It’s time to turn the page on the 2018 NFL season and get excited for the upcoming offseason moves.
But mostly, it means consuming enough delicious mock draft goodness to make you believe you’re the next Mel Kiper Jr., minus the flawless hair.
Dream a bit with me. That’s what this time of the year is for NFL fans after all.
Let’s say a Thanos-finger-snap-type scenario occurs and only the non-power conference players are available (Notre Dame and BYU included).
If such a scenario were to occur, here’s how the draft might shake out...
- Arizona Cardinals: Ed Oliver/DT/Houston. There was a time before the 2018 season that some projections had Oliver going No. 1, Power-5 conference players included. Houston is a matchup nightmare, who is versatile enough to play everywhere on the D-Line.
- San Francisco 49ers: Jaylon Ferguson/EDGE/Louisiana Tech. The new NCAA all-time sack leader heads to the Bay Area to help take heat off DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas inside.
- New York Jets: Oshane Ximines/EDGE/Old Dominion. The Jets have a few emerging pieces on defense, but a quality rusher off the edge will only help give a young offense shorter fields to work with. Ximines also had his best game in ODU’s upset of Virginia Tech; not a bad thing for New York to know he plays his best wwhen the lights are brightest.
- Oakland Raiders: Khalil Hodge/MLB/Buffalo. The Raiders drafting a Buffalo Bull linebacker named Khalil early. [Insert terrible decision to trade Mack jokes here]. Hodge brings a relentlessness and ability to shed blocks that would make him impact player on Day One.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin Singletary/RB/Florida Atlantic. The Bucs ranked 29th in the league rushing. To compliment a quality passing game, Singletary can became the starter and instantly breathe life into a more versatile attack.
- New York Giants: Brett Rypien/QB/Boise St. Eli’s replacement has finally arrived. Funny enough, the Giants will now trust in the nephew of former NFC East enemy Mark to find some connections with all the big names at the skill positions. He may sit one year, but would ready by 2020 at the very latest to take over.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Andy Isabella/WR/UMass. Another quarterback here could make sense, too, but I believe the Jaguars are more in the market for a stable veteran to take the reigns. Isabella will be an impact slot receiver, who also has plenty of speed to create problems deep for defenses.
- Detroit Lions: Nasir Adderley/S/Delaware. With the recent release of Glover Quin, the secondary should merit attention. This is the dream-Group-of-5 scenario the Lions can hope for.
- Buffalo Bills: Darrell Henderson/RB/Memphis. With the retirement of Kyle Williams, defense could also be addressed here, but Henderson is too good to pass up. He would be the heir apparent to LeSean McCoy, who would be able to spell him at times this season.
- Denver Broncos: Tytus Howard/OT/Alabama St. What’s the best way to welcome new QB Joe Flacco to town? Plenty of protection from the best FBS offensive lineman in this year’s draft.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Rock Ya-Sin/CB/Temple. The 6’2” corner is the sort of physical defensive back coaches covet. In a division that suddenly had a surge of better quality at QB, Ya-Sin will be a major asset.
- Green Bay Packers: Mike Bell/S/Fresno St. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is gone and the Green Bay secondary needs a major shot of youth and talent. Bell is rangy, tall and productive.
- Miami Dolphins: Tyree Jackson/QB/Buffalo. He tailed off a bit in the MAC Championship and bowl game vs. Georgia Southern, but Jackson has the physical tools to make it work. The Dolphins need to move on from Ryan Tannehill and Jackson is a big, strong-armed candidate to start over with.
- Atlanta Falcons: Terrill Hanks/OLB/New Mexico St. Hanks is a versatile linebacker that could add some needed depth to Atlanta’s linebacking core, especially on the outside.
- Washington Redskins: Easton Stick/QB/North Dakota St. Alex Smith will miss all of next season and Colt McCoy is not the long-term solution. Stick is a dual-threat, who can give the offense a bit more dimension.
- Carolina Panthers: Blace Brown/CB/Troy. Tampa Bay, Atlanta and New Orleans all ranked in the Top 8 in total offensive yards last season. The Panthers will take the best corner available here to help negate those offenses. Brown is a playmaker with a nose for the ball.
- Cleveland Browns: Khalen Saunders/DT/Western Illinois. Saunders may not be the 17th best prospect in this scenario, but he fills the Browns’ most glaring need: help up front to stop the run. He’s also a great athlete at the position, who can drop a backflip on you, if needed.
- Minnesota Vikings: Nate Davis/G/Charlotte. Davis has the blend of power and footwork that can help the Vikings improve on a disappointing 2018 season.
- Tennessee Titans: Sutton Smith/OLB/Northern Illinois. Smith had 15 sacks this season (3rd best in FBS), while recording 26.5 tackles for loss (best in FBS). That’s the sort of pressure I see second-year coach Matt Vrabel looking to add to an already-good-not-yet-great defensive unit.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Jalin Moore/RB/Appalachian St. If Jalin had not been hurt this season, his stock would be even higher. The Steelers have James Conner in the event Mr. Bell leaves Pittsburgh, but Moore is a more explosive player, who may be even better as a receiver out of the backfield.
- Seattle Seahawks: Malik Gant/S/Marshall. Earl Thomas and the Seahawks are headed for a breakup very soon. Adding Gant would give the defense some quality depth and a dependable tackler on the back end.
- Baltimore Ravens: Penny Hart/WR/Georgia St. Hart is an explosive slot receiver, who would give Lamar Jackson a great short yardage outlet. Hart could easily double as a dangerous kick returner in the Baltimore system, as well.
- Houston Texans: Anthony Johnson/WR/Buffalo. If Clowney gets franchise tagged, then expect the Texans to look to add more weapons on the outside of the offense. Johnson has a blend of size and speed that could take more attention off DeAndre Hopkins.
- Oakland Raiders: Tyre Brady/WR/Marshall. The run on receivers is well underway. With the Raiders going defense with their first pick, the offense must get attention as well. At 6’3” Brady offers a great red zone target and fills a need left after dealing Amari Cooper to Dallas.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Isaiah Johnson/CB/Houston. The Eagles ranked 30th against the pass last year. Not good. Johnson is a tall corner, who emerged the last couple years as a dependable cover man. Good.
- Indianapolis Colts: Malik Reed/OLB/Nevada. The defensive overhaul of the Colts continues. Reed is better as a pass rusher, which will help the Colts to throw more blitz packages at opposing quarterbacks.
- Oakland Raiders: Clifton Duck/S/Appalachian St. Speed and tenacity is what the Raiders need to add, and Duck fits the bill (Get it?? I’ll show myself out.). Size will be a concern, but can contribute in both running and passing game defensive schemes.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Justice Hansen/QB/Arkansas St. The time has come to plan for a world without Phillip Rivers. Hansen is a two-time Player of the Year from the Sun Belt with a bevy of throws in his arsenal. Give him a year to learn and he could be a productive replacement.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Alexander Mattison/RB/Boise St. Damien Harris filled in admirably after the Chiefs had to part ways with Kareem Hunt. However, is he for 16 games-plus next season? Depth will be key and Mattison can give quality carries right away.
- Green Bay Packers: Max Scharping/OT/Northern Illinois. Keeping Aaron Rodgers upright will mean everything next season. Scharping is a quality masher, who can help that.
- Los Angeles Rams: Ryquell Armstead/RB/Temple. Let’s not officially panic with what happened at the end of the year to Todd Gurley. But, if I’m the Rams, it is time to plan for someone who can help offset the load with Gurley and Malcolm Brown.
- New England Patriots: Josh Oliver/TE/San Jose St. Will Gronk retire or not? Oliver is a 6’5”, 250-pound tight end who is good in the receiving and blocks game. Retiring Gronk or not, the Patriots do well to give themselves insurance.
- Carl Granderson/DE/Wyoming will be a name that could work himself into the mix. However, after being charged with sexual assault and battery allegations, teams will most likely tread carefully.
- Noteable players who would most likely come off the board early on Day 2 in this draft: Maxx Crosby/DE/Eastern Michigan, Olisaemeka Udoh/OT/Elon, Tony Pollard/RB/Memphis, Preston Williams/WR/Colorado St., Jamarius Way/WR/South Alabama, Dax Raymond/TE/Utah St., Jeff Allison/MLB/Fresno St., Delvon Randall/S/Temple, Jimmy Moreland/CB/James Madison.