By: Josh Shippen
Flashback! The year is 2018, Carson Palmer has just retired, Eli is on the decline, and the Eagles snagged an amazing Super Bowl win over the Patriots with star quarterback Nick Foles. I believe the following is what teams would do if they had the tape today, in the draft. So let’s begin with…
- Cleveland Browns: Lamar Jackson, QB (Original: Baker Mayfield, QB)
Who doesn’t want an MVP as their first overall pick? The massive year that Lamar had for the Ravens would probably be taken in about a second over the up and down years that Baker has given us so far.
- New York Giants: Josh Allen, QB (Original: Saquon Barkley, RB)
For everyone who doesn’t remember, Dave Gettleman was so unreasonably high on Eli Manning that he passed up one of the best quarterback drafts we have seen in years to grab a running back. Saquon was incredible in his first year, but injuries keep him out of playing, and I feel like the Giants would rather take a quarterback that has a good chance of leading them to a title.
- New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB (Original: Sam Darnold, QB)
Mayfield has shown he can play at least in fits and spurts. Even though he has a lot to prove, his upside would be worth it for the desperate Jets to take a flyer and ride it out with Baker.
- Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB (Original: Denzel Ward, CB)
Denzel Ward has been spectacular, but you know who’d be even better? People would never be able to stop honking about the dreaded trio of Mayfield, Barkley, and Beckham in the 2019 offseason and maybe with that extra boost the Browns would actually be able to fulfill their hype.
- Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, LB
Despite all the injury concerns I think Chubb is still the good choice at 5th overall. Chubb and Miller make up one of the best defensive duos in the NFL, and having that is better than any other player you could have in this draft.
- Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G
Nelson is such a huge part of this offensive line, and this offense in general. The incredible offensive line is one of the huge parts of why the Colts have stayed in the race constantly, and it’s not a good idea to try and screw with that.
- Buffalo Bills: Da’Ron Payne, NT (Original: Josh Allen, QB)
With no super promising quarterbacks left, the Bills look to add on to their already dominant defense with Payne, who has shown his worth with Washington since he was drafted.
- Chicago Bears: Darius Leonard, LB (Original: Roquan Smith, LB)
The Bears improve their linebacker core with one of the best defensive rookies of 2018. Leonard proceeds to become a pro bowl talent alongside Khalil Mack and a dominant secondary. Smith was a great pick, but Leonard might be even better.
- San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB (Original: Mike McGlinchey, OT)
Even though Ward has managed to fall so far, Ward will help solidify a defense that now has to be great to complement the addition of Jimmy Garoppolo who is a stud at quarterback.
- Arizona Cardinals: Sam Darnold, QB (Original: Josh Rosen, QB)
With Carson Palmer retiring, and nobody as a backup, the Cardinals need all the QB help they can get, so they grab San Darnold at number 10 to grow as a quarterback and give the Cardinals the Super Bowl they so desperately want.
- Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB
Let’s assume in this scenario that the Dolphins decide not to tank a year later, and end up keeping Fitzpatrick who develops into a huge offensive piece for the Dolphins.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike McGlinchey, OT (Original: Vita Vea, DT)
With Jameis Winston in a huge prove it year for the Buccaneers, you want to eliminate any excuses for Winston to be anything but incredible. Cue McGlinchey to start creating an offensive line over the train wreck they had previously.
- Washington Redskins: Mark Andrews, TE (Original: Da’Ron Payne, DT)
Jordan Reed may be one of the best tight ends in the game, but he cannot survive a whole season and you need as much consistency as you can get on this dull Redskins offense. Andrews adds to back up Reed, and depending on how he performs eventually replace him.
- New Orleans Saints: Calvin Ridley, WR (Original: Marcus Davenport, DE)
Ridley adds a huge threat to an already dangerous offense as someone to play alongside Michael Thomas. Ridley also gets a chance to have Drew Brees under center, which would be very good for his development as a star.
- Oakland Raiders: Derwin James, S (Original: Kolton Miller, OT)
Derwin James adds a jaw dropping athletic star to make this lacking team one of the most fun in the entire NFL to watch. This is a huge upgrade over aging veteran Reggie Nelson.
- Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB (Original: Tremaine Edmunds, LB)
Honestly Edmunds could still be the pick, but Vander Esch is a very good linebacker that could have made the Bills an even nastier defense, the only concern I see would be injury.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Isaiah Wynn, OT (Original: Derwin James, S)
Wynn adds a much needed offensive line piece to a team that constantly would let Phil Rivers get killed, and it would affect his play. This would also help Melvin Gordon out, and could possibly help him to play better and eliminate the contract drama.
- Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB
The Packers would keep this pick because Alexander has turned into a shutdown corner that can even cover people like Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley.
- Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Goedert, TE (Original: Leighton Vander Esch, LB)
Goedert has been a great complement for Zach Ertz in Philly, and would be even better in the pass happy Dallas offense. Goedert would replace the recently retired Jason Witten.
- Detroit Lions: Kolton Miller, OT (Original: Frank Ragnow, C)
Miller has been a consistent starter for the Raiders, and would be an excellent tackle to line up alongside Taylor Decker on the Lions’ line.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Rosen, QB (Original: Billy Price, C)
That’s right, Rosen still goes in the first round. He got dealt such a raw hand being forced to play for the worst offenses in the NFL back to back. Granted while the Bengals are not much of an upgrade, he would have a chance to sit behind Dalton for a while before taking the reins where he would have weapons like AJ Green and Tyler Boyd.
- Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB
Great pick by the Tennessee Titans, I don’t think or expect that they would change their pick. This guy was drafted in the perfect spot for the Titans to utilize him to improve that rough defense.
- New England Patriots: Cortland Sutton, WR (Original: Isaiah Wynn, OT)
Sutton would have been a great addition to a Patriots offense that suddenly becomes much more exciting with Sutton in the picture. Sutton would learn from Julian Edelman and play as the WR2 before eventually being the next great Pats receiver and taking over the role.
- Carolina Panthers: DJ Moore, WR
Moore has been a great pickup for the Panthers, and I do not believe the Panthers would change it especially with WR being as big of a need as it was.
- Baltimore Ravens: Nick Chubb, RB (Original: Hayden Hurst, TE)
The Ravens look to groom a new young running back, especially since the run game had never been the same since star Ray Rice declined in play and then had a domestic violence incident. Chubb would play as a 1b back before eventually taking over the starting role.
- Atlanta Falcons: DJ Chark, WR (Original: Calvin Ridley, WR)
If you can’t get Ridley as your WR1b, go for the next best thing in the massively talented Chark, who in the real timeline is stuck on a directionless team where roughly every single position is in question. Chark would work spectacularly for the offense, and would one day take over for the legend, Julio Jones, as the WR1.
- Seattle Seahawks: Phillip Lindsay, RB (Original: Rashaad Penny, RB)
Lindsay would be a surprise pick from the Seahawks in the first round, but his dominant rookie year and his consistency after would silence doubters and give him an established number 1 role in the Seahawks offense.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Roquan Smith, LB (Original: Terrell Edmunds, S)
With their recent bank on a linebacker in TJ Watt, the Steelers look to strengthen their core even further with middle linebacker Roquan Smith, and make a dominant trio of Watt, Smith, and Bud Dupree that will haunt opposing offenses.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Hayden Hurst, TE (Original: Taven Bryan, DT)
With the Jags moving from tight end to tight end, ending up at some point with a human named James O’Shaughnessy, Hurst would add a starter on offense to complement that nasty defense. This would also reduce the amount of excuses that have to be made for Blake Bortles going forward.
- Minnesota Vikings: Carlton Davis, CB (Original: Mike Hughes, CB)
But wait, who in the hell is Carlton Davis? Davis happens to be one of the most underrated defensive players in the league, and certainly the most underrated player on a dominant Bucs defense. David would be a great fit for Minnesota, who is moving to replace their cornerback.
- New England Patriots: Christian Kirk, WR (Original: Sony Michel, RB)
The Patriots would be adding depth to a very thin core with Kirk, who would be the speed of this offense, and eventually take the top receiver spot from Julian Edelman. Kirk WOULD take longer to develop, but on the Patriots I bet they could make that progress go much faster.
- Baltimore Ravens: Fred Warner, LB (Original: Lamar Jackson, QB)
With no Lamar left to steal at the end of the first round, the Ravens look to add a piece to their stout defense with Warner, who has really proven himself in his 2 and a half years with the 49ers.