We’re fully on the glidepath to the 2018 NFL Draft now with the Super Bowl behind us. So with the combine and free agency as the next major markers on the horizon, we’ve got a new mock draft from ESPN’s Todd McShay out today (behind ESPN’s insider paywall).
Back in mid-December when McShay released his first mock, he had the Los Angeles Rams selecting Ohio St. OL Billy Price. Much has changed since then, and the conventional wisdom has hardened around the Rams taking a cornerback with the 23rd overall pick.
Here’s McShay’s take on the major storylines from mocks this year.
His top four look conventional in USC QB Sam Darnold, UCLA QB Josh Rosen, North Carolina St. DE Bradley Chubb and Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley. But McShay dips back in the QB pool at 5 and 6 with Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Wyoming QB Josh Allen. That pushes Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to 7 and Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson to...the Miami Dolphins at 11. Pretty sure they’re going to enjoy this mock.
So yes, this is definitely a top 4 mock. We’ll see how that plays out with the mock draft pool expanding with the combine coming in three weeks.
McShay has a foursome in his top six and none in the rest of the first round making for a bit of a unique take on the QBs.
Cornering the cornerbacks
McShay’s mock is an interesting one on this front as his first mock was one of the few major mocks that didn’t have the Rams taking one of the corners from this class.
He’s got two coming off the board before the Rams are on the clock at 23: Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward at #9 to the San Francisco 49ers and UCF CB Mike Hughes at #18 to the Seattle Seahawks. Makes for some interesting fodder with the NFC West poaching the cornerback pool before we’re on the clock.
That then has McShay mocking the Rams to:
23. Los Angeles Rams: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio St.
A plug-and-play starter, Price will help an improved Rams offense line on the inside. A four-year starter, Price has elite experience at both guard and center. An excellent leader, I would think he’d play guard for Los Angeles.
It’s certainly a unique pick that we haven’t seen elsewhere. The projection as a guard is a bit confusing as I’m not sure why the Rams would be looking for a replacement for either LG Rodger Saffold or RG Jamon Brown given their performance in 2017 especially given other roster needs. Obviously before we get the clarity that free agency is going to provide, things look much different today than they will in mid-April with the draft in front of us. Still, it’s an odd pick for my tastes.
As for other cornerbacks, McShay has two in the remainder of the first round. Iowa CB Josh Jackson, who we’ve seen mocked to the Rams often, heads to the Pittsburgh Steelers at #28 with North Carolina CB M.J. Stewart to the Super Bowl runner-up New England Patriots at #31.
One other post-Rams pick of note: McShay has Boston College OLB Harold Landry heading to the New Orleans Saints at #27. I’ve spoken at length about the Rams’ issues with the pass rush this year especially on Turf Show Radio. Taking Price in and of itself doesn’t exactly enthrall me. Taking him with Landry on the board...not a fan, folks.
What do you think about the prospect of adding to the interior OL with Price in round 1?