Road to the Draft

O'HARA'S MOCK 20 3.0: Post-Combine picks

Posted Mar 12, 2018

Mike O'Hara predicts who the Lions will take with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2018 draft.

Nothing forces second – and third and fourth – thoughts of whether you got it right in your latest mock draft than the Combine.

This year’s talent audition at Indianapolis gave another example of how seeing prospects in the flesh can change opinions.

Players ran faster than expected – or slower. They jumped higher – or lower. They did more reps in the bench press – or fewer. And the buzz from draft gurus added an element in projecting whose mock stock rose or fell.

Changes in my third mock draft – Mock 20-3.0 – from the pre-Combine 2.0 version reflect what transpired at the Combine in my attempt to predict who the Detroit Lions will draft with the 20th pick in the first round on April 26.

What hasn’t changed is the focus on the Lions’ primary needs at defensive line and running back, and in which order they’re filled.

One development influenced my post-Combine pick for the Lions. Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst was the pick in my first two mocks. I am setting him aside – for now – because of a heart a heart condition detected in his physical exam.

Here is my post-Combine Mock 20-3.0, with changes noted from the 2.0 version.

1. Browns (0-16): The best player in the draft was a Combine star who is not a quarterback. The Browns can get their QB later in the draft, or by signing a free agent.

Pick: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State.

No change.

2. Giants (3-13): Time to groom Eli Manning’s successor. They’d probably take Barkley if he’s on the board.

Pick: QB Sam Darnold, Southern Cal.

No change.

3. Colts (4-12): They have their QB – if Andrew Luck comes back healthy after missing all of 2018. A lot rides on that projection.

Pick: DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State.

No change.

4. Browns (from Texans): Safety Jabrill Peppers of Michigan was one of Cleveland’s three first-round picks last year, but a better one this year makes it worth doubling up on the position – and moving Peppers closer to the line of scrimmage.

Pick: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama.

Change from QB Josh Rosen, UCLA.

5. Broncos (5-11): There’s a big, strong QB prospect with a powerful arm whose stock went up with his Combine showing.

Pick: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming. 

No change.

6. Jets (5-11): The right thing to do is re-sign respected vet Josh McCown to mentor a rookie QB. Picking the right QB to mentor is the hard part.

Pick: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma.

Change from Fitzpatrick to make it New York-New York for quarterbacks. Start spreading the hype.

7. Bucs (5-11): Protecting QB Jameis Winston seems to be the consensus priority, and an interior player is the best offensive lineman in the draft.

Pick: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame.

No change.

8. Bears (5-11): I had the Bears filling a big need at receiver in my first two mocks but can see them going for a linebacker.

Pick: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia.

Change from WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama.

(Note: The 49ers won the coin flip at the Combine to break a tie for the 9-10 picks.)

9. 49ers (6-10): Winning the flip doesn’t change the pick.

Pick: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech.

No change.

10. Raiders (6-10): Losing the flip changes the position, and the player – another Ohio State CB who was a star at this year’s Combine.

Pick: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State.

Change from Smith.

11. Dolphins (6-10): There are solid prospects to fill a need on the offensive line. Orlando Brown’s horrid Combine performance let some prospects move up.

Pick: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame.

Change from Brown.

12. Bengals (7-9): Another team looking to strengthen the O-line. The ripple effect of Brown’s poor Combine lets another player move up in the order.

Pick: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA.

Change from McGlinchey.

13. Redskins (7-9): Combine performance confirmed that there’s a top candidate who ran fast and jumped high to upgrade the pass rush.

Pick: DE Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio.

No change.

14. Packers (7-9): A lot of people are focusing on a cornerback, and for good reason.

Pick: CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida.

Change from Ward.

15. Cardinals (8-8): Looks like the Cardinals will use the draft instead of free agency to replace retired starting QB Carson Palmer.

Pick: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA.

Change from Mayfield. 

16. Ravens (9-7): A projected top 10 pick drops every year, and there’s one this year whose 4.43 40 time at the Combine stood out. 

Pick: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama.

Change from OT Connor Williams, Texas.

17. Chargers (9-7): They don’t need much to be the best in the AFC West, and what they need on defense is available.

Pick: DT Vita Vea, Washington.

No change. (Too big, too strong, to budge out of this spot.)

18. Seahawks (9-7): While making over the roster, keeping QB Russell Wilson in one piece is a priority -- with a tackle or guard who ran better than expected at the Combine.

Pick: G Will Hernandez, Texas-El Paso.

Change from CB Josh Jackson, Iowa.

19. Dallas Cowboys (9-7): Regardless of what happens with Dez Bryant’s contract, the Cowboys need help at receiver.

Pick: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M.

Change from WR Courtland Sutton, SMU.

20. Detroit Lions (9-7): Based on needs at defensive line and running back – and before they’re filled with free-agent signings – the decision is which one to fill first. The talent pool is deeper at running back, which could mean taking the defensive lineman in the first round and then a running back – either in the second round, or by trading up. The pick here is for defense, and with the hope that Maurice Hurst is deemed to be at full health by draft day.

Pick: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama.

Original pick: Hurst.

Head Coach Matt Patricia has said he wants to build the defense from the ball out, and Payne would provide the interior with a quicker, more explosive version of A’Shawn Robinson, the Lions’ second-round pick out of Alabama in 2016. At 6-2 and 311 pounds, Payne had an official time in the 40 of 4.95 seconds at the Combine. He hit the first 10-yard split in a blazing 1.67 seconds. Payne had 27 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

With all the attention on the Lions’ run game, it should not be overlooked how the defense was dominated for long stretches at times. As one prominent coach said at the Combine, “the defense let them down.”

Expect the running game to be addressed, but not in the first round.