It’s a slow time for college football, but it’s still a busy time for those of us who care about college football players - we’re just over a week away from the 2018 NFL Draft, and many of our favorite collegiate stars are about to head off to pro success, fame, fortune, or the Browns. Every sports media outlet out there, including SBNation, has its own mock drafts being published and revised on a near-daily basis.
But who knows the current crop of college players better than us, the college football media? Clearly, we’re the most skilled and credentialed here. [gestures to credentials] [upon further inspection, it’s a Best Buy employee nametag from 1999 with a “probationary” sticker on it] I just saw an NFL media member express surprise and amusement about there being a player named “Dee Liner” in the draft - and these are the people who are going to tell you which college players are going to succeed? Poppycock. Balderdash!
With that in mind, I’ve taken great pains to assemble our definitive mock draft for the first 10 picks of the upcoming draft.
- CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Browns’ needs are many, having assembled an NFL-record-worst 1-31 mark over the past two seasons, but no position is more important for the team to finally sort out than quarterback. They’ve spent the first two decades of their revived franchise’s life trying to sort this question out, and with two picks at the top of the draft, this is the year to get it right.
The Browns’ front office is said to be enamored with the physical attributes of Wyoming’s Josh Allen, he of the 6’5”, 240-pound frame and huge throwing arm. He had accuracy issues in college, and many question the level of competition he faced in the Mountain West conference, but others insist that a physical specimen of this caliber can be coached beyond this rawness.
We agree with this assessment, to a point. It doesn’t go far enough.
OUR PICK: A KODIAK BEAR
At a standing height of nearly 9’-8” and a weight of over 1500 pounds, the Kodiak bear well exceed Josh Allen’s measurables. Scouts describe him as “hungry”, “hard to tackle” and “holy shit that’s a fucking bear”. He’ll have the ability to thrive in the cold temperatures of the AFC North. Knocks against this pick: he’s never thrown a ball that we know of, not sure that he actually can, may decide to eat his teammates. These are also true of Josh Allen.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants may see an opportunity here, with Cleveland’s shockingly non-traditional first pick, to swoop in and get the player of their choice. With Eli Manning nearing retirement, the Giants also need to address their quarterback situation. This leaves not only Josh Allen, but USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson on the board, with the Giants in position to have their choice or ransom the pick to another QB-hungry team.
PICK: A GRIZZLY BEAR
When the league changes, you adapt or get left behind. The Giants saw the writing on the wall with this pick, and didn’t want to pin their hopes on all the bears falling into the second round. While risky - especially with the Browns already nabbing the top-ranked bear - the Giants are confident that their organizational stability and the chance to sit behind a Super Bowl-winning quarterback for a season or more will give this bear a great chance of success.
3. NEW YORK JETS (FROM INDIANAPOLIS)
When the Jets traded up with the Colts into the third slot, they had to be hoping to land one of the top available quarterbacks, something they weren’t assured of doing had they stayed in the sixth slot. They’ve got to be licking their chops with most draft analysts’s big boards still fully intact.
The Jets have always been the wacky kid brother to the Giants’ staid, sober big brother, but maybe the tables have finally turned, and the Jets can be the ones playing it safe here.
PICK: PARTY BEAR
There are concerns about his off-field behavior and if he can reign in the partying, but no one can deny that he’s been an electric presence on the field. If he manages to succeed in the NFL, he could be the kind of flashy star the nation’s largest media market always loves to have.
4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (FROM HOUSTON)
The Browns passed on the chance to draft Deshaun Watson last year, and the pick acquired in that trade allows them a unique opportunity here. They’ve already settled the bear position at the top overall pick. They could address another need, like the secondary or finding a replacement for Joe Thomas on the line. They could go best available, picking Bradley Chubb to bookend Myles Garrett on a fearsome pass rush, or buck position-value discussions and take Penn State’s electric running back Saquon Barkley.
PICK: A MOTORCYCLE FOR THEIR BEAR
Concerns about the bear’s throwing ability are going to take a back seat with the ground game Cleveland’s setting up here. Really like this pick.
5. DENVER BRONCOS
PICK: HIMALAYAN BROWN BEAR
Good, solid pick. Likely to thrive at the high altitude in Denver.
6. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (FROM DENVER)
PICK: POLAR BEAR
“We polled our fanbase”, Colts brass noted, “and they found him ‘much more relatable’ than the other bears picked earlier in the draft”. They raved about his off-the-field character, described him as “cerebral”, a “field general” and “gritty”.
7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
PICK: FLORIDA BLACK BEAR
A hometown favorite even after being kicked off the team at Florida State and finishing his career in FCS.
8. CHICAGO BEARS
PICK: MINKAH FITZPATRICK, ALABAMA
“We’ve been trying Bears with almost no luck for the last 30 years”, they noted in post-draft interviews.
9. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
PICK: BARRY BOSTWICK
“We were extremely confused by this exercise,” they noted.
10. OAKLAND RAIDERS
PICK: A BEAR WITH A GUN
“We just saw him as a classic Raiders pick”, owner Mark Davis stated.