NFL Mock Draft: Recent trades may create shakeup

By Rob Rang,
NFL Mock Draft: Recent trades may create shakeup
USC quarterback Sam Darnold is tackled from behind during last season's Rose Bowl against Penn State. Photo by Juan Ocampo/UPI | License Photo

Bold trades by the San Francisco 49ers (QB Jimmy Garoppolo), Philadelphia Eagles (RB Jay Ajayi), Seattle Seahawks (OT Duane Brown) and Buffalo Bills (WR Kelvin Benjamin) just before the deadline are the talk of the NFL, with each club hoping that their new addition will translate into immediate wins.

For most of the teams in the league, however, adding significant talent to the roster won't occur until the offseason with free agency and the NFL Draft. But what is the fun in waiting until then -- especially when the top talent in college football is becoming clearer by the day?


Don't like the projected selection order? Don't blame The order listed below is based off of the current Super Bowl odds from Bovada Sports Book in Las Vegas.

*denotes underclassmen

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--1. CLEVELAND BROWNS: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern Cal*: The Browns' failed attempt to trade for Cincinnati Bengals' backup AJ McCarron says all you need to know about the regime's feelings on the quarterbacks already on the roster. Unless DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan or Cody Kessler (93rd overall in 2016) make significant strides in the second half, Cleveland's priority will be evaluating the top quarterbacks yet again. Darnold, just a redshirt sophomore, is by no means a flawless prospect, but he possesses the physical tools and intangibles scouts look for in a franchise quarterback.


--2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State*: The bold trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo may very well help the 49ers win enough games to earn a pick outside of the top five. If selecting here, however, pairing an explosive talent like Barkley with the new franchise quarterback would give Kyle Shanahan the offense to compete in the NFC West.

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--3. NEW YORK JETS: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA*: Though he has played well this season, at 38-years old, Josh McCown certainly is not the Jets long-term answer at quarterback. Rosen has the talent to be a star in the NFL, not to mention the personality New Yorkers could love.

--4. INDIANPOLIS COLTS: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State: New general manager Chris Ballard did a nice job in his first draft but this defense still lacks speed in the front seven. Chubb is the most pro-ready edge rusher in this class, demonstrating the combination of initial quickness, strength, and technique to be the difference-maker Indianapolis is currently lacking.

--5. NEW YORK GIANTS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama*: The Giants found a star in former Alabama standout Landon Collins and could go back to the well with Fitzpatrick, an instinctive, physical defender capable of helping New York neutralize some of the big-play receivers in the NFC East.


--6. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama*: The Cardinals are hopeful that the light will suddenly turn on for 2015 first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche, but it has not yet. Stopping the run is a top priority in the NFC West and the powerful Payne can certainly provide that.

--7. CHICAGO BEARS: Connor Williams, OT, Texas*: The brave trade up for Mitchell Trubisky last season only works if the Bears are just as aggressive in filling the club's other shortcomings, including at left tackle where Charles Leno remains overmatched against the top edge rushers. Williams has missed time this season with a knee injury but the junior has flashed top 10 talent -- and legitimate left tackle ability -- when healthy.

--8. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson*: It is hard to fathom that a defensive line as individually talented as Tampa Bay's could possibly be dead last in the NFL with just seven combined sacks in as many games this season. Wilkins has the initial quickness and tenacity to be a perfect complement to star Gerald McCoy on the inside.

--9. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama*: Perhaps as he gains more familiarity with Jay Cutler now heaving passes, 2015 first-round pick DeVante Parker finally lives up to his billing in his third season. If not, adding a polished receiver with game-breaking speed like Ridley could be Miami's plan to make this offense more dynamic.


--10. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame*: As long as the relatively cement-footed Philip Rivers remains at quarterback, adding beef up front will be an annual priority. A massive mauler in the mold of his Notre Dame predecessor, Nick Martin (now a Pro Bowler in Dallas), Nelson is one of the rare interior linemen athletic enough to warrant early first-round consideration.

--11. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Derwin James, SS, Florida State*: James was a bit rusty to start the season after missing much of last year with a knee injury but his range and knack for creating big plays would fit perfectly on a defense looking to make up for the loss of 2016 second-round pick Su'a Cravens.

--12. BALTIMORE RAVENS: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M*: Despite multiple draft picks and free agents invested in help, the Ravens' receiving corps remains essentially a black hole for production with Baltimore ranking last in passing (152.9 yards per game) through the first two months of the season. Kirk is a dynamic athlete and a proven playmaker as a receiver and returner.

--13. DENVER BRONCOS: Marcus Allen, FS, Penn State: Given that his name is the same as a longtime star running back for the Raiders, Broncos fans may not like this choice on principle. The Broncos have been hurting up the middle since the release of T.J. Ward, however, and Allen possesses the range and reliable open-field tackling to convert critics.


--14. CINCINNATI BENGALS: Vita Vea, DT, Washington*: Few teams reload along the line of scrimmage as consistently as the Bengals, and Vea possesses undeniable ability to plug rushing lanes -- always an issue in the rough and tumble AFC North.

--15. CLEVELAND BROWNS (from HOUSTON TEXANS): Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist*: Unless veteran journeyman Kenny Britt picks things up considerably, the Browns could be forced to look to the draft for the long-term replacement for Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor as the club's featured split end. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Sutton has the size and playmaking ability Hue Jackson prioritizes.

--16. OAKLAND RAIDERS: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida: The Raiders rarely use top picks on defensive tackles, but general manager Reggie McKenzie has shown a willingness to gamble on athletic upside and they simply do not come much flashier than Bryan, a highlight reel hero for the Gators originally out of Wyoming.

--17. BUFFALO BILLS: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford*: The Bills have a sizable hole inside now that Marcell Dareus has been shipped to Jacksonville. At 6-3, 290 pounds, Phillips is not nearly as big as Dareus but he plays with the instincts, technique and motor that head coach Sean McDermott will appreciate.


--18. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming*: The Blake Bortles experiment has not worked as hoped, leaving Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars likely to roll the dice on a new young passer this spring. Allen is undeniably raw as a passer but he possesses the natural tools to develop in the downfield, play-action offense Doug Marrone is attempting to build in Jacksonville.

--19. TENNESSEE TITANS: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn: The selection of Adoree' Jackson in the first round last year certainly added to Tennessee's big-play ability but the Titans remain one of the leakier secondaries in the NFL, allowing 231 passing yards per game and 27.3 points over the first two months of the season. Davis, longer and more physical than Jackson, might be the perfect addition.

--20. DETROIT LIONS: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma*: The Lions are attempting a career resurrection with former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson at left tackle but the results have been inconsistent, at best, especially in the running game, where Detroit has an NFL-worst two total rushing touchdowns thus far in 2017. The massive Sooner -- the son of late former Baltimore and Cleveland standout Orlando "Zeus" Brown -- has the balance and experience in a pass-heavy scheme that Robinson lacks.


--21. GREEN BAY PACKERS: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State: The broken collarbone suffered by Aaron Rodgers could push the Packers much lower on the draft board, presenting all sorts of intriguing prospects to add to a roster seemingly built for another Super Bowl run. Picking in the top 20 (or near it) could put Green Bay in rare position to add a dynamic edge threat like Sweat to complement its current edge rushers.

--22. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson*: The Saints have consistently gambled on upside with their first-round picks, and this selection of the 6-foot-5, 265-pound redshirt sophomore, Ferrell, would be no different. Overshadowed, at times, at Clemson, Ferrell led the club in QB pressures in his first full season of action and may be just scratching the surface of his potential.

--23. CAROLINA PANTHERS: Arden Key, OLB/DE, LSU: Give the Panthers credit, few expected a career rejuvenation from 37-year-old Julius Peppers, who already has more sacks this season (7.5) than he had all year in 2016 for Green Bay. Adding youth and juice behind him should be a priority, however, and at this point in the draft, Key's upside is too exciting to ignore.


--24. DALLAS COWBOYS: Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan: Injuries and suspensions have robbed the Cowboys of some of their more talented defensive linemen, leaving coach Rod Marinelli little to work with. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Hurst may lack ideal size but his quickness, tenacity and versatility suggest NFL success.

--25. LOS ANGELES RAMS: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State: With top cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman each in the final year of their contracts, the Rams may need to take a look at the future. McFadden possesses the athleticism, size and playmaking ability to contribute immediately.

--26. ATLANTA FALCONS: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College: After leading the NFL in sacks last season, Vic Beasley has fallen on hard times, registering just three sacks over the first two months. Like Beasley, Landry lacks an ideal frame but his burst and bend off the edge make him a potential difference-maker against the pass.

--27. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: As long as Mike Zimmer is coaching the team, size and physicality will be a premium for future Vikings. McGlinchey lacks the athleticism to wow scouts during pre-draft workouts but an old school coach like Zimmer will appreciate McGlinchey's size (6-foot-7, 312 pounds), toughness and consistency.


--28. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU*: Protecting quarterback Russell Wilson got easier with the trade for Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown but the lack of a consistent running game remains a problem. Guice has the build, power and burst to be a bell-cow back in the NFL.

--29. BUFFALO BILLS (from KANSAS CITY CHIEFS): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville*: Adding a talent like Kelvin Benjamin will surely help, but the Bills may not be finished addressing a poor passing attack. Jackson plays a similar style incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor, relying upon his legs as much as his arm or eyes. He is younger, cheaper and has a higher upside, however, characteristics the Bills may consider with two first-round picks this season due to last year's trade with Kansas City.

--30. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Billy Price, OG, Ohio State: Protecting Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell is priority No. 1 in Pittsburgh. Price, a returning All-American and fourth-year starter, could be a plug-and-play option at any of the three interior positions.

--31. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: A lot is going well so far for the Eagles, not the least of which is the development of second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. The secondary, on the other hand, remains an issue, surrendering nearly 257 yards per game (26th in the NFL) over the first two months of the season. Ward lacks the name recognition and size of his former first-round teammates Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, but he has been as close to a lockdown corner this season as anyone in college football.


--32. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State: As long as Tom Brady is taking the snaps, the defending champs deserve the projected final pick. Brady and the offense seem to be chugging away despite plenty of changes, but the defense is a different story, surrendering a non-Bill Belichick-like 324.5 yards per game, good for dead last in the NFL. Playing for the rival Seminoles, Nnadi has shown a similar burst as former Patriots' first-round pick Dominique Easley (who played for Florida) with the consistency and toughness that likely would appeal to Belichick.

--Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

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