2018 NFL Mock Draft

Updated 4/8/18

FIRST ROUND

1. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold (USC)

I’ve had Saquon Barkley here in the past because the Browns would still be able to get a top quarterback at 4, but the Jets moved up with the Colts and the Giants have reportedly put the #2 pick up for auction, so Barkley now looks more likely to fall out of the top-3 and the pressure is mounting for the Browns to take a quarterback at 1. On top of that, there were multiple reports that the Browns are narrowing in on Sam Darnold as their guy and they’ll have to take him at 1 to ensure they get him. Darnold could have used some more seasoning in college, but the Browns won’t be in any rush to get him on the field with Tyrod Taylor as a stopgap and his upside is huge. Darnold can make all the throws, has experience with NFL concepts, and doesn’t turn 21 until June.

2. Buffalo Bills – QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)

Everything suggests that the Bills are going to make a move up for a quarterback. Between AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, they have just 6 career starts at quarterback under contract. Even if McCarron can make some starts in 2018, the Bills have arguably the worst quarterback situation in the league and need an immediate starting option at the position, something they won’t get if they stay put at 12. They also have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds, including picks 12 and 22 in the first round, giving them plenty of ammunition to move up. In this mock, they give up 12, 22, 53, and 65, which they can do and still pick in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

The Giants have holes across the depth chart as a result of years of poor drafting, so they could definitely use the extra picks. They have a good core if they’re healthy, so they could bounce back quickly if they hit on multiple high picks and, given their public support for Eli Manning, the Giants seem to prefer gearing up for another couple playoff runs rather than drafting Manning’s successor. They also still have last year’s 3rd round pick Davis Webb, so they aren’t desperate for a young quarterback.

The Bills, on the other hand, are desperate for a quarterback and take arguably the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft in Josh Rosen. He doesn’t have the upside of Sam Darnold or Josh Allen and there are questions about his character, but he should have the smoothest transition to the NFL of any quarterback in the draft if he’s willing to put the work in, as he ran a Pro Style offense at UCLA.

3. New York Jets – QB Josh Allen (Wyoming)

Josh Allen has the biggest transition to the NFL of any of the top quarterbacks. He posted underwhelming numbers against lesser competition in college and still is a major work in progress with his accuracy, but there’s no denying the arm talent, as he has as good of an arm as anyone who has come out in the past decade. That hasn’t always translated to NFL success (see JaMarcus Russell and Kyle Boller), but someone is going to take Allen high. The Jets moved up with a quarterback in mind and it makes sense that it would be Allen, as he’s unlikely to go in the top-2 and he could sit for a year behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, experienced starters on one-year deals.

4. Cleveland Browns – RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)

With the Bills and Jets trading up for a quarterback, the Browns can still get Saquon Barkley with the 4th pick. Barkley is the best all-around talent in the draft and is an easy choice for the Browns even with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson in the mix. Hyde was only guaranteed 6 million on his contract and has already said he’d love to partner with Saquon Barkley, while Duke Johnson is going into a contract year and can line up all over the formation, including slot receiver, where he saw a lot of action last season.

5. Denver Broncos – G Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)

With the Broncos signing Case Keenum and Paxton Lynch still on the roster as a 2016 1st round pick, I think it’s unlikely the Broncos draft a quarterback in the first round unless they love a quarterback who falls to them. If they don’t take a quarterback, trading down is definitely an option, as teams will want to trade for up Baker Mayfield, but they could also stay put and have their pick of the best non-quarterbacks in the draft. Outside of Barkley, Quenton Nelson could easily be the best non-quarterback in the draft. Taking guards in the top-10 has become less uncommon in recent years and Nelson immediately upgrades the interior of their offensive line in a big way.

6. New England Patriots – QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)

As mentioned, teams will want to move up for whichever quarterback falls out of the top-3 picks, in this case Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is the most likely quarterback to fall, but he should still be in high demand with teams like the Dolphins and Cardinals picking in the top-15 and needing quarterback help. However, it could be the Patriots who can make the Colts the best offer, following the their trade of Brandin Cooks. The Patriots pick at 23, 31, 43, and 63 and could be willing to part with their first round pick next season if there’s a quarterback they really like in this draft.

Mayfield fits the profile because of his mid range accuracy and gives the Patriots a long-term quarterback option that is under contract inexpensively for 4 seasons. With the uncertainty that comes with having a team built around a 40+ year old MVP quarterback, that is exactly what they need. In this mock, they give up 23, 43, and a first future round pick and the Colts should be a willing partner, even after picking up 3 second round picks to move down from 3 to 6 with the Jets. The Colts have problems across the depth chart as a result of years of poor drafting, but could get back into the playoff mix in the AFC very quickly with a healthy Andrew Luck and several impact rookies.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)

The Buccaneers’ defense was horrendous in 2017 and was a big part of the reason why the Buccaneers had such a disappointing season. The Buccaneers improved their defensive line by adding Vinny Curry, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Beau Allen, but they still have major issues in the secondary. The Buccaneers have their choice of the top pure cornerback in the draft (Denzel Ward) and the top pure safety in the draft (Derwin James), but they may prefer a hybrid player like Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and slot cornerback as a rookie and could end up as a starting cornerback long-term. Brent Grimes was re-signed, but he’s only on a one-year deal and he’s going into his age 35 season, so they need to find a long-term solution. If they decide to put Fitzpatrick at safety long-term, he’d be an upgrade at that position as well.

8. Chicago Bears – OLB Bradley Chubb (NC State)

The Bears had a veteran purge at outside linebacker this off-season, cutting both Pernell McPhee and Willie Young, and now have a big need at the position. 2016 1st round pick Leonard Floyd can look down one starting spot long-term, but their best options at the other starting spot right now are Aaron Lynch and Sam Acho, both underwhelming choices. Bradley Chubb is the top edge defender in the draft and would fill a big need for the Bears.

9. San Francisco 49ers – OLB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)

The 49ers used a first round pick on a linebacker last year, taking Reuben Foster with the 31st pick, but he’s been arrested twice already this off-season and is not a sure thing going forward. Tremaine Edmunds is a different type of linebacker anyway, so he and Foster can play together long-term if Foster gets his act together. Edmunds set the combine on fire and is a rare linebacker with the ability to drop into coverage, stuff the run, and rush the passer off the edge. He also doesn’t turn 20 until after the draft, so he has a monstrous upside and looks like a likely top-10 pick. He’ll fill a base package need for them at linebacker and can be used in creative ways in passing situations.

10. Oakland Raiders – OT Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)

The Raiders have their choice of several great defensive prospects to improve their defense, but they could also reach on Mike McGlinchey instead. For the second year in a row, this was a thin offensive tackle draft and, after a weak offensive tackle class in free agency, I have a feeling that someone is going to get desperate and reach on the draft’s top offensive tackle. The Raiders have a need at offensive tackle, with right tackle wide open and left tackle Donald Penn going into his age 35 season, and McGlinchey fits what new head coach Jon Gruden looks for in a player. He wouldn’t be a bad pick either, even with all of the defensive players left on the board. He’s an immediate starter at right tackle and has a relatively low floor. He doesn’t have a huge upside, but if he can develop into a capable starter long-term at left tackle, he’s worth this pick in a draft that lacks quality left tackle options.

11. Miami Dolphins – QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)

Lamar Jackson’s evaluations are all over the place, as he’s one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft, but it only takes one team to take you in the first round and if a quarterback needy team has a first round grade on him, they’ll pull the trigger. Multiple teams had day 2 grades on Deshaun Watson last year but that didn’t stop the Texans from trading up to get him at 12. Lamar Jackson should go in that range as well. The Cardinals and Ravens are options and someone could trade up for him as well, but the Dolphins should be able to get him at 11 if they like him.

Ryan Tannehill isn’t a terrible starting quarterback, but he hasn’t played since December 2016 with knee problems and is owed non-guaranteed salaries of 18.75 million and 19.5 million in 2019 and 2020, so the Dolphins could use a cheap young quarterback behind him on the depth chart. Miami would be a good spot for Jackson as he wouldn’t need to play immediately and could spend a year on the bench developing. The Dolphins could also design some gadget plays for him as a rookie, to make use of his unique skill set while he develops as a passer.

12. New York Giants – OLB Marcus Davenport (UT-San Antonio)

The Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers for a 3rd round pick because he was expensive and wasn’t a great fit for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense, but now they’re pretty thin at edge rusher. Olivier Vernon has one side locked down and they signed Kareem Martin, who played for Bettcher in Arizona, but they need at least one more player in the mix. There’s some speculation they could take Bradley Chubb at 2. That seems unlikely given how much teams would pay to move up to 2, but, if they trade down with the Bills, someone like Marcus Davenport could definitely be the target at 12. He could go in the top-10, but could fall if there’s a run on quarterbacks like last season, which is the case in this mock. Davenport is a better scheme fit than Chubb anyway.

13. Washington Redskins – CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)

The Redskins lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller from their cornerback group this off-season. Last year’s 3rd round pick Fabian Moreau is expected to play a bigger role in his 2nd season in the league in 2018, but they still need a 3rd cornerback to go with him and Josh Norman. Denzel Ward slips because of how many quarterbacks went early, but he should be an easy choice for them at this point. Ward could go as high as 6th to the Colts and this is probably his floor. He’s the best pure cornerback in the draft.

14. Green Bay Packers – S Derwin James (Florida State)

Cornerback is a bigger need for the Packers, but if Derwin James falls to them they should grab him. Long-time starting safety Morgan Burnett signed with the Steelers this off-season. They drafted Josh Jones in the 2nd round last year to replace him, but he played as a hybrid safety/linebacker as a rookie and the Packers may want to keep him in that role. Drafting James gives them a talented trio of safeties with Josh Jones and HaHa Clinton-Dix and would allow Jones to continue being a movable chess piece for this defense.

15. Arizona Cardinals – WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama)

The Cardinals had one of the best groups of wide receivers in the league in 2015, but neither John Brown nor Michael Floyd ever returned to that level and neither is with the team anymore. Larry Fitzgerald is still with the team and playing at a high level, but he’s going into his age 35 season and all the Cardinals have behind him on the depth chart is the undersized JJ Nelson and last year’s 3rd round pick Chad Williams, who barely played as a rookie, despite having plenty of opportunity to. Expect them to use a high pick on the wide receiver position.

16. Baltimore Ravens – WR DJ Moore (Maryland)

The Ravens had one of the thinnest groups of wide receivers in the league last year and now their top-2 wide receivers, Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin, are no longer with the team. Signing Michael Crabtree fills one wide receiver spot and they took a flier on John Brown as well, but they still desperately lack talent at the position. DJ Moore gives them a long-term #1 receiver and a good complement for Crabtree, who is going into his age 31 season and would be best as a complementary player long-term.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)

The Chargers’ defense took a major step forward in 2017, but that was primarily because of their pass defense, as the Chargers have a strong duo of edge rushers and a talented secondary. They were still one of the worst run defenses in the league, in large part because veteran nose tackle Brandon Mebane struggled mightily. Expect a big run stuffing nose tackle like Da’Ron Payne to be high on their shopping list this off-season.

18. Indianapolis Colts – OLB Roquan Smith (Georgia)

As a result of trading down with the Jets and Patriots, the Colts accumulated 3 extra second round picks and a first and second round pick next year, so they can afford to package a couple picks together and move up if a player they really like starts slipping. The Seahawks, on the other hand, frequently like to trade down out of the first round and don’t have a second or third round pick this year because of the Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown trades. The Colts give up picks 43 and 49 and move up to grab Roquan Smith, a potential top-15 pick that fits their new 4-3 defense like a glove. He also fills a huge need for them and would immediately be their best linebacker.

19. Dallas Cowboys – WR Courtland Sutton (SMU)

The Cowboys don’t want to pay Dez Bryant his 12.5 million dollar salary for 2018, but they haven’t cut him because they lack a better option. He hasn’t been the same since 2014 and hasn’t had the same chemistry with Dak Prescott as he had with Tony Romo. They signed Allen Hurns, who gives them an upgrade over Terrance Williams at one wide receiver spot, but I think they’re looking to draft a wide receiver early as well and then will move on from Bryant after the draft. Sutton gives them a long-term #1 receiver and Hurns, Williams, and slot receiver Cole Beasley are all capable pass catchers in the short-term, so he wouldn’t have to be rushed into action.

20. Detroit Lions – DT Vita Vea (Washington)

Defense should be a focus for the Lions this off-season, as they had one of the worst in the league last season. They need a long-term starter inside at defensive tackle next to A’Shawn Robinson. Akeem Spence and Sylvester Williams are mediocre veterans, while last year’s 6th round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter is just a rotational player. Look for the Lions to target the defensive tackle position early in the draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – G Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)

The Bengals originally had the 12th pick, but they swapped first rounders with the Bills in the Cordy Glenn trade. Even after adding Glenn to play left tackle, the Bengals shouldn’t be done upgrading their offensive line, as they still have major needs at right guard and center. It’s very possible the reason the Bengals were comfortable moving down from 12 to 21 in the Glenn trade is because they’re targeting a guard in the first round and any guard they could have gotten at 12 they can probably get at 21. Isaiah Wynn is a plug and play starter at right guard and has a good chance to go in the first round.

22. New York Giants – CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)

The Giants used a first round pick on cornerback Eli Apple two years ago, but he’s been a major disappointment thus far and was a healthy scratch down the stretch last season. The new coaching staff is going to give him a clean slate, but, even if he develops into a starter opposite Janoris Jenkins, they still need cornerback help as they lack depth after losing Ross Cockrell and letting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie go this off-season. Alexander could push to start as a rookie and should at least have a role in sub packages.

23. Indianapolis Colts – CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)

Rashaan Melvin was the Colts’ best cornerback last season, but the Colts did not bring him back as a free agent, despite having a ton of cap space. Their depth chart is pretty thin at cornerback right now, so expect the Colts to use at least one early pick on the position. If they trade down with the Patriots, they’ll have plenty of good options in the 20s and they could even take Denzel Ward at 6 if they don’t trade down. Outside of last year’s 2nd round pick Quincy Wilson, their best cornerbacks are Kenny Moore, Nate Hairston, and Chris Milton, none of whom should be guaranteed a role.

24. Carolina Panthers – DE Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)

Julius Peppers and Mario Addison top the depth chart at defensive end for the Panthers, but they are going into his age 38 and 31 seasons respectively, so they could use help at the position. They used a 3rd round pick on Daeshon Hall last year, but he could still have a situational role even with Hubbard added to the mix. Hubbard gives them a long-term every down defensive end who is an ideal fit for their 4-3 defense.

25. Tennessee Titans – S Ronnie Harrison (Alabama)

Kevin Byard is a Pro-Bowl caliber safety at one spot, but the Titans need help at the other safety spot. Free agent acquisition Jonathan Cyprien struggled mightily in his first season with the Titans and would be better off in a hybrid safety/linebacker role, given his struggles in deep coverage. Harrison could start opposite Byard with Cyprien mixing in as a coverage linebacker. Jayon Brown served in that role in a platoon with run stuffer Wesley Woodyard last season, but he’s expected to have more of an every down role in 2018 with Avery Williamson gone, so they have a need for another coverage linebacker. Harrison would allow Cyprien to become that coverage linebacker.

26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan (Florida)

The Falcons don’t have a lot of pressing needs, but defensive tackle is a big one with Dontari Poe signing with the Panthers this off-season. Expect defensive tackle to be a target position for them early in the draft. They’ll have a few options late in the first round and reports say they like Taven Bryan, who fits this draft slot well. He should be a late first round pick. He gives them a long-term starter at the position next to Grady Jarrett.

27. New Orleans Saints – DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)

The Saints signed Nick Fairley to a 4-year, 28 million dollar extension last off-season, but he wound up never playing a snap for them on that extension because of heart problems that have put his career in jeopardy. Even if he can continue playing, the Saints have let him go, so they need to replace him, something they were unable to do last off-season because of how late in the off-season they found out about his issues.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – MLB Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)

The Steelers have already announced that Ryan Shazier will not play in 2018, so they have to be looking for replacements. Shazier wants to continue his career, but he’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season and the Steelers may not be willing to clear him medically, so he could have to go elsewhere if he wants to continue playing. If Shazier does ever return to the Steelers, he and Vander Esch could form a dangerous duo inside.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Kolton Miller (UCLA)

The Jaguars used a 2nd round pick on Cam Robinson last year, but he was a bit overwhelmed on the blindside as a rookie. The Jaguars could take another left tackle early this year and either shift Cam Robinson to right tackle and Jermey Parnell to right guard or just shift Robinson to right guard. Right guard is their weakness upfront, as AJ Cann is a mediocre starter and going into the final year of his rookie deal.

30. Minnesota Vikings – OT Connor Williams (Texas)

The Vikings’ offensive line was much improved this season, but guard is still a weakness for them, especially with right guard Joe Berger retiring ahead of his age 36 season this off-season. The Vikings played Mike Remmers at guard down the stretch last season and may prefer him there long-term. If that’s the case, expect them to target a new starting right tackle early in the draft. Williams could also end up at guard long-term.

31. New England Patriots – MLB Rashaan Evans (Alabama)

Even with Dont’a Hightower returning from injury, the Patriots still have a need at linebacker. Hightower has been pretty injury prone in recent years and Rashaan Evans gives them another every down option in case Hightower gets hurt again, as Kyle Van Noy was overwhelmed in that role last season. Evans would also allow them to give Hightower and Van Noy more snaps as edge rushers in sub packages and could easily develop into their best coverage linebacker.

32. Arizona Cardinals – QB Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)

I’m not predicting a ton of trades, but this makes too much sense. Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon were added this off-season, but the Cardinals still need a quarterback of the future and could trade up into the end of the first round to get their guy, which would give them a 5th year option on his rookie deal. The Eagles, meanwhile, are a strong candidate to move down because they don’t have any pressing needs and don’t pick again until pick #131 because of trades. They move down 15 spots to 47 and pick up the Cardinals’ 3rd round pick in the process.

SECOND ROUND

33. Cleveland Browns – OT Chukwuka Okorafor (Western Michigan)

It’s a shame that Joe Thomas retired right as it looks like the Browns are finally building something. They signed Chris Hubbard to a big contract in free agency, but he’ll slot in at right tackle. Their current options at left tackle are veteran journeyman Donald Stephenson, last year’s right tackle Shon Coleman, and Spencer Drango, who struggled in Thomas’ absence last season and fits better at guard. Okorafor could be their week 1 starter at the position if he has a good off-season.

34. New York Giants – G Will Hernandez (UTEP)

The Giants spent big money on Nate Solder to play left tackle, but still have a big need on the interior of the offensive line. Mediocre veterans John Jerry and Patrick Omameh are penciled in as the starters at guard, but both could easily be pushed for their starting role by a rookie. Will Hernandez is a plug and play starter who could go in the first round, so he’s a good value for the Giants at 34.

35. Cleveland Browns – DE Harold Landry (Boston College)

The Browns have been tied to Bradley Chubb in the top-5, but I think it’s more likely they address their defensive line on day 2. Harold Landry gives them an edge rusher that they don’t currently have opposite Myles Garrett. After Garrett on the depth chart, their top defensive ends are Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib, both of whom have the size to rush the passer from the interior in sub packages.

36. Indianapolis Colts – RB Derrius Guice (LSU)

The Colts let Frank Gore go this off-season so they could get younger at the running back position. They didn’t address the position in free agency, so it makes sense that they’d spend a high pick on a running back to pair with last year’s 4th round pick Marlon Mack.

37. Indianapolis Colts – G Billy Price (Ohio State)

The Colts’ primary target at 6 if they don’t trade down is probably Quenton Nelson, as they have a need at right guard. Price can play all 3 interior offensive line spots and likely would have been a first round pick if he hadn’t torn his pectoral doing the bench press at the combine. He’s still expected to be ready for week 1 though and, even though it’ll hurt him to miss valuable off-season practice time, he shouldn’t fall too far out of the first round and could still see starts as a rookie.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – RB Sony Michel (Georgia)

Peyton Barber showed promise as the lead back down the stretch last season, but they will definitely add another running back to compete with him at some point. They’ll have plenty of options in round 2, but Sony Michel is arguably the best of them.

39. Chicago Bears – C James Daniels (Iowa)

The Bears cut Josh Sitton in an attempt to get younger upfront. Incumbent center Cody Whitehair could shift to guard to replace Sitton, but then they’d need a new center. They could find a viable starter on day 2 of the draft.

40. Denver Broncos – DT Tim Settle (Virginia Tech)

Domata Peko was a solid nose tackle last season, but he’s going into his age 34 season, so the Broncos could use a long-term solution. Settle has the size to play nose tackle at 6-3 335 and could also have a base package role as a 5-technique defensive end. 2016 2nd round pick Adam Gotsis was supposed to play a big role in 2018, but he faces an uncertain future after being charged with rape from his college days.

41. Oakland Raiders – CB Mike Hughes (Central Florida)

The Raiders had major issues in their back seven in 2017. They addressed their linebacker need by signing Tahir Whitehead to a long-term deal in free agency, but lost Sean Smith, David Amerson, and TJ Carrie in the secondary and only signed Marcus Gilchrist and Rashaan Melvin to one-year deals to replace them. They used their first two draft picks on the secondary last year, taking cornerback Gareon Conley and hybrid Obi Melifonwu, but could use another high pick on a defensive back this year. Hughes gives them a long-term bookend at cornerback opposite Conley.

42. Miami Dolphins – CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado)

The Dolphins don’t have a pressing need at cornerback, but this is a good cornerback class on day 2, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a pick on the position. Xavien Howard, Cordrea Tankersley, and Bobby McCain are penciled in as their top-3 cornerbacks for 2018, but they could easily add competition.

43. Seattle Seahawks – TE Michael Gesicki (Penn State)

With Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson leaving as free agents this off-season, the Seahawks need help at tight end. 2016 3rd round pick Nick Vannett should have a bigger role, but he has just 15 catches in 2 seasons in the league, while free agent addition Ed Dickson is going into his age 31 season and hasn’t topped 30 catches in a season since 2011. They have a need for a pass catching tight end and could easily use a high pick on one, especially if they trade down to get multiple day two picks.

44. Washington Redskins – DT Nathan Shepherd (Fort Hays State)

The Redskins used a first round pick on a defensive lineman last year, taking Jonathan Allen 17th overall, but they still have a big need on the defensive line. Allen fits well as a 5-technique defensive end in the Redskins’ 3-4 defense, but they need someone capable of playing the nose. Shepherd has the size to play nose tackle at 6-5 315 and a big upside.

45. Green Bay Packers – WR Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)

The Packers moved on from the highly paid Jordy Nelson this off-season and could lose Randall Cobb next off-season, as he’s going into the final year of his deal. The Packers need young developmental receivers behind Davante Adams on the depth chart.

46. Cincinnati Bengals – CB Carlton Davis (Auburn)

With Adam Jones gone, the Bengals lack depth behind Dre Kirkpatrick, William Jackson, and Darqueze Dennard, the latter of whom is going into the final year of his rookie deal.

47. Philadelphia Eagles – OT Jamarco Jones (Ohio State)

Jason Peters’ future is up in the air, as he’ll be in his age 36 season in 2018 and is coming off of a torn ACL that ended his 2017 season prematurely. Even if he returns to form in 2018, he’s a major question mark in 2019 and beyond given his age. Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled on the blindside in his absence and looks like a swing tackle going forward, so the Eagles could use an early pick on an offensive tackle. Jones might be a better fit at right tackle than left tackle, but the Eagles could flip right tackle Lane Johnson over to the left side long-term, as he has a left tackle’s skill set and a left tackle’s salary.

48. Los Angeles Chargers – MLB Malik Jefferson (Texas)

The Chargers addressed their defensive tackle need in the first round and now they address their linebacker need. Malik Jefferson could have a big role as a rookie alongside Denzel Perryman, who missed most of 2017 with injury. With those two and a big run stuffer added in the first round, that should go a long way towards fixing their run defense.

49. Seattle Seahawks – DE Rasheem Greene (USC)

The Seahawks had one of the deepest groups of defensive ends at one point, but Michael Bennett was let go this off-season and Cliff Avril will likely be retiring because of neck problems, so they need help at defensive end. Frank Clark is going into the final year of his rookie deal, while Dion Jordan and Marcus Smith are from sure things, even though the former first round busts did show some potential down the stretch last season.

50. Dallas Cowboys – S Justin Reid (Stanford)

The Cowboys were already pretty thin at safety, but now it seems like they’re going to be moving Byron Jones back to cornerback after a down year at safety. The Cowboys are always going to be linked to Earl Thomas in trade talks, but, unless they get him, they should add a safety in the draft.

51. Detroit Lions – RB Ronald Jones (USC)

Even after signing LeGarrette Blount, the Lions should still draft a running back. Blount was only signed to a one-year deal and Ameer Abdullah is also going into the final year of his contract. Neither Blount nor Ameer Abdullah is a great back, so Jones could have a major role as a rookie.

52. Baltimore Ravens – TE Mark Andrews (Oklahoma)

The Ravens’ best pass catching tight end last season was Ben Watson, who signed with the Saints this off-season as a free agent, leaving them very thin at the position. The Ravens could use an early pick on a tight end. Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle are their top-2 tight ends and they’ve missed a combined 39 games over the past 3 seasons due to injury and suspension.

53. New York Giants – RB Nick Chubb (Georgia)

The Giants have lost Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen this off-season and didn’t have a great group of running backs to begin with. They added Jonathan Stewart this off-season, but he’s going into his age 31 season and is not a long-term solution. He’s also averaged just 3.62 yards per carry over the past 2 seasons. They need a back to pair with last year’s 4th round pick Wayne Gallman long-term.

54. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Donte Jackson (LSU)

The Chiefs added Kendall Fuller and David Amerson this off-season, but they also traded away Marcus Peters, so they still have a need at cornerback. Jackson can push for playing time as a rookie.

55. Carolina Panthers – CB Anthony Averett (Alabama)

The Panthers used 2nd and 3rd round picks on cornerbacks in 2016, taking James Bradberry and Daryl Worley respectively. However, both struggled last season and Worley was traded to the Eagles this off-season for Torrey Smith. Bradberry is probably locked into a starting job in 2018 for lack of a better option, but they need a cornerback to compete with free agent addition Ross Cockrell. Even if Averett doesn’t make starts as a rookie, he could have a role in sub packages.

56. Buffalo Bills – WR James Washington (Oklahoma State)

The Bills need to get their rookie quarterback some better options in the passing game, as that was a big part of why Tyrod Taylor never put up huge passing numbers. Jordan Matthews is likely gone as a free agent, while Kelvin Benjamin is going into a contract year in 2018. The Bills used a 2nd round pick on Zay Jones in last year’s draft, but he was horrendous as a rookie. Even if he turns it around, the Bills still would need another young wide receiver.

57. Tennessee Titans – OLB Lorenzo Carter (Georgia)

Starting edge rushers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are both going into the final year of their contracts. They will be going into their age 30 and 33 season respectively as free agents, so there’s a good chance one or both is not brought back. Without many pressing needs, expect the Titans to prioritize adding a long-term option or two on the edge.

58. Atlanta Falcons – G Martinas Rankin (Mississippi State)

The Falcons have capable veteran starters at both left guard and right guard, but neither starter is great. Levitre is going into the final year of his career and Brandon Fusco doesn’t have any guaranteed money left on his deal after this season, so the Falcons could use a high draft pick on a guard to push both Levitre and Fusco in 2018 and start long-term. Rankin is also versatile enough to play offensive tackle in a pinch.

59. San Francisco 49ers – WR DJ Chark (LSU)

Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are a solid starting duo, but the 49ers could use depth behind them, especially since Garcon is going into his age 32 season coming off of a neck injury and Goodwin is a one-year wonder.

60. Pittsburgh Steelers – S Jessie Bates (Wake Forest)

Even after signing Morgan Burnett, the Steelers have a need at the safety position. Burnett will lock down one starting spot, but Sean Davis and JJ Wilcox are mediocre options at the other starting spot. Burnett also hasn’t made it through a full 16-game season since 2012, part of why he had an underwhelming free agency market.

61. Jacksonville Jaguars – TE Hayden Hurst (South Carolina)

The Jaguars signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins this off-season to fill the one glaring hole they had in their starting lineup, but he’s been inconsistent in his career, so his signing shouldn’t preclude the Jaguars from taking a tight end early in the draft, especially without other pressing needs. With Marcedes Lewis being let go, the Jaguars could use a new #2 tight end as well.

62. Minnesota Vikings – DT Harrison Phillips (Stanford)

The Vikings signed Sheldon Richardson, but should still use a high draft pick on a defensive tackle. Richardson was only signed for one season and the Vikings could use more depth behind Richardson and Linval Joseph regardless.

63. New England Patriots – TE Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)

The Patriots need to plan as if Rob Gronkowski is going to retire early. I expect him to return for 2018, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if he retires in the next couple years, given all of the injuries he has suffered and the opportunities he has to do other things. The Patriots could use a new #2 tight end anyway.

64. Cleveland Browns – WR Deon Cain (Clemson)

Even after adding Jarvis Landry, the Browns should still use a draft pick on a wide receiver. Landry is only under team control through 2018 at the moment and fellow starter Josh Gordon hasn’t exactly been reliable in the past.

THIRD ROUND

65. New York Giants – OT Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)

Even with Nate Solder coming in this off-season, the Giants shouldn’t be done adding offensive tackles. Ex-left tackle Ereck Flowers was told he’d compete for the job at right tackle and they don’t have any viable competition for him.

66. New York Giants – WR Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame)

The Giants could use a young replacement for Brandon Marshall, who is going into an age 34 contract year, assuming he even makes the final roster. Marshall is owed 5.5 million non-guaranteed and coming off of a lost season due to injury, so he could easily be a cap casualty. They need also insurance with Odell Beckham’s contract negotiations seemingly coming to a standstill.

67. Indianapolis Colts – DT Da’Shawn Hand (Alabama)

The Colts let Johnathan Hankins go because he wasn’t an ideal fit for their new 4-3 defense. New defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus comes from Rod Marinelli’s system in Dallas and prefers smaller defensive linemen. The 6-4 297 pound Da’Shawn Hand fits the scheme better.

68. Houston Texans – TE Ian Thomas (Purdue)

CJ Fiedorowicz is retiring because of concussions, which leaves the Texans thin at tight end. They need a big target over the middle.

69. New York Giants – MLB Josey Jewell (Iowa)

The Giants traded for Alec Ogletree this off-season, after the previous administration habitually ignored the linebacker position. However, they still need help at the position. 2016 4th round pick BJ Goodson flashed in limited action last season in his first season as a starter, but he missed a lot of time with injury, so he’s far from a sure thing. Jewell gives them competition for Goodson and depth.

70. San Francisco 49ers – G Austin Corbett (Nevada)

Guard remains a problem for the 49ers, especially with Brandon Fusco signing with the Falcons this off-season. Josh Garnett will return from a knee injury this season, but the 2016 1st round pick struggled mightily as a rookie. On the other side, Laken Tomlinson and Zane Beadles are mediocre options. Corbett could push for playing time as a rookie.

71. Denver Broncos – RB Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)

The Broncos are reportedly interested in moving on from CJ Anderson, who is owed 4.5 million non-guaranteed in 2018, making him the 4th highest paid running back in the league in 2018 base salary. However, they’ve kept him for lack of a better option. Devontae Booker is their best passing down back, but he’s averaged just 3.60 yards per carry in 2 seasons in the league. Jamaal Charles is a free agent going into his age 32 season and was underwhelming in limited action last week. They used a 6th round pick on a running back last year, but he managed just 13 rushing yards on 7 carries. They could take a running back relatively early.

72. New York Jets – TE Dalton Schultz (Stanford)

With Austin Seferian-Jenkins signing in Jacksonville, the Jets are back to having one of the thinnest tight end groups in the NFL. Schultz could see playing time immediately as a rookie.

73. Miami Dolphins – G Braden Smith (Auburn)

The Dolphins signed Josh Sitton in free agency, but still need one more guard. Sitton is going into his age 32 season anyway, so he won’t be around forever. Smith could also kick out to right tackle in 2019 if the Dolphins don’t retain Ja’Wuan James, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal.

74. San Francisco 49ers – CB JC Jackson (Maryland)

Even with Richard Sherman coming in, cornerback is still a need for the 49ers, who lack depth behind Sherman and 2017 3rd round pick Ahkello Witherspoon. They could use a better 3rd cornerback and insurance in case Sherman doesn’t return to form after achilles surgery.

75. Oakland Raiders – RB Rashaad Penny (San Diego State)

Marshawn Lynch only has one more year under contract and it’s unclear what he has left in the tank, going into an age 32 season after a disappointing 2017. His last good season came in 2014. The Raiders could use an early pick on a running back to give them a long-term feature back.

76. Green Bay Packers – CB Duke Dawson (Florida)

The Packers used their first two draft picks on cornerbacks in 2015, taking Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, and then they took Kevin King in the 2nd round last year, but cornerback was still a weakness for them last season. It’s even more of a weakness now, as Damarious Randall was sent to the Browns in a trade and veteran Davon House remains unsigned as a free agent. The Packers need at least one more cornerback to go with Rollins and King.

77. Cincinnati Bengals – C Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)

Center is also a need for the Bengals, as incumbent starting center Russell Bodine signed with the Bills this off-season. Bodine wasn’t that good anyway, so it shouldn’t be hard to find an upgrade.

78. Kansas City Chiefs – DT Derrick Nnadi (Florida State)

Bennie Logan remains unsigned, so the Chiefs are pretty thin on the defensive line. Nnadi is a good run stuffer with the size to play nose tackle in a 3-4.

79. Philadelphia Eagles – DT Deadrin Senat (South Florida)

The Eagles signed Haloti Ngata this off-season, but only on a one-year deal and Michael Bennett, who was brought in to play some snaps inside in passing situations, now faces an uncertain legal and football future after being indicted on assault charges. The Eagles should take a defensive tackle relatively early in the draft for depth purposes.

80. Houston Texans – OT Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh)

The Texans spent money on offensive linemen in free agency, but still need help, especially at offensive tackle, as they failed to add a significant upgrade at that position in free agency, striking out on Nate Solder. O’Neill could make starts as a rookie.

81. Dallas Cowboys – DT RJ McIntosh (Miami)

Defensive tackle is still a weak point for the Cowboys, as both Brian Price and Maliek Collins struggled inside next to David Irving in 2017.

82. Detroit Lions – TE Tyler Conklin (Central Michigan)

The Lions let Eric Ebron go because he wasn’t worth his salary, but the Lions now have a big need for a pass catching tight end. Atop their depth chart at tight end are veteran free agent Luke Willson, who has a career high of 22 catches in 5 seasons in the league, and 2017 4th round pick Michael Roberts, a blocker who caught 4 passes as a rookie. Conklin could have more catches than both of them as a rookie.

83. Baltimore Ravens – QB Luke Falk (Washington State)

The Ravens need a long-term solution at quarterback. Joe Flacco’s salary has far exceeded his performance over the past few seasons and the Ravens finally will be able to get out of his contract next off-season if they want. I expect them to take a developmental quarterback in the first 3 rounds, possibly as high as the first. They’re known to like Lamar Jackson and could pull the trigger on him at 16 if he’s available.

84. Los Angeles Chargers – DE Duke Ejiofor (Wake Forest)

The Chargers don’t have much depth behind Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, so it would make sense for them to use a mid round pick on a developmental edge rusher.

85. Carolina Panthers – S Armani Watts (Texas A&M)

Mike Adams was the Panthers’ best safety in 2017, but he’ll be in his age 37 contract year in 2018, so he’s not a long-term solution. On top of that, fellow starter Kurt Coleman was let go this off-season and was never really replaced. Safety should be high on their list of needs this off-season.

86. Kansas City Chiefs – OLB Arden Key (LSU)

The Chiefs used a 2nd round pick on an edge rusher last year, taking Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagnon, but they could still use help at the position. Tamba Hali is no longer with the team, while Dee Ford is going into the final year of his contract and might be too expensive to retain if he has a strong season in 2018.

87. Los Angeles Rams – OLB Marquis Haynes (Mississippi)

The Rams traded away their first, second, fourth, and fifth round pick in various trades and don’t have a second rounder next year, so they have to make these picks count. Outside linebacker is the most glaring need the Rams have. Robert Quinn and Connor Barwin began last season as their starters at the position, but Quinn was traded away to the Dolphins this off-season and Barwin remains unsigned as a free agent going into his age 32 season. Currently topping the depth chart at the position are Samson Ebukam, a 2017 4th round pick, and Matt Longacre, a 2017 undrafted free agent. Both flashed as rookies and the Rams like both of them long-term, but they need someone else in the mix.

88. Carolina Panthers – S Terrell Edmunds (Virginia Tech)

The Panthers have already taken one safety, but, given Mike Adams’ age, they need two long-term options at safety out of this draft and Terrell Edmunds is more of a hybrid safety/linebacker anyway. With Thomas Davis announcing he will retire after this season, the Panthers are in need of linebacker help long-term and Edmunds gives them options.

89. Tennessee Titans – DT BJ Hill (NC State)

The Titans were in the mix for Ndamukong Suh, but he ended up taking a one-year deal with the Rams instead, so the Titans will probably have to look to the draft to add depth on the defensive line. Hill can provide depth at all 3 spots on their 3-man defensive line and can push disappointing 2016 2nd round pick Austin Johnson for the starting job at nose tackle.

90. Atlanta Falcons – WR Anthony Miller (Memphis)

Taylor Gabriel has been the Falcons’ #3 receiver over the past two seasons, but he signed with the Bears this off-season and the Falcons don’t have a clear replacement. They could use a mid round pick on a wide receiver.

91. New Orleans Saints – WR Dante Pettis (Washington)

Outside of Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, the Saints didn’t have a wide receiver with more than 23 catches last season. Willie Snead should have a bigger role in 2018, but he’s going into a contract year and Ted Ginn is going into his age 33 season and might not age well given his reliance on speed. The Saints should add a wide receiver in the draft.

92. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB Dorance Armstrong (Kansas)

Anthony Chickillo struggled last season as the Steelers’ primary reserve outside linebacker, so it was strange that they wouldn’t give James Harrison playing time and let him go to the Patriots. The Steelers could use some better depth behind TJ Watt and Bud Dupree, the latter of whom could be going into a contract year if the Steelers decline his 5th year option. He’s been a disappointment since being drafted in the first round in 2015.

93. Jacksonville Jaguars – OLB Jerome Baker (Ohio State)

The Jaguars need a replacement for Paul Posluszny, who did a great job in a part-time run stuffing role last season before retiring this off-season. Baker could see playing time immediately on a loaded Jacksonville defense.

94. Minnesota Vikings – WR Michael Gallup (Colorado State)

The Vikings could use wide receiver depth. 2016 1st round pick Laquon Treadwell hasn’t done anything in two seasons in the league and Stefon Diggs is going into the final year of his rookie contract.

95. New England Patriots – OT Brandon Parker (North Carolina A&T)

The Patriots won’t reach for a left tackle in a weak draft class for the position, but they do need competition at the position after losing Nate Solder in free agency. They took Tony Garcia in the 3rd round last year for this reason and he is a candidate for the job, but he also missed his entire rookie year with blood clots and is just now able to return to physical activities, so veteran journeyman LaAdrian Waddle is currently penciled in as the starter. They need more competition.

96. Buffalo Bills – MLB Darius Leonard (South Carolina State)

The Bills are really thin at linebacker after losing Preston Brown to the Bengals. Last year’s 5th round pick Matt Milano flashed as a rookie and should lock down one every down job, but they need another linebacker to go with him. Leonard could have an immediate role as a rookie.

97. Arizona Cardinals – OT Geron Christian (Louisville)

The Cardinals signed Justin Pugh this off-season, which appeared to fill a big hole for the Cardinals at right guard, but then they traded right tackle Jared Veldheer to the Broncos, so Pugh might end up playing there. Regardless of where he plays, the Cardinals need to add an offensive lineman in the draft. Christian can play both tackle and guard.

98. Houston Texans – S Kyzir White (West Virginia)

Tyrann Mathieu was a great addition, but he was only signed to a one-year deal, so the Texans could still use a draft pick on a developmental safety.

99. Denver Broncos – QB Mike White (Western Kentucky)

Even if the Broncos have more pressing needs now with Case Keenum coming in, the Broncos should still take a quarterback at some point in the draft. Keenum is only signed to a two-year deal, while Paxton Lynch has shown nothing in two years in the league, despite being a first round pick. Mike White is a good developmental prospect who will go in the mid rounds.

100. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Kyle Lauletta (Richmond)

AJ McCarron left as a free agent this off-season and the Bengals are stuck with Matt Barkley behind Andy Dalton. They’ll probably use a mid-round pick on a developmental quarterback. Andy Dalton is a marginal starter at best and his expensive contract goes year-to-year, so if Lauletta impresses, he could end up as the starter in a couple years.

FOURTH ROUND

101. Green Bay Packers – OT Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)

Offensive line is far from the Packers’ biggest need, but starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga is coming off of a torn ACL and is one of the highest paid right tackles in the league, while starting right guard Jahri Evans is unsigned going into his age 35 season. Justin McCray struggled in Bulaga’s absence last season and now is penciled in as the starting right guard. Expect the Packers to take an offensive lineman at some point. Crosby could end up at guard or tackle long-term.

102. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Kemoko Turay (Rutgers)

The Buccaneers upgraded their defensive ends this off-season, with the additions of Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry, and they get Noah Spence back from injury, but both Pierre-Paul and Curry could see frequent snaps inside in passing situations, so the Buccaneers could add another edge rusher through the draft.

103. Houston Texans – CB Parry Nickerson (Tulane)

Even after signing Aaron Colvin and re-signing Johnathan Joseph, the Texans still have a need at cornerback. Joseph is going into his age 34 season and both Kevin Johnson and Kareem Jackson are coming off of down seasons. Jackson is going into an age 30 contract year, while Johnson could also be heading into a contract year if the Texans are scared off by his injury history and decline his 5th year option for 2019.

104. Indianapolis Colts – WR Marcell Ateman (Oklahoma State)

The Colts lack a good second option at wide receiver behind TY Hilton. Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant are both currently in line for big roles next season, but they are underwhelming options, so the Colts should add a wide receiver through the draft.

105. Chicago Bears – MLB Micah Kiser (Virginia)

The Bears are going to give 2016 4th round pick Nick Kwiatkowski a shot to lock down the starting middle linebacker job inside next to Danny Trevathan, but they’re pretty thin behind him on the depth chart, so expect them to add some depth and competition through the draft.

106. Denver Broncos – WR DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State)

Even if 2017 3rd round pick Carlos Henderson bounces back off a rookie year lost due to injury, the Broncos still have a need for young depth at the wide receiver position. Outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who are both going into their age 31 seasons on expensive contracts, the Broncos had nothing at the wide receiver position in 2017.

107. New York Jets – OLB Hercules Mata’afa (Washington State)

With the Jets trading both of their second round picks (and a second rounder next year) to move up from 3 to 6 in the first round to take a quarterback, the Jets are unlikely to be able to address most of their glaring needs through the draft. One of those needs is edge rusher. They were thin at the position last season and lost their most effective edge rusher, Kony Ealy, in free agency.

108. New York Giants – DE Breeland Speaks (Mississippi State)

The Giants addressed the 3-4 outside linebacker position in the first round and now address a less pressing need at 3-4 defensive end. Speaks fits the scheme like a glove and can compete with Josh Mauro for playing time opposite Dalvin Tomlinson.

109. Washington Redskins – C Mason Cole (Michigan)

Starting center Spencer Long signed with the Jets this off-season and mediocre starting left guard Shawn Lauvao remains unsigned as of this writing. They have a couple internal options to replace them, but need to add competition and depth through the draft. Cole can play both guard and center.

110. Oakland Raiders – OLB Oren Burks (Vanderbilt)

Even after signing Tahir Whitehead in free agency, the Raiders could still use linebacker help. Burks could push Cory James for playing time at outside linebacker as a rookie.

111. Los Angeles Rams – MLB Fred Warner (BYU)

The Rams got rid of Alec Ogletree this off-season because of his large contract and could do have to do the same with Mark Barron (owed 8 million non-guaranteed in 2019) next off-season for financial reasons, as they try to fit all of their young talent under the cap. The Rams like some of their internal options and think Wade Phillips can coach them up, but they should still use one of their draft picks on another option.

112. Cincinnati Bengals – S Marcus Allen (Penn State)

Shawn Williams isn’t an awful starting safety, but they could still use a mid round pick on a developmental safety that could push him for the starting job long-term.

113. Denver Broncos – CB Tarvarus McFadden (Florida State)

Even after trading Aqib Talib, the Broncos still are pretty deep at cornerback, as they signed Tramaine Brock in free agency and have last year’s 3rd round pick Brendan Langley ready for a larger role as well. However, they could still use a mid round pick on the position. Brock was only signed to a one-year deal and new starter Bradley Rody is also in the final year of his deal.

114. Cleveland Browns – S Godwin Igwebuike (Northwestern)

The Browns traded for Damarious Randall to fill a hole at safety, but the Browns could still add a safety in the draft with one of their many picks. Randall’s 2019 option has yet to be exercised and would be guaranteed for injury only even if it does get picked up, so Randall could end up only being in Cleveland for a year if he struggles.

115. Chicago Bears – DE Trenton Thompson (Georgia)

With Mitch Unrein signing with the Buccaneers this off-season, the Bears lack depth on their 3-man defensive line. Akiem Hicks, Eddie Freeman, and Jonathan Bullard are locked in as the starters, but Thompson could have an immediate role as a backup.

116. Dallas Cowboys – OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma State)

With Anthony Hitchens signing with the Chiefs, the Cowboys are pretty thin at linebacker behind Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, both of whom have a serious injury history. The Cowboys should add depth in the draft. Okoronkwo can play an immediate role in base packages and can also contribute as an edge rusher in sub packages.

117. Detroit Lions – C Will Clapp (LSU)

Travis Swanson signed with the Jets this off-season and the Lions only replaced him with Wesley Johnson, who was one of the worst starting centers in the league last season. The Lions could shift left guard Graham Glasgow to center, but that would leave them with a hole at left guard. Will Clapp could push for playing time at either left guard or center.

118. Baltimore Ravens – MLB Christian Sam (Arizona State)

The Ravens are pretty thin at the middle linebacker position. CJ Mosley will probably be extended at some point, but he’s going into the final year of his rookie deal, which makes their depth problem even more concerning.

119. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Desmond Harrison (West Georgia)

Veteran right tackle Joe Barksdale is coming off of a down year in 2017, in large part because of injuries. He’ll probably get another shot in 2018, but the Chargers should add a developmental right tackle behind him.

120. Seattle Seahawks – RB Royce Freeman (Oregon)

The Seahawks hope that Chris Carson can continue where he left off before breaking his leg in 2017 and Mike Davis is an intriguing early down back as well, but the Seahawks will probably add another option to carry the ball in the draft.

121. Buffalo Bills – CB Kevin Toliver (LSU)

EJ Gaines was basically a throw-in in the Sammy Watkins trade, but he played well as the #2 cornerback opposite talented rookie Tre’davious White. Given that, it was strange that the Bills signed Vontae Davis to a 1-year, 5 million dollar deal early in the off-season and allowed Gaines to take a 1-year, 4 million dollar deal with the Browns. Davis is a more proven cornerback, but he’s going into his age 30 season and has been hit hard by injuries. He has missed 13 games over the past 2 seasons, was limited in several other games, and he hasn’t been a top level cornerback since 2014. The Bills need a developmental cornerback behind him on the depth chart, especially since he’s only on a one-year deal.

122. Kansas City Chiefs – TE Durham Smythe (Notre Dame)

The Chiefs could use better depth behind Travis Kelce. Demetrius Harris has been the #2 tight end for a few seasons, but he’s been mediocre at best.

123. Miami Dolphins – TE Chris Herndon (Miami)

The Dolphins strangely spent big money on slot receivers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson, despite being in a tough salary cap spot and refusing to resign top target Jarvis Landry, but they completely ignored the tight end position after cutting overpaid veteran Julius Thomas. With MarQueis Gray, AJ Derby, and Thomas Duarte atop the depth chart at tight end, Chris Herndon could see significant action as a rookie.

124. Kansas City Chiefs – S Quenton Meeks (Stanford)

The Chiefs had horrendous safety play in 2017, a big part of the reason why their defense struggled. Getting Eric Berry back, after losing him for the season week 1 with a torn achilles last season, will be a big boost to this defense, but the Chiefs need a better starter at the other safety spot and should use a draft pick on a developmental option.

125. Tennessee Titans – WR Keke Coutee (Texas Tech)

The Titans are giving 2017 3rd round pick Taywan Taylor the first crack at replacing Eric Decker as the slot receiver, but the Titans don’t have many pressing needs, so they could add another option through the draft. Coutee improves their depth even if Taylor takes the slot receiver job and runs with it.

126. Atlanta Falcons – DE Josh Sweat (Florida State)

The Falcons lost Adrian Clayborn in free agency this off-season and could use a mid round pick on a developmental replacement. Sweat might not play much as a rookie, but could be the 3rd end long-term behind Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley.

127. New Orleans Saints – DE Uchenna Nwosu (USC)

Alex Okafor was a pretty good complement to Cameron Jordan last season before tearing his achilles, but he’s far from a lock to return to that form, as he had never played that well previously and now is coming off of a major rehab. Their depth at the position consists of the oft injured Hau’oli Kikaha, who is going into a contract year, and 2017 3rd round pick Trey Hendrickson, who flashed as a rookie and could be ready for a larger role. Even with Hendrickson in the mix, they could add another young developmental pass rusher in the draft.

128. San Francisco 49ers – DE Jeff Holland (Auburn)

Th 49ers lost both Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch this off-season and needed to upgrade their edge rushers even before that. Jeff Holland could develop into a valuable situational player long-term.

129. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB MJ Stewart (North Carolina)

The Jaguars had to overpay DJ Hayden 6.33 million annually this off-season to replace Aaron Colvin and are already paying AJ Bouye a ton of money as well. Jalen Ramsey is still on his rookie deal, but will be eligible for an extension next off-season, so the Jaguars’ cornerbacks could get expensive in a hurry. They’re unlikely to let Ramsey go at any point, but Hayden is unlikely to be around on an expensive contract for long.

130. Philadelphia Eagles – OLB Shaquem Griffin (Central Florida)

The Eagles gave Nigel Bradham a big contract this off-season to remain with the Eagles and will have to do the same with Jordan Hicks next off-season, assuming he returns to form in the final year of his rookie deal, after tearing his achilles last October. Mychal Kendricks played well last season, but is the 3rd linebacker with Hicks healthy and makes 6 million and 7 million non-guaranteed in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Griffin has earned his way into the 3rd-5th round range with a strong Senior Bowl and Combine and could develop into a useful linebacker for the Eagles long-term. He can also play special teams immediately.

131. Miami Dolphins – RB Mark Walton (Miami)

The Dolphins signed Frank Gore as a complement to Kenyon Drake, but it was only a one-year deal and he’s going into his age 35 season, so he’s not as long-term solution. His signing won’t preclude the Dolphins from using a draft pick on a young running back.

132. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Holton Hill (Texas)

Ronald Darby is going into the final year of his rookie deal and could be too expensive for the cap strapped Eagles to keep long-term, so the Eagles will probably add a young cornerback through the draft. Hill could push Jalen Mills or Daryl Worley for playing time as a rookie.

133. Green Bay Packers – DE Jalyn Holmes (Ohio State)

The Packers could use more depth on the defensive line and Jalyn Holmes is a good value at this point in the draft.

134. Arizona Cardinals – CB Tony Brown (Alabama)

The Cardinals have so many pressing offensive needs that they can’t address their glaring hole at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson until the 4th round in this mock draft. Tramon Williams was a nice veteran stopgap down the stretch last season, but he’s no longer with the team and 2016 3rd round pick Brandon Williams hasn’t shown anything in two years in the league.

135. Los Angeles Rams – RB Nyheim Hines (NC State)

The Rams would be in big trouble if Todd Gurley was to get hurt because they don’t have a good option behind him on the depth chart.

136. Los Angeles Rams – DE Justin Jones (NC State)

Ndamukong Suh was a nice addition for the Rams, but he was only signed to a one-year deal and will probably be too expensive to keep long-term after the Rams do extensions with Brandin Cooks and Aaron Donald. The Rams could use some young depth on the defensive line.

137. Dallas Cowboys – RB Kalen Ballage (Arizona State)

The Cowboys could use another running back behind Ezekiel Elliott.

Top-50 2018 NFL Free Agents

  1. QB Drew Brees

Prediction: Re-signs with Saints – 2 years, 50 million

Brees is listed as #1 because he’s the best player with an expiring contract, but no one believes he’s going anywhere other than New Orleans. He’s even said he’s willing to take less money to stay in New Orleans if it means his team can add talent at other positions. Brees is going into his age 39 season, but shows no signs of slowing down and his return to New Orleans for a 13th season looks like a mere formality at this point.

  1. QB Kirk Cousins

Prediction: Signs with Vikings – 4 years, 120 million

Unlike Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins will not be returning and will hit the open market as a franchise quarterback in his prime with no injuries, a very uncommon occurrence in the modern NFL. The Redskins refused to meet his asking price on a long-term deal for 3 off-seasons, slapping the franchise tag on him twice, and eventually trading for Alex Smith as his replacement this off-season. Because of how rarely a quarterback like Cousins hits the open markets, he figures to have many interested suitors this off-season, including some that will offer him record shattering deals.

However, Cousins has said it’s not all about money for him and that he wants to win. Multiple reports have said that Cousins’ first preference is to go to Minnesota, as long as the money is competitive. The Vikings made the NFC Championship last season, but don’t have a quarterback under contract for 2018. They could play it safe and re-sign Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater, but Cousins is a surer thing than either of them and it’s looking increasingly likely that Minnesota is leaning that direction. They might not make him the biggest offer, but Cousins should still end up signing the richest contract in NFL history. The Vikings have to extend some young players on expiring contracts, but they should have the cap space to add Cousins to the mix.

  1. G Andrew Norwell

Prediction: Signs with Giants – 4 years, 50 million

Norwell was talented enough to be franchise tagged, but the Panthers have invested big contracts into left tackle Matt Kalil, right guard Trai Turner, and center Matt Kalil, so the Panthers let him walk. With right tackle Daryl Williams set to hit free agency next off-season and 2017 2nd 2nd round pick Taylor Moton ready to start in Norwell’s spot at left guard, it is an understandable decision. That being said, whichever team ends up signing him should be very happy, as he’s one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league. The Giants need him badly and multiple reports have already connected the dots between Norwell and new Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who signed Norwell as an undrafted free agent in 2014 as the GM of the Panthers.

  1. WR Allen Robinson

Prediction: Signs with Redskins – 4 years, 56 million

Allen Robinson also could have been franchise tagged, but he tore his ACL week 1 last season and the Jaguars got breakout play from rookies Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole in his absence, so they’re letting him test the open market. The Redskins are known to be interested and they’ve never been shy about spending money in free agency under owner Dan Snyder. The Redskins missed DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon last season, as Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant were underwhelming in their absence. Pryor and Grant are free agents this off-season and the Redskins could definitely shop in the top of the wide receiver market to replace them. Robinson gives them a good wide receiver trio with Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder.

  1. DT Sheldon Richardson

Prediction: Signs with Browns – 4 years, 48 million

Richardson was one of the better defensive linemen in the league in 2013 and 2014, but missed 6 games with suspension and injury in 2015 and 2016 combined and ultimately wore out his welcome with the Jets ahead of his contract year in 2017, getting traded to the Seahawks for a 2nd round pick and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse back in August. The Jets ended up being the winners of that trade, as Richardson was underwhelming in his one season with the Seahawks and Jermaine Kearse was arguably the Jets’ best receiver. Now Richardson looks likely to take the biggest offer on the open market, after not being franchised by the cap strapped Seahawks.

Richardson still is only 28 in November and has a dominant top level form, but he’s inconsistent and has clashed with coaching staffs. That will hurt his market, but it’s a weak off-season in terms of top level free agent talent and a lot of teams have money to spend, so he should still get a big payday. The Browns still have a ton of cap space after trades for Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry and now have a need at defensive tackle after trading Danny Shelton to the Patriots for a draft pick. Richardson would pair well inside with Larry Ogunjobi, a 2017 3rd round pick who flashed in limited action as a rookie.

  1. S Morgan Burnett

Prediction: Signs with Browns – 5 years, 47 million

If trades for Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry are any indication, the Browns have some intention of trying to compete in 2018, which is something that could not be said about them in 2016 and 2017. They may continue to be aggressive in free agency and safety is another position where they could use an upgrade. 2016 4th round pick Derrick Kindred was underwhelming in his first season as the starter and would fit best as a 3rd safety behind 2017 1st round pick Jabrill Peppers and big off-season addition. Morgan Burnett is the top available safety. His age (30 next January) will hurt his market a little bit, but his versatility and the lack of top level talent in this free agency class should have him in high demand and the Browns have the cap space to make an aggressive move for him.

  1. CB Malcolm Butler

Prediction: Signs with Buccaneers – 5 years, 62 million

We may never know why Malcolm Butler didn’t play in the Super Bowl, but he should still be in high demand as a free agent this off-season, based off of his entire track record in New England. The Buccaneers have a major need at cornerback and the cap space to shop at the top of the market, so they figure to be a major player for him.

  1. WR Sammy Watkins

Prediction: Signs with Bears – 4 years, 54 million

Sammy Watkins barely has 1000 yards total over the past 2 seasons, after posting a 60/1047/9 slash line in his 2nd season in the league in 2015, but that won’t stop him from getting a big contract in free agency. The former #4 overall pick is still only 25 and has top level ability. Foot injuries limited him mightily in 2016 and led to the Bills not picking up his 5th year injury-guaranteed option for 2018. The Bills then traded him ahead of his contract year to the Rams for a 2nd round pick.

Watkins stayed healthy with the Rams, but only posted a 39/593/8 slash line in 15 games, as he struggled to integrate into the new offense after arriving in August and lost out on targets to players Jared Goff was more comfortable throwing to. Watkins still showed his abilities from time to time and was a threat in the red zone, but the Rams decided to franchise tag safety LaMarcus Joyner instead of him. Now the Rams are at a strong risk of losing him to the highest bidder for nothing. The Bears could easily be that highest bidder, as they badly need a #1 wide receiver for young Mitch Trubisky and have the cap space to outbid the competition. They could also be competitive for Allen Robinson.

  1. CB Trumaine Johnson

Prediction: Signs with Jets – 4 years, 54 million

Trumaine Johnson has made 30.7 million over the past 2 seasons on two franchise tags. He may have to take a slight pay cut now that he’s actually hit the open market, but he should still be highly paid. A 2012 3rd round pick, Johnson broke out in the final year of his rookie deal in 2015 and was franchise tagged by the Rams instead of Janoris Jenkins. Unable to come to a long-term agreement, Johnson played on the franchise tag in 2016 and played well again, but again was tagged and not given a long-term deal because Wade Phillips was not sure how he’d fit his scheme. He ended up having a down season in 2017 and will likely not be brought back, as the Rams have already acquired Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib to replace him this off-season. The Jets have a big need at cornerback, the cap space to outbid teams for him, and are known to be interested.

  1. DE Muhammad Wilkerson

Prediction: Signs with Titans – 3 years, 30 million

In 2015, Muhammad Wilkerson was as good as any defensive linemen outside of JJ Watt and Aaron Donald, getting 12 sacks from the 3-4 defensive end position for a Jets defense that almost dragged the team into the playoffs. The Jets rewarded him with a 5-year, 86 million dollar deal, but he seemed to check out after signing, posting underwhelming seasons in 2016 and 2017 and having disciplinary issues. The Jets cut him after 2 years and 37 million, even though they didn’t need the cap space, so Wilkerson will have an opportunity to start fresh somewhere else.

Only 28, Wilkerson could have a bounce back season in 2018 if he’s motivated and has already drawn a lot of interest in free agency. The Titans haven’t been linked to him yet, but they have the cap space to make a competitive offer for him and could use an upgrade on pending free agent defensive end DaQuan Jones. Wilkerson could form a very dangerous duo with Jurrell Casey in the Titans’ 3-4 defense if he can get back to being the player he was.

  1. G Justin Pugh

Prediction: Signs with the Jaguars – 4 years, 40 million

This is just dot connecting, but the Jaguars make a ton of sense for Justin Pugh, who have some cap space and need to get better in front of Blake Bortles in 2018. Pugh would reunite with his college coach Doug Marrone and his former Giants coach Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville and would fill a big hole at left guard.

  1. QB Case Keenum

Prediction: Signs with Broncos – 2 years, 36 million

Case Keenum is going to be a very interesting free agency case. He signed for just 2 million on a one-year deal last off-season, but had a breakout year in the absence of an injured Sam Bradford in 2017, leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship game. He figures to get a major pay increase, but the Vikings seem to be leaning towards paying Kirk Cousins instead of bringing back Keenum and there are questions about how Keenum will perform outside of Pat Shurmur’s system.

Still, as we saw with Mike Glennon last off-season, quarterbacks get paid, even if there are major question marks about them. At $18 million, he’d still only be the 17th highest paid quarterback in the NFL and the Broncos aren’t taking a ton of risk with a two-year deal. The Broncos are expected to pursue Kirk Cousins, but, if he goes to Minnesota, Keenum could be a good backup option. The Broncos reportedly tried to trade for him during the 2016 season and Gary Kubiak, who has returned to the team in an advisory role, was the one who originally signed Keenum as an undrafted free agent, back in 2012 with the Texans.

  1. DT Dontari Poe

Prediction: Signs with Redskins – 3 years, 33 million

Concerns about his back led Dontari Poe to take a one-year prove it deal with the Falcons last off-season. Poe didn’t have his best season in 2017, but played all 16 games and is still only going into his age 28 season. The former first round pick has intriguing upside and could get good money on a multi-year deal this off-season. The Redskins were known to be interested in him last off-season and still have a massive need on the defensive line. Poe’s best years have come in the kind of 3-4 defense the Redskins run and, as I mentioned before, the Redskins love making splash signings in free agency, even if they have to overpay.

  1. OT Nate Solder

Prediction: Re-signs with Patriots – 2 years, 24 million

Nate Solder isn’t the best left tackle in the world, but he’s by far the best available free agent tackle and the Patriots don’t have another good option. Solder is going into his age 30 season and he’s been underwhelming over the past couple of seasons, but the Patriots need to keep Tom Brady’s blindside protector around, at least on a short-term deal. Solder has plenty of incentive to stay in New England with Tom Brady and company and would probably choose returning over leaving if the money is comparable.

  1. QB Teddy Bridgewater

Prediction: Signs with Dolphins – 1 year, 8 million (heavily incentivized)

Teddy Bridgewater might be the most interesting free agency case of all. Theoretically, he’s a franchise caliber quarterback hitting free agency at only 25 years old. The 2014 1st round pick made 28 starts for the Vikings in his first 2 seasons in the league and looked like one of the league’s promising young quarterbacks, but he’s attempted just 2 passes in 2 seasons since because of a brutal knee injury that wiped out his entire 2016 season and most of his 2017 season. Upon return, Bridgewater sat on the bench behind breakout star Case Keenum and now looks likely to leave Minnesota as a free agent, with the Vikings expected to go after Kirk Cousins.

If Bridgewater is healthy, he could prove to be a steal in free agency and he’ll be 25 months removed from the injury by week 1, so he’s a worthwhile flier. I think he makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins and not just because he’s from the Miami area. The Dolphins are not sold on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who hasn’t played in a regular season game since December 2016 thanks to an ACL injury and who is due 17.5 million and 18.75 million in 2018 and 2019 respectively. However, the Dolphins don’t have the cap space or a high enough draft pick to find a legitimate upgrade this off-season.

Instead, they could take a flier on Bridgewater, give him an incentivized deal based on playing time, and have him compete with Tannehill for the job in training camp. They could also structure a deal with him where a 2nd year option at a starting quarterback salary (let’s say $16 million) triggers if Bridgewater makes a certain amount of starts this season. Worst case scenario, Bridgewater should be an adequate backup for Tannehill, which is something they need this off-season anyway. He’s a low risk flier and would be a smart signing.

  1. CB Prince Amukamara

Prediction: Signs with Patriots – 3 years, 24 million

A 2011 1st round pick, Amukamara has always been a solid cornerback, but he’s missed 29 games in 7 seasons in the league and had to settle for 7.5 million on 1-year prove it deal from the Bears in his first attempt at free agency last off-season. Amukamara played 14 games last season, which could ease the concerns of some teams about his injury proneness, but he also played in 14 games in 2016 before settling for a one-year deal, so it might not make much of a difference. The Patriots need a replacement for Malcolm Butler and should be able to get Amukamara on a short-term deal without much money guaranteed beyond 2018.

  1. G Jack Mewhort

Prediction: Re-signs with Colts – 4 years, 30 million

Free agency comes at a bad time for Jack Mewhort. A 2014 2nd round pick, Mewhort looked like one of the best young interior offensive linemen in the league in his first season at left guard in 2015. He continued playing well into 2016, but then missed time with a triceps injury and a knee injury. He played in just 10 games in 2016 and then had his 2017 season ended after 5 games when he re-aggravated that knee injury. He could still get a good contract offer from the Colts, who have a ton of money to play with and a massive need on the offensive line. They could give him his best offer.

  1. OLB Nigel Bradham

Prediction: Signs with Saints – 4 years, 26 million

Bradham greatly outperformed a 2-year, 7 million dollar deal with the Eagles and figures to get a bigger deal his 2nd time in free agency. The Eagles don’t have the cap space to outbid teams for him, so he’ll likely sign elsewhere. The Saints won’t have a ton of cap space left after re-signing Brees, but Brees is expected to take a team friendly deal so the team can sign other players. Expect them to be aggressive in free agency and go all in on 2018. Bradham would become their best linebacker.

  1. QB Sam Bradford

Prediction: Signs with Bills – 1 year, 8 million (incentivized)

The Bills traded Tyrod Taylor without an obvious replacement on the roster or a high drive pick, so expect them to add a quarterback in free agency. They have the ammunition to move up in the draft, but I doubt they’ll go into draft day with Nathan Peterman as the only quarterback under contract. Whoever they draft may not be ready to start week 1 anyway.

Bradford is the 3rd starting caliber quarterback that would need a new home if the Vikings sign Kirk Cousins, though Bradford is likely gone from Minnesota regardless, as the Vikings reportedly prefer Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater and believe Sam Bradford’s knee is degenerative, after two ACL tears and a 3rd cleanup surgery last season. It’s a shame because Bradford is only going into his age 31 season and has played like a top-15 quarterback when healthy in recent years. He’ll likely have to settle for an incentivized short-term deal with a team like the Bills that wants him to keep the seat warm for a rookie.

  1. G Josh Sitton

Prediction: Signs with Texans – 3 years, 21 million

Josh Sitton is still an above average starting guard, but he will be looking for a new team for the 2nd time in 3 off-seasons. The Packers made Sitton a cap casualty before the 2016 season and then he spent two seasons with the Bears, before the Bears declined his 3rd year option this off-season, which would have been worth 8 million. Going into his age 32 season, Sitton will likely have to take a paycut, but can still be a big help upfront for some team. The Texans have one of the worst offensive line situations in the league and the cap space to make big free agent signings.

  1. TE Jimmy Graham

Prediction: Signs with Packers – 4 years, 36 million

The Packers let go of GM Ted Thompson in part because of his unwillingness to be aggressive in free agency, so the Packers could be much bigger players in free agency this off-season than normal. They signed Martellus Bennett to a sizeable contract last off-season, but that didn’t work out. They could try again with Jimmy Graham, the top available free agent tight end. Graham is going into his age 32 season in 2018 and had a terrible knee injury a couple years back, but much of his lack of production in Seattle came because he was the 3rd or 4th option on a team that didn’t throw the ball that often. He could have huge numbers in Green Bay and will likely still be paid as a top of the market tight end. This 9 million dollar annual salary would be 3rd highest in the league by a tight end.

  1. QB AJ McCarron

Prediction: Signs with Cardinals – 4 years, 62 million

AJ McCarron only has 5 career starts, but could still be a hot commodity on the open market, much like Mike Glennon was last off-season. I don’t buy the hype because the success he had in 2015 came on a really good Bengals team that was significantly better when Andy Dalton was out there. Dalton is at best an average starter quarterback, so McCarron might not be much more than a high end backup, but that won’t stop some team from giving him starter money. The Cardinals don’t have a single quarterback on their roster right now and don’t pick until #15, so they could make McCarron a lucrative offer. Even if McCarron gets a 3 or 4 year deal, it’s unlikely to have much money guaranteed beyond 2018.

  1. C Weston Richburg

Prediction: Signs with Bears – 4 years, 30 million

When the Bears cut Josh Sitton, it wasn’t for cap reasons, as they have among the most cap space in the league. Sitton was cut because the Bears want to get younger upfront. Weston Richburg is going into his age 27 season and is one of the best free agent interior offensive linemen. He can play either guard or center, with most of his experience coming as a center. If he played center, the Bears could shift incumbent center Cody Whitehair to guard, where he might be a better fit.

  1. QB Josh McCown

Prediction: Re-signs with Jets – 1 year, 10 million

The Jets will also be in the running for Kirk Cousins and can offer him the most money, but Minnesota and Denver both give him much better chances to win right now. If they can’t sign him, they are expected to target Teddy Bridgewater, with Josh McCown as their third option. McCown wasn’t bad in 13 starts for them last season before getting hurt. Though he’s going into his age 39 season and lacks durability, he can still be a bridge quarterback that the Jets can bring a rookie along behind and he fits their system well. He should get an increase on the 1-year, 6 million dollar deal he got from the Jets last off-season.

  1. CB EJ Gaines

Prediction: Signs with Packers – 4 years, 32 million

The Packers make another big free agent signing and address a big need at cornerback. The Packers were thin at cornerback even before trading Damarious Randall and now it is their biggest need heading into the off-season. Gaines is a risky signing because he’s missed 27 games with injury in 4 seasons in the league and struggled mightily in 2016, leading to him being a throw-in in the Sammy Watkins trade. However, he was an above average starter in 2014 and 2017 and probably earned himself a big contract with his strong play in 2017, even if he did only play 11 games.

  1. DT DaQuan Jones

Prediction: Signs with Falcons – 1 year, 5 million

  1. S Tre Boston

Prediction: Re-signs with Chargers – 3 years, 18 million

  1. DT Kyle Williams

Prediction: Re-signs with Bills – 1 year, 6 million

  1. DE Adrian Clayborn

Prediction: Signs with Colts – 3 years, 24 million

  1. CB Rashaan Melvin

Prediction: Signs with Panthers – 3 years, 25 million

  1. C Spencer Long

Prediction: Signs with Buccaneers – 5 years, 32 million

  1. DT Bennie Logan

Prediction: Signs with Buccaneers – 3 years, 19 million

  1. OLB Zach Brown

Prediction: Signs with Raiders – 4 years, 28 million

  1. RB Dion Lewis

Prediction: Signs with 49ers – 3 years, 19 million

  1. WR Donte Moncrief

Prediction: Signs with Ravens – 1 year, 5 million

  1. G Josh Kline

Prediction: Signs with Texans – 3 years, 18 million

  1. TE Trey Burton

Prediction: Signs with Bears – 4 years, 28 million

  1. CB Johnathan Joseph

Prediction: Re-signs with Texans – 3 years, 18 million

  1. S Eric Reid

Prediction: Signs with Buccaneers – 4 years, 24 million

  1. OLB Dee Ford

Prediction: Signs with Jets – 3 years, 24 million

  1. MLB Avery Williamson

Prediction: Re-signs with Titans – 4 years, 24 million

  1. CB Patrick Robinson

Prediction: Signs with Titans – 2 years, 14 million

  1. S Marcus Gilchrist

Prediction: Re-signs with Texans – 3 years, 24 million

  1. OLB Kony Ealy

Prediction: Signs with Rams – 2 years, 10 million

  1. C Ryan Jensen

Prediction: Signs with Redskins – 4 years, 24 million

  1. MLB NaVorro Bowman

Prediction: Signs with Chargers – 2 years, 12 million

  1. DE Julius Peppers

Prediction: Re-signs with Panthers – 2 years, 12 million

  1. WR Paul Richardson

Prediction: Signs with Colts – 4 years, 28 million

  1. CB Bashaud Breeland

Prediction: Signs with Colts – 4 years, 32 million

  1. CB Aaron Colvin

Prediction: Signs with Bills – 4 years, 26 million

2017 Post-season NFL Pick Results

Post-season

Total Against the Spread: 7-3

Pick of the Week: 0-0

High Confidence Picks: 2-1

Medium Confidence Picks: 0-0

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 2-1

Low Confidence Picks: 3-2

No Confidence Picks: 2-0

Upset Picks: 0-1

2017

Total Against the Spread: 139-119-8 (53.76%)

Pick of the Week: 11-6 (64.71%)

High Confidence Picks: 21-11-3 (64.29%)

Medium Confidence Picks: 33-33-1 (50.00%)

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 65-50-4 (56.30%)

Low Confidence Picks: 44-38-4 (53.49%)

No Confidence Picks: 30-31 (49.18%)

Upset Picks: 19-25 (43.18%)

All-Time (Since 2013)

Total Against the Spread: 691-607-36 (53.15%)

Pick of the Week: 51-34-2 (59.77%)

High Confidence Picks: 80-59-6 (57.24%)

Medium Confidence Picks: 199-152-6 (56.58%)

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 330-245-14 (57.22%)

Low Confidence Picks: 189-183-13 (50.78%)

No Confidence Picks: 172-179-9 (49.03%)

Upset Picks: 107-136 (44.03%)

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots: Super Bowl LII Bowl Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. New England Patriots (15-3) in Super Bowl LII

Opposing quarterbacks never actually share the field in an NFL game, but the matchup between quarterbacks is usually the most discussed one in an NFL game and the Super Bowl is no different. This year, we have a very unlikely quarterback matchup, for a number of reasons. On one side, the Eagles will start Nick Foles, who no one would have expected to be starting in this game before the season, making just his 6th start of the season after taking over for Carson Wentz when Wentz tore his ACL back in week 14.

On the other side, is Tom Brady, who is in his 8th Super Bowl. Despite his history, Brady playing in this game again at age 40 is highly unlikely when you consider the history of the game, as Brady continued to defy the odds and father time as the likely league MVP in 2017. He led the league in passing yards and the Patriots once again finished with the best record in the AFC and won a pair of home playoff games. With a solid passing day, Tom Brady could become the first quarterback in NFL history with 10,000 career post-season passing yards. Nick Foles doesn’t have 10,000 career regular season passing yards. This will be Nick Foles’ 4th career post-season start. It will be Brady’s 37th. To say this is a mismatch would be an understatement.

Despite all that, Nick Foles is ironically the one who ranks 3rd all-time in single season quarterback rating, posting a 119.2 mark in 10 starts in Chip Kelly’s system back in 2013 (Brady’s best season, 2007, only ranks 4th at 117.2). The problem for Foles is he’s never done anything like that in any other season. Outside of 2013, he’s completed just 58.9% of his passes for an average of 6.42 YPA, 34 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions, which are very much backup numbers.

After an underwhelming season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback in 2014, he was sent to the Rams for Sam Bradford. In 2015, with the Rams, he struggled mightily before being benched for Case Keenum and eventually released the following off-season, after the Rams moved up to #1 overall to draft Jared Goff. As a free agent in each of the following two off-seasons, Foles had to settle for backup work in Kansas City and then back in Philadelphia this season, but, when Wentz went down, he was thrown into the fire as the starter late in the season for a team in control of its own destiny to the #1 seed in the NFC.

Foles hasn’t lost a meaningful game since becoming the starter, as the Eagles also were the #1 seed and won two home playoff games, but Foles has been a mixed bag in 5 starts. Against the Raiders and in limited action in a meaningless week 17 game against the Cowboys, he looked like the quarterback who was released by the Rams. Against the Giants and the Falcons, he looked like a competent starter. And then last week, out of nowhere, Foles had his best game since the 2013 season, completing 26 of 33 for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the league in a shocking 38-7 victory over the favored Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.

If Foles does that again, the Eagles will win this game by double digits, but the likelihood of that doesn’t seem high, especially against a New England team that is well coached and has two weeks to study him. Outside of the quarterback position, the Eagles have a better roster with obvious advantages on both the offensive and defensive lines, but the Patriots have the obvious experience, coaching, and quarterback advantage and a strong roster as well. I like how this line has dropped to 4.5 after the Eagles’ win over the Vikings last week and the Patriots’ near loss to the Jaguars. Last week, this line probably would have been about 7.5, and I think dropping this line below 6 is an overreaction to a single week of play. The Patriots are my pick and are worth a small bet against the spread.

New England Patriots 24 Philadelphia Eagles 17

Pick against the spread: New England -4.5

Confidence: Medium

2013 NFL Draft Redo

1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT David Bakhtiari (Colorado)

The Chiefs used this pick on left tackle Eric Fisher originally and are clearly pretty happy with his development, giving him a 4-year, 48 million dollar extension two off-seasons ago. However, in this re-mock, they can get a clear upgrade, as David Bakhtiari, originally a 4th round pick by the Packers, has developed into arguably the best left tackle in football. The Chiefs have a number of good options with this pick, but left tackle is a very important position and was a huge need for them.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – RB Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State)

Le’Veon Bell might be the most talented player from this draft, but the Chiefs still had two good years left of Jamaal Charles, which allows him to fall to the Jaguars, who were still relying on a broken down Maurice Jones-Drew in 2013 (3.43 YPC on 234 carries), before releasing him the following off-season. Bell would obviously have had a huge impact on Jacksonville’s offense, much more than original draft pick Luke Joeckel, who struggled in right tackle, left tackle, and left guard in 4 seasons with the team before being let go last off-season.

3. Miami Dolphins – OT Lane Johnson (Oklahoma)

When the Dolphins originally moved up to 3, many assumed it was to take Lane Johnson to fill a major hole on their offensive line. Instead, they took defensive end Dion Jordan, who had just 3 sacks in 2 seasons with the Dolphins due to injuries, off-the-field issues, and ineffectiveness. Johnson, meanwhile, went 4th to the Eagles and has developed into one of the best offensive linemen in the league. He’s capable of playing both right tackle and left tackle for the Dolphins and would have been a huge boost to their offensive line.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – DT Kawann Short (Purdue)

The Eagles would have been happy to take Lane Johnson again, but he goes one pick earlier in this redraft. Instead, the Eagles take Kawann Short, arguably the best defensive player from this line, and put together a dangerous duo of Short and Fletcher Cox, their 2012 first round pick and one of the best defensive tackles in the league. Tim Jernigan did a solid job in 2017, but prior to that they lacked a capable counterpart to Cox.

5. Detroit Lions – CB Darius Slay (Mississippi State)

The Lions originally used a 2nd round pick on Darius Slay, but they have to use their first rounder to keep him in this redraft. Considering Slay has developed into one of the top cornerbacks in the league, the Lions probably wouldn’t mind. They signed him to a 4-year, 48.15 million dollar extension two off-seasons ago. They take him here over their original pick Ezekiel Ansah, who had an impressive start to his career, but has been slowed by injuries over the past 2 seasons. Slay is a much cleaner pick.

6. Cleveland Browns – WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson)

DeAndre Hopkins is definitely a top-5 talent, but there wasn’t a huge need for wide receivers in the top-5, so he falls to the Browns in this redraft. Considering the offensive issues they’ve had for years, they’d take Hopkins here in a heartbeat. Hopkins has developed into one of the best wide receivers in the league and has shown the ability to put up big numbers despite terrible quarterback play, which will be very important for him in Cleveland.

7. Arizona Cardinals – C Travis Frederick (Wisconsin)

Everyone laughed when the Cowboys traded back to the end of the first round and drafted Travis Frederick, a center who most expected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round. However, Frederick has since developed into arguably the best center in the league and would undoubtedly go higher in a redraft. The Cardinals originally drafted guard Jonathan Cooper here, making him the highest drafted interior offensive linemen in two decades. Cooper was never healthy for the Cardinals and was eventually sent to New England as a throw-in in the Chandler Jones deal and has since bounced around the league. In this redraft, they take Frederick and get a much needed Pro-Bowler on the inside of their offensive line.

8. St. Louis Rams – WR Keenan Allen (California)

The Rams traded up to draft Tavon Austin here in hopes that he’d upgrade a receiving corps that had desperately needed help for years. Instead, Austin maxed out at 509 receiving yards and the Rams continued to have issues in the receiving corps until signing Robert Woods, trading for Sammy Watkins, and drafting Cooper Kupp last off-season. Keenan Allen would have solved that problem earlier. He’s had injury issues throughout his career, but has averaged 74.26 receiving yards per game in 5 seasons in the league, 8th most by any player who has played at least 50 games over that stretch and most of anyone in this draft. He’s also still only going into his age 26 season and should be a #1 receiver for another 3-5 seasons if he can stay healthy.

9. New York Jets – CB Desmond Trufant (Washington)

The Jets had two first round picks in 2013 after trading Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers for the 13th pick. Considering Revis lasted one season in Tampa Bay and was back with the Jets two years later, that was a wise trade. What was not wise is the Jets’ selection of Dee Milliner here at 9 as their replacement for Revis. Milliner played just 21 games in 3 injury plagued seasons for the Jets and is now out of the league entirely. In this redraft, they take Desmond Trufant instead. Trufant was the 22nd pick by the Falcons and has developed into a #1 cornerback.

10. Tennessee Titans – CB Xavier Rhodes (Florida State)

Xavier Rhodes is another talented cornerback from this draft class. Cornerback has been an issue for a while for the Titans. Rhodes would be a #1 cornerback for this team and would be a huge upgrade over both Chance Warmack, the guard they drafted 10th overall originally, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, the cornerback the Titans selected in the 3rd round. He would have formed a talented duo with Jason McCourty before becoming the #1 guy.

11. San Diego Chargers – OT Ricky Wagner (Wisconsin)

The Chargers originally used this selection on DJ Fluker, but he spent just 4 seasons with the team and never developed into a starter at either right tackle or right guard. Wagner, meanwhile, is arguably the best right tackle in the league. The 2013 5th round pick didn’t play much as a rookie, but has been an above average starter in 4 seasons since and is coming off of his best season with the Detroit Lions, the season after the ex-Raven signed a 5-year, 47.5 million deal in free agency.

12. Oakland Raiders – TE Travis Kelce (Cincinnati)

The Raiders had a desperate need at tight end in 2013 and eventually took Mychal Rivera in the 6th round of the draft. They were so thin at the position that he led the team with 38 catches by a tight end as a rookie, but he never developed into a starting caliber player and was one of the least efficient tight ends in the league in his one full season as a starter in 2014. Travis Kelce not only gives them a much needed weapon in the passing game, but drafting him also keeps him away from a hated divisional rival.

13. New York Jets – S Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma)

The Jets originally doubled up on defense with their two first round picks, taking Milliner at 9 and Sheldon Richardson at 13. Richardson worked out better than Milliner did and had some dominant seasons early in his career, but had character issues later in his time with the Jets and eventually was traded to the Seahawks for a 2nd round pick. In hindsight, they’d probably take a different player. Jefferson would fill a big need for a team that started Antonio Allen and 31-year-old Dawan Landry at safety in 2013.

14. Carolina Panthers – DT Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern)

The Panthers originally took Star Lotulelei with this pick, but they can shoot higher in this redraft, as Lotulelei never developed into the kind of player that was worth the 14th overall pick. Ideally they’d be able to get Kawann Short, originally their 2nd round pick, but he’s too good to last to this point. Williams is more similar in skill set to Lotulelei and has developed into the player the Panthers were expecting Lotulelei to be. Given that they used their first two draft picks on defensive tackles in 2013, the position was clearly a need for them at the time.

15. New Orleans Saints – OT Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)

The Saints originally used this pick on safety Kenny Vaccaro, who had an up and down 5 years in New Orleans. Terron Armstead, originally a 3rd round pick by the Saints, was a much better selection. They have to take him in the first round this time around to keep him, but he’s been a valuable blindside protector and much more valuable to this team than Vaccaro, so I think they’d be happy to take him here. Armstead would have likely been a top-10 pick if this redraft was done a couple years ago, but he has dealt with some injuries in the past two years that have keep him off the field and sapped his effectiveness somewhat. Only going into his age 27 season in 2018, Armstead could easily be a top level left tackle for 3-5 more years if he can stay healthy.

16. Buffalo Bills – WR Adam Thielen (Minnesota State)

The Bills have had issues at wide receiver for years. They were led in receiving by tight end Scott Chandler (655 yards) back in 2013 and then by tight end Charles Clay (558 yards) in 2017. The only pass catcher to exceed 700 yards for the Bills since the 2013 NFL Draft is Sammy Watkins, who they traded two first round picks to move up and draft before trading him away for a mere 2nd round pick last off-season. Addressing their wide receiver need in 2013 would have allowed them to avoid that. Adam Thielen was a late bloomer, which is why he falls a little bit. The former undrafted free agent had his first 1000+ yard season in 2017 (91/1276/4) and made his first All-Pro (2nd team).

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – MLB Jamie Collins (Southern Mississippi)

Jamie Collins would have been a top-10 pick if I did this two years ago, but Collins was traded by the Patriots to the Browns for a mere 3rd round pick in 2016 and hasn’t been the same player since being traded, including a 2017 season in which he struggled through injuries. Going into his age 29 season, there’s time for him to turn it around, but his redraft stock takes a hit. He fills a need for the Steelers, who desperately needed to get younger on defense at the time. They drafted Ryan Shazier in the first round in 2014, but he suffered a terrible spine injury last season and may never play again. Collins fixes their middle linebacker problem a year earlier and gives them a long-term solution.

18. San Francisco 49ers – TE Zach Ertz (Stanford)

I remember originally mocking Ertz to the 49ers in the first round because of the Jim Harbaugh/Stanford connection and because the 49ers didn’t have any obvious needs at the time. They didn’t have a good #2 tight end behind Vernon Davis at the time and would eventually use a 2nd round pick on Vance McDonald in 2014, which did not work out as well as Ertz would have. 2013 was also the last productive season Vernon Davis had for the 49ers, so Ertz would have filled a need that was bigger than they realized at the time.

19. New York Giants – G Justin Pugh (Syracuse)

The Giants stick with their original pick here. Justin Pugh has never been a dominant offensive lineman, but he’s been an above average starter at both right tackle and left guard, with his best play coming at left guard in 2015-2016. He was definitely worth the 19th overall pick in the draft and the Giants may franchise tag him this off-season. If he were to hit free agency, he’d be one of the highest valued offensive linemen available.

20. Chicago Bears – G Kyle Long (Oregon)

The Bears are another team that sticks with their original pick, though all of the injuries Kyle Long has suffered in his career have been concerning. He’s only missed 15 games in 5 seasons, but has had neck, shoulder, and ankle surgery in recent seasons and is already going into his age 30 season, so there are long-term durability concerns with him. His best season came in his 2nd season in the league in 2014 when he looked like one of the best right guards in football, but he wasn’t the same player at right tackle in 2015 and has had injury problems in each of the last 2 seasons. He’s played pretty well through the injuries through, so the Bears probably don’t regret this pick. Long likely would have gone higher two years ago.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Ezekiel Ansah (BYU)

Ezekiel Ansah is another player who would have gone higher two seasons ago, when he was coming off of a breakout 2015 season, in which he was one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in football and totalled 14.5 sacks. However, he’s had just 14 sacks combined in the 2 seasons since, thanks to injuries. He’s also older than most of the players from this class, as he’s already going into his age 29 season this off-season. We will see if the Lions think he is worth the franchise tag. In this redraft, the Lions take cornerback Darius Slay over him at 5 and he slips because of teams having more pressing needs. The Bengals could have used a complement to Carlos Dunlap and Ansah would have been a great fit in the Bengals’ 4-3 defense.

22. Atlanta Falcons – CB Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)

The Falcons would have loved to have been able to keep Desmond Trufant, but he is too good to fall to 22 again. Instead, the Falcons take a different defensive back, Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu had dominant seasons in 2013 and 2015, but tore his ACL at the end of both of those seasons and wasn’t the same in his other 3 seasons. Only going into his age 26 season, he may prove to be a steal, but he’s undersized at 5-9 186 and has had both knee and shoulder problems in his career. He can play both slot cornerback and safety.

23. Minnesota Vikings – DT Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State)

The Vikings’ original pick here was defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who looked like a great pick until he suffered a knee injury that has kept him out since week 1 of 2016. His long-term future is very much in doubt. Johnathan Hankins is a step down from what Floyd was as a player, but he doesn’t have Floyd’s injury issues. He’d form a dominant duo inside with Linval Joseph.

24. Indianapolis Colts – G Larry Warford (Kentucky)

Maybe if the Colts invested in the offensive line more, Andrew Luck’s career might not be in jeopardy because of a shoulder injury. Larry Warford was one of the best guards in the league as a rookie in 2013. Though he hasn’t been quite that good since, he’s still an above average right guard and is well worth the 4-year, 34 million dollar deal the Saints gave him in free agency last off-season. He would have been valuable in Indianapolis, where they’ve had a rotating door of players at every position except left tackle in Andrew Luck’s career.

25. Minnesota Vikings – CB Logan Ryan (Rutgers)

The Vikings can’t keep Xavier Rhodes in this redraft because he went in the top-10, so they take a different cornerback instead. Logan Ryan is a downgrade, but he still fills what was a big need at the time for the Vikings.

26. Green Bay Packers – TE Jordan Reed (Florida)

At his best, Jordan Reed is one of the best receiving tight ends in football and a matchup nightmare for any defense, because of his combination of speed and size. However, he isn’t much of a run blocker and has never been able to stay healthy, missing 28 games in 5 seasons in the league with a variety of injuries. His career high was 14 games in 2015, when he posted a dominant 87/952/11 line. He was limited to 27/211/2 in 6 games last season, so he falls in this redraft, but he and Aaron Rodgers could do some huge things together in the passing game, so the Packers would be happy to have him, even with the injuries. He gives them the pass catching tight end he’s never really had. He would have been an upgrade over Jermichael Finley and Jared Cook, their best pass catching tight ends in the Aaron Rodgers era.

27. Houston Texans – OT Ryan Schraeder (Valdosta State)

The Texans originally got a steal here with DeAndre Hopkins, but he goes much earlier this time around. Schraeder was originally undrafted, but he became a starter midway through his 2nd season in the league and has developed into one of the best right tackles in football. He’s worth a first round pick in a redraft and would be a good fit with the Texans, who have had multiple different starters at right tackle in recent seasons.

28. Denver Broncos – OT Eric Fisher (Central Michigan)

The Broncos had Ryan Clady at left tackle during this draft, but injuries limited him to 18 games from 2013-2015 and the Broncos then released him after the 2015 season, so left tackle, in hindsight, was a big need for the Broncos in this draft. Eric Fisher wasn’t worth the first overall pick, but he’s developed into a capable left tackle in recent seasons, after struggling early in his career. He’s still worth a first round pick and would be a nice addition by the Broncos, who have had a variety of different left tackles over the past 5 seasons.

29. Minnesota Vikings – WR Robert Woods (USC)

Cordarrelle Patterson never developed into anything more than a good return man for the Vikings and was let go after 4 seasons with the team. This time around, the Vikings take a better wide receiver. Robert Woods never put up huge numbers in his 4 seasons in Buffalo, but that was largely because he was stuck on a run heavy offense. In 2017, in his first season with the Rams, he had a 56/781/5 line in just 12 games. He’s also one of the youngest guys from this draft, still only going into his age 26 season, so he could continue getting better.

30. St. Louis Rams – MLB Alec Ogletree (Georgia)

The Rams stick with their original pick, even though Ogletree is coming off of a down year in his first season in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense. He’s a much better fit as a 4-3 linebacker. Despite that, the Rams locked him up long-term with a 4-year, 42.75 million dollar extension back in October, so they clearly value him highly.

31. Dallas Cowboys – S Jahleel Addae (Central Michigan)

The Cowboys don’t get Travis Frederick this time around, so they settle for upgrading their secondary, which has been a problem for them for a while. Addae, originally undrafted, was a late bloomer, which is why he’s available late in the first, but he’s been an above average starter for the Chargers in each of the past 2 seasons and has made 41 starts in the past 4 seasons. He’d be a welcome addition to the Cowboys.

32. Baltimore Ravens – S Micah Hyde (Iowa)

The Ravens completely whiffed on their first 2 picks in 2013, with Matt Elam and Arthur Brown, but they still came out of the draft with two players who have already been taken in this redraft, 3rd round pick Brandon Williams and 5th round pick Ricky Wagner. 4th round pick John Simon, 4th round pick Kyle Juszczyk, and 6th round pick Ryan Jensen have also developed into useful players. Micah Hyde was a useful player for 4 seasons with the Packers, despite being a mere 5th round pick, and then he took his game to the next level in his first season in Buffalo in 2017. He can play both cornerback and safety, but his best season was as a full-time safety. He’d be an obvious upgrade over Elam at a position of need.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots: 2017 AFC Championship Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6) at New England Patriots (14-3)

I made a big play on the Jaguars last week as 7.5 point underdogs in Pittsburgh, but I am much less excited to do the same with the Jaguars here as 7.5 point underdogs in New England. While Pittsburgh had just 5 regular season wins by more than a touchdown, the Patriots had 9 and then had another one last week in a 35-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers were also never the same team after losing Ryan Shazier for the season, while the Patriots enter the playoffs relatively healthy, even if Tom Brady did miss some practice time this week with a cut finger.

The Jaguars could keep this game close because of their incredible defense, especially since they can get pressure on Tom Brady without blitzing, which has always been the formula to beat Tom Brady. Even if the Jaguars don’t have an answer for Rob Gronkowski on defense and even if the Patriots consistently move the chains with runs and passes to running backs, the Jaguars’ defense should be able to keep the Patriots from putting up too high of a number by pressuring him and locking down his outside receivers. However, the Jaguars’ offense is not that complex and could have trouble against a well coached New England defense that has played a lot better in since the first half of the season. I’m taking the Jaguars at 7.5, but if this line moves to 7 by the morning I would take the Patriots. That’s how close this one is for me.

New England Patriots 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +7.5

Confidence: None

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles: 2017 NFC Championship Pick

Minnesota Vikings (14-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

I am kicking myself for not betting on the Eagles as 3-point home underdogs last week. I knew the Eagles had a great chance to cover and even win straight up if the Falcons played like they had all season, but was hesitant to bet on the Eagles because of the possibility that the Falcons would start to click and play like they did last season, when they made the Super Bowl with essentially the same core of the team. The Falcons never really found their Super Bowl form all season and thus were eliminated in Philadelphia by the final score of 15-10.

The Eagles will try to follow the same formula this week, hiding Nick Foles with their defense and running game. Even without Carson Wentz, the Eagles still have a lot of talent on this roster. Because of their supporting cast, I picked the Eagles to get a first round bye before the season started and I wasn’t even completely sold on Wentz at the time. Given that, I wouldn’t be shocked if they were able to advance to the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, especially since they are at home, where their top level defense has allowed just 13.00 points per game this season. The Eagles get a tougher opponent this week, as the Vikings are a step up in class from the Falcons, so I’m not that excited to take the Eagles as 3-point underdogs, but I do think we are getting some line value with Philadelphia.

Outside of the quarterback position, I have these two teams about even and, while the Vikings have the edge under center, I don’t think Keenum has enough of an advantage over Foles to justify the Vikings being favored by a field goal on the road. Keenum has been impressive this season, but he hasn’t had to play in a lot of tough situations and could struggle on the road against a tough Philadelphia defense. He’s also coming off of a relatively weak performance in the wild card round and was really saved by that miraculous play at the end. I’m not that confident in the Eagles unless you can still get +3.5, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Minnesota Vikings 17 Philadelphia Eagles 16

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +3

Confidence: Low