending line of high-round defensive tackles from Alabama.
20. Lions – Harold Landry, Boston College edge rusher
Landry played for new Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, the former Bears defensive line coach, in college.
21. Bills – Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s days in Buffalo certainly seem numbered. Again. Bills GM Brandon Beane said at that combine that they were looking at QBs, but it might take packaging their back-to-back first-round picks in some form to get one. Hello, Bears?
22. Bills (from Chiefs) – Arden Key, LSU edge rusher
Sean McDermott is a defensive-minded head coach who needs a pass rusher.
23. Rams – Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT
The Rams addressed a major need by agreeing to a trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters. But their defense still needs help. Hurst was sent home from the combine after a heart condition was discovered, but here’s to positive thinking.
24. Panthers – Mike Hughes, Central Florida CB
The Panthers need an influx of youth on defense, particularly on the back end.
25. Titans – Will Hernandez, Texas-El Paso G
New coach Mike Vrabel, a former Patriots linebacker, should know the importance of protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Hernandez stood out at the Senior Bowl and then completed 37 repetitions of 225 pounds at the combine.
26. Falcons – Taven Bryan, Florida DT
The Falcons need help up front on both sides of the ball.
27. Saints – Mike Gesicki, Penn State TE
At some point, the Saints must find a successor for quarterback Drew Brees. But for the time being, it’s still best to build around him. Gesicki’s numbers were off the charts at the combine.
28. Steelers – Rashaan Evans, Alabama LB
The Steelers’ defense has a major hole to fill after linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a terrifying spinal injury last season.
29. Jaguars – Dallas Goedert, South Dakota St. TE
It’s time to find a replacement for Marcedes Lewis.
30. Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, Georgia OL
The bet here is that the Vikings sign quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency. They better protect him.
31. Patriots – Sam Hubbard, Ohio State edge rusher
The Patriots need a pass rusher. Just re-watch the Super Bowl to see why.
32. Eagles – Sony Michel, Georgia RB
The addition of Michel would make the Eagles’ already explosive offense even better.