Welcome to the second annual Miami Student Mock NFL Draft. We’ve made significant progress since last year’s edition and have even added two other writers to the “draft room.” As a quick preface, our selections are the picks we would make in the best interest of the team – not necessarily what we think is going to happen. As a result, we had a few “hot takes” and a couple players that slid despite being atop most draft boards.

 

1. Cleveland Browns: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

 

The Browns went out and acquired Tyrod Taylor this offseason, as well as Jarvis Landry and a few other key pieces of their future. Whoever the Browns take at No. 1 will be behind Taylor for at least a season. Taking Allen – who has a huge upside and a cannon for an arm – will be a pick for the future, which is the Browns’ main focus. -KH

 

2. New York Giants: QB Sam Darnold, USC

 

At 37 years old, Eli Manning’s time as a quarterback in the NFL is coming to an end. The New York Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman has said he wants someone who will last a long time. Sam Darnold arguably has the best upside of all QBs in the draft. He has a lot of learning to do, and the two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning would be a great mentor for the young Darnold. -JH

 

3. New York Jets (From IND): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

 

Rosen, in my opinion, is the best QB in the draft. “Character concerns” that consist of qualities like “being too smart,” having interests outside of football and “not loving the game” have been overhyped and are partially untrue. With this move, the Jets ideally land their first permanent stalwart at the quarterback position in a very long time. -MH

 

4. Cleveland Browns (From HOU): CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

 

The Browns should trade out of this draft slot, if possible – the deal between the Jets and Colts showed how valuable picks at the top of this year’s draft are. If they can’t find a partner, positional value and need dictate the physical, athletic corner from the Buckeye State as the best pick. -NS

 

5. Denver Broncos: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

 

The Broncos need their QB of the future and, sitting at No. 5, Baker Mayfield is the last of the four big QBs on the board. The Broncos have former first-rounder Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum who is coming off of a career year in Minnesota. Keenum will not likely replicate last season’s success and Mayfield could create an entertaining battle for the starting QB job in Denver. -KH

 

6. Indianapolis Colts (From NYJ): OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

 

Quentin Nelson has proven to be the best offensive lineman in this draft class and arguably the best one in the last 10 years. This interior blocker will give Andrew Luck more time in the pocket, allowing him to stay upright – something Luck has struggled with during his time with the Colts. -JH

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

 

In taking Barkley, the Bucs can add a dimension to their offense that has been missing for essentially the entirety of Jameis Winston’s career. Barkley is one of the top RB prospects to come into the pros in a while and his ability to both run and catch the ball at an elite level should fit into the Bucs offense – or frankly, any offense in the NFL – very nicely. -MH

 

8. Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

 

Roquan Smith is a freak whose play-speed and recognition allowed him to take what should’ve been easy screens and destroy them behind the line of scrimmage. He was dominant in college in all aspects of the game and could have a Luke Kuechly-like impact. Would fill the current hole in the Bears’ lineup from Day One. -NS

 

9. San Francisco 49ers: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU

 

The Jimmy G. era is in full swing in San Francisco. He needs receivers to throw to and Sutton is the best WR prospect in this year’s draft. The Niners shored up their defense with the signing of Richard Sherman, so the glaring need here is a No. 1 WR for Jimmy G. to target. -KH

 

10. Oakland Raiders: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

 

Tremaine Edmunds is the best linebacker in the draft and the Raiders could bolster their defense by adding him. The speedy Virginia Tech product could prove to be a huge addition to their previously 23rd ranked defense with his playmaking ability. -JH

 

11. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

 

Chubb is an elite pass rusher and if he manages to fall this far in the draft, the Dolphins should be sprinting to the podium. After cutting Ndamukong Suh, and with Cameron Wake entering his age-36 season, the Dolphins have very little depth at the pass rusher position. Chubb should fill the role beautifully and provide Miami with a building block on their defense for years to come. -MH

 

12. Buffalo Bills (From CIN): QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

 

This is among the best case scenarios for Buffalo. Their roster is too depleted to burn valuable draft capital on trading up. Jackson is on par with other top prospects as a passer and is otherworldly as an athlete. -NS

 

13. Washington Redskins: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

 

Alex Smith is a fresh face in Washington this year and, as we learned from his time in K.C., he loves his tight end. The Redskins’ current TE, Jordan Reed, can’t stay healthy. Head coach Jay Gruden has a background as an offensive coordinator and could jump the gun to get a TE with the tools and potential of Goedert. -KH

 

14. Green Bay Packers: CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

 

Fitzpatrick is the most talented and versatile defender in this year’s draft class. He also fits perfectly in Mike Pettine’s defense. His ability to play anywhere in the secondary gives him a chance to be an impact right after being drafted. -JH

 

15. Arizona Cardinals: S Derwin James, Florida State

 

Getting a top-5 talent like Derwin James at pick 15 is an absolute best-case scenario for the Cardinals. After cutting Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu, the Cardinals can immediately replace him with James and last year’s second round pick, Budda Baker. -MH

 

16. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College

 

The edge defenders fell in this mock, but I’d be surprised if Landry was on the board come Thursday night. His elite agility testing is highly correlated with success at the position. He played through injury this year, but his 2016 tape was as good as any in the class. -NS

 

17. Los Angeles Chargers: DT Vita Vea, Washington

 

The Chargers’ offense fired on all cylinders to end last year with Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers. Their potent offense needs a defense to help them win games, and the best pick for them is Vea. Adding him to a line with Joey Bosa can give LA a stellar defensive front. -KH

 

18. Seattle Seahawks: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

 

The Seahawks just lost the strongest link of their defense in Richard Sherman and they need a replacement who can mimic him. Jackson and Sherman are similar athletes – they had combine results that were almost identical and both have a similar build. Look to see Jackson have a strong impact his rookie year. -JH

 

19. Dallas Cowboys: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville

 

While a lot of people are expecting the Cowboys to draft a wide receiver with this pick, the opportunity to take a top corner like Alexander and shore up a position of need is too great to pass up. This class is extremely deep at the receiver position, so although I don’t have the Cowboys going WR in the first, I would expect them to take a long look at guys like James Washington, Michael Gallup or Anthony Miller in the second/third. -MH

 

20. Detroit Lions: OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

 

If Wynn was not (comparatively) short at 6’3”, he would be in the conversation for top tackle in the class, but NFL coaching preferences ensure the All-American tackle will be playing guard. Wynn would finally fill the hole 2015 first rounder Laken Tomlinson was supposed to. -NS

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (From BUF): OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

 

The Bengals should, and need to, take the best offensive lineman they can at 21. They acquired Cordy Glenn this offseason, but that isn’t enough to fix the disaster that is the Bengals’ O-Line. -KH

 

22. Buffalo Bills (From KC): WR D.J. Moore, Maryland

 

The Bills need a receiver to assist their offensive attack. This quick receiver can do just about anything as he looks to play a role similar to Tyreek Hill. -JH

 

23. New England Patriots (From LAR): EDGE Marcus Davenport, UTSA

 

Davenport, the 2017 Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year,  is a bit of an unknown to common football fans after playing at the University of Texas – San Antonio. If he can bring the same production to a Patriots’ defensive line that struggled to put pressure on the likes of Blake Bortles and Nick Foles, then Davenport could end up making a big name for himself in New England. -MH

 

24. Carolina Panthers: OG Will Hernandez, UTEP

 

The Panthers lost stud guard Andrew Norwell in free agency. Hernandez would be a great replacement. Hernandez is physically dominant and fits in with the Panthers’ tough team mentality. -NS

 

25. Tennessee Titans: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan

 

The Titans need to get better defensively to succeed in the postseason. A high powered offense and an average defense will not get them that far. Maurice Hurst is a good player and will make an impact on the Titans’ defense. -KH

 

26. Atlanta Falcons: DT Taven Bryan, Florida

 

Bryan is a nightmare for interior offensive lineman – his motor never stops. He has the perfect defensive lineman trifecta with size, strength and quickness. Look for him to be a nightmare to opposing offenses for the Falcons. -JH

 

27. New Orleans Saints: OT Connor Williams, Texas

 

Although the Saints are relatively deep at tackle with last year’s first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk and solid starter Terron Armstead, their team ended up struggling in the playoffs when the two tackles went down with injuries. By picking Williams, a 6’6” mauler out of the University of Texas, the Saints are able to put these injury concerns to rest and continue to protect their most prized asset – QB Drew Brees. -MH

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

 

Ryan Shazier’s spinal injury was one of the low points of the 2017 season and, unfortunately, it means he will not be playing in 2018. The Steelers are obviously hoping for the best in his recovery, but they need to prepare for the worst. Like Shazier, Vander Esch is an amazing athlete and is the best available LB at this point. -NS

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State

 

“Sacksonville” is the real deal. The defense is stellar, but Blake Bortles needs a few more weapons. Gesicki could be one of those weapons. He leaves room to be desired as a blocker, but has high potential as a pass catcher. He can contribute to a Jacksonville team that hopes to return to the playoffs. -KH

 

30. Minnesota Vikings: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

 

Orlando Brown has proven to be a fantastic tackle. He’s a great run blocker and his size makes it hard for opposition to get around him. His value dropped due to the fact that his combine results were awful, but look to see the Oklahoma product improve in the NFL. -JH

 

31. New England Patriots: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

 

I know, I know. Bill Belichick doesn’t use first round picks on wide receivers. In fact, since Belichick took over as Head Coach/GM of the Patriots in 2000, the team has only used a first round pick on an offensive skill player once – RB Laurence Maroney in 2006. All things aside, Ridley is a great wide receiver and the best route runner in the draft. By all accounts, Ridley is coachable and the level of detail and precision on his routes truly embodies the “Patriot Way.” If the Patriots choose to take Ridley, there is a strong chance that he quickly becomes one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. -MH

 

32. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Derrius Guice, LSU

 

This is a luxury pick for Philadelphia. They don’t need to take a running back in the first two days of the draft, but Guice would be an upgrade from most running backs in the league. He is a better prospect than his former teammate and last year’s No. 4 overall pick Leonard Fournette, so the rich get richer here. -NS

 

Miami has not had a player taken in the first round since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, and that won’t change this year. However, we are expecting senior CB Heath Harding to be the program’s second player drafted since 2013 – likely on day three. Look out for WR Jared Murphy, TE Ryan Smith and possibly TE Liam Salquist to also get calls on Saturday from teams looking for quality undrafted free-agents to compete in training camp.

 

Questions, comments, think we have absolutely no clue what we’re doing? Reach out to us at:

Kevin Haid: haidkt@miamioh.edu

Jj Hartwell: hartwejm@miamioh.edu

Mitch Hausfeld: hausfemj@miamioh.edu, Twitter: @mjhausfeld

Nick Schelter: schletna@miamioh.edu, Twitter: @nschlete

 

Comments