Football Wiretap

2018 NFL Mock Draft, Version 2.0

Nov 17, 2017 2:19 PM

By Jeff Risdon, RealGM

This mock tries to blend where I project players will go with the teams in the slots. It’s far too early for any reasonable expectation of accuracy, especially when so many of the top prospects are undeclared underclassmen. When a pick reflects more of my personal choice than what I believe the team will do, I will indicate as much in the comments.

The draft order is the official current playoff order at the start of NFL Week 11.

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. Even though DeShone Kizer has flashed at times, he’s not done enough to prove the Browns shouldn’t try someone else. Rosen looks like a very promising passer with major upside and has shown he can thrive despite a weak supporting cast. He would not be my choice but he’s the best fit of what the NFL types believe a franchise savior at QB should look like.

2. New York Giants: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. This is assuming Sam Darnold does not declare, which is the loud whisper on the scouting street right now. Jackson has improved his passing touch and anticipation, though the stats don’t reflect his upgrade. His dual-threat ability and easy confidence have star-level upside for a team—and city—desperate for the next great thing.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. Fitzpatrick is NFL-ready coming out of Alabama’s pro-style defense and has both the range and instincts to be very good right away. Similar to Jalen Ramsey two years ago, he can play anywhere in the secondary. The 49ers back end needs help, and Fitzpatrick pairing with impressive rookie Ahkello Witherspoon would solve a lot of problems.

4. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State. A dynamic pass rusher off the edge who also plays well in space, Chubb continues to impress with his all-around football ability. He’d make a nice fit for an Indianapolis defense that needs star power up front.

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. With the core of the defense aging, the Bengals could look to reinvigorate the front line with the dynamic Wilkins. He bears some athletic resemblance to J.J. Watt coming out of Wisconsin. Installing Wilkins next to Geno Atkins makes the Bengals DL a fearsome weapon once again.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. I’ll clear this up right away—I do not even consider Allen a draftable prospect. He’s been one of the worst passers and least efficient QBs in college football the last two years despite playing one of the lighter pass defense schedules in both seasons. But he’s got amazing physical attributes and a great story and that will blind some team to the fact he has no real discernible aptitude as a QB. Sorry, Chargers fans. Y’all had a nice run with Phillip Rivers.

7. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. This might seem high for a guard, but he’s as can’t-miss of a prospect as I can recall (sorry for the kiss of death!). Denver’s OL needs a stabilizing force, and Nelson with Garett Bolles at tackle can dramatically improve the offense. This might be my favorite pick of this mock.

8. Cleveland (from HOU): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The buzz has died a little on Barkley, who has topped 75 yards rushing just once in his last six games. But the big-legged back has exceptional versatility and still maximizes yards with the ball in his hands. If Isaiah Crowell bolts Cleveland in free agency (and they might let him too) there is a crying need for a bigger RB to pair with Duke Johnson.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arden Key, DE, LSU. It’s always nice when prospects broaden their game over their college careers. Key has always had the outside rushing sizzle, but he’s added more stoutness and diversity to his repertoire. That makes him a higher-floor prospect to go with his very high ceiling as a pass rusher. The Bucs desperately need someone to impact the opposing QB, and Key fits the bill nicely.

10. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. Mitchell Trubisky needs weapons. Ridley, while older than ideal for a prospect, has proven he can catch, run and block even if the stats aren’t eye-popping. In a WR class that lacks distinction, being perceived as the best all-around talent could inflate his value this high.

11. New York Jets: Connor Williams, OT, Texas. The Jets need better long-term solutions than Brandon Shell and Kelvin Beachum at offensive tackle, and Williams can be that guy. He’s missed time this year with a knee injury but is expected to be back for the Longhorns this week. As long as he looks close to as good as he was last year, there is little doubt Williams will be a top 20 pick.

12. Arizona Cardinals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. This is another case where thin supply at a critical position makes a team antsy and address something other than a primary need. Brown is a behemoth at tackle and has the ability to play on either the left or the right as a tone-setting presence. The Cardinals are okay at tackle if D.J. Humphries and Jared Veldheer are healthy, but they haven’t been healthy together often enough.

13. Oakland Raiders: DaRon Payne, DT, Alabama. An attack dog widebody inside who shows exceptional play recognition and finishing ability, Payne is a better athlete than credited too. He would bolster a youthful Oakland interior that has some talent but needs more impact.

14. Baltimore Ravens: Billy Price, C, Ohio State. Price has elevated his game in his senior season and has demonstrated skills that translate at center or guard. He would be a welcome force on the Baltimore interior line chronically battling injury woes.

15. Miami Dolphins: Derwin James, S, Florida State. It seems crazy that James could fall this far; he was a consensus top-5 talent entering the year. Other than the Clemson game the impact plays just aren’t there for the safety, who is athletically straight out of central casting. The Dolphins go best player available regardless of position here, and they happen to need his talents on the back end too.

16. Washington: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida StateThe lanky CB was better in ’16 but still projects as a first-round talent with his outstanding ball-in-air skills and confidence. He’d be a nice fit opposite Josh Norman.

17. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. Hurst is a no-nonsense 3T Rod Marinelli would love on the defensive line in Dallas, where depth and impact have been in short order for years. He’s one of the best at winning leverage battles and getting off blocks.

18. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College. Detroit’s anemic pass rush desperately needs an upgrade, and the lithe Landry can provide instant impact. That he can also move well in space and blow up screens and quick slants is even tastier gravy. The Lions cannot enter 2018 with Anthony Zettel as the best pass rusher on the roster.

19. Atlanta Falcons: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. The Falcons continue the youthful overhaul of the defense by adding an underrated piece to the front in Phillips. He’s a bit of a schematic misfit but a higher-end talent than Stanford predecessor Henry Anderson. Might be the best tackling defensive lineman in college football, Atlanta can use that. Who couldn’t?

20. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. The Buckeyes keep churning out impressive cover corners and Ward is the latest in line. He’s excellent before the pass and while the ball is in the air and scheme-diverse. This is a lot of draft capital for the Packers to spend on a position they’ve sunk so much into recently, but they need a No. 1 CB badly. Note I had WR Christian Kirk here in the initial draft before changing to a better overall player.

21. Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. The buzz continues to grow for Mayfield thanks to his Jeff Garcia-esque talents and pluck. The Bills have shown a willingness to roll the dice on QBs, and Mayfield has a lot more going for him than JP Losman or E.J. Manuel did. I suspect they’d prefer if Nathan Peterman proves this pick unnecessary, however.

22. Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. Some will say Guice is a better NFL prospect than former LSU backfield mate Leonard Fournette. They’re vastly different runners, and the style Guice plays fits Seattle’s offense nicely. He’s a violent speedster with great vision and balance. As is requisite with every Seattle RB, he does have some injury worries, but that’s also why they need him. I’d be very happy with his pick for the Seahawks.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. The top TE prospect (IMO) can win from the slot or even flexed wide with his strong routes and athleticism in space. He’s not a great blocker but the Jaguars almost never use their TEs in pass protection. Another solid weapon for Blake Bortles.

24. Carolina Panthers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama. The Panthers opt to continue building up the secondary with Harrison. He’s not optimal in coverage but doesn’t run himself out of position, and his dynamic run defense and closing ability on passes in front of him make him a major threat, something Carolina can use behind the speedy LBs.

25. Tennessee Titans: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson. Ferrell has an incredible first step off the edge, disruptive and consistent. He’s still learning to finish and stay in control at full burst, but making nice progress. Tennessee has underperformed on the pass rush front despite having some name talent, and Ferrell can remedy that problem.

26. Los Angeles Rams: Carlton Davis CB, Auburn. One of the most physical CBs in man coverage, Davis is a master of using his length and strength to disrupt routes. He’s also a great tackler in the run game. That’s a nice fit for a Rams team that seems to have the offense figured out but remains vulnerable on the outside defensively.

27. Buffalo (from KC): James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. Washington is at his best outside the numbers and down the field, where he consistently gets open but can also win contested catches. He’s made an excellent speed complement to Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews for whomever is playing QB in Buffalo.

28. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Finley, QB, North Carolina State. It’s time for the Saints to draft Drew Brees’ successor-in-waiting, and Finley has the poise, accuracy and vision to run the same offense. He’s quietly emerging much in the way Mitchell Trubisky did a year ago.

29. Minnesota Vikings: Martez Ivey, OT, Florida. If he declares, the Gators' left tackle becomes the high-ceiling talent who can play either guard or tackle the Vikings sorely need up front. He’s improved his foot quickness as he kicked outside this season. He’s better than Florida’s offense has allowed him to show.

30. New England Patriots: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Sutton is a polished receiver with excellent size and improved precision to his movement in ’17. He’s got a reputation for being a film junkie and tireless worker, as well as a nasty blocker on the outside. Sounds like the type of player who appeals to Bill Belichick, and he fills a need for a bigger weapon for Tom Brady.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson. The rich get richer as the Steelers add another formidable all-around talent to the defensive front in Bryant. His physicality and high motor while playing with talent all around him make him a safe pick, too.

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. The latest in a string of physical and smart off-ball LBs for Alabama, Evans has better range and fluidity in space than most of his predecessors. He’s a Jim Schwartz kind of OLB if the Eagles can keep their defensive coordinator locked up.

Jeff Risdon/RealGM

Tags: Draft, Draft Misc

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Kam Chancellor Out For 2017 With Neck Injury

Nov 18, 2017 10:39 AM

Kam Chancellor will be placed on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season.

Chancellor has been dealing with a neck injury.

Seattle previously lost Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril for the season.

Mike Garafolo/NFL.com

Tags: Seattle Seahawks, Injury

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Russell Wilson Had Jaw Realigned Following Karlos Dansby Hit

Nov 18, 2017 10:36 AM

Russell Wilson had his jaw realigned following the hit he took in last Thursday's game by Karlos Dansby.

Wilson said he feels fortunate to have avoided suffering a fracture.

"It was pretty close," he said Friday. "The doctor was like, 'Man, any harder, we probably [would have] had to wire your mouth shut,' so that was a good thing that didn't happen."

Dansby was fined $18,231 by the NFL.

Wilson was sent off the field by referee Walt Anderson to be evaluated for a possible concussion then returned after missing one play without being examined, which led the NFL to launch an investigation into whether the team followed proper protocol.

Brady Henderson/ESPN

Tags: Seattle Seahawks, Injury

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Jimmy Garoppolo May Not 'Feel Totally Comfortable' Until 2018

Nov 17, 2017 7:10 PM

The San Francisco 49ers may not play Jimmy Garoppolo at all this season.

"[Due to] NFL rules, we've got to give these guys at least four days off away from all coaches," Kyle Shanahan said on the "Murph & Mac" show. "We got to meet up there with Jimmy [Garoppolo] Monday through Wednesday, got a little head start with him, and we're going to give him a lot more practice reps next Monday."

C.J. Beathard has been familiarizing himself with the 49ers' playbook since May while Garoppolo is taking a crash course to learn their offense.

"It's going well," Shanahan said. "He's coming along. In my opinion, you won't feel totally comfortable with it until next year. But he's getting a chance because he's been grinding pretty hard, spending a lot of extra time up there with Rich Scangarello, our quarterback coach, and he's been really finding a way to where when he does get in, he can function. He knows a set group of plays. It's not just pass plays. He's got to be able to get us in and out of the right runs, all the situational calls, the short-yardage, the third downs, and he's come along with that.

"It's something that I don't think you ever fully grasp until you've done it for a while. Even C.J. is still working his way through that. He had all of OTAs, all of training camp. He's been part of a game plan going on ten-straight weeks now. He's got a head start with that but it takes guys a while, and I think Jimmy's moving along as fast as he possibly can."

David Bonilla/49ersWebZone

Tags: San Francisco 49ers

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Jones To Goodell: I'm Gonna Come After You With Everything I Have

Nov 17, 2017 1:43 PM

Jerry Jones told associates that Roger Goodell assured him last spring that there would be no suspension for Ezekiel Elliott.

When Jones was told by Goodell that Elliott would be suspended for six games, there was initially silence and then anger.

"I'm gonna come after you with everything I have," Jones said.

Jones then referenced Deflategate.

"If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p---y compared to what I'm going to do."

Jones has since questioned the leadership of Goodell and is even trying to block his extension.

Don Van Natta Jr.,Seth Wickersham/ESPN

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Legal

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Jameis Winston Under Investigation By NFL For Groping Uber Driver

Nov 17, 2017 1:29 PM

Jameis Winston is under investigation by the NFL for an alleged incident in which he groped a female Uber driver in March 2016.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Darlington that the "allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have."

"The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston," NFL executive Lisa Friel wrote in the letter. "The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter."

The driver, who declined to give her name, told BuzzFeed News that she picked Winston up at around 2 a.m. local time on March 13, 2016. Winston asked her to stop at a drive-thru restaurant during the ride, and while in line, the driver said Winston reached over and "grabbed" her crotch for three to five seconds, only removing his hand when she said something. Winston was the only passenger in the car.

Winston was investigated about an alleged sexual assault in 2012.

Jeff Darlington/ESPN

Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Owners To Meet Dec. 13 To Discuss Roger Goodell's Contract

Nov 17, 2017 8:40 AM

There will be an owners-only meeting that will deal with the impending extension for Roger Goodell when the NFL gathers for a Dec. 13 meeting in Texas, according to sources.

The session was scheduled after Jerry Jones requested a special meeting in front of the full ownership group on Nov. 28 in New York. The request was denied, but owners will make time for a session in conjunction with the meeting in Texas.

Jones and the NFL have gone back and forth about the extension talks that have had both sides threatening legal action.

He has said he has issues with compensation in the Goodell deal, along with concerns about the escalation of player protests involving the national anthem and how the league has handled them.

ESPN

Tags: Misc Rumor

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Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald Agree On One-Year Extension

Nov 17, 2017 8:33 AM

The Arizona Cardinals have announced a one-year contract extension with Larry Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald's contract previously had a voidable year in 2018 for cap purposes, but the new agreement assures the future Hall of Famer will play next season.

He currently ranks sixth in the NFL's all-time receiving list with 15,066 yards. Barring injury, he should finish the season third, behind only Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens.

ESPN

Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor, Signing

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Three Saints In Top-5 Of Mel Kiper's Rookie Big Board

Nov 16, 2017 2:48 PM

Mel Kiper Jr. has released an updated Rookie Big Board, ranking the best rookies from the 2017 draft class.

The number in parenthesis shows where each player ranked on Kiper's 2017 Big Board.

1. Marcus Lattimore, CB, Saints (9)
2. Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs (82)
3. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints (88)
4. Tre'Davious White, CB, Bills (32)
5. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Saints (29)
6. Carl Lawson, DE, Bengals (52)
7. T.J. Watt, OLB, Steelers (48)
8. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers (6)
9. Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers (39)
10. Jamal Adams, S, Jets (3)
11. Myles Garrett, DE, Browns (1)
12. Reuben Foster, LB, 49ers (8)
13. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars (7)
14. Kendell Beckwith, LB, Buccaneers (77)
15. Evan Engram, TE, Giants (21)

Mel Kiper Jr./ESPN

Tags: New Orleans Saints, IQ

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NFLPA Investing In Dementia Discovery Fund

Nov 16, 2017 11:11 AM

The NFL Players Association is investing in Dementia Discovery Fund, the group that Bill Gates recently made a $100 million investment in.

The DDF is focused on discovering and developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular those that are associated with dementia.

“This union has been vigilant about its commitment to the long-term health, safety and well-being of our players,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “For the same reason that we instituted rule changes, concussion protocols and pay for post career neurological benefits, our capital investment in this fund complements our current investment initiatives with the Harvard Football Players Health Study.

“I am proud of the work we do to protect our current and former members and aid the overall health of everyone suffering from neurological conditions.”

Barry Wilner/AP

Tags: Legal

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LeSean McCoy: Players Were Surprised By QB Change
LeSean McCoy says Bills players were shocked to hear the team was benching Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman.

Bills

Dede Westbrook Sets Goal Of 200-Yard Game In Debut
Dede Westbrook, who will make his debut for the Jaguars this Sunday, has put lofty goals in place.

SportsRadio 930

NFL Says Jerry Jones' Conduct 'Detrimental' To League
The NFL sent a letter to Jerry Jones' attorney accusing the Cowboys owner of "conduct detrimental to the league's best interests" over his objection to a contract extension for Roger Goodell.

ESPN

Vikings Sticking With Case Keenum Over Teddy Bridgewater
The Vikings are sticking with Case Keenum at quarterback for Sunday's game against the Rams.

Courtney Cronin/ESPN

Doctors Believes They Can Now Detect CTE In Living People
Doctors are confident they can now diagnose CTE in living people.

John Keilman/Chicago Tribune

Ezekiel Elliott Drops All Further Appeals On Suspension
Ezekiel Elliott has announced he will drop his remaining appeals and serve his six-game suspension in full.

RealGM Staff Report

NFL Executives Prefer Sam Darnold Over Josh Rosen
In an informal poll of five NFL executives, all five said they would pick Sam Darnold over Josh Rosen.

Daniel Jeremiah/NFL.com

Bills Bench Tyrod Taylor, Will Start Nathan Peterman
The Bills dropped to 5-4 following their loss to the Saints last week.

RealGM Staff Report

Dak Prescott: Cowboys 'Have To Win' Against Eagles
Dak Prescott is placing a lot of importance on Sunday night's game against the Eagles.

Kevin Patra/NFL

Jon Gruden Hasn't Discussed Return, Won't Rule It Out
Jon Gruden says he's happy working for ESPN and hasn't discussed a return to coaching with any NFL team.

Michael David Smith/Pro Football Talk

NFL's Chief Medical Officer Defends Colts On Brissett Concussion
Jacoby Brissett was placed into the NFL's concussion protocol when he reported symptoms after the game.

Kevin Seifert/ESPN

Jerry Jones Not Backing Down From Challenging Goodell's Extension
Roger Goodell's contract is set to expire after the 2018 season.

Todd Archer/ESPN

Raiders Break Ground On New Stadium In Las Vegas
The $1.9 billion stadium is scheduled to open in 2020.

NFL.com

Owners Send Cease-And-Desist To Jerry Jones
The NFL could take a range of measures against Jerry Jones including fines, lost draft picks and even a suspension.

Ken Belson/New York Times

Giants' Owners Release Statement Supporting Ben McAdoo
The Giants now have a 1-8 record after losing to the previously winless 49ers.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Martellus Bennett Told Patriots Not To Claim Him
Martellus Bennett said he had to be talked into reporting to the team after the Patriots claimed him last week.

Darin Gantt/Pro Football Talk

Marquise Goodwin Scores 83-Yard TD Hours After Losing Baby Boy
After scoring a lengthy touchdown in the first win of the season for the 49ers, Marquise Goodwin posted to his Instagram account that he and his wife's baby boy died Sunday morning because of complic

Nick Wagoner/ESPN

Matt Ryan Becomes Fastest To 40,000 Passing Yards
Matt Ryan threw for 215 yards as the Falcons defeated the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, allowing him to become the fastest player in NFL history to surpass 40,000 passing yards.

Vaughn McClure/ESPN

Seahawks Likely To Be Fined For Russell Wilson Concussion Review
Russell Wilson should have gone to the locker room and been cleared by a team doctor and an independent physician.

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Jerry Jones Has Limited Support In Battle Against Roger Goodell
Sources suggest that "at best" Jerry Jones has maybe three other owners in his corner.

Jason La Canfora/CBS Sports