Albert Breer has a new mock draft up at MMQB, and it’s worth paying some legitimate attention to because of the disclaimer he offers at the top:
As always, this isn’t based on any evaluation of mine, it’s based on discussions with decision-makers and evaluators across the NFL—and four months of reporting from having done The NFL Draft Column in the fall. With that background, I put together a mock on Sunday, and vetted it with guys from eight teams. Over that time, I rearranged it three times, and finally came up with this.
So yes, there’s an air of legitimacy to this mock that most don’t offer. Take that FWIW.
The top 7
I can’t tell if we need to buy into this top 7 and if we’re legitimately just finding ways to get out of it or if it’s just too conventional. It certainly feels right, though.
Breer hits a USC QB Sam Darnold-Wyoming QB Josh Allen duo at 1-2. UCLA QB Josh Rosen drops to #5 to the Denver Broncos. The New York Jets at #6 end up getting QB Kirk Cousins in this mock, so they’re put off of a QB pick here. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield comes off at #11 to the Miami Dolphins. And that’s it.
I do wonder if we get four in the top, I guess here, 11, what that means for the Arizona Cardinals at 15. Do they trade down and wait for a QB on Day 2? Do they sit for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson? Obviously big ramifications for the NFC West landscape hinging here.
Cornering the cornerbacks
A trio of cornerbacks gets drafted in the first, two of whom leave prior to the Los Angeles Rams on the clock at #23. Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward heads to the Chicago Bears at #8. The Green Bay Packers take Iowa CB Josh Jackson at #14. And Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver goes at #24 to the Carolina Panthers a pick after the Rams.
Which means, mathematician that you are, Breer doesn’t have the Rams on a cornerback. Instead, he’s got the Rams literally beefing up the center of their offense:
23. Los Angeles Rams: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio St.
Center is vital in Sean McVay’s offense, and John Sullivan filled the role ably last year. But Price has the head and the physical mentality to be an ideal long-term solution there for the Rams.
Nothing wrong with the pick on the merits. It’s one we’ve seen before, most recently from ESPN’s Todd McShay. And given that those two put the Rams on a path to Price, you have to wonder the legitimacy of the projection. Does this mean the Rams have offered something positive privately re: Price? Is it an indication that they’re looking to fill the position early on? Is it perhaps reflective of a mention somewhere on the timeline that they’ve decided to move on from Sullivan either on his end or because they’ve got so many competing contracts to fund?
Breer followed up his mock with a great read this morning on the timeline for free agency and how it starts years in advance. The piece relies on sourcing an NFL agent and how he managed the contract negotiations for his client heading into free agency starting before his final contract season and the role the NFL Scouting Combine plays in that effort. Things will ramp up when the combine kicks off in Indy next week.
Until then, what say you of Price, Rams fans?