Here is my full first round mock. Only picks 1-20 will have descriptions. This will be my last mock draft until March when roster moves have been completed to get under the salary cap.
1. Houston Texans - Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
Bridgewater is the best quarterback in the NFL Draft and the Texans are in need of a franchise quarterback. Bill O'Brien coming in as the new head coach and I think he will want this kid to lead them from worst to first in the AFC South. Quarterback isn't the only hole but if O'Brien wants to stay in Houston for a long tenure he needs to find his guy to run the offense.
2. St Louis Rams (From Washington) - Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
Rams could easily go with quarterback here dependent upon how they feel about Sam Bradford moving forward. Personally feel that the Rams will allow him one more season. If they are confident in Bradford drafting protection is the right move. Matthews is the best tackle on the board with a NFL pedigree. He is the guy you want protecting your quarterbacks blindside.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles QB Central Florida
The Jaguars have tried the Blaine Gabbart experience as well as Chad Henne but neither seem to be franchise quarterbacks just stop gaps. Bortles could be their guy and he won't have to go far to play in the NFL being in the state already. Many scouts think Bortles could be as highly regarded as Bridgewater and Jacksonville will gladly take him. This pick could make the AFC South fun to watch for years to come.
4. Cleveland Browns - Derek Carr QB Fresno State
Another offseason and another coaching change in Cleveland. If it is Josh McDaniels I don't think history will repeat itself (Tebow), he will get a smart quarterback. Carr is my top senior quarterback in the draft and perfect for a franchise looking for their guy. Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer should be competing to backup Carr.
5. Oakland Raiders - Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
With the Raiders needs on the defensive line and Clowney being among the top prospects this is a great fit. With an early run on quarterbacks Clowney to Oakland isn't out of the realm of possibility. Clowney will help sure up this line and be a great start to finding play makers on that side of the ball. Even with the need for quarterback you can't be the team that passed on Clowney and watch him contribute elsewhere.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Greg Robinson OT Auburn
Falcons need help on both lines and Robinson makes sense if they want to protect Matt Ryan. Since I don't predict trades in a mock draft this is the best projection for them. I would expect them to possibly make a trade with St Louis to get Clowney otherwise.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
Watkins is my top wide receiver in the draft and this young team with a new head coach will be looking to add weapons for Mike Glennon, provided the new coach feels like he is their franchise guy. Their defense could use help here as well but Watkins is a guy you do not want to over look.
8. Minnesota Vikings - Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
Manziel is a guy that you could see going anywhere from top five to top 15. The Vikings are only one season removed from the playoffs and a quarterback is what they need most. With their weapons on offense a play making quarterback will make all the difference. In the NFC North you need an offense to keep up with Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago.
9. Buffalo Bills - Anthony Barr LB UCLA
The Bills are in need of a pass rusher that can provide help to Mario Williams. They also could go with an inside linebacker but really need to improve pass rush.
10. Detroit Lions - Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
Lions need to address secondary with the other wide receivers in the division. Dennard fits that bill and the Lions should be very familiar with Dennard having played in their backyard.
11. Tennessee Titans - Cedric Ogbuehi OT Texas A&M
David Stewart could walk after the season and Ogbuehi could step right in and contribute. With Chance Warmack from last season, this offensive line is becoming a strength for this team.
12. New York Giants - Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
Offensive line could be the target here as well as wide receiver but this team has no pure threat at tight end. Ebron is one of the top three tight ends and would fit in well in New York. This also gives Manning a weapon he didn't have this season.
13. St Louis Rams - Hasean Clinton-Dix FS Alabama
TJ McDonald isn't the guy that needs to be playing in this system. Clinton-Dix is a better cover safety and fully expect him to take over that role. Need cover safeties in the NFC West with Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco talent at wide receiver.
14. Chicago Bears - Khalil Mack LB Buffalo
The Bears are in need of premier pass rushers with the age of Julius Peppers and the way this defense played. Mack can play linebacker and move to nickel rusher on passing downs. Mack is very versatile and a top 15 pick.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Louis Nix III NT Notre Dame
Steve McLendon wasn't as big of a disruptive force as this defense needs. It would be the right pick as Nix would fit in with Dick Lebeau's scheme. This defense is aging and needs some youth if they want to continue to compete in the AFC North.
16. Dallas Cowboys - CJ Mosley LB Alabama
The Cowboys were hit hard by the injury bug this year at linebacker as well as defensive line. Mosley is one of the most instinctive linebackers that I have ever watched. Should Sean Lee get hurt again he can easily step in at mike linebacker and not miss a beat.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
Evans is a big bodied receiver who can be a huge match-up nightmare for corners and safeties. The Ravens need a wide out who is more than just a speed guy.
18. New York Jets - Marquise Lee WR Southern California
The Jets look like they have found a quarterback in Geno Smith and the offense needs production. Santonio Holmes isn't the player he once was and Lee can be that guy. Lee could have a monster season provided Smith continues to get better.
19. Miami Dolphins - Cameron Erving OT Florida State
Ryan Tannehill needs protection and Erving can help provide that help. With Martin and Incognito gone I expect the Dolphins to go offensive line early on in this draft.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Cyrus Kouandijio OT Alabama
Cardinals need to sure up protection and with no first round worthy quarterbacks left, this makes sense. He will also help in the run game with one of the best young running backs in Andre Ellington.
[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"]21. Green Bay Packers - Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
22. San Diego Chargers - Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
24. Kansas City Chiefs - Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida State
25. Cincinnati Bengals - Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State
26. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis) - Davante Adams WR Fresno State[/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"]
27. New Orleans Saints - Allen Robinson WR Penn State
28. New England Patriots - Stephon Tuitt DE Notre Dame
29. San Francisco 49ers - Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State
30. Carolina Panthers - Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
31. Denver Broncos - Jason Verrett CB Texas Christian
32. Seattle Seahawks - Kony Ealy DE Missouri[/vc_column][/vc_row]
Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.
Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.
As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.
So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.
But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.
Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.
What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.
Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.
As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.
The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.
Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson
NAME: Rodney Anderson
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Running Back
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 24
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.
Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.
Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.
Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.
The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.
His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.
There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.
Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel
Our search for a new pass catcher for the Cowboys in this years' draft class continues, this time with a wide receiver.
South Carolina's Deebo Samuel put himself on the map with a strong Sophomore season, but fell off a bit due to a severe leg injury early in 2017. After a strong 2018 campaign, and an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Samuel has played himself back into early Day Two draft discussions.
I don't know that anyone "won" Senior Bowl week more than Deebo Samuel did this January. Samuel, who had to deal with some poor quarterback play throughout his college career, didn't get much of a break in that department either at the Senior Bowl. But, he did show out every day at practice, and seemed to go viral on Twitter at least once a day.
During his actual collegiate season, Samuel finished with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns on 62 catches, solid production especially coming off an injury and playing in a limited offense. Initially in the NFL, Samuel is going to make his money in the slot. He's a shifty yet explosive receiver type than can quickly beat defenders with his speed. He's not the speedster than someone like Marquise Brown is, but he is explosive enough in his own right, especially in terms of short-area quickness.
Samuel isn't someone who will go up and grab the ball consistently, or even make up for inaccurate throws as often as some others might be able to. But he does have reliable hands, and his ability to get open quickly and create separation should give someone like Dak Prescott easy windows to find him in for completions.
What makes Deebo Samuel so fun for me to watch, though, is his ability after the catch. Despite his lack of size, Samuel is tough as nails, and rarely defers out of bounds or avoids contact. He's built well enough to withstand that contact as well, and when he gets free, he's hard to catch and bring down.
Drafting Deebo Samuel 58th overall would be a heck of a haul for the Dallas Cowboys. In need of another playmaker in the passing game, the Cowboys could make immediate use of Samuel's talents in 2019, specifically as a slot receiver.
As has been mentioned ad nauseam, it seems unlikely that Cole Beasley will be returning to the team this season, which makes the need for a slot wide-out that much greater. Samuel has big play ability from the slot already, and has traits which project him to potentially work outside as well. If he tests well enough at the combine, reps on the outside could very well be in his future.
Samuel should be on every Cowboys fans' shortlist of draft targets in the second round this year.
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