The Acme Packing Company 2018 mock draft continues on this morning as we move on to picks 19 through 24 of the first round. Here, we see the final one of the top five quarterbacks in this year’s draft class coming off the board, as Lamar Jackson finally sees his name called.
As always, here’s the breakdown: eight writers participated, each representing four teams over the first two rounds of the draft. Trades are allowed, so keep an eye out for a little bit of movement.
Here we go with the next few selections.
1.19 — Dallas Cowboys (Shawn)
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Dallas could head down multiple avenues with this pick. There is a clear need at linebacker after Anthony Hitchens left in free agency and players like Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans are still available. The Jones family could love the opportunity for a big-name deep threat receiver like Calvin Ridley to give Dak Prescott an additional weapon. Dallas could even look at cornerback after releasing Orlando Scandrick.
But the value here is high for Payne, who is one of my favorite prospects in the draft, and he immediately bolsters the Dallas rush defense. Payne is exceptionally athletic and strong for his size. He is downright disruptive on the interior of the line and has tools to eventually become more of a pass rushing threat and Pro Bowl type player. The Cowboys have attempted to add edge rushing threats early in recent drafts and this time turn their attention to the inside.
1.20 — Detroit Lions (Tex)
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
If I’m the Lions in this situation, I’m probably happy that the Cowboys took Payne instead of Hurst. The fact that he played college ball in Ann Arbor is a minor plus, but fans will love it. Hurst’s tape is excellent, and despite some ugly testing numbers at Pro Day, he’s still worthy of a pick in the bottom half of round one. Besides, Lions GM Bob Quinn came over from the Patriots, a team that isn’t known to hold their draft picks to particular testing numbers.
Hurst didn’t test at the Combine because doctors found a heart defect, but he reportedly has known about it since his Freshman year and knew it wouldn’t be an issue.
For the Lions, defensive tackle is a significant need for 2018 and into the future. They have one promising player in A’Shawn Robinson, a 2016 second-round pick, but after him there’s not much in the way of depth. Hurst is a player who can make an immediate impact on this roster, perhaps starting on day one, and he projects as a solid player for years to come.
1.21 — Cincinnati Bengals (JBH)
Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
The last time the Bengals reached the postseason, they had one of the better offensive lines in football. That unit has disintegrated over the past two seasons, with more than half of the starters departing in free agency. Adding UTEP’s Will Hernandez won’t fix all of Cincinnati’s O-line problems, but he represents a step in the right direction. Hernandez became one of the stars of the Senior Bowl and should start right away at guard.
1.22 — Buffalo Bills (Jonathan B.)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
So, patience paid off. The Bills get a quarterback here that reminds them of Tyrod Taylor, but at a higher ceiling. Having already addressed the need in the middle of their defense, quarterback is the next major concern. A.J. McCarron might still start the season as the starter, but Jackson gives Buffalo a plan for the future. He will have Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones downfield. His mobility should also help keep the running game potent.
There is always the chance Buffalo trades up to grab one of the other quarterbacks in this draft, but if they can grab Jackson without moving, they will be pretty happy.
1.23 — New England Patriots (Peter)
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Patriots haven’t had a legitimate receiver over six feet since Randy Moss and although Sutton isn’t Moss, he has the talent to be a legit No. 1 receiver. Compared to Alshon Jeffery, Sutton wins at the catch point and at 6’4 218 has the body to box out smaller receivers.
Putting a player like that opposite Rob Gronkowski could make the Patriots unstoppable in the red zone. Sutton also put up some of the best agility testing numbers at the position. At his size, that suggests incredible athletic upside, particularly as a route runner.
Playing with Tom Brady will help too.
1.24 — Carolina Panthers (Peter)
Connor Williams, OL, Texas
Carolina’s identity starts up front. Losing Adrew Norwell undercuts not only that identity, but a strength for the team. The Panthers don’t want Cam Newton running for his life, so I added a former top-tier offensive tackle who will have to play guard in the NFL with short arms and some lateral agility issues.
And if Matt Kalil continues to be a tire fire (I know where I’d put my money on this), Williams could slide in at his old left tackle position. Williams isn’t the physical mauler the Panthers prefer on the interior, which could make tackle his more natural fit for this team, but Williams could slide in Day 1 at left guard and once again give Carolina a blue chip talent.
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|