2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Round 1 Predictions
There will be a familiar feel to the 2018 NFL draft. Like many before it and after, the first round will be rooted in quarterbacks and teams hoping to finally get some sense of promise at the most important position in football.
How those quarterback dominoes fall will be the most intriguing aspect of the first round on April 26 and the days leading up to it. It's possible, even likely, that three quarterbacks are taken in the top five—and four in the top 10. Or if the asking prices are too high, it's also possible one of the top passers takes a tumble.
That scenario played out in this mock draft because trades weren't included. Needs elsewhere pushed one of the top passers down as some of the draft's best defensive prospects—from safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to cornerback Denzel Ward—were gobbled up.
The Cleveland Browns saw their presumed draft dream come to life when they were able to get both quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Saquon Barkley. And the New York Giants quickly found their replacement for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, Quarterback
The Cleveland Browns need to finally find their franchise quarterback. And they need to do it in the 2018 draft and walk the line between the safest pick and the most promising pick with the fewest flaws.
Which leads us to Sam Darnold.
The signal-caller had a meteoric rise as a 19-year-old during his first season as USC's starting quarterback in 2016, completing 67.2 percent of his pass attempts with 31 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. That interception total climbed to 13 in 2017, which raises some eyebrows.
However, his overall body of work shows a quarterback who is cool, calm and reliable—especially in clutch moments—and the positives outweigh the negatives.
2. New York Giants: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End
The New York Giants created a need when they traded away defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. It was surely a calculated move knowing their draft position and the pocket-collapsing pain-bringer who would be available at the No. 2 slot.
Defensive end Bradley Chubb is easily the draft's best pass-rusher, and he showed it with 20 sacks and 44 tackles for loss over his final two years at North Carolina State.
The latter number might be more important, as it demonstrates Chubb can be a solid all-around defender and not just a pass-rushing specialist. He finished second in the 2018 draft class with a run-stop percentage of 11.0, per PFF.
The 21-year-old can be relied on to create a disruption on all three downs regardless of the situation, and he would form a feared tandem when paired with Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon.
3. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, Quarterback
The New York Jets traded up from the No. 6 slot to No. 3 and gave up three second-round picks in the process. And they apparently did it for one of the top six-to-seven players on their draft board, according to head coach Todd Bowles, which is the sort of statement that makes your brain hurt.
Despite that baffling logic, it's still safe to assume the Jets leaped up in the draft to increase their chances of getting one of the top three quarterbacks. Or in this case one of the top two, with the Giants in front of them now likely to pursue a pass-rusher.
Which means Josh Rosen will be available and the Jets' strategy of finding short-term solutions at quarterback can end.
Rosen has textbook footwork and crisp mechanics, and what completes his NFL appeal is how well the former UCLA stud handles pressure. As NFL.com's Lance Zierlein noted, he completed 63 percent of his passes when blitzed in 2017.
4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, Running Back
This is the dream scenario for the Browns. Their latest rebuilding effort was always going to be rooted in the team's two top-five picks. And after plugging in a solution to a long-standing quarterback problem, the Browns now get the most explosive and versatile offensive weapon to support Darnold.
There will always be some jitters tied to the thought of using a pick this early on a running back. But those should go away when selecting Saquon Barkley, the Penn State megastar who averaged 1,679 yards from scrimmage per season over his three years with the Nittany Lions.
Barkley also scored 51 times in his collegiate career, and he recorded the consistent production with an unfair blend of power and speed. At 6'0" and 233 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash at the combine in just 4.40 seconds.
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback
The Denver Broncos have been heavily connected to quarterback Baker Mayfield throughout the predraft process, with ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. drawing that line most recently in his latest mock draft.
The Broncos' decision to pay Case Keenum shouldn't change that. The Broncos didn't make a significant commitment to Keenum, who's a late bloomer and suddenly emerged during his age-29 season. Denver signed him to a two-year contract, which presents an ideal situation if it drafts Mayfield, an athletic marvel who might need a bit of time to adjust in the NFL after thriving in a spread offense.
The Broncos can bring Mayfield along slowly while still trusting Keenum in 2018 after his success with the Minnesota Vikings. Soon enough, Mayfield will become their franchise quarterback after his 152 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in college.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, Guard
The Indianapolis Colts had a laughable rushing offense in 2017. Sure, Frank Gore wasn't exactly in his prime anymore, and that didn't help matters. But no Colts running back was given much to work with by the run blocking up front.
Quenton Nelson can change that and improve on the Colts' 3.7 yards per carry in 2017 (tied for 27th).
Nelson was PFF's highest-graded guard in 2017 and it wasn't close, as he cleared the competition by 3.6 points. He can both open lanes as a powerful run-blocker and, just as importantly, improve the pass protection in front of an increasingly delicate Andrew Luck. Nelson allowed just three pressures on 436 pass-blocking snaps in 2017.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary was a place where wins went to die in 2017.
The Buccaneers gave up an average of 260.6 passing yards per game (last in the league) and 7.8 per attempt. They were regularly torched deep downfield and have a desperate need for a ball-hawking presence. Which is why they shouldn't hesitate to call Minkah Fitzpatrick's name if this scenario plays out.
Fitzpatrick will likely be called a safety and have that as his primary position in the NFL. But he's the classic movable defensive chess piece coordinators crave in an era when finding and exploiting mismatches is critical. He has the speed and ball skills to play high safety, the quickness to be a slot corner and the physicality to come up to the line of scrimmage and defend against the run.
That versatility translated to 171 tackles, nine interceptions, 24 passes defensed and five sacks over three seasons at Alabama.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, Linebacker
Tremaine Edmunds is the sort of all-around defender who will instantly increase the amount of healthy, restful sleep his new defensive coordinator gets every night.
He finished his final season at Virginia Tech with 108 tackles, showing his instincts and physicality against the run. Edmunds also forced three fumbles in 2017 and recorded 14 tackles for loss. He contributed as a pass-rusher, too, with 10 sacks over his final two college seasons.
For the Chicago Bears, he can support and complement Leonard Floyd when asked to rush the passer and give the defense an anchor up the middle against the run to build around. Zierlein has compared Edmunds to Bears legend Brian Urlacher, and it's not hard to see why. He flies around at 6'5" and 253 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, Cornerback
The San Francisco 49ers' 22nd-ranked pass defense in 2017 would suddenly be both respected and feared if they add cornerback Denzel Ward and plug him in alongside newly acquired Richard Sherman.
The only significant criticism of Ward is tied to something he can't control: his height. At 5'10", Ward is a little undersized by current NFL standards. The league wants larger cornerbacks who can match the physicality and size of its big receivers.
But Ward more than makes up for that lack of size with his turbo gear. He lit up Indianapolis with a 40 time of 4.32, and his quickness can be seen on the field. His acceleration and closing speed led to a passer rating in coverage of just 52.9 in 2017, per PFF, a season in which the 20-year-old also recorded 15 passes defensed.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, Linebacker
The Oakland Raiders would probably prefer it if Edmunds fell to this spot. But general manager Reggie McKenzie would be just fine if Roquan Smith ends up as his consolation prize at linebacker.
The Georgia standout finished seventh in the nation with his 137 tackles in 2017. He also grew as a pass-rusher, ending his junior year with 6.5 sacks. But what makes Smith glow as a prospect is his comfort while dropping back.
At 6'1" and 236 pounds, Smith has the body type to perfectly fit the role of a modern-day NFL linebacker. The ideal linebacker has the physical presence to stand up well against the run but also the agility and speed to be a factor on passing downs. Smith can do both while moving fluidly, and he showed his skill in the latter area by allowing only 0.56 yards per cover snap in 2017, per PFF.
11. Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea, Defensive Tackle
The Miami Dolphins need a massive people-mover in the middle of their defense after they released Ndamukong Suh. And defensive tackle Vita Vea has been known to first block the sun and then give opposing quarterbacks or running backs a fine view of it after planting them on the ground.
Vea is 6'4" and 347 pounds of raw strength. His intimidating bull rush led to 9.5 sacks over 37 games for the Washington Huskies. In 2017, he was a smothering run defender at the point of attack while recording 43 tackles, with 5.5 going for a loss.
Even with Suh, the Dolphins run defense was mediocre in 2017, finishing the year ranked 19th while giving up an average of 110.5 rushing yards per game. Vea has both the size and explosiveness to change that fast.
12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, Quarterback
It's much more likely that if one of the top four quarterbacks makes it past the first five picks, a QB-hungry team pounces and trades up. Which is why the Colts' No. 6 pick is a prime trade hot spot early in the draft.
We're not dealing with trades in this mock, which allows us to explore a situation that's beginning to feel unlikely though still in play: a quarterback taking a tumble.
The Buffalo Bills still have a need at quarterback, but after already trading up in the draft once and shipping off left tackle Cordy Glenn in the process, they might not be eager to sacrifice more. Which could work out just fine, because teams picking sixth through 11th don't need a quarterback.
That could result in Josh Allen falling into the Bills' lap, which would prompt an instant conga line around the draft room. The strong-armed passer would land in a situation where he can develop and eventually take AJ McCarron's starting job.
13. Washington Redskins: Isaiah Wynn, Guard
The Washington Redskins would likely prefer to snag a versatile linebacker with this pick. But with Edmunds and Smith off the board, the value isn't quite right.
Instead, they can address a struggling rushing offense. The running lanes simply weren't there in 2017, and the result was an average of just 90.5 rushing yards per game (28th). Guard Isaiah Wynn can changed that.
This spot may be a touch high for him, but that will be forgotten if he becomes a well-rounded NFL offensive lineman as expected. Wynn was his team's highest-graded run-blocker during the week of Senior Bowl practice, per PFF, and he allowed just 26 pressures on 2,609 pass-blocking snaps throughout his collegiate career.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, Defensive End
The Green Bay Packers had a pass rush in 2017 that came to the field with a whimper.
It was inconsistent at best, as the Packers finished with 37 sacks, tied for 17th. They didn't have a double-digit sack pass-rusher, as outside linebacker Clay Matthews led the team with 7.5. It's an issue that needs to be addressed early in the draft, which could lead the Packers to target defensive end Marcus Davenport.
Davenport is a disruptive presence off the edge and showed it with his 8.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in 2017 for the UTSA Roadrunners. Compared to the Vikings' Danielle Hunter by Zierlein, Davenport had success while standing up at UTSA and would slide in nicely to the Packers' base defense.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Hughes, Cornerback
The Arizona Cardinals' eternal search for a good complementary cornerback across from Patrick Peterson continues. And more broadly, they could also use reinforcements in their secondary after the departure of dual-purpose defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
Cornerback Mike Hughes has the skill to solve both of those problems while boosting the 14th-ranked pass defense in 2017.
Hughes, who recorded four interceptions and 11 passes defensed during his final year at Central Florida, was especially comfortable while defending deep passes in 2017. That's an appealing skill with the amount of field stretching that goes on at the NFL level. In 2017, he posted a 43.8 passer rating in coverage, per PFF, and allowed a completion percentage of just 6.3 on go routes.
The 5'10" and 189-pound corner also has the speed to make an impact immediately as a returner. He finished 2017 with 635 kickoff return yards and two touchdowns.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver
The Baltimore Ravens have made moves to improve a depleted wide receiver corps by adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown. But if this very possible scenario plays out, they have to jump on the opportunity to walk away from the opening round with the best wideout available.
The Ravens have faced an annual struggle to provide quarterback Joe Flacco with quality receiving options, a problem that grew after their draft whiff on Breshad Perriman. They can finally solve that issue and get a cornerstone piece at the position by selecting Calvin Ridley.
Ridley creates separation with ease, and his advanced route running will make him an immediate NFL starter. He has smooth and reliable hands in traffic too. Ridley had 19 receiving touchdowns over three seasons, and he was targeted on 33 percent of the Crimson Tide's throws since his freshman year, per Zierlein.
He has the skill set to save Flacco's career. Though, in fairness, that may be a tough task for anyone at this point.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Jackson, Cornerback
It feels like Jason Verrett is being held together with silly string and Play-Doh. The Los Angeles Chargers cornerback has played just 25 of a possible 64 games over four NFL seasons, and worse, only five over the last two years. The Chargers made the risky decision to pick up Verrett's fifth-year option, making 2018 the final season in the oft-injured corner's contract.
The Chargers already have a need at cornerback due to Verrett's physical instability and repeated severe knee issues. And that need is about to get dire after 2018.
They should leap at the chance to draft a potential shutdown corner with one likely available in the middle of the first round. In this case, it's Josh Jackson, the cornerback out of Iowa who exploded for a nation-leading eight interceptions in 2017.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, Safety
This would be one of the most mutually beneficial picks in the first round. The Seattle Seahawks would take an instant victory swim in Elliott Bay if safety Derwin James narrowly escapes the top 15 because of needs or priorities elsewhere. And James would land where he can potentially replace a hard-hitting defender that the 21-year-old has been compared to throughout the predraft process.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor still faces an uncertain playing future. Back in February, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Chancellor intends to play in 2018, but he'll need to get medically cleared after suffering a serious neck injury that limited him to only nine games in 2017.
So at best 2018 is murky for the 30-year-old, which means even more question marks are hovering around the years ahead. To execute their rebuild quickly, the Seahawks will need the most Chancellor-like safety in the draft.
Enter James, who's a guided missile physically. He is incredibly versatile and allowed a catch rate of just 43.6 when targeted in 2017, per PFF. He also recorded two seasons with 80-plus tackles as a standout for Florida State and can morph into a pass-rusher with his strength off the edge.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver
It might feel like at least a slight reach if any wide receiver not named Calvin Ridley is selected in the first round. But any risk tied to that draft aggressiveness is worth it for the Cowboys because of their widereceiver desperation.
The need to grasp for receiving talent was alleviated to some degree when the Cowboys signed free agent Allen Hurns. But much more is needed. He has struggled through injuries and was limited to less than 500 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Cowboys depth chart at the position is still led by Dez Bryant, who's beginning to age fast at 29 years old and hasn't recorded a 1,000-yard year since 2014.
Courtland Sutton can provide a quick answer. At 6'3", 218 pounds, he has the size to be a consistent threat along the boundary and in the red zone, which contributed to his 2,331 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns over 22-year-old's final two years at SMU. And the speed he showed with a time of 4.54 in the 40-yard dash translated to a per-catch average of 16.5 yards throughout his collegiate career.
20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
The Detroit Lions were starved for anything that resembled a consistent pass rush in 2017. They ranked 20th with 35 sacks, most of which came from defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who was retained with a franchise tag.
However, even Ansah's production was wildly unpredictable. He rebounded from a poor 2016 (just two sacks) by taking down the quarterback 12 times in 2017. But those sacks came in quick bursts followed by silence. There were three games when he finished with three sacks, which added up to three quarters of his 2017 total. And then he logged seven games without any sacks.
The Lions need to find a running mate for Ansah—another source of pocket pressure for when he goes cold. That can come from Harold Landry, the edge-rusher out of Boston College who struggled through an ankle injury in 2017 and played just nine games but in 2016 erupted for 16.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. And as Zierlein noted, even in that shortened 2017 season, Landry was still effective as a run defender while tallying 38 stops.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Will Hernandez, Guard
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line suffered a couple of critical blows during the 2017 offseason when tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler departed as free agents.
The result was painful to watch. Quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked 39 times, and worse, the deep-passing offense was completely zapped as he averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt.
The effort to revamp the protection in front of Dalton started with a trade for tackle Cordy Glenn. And now it can continue if the Bengals select guard Will Hernandez.
Hernandez shined at the Senior Bowl while winning 62 percent of his one-on-one matchups, per PFF. With a solid build at 6'2", 327 pounds, he can also be a dominant run-blocker who's ideally suited for a zone-running scheme.
22. Buffalo Bills: Da'Ron Payne, Defensive Tackle
The Buffalo Bills run defense was every running back's favorite punching bag in 2017. The unit was atrocious, giving up 124.6 yards per game on the ground (29th).
The Bills had a gaping hole in the middle of their defense and lacked a large body to eat up blocks and win at the point of attack. They had someone for that job, but defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was traded away when the team grew tired of his off-field issues.
Now the Bills have an opportunity to reinstall muscle and bulk up the middle by drafting defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne, who would form a strong tandem alongside newly signed tackle Star Lotulelei. Payne would also be the successor for Kyle Williams, who now faces annual retirement questions as he gets set to enter his age-35 season.
Payne notched 53 tackles during his final season at Alabama, and he also made an impact as a pass-rusher with 13 combined sacks and quarterback hits.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle
The Los Angeles Rams offensive line helped lead the way for Todd Gurley's sparkling 2017 season when he ran for 1,305 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. That same offensive line also kept quarterback Jared Goff upright often during a year when he was sacked just 25 times.
Andrew Whitworth is the anchor of that line at left tackle. He's still playing at a high level but will enter his age-36 season in 2018 and is on a short-term contract that expires at the end of the 2019 season. So during the draft the Rams can cross two needs off their list by calling Mike McGlinchey's name. In the short term they'll get an upgrade at right tackle—and one of the league's best tackle pairings. And long term they'll have a solid replacement for their blindside protector.
McGlinchey was a standout at Notre Dame and has experience playing both left and right tackle. That's a strong selling point for a lot of teams, especially the Rams if they can install a multi-functional blocker who was PFF's top-graded tackle in 2017.
24. Carolina Panthers: Jaire Alexander, Cornerback
Jaire Alexander has a drool-inducing combination of size and speed, which makes him the perfect fit to address what the Carolina Panthers lacked in 2017.
The Panthers need a physical presence on the outside, something they've missed ever since cornerback Josh Norman left as a free agent. Alexander can provide that with his 5'11", 192-pound frame and then can extinguish top-receiving threats even more through his stunning athleticism.
Alexander lit up the combine while posting a time of 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, along with a 3.98 in the 20-yard shuttle and a 127-inch broad jump. He struggled through an injury-shortened 2017 season, but prior to that, his explosiveness led to five interceptions and nine passes defensed in 2016.
25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, Defensive End
This is another case of short- and long-term thinking combining for the ideal late-round pick.
Successful teams often take the next step by building on their strengths. The Tennessee Titans earned a playoff berth and won a postseason game partly on the strength of their pass rush, a deep unit that recorded 43 regular-season sacks (tied for fifth).
But linebackers Brian Orakpo and Wesley Woodyard combined for 12 of those sacks, and they're both entering their age-32 seasons. Defensive end Derrick Morgan (7.5 sacks in 2017) is creeping up in age too after turning 29 in January, and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (six sacks) is 28 and heading into his eighth NFL season.
An injection of youth is needed up front, and defensive end Sam Hubbard can bring that after his seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2017 for Ohio State.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, Defensive Tackle
The Atlanta Falcons need bulk and a pass-rushing push along the interior of their defensive line after losing Dontari Poe in free agency; he left for the Panthers after finishing his one and only year in Atlanta with 2.5 sacks and 39 tackles.
They can find a powerful earth-mover in Taven Bryan, the defensive tackle out of Florida who recorded four sacks as a junior and 10.5 tackles for a loss throughout his collegiate career over just 30 games.
Bryan can help to maintain a strong run defense that ranked ninth in 2017 and allowed only nine rushing touchdowns. He showed consistent year-to-year improvement at Florida, and putting him beside Grady Jarrett would form an intimidating young pairing up the middle.
27. New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesicki, Tight End
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees hasn't had a reliable weapon at tight end since Benjamin Watson soared for 74 catches and 825 receiving yards in 2015.
They brought Watson back after signing him as a free agent. But he's now 37 years old and missed all of 2016 due to an Achilles tear. The Saints need to bolster their tight end depth chart further to get the most out of Brees with whatever time is left in his career. Which is why they should target the position late in the first round and draft Mike Gesicki.
The bounding behemoth out of Penn State ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds while standing 6'6" and weighing 247 pounds. He also showcased his quick-twitch athleticism and leaping ability with a vertical jump of 41.5 inches.
His combination of speed and natural length led to nine touchdowns in 2017 and a second straight season with 500-plus receiving yards.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, Linebacker
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be adjusting to life without linebacker Ryan Shazier over a full season in 2018.
He left a dark hole that opposing running backs happily ran through toward the end of 2017, especially during the Steelers' playoff loss when the Jacksonville Jaguars ripped off 164 rushing yards. Shazier is a uniquely athletic linebacker who flies from sideline to sideline. There just aren't many duplicates out there, but the Steelers can get as close as possible by selecting Rashaan Evans.
Evans was a wall against the run even while slowed for part of the 2017 season due to a groin injury. He finished his time at Alabama with 74 tackles, 13 of which went for a loss. He can contribute regularly as a pass-rusher too, and recorded 15 sacks throughout his collegiate career.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Hayden Hurst, Tight End
At his very best Blake Bortles is the definition of an average quarterback. And at his worst he's a quarterback who can throw a crushing late-game interception to derail the efforts of a swarming Jacksonville Jaguars defense.
To get the former version of Bortles to show up more often he needs the best possible weapons around him. That support took a hit when Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson departed as free agents. The Jaguars still have quality depth at wide receiver, however, which was bolstered by the signing of Donte Moncrief. Now they need to give Bortles a quality security blanket, and a tight end who can be a target magnet on third downs and in the red zone.
Hayden Hurst is the man for that job and has the potential to provide quality late-first-round value. He recorded 1,281 yards on 100 catches over three seasons at South Carolina. And as NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock noted while listing Hurst as his top tight end, the 6'5", 250-pound pass-catcher separates himself with his blocking ability.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, Offensive Tackle
The Minnesota Vikings offense is about to get a whole lot better, and not just for obvious and very expensive reasons after quarterback Kirk Cousins was their massive free-agency signing.
Dalvin Cook, the running back who averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a rookie and accumulated 444 yards from scrimmage in four games, should be fully recovered from a torn ACL for Week 1. There's even optimism Cook could be on the field for OTAs later in the spring, which is what head coach Mike Zimmer told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero in early March.
The Vikings will want to enhance their offensive line from both a pass- and run-blocking perspective, with the latter even more important when Cook returns. To do that late in the first round, they can put their crosshairs on Kolton Miller, who will be a solid pillar at offensive tackle alongside Riley Reiff. Miller finished his time at UCLA as a steady all-around blocker, receiving an 88.8 pass-blocking grade from PFF and an 81.5 run-blocking grade.
31. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, Offensive Tackle
The New England Patriots have a desperate need at tackle after Nate Solder left as a free agent.
They re-signed LaAdrian Waddle and view him as a potential replacement, as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported. But Waddle struggled as a right tackle in 2017 and lost his job to Cameron Fleming following Marcus Cannon's season-ending injury.
Waddle should only be used as experienced depth or quality competition for the high draft pick the Patriots bring in to improve the protection in front of their aging quarterback. And Connor Williams can be that high draft pick.
Williams was limited during his final season with the Texas Longhorns due to a left knee issue. But he started 11 games at left tackle in 2016 and was named a first-team All-American. He has late-round steal potential if the 6'5", 320-pound tackle can regain that 2016 form.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, Running Back
Derrius Guice is a bundle of a pain in a 5'10", 224-pound package. His violent style could lead to injuries down the road and a shortened career. But even while banged up in 2017, he still recorded 1,375 yards from scrimmage.
His 2016 season was even better. That's when Guiced capitalized on his chance to shine for LSU with Leonard Fournette sidelined and finished with 1,493 total yards. He also scored 32 touchdowns over just three seasons.
It's possible his physical style and ability to carry a load right away make him too appealing earlier in the first round. However, injuries and a decline of over two yards per carry in 2017 could push Guice down. If that happens, the Philadelphia Eagles should jump on the chance to add a missing power runner to their backfield.
The Eagles won the Super Bowl in part because of their backfield depth, with each runner fulfilling a specific role. They lost some muscle when LeGarrette Blount left as a free agent. Guice can do much more than just replace Blount and would rise above the plodding veteran's production to add another physically imposing piece to the Eagles offense.