2018 mock draft update 2.0

The Seahawks reportedly have a deal in place to trade down & out of the 1st round next month (shocker, right?). Time for an updated 2018 mock draft!

I’ve watched a ton of tape recently, updating some early evaluations and preparing HawkTalk’s initial Top 100 Big Board (to be posted soon!). However, I had to post an updated mock after Chad Forbes dropped the following nugget on Thursday. Which is at the same time both a bombshell and completely unsurprising to Seahawks fans:

Forbes has apparently heard mounting rumors within the NFL of a pending draft day trade between Seattle and Cleveland. This one makes a lot of sense. GM John Schneider has a track record of trading back in R1, and the Seahawks surely want to recoup missing day-two picks. Additionally, the Browns have plenty of draft capital, and may want to consolidate with another premium selection. They could theoretically trade up to 18th overall to target an instant-impact starter at DT, OT or CB.

Let’s throw out the major caveat here – Forbes may not be the most reputable source for NFL insider info. I’m not up-to-date on his track record when it comes to these types of reports tweets, but it’s safe to say he’s no Jason La Canfora (for example). As a reminder, La Canfora reported Seattle’s ongoing trade discussions surrounding Earl Thomas two weeks ago:

We played out the Thomas-trade scenario in HawkTalk’s first 2018 mock draft last week, which you can view here: HawkTalk’s 2018 NFL mock draft 1.0

Interestingly enough, we had the Seahawks making a similar trade with the Browns in that mock. The only difference was Cleveland’s compensation of Thomas instead of Seattle’s native 1st round pick. The Browns are an ideal trade-back partner, given their collection of 2nd round draft picks:

  • 2.33, 2.35, 2.64

I’d love to tell you the Seahawks could land all three of those picks, or even the first two. Yet Seattle’s 18th overall pick is not enough compensation, and they don’t have the draft capital to make it work. Instead, a Seahawks/Browns trade would likely look something like this:

  • Seattle trades 18 to Cleveland in exchange for 33 + 64 + 114.

Keep in mind – this type of deal could happen whether Seattle trades away Thomas or not. It’s possible (probable?) the Seahawks will only deal Earl if they receive their desired return of at least a 1st round pick.  In either case, there’s a high likelihood of using a 1st-rounder to trade back and recoup missing day-two picks.

Without further ado, here is HawkTalk’s updated 2018 mock draft with the Browns trade:

HawkTalk’s 2018 mock draft 2.0

Pick Team Player Position
1. Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold QB
2. Buffalo Bills (TRADE) Baker Mayfield QB
3. New York Jets Josh Allen QB
4. Cleveland Browns Saquon Barkley RB
5. Denver Broncos Josh Rosen QB
6. Indianapolis Colts Bradley Chubb DE
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Derwin James SS
8. Chicago Bears Quenton Nelson OG
9. San Francisco 49ers Tremaine Edmunds OLB
10. Oakland Raiders Minkah Fitzpatrick S/CB
11. Miami Dolphins Vita Vea DT
12. New York Giants (TRADE) Roquan Smith LB
13. Washington Redskins Da’Ron Payne DT
14. Green Bay Packers Marcus Davenport EDGE
15. Arizona Cardinals Denzel Ward CB
16. Baltimore Ravens L. Vander Esch LB
17. Los Angeles Chargers Mike McGlinchey OT
18. Cleveland Browns (TRADE) Maurice Hurst DT
19. Dallas Cowboys Jaire Alexander CB
20. Detroit Lions Isaiah Wynn OG
21. Cincinnati Bengals James Daniels C
22. New York Giants (TRADE) Lamar Jackson QB
23. Los Angeles Rams Harold Landry EDGE
24. Carolina Panthers Connor Williams OG
25. Tennessee Titans Lorenzo Carter OLB
26. Atlanta Falcons Justin Reid FS
27. New Orleans Saints Will Hernandez OG
28. Pittsburgh Steelers Joshua Jackson CB
29. Jacksonville Jaguars Dallas Goedert TE
30. Minnesota Vikings Billy Price C/RG
31. New England Patriots Kolton Miller OT
32. Philadelphia Eagles D.J. Moore WR
33. Seattle Seahawks Ronald Jones RB

2018 mock draft notes

Seahawks go RB at 33 after the big trade down: I’ve slotted in Ronald Jones, but you can make a case for Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson. We’ll cover this in more detail further down.

Bills trade up to #2 for Baker: There are rumblings of the Bills trading up into the top 5 to get their man at QB. They have the draft capital to do so, with picks at 12, 22, 53, 56, 65 and 96. Finding a willing partner won’t be easy, but the Giants may be their best bet. Apparently not enamored with the top QB’s, New York trades down in this scenario to land Roquan Smith, Lamar Jackson, and multiple day-two picks. While the Bills select the QB they’ve shown the most interest in – Baker Mayfield. He is absolutely in play for a top-five pick – all it takes is the right team to fall in love with the right QB prospect.

– Elite prospects: Amongst non-QB’s, I have an elite draft grade on four players this year: DE Bradley Chubb, RB Saquon Barkley, LG Quenton Nelson and SS Derwin James. Say what you will about the positional value of the latter three, but they’re once-in-a-decade talents at those spots. Each finds a home in the top-8 in this mock draft, as the first four non-QB picks.

Interior OL fly off the board while RB’s fall: Arguably the two strongest positions in the draft, the RB and iOL spots have several instant-impact prospects to choose from. However, the league has shifted to where interior linemen have more value, and that’s reflected here. Of the eight offensive linemen to go off the board in R1, six are drafted to play Guard or Center. On the other hand, Jones, Guice & Co. all drop into the 2nd round. There should be a run on backs (no pun intended) starting early on day-two.

Seahawks draft options after trading down

I typically have an accurate idea of what Seattle will do in the draft by this point, but so much is up in the air this year. The Seahawks have far more needs – in both quantity and urgency – than they have the past six years. RB, OG and DE stand out as high priority needs, and Seattle will likely target those spots as early as possible.

The backfield of Chris Carson, Mike Davis, C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic is largely unproven and full of health concerns. With so many great RB’s available on day-two, it’d be a surprise if Seattle doesn’t draft one of them. Here are the top potential targets:

  • 1st pick: Ronald Jones, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson
  • Day-2: Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman
  • Day-3: Bo Scarbrough, Kalen Ballage, John Kelly, Jaylen Samuels, Ryan Nall, Ito Smith, Chase Edmonds, Justin Jackson, Chris Warren III

The stars are also perfectly aligned for the Seahawks to draft a Guard early this year. They’ve likely got their “right-side” competition set with the trio of Ethan Pocic, Germain Ifedi and D.J. Fluker. And obviously Duane Brown & Justin Britt are locked in at LT & OC, respectively. But that leaves a gaping whole at LG. Perhaps Pocic could shift over to LG, as he did in a pinch last season. However, he’s viewed as a right-side player first, and the other options (George Fant, Rees Odhiambo) are uninspiring at best. With this Guard class being so strong, Seattle could use their first pick on a big upgrade at LG. Which is what I projected in HawkTalk’s first 2018 mock draft. Here are the top potential OG targets for Seattle:

  • 1st pick: Connor Williams, Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez
  • Early-mid 2nd round: Braden Smith, Billy Price
  • Later day-2: Wyatt Teller, Austin Corbett, Frank Ragnow

Defensive End is tricky, because it’s a thin class and it’s not clear whether Seattle would target a LEO or 5T. Frank Clark and Dion Jordan have the versatility to play both spots, while Malik McDowell is a 5T-type if available. Pete Carroll prefers to employ a deep DL rotation, making DE a top priority in the draft. I can see them having interest in Marcus Davenport or Harold Landry if they fell to 18, but perhaps not enough to prevent a trade back. And no other edge prospects stand out as clear 1st round options. Keep in mind that Seattle could pass on the top DE’s if they feel good about McDowell’s prognosis. Here are the top potential DE targets, with standout athletic traits being a must:

  • 1st pick: Marcus Davenport, Harold Landry (unlikely it’s this group)
  • 2nd round: Duke Ejiofor, Josh Sweat, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Rasheem Green

Are we sure it’ll be RB, OG, and/or DE?

In this offseason, not at all. In fact, the Seahawks are taking a close look at top prospects from several other positions as well. They have met, or will meet with TE Dallas Goedert, DT Maurice Hurst, WR Christian Kirk, CB Nick Nelson, and FS Justin Reid. All of which could be off the board by the end of the 2nd round. I think there’s a degree of due diligence being done here, but a case can be made for Seattle to target each of those positions.

FS obviously becomes much more of a need if Seahawks finds a taker for Thomas, making Reid an option… I’ve continually mentioned Goedert as a dark horse 1st-pick candidate for Seattle, which has more substance now. He’s a tremendous talent, easily the top TE in the 2018 draft class… Hurst is a fantastic prospect as well, worthy of a top 15 spot in my opinion. However, size and health concerns may cause him to drop to where he’d be difficult to pass on… A WR like Kirk doesn’t stand out as an obvious need, yet Seattle lacks high quality boundary receivers. Larger targets like Courtland Sutton and Equanimeous St. Brown may be in play on day-two…

Lastly, the Seahawks have never drafted CB early, but the cupboard is currently bare on the roster. Re-signing Byron Maxwell would shore things up for 2018, but another long-term option is needed to pair with Shaquill Griffin. And CB arguably becomes a high priority need if Seattle goes into the draft with the current group. Nelson doesn’t fit the size profile, so the Seahawks would likely prefer Isaiah Oliver or Carlton Davis if they buck the trend with an early CB-pick.

Seahawks 2018 mock draft

Here’s a reminder of what the rumored trade may look like:

  • Seattle trades 18 to Cleveland in exchange for 33 + 64 + 114.

The Seahawks would own six picks in rounds 4-5 afterwards, so they’d surely try to trade back up into the 3rd round. That’s exactly what I projected in our Seahawks Senior Bowl mock draft, with more rationale available at that link. Given that scenario, here’s my current Seahawks early-round mock:

  • Round 2, pick 33: Ronald Jones, RB (alternatives: Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson)
  • Round 2, pick 64: Duke Ejiofor, DE (alternatives: Josh Sweat, Ogbo Okoronkwo, Rasheem Green)
  • 3rd round: Wyatt Teller LG

That’s all for today! Back to the game film for me, and I’ll post HawkTalk’s top 100 rankings next week.