The 2018 NFL Mock Draft series breaks down draft-eligible players and projects the picks with which players will be selected. In this exercise, I take into account team need, the tendencies of each team’s decision makers, the general hype players have in the scouting/draftnik community, and the overall talent of each player. It’s important for daily fantasy players to know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge.

The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.

This is the last iteration of our Round 1 mock draft.

Ian Hartitz contributed to this piece.

 

1. Cleveland Browns: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Redshirt Junior | 6’5″ and 237 Pounds | Born May 21, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.75 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 6.9 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.4 sec | vertical: 33.5 in | broad: 119 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Secondary, Running Back

The Browns need a franchise quarterback, and they have the No. 1 pick. They’re drafting their guy.

Some draft analysts say that Allen is comparable as a non-major conference prospect to Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz. That might be true, but the available data doesn’t support that stance: Allen has great size, but not every big quarterback from a middling program becomes an NFL starter. Exhibit A: Paxton Lynch. While Allen has the body of a prototypical passer, he doesn’t have the accuracy. In his three collegiate seasons as a starter (from first to last), Roethlisberger completed 63.3, 63.3, and 69.1 percent of his passes. In his two starting seasons, Wentz had 63.7 and 62.5 percent completion rates. Allen, though, has rates of 49.0, 56.0, and 56.3 percent — and his first season was at Reedley Community College. Think about that: Allen didn’t complete even 50.0 percent of his passes at junior college.

In a special edition of the Daily Fantasy Flex, Matt Waldman said that Allen is a mannequin: He might look the part, but he’s not real. Even so, Allen looks like the type of quarterback Browns GM John Dorsey tends to like, and he has two picks in the top five. Sweet dreams, Browns fans.

Hopefully you jumped on Allen as the first quarterback off the board in early January when he was +600.

For more, see Allen’s player profile as well as the FantasyLabs quarterback rankings and my quarterback comparisons piece on Rotoworld.

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

Junior | 6’0″ and 233 Pounds | Born February 7, 1997 (Age: 21) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.40 sec | bench reps: 29 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: 4.24 sec | vertical: 41 in | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Running Back, Linebacker

The Giants need an eventual successor to quarterback Eli Manning, but — as mentioned in my piece on the draft prop motherload — a team beat writer I’ve spoken with believes that if presented with the opportunity to draft Barkley or quarterback Sam Darnold the team will select Barkley because of the immediate impact he can make. I think it’s unwise to draft a running back this high and also to pass on a potential franchise quarterback, but the Giants might believe differently. For months it has been rumored that the Giants at No. 2 are planning to pass on the quarterback position, since they reportedly believe that new head coach Pat Shurmur can help Manning return to form.

If that’s true, the Giants could look to improve their offense by taking perhaps the most talented player in this year’s class. It’s not hard to find productive running backs later in the draft, but Barkley as a prospect is no less impressive than the backs selected with top-10 picks in the past few years.

  • Leonard Fournette (2017, 1.04)
  • Christian McCaffrey (2017, 1.08)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (2016, 1.04)
  • Todd Gurley (2015, 1.10)

In fact, Barkley is more impressive than all of them: He’s a better receiver than Fournette and bigger than McCaffrey. Unlike Zeke, he produced as a freshman. Unlike Gurley, he’s not entering the NFL fresh off an ACL tear. And based on his combine performance, he’s the best athlete of the group. With his age, physical profile, and production, Barkley is the best running back prospect of the past decade.

For more, see Barkley’s player profile as well as the FantasyLabs running back rankings and my running back comparisons piece on Rotoworld.

3. New York Jets: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Redshirt Senior | 6’1″ and 215 Pounds | Born April 14, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.84 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 7.0 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.28 sec | vertical: 29 in | broad: 111 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Defensive End, Pass Catchers

Oh, baby. Mayfield over Darnold? You betcha. The Jets traded with the Colts so they could draft a quarterback, and the feverish Mayfield-to-the-Jets hype has swayed me. Just recently Mayfield appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated shirtless in all his Mark Sanchez-ian glory. He was made for the big lights of New York, New York.

Over the last decade only one quarterback under 6’2″ has been drafted with a first-round pick, and that guy turned into the dumpster fire that was Johnny Manziel. Even so, there are enough quarterback-needy teams to make Mayfield’s selection on Day 1 highly probable. If all that mattered in prospect evaluation were college production, the 2017 Heisman winner would easily be the No. 1 pick. OU’s passing attack in 2017 ranked first in both Passing S&P+ and success rate (Football Study Hall). Mayfield is the only player in the 14-year history of ESPN’s Total QBR metric with two seasons above 90.0. A four-year starter, Mayfield in his three final seasons had an absurdly elite mark of 11.9 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) — and he improved each season, posting a 6.3 AY/A as a freshman, 10.4 as a sophomore, and 12.3 and 12.9 as a junior and senior. With a 96.2 overall grade, Mayfield was Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 offensive college football player in 2017, ranking first with an 82.6 percent adjusted completion rate, 134.8 passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards, and 105.3 passer rating under pressure.

For more, see Mayfield’s player profile.

4. Buffalo Bills (Projected Trade with Browns): QB Sam Darnold, Southern California

Redshirt Sophomore | 6’3″ and 221 Pounds | Born June 5, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.85 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 6.96 | 20-yard shuttle: 4.4 sec | vertical: 26.5 in | broad: 105 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, Linebacker

It’s hard to predict trades, but the Bills are reportedly looking to move up to grab a quarterback, and the Browns are reportedly shopping their second first-rounder. In this scenario, Darnold presents fantastic value at pick No. 4, so the Bills send Nos. 12 and 22 to the Browns for the right to select the player they hope will be the heir to Jim Kelly‘s long-vacant throne.

After sitting out his first year on campus, Darnold was a star for USC in 2016, completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He regressed in 2017, completing ‘just’ 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards and 26 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. Although he dropped to 8.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) from 9.0, his 2017 mark was still solid, and a 0.5 AY/A drop isn’t all that drastic. On the whole, the USC passing offense was still a top unit last year. Per Football Study Hall, in 2016 the Trojans were fourth in Passing S&P+ (135.0) and fifth in passing success rate (51.2 percent). In 2017 they were 11th (123.9) and 10th (47.3 percent): Darnold was a little less consistent and dynamic last year than he was the year prior, but he was still good — especially for a young second-year Power Five starter. At a minimum, he has pro-level arm talent and good mobility, averaging 2.3 yards per carry (including sacks) for his career. In a quarterback class loaded with underclassmen who have declared early, Darnold is the best.

For more, see Darnold’s player profile.

5. Denver Broncos: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

Redshirt Junior | 6’5″ and 325 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: 35 | 3-cone: 7.65 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.62 sec | vertical: 26.5 in | broad: 105 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Line, Defensive Line

Even though the Broncos signed 30-year-old journeyman Case Keenum this offseason, they still need a quarterback, as Keenum is more of a stopgap than a long-term solution — but the Broncos are reportedly satisfied with their situation under center. As a result, the Broncos pivot from quarterback and select Nelson, a top-three player in the class. The first lineman off the board, he enables them to upgrade their passing and rushing attacks with one pick. It’s rare for guards to be selected so high, but many scouts reportedly consider Nelson to be a Logan Mankins-esque player. A dominant run blocker and agile pass blocker, Nelson would help solidify the offensive line, and he addresses a significant area of need.

6. Indianapolis Colts: DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

Senior | 6’4″ and 275 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.52 sec | bench reps: 29 | 3-cone: 7.09 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.25 sec | vertical: 38.5 in | broad: 128 in

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Receiver, Cornerback

Edge rusher isn’t a huge need for the Colts, but Chubb is perhaps the best player available, the team could stand to improve all over the roster, and great defenses tend to have multiple players capable of pressuring quarterbacks. Chubb has been overshadowed as a prospect thanks to all the quarterbacks at the top of this draft class. Still, there’s no doubting his credentials as a top-flight edge rusher. Chubb is every bit of his listed size, and he turned his final stint at Raleigh into a Bronko Nagurski Award, annually given to the nation’s best defender.

For more, see Chubb’s player profile.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Junior | 6’1″ and 202 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.46 sec | bench reps: 14 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 33 in | broad: 121 in

Team Needs: Cornerback, Defensive End, Running Back

Most mock drafts have Fitzpatrick as a top-eight selection, No. 1 cornerback Brent Grimes is a free agent and about to turn 35, and the team is thin in the secondary. After excelling at both slot corner and safety during each of his three seasons at Alabama, Fitzpatrick has an uncertain NFL projection, but I expect he’ll be converted to a full-time outside corner. As we’ve recently seen with Jalen RamseyMarshon Lattimore, and even Tre’Davious White — all of whom finished 2017 with top-four PFF cornerback grades — getting an elite shutdown cover man in the first round can transform a defense. Fitzpatrick played only 13 snaps on the outside in 2017 (per PFF), so his ability to transition immediately to corner is uncertain, but he’s talented enough to warrant a top-10 selection.

For more, see Fitzpatrick’s player profile.

8. Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

Junior | 6’1″ and 225 Pounds | Born May 27, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.51 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, Cornerback

The Bears find their next great inside linebacker. They don’t actively need one, but Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski will both be free agents in 2020, and Smith — the best off-ball linebacker in the draft — immediately improves the defense. Smith started as a sophomore and played well on a disappointing 8-5 Georgia squad, but nobody was prepared for his junior coming out party. Overall, he racked up 137 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks — exceptional numbers for an inside linebacker.

For more, see Smith’s player profile.

9. San Francisco 49ers: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Junior | 6’5″ and 253 Pounds | Born May 2, 1998 (Age: 19) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.54 sec | bench reps: 19 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: 117 in

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Interior Offensive Line

The 49ers have uncertainty at linebacker with Reuben Foster seemingly intent on destroying his career, and Edmunds — who is just 19 years old! — is one of the most athletic prospects in recent memory. A Butkus Award finalist as a junior, Edmunds averaged 101 tackles, 15.3 tackles for a loss, and five sacks in his two full seasons as a starter. If Foster gets his affairs in order, Edmund could partner with him to form a dynamic wrecking crew duo on defense. If Foster self-destructs, Edmunds can replace him. He has perhaps the best combination of athleticism and production in the draft.

For more, see Edmund’s player profile.

10. Oakland Raiders: CB Denzel Ward, Florida State

Junior | 5’10″ and 191 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.32 sec | bench reps: 16 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 39 in | broad: 136 in

Team Needs: Defensive Line, Secondary, Quarterback

The Raiders need help in the secondary, and with his combine-best 40 time Ward feels like the type who could wear black and silver. He is small, but Ward has elite athleticism. Physically comparable to Jason Verrett, he has the potential to be a shutdown corner.

For more, see Ward’s player profile.

11. Miami Dolphins: QB Josh Rosen, California-Los Angeles

Junior | 6’4″ and 226 Pounds | Born February 10, 1997 (Age: 21) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.92 sec | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 7.09 | 20-yard shuttle: 4.28 sec | vertical: 31 in | broad: 111 in

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Running Back, Quarterback

The Dolphins have needs at almost every position, and they are reportedly interested in drafting a quarterback at No. 11 just in case Ryan Tannehill, you know, fails to develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback in his age-30 season six years after he was drafted. Rosen has a real chance to fall outside of the top 10 — he reportedly rubs many NFL decision-makers the wrong way with his “millennial” desire to understand and contribute to the world — and at No. 11 he would offer great value to the Dolphins.

At the beginning of 2018, Rosen was a -120 favorite to be the first quarterback selected in the 2018 draft, but Dorsey reportedly labeled Rosen as a “stay away” prospect before becoming the Browns GM. Most years, though, Rosen would be a strong candidate to be the first quarterback off the board. As a high-schooler Rosen was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country, and at UCLA he opened his first season as the team’s starting quarterback. For a true freshman in a Power Five conference, Rosen was outstanding, completing 60.0 percent of his passes for 3,669 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a sophomore he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that limited him to six games, but as a junior he had a solid if unspectacular campaign, completing 62.5 percent of his passes and setting several other career-high marks: 3,717 yards passing, 26 touchdowns, and 8.4 adjusted yards per attempt. Before the 2017-18 bowl season, he was No. 3 in NFL Media’s college quarterback rankings.

For more, see Rosen’s player profile.

12. Cleveland Browns (Projected Trade with Bills): S Derwin James, Florida State

Redshirt Sophomore | 6’3″ and 215 Pounds | Born August 3, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.47 sec | bench reps: 21 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 40 in | broad: 132 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Secondary, Running Back

The Browns are ostensibly set at safety with Jabrill Peppers and Damarious Randall, but James is one of the best players available, and Randall is in the last year of his contract. Big enough to play in the box and fast enough to play in coverage, James was the No. 1 defensive back in the nation as a five-star recruit in 2015, and last year he was PFF’s No. 1 safety, allowing just 17 of 39 passes thrown into his coverage to be caught even though he was regularly asked to guard some of the nation’s finest running backs, tight ends, and receivers on a revolving basis. At a minimum, James would be an exceptional dime backer with the ability to move all over the field as a mismatch chess piece.

For more, see James’ player profile.

13. Washington Redskins: DT Vita Vea, Washington

Redshirt Junior | 6’4″ and 347 Pounds | Born February 5, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 5.1 sec | bench reps: 41 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Cornerback, Defensive Line, Wide Receiver

The Redskins are reportedly hot to trot for Vea, a locked-in first-rounder who could be the first interior defender off the board. Built like a nose tackle but blessed with elite athleticism, Vea could be a force in the middle for the Redskins defense, forming a dynamic trio with outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen.

For more, see Vea’s player profile.

14. Green Bay Packers: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

Redshirt Junior | 6’1″ and 192 Pounds | Born April 3, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.56 sec | bench reps: 18 | 3-cone: 6.86 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.03 sec | vertical: 38 in | broad: 123 in

Team Needs: Cornerback, Offensive Line, Wide Receiver, Defensive End

The Packers defense last year ranked 26th against the pass in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average and specifically 32nd against No. 1 wide receivers. Not one Packers corner (except for hybrid safety/slot defender Morgan Burnett, who is now with the Steelers) had a PFF coverage grade of even 70.0. Blessed with good hands — he spent some time in college playing receiver — Jackson led the FBS in 2017 with eight interceptions, three of which came in an epic performance against Ohio State. Last year quarterbacks had just a 35.0 passer rating when throwing into his coverage, which was good for a top-five mark (PFF).

For more, see Jackson’s player profile.

15. Arizona Cardinals: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Senior | 6’3″ and 232 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 6.95 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.36 sec | vertical: 30 in | broad: 116 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Offensive Line, Wide Receiver

The Cardinals have all sorts of offensive needs — including quarterback — but they are transitioning to a ball-control scheme and seem likely to focus more on defense in this draft, given that their new head coach has a defensive background. They particularly need help at linebacker, and Evans is an all-around off-ball big-and-fast playmaker who can contribute immediately as a run and pass defender. A five-star recruit in high school, Evans exits college the same way he entered it: As one of the best linebackers in the country.

For more, see Evans’ player profile.

16. Baltimore Ravens: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Junior | 6’0″ and 189 Pounds | Born December 20, 1994 (Age: 23) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.43 sec | bench reps: 15 | 3-cone: 6.88 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.41 sec | vertical: 31 in | broad: 110 in

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Running Back

Ridley fills a huge need for the Ravens.The team has already brought in Michael CrabtreeJohn Brown, and Willie Snead, but the Ravens need more depth and upside at the position. Ridley gives the team a potential No. 1 pass catcher for the future.

As a prospect, Ridley is more of a ‘player’ than a ‘producer.’ Even though Ridley just finished his true junior season, he’s already 23 years old, which is ancient for someone only three years out of high school. Even so, Ridley (despite his subpar combine) is considered by many to be the best receiver in the class. Given that he entered college as a five-star recruit and the nation’s No. 1 high school wide receiver, he has been considered a future first-rounder for a while — but Ridley looks unlike a lot of successful Day 1 selections from previous seasons. Over the last 25 years there have been only three first-round wide receivers to turn 24 as rookies and weigh less than 200 pounds (in other words, to be old and small). This limited cohort performed well in the NFL, but its members were also way more productive in college than Ridley, who in 2017 had 63 receptions for 967 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games.

  • Marvin Harrison (1996, 1.19): 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 games as a senior
  • Joey Galloway (1995, 1.08): 1,004 yards and 13 touchdowns in 12 games as a junior
  • O.J. McDuffie (1993, 1.25): 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games as a senior

Ridley’s age, size, and athleticism on their own probably aren’t as negative as people will make them out to be — but his lack of production at his age, size, and athleticism is troubling.

For more, see Ridley’s player profile as well as the FantasyLabs wide receiver rankings and my wide receiver comparisons piece on Rotoworld.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

Grad Student | 6’8″ and 309 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: 24 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 28.5 in | broad: 105 in

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Quarterback, Linebacker

A locked-in first-rounder, McGlinchey is an impressive physical specimen with great athleticism for his size. Capable as a run and pass blocker, McGlinchey started his career in college as a right tackle before shifting to the blind side for his two final seasons. Outside of aging left tackle Russell Okung, the Chargers didn’t have one starting offensive lineman last year with a PFF grade above 55.0. McGlinchey could start immediately at right tackle as he’s groomed to be Okung’s eventual replacement.

18. Seattle Seahawks: OT Connor Williams, Texas

Junior | 6’5″ and 296 Pounds | Born May 12, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 5.05 sec | bench reps: 26 | 3-cone: 7.83 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.63 sec | vertical: 34 in | broad: 112 in

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Quarterback, Linebacker

Seattle’s offensive line last year was 31st in adjusted line yards and 26th in adjusted sack rate. The Seahawks need a big upgrade, and that’s what Williams provides. A good run blocker coming off an injury-impacted final season, Williams is a top-12 talent available at a discount with the potential to be a longtime bookend with left tackle Duane Brown.

19. Dallas Cowboys: WR Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist

Redshirt Junior | 6’3″ and 218 Pounds | Born October 10, 1995 (Age: 22) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.54 sec | bench reps: 18 | 3-cone: 6.57 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.11 sec | vertical: 35.5 in | broad: 124 in

Team Needs: Linebacker, Defensive Tackle, Cornerback, Tight End

Following the departure of Dez Bryant, Sutton fills a huge need for the Cowboys. I think it would be wiser for them to address other positions first, but wisdom isn’t what the Cowboys are known for. Still, it would be hard to take umbrage with this selection. Sutton could lead the team in receiving as a rookie.

With good size and great college production, Sutton is in an elite cohort. Of all the first- and second-rounders to enter the NFL over the last decade, here are the big-bodied wide receivers (at least 6’0″ and 200 pounds) with multiple 1,000-10 receiving seasons in college.

  • Corey Davis (2017, 1.05)
  • Josh Doctson (2016, 1.22)
  • Amari Cooper (2015, 1.04)
  • Sammy Watkins (2014, 1.04)
  • Davante Adams (2014, 2.53)
  • Justin Blackmon (2012, 1.05)
  • Michael Crabtree (2009, 1.10)

As a multi-year spread-system producer who relies more on size and technique than speed, Sutton is highly comparable as a prospect to Adams and Crabtree — except he’s bigger. He might not have a great career, but Sutton is unlikely to be a Laquon Treadwell-level nonentity. Sutton should be an NFL starter within his first season.

For more, see Sutton’s player profile.

20. Detroit Lions: DE Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio

Senior | 6’6″ and 264 Pounds | Born September 4, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.58 sec | bench reps: 22 | 3-cone: 7.2 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.41 sec | vertical: 33.5 in | broad: 124 in

Team Needs: Running Back, Defensive End, Offensive Guard, Linebacker

I’ve previously slated a running back to the Lions, and I still think that could happen, but the team signed LeGarrette Blount this offseason, so their need at the position is diminished, and they have a defense-minded first-year head coach in Matt Patricia and a true position of need at defensive end, where they have little besides Ezekiel Ansah, who is yet to sign his one-year franchise offer. Davenport racked up 38 tackles for a loss and 22 sacks during his career, including 17.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks during his senior campaign, and he exhibited freak athleticism at the combine.

For more, see Davenport’s player profile.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

Senior | 6’3″ and 313 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Quarterback, Linebacker

In 2017 the Bengals lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler via free agency, and those defections haunted them all season, as the offensive line was 24th in adjusted line yards and 20th in adjusted sack rate (Football Outsiders). To address left tackle the Bengals traded down from No. 12 to No. 21 to acquire Cordy Glenn from the Bills, and here they grab a top lineman with the ability to start right away at a number of positions. Due to his sound technique and ability to win as both a run and pass blocker, Wynn moved between left guard and tackle for the Bulldogs as the team needed. In Cincinnati, he’d have the capability to start right away at either guard spot and maybe even right tackle.

22. Cleveland Browns (Projected Trade with Bills): LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Redshirt Junior | 6’4″ and 256 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.65 sec | bench reps: 20 | 3-cone: 6.88 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.15 sec | vertical: 39.5 in | broad: 124 in

Team Needs: Quarterback, Secondary, Running Back

The Browns need help everywhere, and Vander Esch — like Derwin — is an athletic producer who will immediately make an impact on the defense. The team is weak at off-ball linebacker, and Vander Esch has the ability to play in coverage and even rush the passer off the edge as a three-down versatile chess piece.

23. New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller, California-Los Angeles

Redshirt Junior | 6’9″ and 309 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.95 sec | bench reps: 24 | 3-cone: 7.34 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.49 sec | vertical: 31.5 in | broad: 121 in

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Quarterback, Defensive End

With the loss of longtime stalwart Nate Solder, the Patriots need a left tackle for quarterback Tom Brady. Kolton is a big-bodied multi-year dominator with experience on both sides of the line: He provides immediate depth to the position in the event that the Pats are somehow fine with Tony Garcia starting at left tackle, and maybe he could slot in on the right side and allow Marcus Cannon to kick over to the left, where in his final year at Texas Christian he did well as Andy Dalton‘s blindside protector. Miller might be a little bit of a reach, but he has the height to add more bulk, and the Pats have never hesitated to invest excess draft capital into players they want.

24. Carolina Panthers: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland

Junior | 6’0″ and 210 Pounds | Born April 14, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.42 sec | bench reps: 15 | 3-cone: 6.95 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.07 sec | vertical: 39.5 in | broad: 132 in

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Wide Receiver, Defensive End

Moore fills a need and has shot up draft boards since his combine performance. The Panthers have little depth behind Devin Funchess, who himself is still relatively unproven and entering the final year of his contract.

Moore started almost every game he played at Maryland, and as a true freshman he emerged as the team’s No. 2 wideout with 25 receptions for 357 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore he seized more control of the receiving game and led the team with 637 yards and six touchdowns, good for a 27.7 and 40 percent market share of Maryland’s receiving yards and touchdowns. In his final season — despite having four different quarterbacks throw passes — Moore earned Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors thanks to his conference-leading 80 receptions, which he turned into 1,033 yards, eight touchdowns, and an unreal market share of 53.7 and 53.3 percent of the Terrapins’ receiving yardage and scores. He even added 61 yards and a touchdown on six rush attempts. Moore is the first Maryland player since Torrey Smith in 2010 to have a 1,000-yard receiving campaign. With his physical profile and production, Moore is very much a Leonte Carroo-esque prospect with perhaps the potential to develop into an early-career Hakeem Nicks.

For more, see Moore’s player profile.

25. Tennessee Titans: DE Harold Landry, Boston College

Senior | 6’3″ and 252 Pounds | Born June 5, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.64 sec | bench reps: 24 | 3-cone: 6.88 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.19 sec | vertical: 36 in | broad: 119 in

Team Needs: Defensive End, Offensive Guard, Tight End

Outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan will be 32 and 29 next year, and 2018 is their last season under contract. The Titans need depth at the position, and Landry has the look and upside of a twitchy defensive end with an annual upside of double-digit sacks. An injury-shortened senior season didn’t help his stock coming off a record-breaking 2016 campaign, but Landry’s performance at the combine in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle confirmed his high-level bend and athleticism. The first-team All-ACC defensive end led the nation as a junior with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles while ranking fifth with 22 tackles for a loss.

For more, see Landry’s player profile.

26. Atlanta Falcons: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Junior | 6’2″ and 308 Pounds | Born May 27, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.95 sec | bench reps: 27 | 3-cone: 7.58 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.71 sec | vertical: 28.5 in | broad: 119 in

Team Needs: Defensive Tackle, Offensive Guard, Safety

Payne is a big-time run stuffer with an underappreciated ability to apply pressure up the middle as a pass rusher and to play multiple techniques along the line. There might not be a defensive lineman in the draft with a higher ceiling than Payne’s, and his floor certainly doesn’t appear to be all that low either. Payne would be a strong addition in the middle for the Falcons defense, which lost defensive tackle Dontari Poe in free agency to the division rival Panthers and could lose Grady Jarrett to free agency in 2019.

For more, see Payne’s player profile.

27. New Orleans Saints: C/G Billy Price, Ohio State

Redshirt Senior | 6’4″ and 305 Pounds | Projection: Round 1

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Interior Offensive Line, Quarterback, Wide Receiver

In 2017 the Saints had perhaps the best offensive line in the league, ranking second with 4.93 adjusted line yards and a 4.0 percent adjusted sack rate. Even so, Andrus Peat (leg, ankle) struggled in his transition from tackle to guard (46.9 PFF grade) before being placed on Injured Reserve, and 2018 could be his last year with the team if it declines his fifth-year option. Center Max Unger also struggled (50.5 PFF grade), and he turns 32 years old in April. Price provides immediate and versatile depth, as he started for three years as a guard before transitioning to center as a senior. A consensus All-American and the winner of the 2017 Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football, Price has the potential to start as a rookie.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

Redshirt Senior | 6’5″ and 256 Pounds | Born January 3, 1995 (Age: 23) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: 23 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Pro day numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 6.87 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.06 sec | vertical: 35 in | broad: 121

Team Needs: Linebacker, Quarterback, Safety

No player available satisfies a strong need for the Steelers, but they have been hunting for a reliable and athletic three-down tight end for years, and that’s what Goedert is.

After redshirting his first year in college and playing as a reserve in his freshman season, Goedert was a top-two pass catcher for the Jackrabbits in his three final seasons, serving as the middle-of-the-field supplement to wide receiver Jake Wieneke. After a 484-yard, three-touchdown sophomore campaign, Goedert especially dominated in 2016-17 with two straight FCS All-American seasons. As a junior he had a monster year, leading the team with 92 receptions, which he turned into 1,293 yards, 11 touchdowns, and a 33.7 percent market share of the receiving production. As a senior he once again led the Jackrabbits in receptions, accumulating 72 catches on his way to a team-high 1,111 yards as well as seven scores. A dynamic after-the-catch runner who last year finished first in the nation with 12 missed tackles forced and 3.17 yards per route (Pro Football Focus), Goedert played both inline and as a slot receiver and has the potential to develop into a dominant every-down all-around tight end with improved blocking.

For more, see Goedert’s player profile.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: G Will Hernandez

Redshirt Senior | 6’2″ and 327 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: 5.15 sec | bench reps: 37 | 3-cone: 7.59 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.7 sec | vertical: 24 in | broad: 104 in

Team Needs: Tight End, Offensive Line, Quarterback, Wide Receiver

The Jags are reportedly not looking to draft a quarterback, and after adding tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul and wide receiver Donte Moncrief in free agency the Jaguars are unlikely to address those positions, so here they look to add depth to and maybe upgrade the offensive line. Hernandez is something of a luxury pick as a first-round guard, but he should immediately make an impact. He could slide in right away at right guard as the replacement to A.J. Cann, who is weak at the position (52.5 PFF grade in 2017) and one year away from free agency. A four-year starter in college, Hernandez possesses good athleticism and power and will likely be an asset in both the running and passing game.

30. Minnesota Vikings: DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

Redshirt Junior | 6’5″ and 270 Pounds | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: 6.84 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.32 sec | vertical: 35 in | broad: 116 in

Team Needs: Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Quarterback

A good defense can never have too many pass rushers, and Hubbard provides excellent depth behind Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, the former of whom will be 31 at the end of 2018 and the latter of whom is entering the final year of his contract. A former safety, Hubbard is a little raw, but he has the developed pass-rushing technique of a veteran, as he consistently utilizes his hands to break down his opponent before bending back to the quarterback. His first step won’t be what earns him a Day 1 selection, but he makes up for this lack of burst with a never-ending motor and deep arsenal of moves.

For more, see Hubbard’s player profile.

31. New England Patriots: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Junior | 6’2″ and 216 Pounds | Born January 7, 1997 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Combine numbers: 40-yard: DNP | bench reps: DNP | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: DNP | broad: DNP

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Quarterback, Defensive End

Like Burt Macklin, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick always gets his man. Jackson is no Jimmy G., but he is perhaps the most electric playmaker in the class and will have years to develop on the bench behind Tom Brady.

In 2016 Jackson won the Heisman at the age of 19, becoming the youngest player in history to win the award. Precocious for a prospect, Jackson is perhaps the Deshaun Watson of this year’s draft class: A highly productive and athletic dual-threat Davey O’Brien-winning Atlantic Coast Conference three-year starter who, despite having difference-making talent and decent size, is not likely to be a top-10 pick — and in truth No. 12 might be a bit too early for him. The question with Jackson is whether his style of play will translate to the NFL. Whereas Watson completed 67.4 percent of his career pass attempts and had ‘only’ 1,934 yards rushing, Jackson has a completion rate of just 57.0 percent and rushed for 4,132 yards. Watson is a passing quarterback who can run; Jackson is a running quarterback who is still learning to pass. In that sense, as a prospect he is less similar to Watson than he is to Michael Vick (56.0 percent completion rate in college). Vick retired from the NFL with a subpar 56.2 percent completion rate, but he was a six-time QB1 in fantasy and 61-51-1 as a starter. Even if Jackson fails to develop into a league-average passer, he could have a productive career as a quarterback.

For more, see Jackson’s player profile.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Derrius Guice, Louisiana State

Junior | 5’11″ and 218 Pounds | Born June 21, 1997 (Age: 20) | Projection: Rounds 1-2

Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Linebacker, Cornerback

The Eagles would like to find an eventual successor to Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters (knee, IR), who will be 36 this season, but four offensive tackles are already off the board. No off-ball linebackers fit the draft range, and the Eagles might not be sold on the corners available, but in Guice they are able to grab a player with top-15 talent and the ability to be a true lead back. It’s worth remembering that Jay Ajayi is in the final year of his contract.

When he got to Baton Rouge in 2015, Guice was a five-star recruit and the nation’s No. 2 high school back. As a true freshman he played behind stud running back Leonard Fournette, but as a sophomore he led LSU with 183 carries for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, as Fournette (ankle) missed five games and struggled through much of the season with an injury. In his six 2016 games as the lead back, Guice averaged a studly 178.7 yards and 2.2 touchdowns from scrimmage. Over the last decade, there have been nine workhorse-sized backs to enter the league as either first- or second-rounders and to play as 21-year-old rookies (per Pro Football Reference). All of them (except for last year’s rookie) have had at least one NFL season with 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Here are the nine backs and their best seasons.

  • Joe Mixon (2017, 2.48): 913 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage
  • Ezekiel Elliott (2016, 1.04): 1,994 yards, 16 touchdowns
  • Todd Gurley (2015, 1.10): 2,093 yards, 19 touchdowns
  • Le’Veon Bell (2013, 2.48): 2,215 yards, 11 touchdowns
  • LeSean McCoy (2009, 2.53): 1,624 yards, 20 touchdowns
  • Beanie Wells (2009, 1.31): 1,099 yards, 10 touchdowns
  • Darren McFadden (2008,1.04): 1,664 yards, 10 touchdowns
  • Rashard Mendenhall (2008, 1.23): 1,440 yards, 13 touchdowns
  • Jonathan Stewart (2008, 1.13): 1,272 yards, 11 touchdowns

Guice will be drafted at the precocious age of 20 and will almost certainly be selected no later than the second round.

For more, see Guice’s player profile.

Potential First-Round Players Not Included

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Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

Pictured above: Josh Allen throws a pass during the 2018 NFL Combine
Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports