CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso updated his mock draft earlier this week and it’s got an interesting issue we haven’t unpacked often here among all the mocks thus far.
Let’s get to the storylines to investigate.
The more the mocks build, the more I think things could hinge on the #4 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns’ second of the draft. Trapasso’s mock adds even more weight to that idea.
He’s got a bit of an unconventional top three in Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, USC QB Sam Darnold and North Carolina St. DE Bradley Chubb. But what’s going to throw the mock readers off is his pick at #4 with the Browns back on the clock: Iowa CB Josh Jackson. It’s the double whammy of a whackadoo pick that nobody sees coming with the added impact of taking an obvious target for the Los Angeles Rams off the table.
Things settle in the rest of the early action until the Green Bay Packers at #14 (I’ll leave that spoiler for those who hook Trapasso up with the clickthrough), but the Jackson pick is the clear whammy.
The Mayfield-Darnold combo is quite unique, but not completely out of bounds. Trapasso brings UCLA QB Josh Rosen in at #5 in a mock trade with the Arizona Cardinals moving up to take him. Wyoming QB Josh Allen heads off the very next pick to the New York Jets. We do get a fifth first-round QB, but not who you might guess. No, it’s not Louisville QB Lamar Jackson; Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph heads to the Pittsburgh Steelers as QB Ben Roethlisberger’s heir apparent.
Cornering the cornerbacks
Sure, the headliner here is Jackson at #4. But there’s also some surprise at Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward going at #13 to the Washington Drafters. I finished a look back at all the mock drafts in 2018 to see what other teams are appraised to be in the mix for a cornerback. Not only is this the first mock to send one to the Browns (though I’m not counting Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick as a cornerback and more as a hybrid DB), but it’s also the first mock to send a cornerback to Washington. I suppose you could connect one to the other, but any time you’re forging new ground with a mock it’s going to feel...weird.
So that sets up the Rams for an interesting pick on their own:
23. Los Angeles Rams: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Alexander likely would’ve gone in the top 15 had it not been for an injury-riddled final season at Louisville. He’s not a menacing cornerback physically but plays with outstanding quickness and tenacity when the ball is arriving.
No issue with the pick on my part. More just the awkwardness that comes from an unconventional mock.
So give it a click. Thoughts on the mock? Jackson at 4? Rosen in the NFC West? The pick at #14? #19? #24?!
Two weeks to the combine, fam.