Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: Updated Post-Trade Deadline 2018 NFL Mock Draft

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterNovember 3, 2017

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley plays against Ohio State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Earlier this week, I came out with a brand-new mock draft to kick off the second half of the NFL season. Then the trade deadline went off like a rocket and threw a wrench into a good number of the picks. When that happens, there's only one thing to do: start over.

Following major trades like Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers and the failed trade of AJ McCarron to the Cleveland Browns, here's an updated look at what the first round could look like based on the current draft order and what I'm hearing from NFL teams.

It's important to note that with all my mock drafts, I'm basing the picks on what I'm hearing from NFL sources and not what I would do. If it were up to me, Baker Mayfield would be in this mock draft and Saquon Barkley would be the first overall pick, but that doesn't mesh with what I'm hearing. 

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1. Cleveland: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

After failing to send in the paperwork to acquire AJ McCarron, the Browns are back on quarterback watch. Rosen is the best passer in this year's class and the most NFL-ready.

2. San Francisco: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo marks off the 49ers' biggest offseason need. Now the front office is free to grab the best player in the draft in running back Saquon Barkley.

3. New York Giants: QB Sam Darnold, USC

Darnold may decide to stay in school when it's all said and done, but for now, he has to be considered a top-three pick given the needs at quarterback. If the Giants are drafting in the top three, a quarterback of the future has to be the pick.

4. Indianapolis: EDGE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

General manager Chris Ballard will want to build up the lines on both sides of the ball. North Carolina State's Bradley Chubb has the speed, power and production off the edge to be a difference-maker from Day 1.

5. Tampa Bay: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

The next great 'Bama DB could be Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The next great 'Bama DB could be Minkah Fitzpatrick.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Buccaneers could go offensive line here, but Minkah Fitzpatrick is too good to pass on. He's a versatile safety/cornerback with a character grade off the charts good. Fitzpatrick has the goods to be a Pro Bowler as a rookie.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Josh Allen is not a plug-and-play quarterback but has the athleticism and tools to be the successor to Philip Rivers once he retires. This doesn't fill an immediate need but sets the Chargers up for the future.

7. Chicago: OT Connor Williams, Texas

The best offensive lineman in the draft class goes to Chicago to protect the back of Mitchell Trubisky. Williams has missed all but two games this year with a strained MCL, but when healthy, he has the athleticism and production as a blocker to still be a top pick.

8. Oakland: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

The Raiders have to fix the defense, but that may come with the development of Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. Don't sleep on left tackle, given the age of Donald Penn and his holdout earlier this year. McGlinchey is a Taylor Decker-type blocker who can step right into the lineup.

9. New York Jets: EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College

The Jets need a quarterback but just miss out on the Big Three and shouldn't reach for a passer. Instead, the front office can keep building a monster defense by adding a speedy edge-rusher in Harold Landry. 

10. Arizona: EDGE Arden Key, LSU

The Cardinals are an aging team with needs in the near future at quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver, but their focus early in Round 1 will be on a best-player-available pick. Arden Key has the talent to be a top-five pick if teams sign off on his shoulder injury and his leaving LSU briefly this spring.

11. Cincinnati: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

Losses in free agency and a lack of development have left the offensive line in shambles. A quick fix comes with Quenton Nelson. The Notre Dame left guard is huge in the run game and has the agility to succeed in space as a pass-blocker. 

12. Cleveland (from Houston): WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Whoever is playing quarterback for Cleveland next season will need more talent around him at wide receiver. Even though this front office has spent a large number of picks and money on receivers, it's still a massive need. Calvin Ridley is a natural route-runner and pass-catcher with No. 1 receiver potential.

13. Detroit: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

The middle of the Detroit defense is solid but could use an upgrade in the way of a three-down player. Christian Wilkins has the first step to penetrate offensive lines and the power to shut down the run game. He's also versatile enough to line up in any of the defensive-line techniques.

14. Denver: S Derwin James, FSU

The Broncos have to figure out the quarterback position but are unlikely to spend another first-round pick on one. Instead, look for the secondary to get younger with a high-upside player in Derwin James, who is a fantastic athlete but looks a little timid coming back from a 2016 knee injury.

15. Washington: RB Derrius Guice, LSU

LSU's Derrius Guice has all the potential in the world.
LSU's Derrius Guice has all the potential in the world.Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

The one area former GM Scot McCloughan was never able to solidify for Washington was at running back. Throw Derrius Guice into the mix with Chris Thompson and this is a potential top duo in the NFL. Guice has the power and agility to beat defenses in a number of ways.

16. Baltimore: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU

The defense and offensive line look set for the future in Baltimore, but the skill positions on offense need rejuvenation. Courtland Sutton would give the Ravens a big target (6'4", 216 lbs) with the ability to post up defenders in the red zone.

17. Jacksonville: QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

It's amazing that the Jaguars are having success in spite of Blake Bortles, but that's where we are now. Selecting Mason Rudolph is the type of move Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone would like given his accuracy, pocket presence and limited turnovers.

18. Tennessee: CB Holton Hill, Texas

After drafting Adoree' Jackson last year, the Titans still need a big, physical press cornerback to match up with top receivers. Holton Hill is that dude at 6'3", 201 pounds and with the skills to take the ball away from offenses.

19. Dallas: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Outside cornerback is still a need in Dallas, even after drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Add Denzel Ward and his feisty play at the line of scrimmage, and Dallas has a trio at cornerback most teams would covet.

20. Green Bay: EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Speed off the edge is still a need in Green Bay. Clemson's Clelin Ferrell has the speed, length and ability to convert all that to power with his hand in the dirt or standing up off the corner.

21. Miami: RB Damien Harris, Alabama

Jay Ajayi is out and the Dolphins are left with a need at running back unless Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams can surprise us all in a leading role. Harris has power, speed and vision in space to be a rookie starter.

22. Atlanta: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan

The Falcons are still one of the NFL's most impressive rosters but must stay ahead of the curve as players come and go with free agency. Another cog in the defensive line will be huge, and Maurice Hurst's hustle against the run and pass-rush ability make him an ideal fit with Atlanta.

23. Carolina: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

Kelvin Benjamin is gone and now the Panthers need to replace him with a speedy threat down the field. This offense misses Ted Ginn Jr., and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk can be that type of stretch-the-field player Cam Newton needs.

24. Seattle: CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

The Seahawks nearly traded Jeremy Lane before he failed his physical, and they already needed an upgrade opposite Richard Sherman at cornerback. Isaiah Oliver has the size (6'1", 194 lbs) to fit into the Seattle defense and plays with the speed and physicality they like, too.

25. Los Angeles Rams: CB Tarvarus McFadden, FSU

Tarvarus McFadden could give the Rams skills they haven't had since Janoris Jenkins manned their LCB position.
Tarvarus McFadden could give the Rams skills they haven't had since Janoris Jenkins manned their LCB position.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Adding another starting cornerback to the Rams defense should be a priority now that the offense appears to be headed in the right direction. Tarvarus McFadden's eight interceptions in 2016 and athleticism look like first-round talent, but he's struggled this year as the FSU defense has taken a step back. He's still worthy of a late first-round pick though.

26. Buffalo: DT Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State

The trade of Marcell Dareus opens up a spot on the defensive line rotation in Buffalo. Dre'Mont Jones fits what head coach Sean McDermott wants in an athletic penetrator similar to what he had in Carolina with Kawann Short.

27. New Orleans: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

One of the hottest names in college football lands on a defense that's improving week-by-week. Roquan Smith has the range, instincts and playmaking to be the weakside linebacker the team thought they were getting in Stephone Anthony.

28. Pittsburgh: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

An athletic, tough, nasty linebacker in the middle of the Pittsburgh defense would be a nice addition. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a wide receiver or running back here, depending on free agency.

29. Minnesota: S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

Harrison Smith is one of the best safeties in the NFL and the Vikings might have the best overall defense. If the offensive line isn't addressed early in the draft (and it hasn't been under Rick Spielman) grabbing a physical, Kam Chancellor-type strong safety makes sense.

30. Buffalo (from Kansas City): LB Malik Jefferson, Texas

With their first pick in the round, Buffalo got Sean McDermott a Kawann Short-type pass-rusher. With this pick, they get him a Thomas Davis-style linebacker with excellent three-down skills. Jefferson can roam in space or give pressures off the edge. The Bills will find a fit for him.

31. New England: OT Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan

Left tackle Nate Solder is a free agent this offseason and the Patriots have no one on the roster to replace him with. Even if Solder is back for a one- or two-year deal, Bill Belichick needs to get a tackle of the future. Chukwuma Okorafor isn't a national name yet, but he has the moves of a first-rounder.

32. Philadelphia: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

Jason Peters' age and Lane Johnson's suspensions make tackle a need in Philly. Orlando Brown (6'8", 345 lbs) is a massive man with eye-popping agility but needs to add strength in his lower body to be an elite blocker. Still, he's worthy of a first-round pick on upside.


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Here's what else is going on this week:

  • Top five matchups to watch in Week 10
  • Sam Bradford is the key to the Eagles' rebuild
  • Grading the Trades
  • Stick to Football Episode 30: Christian McCaffrey and the trade deadline


The Scout's Report

—Where will Baker Mayfield go in the draft? I spoke to an NFL general manager Thursday morning who said Mayfield is "a mid-Day 2 guy. He's not a first-rounder." Meaning late second or early third round. I have Mayfield ranked as a late first-rounder right now, but the NFL's height bias might keep the 6'1" Mayfield out of the first day.

Marshon Lattimore has been one of the NFL's best cornerbacks through the first half of his rookie season. Said one NFL executive to me this week, "He should have gone top five. Sometimes we overthink it." Marshon fell in the draft due to a history of hamstring injuries but has been phenomenal so far.

—Sleeper Watch: UT-San Antonio edge-rusher Marcus Davenport. The 6'7", 255-pound edge-rusher has obvious strengths in his length, but his motor also runs hot throughout the game. The defensive end should be a lock for the Senior Bowl.

—Stock Up 1: Linebacker Roquan Smith from Georgia. Smith is a little small (6'1", 225 lbs) for some, but he looks like an ideal weak-side linebacker. Smith is a junior, so he's not a sure thing to declare, but he has Round 1 tools.

—Stock Up 2: Arden Key from LSU. The defensive end is back after missing part of the season with from shoulder surgery and looks unstoppable now that he's figured out his best playing weight (255 pounds). 

Arden Key (LSU) could be one of the best pass-rushers in this class at the NFL level.
Arden Key (LSU) could be one of the best pass-rushers in this class at the NFL level.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press/Associated Press

—I make plenty of jokes about the Browns on Twitter, due to their failures to find a franchise quarterback. But it's time to point a finger at the Denver Broncos, too. Trevor Siemian isn't the guy, and now they've turned back to Brock Osweiler with Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly hurt. With four quarterbacks on the roster, none have proven they can be the guy long-term.

—Fun Fact: The Philadelphia Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a first- and fourth-rounder. Those picks have become Derek Barnett and now Jay Ajayi. 

—The San Francisco 49ers got Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-rounder and the Cleveland Browns offered a second and third for AJ McCarron before messing up the process for finalizing the trade. Does that value seem way off to anyone else? McCarron was a fifth-round pick in 2014 and now he's worth a two and a three?



5 Matchups to Know

5. Bradley Chubb (EDGE, North Carolina State) vs. Mitch Hyatt (OT, Clemson)

Bradley Chubb has overtaken the top edge-rusher ranking on my draft board following a great first half of the season. He'll get perhaps his best test thus far against Clemson's run game and the pass protection of left tackle Mitch Hyatt. This is a game that will boost the stock of one of them with Hyatt a fringe first-rounder at this time.


4. Josey Jewell (LB, Iowa) vs. JT. Barrett (QB, Ohio State)

J.T. Barrett has the Ohio State offense humming after early struggles and is starting to reignite the question of if he can be a late-round quarterback prospect. Barrett and his offense will run into one of the nation's best and most productive linebackers this weekend in Iowa's Josey Jewell. Jewell isn't a top-flight athlete but has incredible instincts and takes flawless angles to the ball. He's a Round 2 player at this time.       


3. Will Grier (QB, West Virginia) vs. Iowa State defense

WVU's Will Grier has been putting on scoring clinics in Morgantown.
WVU's Will Grier has been putting on scoring clinics in Morgantown.Ray Thompson/Associated Press

Will Grier is the leader of an excellent West Virginia offense (featuring Justin Crawford, Ka'Raun White and David Sills at the skill positions) and has made plays with his arm and legs this season as he rehabs his draft stock after transferring from Florida. Grier is a bit undersized (6'2", 204 lbs) but is making the on-time throws scouts will love. He's also been inconsistent and must prove himself against Matt Campbell's upstart Iowa Cyclones.


2. Derrius Guice (RB, LSU) vs. Alabama defense

When Leonard Fournette was the starting running back at LSU, he struggled to produce the game-changing stats fans expected. It ultimately didn't affect his draft stock or his ability to make an impact in the NFL right away. Guice will get his chance to one-up Fournette now that he's healthy and facing the athletic, feisty Crimson Tide defense. Linebacker Rashaan Evans is the guy to watch as he tracks Guice all game.


1. Sam Darnold (QB, USC) vs. Arizona defense

Sam Darnold has 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season with just two games in which he didn't throw an interception. Interceptions and turnovers are issues, but last year at this time, fans and analysts were down on Deshaun Watson for his interceptions (he ultimately threw 17 last season). Darnold needs to string together more mistake-free games to reassure decision-makers he's a leading candidate to be drafted first overall.


Parting Shots

10. Grading the Trades

49ers/Jimmy Garoppolo: A

The 49ers get their quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round pick and get eight games to see what he can do in the offense before making a decision on either using the franchise tag or re-signing him long-term this offseason. It also frees up the 49ers to trade out of the early first-rounder they're set to have this year.

Bills/Kelvin Benjamin: C

The Bills needed another wide receiver, but Kelvin Benjamin's history of issues with work ethic and conditioning should scare you. Sending third-and seventh-round picks for Benjamin isn't a huge asking price, but he is set to be a free agent next offseason.

Eagles/Jay Ajayi: A

One of the NFL's best offenses gets much better at the cost of a fourth-round pick. Ajayi is the kind of dual-threat head coach Doug Pederson used so well in Kansas City. As long as he meshes well with the Eagles' coaches, Ajayi can be a star.

Jaguars/Marcell Dareus: C

Dareus was at one time talented enough to be the No. 3 pick in the draft but fell out of favor in Buffalo. If the Jaguars can get him motivated, Dareus is a game-changer in the middle of the line, but there are a number of question marks surrounding his work ethic.

Jets/Rashard Robinson: B

The Jets made a quiet move to take the San Francisco 49ers' best cornerback off their hands. Rashard Robinson has some issues with authority that led to him being benched in San Francisco, but his raw talent is good enough to be a No. 1 corner. The Jets have to feel they can develop him but paid a low cost (2018 fifth-rounder) to take that chance.

Seahawks/Duane Brown: A

The Seahawks badly needed a left tackle and the Houston Texans badly needed to recoup draft picks after trading up for Deshaun Watson and trading a second-rounder to get rid of Brock Osweiler. Brown is the type of tackle who can step right into the offense and fuel a Super Bowl run.


9. MMQB NFL reporter Albert Breer, appearing on WTAM radio, said USC quarterback Sam Darnold will want to wait and see who has the top pick or two in the NFL draft before deciding whether or not to enter the draft. Breer also added that if the Cleveland Browns are drafting first or second, Darnold could stay at USC.

Darnold could easily stay at USC for the 2018 season.
Darnold could easily stay at USC for the 2018 season.Ralph Freso/Associated Press

This may be true. Breer is well-connected and isn't the type to speculate. What I don't understand is Darnold's thinking here. 

A. Even if the Browns don't have the first or second pick, they could trade up to select Darnold.

B. Darnold may not be the first or second pick and could still fall to the Browns if they are selecting later.

C. Even if Darnold returns to USC, the Browns could once again own the top pick in 2019 and select him there.

If Darnold truly wants to avoid Cleveland, the only way to do it is via an Eli Manning or John Elway ultimatum that he won't play for them.


8. Feel Good Story of the Day: The New Orleans Saints' tight end group went to the hospital to visit Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller after he underwent emergency vascular surgery following a nasty injury. Doctors worked to save Miller's leg following the injury and were successful, but he had to stay in New Orleans and not travel home to Chicago with the team. 


7. After an almost three-year absence, Josh Gordon is back in the NFL.

The league reinstated Gordon this week on a conditional basis and he will be eligible to play the final five weeks of the 2017 NFL season. Gordon can attend meetings and work out now but can't practice with the team yet. Younger fans might not remember Gordon, who hasn't played since Dec. 21, 2014. He was one of the league's most dominant receivers before being suspended.

Gordon is only 26 years old and could still have a long and productive career ahead of him, if he can stay out of trouble off the field.


6. After acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters in a press conference, "I can't promise you that he will play this year." He will.

Jimmy G in his new uniform.
Jimmy G in his new uniform.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The 49ers didn't trade a second-round pick to not find out if Garoppolo can be the guy long term. Remember, Garoppolo is a free agent in eight weeks and the 49ers will have to make a decision on whether to use the franchise tag or sign him to an extension. They won't do that without seeing him play.


5. Nick Saban's mind and the body of an NFL star? That sounds pretty good, right? That's Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who currently ranks as my No. 4 overall player. B/R's Michael Weinreb has a great profile on the Alabama junior.

Fitzpatrick has played cornerback in the past, but this year, he is lining up at free safety. In that role, he has excelled playing like a quarterback on defense. Fitzpatrick's character grade is incredibly high, and his football grade is too. I've previously compared him to a mix between Jamal Adams and Jalen Ramsey.


4. Andrew Luck is out for the year. That's from general manager Chris Ballard, who announced Luck is being placed on injured reserve.

Andrew Luck wont see the field for the Colts this season.
Andrew Luck wont see the field for the Colts this season.AJ Mast/Associated Press

This is a smart move for a number of reasons. The Colts are 2-6 and on track to own the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft. Rushing Luck back onto the field won't make the Colts competitive down the stretch and could only cause them to pick later in the round.

Also, if you've seen the Colts offense this year, you know putting Luck behind that offensive line would be a nightmare and only risk further injury.


3. Talk about a dream job: The Cleveland Browns will pay Brock Osweiler almost $900,000 to play for the Denver Broncos this weekend. Thanks to his $16 million salary the Browns took on in order to get the Houston Texans' second-round pick in the 2018 draft, Osweiler is making almost a cool million per week to play for another team.


2. Stick to Football Episode 30 is ready for download—and if you haven't already, go ahead and subscribe and leave a five-star review! 

This week, Connor and I are joined by Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to discuss Call of Duty, his acclimation to the NFL and what Cam Newton is like behind the scenes. We also break down the trade deadline and how that affects each team's draft needs. To close it all out, we take your fan questions in our "Draft on Draft" segment with our intern, Kennedy.


1. If you're a fan of the podcast, we have good news for you: Stick to Football is expanding to two shows per week with Stick to Football Fridays launching later today. The shows will be a little shorter and there won't be a guest, but co-host Marshal Miller and I will give you more NFL draft news and notes with players to watch in the Saturday games each Friday.

Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.