Draft Day

Joshua Jordan: 2018 NFL mock draft

The Bills would be elated to see Baker Mayfield still on the board at pick No. 12. Brett Deering/Getty Images

Now that all the big moves of free agency have taken place, it's time to take a look at how the first round of the draft may play out. I'm probably one of the few people that don't have a projected trade in the Top 10. That's because I think the Broncos stay put and take their franchise QB at pick No. 5. My mock draft is a bit different from some the national guys like Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.  And I certainly don't have their resume, but I do have the luxury of talking football with guys like Lance, and have co-hosted draft shows in the Houston market the last few years. If you want to see how Lance has the first round shaking out compared to mine, you can read his mock draft here. Below is my first mock, and I'll continue to update it every Thursday up until draft day. 

 

1. Cleveland Browns- USC QB Sam Darnold

The Browns finally get their franchise QB.

2. New York Giants- NCST DE Bradley Chubb

The Giants find a replacement for JPP.

3. New York Jets- UCLA QB Josh Rosen

The Jets grab their QB.

4. Cleveland Browns- Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley

Cleveland finally has some talent on offense, and they get the best player and best QB in the draft.

5. Denver Broncos- Wyoming QB Josh Allen

Many have the Broncos trading out here, but I think they stand pat and take their future QB.

6. Indianapolis Colts- Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmonds

The Colts add an incredible playmaker to their defense.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ohio St. CB Denzel Ward

The Bucs get the best corner in the draft.

8. Chicago Bears- Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson

The Bears get maybe the best player in the draft and protect their young QB.

9. San Francisco 49ers- UTSA DE Marcus Davenport 

The 49ers need some pass rush and they get it with Davenport.

10. Oakland Raiders- Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Raiders take the best player available and get some secondary help.

11. Miami Dolphins- Washington DT Vita Vea 

 The Dolphins replace Ndamukong Suh with Vita Vea and don't skip a beat.

12. Buffalo Bills- Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

The Bills don't even have to trade up into the Top 10 to get their QB.

13. Washington Redskins- Georgia LB Roquan Smith

Washington needs a physical presence at LB.

14. Green Bay Packers- Louisville CB Jaire Alexander

The Packers go back to the well and select another corner in the first round.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Florida State Safety Derwin James

They get some help in the secondary after the departure on Tyrann Mathieu

16. Baltimore Ravens- Alabama WR Calvin Ridley

Ozzie Newsome adds the best receiver in the draft to help his veteran QB. He'll be a nice pairing with possession WR  Michael Crabtree.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Alabama DT  Da'Ron Payne

Payne falls right into the Chargers' lap.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Iowa CB Josh Jackson

Pete Carroll and John Schneider get their replacement for Richard Sherman.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Alabama LB Rashaan Evans

The Cowboys fall apart when Sean Lee is out, and he's always injured. Evans will fit in nicely.

20. Detroit Lions- Texas OT/OG Connor Williams

The Lions get some help on their offensive line. Williams can play tackle and guard.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - UTEP OG Will Hernandez

The Bengals line was awful last year.

22. Buffalo Bills- UCF CB Mike Hughes

Hughes should step in and start right away.

23. New England Patriots- UCLA OT Kolton Miller

The Pats need a LT to replace Nate Solder.

24. Carolina Panthers- Boston College DE Harold Landry

Julius Peppers can't play forever.

25. Tennessee Titans- LSU DE Arden Key

The Titans need pass rush and they address it with Key.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Florida DT Taven Bryan

Dontari Poe left in free agency so the Falcons add a DT.

27. New Orleans Saints- Iowa OC James Daniels

The Saints grab an offensive lineman in the first round for the second straight year.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Wake Forest S Jessie Bates

The Steelers still need help in the secondary and they add a playmaker that has range and can cover the slot.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Michigan DT Maurice Hurst

Calais Campbell is getting old, so the Jags add some depth on the defensive line.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn

The Vikings spent a ton of money on Kirk Cousins, so they add some help on the line.

31. New England Patriots- LSU CB Donte Jackson

The Patriots lost Malcolm Butler and can't stop anybody on defense.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Boise St. LB  Leighton Vander Esch

The Super Bowl champs add to their already stout defense.

 

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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