By Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
To start, this mock draft is done assuming no trades occur, which as of late has been common throughout the draft. Each pick will also have a short blurb as to why that player was chosen by the team. Well, let’s do it:
#1 Browns: QB Sam Darnold, USC: Darnold is the best QB in the draft, so this is a no brainer for Cleveland as they need a consistent player at that position. Darnold starts over Taylor in week one.
#2 Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State: Arguably the best player in this draft, the Giants take Barkley to improve the offense and give Eli Manning and company another weapon on offense.
#3 Jets: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA: The Jets traded up for a reason, to get their guy at QB. The Jets will take Rosen and likely have him compete with Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job.
#4 Browns: DE Bradley Chubb, NC St.: The Browns go with talent at #4 taking Bradley Chubb who would easily start alongside young DE Myles Garrett, creating the best young-athletic defensive line in the NFL.
#5 Broncos: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming: The Broncos draft Allen as he’ll sit behind Case Keenum until he develops into a starter. Allen may start if Denver is out of the playoff hunt near the end of the season.
#6 Colts: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame: Nelson is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and with Andrew Luck being a constant injury prone player, offensive line help is the biggest need for the Colts.
#7 Bucs: S Derwin James, FSU: James stays in Florida and fills the void at safety for Tampa Bay and becomes and immediate day one starter. James also plays corner every once in a while, so he may swing over to that position for Tampa Bay here and there.
#8 Bears: CB Denzel Ward, OSU: Ward is the best corner in the draft and Chicago takes him with open arms to bolster their secondary. Chicago needs the bolster with Rodgers, Stafford and now Cousins at QB in their division.
#9 49ers: ILB Tremaine Edmunds, VT: Edmunds will be drafted due to the now dismal future of current ILB Reuben Foster. Edmunds is a solid player who can easily start on Sunday.
#10 Raiders: OLB Roquan Smith, UGA: Smith gives great pressure off the outside and Jon Gruden loves pass rushing, something he would have in abundance with Smith and Khalil Mack.
#11 Dolphins: NT Vita Vea, Washington: The Dolphins don’t go QB and select Vita Vea to replace Suh after his departure to Los Angeles. Vea starts immediately alongside Cameron Wake and gives Miami a solid pass rush.
#12 Bills: QB Baker Mayfield, OU: The Bills get their guy in Baker Mayfield and get yet another mobile QB, but Mayfield has a stronger arm and better accuracy than Tyrod Taylor, rejuvenating the Bills offense.
#13 Skins: DT Da’Ron Payne, Bama: Washington loses out on Vita Vea but gets Payne instead to create a solid pass rush for the Washington defense.
#14 Packers: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa: The Packers add much needed height and athleticism to their secondary and get a solid corner in Jackson.
#15 Cardinals: WR Calvin Ridley, Bama: With Larry Fitzgerald’s career ending, the Cardinals get his replacement in Calvin Ridley, a tall, athletic receiver who will start alongside Fitzgerald and become the feature receiver when Fitzgerald retires.
#16 Ravens: TE Hayden Hurst, SC: Hurst gives Flacco and the Ravens offense a reliable option, something the Ravens have not had in a while, but the addition of Michael Crabtree along with Hurst can rejuvenate the offense.
#17 Chargers: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Bama: Fitzpatrick is arguably the best defensive playmaker in the draft and the Chargers get lucky enough to get him at #17. Fitzpatrick takes a load off of Jason Verrett and gives Joey Bosa more time to get to the quarterback.
#18 Seahawks: CB Jaire Alexander, UL: Alexander is drafted by Seattle as the Seahawks try to rebuild what was once an unstoppable force on defense. Alexander is on the shorter side at 5 feet 10 inches, but he makes up for it with his physical play.
#19 Cowboys: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU: Only fitting that you play high school, college and now NFL football in Texas. Sutton will likely fill the void that came with Dez Bryant’s release as the tall receiver will give Dak Prescott a shiny new weapon in his arsenal.
#20 Lions: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA: Davenport falls to Detroit and immediately makes an impact on their defense in week 1. Davenport has the athleticism and potential to get 10-15 sacks in his first season and give the Lions another solid pass rusher.
#21 Bengals: G Will Hernandez, UTEP: Hernandez is drafted by the Bengals to help the offensive line that lost a few players to free agency and just overall wasn’t a great unit at all last season. Andy Dalton will definitely appreciate this pick by the Bengals.
#22 Bills: T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame: After selecting QB Baker Mayfield, the Bills get McGlinchey to protect his blind side and also establish a solid outside blocking presence for LeSean McCoy and the running game as Buffalo puts their offensive pieces together.
#23 Patriots: WR DJ Moore, Maryland: After trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams and losing Danny Amendola to Miami, the Patriots opt to go receiver and get DJ Moore to give Tom Brady a new, young target to throw to.
#24 Panthers: CB Mike Hughes, UCF: The Panthers notice they don’t have much room to wait for secondary players and draft Hughes, who is a solid option at corner and can play all over the field. The Panthers need to bolster their secondary with Julio Jones and other star receivers inside their division.
#25 Titans: LB Rashaan Evans, Bama: Evans adds to the Alabama players to go in the first round and gives the Titans a solid, diverse linebacker who can play both inside and outside as well as blitz and pressure the quarterback and drop into coverage. Solid addition to a young Titans team looking to get back into the playoffs again.
#26 Falcons: DT Maurice Hurst, UM: The Falcons decide to bulk up an already solid, young defensive line and choose Maurice Hurst. At 269 pounds, Hurst will likely have to put on some weight to compete with NFL offensive lineman, but could also shift to defensive end along with Vic Beasley Jr.
#27 Saints: TE Dallas Goedert, SDSU: You can never give Drew Brees too many weapons. Goedert can catch, run routes effectively and has the size to add another blocker for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram off the outside. Solid and safe pick by New Orleans.
#28 Steelers: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: The Steelers don’t have a backup plan for Ben Roethlisberger, but they fix that by getting Lamar Jackson. Jackson obviously doesn’t start but learns behind a Hall of Fame quarterback and becomes a solid starting quarterback when Ben retires in the near future.
#29 Jaguars: WR DJ Clark, LSU: With injuries to Allen Robinson and others in the Jaguars receiver core, the Jags opt to add depth to the position and give Bortles an all-around receiver in DJ Clark out of LSU. Clark is a bug play threat who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch at LSU and can do the same in Jacksonville.
#30 Vikings: G Isaiah Winn, UGA: The Vikings bolster the offensive line for Kirk Cousins and make another run at a super bowl with a better offensive line, better quarterback and assuming a better defense as well. Winn has size to stop the best pass rushers in the NFC as well, something that hindered the Vikings from defeating the Eagles in the NFC Championship game.
#31 Patriots: ILB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise St.: The Patriots address a defensive need at linebacker after going receiver. Vander Esch stands tall and has massive size and athleticism to keep up with receivers and running backs all over the field as well as pressure the quarterback.
#32 Eagles: RB Derrius Guice, LSU: With Jay Ajayi likely to not be resigned after the upcoming season, the Eagles go to Guice to create a two-headed monster with Guice and Corey Clement, creating a solid rushing attack with other weapons on offense as well, including a healthy Carson Wentz.
As stated before, these picks were projected with the notion that no trades occur throughout the first round. Each pick was also made based on who the team would get based on who was already taken and what the specific team needs.
The NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 26th. The Browns are on the block, who will they take? Find out for yourself.