How Lucas Sees the Middle of the First Round of the Upcoming NFL Draft
11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, Linebacker from Georgia
Roquan Smith follows a recent trend of smaller, faster linebackers who excel in pass coverage in the NFL. Smith is a much needed boost of speed for the Dolphins linebacking corps and should be a day one starter for them. He needs to get better at getting off of blocks, and could possibly put on some more weight but overall he can do almost anything you’d ask of a linebacker.
Play that Best Showcases Roquan Smith:
12. Buffalo Bills: Lamar Jackson, Quarterback from Louisville
Lamar Jackson is an extremely fast, big armed scrambling quarterback who won a Heisman trophy in 2016. While he has struggled with accuracy at times, those issues could still be corrected. Jackson is the closest thing to Michael Vick since Micheal Vick and may have the highest potential of any quarterback in this draft. For the fifth quarterback off the board, the Bills don’t do bad here.
Play that Best Showcases Lamar Jackson:
13. Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety/Cornerback from Alabama
After losing cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Bashaud Breeland in the off season and never having great safety play to begin with, the Redskins have a big need for help in the defensive secondary. They get just that with the talented Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has the versatility to play any of the cornerback or either of the safety positions at a high level. Fitzpatrick does it all on the field and really should probably go a lot higher than this.
Play that Best Showcases Minkah Fitzpatrick:
14. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, Cornerback from Iowa
Josh Jackson put up almost unheard of statistics at Iowa last year, intercepting 8 passes and breaking up another 18. Jackson also has prototypical size for a modern NFL cornerback, standing at 6’1″, weighing 200 pounds and his extremely long arms help him to get his hands on the ball, either to break it up or intercept it. Green Bay adds a potentially great player to their ailing secondary.
Play that Best Showcases Josh Jackson:
15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver from Alabama
With the top two cornerbacks and top five quarterbacks off the board, the Cardinals decide to get some help for Larry Fitzgerald here. Ridley is an amazing route runner with good speed. He just finds ways to get open against defenses. Ridley has potential to be one of the best sidekicks Larry Fitzgerald has ever had and maybe even fill his role once he retires.
Play that Best Showcases Calvin Ridley:
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle from Notre Dame
The Baltimore Ravens get the best offensive tackle in the draft here, which is a big help for Joe Flacco and the rest of their offense. McGlinchey is a monster, standing at 6’8″. While some say he has a somewhat limited ceiling and is a better fit at right tackle, he still has fantastic technique and should at least be a good starter in the NFL.
Play that Best Showcases Mike McGlinchey:
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Vita Vea, Defensive Tackle from Washington
The Chargers have a big need for help with the run defense, after having the second worst run defense in the NFL last season. They get just that with Vita Vea, who is the best lineman against the run in this entire draft. Besides that, Vea has also shown promise rushing the passer and could develop even more there. Vea is one of the top talents in this draft and is a great value at 17.
Play that Best Showcases Vita Vea:
18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, Safety from Florida State
Derwin James is one of the best players in this entire draft and is just too good for Seattle to pass on, especially with uncertainty about whether or not Kam Chancellor will ever play again. While James still needs to refine some of his pass coverage abilities, he does just about everything else you’d want from a strong safety at an extremely high level.
Play that Best Showcases Derwin James:
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker from Boise State
Leighton Vander Esch has been a big riser throughout this offseason. After just starting for one season at Boise State, the athletic monster has killed all of his pre draft drills and risen up draft boards. He is effective in pass coverage, against the run, and even rushing the passer. Vander Esch has potential to develop into an all pro caliber linebacker but it will take time.
Play that Best Showcases Leighton Vander Esch:
20. Detroit Lions: Da’Ron Payne, Defensive Tackle from Alabama
The Lions have a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line and fill it with Da’Ron Payne. Payne combines above average athleticism for a defensive tackle with incredible strength to wreak havoc on opposing run games. There are questions about how good of a pass rusher he can be but he has the physical talent to develop that area of his game in the NFL with good coaching.
Play that Best Showcases Da’Ron Payne: