APC’s mock of the 2018 NFL Draft continues today with picks seven through twelve, which lead us up to the Green Bay Packers’ pick at 14 overall tomorrow. After four quarterbacks went in the top six picks of our mock, this next batch of selections is much more varied. However, all six projected picks play on defense, thinning out the options for the Packers.
Here is a look at how we projected the next six picks of round one.
1.7 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jonathan B.)
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the misfortune of being dead last in the NFL in passing yards last year, but also dead last in sacks. Chubb is a top five talent in this draft and he is a steal here at the seventh pick. Tampa Bay has invested in their defensive line in recent years. They added Noah Spence last year. Tampa Bay also traded for Jason Pierre-Paul this off-season and added former Badger Beau Allen.
There are some concerns about the future of the defensive backfield as well, but Chubb is just too valuable a player to pass this early on. Mel Kiper currently has Chubb as the second best player in the draft. CBS has Chubb as the best player.
1.8 — Chicago Bears (Mike)
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
While new Head Coach Matt Nagy would probably like to get Mitchell Trubisky some more weapons on offense, he can’t pass up the athleticism of Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds was a workout warrior at the combine and saw his draft status skyrocket from a very good junior season at Virginia Tech. Edmunds might be the most athletic defensive player on the board for his size and will give the Bears a weapon that can line up at any of the linebacker positions.
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio will have some fun creating plays for Edmunds to make him as disruptive as possible for the Bears opponents in 2018. Edmunds has the size, speed and explosiveness that could make the Bears defense feared throughout the NFL. Chicago has been plugging in players constantly at the linebacker position looking for the next Brian Urlacher type player and they may have found that player in Tremaine Edmunds.
1.9 — San Francisco 49ers (Owen)
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Niners have dedicated the past three first round picks to their defensive line, it’s time to improve the defense elsewhere. Adding Richard Sherman was a big move to improve the secondary, but more help is on the way with the elite athleticism of Denzel Ward. A better secondary will continue to supplement a defensive line chocked full of talent looking to get after the quarterback.
Ward will step in Day 1 and start across from Sherman for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. In the 49ers Cover 3 scheme, Ward isn’t the prototypical long corner like the Seahawks generally targeted, but Ward is the most dynamic defensive back in this class, and he’s an instant impact player for Kyle Shanahan and Co.
1.10 — Oakland Raiders (Jonathan B.)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Ftizpatrick is a versatile player. He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash. At 6’1” and 201 pounds, he has great size. He has been a leader on the Alabama defense in recent years and could slide in very quickly to the Raiders defense. The Raiders need to improve on defense. They have been decent in stopping the run (12th in yards per game), but 26th in passing yards per game. A more pure cornerback like Josh Jackson could be in play here, but with Denzel Ward off our board here, Fitzpatrick is the best athlete to boost this pass defense.
1.11 — Miami Dolphins (Mike)
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Miami created a big hole on the defensive line when the released Ndamukong Suh earlier this offseason. Enter Vita Vea, the athletic 350-pound defensive lineman that has the power and speed to let Dolphins fans forget about the Suh disappointment. Vea will line up on the interior of the line in even fronts and will be able to play any position on the line in an odd front.
Vea has some questions about his effort on every play but when he turns it on, he becomes a handful for whoever is trying to block him. Vea can take up two gaps in the run game and has the athleticism to put pressure on the quarterback on passing downs. Vea will be an important cog in the defense for the Dolphins who are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2017.
1.12 — Buffalo Bills (Jonathan B.)
Roquan Smith, ILB, UGA
There was a huge temptation here to go and get Lamar Jackson. The Bills look to be heading into the 2018 season with A.J. McCarron starting. That does not bring up warm fuzzy feelings. Still, Preston Brown left this team in free agency and they need to replace the leading tackler from a year ago. Deep in his heart, Sean McDermott is an old defensive coach.
Roquan Smith give the Bills a solid linebacker in the middle of their defense. He is up to 236 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. He is not the thumper the Bills thought they were getting when they drafted Reggie Ragland, but he is an athletic playmaker to lead this defense. Buffalo can get a solid, “play now” guy for the defense and get a draft and develop quarterback with the second first-round pick.
APC Mock Draft 2018
|4||CLE||Shawn||Saquon Barkley||RB||Penn State|
|5||DEN||Peter||Quenton Nelson||G||Notre Dame|
|6||ARI (Trade w/ IND)||Jordan||Baker Mayfield||QB||Oklahoma|
|7||TB||Jon B||Bradley Chubb||DE||NC State|
|8||CHI||Mike||Tremaine Edmunds||LB||Va Tech|
|9||SF||Owen||Denzel Ward||CB||Ohio State|
|10||OAK||Jon B||Minkah Fitzpatrick||DB||Alabama|
|12||BUF||Jon B||Roquan Smith||ILB||UGA|
|14||GB||Peter||Derwin James||S||Florida State|
|15||IND (trade w/ARI)||Jordan||Harold Landry||EDGE||Boston College|
|17||LAC||Jason||Mike McGlinchey||T||Notre Dame|
|22||BUF||Jon B||Lamar Jackson||QB||Louisville|
|25||TEN||Owen||Josh Sweat||EDGE||Florida State|
|27||NO||Jason||Mike Gesicki||TE||Penn State|
|28||PIT||Owen||Leighton Vander Esch||LB||Boise State|
|29||JAX||Mike||Hayden Hurst||TE||South Carolina|
|30||MIN||Jon B||James Daniels||C/G||Iowa|
|35||CLE||Shawn||Martinas Rankin||OT||Mississippi State|
|38||TB||Jon B||Holton Hill||CB||Texas|
|39||CHI||Mike||Billy Price||OL||Ohio State|
|41||OAK||Jon B||Tim Settle||DT||VA Tech|
|47||IND (trade w/ARI)||Jordan||Orlando Brown||OT||Oklahoma|
|48||LAC||Jason||Mason Rudolph||QB||Oklahoma State|
|51||DET||Tex||Sam Hubbard||DE||Ohio State|
|52||BAL||Jordan||James Washington||WR||Oklahoma State|
|53||BUF||Jon B||Harrison Phillips||DT||Stanford|
|56||BUF||Jon B||Braden Smith||G||Auburn|
|58||GB (via ATL)||Peter||Christian Kirk||WR||Texas A&M|
|60||PIT||Owen||Jesse Bates III||S||Wake Forest|
|61||JAX||Mike||Darius Leonard||LB||South Carolina State|
|62||MIN||Jon B||Anthony Averett||CB||Alabama|
|63||NE||Peter||Dallas Goedert||TE||South Dakota State|