2018 Aftermath NFL Mock Draft

Welcome back fans of the Aftermath for another mock draft. I brought back my usual cast of characters to help me for another year. Jack Venezia, Matt Luppino, Brian Mandel and I each rotated through the first round of the draft, making the selection we feel each team should make. We did not allow for trades in this mock draft. This won’t be how the first round goes, but this is how we think it should go.

  1. Browns- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
    The decision here is between Rosen and Darnold. I went with Rosen because Darnold seems to be more turnover prone of the two and the Browns definitely want to limit their turnovers as much as possible. -JV
  2. Giants- Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
    The Giants need to decide on who their favorite quarterback is in the draft and base this pick on what Cleveland does. If he’s there, take him happily; otherwise, you trade down or take Chubb, a great player to replace the outgoing Jason Pierre-Paul. Rosen was my guy, so Chubb it is. -ML
  3. Jets- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
    In my opinion, he’s the best quarterback on the board. The Jets can continue rebuilding with the new centerpiece of their offense. Darnold is perfect for a modern-day offense with a great arm and good mobility. -BM
  4. Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
    The Browns could very reasonably trade down with a team like Arizona or Buffalo here, but with a player as talented as Barkley on the board, they pull the trigger. He could be a game changing running back on an offense that already has Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, not to mention that Rosen kid. -CM
  5. Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
    If Chubb falls to them Denver will definitely jump on him. More likely, it will either take a quarterback or trade down. Since we don’t mess with trades in this mock draft I took the quarterback who I thought would best develop behind Keenum for a few years. -JV
  6. Colts- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
    This assumes that Andrew Luck is ready to play quarterback again. With Chubb and Barkley gone, the Colts need to ensure that he can stay upright, and a great offensive line prospect who projects like his fellow Irishman, Zach Martin, definitely fits the bill. -ML
  7. Buccaneers- Derwin James, S, Florida State
    The Bucs were hoping Barkley would fall. Instead, they draft James because they need more help for their secondary. Although Fitzpatrick is debatably a bit better, James is a good player in his own right and Tampa loves drafting Florida players. -BM
  8. Chicago Bears- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
    I came very close to selecting Denzel Ward here, but Fitzpatrick’s versatility reminds me a little of Tyrann Mathieu. He has the ability to play nickel corner or safety over the top. He becomes a player quarterbacks must account for when playing Chicago. -CM
  9. 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
    The Niners offense is clicking but their secondary needs some help. If Minkah Fitzpatrick falls to them they might consider taking him here, but I rate Ward as a better overall talent. This was an easy pick in that regard. -JV
  10. Raiders- Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
    The Raiders can either go with the pass rushing enforcer in Roquan Smith, or the imposing presence of Edmunds. They won’t go wrong with either, so I will go with the wrecking ball with rocket boosters. -ML
  11. Dolphins- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
    Although a bit of reach, the Dolphins desperately need another good corner. Alexander should be able to come in on day one and start. He and Xavien Howard give Miami two young corners to develop. -BM
  12. Bills- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
    Not sure that Baker makes it this far, or that Buffalo would let him. I also think Miami would swoop in if he did slide. Finally, the Bills have their man. This gives them a piece to retool this offense around after gutting most of it over the past year. -CM
  13. Washington- Vita Vea, DT, Washington
    Washington has to find a way to stop the run and taking a defensive tackle like Vita Vea early could be the fix. It could also reasonably go with a safety. Some have them taking a running back, but I think Barkley will be long gone and none of the other backs are worth it at 13. -JV
  14. Packers- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
    Green Bay is at its best when Aaron Rodgers has weapons to throw to, usually in the form of three wide receivers that make the defense spread thin. Davante Adams had a breakout year, but Randall Cobb regressed, and Jordy Nelson left. Ridley’s polish and speed are very tempting. -ML
  15. Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
    With the retirement of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals need their quarterback of the future. I truly believe Jackson can be a quarterback at the pro level. Being drafted by the Cardinals will put him in the perfect situation to develop behind Bradford for a year or two. -BM
  16. Ravens- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
    Ridley would be a nice fit for Ozzie Newsome’s team with the Alabama connection. Instead, he will swallow his school pride and draft a Bulldog who can make an immediate impact on this defense. There are a lot of different areas of need for Baltimore, but this is the best player available. -CM
  17. Chargers- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
    Just imagine a first round defensive tackle next to Joey Bosa. The Chargers will have a wall which opposing running backs will bounce off of. If Payne and Vea are not available San Diego/LA might go for a safety. -JV
  18. Seahawks- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
    A transcendent corner known for creating turnovers and locking down top receivers leaves Seattle, and the NCAA’s leader in interceptions and passes defended is on the board. Jackson can be the next Richard Sherman in that system. -ML
  19. Cowboys- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
    A massive hole has been created with the departure of Dez Bryant. With Ridley off the board, Moore is the best wideout available. The Cowboys will be getting a larger version of Stefon Diggs in Moore, and the former is already a great receiver. -BM
  20. Lions- Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
    Harold Landry may be tempting here, but the ceiling of Davenport is even more enticing. He could be the athletic counterpart across from Ziggy Ansah by 2019 or his replacement if the Lions can’t work out a long-term deal. -CM
  21. Bengals- James Daniel, C, Iowa
    Andy Dalton could use some more time in the pocket after some struggles last season. The offensive line in general is not great this year, but a late first rounder is worth it for a center who could become a leader in years to come. -JV
  22. Bills- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
    With the quarterback position locked up with Mayfield earlier, the Bills now have other holes to fill. While a WR here like Courtland Sutton is an option, Buffalo lost their starting LT Cordy Glenn this offseason. Taking the best tackle on the board is a no brainer to protect their new toy. -ML
  23. Patriots- Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
    Everyone in the NFL would regret Belichick getting his hands on Landry. Landry is a great talent that underperformed this year and would be coming into one of the best situations in the NFL with the Patriots. -BM
  24. Panthers- Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
    Courtland Sutton seems like an option, but Carolina’s offense seems to find ways to succeed with an odd group. Instead, it’s time to address the Josh Norman-shaped hole in this defense. His size is enough to convince the Panthers to take him. -CM
  25. Titans- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
    Tennessee’s front seven needs help all over the place. Tennessee won’t necessarily take the best player available, but it will probably take the best defensive lineman or linebacker available. In this case that’s Evans. -JV
  26. Falcons- Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan
    The Falcons desperately need a lineman to fill the Dontari Poe-sized hole left after he signed with division rival Carolina. They will be ecstatic to see Hurst still available here, as some believe he may be the best one in the draft in spite of not working out at the combine. -ML
  27. Saints- Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
    With the three best defensive linemen off the board, the Saints should look towards their offense. Brees isn’t getting any younger, so they should do anything they can to make sure he stays upright. -BM
  28. Steelers- Billy Price, C, Ohio State
    The void at middle linebacker is huge, but I don’t trust Malik Jefferson enough to pick him here. Instead, I will go with the best player on the board. Price has a lot of versatility and will fill in nicely whenever Ramon Foster decides to hang up his cleats. -CM
  29. Jaguars- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
    The question here is: how can Jacksonville help Fournette run the ball more? I think they either go with a wide receiver who stretches the field or offensive lineman who can create running lanes for him. I went with Williams to fill the second option. -JV
  30. Vikings- Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
    Big need on the offensive line for Minnesota, and it has 84 million reasons to protect new QB Kirk Cousins. They take the best available one here and look to do the same next round. -ML
  31. Patriots- Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
    Nate Solder left to join the Giants this offseason, and the Patriots need a replacement. Even with the injuries Miller can still be a good offensive tackle. This will fill out what was a good first round for New England. -BM
  32. Eagles- Sam Hubbard, Edge, Ohio State
    What to do with a team that has very few holes. Fans may clamor for Darius Guice, but I like the edge rusher from Ohio State. He provides some depth to this Eagles pass rush that was dominant at times last season. Look for Philly to trade down if the guy they want is no longer on the board. -CM
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2013 NFL Re-Draft

The 2013 NFL draft was one of the worst in memory. It has been five years since that fateful first round, and of the 32 players selected, just nine of them are still on the team that drafted them. There was some hidden talent later in the draft. Not a single quarterback appears in this redraft, which is pretty much unheard of. Overall, it was a solid draft class, the first round just really did not pan out as expected.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
    Original Selection: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
    New Selection: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    Fisher has put together a solid career in Kansas City, but not quite deserving of the top overall pick. He will still go later in this redraft, but instead, the Chiefs nab potentially the best right tackle in the whole league at this point.
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars
    Original Selection: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
    New Selection: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
    It was assumed there was three elite tackle prospects in this draft. Joeckel proved that wrong. He is currently out of the league and never really managed to solidify a spot in Jacksonville. The Jags take potentially the best player in the draft who fills a need and makes the Blaine Gabbert years a little more bearable.
  3. Oakland Raiders
    Original Selection: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
    New Selection: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
    In 2013, the Raiders traded down with Miami and took the speedy Hayden. Instead, they keep their third overall selection and take a game changing receiver in Hopkins. Even with Terrelle Pyror as his quarterback, Hopkins would still emerge as a top flight receiver.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
    Original Selection: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    New Selection: David Bakhtari, T, Colorado
    I debated this back and forth for a while, because Bakhtari might be one of the three best left tackles in the league. I basically would have switched Bakhtari with Johnson, but ultimately decided that Bakhtari needed a little more development right out of school. He still fills a need very nicely for the Eagles.
  5. Detroit Lions
    Original Selection: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
    New Selection: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
    One of the few selections, that goes to the same team, Ansah was an athletic freak who panned out really well for the Lions. No reason to change the pick with him still on the board.
  6. Cleveland Browns
    Original Selection: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
    New Selection: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
    This was a tough choice between Rhodes and A.J. Bouye for Cleveland, who desperately needed another corner to start alongside Joe Hayden in his prime. Rhodes was just a bit more pro ready, which is exactly what the Browns needed.
  7. Arizona Cardinals
    Original Selection: Johnathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
    New Selection: Travis Fredrick, C, Wisconsin
    Arguably the best player in the draft, he just doesn’t play a position that teams value as highly. Still, Fredrick warrants a top 10 selection and looks like a future Hall of Famer at center in Dallas. Arizona would prefer that to the uneven play of Cooper.
  8. Buffalo Bills
    Original Selection: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
    New Selection: Keenan Allen, WR, California
    Buffalo actually traded back with the Rams and took the first of many quarterback busts. This time around, they nail this pick by taking the dynamic Allen. He may have some injury concerns, but his upside is still massive.
  9. New York Jets
    Original Selection: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
    New Selection: A.J. Bouye, CB, UCF
    Needless to say the Jets were hoping for a game-changing corner when they drafted Milliner. Here, New York selects Bouye and steals a player who might now be the best corner in football. He took a year or two to truly take hold in Houston, but makes the massive jump from undrafted to top 10 pick.
  10. Tennessee Titans
    Original Selection: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
    New Selection: Kyle Long, G, Oregon
    Right position, wrong player for Tennessee as Chance Warmack never lived up to the hype. Kyle Long has been a stud in Chicago since day one. He might even keep Jack Locker healthy for a few more years.
  11. San Diego Chargers
    Original Selection: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
    New Selection: Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU
    With many of the top linemen gone in the past few picks, San Diego finds themselves taking the best player available, which at this point is undoubtedly Mathieu. The Honey Badger is a versatile playmaker. His injury issues are still a concern, but his talent alone makes him worth the selection.
  12. Miami Dolphins
    Original Selection: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
    New Selection: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
    Out of all of the bad moves mad in this draft, Miami might own the worst one. Dion Jordan registered two sacks as a rookie, then served three different suspensions, including one that lasted 15 months. Trufant on the other hand was an integral part of a Falcons defense that made it to the Super Bowl in 2017.
  13. New York Jets
    Original Selection: Sheldon Richardson, DE, Missouri
    New Selection: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
    While Richardson was no doubt productive in New York, this was not the right team for him as his off the field issues and lack of a true scheme fit caused him to flame out. The Jets haven’t had a good tight end since maybe Chris Baker. Kelce no doubt solves that problem.
  14. Carolina Panthers
    Original Selection: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
    New Selection: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
    The Panthers actually landed Short in the second round of this draft. He has developed into one of the best pass rushing tackles in the league. It would be foolish to let him hang around.
  15. New Orleans Saints
    Original Selection: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
    New Selection: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
    Slay is often over looked after spending years on bad Lions’ defenses, but his play has been one of the lone bright spots. New Orleans desperately needed improved secondary play for several years without finding much until recently.
  16. St. Louis Rams
    Original Selection: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
    New Selection: Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota State
    I’m not buying for a second that Tavon Austin is worth a first round pick, much less trading up into the top 10. I would rather take Thielen, who took a few years to develop. Over the past two seasons, Thielen racked up 160 receptions for 2,243 yards and nine touchdowns. Austin has 71 catches for 556 yards and three scores.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers
    Original Selection: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
    New Selection: Jamie Collins, LB, Southern Miss
    Jones never panned out so Pittsburgh takes Collins, which helps them and hurts the rival Patriots. Collins did a lot well in New England and even more recently in Cleveland to deserve this pick.
  18. Dallas Cowboys
    Original Selection: Travis Fredrick, C, Wisconsin
    New Selection: Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
    With Fredricks long gone, Dallas opts for another big body in the middle of the line. Warford started all 16 games as a rookie and made a Pro Bowl in 2017. He might have extended Tony Romo’s career a little bit.
  19. New York Giants
    Original Selection: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
    New Selection: Sheldon Richardson, DE, Missouri
    The other New York team gambles on the talent that Richardson brings to the table. The Giants had an aging defensive core including Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. Richardson bridges the gap.
  20. Chicago Bears
    Original Selection: Kyle Long, G, Oregon
    New Selection: Micah Hyde, DB, Iowa
    Long is off the board, so the Bears tab Hyde, who has proven his versatility over the years in Green Bay and now Buffalo. Chicago’s defense fell apart over the past few seasons and could have used a productive player like Hyde.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals
    Original Selection: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
    New Selection: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
    Another example of right position, wrong player. Eifert had his moments, but fell off over the past few seasons. Ertz on the other hand has developed into one of the best all around tight ends in the NFL. He would do wonders for Andy Dalton.
  22. St. Louis Rams
    Original Selection: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
    New Selection: Eric Reid, S, LSU
    Ogletree just left the Rams via a trade, so instead St. Louis grabs Reid. A hard hitter and solid cover man, Reid would make an immediate impact for a team that needed some new blood at safety. The team selected T.J. McDonald in the third round.
  23. Minnesota Vikings
    Original Selection: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
    New Selection: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State
    Floyd never made the impact expected of him at the pro level. Williams has turned into a monster in the middle of Baltimore’s defense, eating up blocks and stuffing run plays. Minnesota could use a bit of that down the line.
  24. Indianapolis Colts
    Original Selection: Bjorn Werner, DE, Florida State
    New Selection: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
    The first overall pick drops 23 spots, but eventually lands in Indy, where keeping Andrew Luck upright must be the priority. Fisher gives the Colts a right tackle opposite Anthony Castonzo, but more importantly a building block to reshape the line.
  25. Minnesota Vikings
    Original Selection: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
    New Selection: Robert Woods, WR, USC
    Rhodes has been off the board for while now. Instead, the Vikings opt for a speedy playmaker who has proven to be a great chess piece when used correctly. Woods’ speed alone makes him valuable and might even make Christain Ponder watchable.
  26. Green Bay Packers
    Original Selection: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
    New Selection: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
    Jones became the latest Packer to fail at providing a pass rush. Ogletree has some baggage, but if anyone could iron it out, it would be Green Bay. He would give the Packers another roaming linebacker to pair with Clay Matthews.
  27. Houston Texans
    Original Selection: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
    New Selection: Kenny Vaccarro, S, Texas
    Obviously, it is wishful thinking for Hopkins to still be here. The Texans go with Kenny Vaccaro, who has been solid if unspectacular in New Orleans. He showed flashes of potential that Wade Phillips and Vance Joseph (both on the Houston staff at the time) could have pulled out of him.
  28. Denver Broncos
    Original Selection: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
    New Selection: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
    Williams was not the big man Denver thought it was getting. Lotulelei drops a bit but still finds a home as a pass rusher on one of the best offensive teams ever built.
  29. New England Patroits
    Original Selection: Jamie Collins, LB, Southern Miss
    New Selection: Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
    If there was anyone who was going to turn Kiko Alonso into a star, it was Bill Belichick. Odds are the Patriots would still trade down from here, but Alonso offered a lot of potential despite the injury risk the New England is almost always willing to take.
  30. Atlanta Falcons
    Original Selection: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
    New Selection: Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
    Trufant is off the board way before the Falcons can think about trading up for him. Instead, Atlanta takes a pass catching stud to pair with Julio Jones and aid Matt Ryan. Tony Gonzales was in his final year. Reed fills that void about as well as anyone could hope to.
  31. San Francisco 49ers
    Original Selection: Eric Reid, S, LSU
    New Selection: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
    Reid is gone, so the 49ers take another roaming safety in Jefferson. He has developed into a better than average corner who can press at the line and tackle. He would be a nice consolation prize for San Francisco with Reid already gone.
  32. Baltimore Ravens
    Original Selection: Matt Elam, S, Florida
    New Selection: J.C. Tretter, G, Cornell
    Fast forward five years and Tretter is the starting center for the Browns. He is one of the better ones in the league and would help keep newly paid Joe Flacco clean after his stunning Super Bowl performance.

2017 NFL Mock Draft

I just happened to uncover this going through some old drafts on the site. I figured it was worth a post to see how I thought the draft should go. It’s even better now with a year to see how the players actually performed. More draft coverage coming this week. Enjoy!

  1. Cleveland Browns
    2016 Record: 1-15
    Selection: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
    The Browns don’t overthink things and get the best player in the draft. This defense was one of the worst in the NFL a season ago. Garrett doesn’t fix all of that, but he certainly will make a dent for a pass rush that only tallied 26 sacks last season, good for 30th in the league.
  2. San Francisco 49ers
    2016 Record: 2-14
    Selection: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
    Most likely, San Francisco will look to trade down. I think they want to continue to stockpile picks. If they have to pick, finishing a rebuild on the defense line will make this a scary group. Thomas would join 2015 first rounder Erik Armstead and 2016 first rounder DeForrest Buckner up front.
  3. Chicago Bears
    2016 Record: 4-12
    Selection: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
    Even though it seems like quarterback is a need, so is corner. Lattimore could become a shutdown corner in the Windy City. Pairing him with Kyle Fuller and newly signed Prine Amukamara makes the Bears secondary a strength.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
    2016 Record: 4-12
    Selection: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
    Ever since Maurice Jones-Drew left town, Jacksonville has been trying to fill the void in the backfield. Dallas had a ton of success picking a Pro Bowl caliber runner in the first round. The Jags won’t be that good, but this is a good step in the right direction.
  5. Tennessee Titans
    2016 Record: 7-9
    Selection: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
    Marcus Mariota is becoming one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s without a true number one receiver. Williams has the chance to become that. He has an absurd catch radius and should keep the safety from crowding the box.
  6. New York Jets
    2016 Record: 5-11
    Selection: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
    Similar to 2015 when Leonard Williams fell to them, the Jets take Adams as the best player available. A trade with Cleveland is very possible and probably smarter, but staying here, Adams is the player New York should tab to start the rebuild.
  7. Los Angeles Chargers
    2016 Record: 5-11
    Selection: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
    A move to LA does not change the fact that the Chargers are still looking for a replacement to Eric Weddle two years later. Hooker is not the same player, but has the potential to have a similar impact for the Bolts.
  8. Carolina Panthers
    2016 Record: 6-10
    Selection: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
    Resisting the urge to take a corner like White or Humphrey in such a deep secondary draft, Carolina instead goes after a difference maker on offense who should take some pressure off of Cam Newton to make every play.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals
    2016 Record: 6-9-1
    Selection: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
    Cincinnati takes the best player available in Allen. Right away he can rotate in with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap or he can start along Geno Atkins on the inside, especially on passing downs.
  10. Buffalo Bills
    2016 Record: 6-10
    Selection: Deshon Watson, QB, Clemson
    What? Not Trubistky? In the long run, I think Watson will be the better quarterback. Even with Tyrod Taylor on the roster, Buffalo cannot resist taking the former Tigers signal caller.
  11. New Orleans Saints
    2016 Record: 7-9
    Selection: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
    Character concerns aside, Foster can flat out play. The top-10 pass on him due to the red flags, but the Saints have needed to upgrade at linebacker for a while now. This is the best chance to do just that.
  12. Cleveland Browns
    2016 Record: 1-15
    Selection: Mitch Trubitsky, QB, UNC
    Courtesy of the trade with Philly, the Browns are back on the clock on their prized quarterback is still available. I expect for them to trade up from this spot to land him before Buffalo picks, but in the end, the Browns get who they want.
  13. Arizona Cardinals
    2016 Record: 7-8-1
    Selection: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
    This team might seem set at receiver, but with Larry Fitzgerald entering the final stages of his career and with David Johnson being the team’s second leading receiver behind him, this move makes sense. Davis is hailed as an elite route runner who can block in the running game. His concern is drops. He can learn from the future Hall of Famer before he takes over.
  14. Philadelphia Eagles
    2016 Record: 8-8
    Selection: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
    The Eagles opt for secondary help here with very few options on the current roster. White can slide both inside to the slot or lineup wide across from a receiver, doing both in college. LSU defensive backs have done pretty well in the NFL too (Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid).
  15. Indianapolis Colts
    2016 Record: 8-8
    Selection: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
    Indy adds some corner help as well taking the best player left on the board in Humphrey. Makes sense considering they had a bottom five pass defense last season. He is a physical player with a big body. He can line up across from Vontae Davis day one.
  16. Baltimore Ravens
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
    Come on, it’s Ozzie Newsome we are talking about here. It makes too much sense. Landing Howard will give Joe Flacco a top-tier tight end for the first time since Todd Heap left town.
  17. Washington
    2016 Record: 8-7-1
    Selection: John Ross, WR, Washington
    The combine 40 star ends up going from Washington to Washington. This team was decimated at receiver this offseason. Sure signing Terrelle Pyror was nice, but after losing Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, adding more talent is a must. Oh and Ross is basically a carbon copy of Jackson, so he would be a good fit.
  18. Tennessee Titans
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: Haasan Reddick, DE/OLB, Temple
    Interior lineman is still a big need, but with an athlete like Reddick on the board, Tennessee adds a player with a ton of upside and that should make a solid pass rush even scarier.
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
    There are currently some allegations hanging over Conley’s head that could push him a little bit down draft boards. Early signs are that the allegations are untrue, but that remains to be confirmed. Conley is a player with great cover skills who would help improve a secondary that allowed 7.7 yards per attempt a season ago, 29th in the NFL.
  20. Denver Broncos
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
    Denver has had a revolving door at left tackle since Ryan Clady suffered an injury in 2015. Russell Okung is now with the Chargers and after allowing 40 sacks last season, offensive line is clearly a need. Ramczyk should be able to start Day 1, even with some growing pains.
  21. Detroit Lions
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
    The run on secondary players continues. Wilson is a ball hawk who will gamble occasionally to make a play. Detroit only had 10 interceptions last season and allowed an absurd 72.2 percent of passes to be completed by opposing teams. Wilson might give up a few big plays, but he will make his fair share as well.
  22. Miami Dolphins
    2016 Record: 10-6
    Selection: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
    With Mario Williams now long gone, Miami needs a replacement. Barnett could easily be the answer. He is a solid pass rusher and run defender who slots well into a 4-3 defensive front. Adding young talent to that defensive line is what will keep the Dolphins in the playoff picture.
  23. New York Giants
    2016 Record: 11-5
    Selection: David Njoku, TE, Miami
    Linebacker is obviously a huge need, but the Giants cannot afford to pass on a talent at tight end like Njoku. New York has been in desperate need of a pass catcher at the position since Kevin Boss left. Njoku would join Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to form a scary receiving core.
  24. Oakland Raiders
    2016 Record: 12-4
    Selection: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
    The run on Florida players continues. Davis is a great option as a 4-3 linebacker. He is raw and will need to improve his mechanics when tackling, but with the Raiders looking to build their defense to a point that can match their offense, Davis will help in that progression.
  25. Houston Texans
    2016 Record: 9-7
    Selection: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
    Many project Mahomes to go earlier, but with questions surrounding his accuracy, he should probably be a late-first rounder at best. Houston had the worst yards per attempt average in the league a season ago. Mahomes’ rocket arm will likely prevent that from being a repeat performance.
  26. Seattle Seahawks
    2016 Record: 10-5-1
    Selection: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
    Seattle’s defensive line has been decimated. It only makes sense to revamp with some new blood. McDowell can rush the passer as needed for this team on third down situations right away.
  27. Kansas City Chiefs
    2016 Record: 12-4
    Selection: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
    While it is true that Kansas City has Marcus Peters, that is only half the equation. It is tough to say that this secondary is set to go without another solid corner. I think Awuzie has the skills to help out right away and be a good number two corner behind Peters in years to come.
  28. Dallas Cowboys
    2016 Record: 13-3
    Selection: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
    This Cowboys team is going to be very good for years to come. The key now is getting the defense to catch up to the offense. It looked better this season than it had in a while, but that does not mean they should pass on Harris.
  29. Green Bay Packers
    2016 Record: 10-6
    Selection: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
    It has been years since Aaron Rodgers had a good receiving tight end. Not that this offense really needs that much more fire power, but Engram is built like a tight end and runs like a receiver. He would be a matchup nightmare Rodgers could use to his advantage.
  30. Pittsburgh Steelers
    2016 Record: 11-5
    Selection: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
    The Steelers could have used a bit of additional pass rush while trying to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Enter McKinley who would immediately step in on third down scenarios to get after the quarterback.
  31. Atlanta Falcons
    2016 Record: 11-5
    Selection: David Njoku, TE, Miami
    Truly, there are not too many holes on this Falcons team, it’s just offensive play calling that seems to hold them back. However, I’m not buying Austin Hooper as a true long-term solution at tight end. Njoku could be something special in this Atlanta offense.
  32. New Orleans Saints
    2016 Record: 7-9
    Selection: Budda Baker, S, Washington
    Offense has never been the problem in New Orleans. It has been a pedestrian defense holding the Saints back. Adding the playmaking Baker to the defensive mix could give this team the boost needed to return to the playoffs.

2017 NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings

For many college football players, the goal is to have success at school to earn a spot in the NFL. Most players who turn pro after college enter the league via the NFL Draft.

I started this project a year ago, ranking each school based on the how many athletes they send to the NFL and how high those athletes are drafted. I only look at the last five years of NFL drafts to keep the sample size manageable. This also reflects modern trends in college football, rather than historic ones. With this five-year rule, that means results from the 2012 NFL Draft are no longer considered. Oregon and Baylor take major hits in the rankings as a result. This is college football we are talking about, so here is the top 25.

The scoring system is as follows:
1st round-10 points
2nd round-7 points
3rd round-5 points
4th round-4 points
5th round- 3 points
6th round- 2 points
7th round- 1 points

Alabama Logo1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 253 points
Previous: 1 (225 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Amari Cooper, 4th Overall, 2014
It is good to be king. Alabama just sent one of its most loaded draft classes yet to the NFL, with seven players going in the first two rounds. All that did was stretch the lead atop the rankings for ‘Bama. The Tide have had 10 first round selections since 2013.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 200 points
Previous: 3 (166 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Joey Bosa, 3rd Overall, 2016
Ohio State isn’t going anywhere. With eight first rounders in the past two drafts, Urban Meyer has turned Colombus into a football factory again. Having moved passed Florida State, the Buckeyes will take aim at Alabama next.

Florida State Logo3. Florida State Seminoles- 192 points
Previous: 2 (183 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jameis Winston, 1st Overall, 2015
Jimbo Fisher has turned Florida State into a breeding ground for NFL talent. The Seminoles increased their point total with a strong draft class, but didn’t have a first rounder for the first time since 2009. As a result, they drop to three.

Florida logo.jpg4. Florida Gators- 181 points
Previous: 6 (145 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Dante Fowler Jr., 3rd Overall, 2015
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the Sunshine State is churning out pro prospects. The Gators close in on their in state foe while passing up SEC rival LSU. A deep group this season has Florida in the top five.

Louisiana State University logo5. LSU Tigers- 175 points
Previous: 4 (160 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Leonard Fournette, 4th Overall, 2017
LSU sent eight players to the NFL this year, including three first rounders. Yet, the Tigers slide back a spot to round out the top five. Three first round picks in one draft weren’t enough to make up for back-to-back years without a player going in the opening round.

Clemson Logo6. Clemson Tigers- 151 points
Previous: 8 (134 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sammy Watkins, 4th Overall, 2014
Five straight years Clemson has had a player selected in the first round. Only a year removed from a national title and with Dabo Sweeney still calling the shots, there is a good chance that Clemson unseats someone in the top five next year.

Notre Dame Logo7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 123 points
Previous: 5 (151 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
A down year for the Irish on the field leads to a meager draft class and a drop in the rankings. Notre Dame had only two players selected this year, in the second and seventh rounds respectively. Brian Kelly’s group might fall a little more before he rights the ship.

Texas A&M logo8. Texas A&M Aggies- 115 points
Previous: 10 (108 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
Texas A&M makes a small leap in the rankings after seeing Myles Garrett go first overall, followed by four more of his former teammates before the draft was over. The Aggies should continue to rise playing in the ultra-competitive SEC.

UCLA logo.jpg8. UCLA Bruins- 115 points
Previous: 17 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Anthony Barr, 9th Overall, 2014
A huge jump for UCLA sees it move up nine spots after sending six more prospects to the pros. Takkarist McKinley made it two straight years with a Bruin going in the first round. Josh Rosen will likely make it three in 2018.

Stanford Cardinal10. Stanford Cardinal- 113 points
Previous: 7 (137 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
Despite Stanford producing two first round picks this year, Stanford falls three spots. That’s because those were the only two players the Cardinal had drafted this year. With that 2012 class that featured Andrew Luck no longer counting, Stanford saw it’s point total dip significantly.

MichiganWolverines11. Michigan Wolverines- 107 points
Previous: Unranked
Highest Drafted Player- Taylor Lewan, 11th Overall, 2014
We all knew it was coming. Michigan roars into the top 25 after sending 11 players, including two first rounders, to the NFL this year. That was the most by any school this spring. With Jim Harbaugh continuing to produce quality players, it would not be a surprise to see the Wolverines nestled into the top 10 next year.

USC logo12. USC Trojans- 105 points
Previous: 11 (107 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Leonard Williams, 6th Overall, 2015
The Trojans had a player selected in the first round for just the third time since 2013. A solid class of five prospects should bolster USC for the near future. Entering the top 10 is unlikely until it starts producing first rounders regularly, but I have a feeling that Sam Darnold should help with that.

Miami logo13. Miami Hurricanes- 98 points
Previous: 14 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Ereck Flowers, 9th Overall, 2015
Don’t look now but the U is returning to its former glory. Success on the field is growing and as a result, Miami climbs closer to the top 10. In the early 2000s, the Hurricanes would have dominated this list. Now, they are sending deep classes to the NFL, just not the star-studded ones of yesteryear.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg14. Washington Huskies- 97 points
Previous: 25 (71 points)
Highest Drafted Player– John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
The biggest jump of any team from last year’s rankings belongs to Washington. John Ross made it five straight years that a Washington player went in the first round. The difference from previous classes is that there were several more Huskies that followed. As a result, Washington finds itself in the thick of the top 15.

Georgia Logo15. Georgia Bulldogs- 96 points
Previous: 9 (125 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Todd Gurley, 10th overall, 2015
Georgia has been very hit or miss with recent draft classes. After producing five prospects last year, including first rounder Jarvis Jones, the Bulldogs had just one player drafted this year. Fifth rounder Isaiah McKenzie was the lone Georgia player in the 2017 draft. Georgia’s fall in the rankings is reflective of that.

Oregon logo16. Oregon Ducks- 88 points
Previous: 13 (101 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Marcus Mariota, 2nd Overall, 2015
It is unbelievable that Oregon is envious of Georgia’s draft class, but when not a single Duck gets drafted, that’s what happens. I guess when Chip Kelly left, all of the blue chip prospects disappeared with him. The likelihood is that Oregon will continue to fall.

Oklahoma Logo17. Oklahoma Sooners- 87 points
Previous: 12 (106 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Lane Johnson, 4th Overall, 2013
The Sooners fell pretty hard in these rankings and seemed poised to continue to do so. Oklahoma has not produced a first round pick since Lane Johnson in 2013. Good for them they have produced a ton of players drafted in rounds four through six or they would already be off the list.

Missouri logo18. Missouri Tigers- 86 points
Previous: 21 (81 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sheldon Richardson, 13th Overall, 2013
Missouri hasn’t exactly been competitive in the SEC of late, but it continues to send highly valued prospects to the NFL. Charles Harris represented the only player from Missou selected this year, which likely means that the Tigers are due for a drop come next year.

Louisville logo19. Louisville Cardinals- 85 points
Previous: 18 (88 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Sheldon Rankins, 12th Overall, 2016
Only producing two players this year in the sixth and seventh rounds certainly hurt the Cardinals, but with Louisville looking like a team on the rise, there could be more prospects on the way to bolster its ranking. Still, the Cardinals could be in for a sharp drop in a couple of years with its 2014 class accounting for more than a third of its points.

Wisconsin logo19. Wisconsin Badgers- 85 points
Previous: 15 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Melvin Gordon, 15th Overall, 2015
A really solid 2012 draft class accounted for much of Wisconsin’s success a year ago and with how tight the points are in the middle of the table, it shows. Wisco drops four spots, but now has a good base to build from with two first round picks in 2017.

UNC logo.jpg21. UNC Tar Heels- 84 points
Previous: 22 (74 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Mitchell Trubisky
You would think that having the second overall pick in the draft would correlate with a big jump up the rankings. Instead, North Carolina moves up just one spot, but seems set to climb higher. A deep class this year consisting of six players should keep the Tar Heels in the top 25 for the foreseeable future.

West Virginia logo22. West Virginia Mountaineers- 83 points
Previous: 16 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
This is my pick for the school most likely to leave the rankings next year. With West Virginia’s 2013 class consisting of five players taken in the first three rounds and just one player drafted this year in round five, the Mountaineers would need a stellar draft next year to keep them in the conversation.

Michigan State logo23. Michigan State Spartans- 75 points
Previous: 20 (87 points)
Highest Drafted Player– Jack Conklin, 8th Overall, 2016
The Spartans slid a little with just two players selected in 2017. A rough season for Michigan State in 2016 could seal its fate for the future of these rankings. Still, East Lansing has produced more than its fair share of Day 2 selections, which could keep them alive.

Utah_Utes_logo23. Utah Utes- 75 points
Previous: Unranked
Highest Drafted Player- Star Loutelilie, 14th Overall, 2013
Utah is quietly becoming a football school. The PAC-12 is improving each year and NFL teams are noticing. Washington has climbed the rankings. Utah has it’s niche now. Colorado is a candidate to join a in the future. The Utes have produced several mid-round selections headlined by the occasional first rounder; a solid recipe for success.

Auburn_Tigers_logo25. Auburn Tigers- 74 points
Previous: Others Receiving Votes (66 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Greg Robinson, 2nd Overall, 2014
After just missing the rankings a season ago, Auburn snags the final spot. A solid if unspectacular 2017 group pushed the Tigers over the hump. Tennessee is knocking on the door though and could push Auburn out if its draft success does not improve.

Others Receiving Votes: Tennessee- 66 points, Penn State- 65 points, Ole Miss– 62 points, Arkansas- 59 points

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

Extending the NFL Season in a Way Everyone Can Like

Roger Goodell 2012
Roger Goodell has voiced interest in expanding the NFL season. (Wikimedia Commons)

Over the last several years, there have been rumblings coming from NFL headquarters about adding two more games to the regular season to maximize the amount of profit the league could make. Of course, the NFL Players’ Association was not on board with that, and after all of the research that has surfaced in recent years surrounding CTE, who can blame them.

Extending the NFL season is still something the league seems interested in though. I think I might have a solution here that could actually help the players as well.

First and foremost, scrap the Hall of Fame game. No one watches it and after last year’s fiasco, it is clear that not even the league really cares about it. After doing that, bump the start of the preseason up a week. Coaches won’t love this, but it will pay off down the line.

What does that do? It creates room for another bye week in the NFL schedule without pushing the Super Bowl any later, adding any games to the schedule or sacrificing any preseason games that teams use to evaluate talent.

The NFL regular season will now be 18 weeks long instead of 17. Each team would have a bye week some time during weeks 4-7, with two divisions, one from each conference, taking the week off. This makes scheduling easier and allows for last week of the season division games to still take place. That means that eight teams are off each week, across four weeks that gets us to all 32 teams getting a nice early season break.

Everyone plays during weeks 8 through 11. Then in week 12, the second round of bye weeks start. Once again, two divisions, one from each conference, take the week off during weeks 12 through 15.

Weeks 16, 17 and now 18 wrap up the regular season and lead to wildcard weekend being the same as it always is.

It may seem like a pretty trivial move, but giving players an extra week off could limit the wear and tear an NFL season takes on a player’s body. The hope is that this would lead to a higher level of play throughout the season with players being better rested.

An extra week also gives the league another week of prime time marketing opportunities. An additional, Thursday, Sunday and Monday night football game means another week’s worth of advertising revenue for networks, which means that the relative worth of a television contract increases for the league.

For a league looking to show concern for player safety and find increase revenue, this seems like a solid option on paper.