The NFL Scouting Combine has concluded and now, teams scatter back to their markets to assess what they saw there, and prepare for individual workout days, one on one meetings with the players, etc.
The hype will only grow from here leading to the NFL Draft in Dallas in April.
One of the prominent national pundits/draft analysts is ESPN’s Todd McShay. He is the “foil” to their long time draft guru, Mel Kiper, Jr., and the two often carry on faux hostile debates on air about players and their fit with a certain teams.
With that laid out, McShay was on ESPN Sportscenter this morning and released his latest mock draft (subject to change a minimum of three more times before the actual draft) for the opening round.
We at F.F.I., are obviously most curious about the Buccaneers with the #7 overall and the Dolphins with the #11 overall picks in the opening round. And, once you get beyond pick 10-15, it becomes a complete “crapshoot” who will still be there, who trades up, etc. to predict very much.
Back to what McShay laid out on a March Wednesday morning for ESPN viewers and subsequently, internet debate on what he believes the teams should do when it’s their turn:
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) March 7, 2018
The first interesting tidbit is McShay doesn’t have the Browns taking Penn State RB Saquon Barkley first. Coming off the Combine, where he was impressive with his skills results, that’s a bit surprising. Specifically, the Browns also have the fourth overall pick, and can obviously take one of the prominent QBs that will still be there at that spot.
Nonetheless, he has Cleveland taking Sam Darnold of USC and then Barkley going to the Giants at two. His next pick/slot is one that will have Bucs fans on edge, as he has N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb (the best one in this draft) going third to the Colts, who need pass rush help like the Buccaneers.
Then, as you can see from the t.v. graphic, he very interestingly doesn’t have the Bucs taking a defensive end/pass rusher, even though in his mock draft, Marcus Davenport of UT-San Antonio is available, and has them instead going with Florida State’s safety Derwin James.
We wrote yesterday about how impressive James was physically at the Scouting Combine over the weekend. However, safety may not be the biggest priority for Tampa Bay.
Moving on, Dolphins fans desperately want to see if the team would take a QB, and which one, at #11.
Well, you can’t see it on that t.v. graphic in the tweet above, but with Darnold and Wyoming QB Josh Allen (sixth to the Jets) gone in his mock draft, and with UCLA QB Josh Rosen still there at 11, McShay still says Miami should take OU QB Baker Mayfield.
The Heisman winning Mayfield has met with the Dolphins extensively already, and would be a very fascinating pick. Head coach Adam Gase made it clear in Indianapolis that Ryan Tannehill, off ACL surgery, will be his starter when training camp begins in late July. However, he did not rule out at all that Mayfield or another QB wouldn’t be drafted, possibly highly, to compete with him.
Also, interesting that McShay has UCF defensive back Mike Hughes going 13th to the Redskins. We wrote last week that Hughes’ name would get more and more sizzle at the Combine and afterwards, too.
Again, it’s a mock draft, subject to change, but still, with two Florida NFL franchises picking up high in the first round, it’s worth keeping track of for sure.
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