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Shepkowski's Mock Draft: Bears Go With Safe Pick

The NFL Draft gets going with the first round Thursday evening.

Nick Shepkowski
April 25, 2018 - 3:59 pm
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By Nick Shepkowski--

(670 The Score) The NFL Draft gets started with the first round Thursday evening. Here's a guess from one man as to how it will go.

1.) Cleveland Browns -- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Darnold is a much lower-risk pick than Josh Allen, and he's believed to be well-liked by the Browns staff. 

2.) New York Giants -- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Best skill player in the draft? If not, he's easily the safest pick. If I’m the Giants, I’d be sprinting to take Josh Rosen here, but it sure seems like they want to give Eli Manning at least one more chance to make magic. Taking Barkley gives them the best chance to do that.

3.) New York Jets -- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

It only took half a centur,y but the Jets finally find Joe Namath’s replacement. It will be a blast watching Rosen in New York.

4.) Cleveland Browns -- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

And all of a sudden the Browns have two darn good, young pass-rushing ends and a quarterback. Is Cleveland actually on track? Well, the Browns have still lost 31 of their past 32...

5.) Denver Broncos -- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Miss on a quarterback in the first round, and you get stuck taking one again a couple years later. The Broncos may set themselves up to do the same in a couple more years.

6.) Indianapolis Colts -- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Colts have more glaring needs than cornerback but can’t pass on Ward’s skill and impact with Chubb already off the board.

7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

The Bucs would probably sprint to the podium and do somersaults off it if Ward was still available, but the best safety in the class isn’t a bad consolation prize for a team that desperately needs help there as well.

8.) Chicago Bears -- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

New Bears offensive line coach Harry Heistand gets his guy in Nelson, and Chicago gets the safest pick in the entire draft. 

9.) San Francisco 49ers -- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best sideline-to-sideline player in the draft. General manager John Lynch is going to be amped with this addition.

10.) Oakland Raiders -- Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Raiders' secondary is put together with a lot of duct tape, some toothpicks and one Reggie Nelson. They fill a big-time need here.

11.) Miami Dolphins -- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Miami needs linebacker help as much as anyone. The 19-year-old Edmunds isn't the most battle-tested, but he can play all linebacker spots, something that the Dolphins desperately need. 2

12.) Buffalo Bills -- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Bills need a quarterback and are rumored to move up to get one. I don’t think it will actually happen at 12, but they’ll find a partner to move up with to get the best offensive player in college football a season ago.

13.) Washington Redskins -- Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The elite linebackers are off the board at this point. Washington has a hole there but will nonetheless be excited to get the highest-regarded defensive tackle in this draft.

14.) Green Bay Packers -- Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

The Packers gave up points on 40.2 percent of possessions last year -- only the Raiders were worse. Landry has been called the best pass rusher in the draft by some, and there's no better way to slow down rival quarterbacks than by throwing them to the ground.

15.) Arizona Cardinals -- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals need receiver help as well, but does anyone really think they’re going to go into 2018 with Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon as their quarterbacks and no real long-term solution?   

16.) Baltimore Ravens -- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

It worked out well last time the Ravens took an Notre Dame offensive lineman, as the returns on Ronnie Stanley are quite positive. This is a chance for the Ravens to have quite the offensive line in the making.

17.) Los Angeles Chargers -- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Some health issues have popped up with Vander Esch's neck, but the Chargers are desperate for linebacker help, and he’s the best left at that spot.

18.) Seattle Seahawks -- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Pete Carroll finds his replacement for Richard Sherman by taking Jackson, the cornerback with perhaps the best of film of any defensive back in the draft across the last year.

19.) Dallas Cowboys -- Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The Cowboys have some edge rushers but up the middle, it’s not so strong. Payne fills that need. With the recent release of Dez Bryant, a receiver wouldn't be a surprise either.

20.) Detroit Lions -- Marcus Davenport, DE, UT-San Antonio

Someone is going to fall in this draft, and my guess is Davenport is that player. The Lions will be thrilled to try and aid their pass rush that has lacked for years now.

21.) Cincinnati Bengals -- Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Need meets prospect again, in this case as Cincinnati works to find its next Eric Steinbach and fix its interior line.

22.) Buffalo Bills -- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

I have the Bills moving up to draft a quarterback before they take Mayfield at 12 in my projection, but if they luck into a quarterback getting to them there, they might as well get him a strong target to throw to.

23.) New England Patriots -- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Malcom Butler left for a greener pasture -- or at least a better-paid one -- in Nashville. The Patriots draft his replacement, and the only question that remains is if he’ll play more than one down in Super Bowl 56.

24.) Carolina Panthers -- Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Mike Adams is seemingly the only defensive back of note whom the Panthers currently have, and he’s only under contract for one more year. So the Panthers really need to go to the defensive back well.

25.) Tennessee Titans -- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Titans need linebackers, and the drop-off after Evans seems to be a significant one.

26.) Atlanta Falcons -- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The Falcons are of the belief that you can’t get enough help on the defensive line. Bryan’s size advantage on other tackle prospects makes him the favorite here.

27.) New Orleans Saints -- Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

The Saints struck out in getting Jimmy Graham back this offseason, so you have to imagine a playmaking tight end is top of mind for Sean Payton and company.

28.) Pittsburgh Steelers -- Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

While the Steelers need linebacker help with the unfortunate circumstances with Ryan Shazier, the top-tier ones aren't available. So they seelct Le'Veon Bell’s replacement and get the gift of using both of them for one season before Bell goes and makes a fortune. 

29.) Jacksonville Jaguars -- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Some call Moore the best receiver prospect in this draft. I won’t go that far, but Jacksonville believes it finds Allen Robinson’s replacement here.

30.) Minnesota Vikings -- Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

The Vikings made a run at Trey Burton this offseason and Jared Cook a year ago.  Yes, Kyle Rudolph is still there, but it seems obvious they're interested in getting Kirk Cousins another big target.

31.) New England Patriots -- Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Replacing Nate Solder won’t be easy, but the Patriots have to attempt to do so.

32.) Philadelphia Eagles -- Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

The Eagles need help long-term at the running back position, and Michel offers that and an ability to catch as well.

Nick Shepkowksi is the executive producer of the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 the Score in afternoon drive. Follow him on Twitter @Shep670.