Draft Day

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

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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Will the Astros ever give Joey Loperfido a chance to fix the black hole at first base? Composite Getty Image.

So how long do you suppose the Astros will cling to the ludicrous notion that Jose Abreu will return to being a sustainably decent hitter (much less a good hitter)? The All-Star break? The trade deadline July 30? The day the Astros are eliminated from the playoff race? End of the season? End of his contract at the end of next season? Maybe they sign him to a two-year extension?

Since rejoining the team Abreu has played in 13 games, starting 12 of them. He has seven hits in 42 at bats for a .167 batting average. That’s only not horrible in comparison to the sub-pathetic .099 mark Abreu had when hiatus time arrived. Since returning, Abreu has walked once. If you remember or are familiar with Susan Powter you know what comes next. STOP THE INSANITY!

Kyle Tucker’s absence obviously punches a big hole in the Astros’ lineup. Still, that regularly running out Jeremy Pena in the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup doesn’t seem completely ridiculous, is ridiculous! Pena has been abysmal for the last month. May 11 he put up his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. In 29 games since, Pena has added one more homer with an anemic on-base percentage of .238. Not batting average, OBP. Yuck. All teams solicit All-Star votes for non-worthy guys. Pena plays in the same league as Gunnar Henderson, Bobby Witt Jr., Corey Seager, and Anthony Volpe. Hyping Pena for the All-Star game is plain ol’ silly.

Jon Singleton ever slotting in the lineup fourth or fifth, sigh. He of one homer and 28 strikeouts in his last 79 at bats. It’s just a sad state of affairs that no one below Pena or Singleton in the lineup should obviously be higher in the lineup. Mauricio Dubon, Victor Caratini, Trey Cabbage are all bottom third of the lineup if in the lineup type guys. Chas McCormick seemingly losing almost all of his hitting ability has hurt. Yainer Diaz stinking for much more of the season to date than he’s been good has hurt.

The refusal to try Joey Loperfido at first base is somewhere from perplexing to stupid. Look, Loperfido is not an elite prospect. His poor contact skills may doom him from becoming a quality regular. But find out! He struck out a bunch in his first taste but also hit .333. The low upside of the Abreu-Singleton combo is obvious. Evidently to just about all but Astros’ decision makers. Going with Trey Cabbage over Loperfido in the outfield also underwhelms.

Chasing down the Mariners?

It could all still turn for the better, but the Astros are at increasing risk of fading to oblivion behind Seattle in the American League West race. They deserve to be 31-38. They have a losing record at home, they have a losing record on the road. They have a losing record in day games, they have a losing record in night games. They are 7-14 in games against left-handed starting pitchers, they are 24-24 (hey, .500, yippee!) vs. right-handed starters. It would take a serious collapse to fall entirely out of the Wild Card race before the trade deadline, but the Astros are flirting with danger there too. They have to leapfrog several teams to get to the third Wild Card position, currently held by the Minnesota Twins. This doesn’t seem to be a good weekend to gain ground on them. Not that A.J. Hinch’s Detroit Tigers visiting Minute Maid Park this weekend are anything special, though in Friday night’s series opener the Astros face the arguably best starting pitcher in the big leagues this season (Tarik Skubal). But the Twins have four games at home against the lowly Oakland A’s.

If Minnesota is not to overtake Kansas City and Cleveland to win the AL Central, you know Carlos Correa would love to make the playoffs at his ex-team’s expense. Wednesday Correa banged out the first five-hit game of his career. It’s pretty amazing that Jose Altuve has never had a five-hit game given how great a hitter he’s been and the relatively few walks he’s drawn. Sunday in Anaheim, Altuve racked up his 39th four-hit game. Remember, last September, Altuve hit five home runs over seven innings that overlapped two games against the Texas Rangers.

George Springer is the lone Astro ever to rack up six hits in a game, doing so at Oakland in 2018. So far this month, Springer is six for 40. Springer has two seasons left after this one on the six-year 150 million dollar contract he signed with Toronto. At 34 years old he is playing as if washed up. 2023 was the worst season of Springer’s career and he has fallen off a cliff from there thus far in 2024. Springer is batting .198 with his OPS at a sickly .582.

There is only one player in the modern era (1900 forward) of Major League Baseball to amass seven hits in a nine-inning game. In 1975 Rennie Stennett went seven for seven at Wrigley Field in a Pittsburgh Pirates 22-0 obliteration of the Chicago Cubs. The “Bleacher Bums” must have had fun that day.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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