Draft Day

Joshua Jordan Mock 3.0: Draft plan for the Saints and Cowboys

Can the Saints put together back-to-back elite drafts? David Grunfeld/Nola.Com

My mock 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. This week, I'm going to highlight the Saints and Cowboys selections and team needs. No, I'm not a Saints or Cowboys fan, but the Texans don't have a pick until the 3rd round, and I know we have some New Orleans and Dallas fans living among us.

1. Cleveland Browns- USC QB Sam Darnold

The Browns finally get their franchise QB. I'm not buying the Josh Allen rumors yet.

2. New York Giants- NCST DE Bradley Chubb

The Giants find a replacement for JPP.

3. New York Jets- Wyoming QB Josh Allen

The Jets grab their QB, and I think they pass on Rosen. Allen has insane upside, so I think he's the pick.

4. Cleveland Browns- Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley

Cleveland selects the best player and best QB in the draft. 

5. Denver Broncos- Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

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 one of the best players in the draft and protect their young QB.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Georgia LB Roquan Smith

This week, I'm going with Lance's advice and moving Roquan Smith into my Top 10. If you missed Lance Zierlein shaming me last week, you can check it out here

10. TRADE--------- Buffalo Bills via Raiders- UCLA QB Josh Rosen

The Bills trade with the Raiders to jump in front of Miami and grab their QB. Adam Gase and the Dolphins are rumored to be interested in Rosen, so the Bills make their move.

11. Miami Dolphins- UTSA DE Marcus Davenport

 The Dolphins add a pass rusher and have no other choice than to roll with Tannehill another year.

12. TRADE--------- Oakland Raiders via Bills- Washington DT Vita Vea 

The Raiders get their guy and collect some picks in the process.

13. Washington Redskins-  Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

Washington gets a steal and adds to the secondary.

14. Green Bay Packers- Florida State S Derwin James

The Packers shock the world and take a safety in the first round.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey

The Cardinals upgrade their putrid offensive line.

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

The Chargers bolster their defense.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Iowa CB Josh Jackson

Pete Carroll and John Schneider get their replacement for Richard Sherman. Jackson has size and terrific ball skills. He has Seahawk written all over him.

19. Dallas Cowboys-  SMU WR Courtland Sutton

The Cowboys run up to the podium and select Sutton to replace Dez Bryant. Courtland Sutton has the potential to be a player similar to Brandon Marshall, if things go well.

I previously had Dallas taking a linebacker or defensive tackle, but receiver is so thin in this draft, and they have to replace Dez. The Cowboys traded up to draft Bryant in 2010, and they may do the same thing this year. Calvin Ridley ending up in Dallas would not surprise me.

If the Cowboys take a defensive player in the first round, I think a linebacker or defensive tackle is most likely. This defense is not the same when Sean Lee is out, and he has been injured a lot over his career. Alabama LB Rashaan Evans or Boise St. LB Leighton Vander Esch would make a lot of sense here. Florida DT Taven Bryan could be in play here as well. 

20. Detroit Lions- Boston College DE Harold Landry

The Lions get some help on their defensive line. Ziggy Ansah is playing on the franchise tag.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Florida DT Taven Bryan

The Bengals get good value with Bryan.

22. TRADE---------Oakland Raiders via Bills- Louisville CB Jaire Alexander

The Raiders take the extra pick from the Bills and get some much-needed help at corner.

23. New England Patriots- UCF CB Mike Hughes

The Pats replace Malcolm Butler at CB. 

24. Carolina Panthers- UCLA OT Kolton Miller

The Panthers find some protection for Cam Newton.

25. Tennessee Titans- Alabama LB Rashaan Evans

Tennessee gets a great player, and they fill a big need at linebacker.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Michigan DT Maurice Hurst

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

27. New Orleans Saints- Boise St. LB  Leighton Vander Esch

The Saints add a playmaker on the second level. I think New Orleans has to keep upgrading the defense, because they have a real shot at a championship in 2018. Give Brees one more year to win it all. He already has plenty of weapons to do it. I would love to take a pass rusher here, but the Saints shouldn't reach. Vander Esch is a playmaker, just take him. Sean Payton is always tempted to take an offensive player in every round, and it worked out with the Alvin Kamara pick in the 3rd round last year. But the Saints have a great o-line and terrific skill players, so now's the time to go all-in and invest in the defense.

They may look for a receiver to complement Michael Thomas, because it looks like Willie Snead could end up in Baltimore. The problem with 1st round WRs is, they typically don't contribute much in their rookie year, and this might be the last great season we see from Drew Brees. If I'm drafting for New Orleans, I'm going with the same approach as the Rams and Eagles. Use all of your capital to try to win it all this year.

Finally, this is a great TE group, so they may go that route in round one. Once again, you don't see many rookie TEs make a big contribution in their first season. Rookie linebackers however, are very often plug-and-play guys.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Alabama S Ronnie Harrison

He just feels like a Steeler.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

Blake Bortles will have competition.

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 to protect him.

31. New England Patriots- Texas OL Connor Williams

Belichick isn't afraid to draft Longhorns, and Williams can move to guard if he can't hang at tackle.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst

The Super Bowl champs add another toy for Carson Wentz.

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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