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APC Mock Draft 2018: Round one closes with tight ends and polarizing prospects

Our mock continues by closing out round one, as a Packers rival finds a starting-caliber lineman and the first two tight ends come off the board.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Acme Packing Company mock draft for 2018 continues on today as we wrap up round one with the final eight picks. This batch of teams were among those that went the farthest in the playoffs last season, and therefore they would appear to have fewer holes on their rosters than the teams picking before them.

Here are the final eight picks of round one.

1.25 — Tennessee Titans (Owen)

Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State

The Titans are an intriguing team. They went through a head coach change after somehow making it to the second round of the playoffs. In comes Mike Vrabel, who will be looking to take the Titans to the next level. Josh Sweat is one of the more intriguing prospects in this class.

A high school super recruit, he tore his ACL during his senior year of high school, and it’s been a journey to get back. Sweat was played a bit out of position this year at Florida State, and will be a better pro than he was a collegian. He’s twitchy as a pass rusher, and Tennessee is getting older at the position. Brian Orakpo isn’t what he once was, and Sweat will provide some juice to a pass rush unit that needs it.

1.26 — Atlanta Falcons (Tex)

Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

An athletic freak, Bryan has been compared to Falcons DT Ra’Shede Hageman by a few draft analysts - both were extremely raw players who just ooze athleticism. The Falcons, meanwhile, have one excellent run-stopping defensive tackle in Grady Jarrett and could use someone who can provide some interior pressure. He could even play some defensive end in a pinch.

Besides, Dan Quinn is a great coach to bring along a player like Bryan. It didn’t work with Hageman, but there are some off-the-field issues there that led to his release in September; Bryan is by all accounts a high-character individual, and this would be an excellent situation for him.

1.27 — New Orleans Saints (JBH)

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

After striking out on Jimmy Graham, the Saints still have a void to fill at tight end. Penn State’s Mike Gesicki offers uncommon athleticism for the position (99th percentile by SPARQ) and college production (129 career receptions for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns). He also could realistically develop into a complete tight end, not just a jumbo slot receiver. Such a talent fits New Orleans’ current and long-term needs.

1.28 — Pittsburgh Steelers (Owen)

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

One of the more polarizing prospects in this class, Vander Esch is a one year starter who exploded onto the scene in 2017, and is expected to be picked somewhere in the first round, maybe as high as the top 10. At 6’4” and 256 lbs, he’s an impressive athlete who can play sideline to sideline.

Pittsburgh drafts largely off of athletic traits, seemingly over-correcting for the Jarvis Jones mistake in 2013. Vander Esch can play off ball in Pittsburgh, who continues to add speed to their defense. A linebacking corps of Vander Esch, Shazier once he gets healthy, and TJ Watt will only help a secondary that is still in need of talent.

1.29 — Jacksonville Jaguars (Mike)

Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2017 and now it’s time to get the offense to catch up. It starts with getting Blake Bortles a new tight end in Hayden Hurst.

The Jaguars whiffed on the Julius Thomas situation and brought in Austin Seferien-Jenkins still but Hurst could give them the complete tight end they covet. Hurst has the blocking and receiving ability to make him an every down player. He is not afraid to go over the middle and make a tough catch. A possible downside on Hurst is that he will be 25 years old when the season starts due to a stint as a professional baseball player. So, his talent might be maxed out but I’d expect him to become Blake Bortles best friend on check down plays and needing someone to get the tough yards over the middle.

1.30 — Minnesota Vikings(Jonathan B.)

James Daniels, C/G, Iowa

Minnesota has to feel very comfortable. The defense does not need much other than depth. I was tempted to take a WR here. Minnesota has a lot of big name players entering free agency at the end of this year and it will tough to retain them all. My bet is Stefon Diggs gets left out. Still, the Vikings just paid big money for Kirk Cousins. He is much less a mobile threat than Case Keenum was last year and the Vikings will want to protect the investment.

James Daniels is a solid player and will fit in immediately at Guard. He has the immediate advantage of giving them someone else who has experience at Center as well.

1.31 — New England Patriots (Peter)

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

The Patriots retool on offense presses on despite bigger concerns on defense. Miller, an athletic offensive tackle with outstanding physical gifts, has been compared to recently-departed New England tackle Nate Solder, making this pairing even more logical. Regardless of the future of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick knows protecting the guy under center is priority No. 1 for any offense. Miller may not be a finished product, but he’s a massive super athlete and New England has the best offensive line coach in the business. With multiple second-round picks, and a deep cornerback class, I can take care of the defense later. Getting one of the few top offensive line talents in this draft should be a priority.

1.32 — Philadelphia Eagles (Jordan)

Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama

This is more or less a luxury pick for the defending Super Bowl champions because they don’t have a lot of holes on defense. Their rotation up front is ridiculous featuring Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Haloti Ngata, and Derek Barnett. So why not give them a physical, gifted ILB from Alabama to eat behind them?

Evans is a downhill linebacker who loves to stick his nose in and stuff run plays before they even get moving. Where Roquan Smith is touted for his ability to fly from sideline-to-sideline, Evans is able to do that pretty well himself. Evans can play well in coverage and his experience under Nick Saban will help him transition to the NFL smoothly like so many ‘Bama defenders before him.

APC Mock Draft 2018

Pick Team Author Player Position College
Pick Team Author Player Position College
1 CLE Shawn Josh Allen QB Wyoming
2 NYG Jason Josh Rosen QB UCLA
3 NYJ Tex Sam Darnold QB USC
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
11 MIA Mike Vita Vea DT Washington
12 BUF Jon B Roquan Smith ILB UGA
13 WAS Owen Josh Jackson CB Iowa
14 GB Peter Derwin James S Florida State
15 IND (trade w/ARI) Jordan Harold Landry EDGE Boston College
16 BAL Jordan Marcus Davenport EDGE UTSA
17 LAC Jason Mike McGlinchey T Notre Dame
18 SEA Mike Isaiah Wynn OL Georgia
19 DAL Shawn Da'Ron Payne DL Alabama
20 DET Tex Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
21 CIN Jason Will Hernandez G UTEP
22 BUF Jon B Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
23 NE Peter Courtland Sutton WR SMU
24 CAR Peter Connor Williams OL Texas
25 TEN Owen Josh Sweat EDGE Florida State
26 ATL Tex Taven Bryan DT Florida
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
31 NE Peter Kolton Miller OT UCLA
32 PHI Jordan Rashaan Evans ILB Alabama
33 CLE Shawn Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
34 NYG Jason D.J. Moore WR Maryland
35 CLE Shawn Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi State
36 IND Jordan Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
37 IND Jordan Isaiah Oliver CB Colorado
38 TB Jon B Holton Hill CB Texas
39 CHI Mike Billy Price OL Ohio State
40 DEN Peter Sony Michel RB Georgia
41 OAK Jon B Tim Settle DT VA Tech
42 MIA Mike Lorenzo Carter LB Georgia
43 NE Peter Mike Hughes CB UCF
44 WAS Owen Derrius Guice RB LSU
45 GB Peter Donte Jackson CB LSU
46 CIN Jason Malik Jefferson LB Texas
47 IND (trade w/ARI) Jordan Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma
48 LAC Jason Mason Rudolph QB Oklahoma State
49 IND Jordan Arden Key EDGE LSU
50 DAL Shawn D.J. Chark WR LSU
51 DET Tex Sam Hubbard DE Ohio State
52 BAL Jordan James Washington WR Oklahoma State
53 BUF Jon B Harrison Phillips DT Stanford
54 KC Tex Carlton Davis CB Auburn
55 CAR Peter Justin Reid S Stanford
56 BUF Jon B Braden Smith G Auburn
57 TEN Owen Nick Chubb RB Georgia
58 GB (via ATL) Peter Christian Kirk WR Texas A&M
59 SF Owen Austin Corbett OG Nevada
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
64 CLE Shawn Rasheem Green DE USC