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 is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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