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ESPN’s Mel Kiper resets conventional wisdom in new 2018 NFL Mock Draft heading toward NFL Combine

The leading voice of draftthink has weighed in with his second mock of the season.

Iowa CB Josh Jackson tackles Wyoming RB Kellen Overstreet
Iowa CB Josh Jackson tackles Wyoming RB Kellen Overstreet
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Well, if we needed to nail down the conventional wisdom for the Los Angeles Rams in terms of mock drafts with the NFL Combine a week away, this should do it.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, long the leading authority on draft...stuff, has his second mock draft up this morning behind ESPN’s insider paywall. Overall, it’s not a real bomb being dropped on the mock draft landscape. But it does harden the CW as Kiper always does.

The top...7?

Kiper has stuck to his pick at the top with the Cleveland Browns taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen. I honestly don’t think it’s as wild as some people are making it out to be. We all know the Browns are in the mix for a QB with one of their two top picks, and Allen’s one of the top prospects. It’s really not that weird.

In any case, Kiper goes with Allen off the top rope followed by Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley, North Carolina St. DE Bradley Chubb, Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, USC QB Sam Darnold, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson. The only real takeaway for me from that group is that you’d have to think the Denver Broncos would be ecstatic to land Darnold at 5.

The QBs

Kiper’s historically been special when it comes to QBs. No surprise then that he has Rosen at the top when pretty much nobody else does. Darnold’s at 5. Mayfield’s at 6. He’s got UCLA QB Josh Rosen all the way down at #11 to the Miami Dolphins.

Just four for Kiper in his first.

Cornering the cornerbacks

We’ve got the popular #9 pick with Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward to the San Francisco 49ers. UCF CB Mike Hughes heads off at #21 to the Buffalo Bills.

But for the Rams, it’s a familiar name:

23. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Los Angeles has decisions to make on free-agent cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety/corner Lamarcus Joyner, and it isn’t likely to keep them all. Cornerback is a clear need for the Rams. Jackson burst onto the scene with eight interceptions in 2017, including three in an upset win over Ohio State. The big question about Jackson is true speed -- he needs to run well at the combine to stay in the first-round discussion. He could also help out on punt returns.

The only other cornerback Kiper has in his first is LSU CB Donte Jackson at #31 to the New England Patriots.

Kind of impossible to get worked up with a pick we’ve seen so often.

I think the main takeaway here for Rams fans is just where Kiper thinks the cornerback class is shaping up with less than two weeks to go to March 5 when this group will be on the field in Indy.

As it stands, it’s just going to solidify things for draft internet just in time for the combine to begin on Tuesday.