Scramble for the Ball
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Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Porter Noles

Here at Football Outsiders, we do not usually produce mock drafts. We typically prefer to analyze the draft after the fact, both immediately in the form of Audibles and long after in the form of our Six Years Later draft reviews. However, as the wealth of information on prospects grows, and the pool of sports analytics deepens, we are able to access more physical and mental performance data than ever before. This, coupled with our research into projection systems such as BackCAST and QBASE, allows us to have more and greater confidence in projecting college players to the NFL. Now that April has arrived, we feel better equipped than ever to test the waters with this, the inaugural Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft.

1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Saquon Barkley is the most skilled offensive player in the draft; a generational talent as both a runner and receiver; the type of back around whom any coach in the league would love to build his offense. While quarterback is generally considered the more important position in the modern game, exceptional decision-makers make exceptional decisions, and Barkley is the type of back who merits such an exception. The Browns have two picks in the top four of the draft, and regardless of what they do with the No. 1 pick they will still get to choose from at least two of the four prospective franchise quarterbacks. This will be their only chance to grab a best friend for that quarterback in Barkley. Not even the Browns will pass up the most talented player in the draft.

2. New York Giants: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Josh Allen has all the tools. You've heard it a million times already, so I don't need to repeat here what everybody else has written elsewhere. Though many so-called "analysts" and "statisticians" will tell you that his performance at Wyoming was horrifying, scouts will tell you that those numbers are a product of an inferior supporting cast in a mediocre conference. In New York, he will instead have possibly the best receiving corps in the league: Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, and Evan Engram. Behind a rebuilt offensive line that should give him the time he needs to demonstrate his arm strength on deeper patterns, Allen will be set up to excel in the pros in a way he never had a chance to in college.

3. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis, via N.Y. Jets): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Trade Details: New York receives Cleveland's third second-round pick in 2018, their third-round pick in 2019, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020.

Any mock draft that doesn't include trades is simply unrealistic. After years of being passive and trading back, the Browns have the resources to move up to ensure they can get the players they covet most. Saquon Barkley is the consensus best offensive player in the draft, a generational talent as both a runner and receiver, and the type of back around whom any coach in the league would love to build his offense. It is vital that the Browns nail their first-round selections this year -- you can only go 0-16 for two or three seasons in a row before fans begin to get unruly. With that in mind, this is the safest selection they can make: by selecting Barkley once again, the Browns will ensure that they will have plenty of time to get all the appropriate paperwork turned in to the league office.

4. New York Jets (from Cleveland via Houston): ...

Per Ian Rapoport, Todd Bowles stated at the annual coaches' breakfast that the Jets traded up not with one player in mind, but with six or seven they believe they'll have a chance at. With their top two targets off the board, the Jets will trade down to No. 4 to get a better sense of what other teams are thinking. Keeping all your options open and considering a wide range of players is important to ensure you make the correct selections on draft day. Unfortunately, there's such a thing as an excess of choice. With so many players to decide between, I project that the Jets will be paralyzed by indecision, letting the time run out on their pick and allowing the teams behind them to jump in line.

4. Denver Broncos: John Elway, QB, Stanford

As a general manager, Elway has drafted quarterbacks Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly, and yet the Broncos still find themselves in need of a signal-caller. Denver has had success before with an aging Hall of Famer behind center, so why not go with the player Elway trusts more than anyone else? The one potential downside is that Elway has historically been wary of signing with poorly run teams; he never ended up signing his deal with the Baltimore Colts back in 1983. It will be up to Elway to convince Elway that the Broncos are an exciting, forwardly-mobile organization, pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, Elway may just end up taking his talents to Minor League Baseball instead.

5. Indianapolis Colts (from N.Y. Jets, via N.Y. Jets): Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky

Trade Details: New York receives Indianapolis' seventh-round selection in 2018. The two teams swap second-, fourth- and sixth-round selections in odd-numbered years between 2019 and 2025.

This trade will create a unique scenario in which the same pair of teams trades picks twice in the first round of the same draft, with the Jets moving back to their original slot while the Colts move up from six to five at only a minor cost.

Most draft experts agree that Mike White has the strongest arm in this year's draft class -- a former high school pitcher with arm talent to spare. Unfortunately, his mobility, anticipation, and footwork all leave much to be desired. My sources in Indianapolis indicate that the Colts intend to amputate White's arm at the acromioclavicular joint, and then attach that arm to Andrew Luck, in order to ensure that he will be healthy for the remainder of his NFL career. The surgery is only expected to cost Luck another season and a half, and then he should be able to retake the field with only minor long-term consequences.

6. New York Jets (from Indianapolis): …

The Jets' trades successfully buy them even more time to analyze their draft board, and allows them to ask some of the truly important questions. Should they bolster their offensive line, or work on improving their defense? Is a lower-ranked edge rusher more important to a team's success than a higher-ranked receiver? Would the concept of playing in New Jersey for a team billing itself from New York confuse top prospects? Will football still exist in 30 years, and if not, should that alter the team's draft strategy? These questions cannot be answered in just 10 minutes, and the Jets will let the clock run out on them for a second time.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tanner Carew, LS, Oregon

The Buccaneers have tried almost everything to fix their field goal kicking game. Their highly-drafted kicker, Roberto Aguayo, flamed out in spectacular fashion, while holder Bryan Anger, himself a third-round pick who was selected ahead of Russell Wilson, is one of the few good consistently good special teamers in Tampa Bay. For most teams, a long snapper would be a waste of a first-round pick, but in Tampa Bay the right player could make a huge impact. Step forward Tanner Carew, who delivered 134 perfect long snaps in his final season at Oregon and was a standout on special teams at the Senior Bowl. Not only is Carew an adept snapper, he runs a sub-5-second 40-yard dash and is a solid tackler in coverage. As the only long snapper to be invited to the combine, Carew is the obvious top choice to finally cure the Buccaneers' special teams ills.

7. Chicago Bears: Lamar Jackson, WR, Louisville

At this point, you have to move on from Kevin White. With season-ending injuries in each of his first three years in the league, anything the Bears get out of him would have to be considered gravy by now. Lamar Jackson would be a great weapon for Mitchell Trubisky. He has the athleticism to succeed on the outside, where his great open-field instincts; ability to make defenders miss; and pure, raw speed should allow him to give opposing defensive backs fits. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands, and few positions in the game will allow him to have the ball more frequently than as an elite, No. 1 wideout. At 6-foot-3, Jackson is too small to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback, but he would be an uncommonly big target as Trubisky's favorite receiver.

8. San Francisco 49ers: 2,500 tons of Pentelic Marble, ST, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The 49ers have had some question marks this offseason that have begun to make a few fans uneasy. There was the arrest and potential suspension of last year's first-round pick, Reuben Foster. There was the apparent overpay of running back Jerick McKinnon in free agency. There was the unease of watching the Los Angeles Rams construct a superteam at the other end of I-5. It is vital for the franchise to reassure their fanbase that everything will be alright. The marble will go into the construction of a giant statue of quarterback, franchise-savior and GQ model Jimmy Garoppolo. Set to be installed just outside Levi's Stadium, optimistic projections have it almost being visible in San Francisco proper. Extending his hand towards the remains of Candlestick Park, the light of the sun setting over the bay will sparkle off his perfect, ivory-white smile, assuring nervous San Francisconites that everything will be just fine. Rumors that the 49ers are installing a lighting fixture in the rear of the statue to illuminate Levi's Stadium are, at press time, unconfirmed.

9. Oakland Raiders: Charles Woodson, DB, Michigan

Jon Gruden has been adamant in his goal of "throwing the game back to 1998." No one will help him achieve that goal better than Charles Woodson. He can play wideout or defensive back, and is an explosive return specialist, with all the physical tools necessary to be an impact player for years to come. A conservative estimate would see him somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 career interceptions, finally filling the void in the secondary they've had since Charles Woodson retired.


10. Washington Redskins (from N.Y. Jets): Arden Key, DE, LSU

Trade Details: New York receives Washington's first- and third-round selections in the 2018 draft, a third-round pick in the 2019 supplemental draft, a tenth-round pick in the 2020 draft, and a second-round pick in the 2021 XFL dispersal draft

The Jets' continued indecision ends up with them trading back yet again. Their deep dive into all the potential possibilities and permutations going forward ends with them getting significant hypothetical value for sliding down just three slots, when they still have six or seven quality names atop their draft board.

There have been multiple red flags raised about Arden Key during the pre-draft evaluation process. He showed up to spring practice 30 pounds overweight as a sophomore, blaming his wife's pregnancy for the weight gain. He mysteriously left LSU for four months for "personal reasons" which have never been satisfactory explained. He has refused to speak to local media since his return. This makes him the perfect fit in the current culture in Washington, where none of these issues will ever see the front page of the local newspapers.

11. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

My sources in Miami tell me that the Dolphins are getting ready to unveil a new analytical system to help govern their picks. Their new wide receiver evaluation process will take yards per reception (adjusted for quality of opponent), height, hand width, three-cone time, Wonderlic scores, phrenological skull measurements, FIDE chess rating at the time of the combine, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' K/D ratio, and score on the Presidential Physical Fitness Test into account. The resulting metric builds on Bill Barnwell's seminal 2009 "horizontal yards" research, and is, to our knowledge, the first time an NFL team will place this analytical evaluation process into place. Lateral And Negative Depth Receiving Yards, or LANDRY, will revolutionize the way we think about the wide receiver position.

12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati): Tylor Tayrod, QB, Virginia Tech

The Bills get a hard-working kid who has improved every year, though it is unclear if he can play quarterback at the next level. He has a quick release and a strong arm, but he is somewhat erratic as a passer. He needs to improve his decision-making to be an efficient quarterback. His greatest asset is his athleticism and he should be able to contribute immediately as a running back, receiver, or return man. A terrific senior season, where he completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, has helped his draft stock.

13. New York Jets (from Washington): …

What is "time," anyway? Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity shows that a time dilation exists when two observers are differently situated relative to a gravitational field or when there is a velocity difference relative to one another, meaning that time itself isn't a constant. What is the "now"? When is "now"? How do you define the perceptual present, the boundaries between what we can directly perceive and what we have to reconstruct from memory? How can we truly be sure that the 10 minutes allotted to each team's first-round draft selection are the same ten minutes for all involved? These are some deep and important philosophical questions that remain unanswered, and certainly can't be answered in the short period of time teams are granted to make their selections. The Jets will have to let their clock expire yet again as they attempt to grapple with the ramifications of their deliberations.

Note: During the hour since the Bears selected him, Lamar Jackson has held an emergency press conference to announce that he is not a wide receiver, and will not report as one to Chicago. The Bears have elected to waive the pick and allow Jackson to re-enter the draft pool.

13. Green Bay Packers: Lamar Jackson, RB, Louisville

By the end of the 2017 season, it looked like the Packers had finally solved their running problem: Jamal Williams piled up more than 500 rushing yards from Weeks 9 to 16, and added a further 220 yards on receptions during those eight games. Still, fans in Green Bay have seen short-term success before, and are right to mistrust those results. The team's offense was still bad without Aaron Rodgers, and Williams still finished below 3.7 yards per carry. Lamar Jackson's career average is 6.3 yards per carry, and though his height makes him a big target for tacklers, he carries the innate advantage of being a threat to pass on trick plays. We have seen the success of run-pass options when the quarterback has the choice to run or pass: what about when the running back has the option too? Jackson could be one of the league's greatest trick-play weapons, as well as a stellar halfback in his own right. Finally, he could even substitute for Rodgers on package plays or as an injury replacement, adding a further wrinkle to Mike McCarthy's diverse and innovative offensive scheme.

14. Arizona Cardinals: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Cardinals sorted out their short-term future at quarterback by signing Sam Bradford to a one-year, $20 million contract this offseason. Thanks to Bradford's injury history, "short-term" in this case likely means about two games before his knees, shoulder, hip, ACL, and spleen all simultaneously fracture and/or rupture. With the Rams' revamped defensive line, two games might even be a bit of an optimistic projection. Some might say the proper response to an injury-prone quarterback and a ferocious opposing pass rush is to invest in the offensive line, develop a scheme that rewards getting the ball out quickly, and foster a strong rushing game that forces defensive coordinators to be more hesitant about sending pressure. In this instance, however, preparing for the inevitable with a backup Sam seems to be the wisest course of action.


15. Baltimore Ravens: The Mathemagician, GM, Digitopolis

By the four million, eight hundred and twenty-seven thousand, six hundred and fifty-nine hairs on his head, the Mathemagician may be the only man in all of The Lands Beyond who can save the Baltimore Ravens. He'll be able to take Joe Flacco's massive contract, and divide it in half, and then divide it in half again, and then divide it in half again, and then divide it in half again, and then divide it in half again… It will be kept in a box so small you can't see it, kept in a drawer so small you can't see it, in a house that's so small you can't see it, in a city that's so small you can't see it, which is part of a country that's so small you can't see it, in a world that's so small you can't see it, which is where Russell Wilson comes from.

16. Los Angeles Chargers: Jose Bergoglio, FS, Colegio Maximo de San Jose

The Chargers should be the favorites in the AFC West this season. They once again have the best quarterback in the division now that Mr. Smith has gone to Washington. They had the highest weighted DVOA in the division last season, as they finished the year strong. They have Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Casey Hayward leading a strong defense. They've upgraded their kicking game yet again. They play in a division in transition, leaving a wide open vacancy atop the standings. The thing holding them back is a stretch of horrible luck, bizarre happenings, and near-impossible coincidences that have allowed them to explore the full range of heartbreaking defeats. Clearly, the franchise is cursed, and it's time to take action. The selection of Jose "Francis" Bergoglio will be the "old priest" in Los Angeles' two-pronged exorcism plan.

Note: During the hour since the Packers selected him, Lamar Jackson has held an emergency press conference to announce that he is also not a running back, and will not report as one to Green Bay. The Packers have elected to waive the pick and allow Jackson to re-enter the draft pool.

17. Seattle Seahawks: Lamar Jackson, LT, Louisville

Under previous line coach Tom Cable, the Seahawks had a long history of converting players from other positions into offensive linemen. The results speak for themselves. Though small for an offensive tackle, Jackson's speed on the edge, quick feet, and fluid movement should help smooth the transition away from a ball-handling role. He will need to bulk up, which may affect his top-end speed, but his intelligence and understanding of the game should allow for a quick transition into a starting role. As a bonus, Jackson can line up as an eligible tackle, creating a lot of potential for trickery as a runner, receiver, and even perhaps occasional passer. Russell Wilson has one receiving touchdown to his name already, and adding Jackson alongside Tanner McEvoy means a huge amount of trick-play potential will be present in the Seahawks offense.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Mario Mario, WR, Mushroom Kingdom

Dallas is in the market for a new wide receiver, as Dez Bryant has significantly slowed down in recent years. Mario has always been known as a plus-level athlete -- in addition to his insane performances in the vertical and long jumps, he has also had significant success in tennis, golf, baseball, track and field, basketball, and soccer, just to name a few. In his recent Odyssey, he has also demonstrated excellent hands and an ability to catch objects coming at him from nearly impossible angles. Mario would have gone higher in the draft if it wasn't for his off-field issues; his past use of performance-enhancing mushrooms is a major red flag for most teams. He swears up and down that it's "a-thing of the past," but the last thing the Cowboys need is yet another PED-related suspension.

19. Detroit Lions: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Fans in Detroit will be delighted with the selection of Quenton Nelson, especially when they discover the reasoning behind the selection. Though Nelson should be an obvious on-field upgrade over Joe Dahl or Kenny Wiggins, his true value will be seen off the field, where he will be tasked with preventing head coach Matt Patricia from ever getting anywhere near any kind of shaving implement. Ever. The trimmed-down version of Matt Patricia at his Lions press conference was bad enough; Matt Patricia without a beard can never be unseen.

20. Cincinnati Bengals: Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma

The 2018 schedule has not yet been announced, but it appears unlikely that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals will play both of their games against each other in Week 1. With that in mind, in light of the league's new rule against targeting opponents with the helmet, we expect every defender on both of these rosters to be suspended by the time they first play each other. This gives the league two options:

  • Declare the games illegal under the rules as currently constituted, and assign each as a 21-21 tie. For simplicity's sake, the teams each get one win and one defeat added to their records. For the Bengals, who are 5-17 against the Steelers since Mike Tomlin become Pittsburgh's head coach, this marks a significant improvement to their playoff chances.
  • Allow the teams to play, but ban all physical contact between players on opposing teams. In this latter scenario, the Bengals will benefit from a player like Flowers, whose 4.83-second 40-yard dash gives them the ability to control the clock while still genuinely attempting to advance the ball. If the Bengals receive the opening kickoff and call a fullback dive on their first two plays, Pittsburgh might become the first team in history to trail 7-0 at halftime without ever taking possession. A quick Steelers score to tie the game at the start of the second half would allow the Bengals to win with a repeat of their opening play. That is the type of direct on-field impact analytics simply cannot quantify.

The latter scenario is enhanced by the rumored presence of John Ross, holder of the record for the fastest 40-yard dash in combine history, on the Bengals roster. A combination of Flowers and Ross gives the Bengals unparalleled diversity on offense, assuming that the latter's existence is ever empirically confirmed.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Jets): Bo Jackson, RB, Tecmo Bowl

Trade Details: New York receives Pittsburgh's first-round selection in 2019 -- the Pittsburgh Pirates, that is.

The Jets, still struggling to decide between the six or seven players atop their draft board, opt to trade down yet again. Realizing they have limited themselves to just looking at the subset of athletes who have chosen to play football, they use this trade to expand their search into alternative sports, in order to ensure they have left no stone unturned.

The AFC North arms race continues. Pittsburgh steals Cincinnati's strategy of running out the clock with one super-long play, and improves upon it. The real-life Bo Jackson was hard enough to stop when he had a full head of steam; his digital avatar has yet to be surpassed in the annals of video game history.

The end result? The first Steelers/Bengals matchup of 2018 is the first game in NFL history to consist of only four plays, each taking up one entire quarter. The second Steelers/Bengals game will take much longer, as both Jackson and Flowers will be suspended by the NFL at the best of the television networks, who can't squeeze enough commercial breaks into their broadcasts with no gaps between plays.

22. Tennessee Titans (from Kansas City, via Buffalo): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Trade Details: Buffalo receives Tennessee's first-round pick in 1995, and their fourth-round picks in 1996 and 1997.

Buffalo's 2017 playoff appearance ended a 17-year-long trip state of limbo -- never good enough to reach the postseason, yet never bad enough to be the worst team in football. Now that they're surprisingly relevant once again, you can forgive them for taking a while for their scouting and talent departments to click back up to full speed. This trade gets them some of the top talent available since they last won a playoff game; Steve McNair, Jon Runyan, and Derrick Mason make a heck of a draft haul.

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At first, the Titans' decision to draft a player who has already been drafted twice might seem like something of a questionable strategy, but there is a method to Tennessee's madness. The official NFL Draft rulebook states that once a player has been selected by an NFL team, he is no longer eligible to be selected by anyone else. However, the Cleveland Browns' recent on-field performance in no way, shape, or form resembles a professional football club, thus nullifying both their selection of running back Saquon Barkley and their selection of running back Saquon Barkley.

23. Atlanta Falcons (from L.A. Rams): T'Challa, WR, Oxford University

Trade Details: Los Angeles receives Atlanta's first- and fourth-round picks, as well as the Power Stone infinity gem.

The Rams trade back because, after acquiring Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters, they may as well finish their revamp with the ability to manipulate energy itself. It may not even be their boldest move of the offseason!

In one of the more shocking moves of the first round, the Falcons swoop in to steal Black Panther just before Carolina goes on the clock. With superhuman enhanced strength, speed, stamina, agility, and durability, T'Challa will be a nightmare to cover on the field. He can leap approximately 10 feet off the ground, reach speeds of more than 35 miles an hour, and has balance and flexibility surpassing any Olympic-level athlete that has ever competed. Not only would T'Challa have solved Carolina's on-going need for a top target for Cam Newton, but his personal wealth (estimated at more than $90 trillion thanks to large supplies of Vibranium) would have likely solved their ongoing ownership crisis, as well. Atlanta simply had to make a move to slip ahead of Carolina; the pick was really telegraphed throughout the entire pre-draft evaluation process. T'Challa and Julio Jones will give Matt Ryan arguably the two top targets in the NFL for years to come.

24. Carolina Panthers: Sam Wilson, CB, Air Force

Not to be outdone, the Panthers counter their divisional rival by selecting Falcon off of the Avengers' roster. Wilson may not be on the same level as T'Challa in terms of pure athleticism, but his ability to track and attack balls in the air is unmatched, making him a fantastic anti-aerial assault weapon. Wilson and T'Challa have a long history battling with one another. Watching their fight continue in the NFC South will be fascinating, as both teams are assembling fairly exceptional rosters.

25. Houston Texans (from Tennessee): Brett Toth, LT, Army

Trade Details: Houston sends three 2018 third-round picks, a 2018 fourth-round pick, four 2018 sixth-round picks, a 2018 seventh-round pick, and future considerations to Tennessee in exchange for Tennessee's 2018 first-round pick; the right to the Oilers' name, uniforms, and logos; and the potential cure for their own existential crisis.

A military collegian who has committed to completing his two-year service commitment before joining the team, Brett Toth will make Texans owner Bob McNair very happy. And that is all there is to say about that.

Note: During the hour since the Seahawks selected him, Lamar Jackson has held an emergency press conference to announce that he is also not an offensive lineman, nor will he play any other position on offense. He will not report to Seattle. The Seahawks have elected to waive the pick and allow Jackson to re-enter the draft pool.

26. Los Angeles Rams (from Atlanta): Lamar Jackson, LB, Louisville

We all know about Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers, but the question for the 2018 Rams is "who will play behind them?" In rangy, athletic linebacker Lamar Jackson, the Rams may find their answer. The 6-foot-3 Jackson will need to bulk up to be effective as a linebacker, but compensates with the speed and quickness to be effective in space. Whether deployed as a pure linebacker or a hybrid moneybacker, Jackson's experience on offense should stand him in good stead as the gamekeeper turns poacher under the expert tuition of the masterful Wade Phillips.

27. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Nall, FB, Oregon State

Sean Payton loves a fullback dive. He loves a fullback waggle too. A fullback wheel is the stuff of dreams. What fun could Sean Payton have with a fullback who runs a sub-4.6 40-yard dash? What does it matter that the team's second receiver is soon-to-be 33-year-old Ted Ginn, or that their supposed third receiver had eight receptions in 2017, or that their fourth receiver's greatest asset is his blocking? With a fullback like Nall and an offensive mastermind like Payton, none of that will matter a jot!

28. New York Jets: …

How can a prospects' strengths or weaknesses be real when it is quite possible -- likely even -- that reality, as we know it today, is merely a simulation? From an epistemological standpoint, it is next to impossible to determine whether the reality we live in is real or merely a digital representation, created by a sufficiently advanced civilization for their own purposes. Are we men dreaming we are butterflies, or butterflies dreaming we are men? Are we truly slaves to the Atlas, or usurped by the Vex? This existential crisis is far too complex and demanding to be settled in the 10-minute window teams are given for making their first-round picks, so the Jets will be forced to let their pick expire once again.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars: Heidi Klum, FD, Nicolaus-Cusanus-Gymnasium Bergisch Gladbach

All of a sudden, it has becoming nearly trendy to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. They have one of the most entertaining defenses in all of football. They have one of the best young running backs in Leonard Fournette. Quarterback Blake Bortles can make any game more exciting, as no lead is safe for either team involved. The one thing that still makes them difficult to watch is their uniforms, which remain the worst in football. Even that is about to change, however -- Jacksonville is expected to announce new uniforms for the 2018 season. A fashion magnate like Klum should help them patch their greatest remaining weakness -- and, hopefully, advise them that two-toned helmets are one of the worst ideas in sporting sartorial history.

29. Minnesota Vikings: Spock, G, Vulcan Science Academy

The Vikings are now building around Captain Kirk Cousins, so it's important to bring in players who will complement his particular play style. One of the most fascinating prospects in the entire United Federation of Planets, Spock is a much-needed calming and deliberate influence to Kirk's more brash, instinct-driven style. His superior physical strength, unmatched intellect, and mastery of the Vulcan Nerve Pinch should allow him to handle even the much larger defensive linemen he is likely to face in the NFL. His calm, logical demeanor will be an asset, allowing him to keep a cool head in high-pressure situations. However, his stock has slipped because of a perceived lack of passion for the game and a question as to his long-term commitment. Rumors suggest he may join the growing list of NFL superstars cutting their careers short, in order to participate in the kolinahr ritual.

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30. New England Patriots: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

The New England Patriots do not participate in tomfoolery.

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Adam Lambert, VOX, Cal State Fullerton

They've taken their bows and their curtain calls. The Super Bowl win brought them fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, and they thank you all (mostly, admittedly, for doubting). It's been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise; they consider it a challenge before the whole human race and they ain't gonna lose. In the absence of Freddie Mercury, or even George Michael, Adam Lambert will have to suffice.

Note: During the hour since the Rams selected him, Lamar Jackson has held an emergency press conference to announce that he is also not a defensive player, nor will he play special teams. He will not report to Los Angeles. He considers himself a quarterback and only a quarterback, and will not play for any team that intends to use him primarily at any other position. The Rams have elected to waive the pick and allow Jackson to re-enter the draft pool.

32. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Long after the lights have gone out in AT&T Stadium, the Jets sit, hunched over their desk, pondering. Their six-hour odyssey has granted them a deeper understanding of life, the universe, and everything. The true nature of reality. They have entered a higher plane of existence, able to cogitate and actualize concepts that no other NFL team has even begun to ascertain.

Perhaps, a college quarterback could have success as a professional quarterback.

Note: During a hastily arranged media conference prior to the start of Day 2, Lamar Jackson announces his retirement from professional football with immediate effect.


22 comments, Last at 03 Apr 2018, 1:48pm

9 Re: Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

No, no, no, the Vikings draft McCoy, so when Kirk is steamrolled by immediate interior pressure, the 1st rounder, can yell, in exasperation, "Kirk, I'm a DOCTOR, not a starting NFL right guard!".

13 Re: Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

I don't understand drafting a WR when they have such a glaring need at undersized defensive end with great metrics but little production on the college level. They haven't drafted the next Jason Taylor in at least a year.

14 Re: Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

Thought this was hilarious. I thought it might be a joke when I clicked on it (they're posting something on Easter?), but I skimmed the Giant's choice and just assumed FO was claiming the Giants were idiots. By the Jets non-pick I knew it, and started messing up Easter by laughing all day. The only joke I think they missed was the Pats; I'm certain Belichick would have taken Thanos or Kylo Ren over Roquan Smith.

20 Re: Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

"There was the unease of watching the Los Angeles Rams construct a superteam at the other end of I-5."

Er, um, the ends of I-5 are the Mexican and Canadian borders. Also, I-5 runs
through Sacramento, not SF.

NOTE : If this was meant to be part of the joke, please disregard.

Overall, nice job. Some were duds, but most were good.

21 Re: Football Outsiders On-Line Mock Draft

Absolutely brilliant. I have to admit that I read through picks 1 and 2 believing it was a real mock draft, although I was surprised to see Barkley/Allen as the first two picks. Then I thought Barkley again at 3 was an editing mistake, but 4 was enough to finally hammer it through my thick skull that this was a joke.