The second installment of the denver post’s 2018 nfl mock draft georgia state university career services

The NFL draft may still be one month away, but jockeying for position in the 2018 quarterback race has really already begun. Earlier this month, the jets traded with the colts to obtain the draft’s third position, all but assuring they’ll continue their long search for a franchise quarterback by selecting one with their top-five pick.

The wheeling and dealing, though, is unlikely to end there. In our second denver post 2018 mock draft, we’ve introduced several fictitious trades that could come to fruition when the first round takes place in arlington, texas on april 26.

Like in our first mock draft, the order in our second installment was constructed with the help of film review, conversations at the NFL combine, a review of the performances in indianapolis and a study of the various needs of every NFL team, updated to include teams’ free-agency acquisitions.

1. Cleveland browns, sam darnold, QB, USC: the pure playmaking ability of saquon barkley will be tough to turn away from, and that’s the direction I had the browns going in our first mock draft.Mock draft but even though it seems as if cleveland is selecting at the top of the draft every season, the chance to draft a franchise quarterback isn’t always there. Though the browns also have the fourth pick, a quarterback they want may be off the board by that time.

2. New york giants, saquon barkley, RB, penn state: to borrow a basketball analogy, the period before the NFL draft can be one big pump fake, with executives going to great lengths to disguise their true plans. Still, it was hard not to give pause at new york general manager dave gettleman’s effusive praise of barkley at this week’s owners meetings. After a few big hits in free agency, the giants may be targeting victories now instead of a rebuilding project, and barkley may be the player in the draft most ready to contribute right away.

3. New york jets, josh rosen, QB, UCLA: the jets didn’t give a boatload of future second-round picks to the colts to move up three spots and draft an offensive lineman.Franchise quarterback new york is desperate for a franchise quarterback. So why rosen? He may be the most ready of the prospects in the class to start right away, and that could make the jets a perfect marriage.

4. Buffalo bills, josh allen, QB, wyoming (via mock trade with browns): in this mock trade scenario, the browns pick up buffalo’s 12th and 22nd overall picks and the bills tab the draft’s biggest arm as their future franchise quarterback. Teams like the dolphins and cardinals could also be motivated to trade into this spot.

5. Denver broncos, baker mayfield, QB, oklahoma: here’s guessing john elway’s phone will be ringing off the hook if denver’s spot comes up and only one of the so-called “big four” quarterback prospects remain. Miami or arizona may make an offer too good to refuse, but I’m sticking with mayfield as the broncos’ choice here. Elway is going to great lengths to fix denver’s quarterback spot, and mayfield would get the necessary time to develop behind case keenum.Mock trade

6. Indianapolis colts, bradly chubb, DE, north carolina state: this would be the perfect scenario for the colts, who were long predicted to draft chubb with the third pick. It would be a major coup to get the draft’s top pass rusher anyway after dropping down the draft board.

7. Chicago bears, quenton nelson, OG, notre dame (via mock trade with buccaneers): the bears want to be a mauling, run-first team behind talented young running back jordan howard. Adding nelson, who played at a level above just about any lineman in the country last season, would fit perfectly into what chicago is trying to establish. It’s rare that offensive guards land in the top 10, but nelson is a rare breed.

8. Tampa bay buccaneers, minkah fitzpatrick, DB, alabama (via mock trade with bears): anything the bucs picked up in this theoretical swap would be a big bonus because fitzpatrick was the player I had them targeting even when they sat at no. 7.Franchise quarterback tampa bay could also use the offensive line help, so they could be tempted to stay put and grab nelson, but this trade would help them add more to a young roster, and fitzpatrick’s versatility could be a big boon to the team’s defensive backfield.

9. San francisco 49ers, denzel ward, CB, ohio state: ward’s stock has continued to climb in the build-up to the draft. The tape reveals a tough competitor who isn’t afraid to mix it up physically with bigger wide receivers. Sounds like general manager john lynch’s type of player.

Michael conroy, the associated pressgeorgia linebacker roquan smith runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in indianapolis, sunday, march 4, 2018.

10. Oakland raiders, roquan smith, LB, georgia: it would be naive to think jon gruden won’t have a major say in the team’s first draft pick during his second tenure as the head coach. Gruden likes nasty, and smith is one of the toughest defensive players in this draft.Last season gruden would welcome the opportunity to mold a proverbial quarterback for his new-look defense.

11. Miami dolphins, harold landry, DE/OLB, boston college: again, it would not be surprising if miami jumps up into the quarterback fray. For now, I’m guessing the price for a jump of at least seven spots, is a bit high. Plus, miami has plenty of other needs. The more I watch landry on tape the more I see a player who can grow into a game-wrecking pass rusher. That’s why I have him making a big jump from our previous mock draft, where I had him going 24th.

12. Cleveland browns, mike mcglinchey, OT, notre dame (via mock trade with bills): this theoretical trade allows the browns to pair their new quarterback (darnold) with that quarterback’s new blind-side protector. McGlinchey could probably play on either side of the line, but cleveland, by drafting him this high, would be giving him a chance to replace joe thomas as the team’s starting left tackle.Last season

13. Washington redskins, calvin ridley, WR, alabama: I’m sticking with ridley here as the redskins show new quarterback alex smith the love by supplying him with a talented weapon on the outside. Ridley isn’t as much a lock to be the first wide receiver drafted as he once appeared to be, but this would still be a solid choice at a position of need.

14. Green bay packers, marcus davenport, DE, texas-san antonio: developing another pass-rushing threat is a priority for the green bay defense after a down year, at least by their standards, when it came to getting after quarterbacks. There are some questions about davenport’s readiness after playing at the small-school level, but his size (6-foot-6, 264 pounds) and speed (4.58-second 40-yard dash), make him intriguing. Landry could be another option here for the packers if he’s available.

15. Arizona cardinals, lamar jackson, QB, louisville: arizona signed sam bradford to a one-year deal to be their 2018 starting quarterback, and journeyman mike glennon will back up bradford.Mock draft the cardinals have other needs — perhaps they draft florida state safety derwin james to replace tyrann mathieu — but jackson has such game-altering upside that selecting him midway through the first round may very well be a gamble worth taking.

16. Baltimore ravens, tremaine edmunds, LB, virginia tech: baltimore could look to improve an offensive line that has lost a couple pieces, including center ryan jensen, this offseason, but baltimore tends to use the draft to find dynamic young defensive players early. Edmunds fits this bill. His tape shows a player who can be flat-out disruptive. Pairing him with C.J. Mosley could make the ravens nasty at the second level.

17. Los angeles chargers, vita vea, DT, washington: I had vea, a 347-pound run-stopping force, landing with the chargers in our first mock draft. With defensive lineman corey liuget facing a four-game suspension to start the season because of a performance-enhancing drug violation, the pick makes even more sense for a team that needs to fix its issues against the run.Last season

18. Seattle seahawks, mike hughes, CB, central florida: richard sherman’s departure means the seahawks need to develop a cast of characters for a future edition of the legion of boom. Hughes is still raw, and the seahawks may be inclined to find less of a project here, but his upside his intriguing.

19. Dallas cowboys, derwin james, DB, florida state: I was tempted to move james up the board quite a bit, and his staying at no. 19 is more a reflection of how team needs play out in front of the cowboys. This would be a steal for dallas, which has dealt with inconsistency in its secondary for the better part of the last two seasons.

Darron cummings, the associated pressgeorgia offensive lineman isaiah wynn watches during the NFL football scouting combine, friday, march 2, 2018, in indianapolis. (AP photo/darron cummings)

20. Detroit lions, isaiah wynn, OL, georgia: the lions have invested too much money into quarterback matthew stafford to have the same protection issues they did last season, when detroit’s highly paid QB was sacked a career-high 47 times.Mock trade detroit could go running back here, but wynn’s versatility for an offensive line that was often injured last season could be a big boon.

21. Cincinnati bengals, connor williams, OL, texas: I’m sticking with williams here for the bengals, whose addition of cordy glenn through a trade with the bills was just the first step in what will need to be a mostly revamped offensive line.

22. Cleveland browns, derrius guice, RB, LSU (via mock trade with bills): A quarterback, a new offensive tackle and a potential starting running back in the first round. It sounds like a scene out of the film “draft day,” and it could be in the cards for cleveland given how much their two top-five picks could be valued as teams jump over each other in pursuit of a quarterback. The browns sit in an ideal position as they try, once again, to author a turnaround amid a long stretch of futility. Related articles

mock trade

23. Los angeles rams, rashaan evans, LB, alabama: to say the rams have added to their defense this offseason would be a major addition. The splashes include cornerbacks aqib talib and marcus peters and defensive tackle ndamukong suh, who could pair with reigning NFL defensive player of the year aaron donald to form the league’s most dominating interior. Evans could very well be gone by this point, but he’d be a steal here as the rams go about the business of replacing alec ogletree.

24. Carolina panthers, christian kirk, WR, texas A&M: the panthers enter the draft with a balanced roster, having addressed some big needs in free agency. Still, adding kirk to new wide receiver addition torrey smith could open things up even more for cam newton, who was at the top of his game last season after bouncing back from a forgettable 2016. Those two additions together would free up even more space for the dynamic christian mccaffrey.Mock draft

25. Tennessee titans, da’ron payne, DT, alabama: the titans missed out in their pursuit of suh, who became a target after tennessee cut former broncos’ first-round pick sylvester williams after one disappointing season. So it’s clear the titans are targeting an improvement to the interior portion of their defensive line, and payne’s athleticism along the front could make him a valuable component for new defensive coordinator dean pees.

26. Atlanta falcons, cortland sutton, WR, SMU: the falcons could use a reliable third target behind julio jones and mohamed sanu, especially with taylor gabriel leaving to join the bears. There are questions about sutton’s consistency, but he has the physical tools to make an impact off the bat.

27. New orleans saints, mason rudolph, QB, oklahoma state: yes, drew brees is back. But with the future hall of famer approaching his age-39 season, it’s time to start grooming his replacement.Franchise quarterback rudolph could be an intriguing choice for the cardinals if they were to remain at no. 15, but that may be a stretch for the former big 12 quarterback.

28. Pittsburgh steelers, leighton vander esch, LB, boise state: vander esch has been a trendy pick for the steelers, and it’s because he fits the mold of smart, tough-nosed players the steelers have long coveted at the position. That’s exactly who they have in ryan shazier, who won’t play this season after his scary neck injury in 2017. Vander esch could add valuable depth in shazier’s absence.

29. Jacksonville jaguars, will hernandez, OG, UTEP: jacksonville needs a backup quarterback, and it’s almost certain they will select one at some point, but the guess here is that they wait and take a player like hernandez, who has shot up draft boards ever since his standout performance at january’s senior bowl.

30. Minnesota vikings, isaiah oliver, CB, colorado: the vikings have a balanced roster.Franchise quarterback most of their so-called needs aren’t really glaring. Oliver’s upside as a long, athletic cornerback could be high if he improves his technique.

31. New england patriots, josh jackson, CB, iowa: jackson could very well go higher than this, but his 4.56-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine drew some concerns. Still, jackson was among the country’s top playmakers at the position last year, and could be a great depth play for the patriots as they work to replace malcolm butler.

32. Philadelphia eagles, dallas goedert, TE, south dakota state: the loss of young tight end trey burton in free agency makes the position one of need for the defending super bowl champions.