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]
2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller
The Dallas Cowboys have been
frustratingly unsurprisingly quiet through the start of free agency, as their opportunity to improve at the AT&T Stadium hosted 2018 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching. Offensive line depth remains a team need for the Cowboys, one they're actively looking to address by visiting free agent Guard Marcus Martin while planning a pre-draft visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller.
I'm told UTEP Guard Will Hernandez is another of Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors. Hernandez joins Alabama WR Calvin Ridley and UCLA G/T Kolton Miller on the list of reported visitors for the #Cowboys. Since 2014, 14 of Dallas' 35 picks (40%) have been pre-draft visitors.
Protecting one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft in Josh Rosen through college, Kolton Miller absolutely blew up the Combine in Indianapolis - entering the draft as one of the most athletic available linemen.
It is this athleticism and versatility that the Dallas Cowboys should absolutely be looking for, if trying to add another "blue chip" player to an offensive line already featuring LT Tyron Smith, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, and RT La'el Collins.
Kolton Miller with the broad jump world record for an offensive lineman at 10 1 wow
Tyron Smith's health (along with the level of play the Cowboys received at his spot in his absence) and the FA status of Jonathan Cooper are both reasons the Cowboys should consider adding a new, controllable option to their dominant offensive line. Whether this is with the 19th overall pick, or later on with a prospect like Miller, will depend on how the board falls through the first 18 picks of the draft.
With ten total picks coming in, the Cowboys could be positioning themselves for a move up the board to land an impact defender, or an additional piece for Kris Richard to work with in the defensive backfield. Staying home at 19th overall and selecting a player capable of playing swing tackle would not only be a safe option for the Cowboys, but a smart one with Ezekiel Elliott returning full-time to the lineup in 2018.
Without Elliott for six games in 2017, the Cowboys still managed nine wins. This is a point lost to most of Cowboys Nation, especially those watching the entire playoffs without their team in it, only to watch the Eagles hoist the Lombardi. Elliott's impact on each's week game plan for Dallas is hard to understate, and the Cowboys' trust in him begins up front.
Testing as an elite athlete with the film to match at tackle in the Pac 12, Kolton Miller should be a welcome addition to America's Team - getting the opportunity to learn the Cowboys' way with a trip to The Star in his future.
Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?
There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.
Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.
The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.
@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!
To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.
In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.
The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.
The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.
It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.
Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?
Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley
With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.
That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.
The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.
His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.
Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.
ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys https://t.co/cCNpXmhARe
Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.
Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.
This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.
Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.
Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.
Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.
This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.
It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.
Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.
We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?
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