One Year Later: Re-Drafting the 2018 NFL Draft

32. Baltimore Ravens — WR D.J. Moore

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Moore really came on strong for the Panthers during the second half of the year. The explosive pass catcher hauled in 55 passes for 788 yards — including a jaw-dropping seven-catch, 157-yard effort against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. The Ravens bolstered their receiving corps this past offseason with the additions of Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead, but none of those players boast the ceiling of the 21-year-old Moore.

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31. New England Patriots — RB Sony Michel

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While the Patriots could use help in other areas, it’s truly hard to argue they made the wrong pick by selecting Michel. The former Georgia runner has been brilliant — especially towards the end of the season. Including the playoffs, Michel has put together six 100-plus yard games on the ground. He would have topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season had he not been forced to miss three games.

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30. Minnesota Vikings — CB Donte Jackson

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The speedy Jackson is a game breaker in every sense. The LSU product is electric with the ball in his hands, and possesses the closing speed to keep up with even the quickest of receivers. The Vikings appeared to have whiffed on UCF corner Mike Hughes. With Xavier Rhodes taking a step back this past season, Minnesota could use all the help it can get in the secondary.

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29. Jacksonville Jaguars — OG James Daniels

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Arguably the most disappointing team of the season, the Jaguars floundered to a 5-11 record just a year after an AFC Championship game appearance. Their lack of offensive identity was troublesome. Ultimately, it led to the breaking down of their star-studded defense — which routinely was put in a position of trying to bail Blake Bortles and the offense out. Adding a road grader like Daniels would help clear some lanes for whichever running back (preferably a healthy Leonard Fournette) they choose to trot out every Sunday.

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28. Pittsburgh Steelers — S Justin Reid

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Reid is a ballhawk on the back end. He’s unafraid of taking calculated risks to force turnovers. He even outplayed marquee free agent and fellow Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu at times. Reid would be able to instantly step in and fill the shoes of veteran Morgan Burnett (who is rumored to want out of Pittsburgh either way).

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27. Seattle Seahawks — RB Philip Lindsay

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No undrafted player has ever rushed for more yards in their rookie season than the Broncos’ first-year stud. The diminutive Lindsay would be adored by a Seahawks fan base whom are all too familiar with players labeled as “too small” (see: Russell Wilson).  His short-area quickness and burst would be a nice change-of-pace for the bruising Chris Carson.

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26. Atlanta Falcons — WR Courtland Sutton

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The Falcons desperately need a true No. 2 receiver opposite Julio Jones. Mohamed Sanu is a great short-yardage route-runner, but lacks the consistency to be much more than a gadget player. Losing Taylor Gabriel hurt more than they expected. Sutton is a big target, and is poised to be a serious threat in the red zone for years to come.

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25. Baltimore Ravens — RB Nick Chubb

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A switch to a run-heavy approach seemed to have worked wonders for a traditionally stagnant Ravens offense. They would love to move up and grab their quarterback of the future in Lamar Jackson, but the price might be too steep. Chubb is an every-down back with the ability to bust any play for a long gain.

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24. Carolina Panthers — EDGE Marcus Davenport

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Carolina’s once-vaunted defense took a nosedive in 2018. The Panthers relied on Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey and a high-powered offense to keep them in games. However once Newton was injured, the Panthers were finished. Davenport would have been a nice addition to a team that didn’t have a single player finish in the top-20 in sacks this past season.

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23. New England Patriots — OG Braden Smith

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New England’s original 23rd selection, Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn, was forced to miss the entire season due to a torn Achilles. The unfortunate injury makes one think just how good the Patriots offensive line could have been had Wynn been able to stay healthy. Smith was awesome all year long for a Colts line which made the case as being the best unit in the league.

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22. Tennessee Titans — LB Rashaan Evans

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Don’t sleep on Tennessee’s defense. After the Chicago Bears, there may not be a team filled with more blue-chip players that haven’t even reached the apex of their potential yet. Evans — along with Harold Landry, Adoree Jackson, and Kevin Byard — make up the core for one of the scariest units in the league.

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21. Cincinnati Bengals — EDGE Sam Hubbard

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Cincinnati found a steal in the third round. Hubbard has all the tools of an elite pass rusher. He totaled 6.0 sacks on the season. At 6’5″, Hubbard boasts great size, and possesses an excellent first step for a 265-pound lineman. He is the perfect complement to a defensive line that already has two All-Pro talents in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.

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20. Detroit Lions — DT Vita Vea

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Original first-round pick Frank Ragnow wasn’t awful in his rookie season. With Matt Patricia at the helm, you would have liked to see Detroit make a more concerted effort in bringing in blue-chip defensive players. Vea has a near-unlimited ceiling, but was a bit of a disappointment in his rookie season. Missing almost the entire summer didn’t help, and Vea has only began to scratch the surface of his immense talents.

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19. Dallas Cowboys — LB Tremaine Edmunds

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Though Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and the offensive line receive a majority of the credit, Dallas’ defense was quite exceptional last season. Jaylon Smith is an absolute stud, and pairing him with an athletic freak like Edmunds would only make the Cowboys even more difficult to move the ball against.

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18. Green Bay Packers — CB Jaire Alexander

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Green Bay continues to stack polished, athletic defensive backs that can be utilized in a number of ways. Alexander may be the most impressive of the bunch. The former Louisville Cardinal has excellent hands, tackles well, and can even return punts. The confident corner has a chance to develop into a shutdown-type player.

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17. Los Angeles Chargers — CB Minkah Fitzpatrick

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Losing out on Derwin James is a tough blow, but the Chargers wouldn’t be too upset about grabbing Fitzpatrick mid-way through the first round. The former Alabama defensive back can play any position in the secondary, though the Chargers would most likely deploy him as a safety with studs Desmond King and Casey Heyward occupying the two corner positions. Fitzpatrick’s instincts and ball skills would be a welcomed addition for a team that has to face Patrick Mahomes twice a year.

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16. Buffalo Bills — LB Leighton Vander Esch

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Jerry Jones caught some flak after opting for Vander Esch over an offensive skill player in last April’s draft. With that said, it seems as if the Cowboys’ owner will be getting the last laugh. Selecting Vander Esch, a thumping linebacker in the mold of former All-Pro and current Cowboy teammate Sean Lee, opened the opportunity for Dallas to send their 2019 first-round pick to Oakland for 24-year-old Amari Cooper. Jones will take those results every single time.

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15. Oakland Raiders — OT Mike McGlinchey

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The Raiders have a bevy of holes to fill around their roster. While upgrading the defense with a guy like Vander Esch or Fitzpatrick would be nice, keeping Derek Carr upright remains a top priority. Carr was sacked 51 times in 2018 after never being brought down more than 31 times in any previous season. McGlinchey is a true foundation piece. He can play either tackle spot.

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14. New Orleans Saints — WR Calvin Ridley

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Following a blistering start to the season, New Orleans’ high-profile offense took a tumble down the stretch. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are elite talents. Outside of that, Drew Brees doesn’t have a whole lot to work with. Ridley is far more reliable than Ted Ginn Jr., and would force defenses to stay honest on the side of the field opposite Thomas.

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13. Washington Redskins — DT Da’Ron Payne

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Alabama products have had a tough time adjusting the NFL over recent years, but Payne looks to be the real deal. The 300-plus-pound behemoth can anchor a defensive line with sudden quickness and extraordinary block-shedding. With defensive tackles at a premium in the modern NFL, Payne projects to be an elite run stuffer with pass-rushing upside.

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12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — S Derwin James

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The Buccaneers have a future perennial All-Pro fall into their laps due to the needs of the squads drafting ahead of them. James is as versatile as it gets in the secondary. He can play a little center field, though he specializes playing closer to the line of scrimmage where he can shadow both tight ends and running backs. His skill-set fits perfectly with today’s league.

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11. Miami Dolphins — CB Denzel Ward

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Cornerback is at a premium in today’s league. This why Ward is valued slightly higher than versatile safety Derwin James. Ward has all the makings of a shutdown corner in today’s league. He’s long, has great hands, and is a willing tackler. Alongside All-Pro Xavien Howard, the Dolphins would boast one of the best DB duos in the league.

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10. Arizona Cardinals — QB Lamar Jackson

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Jackson undoubtedly had a more successful season that some of the quarterbacks being taken higher in this exercise. However, his overall ceiling remains limited until he can even remotely prove to be a capable passer of the football. From the time Jackson took over for Joe Flacco, the Ravens ran a gimmicky offense. By the time they reached the postseason, the Chargers stifled Baltimore’s attack — rendering Jackson virtually useless for three-and-a-half quarters. He’s a unique talent, but plenty of question marks still remain.

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9. San Francisco 49ers — LB Darius Leonard

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Unfortunately for the 49ers, they’re now tasked with filling the void left behind by troubled linebacker Reuben Foster. Leonard is an absolute machine. He’s coming off a rookie season in which he led the league in tackles (while also forcing six turnovers in the process). He would be the best linebacker on the team since Patrick Willis, and shares a lot of similarities to the former 49ers great. More impressive than his tackle numbers is his ability to get after opposing signal-callers. Leonard led all MLB’s with 7.0 sacks on the season.

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8. Chicago Bears — LB Roquan Smith

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Chicago will have a plethora of gifted defensive players to choose from here. Darius Leonard, Denzel Ward, Leighton Vander Esch and Derwin James all made the Pro Bowl. Despite the crazy talent here, the Bears were already (by far) the best defense in the league last year without any of those guys. Why screw things up? Smith is the youngest of the bunch, and is arguably the most impressive athlete. His ability to defend running backs coming out of the backfield was invaluable to the Bears this past season.

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7. Buffalo Bills — QB Sam Darnold

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It’s a bit unfair to judge a rookie quarterback on their statistical output. Peyton Manning tossed 28 interceptions in Year 1. Alex Smith threw one touchdown to 11 interceptions. Aaron Rodgers didn’t even play in a game. The point being, rookie quarterbacks are set up to fail, and fail Darnold did. However, towards the end of the season, Darnold began cleaning up his game. Over Darnold’s last four games, he completed a respectable 64 percent of his passes. He threw six touchdowns to just one interception, and averaged 230 yards per game. Grab him a couple of quality receivers, and he’ll be just fine moving forward.

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6. Indianapolis Colts — OG Quenton Nelson

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Given his impressive rookie season, it would be shocking to have seen Nelson go even higher in a re-draft scenario. The Colts made a concerted effort to give franchise quarterback Andrew Luck more protection. Nelson flourished as a first-year guard — making both the All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. A bulldozer that loves contact, Nelson will be around for quite some time.

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5. Denver Broncos — DE Bradley Chubb

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After coming out of the gates a bit slow, Chubb really started to look like a pass-rushing menace towards the middle of the year. A 3.0-sack performance against the Rams, and a 2.0-sack day against the Cardinals highlighted the type of player Chubb could eventually develop into. The Broncos aren’t getting any younger on the defensive side of the ball. Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. are rapidly approaching their 30th birthdays. As such, Chubb injects some youth on a defense that really needs some more speed.

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4. Cleveland Browns — RB Saquon Barkley

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Cleveland hits the jackpot here. The teams selecting second and third both have needs at quarterback. Barkley is a freak of nature. Playing all 16 games in his rookie year, Barkley amassed 2,028 yards from scrimmage on 352 touches. His ability as both a runner and pass catcher were invaluable to a New York Giants team that started to put it all together by season’s end. Barkley is already one of the league’s best backs, and possesses a strong frame built for the long haul.

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3. New York Jets — QB Josh Rosen

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Throw Rosen’s rookie numbers out of the window. Former head coach Steve Wilks wasn’t ready to head an NFL offense — especially with a roster devoid of young skill players and quality offensive lineman. Rosen was often running for his life behind shaky pass protection. The former UCLA star also only had a less-than-100-percent David Johnson and an aging Larry Fitzgerald to throw to. He’ll get better every year, and has shown the poise and accuracy becoming of an elite starting QB.

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2. New York Giants — QB Josh Allen

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The temptation to take Saquon Barkley here is real. Barkley is a near-generational talent at running back. However, even Barkley can’t replicate the impact a QB has on the field. Allen has his warts, and remains a raw prospect. He’s got a cannon for an arm, elite size, and was one of the most effective scramblers of any QB in the league. It may not be the sexy pick, but stashing Allen behind Manning for a year is the proper long-term play.

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1. Cleveland Browns — QB Baker Mayfield

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The Browns got it…right? In a shocking development, the Cleveland Browns took the correct player with the first overall pick. Mayfield has re-energized a franchise in dire need of a jolt. After just two weeks of warming the bench early in the year, Mayfield was thrown into the fire against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Mayfield delivered a signature win — completing 17-of-23 passes for 211 yards. Since now head coach Freddie Kitchens took over the play-calling duties (Week 9), Mayfield has completed 68 percent of his passes, thrown 19 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, and averaged over 280 yards per game. The Browns got their cornerstone piece for years to come.

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