Okay ladies and gentlemen here is the first annual, first ever, Whiskey Congress NFL Mock Draft. We go through the top 12 picks in detail and keep it rather simple for the remaining picks other than the teams Jim and cheer for, Steelers pick 28, and I go into that selection in greater detail later in the mock. The actual NFL draftis Thursday April 26th and is sure to look nothing like what we have below, but feel free to follow along and see how close I get. Also feel free to send us comments and opinions on the draft via twitter or Facebook. We’ll be doing a special draft preview podcast which will be available Wednesday the day before the draft as well so be sure and check that out as well.
- Cleveland: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
There are a few reasons why this is a shock, Mayfield’s height 6’1”, his swagger which can perceived as cockiness, and his run in with the police last year which harkens back to Johnny Manziel for Browns fans. Remember the current Browns GM was the GM for Kansas City last year and he traded a 1st and 3rd to move up to take Patrick Mahomes II out of Texas Tech. Mahomes is 6’3” and has a cannon of an arm where Mayfield again is 6’1”, but Mahomes played at Texas Tech in a spread offense putting up video game like numbers. Also if Mayfield was 6’4” he would hands down be the number 1 pick of this draft. Looking at the numbers, looking at the winning, and the ability to command a team, he’s the best, again it’s the height. The general consensus here is Sam Darnold, but I think Browns new GM wants the guy who can get him to the playoffs and not necessarily the safe pick which would be Darnold.
- New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn St.
The Giants run game has been anemic and nonexistent for the past 2-3 seasons. Eli Manning is at his best when he can use the play action to go down field to Odell Beckham Jr. and other receivers, and for the last three seasons that has been missing from the Giants offense. Barkley is explosive, strong, and fast. He can catch out of the backfield, and seems like the type that won’t shrink under the bright lights of the Big Apple.
- New York Jets (From Indianapolis): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA.
The Jets surprised a lot of people last year stealing a few wins, therefore they had to trade up to get where they thought they were going to be this year based off of record. They need to resolve their issues at QB since Josh McCown creeps closer to 40 and Bryce Petty has not shown that he’s ready for the big show. Rosen is a very cerebral quarterback who needs to be challenged, but when motivated is very good. In a division that will soon see the end of the Belichick/Brady era the Jets are looking to position themselves to take over with their own QB wiz kid hopefully destined for Canton like Brady.
- Cleveland: DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State.
While I toyed with the idea of the Browns trading with the Bills or someone else here, I don’t think they can pass up the opportunity of having Chubb and Myles Garrett as book end pass rushers. Think about how effective pass rushing duos like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, or James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, or even Von Miller and Demarcus Ware for Denver a few years back. Chubb is strong, athletic, disciplined, fast, and versatile. If he can remain healthy he and Garrett can be special together.
- Denver: QB Sam Darnold, USC.
It is reported that Denver covets Josh Allen, but I could argue they are figuring Sam Darnold won’t be around here at 5. In my scenario, Darnold has slipped and John Elway goes with the guy with less of a basement and a similar ceiling to Josh Allen. Darnold has the build, the arm, is smart, and has shown improvement over his career. There were some issues with turnovers both interceptions and fumbles that should give any coach pause, but Darnold doesn’t have to play right away assuming Case Keenum can find similar production levels to what he had in Minnesota last year.
- Indianapolis: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame.
The Colts are not giving up on Andrew Luck just yet, and therefore they need to protect him. The Colts offensive line was porous at best last year, and with Luck coming off of an injury that sidelined him for a full season plus, Nelson makes sense here. For Luck’s sake, hopefully Nelson is a fast learner.
- Tampa Bay: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama.
Because of the premium placed on quarterbacks in the draft, top players fall early every year. Fitzpatrick could easily have gone to the Browns at 4, but the Buccaneers can’t pass him up at 7, which will help shore up their defense playing in the NFC South against Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton twice a year. Fitzpatrick has a high football IQ and can execute on the field. He can step in right away and provide stability to a Tampa Defense that gave up a lot of easy pass plays last year.
- Chicago: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia.
Chicago needs to shore up their defense for no other reason, their offense can’t win them games. The offense won’t necessarily lose them games, but Mitchell Tribisky will need to improve 100% to take any pressure off the Bears’ defense.
- San Francisco: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State.
Looking at their division the 49ers will need to be able to defend the pass with the Rams and the Cardinals, and Russell Wilson up in Seattle. Ward can develop into an elite DB and can help lock up some top receivers helping this team develop with Jimmy Garoppolo running the offense.
- Oakland: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech.
With no skill positions worth taking this high and Oakland being stable at QB, they look to defense to help shore up an inconsistent unit. Edmunds is young, but athletic and smart. He’s constantly near the ball, and with Khalil Mack on the same field, the field becomes much smaller for opposing offenses.
- Miami: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming.
Miami takes Josh Allen here looking to put pressure on Ryan Tanehill. Tanehill got injured early last year, but there were plenty of questions about where he fit in the Dolphins future moving forward. The Dolphins will give Tanehill a short leash to prove himself. If Tanehill steps up, he increases his value in a trade or as a free agent, and Allen isn’t forced into action early in his career.
- Buffalo: DT Vita Vea, Washington.
Jim’s team opts to stay put and not move up, so they use the opportunity to replace Marcel Darrius who left a massive void in their D-line when he was traded to Jacksonville for a sack of nickels at the trade deadline during the 2017 season. Vea is a big strong body that is athletic enough to not only take up blockers but make plays in the backfield as well.
- Washington: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama.
- Green Bay: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama.
- Arizona: S Derwin James, Florida State.
- Baltimore: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland.
- Los Angeles Chargers: DT Maruice Hurst, Michigan.
- Seattle: G Will Hernandez, UTEP.
- Dallas: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama.
- Detroit: C James Daniels, Iowa.
- Cincinnati: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA.
- Buffalo: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame.
- New England: CB Mike Hughes, UCF.
- Carolina: S Justin Reid, Stanford.
- Tennessee: OLB/DE Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio.
- Atlanta: DT Taven Bryan, Florida.
- New Orleans: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State.
- Pittsburgh: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State.
Pittsburgh has come to the reality that Ryan Shazier is not playing this season, and most likely will not be able to return to the player he was, if he’s able to return at all. Evident in the Steelers’ losses was their lack of speed at linebacker. Vander Esch has the speed and athleticism to help with that. While Vander Esch is an upgrade over Sean Spence who stepped in for Shazier in December, can the Boise State Bronco learn the defense fast enough to start week 1?
- Jacksonville: WR D.J. Chark, LSU.
- Minnesota: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa.
- New England: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville.
- Philadelphia: DE/LB Harold Landry, Boston College.