Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Come Mock our Mock Draft

As promised, we are back to review how well we did in our final attempt to mock the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft…Spoiler alert: Not good!

Last week we mocked. Now we return to be mocked.

Like every site that writes about NFL football, we here at Buccaneers.com have spent the last couple months posting mock drafts, throwing our predictions for the first round of the 2018 draft into the howling void with the rest of them. Specifically, Carmen Vitali and I went through the process five times, using an alternating-pick approach for the first four versions before pooling our brainpower for the final attempt. Turns out two heads are not better than one.

Carmen and I knew this was a nearly futile endeavor; most mock drafts go off the rails before the first 10 picks are done, especially when the trades begin. As everyone has realized by this point, mock drafts are much more about entertainment than actual prognostication.

Still, we sort of expected to get more than one pick right. Well, maybe one-and-a-half, depending upon how you score it.

At the bottom of the page you will see a table showing our projections from our final mock draft, posted a day before the real NFL Draft started last week. We promised we would revisit our picks and either trumpet our successes or take our lumps for our failures. Well, things got lumpy.

Carmen and I believed that, with three quarterbacks off the board along with Bradley Chubb and Saquon Barkley, the Indianapolis Colts would take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson with the sixth pick. And indeed they did, though Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward replaced one of those three quarterbacks in the top six.

We also predicted that, given this landscape in which the Barkley-Chubb-Nelson trio is unavailable at #7, the Buccaneers would trade down with the Miami Dolphins and take Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th pick. The Bucs did face that landscape and trade down, but their landing spot was Buffalo's #12 pick. Fitzpatrick did indeed go 11th, but to the Dolphins, who stayed put and stayed out of the quarterback market.

And there you have it: The entirety of our direct or indirect hits over 32 first-round picks. That is…how should I put this?...not good.

You know it's going to be rough when you get the very first pick wrong. We had the Cleveland Browns taking Josh Allen as their new franchise quarterback, but they went with Baker Mayfield. In our defense, we wrote our mock draft on Tuesday and posted it on Wednesday; the strong rumors of Mayfield to the Browns didn't start until Thursday morning. Had we chosen to wait until the last day and adjust our picks based on the very latest information – as ESPN's Mel Kiper did – we likely would have gotten the first pick right, and then probably would have given Sam Darnold to the Jets at #3 instead of Mayfield.

That's about the only leeway I can give us in the draft's aftermath, however. We wouldn't have put Ward with the Browns at the fourth pick if we had done 100 versions of the mock draft. We badly misread teams like Dallas and New England, going too by-the-book in terms of matching them up with prospects that matched positions at which they had recent departures. We thought there was no way Jacksonville would go defense or Atlanta would go offense. We tried 10 different ways to shoehorn Lamar Jackson into our first round but never succeeded; Baltimore found a way.

View pictures of the Buccaneers' second-round pick, USC RB Ronald Jones II. Photos by AP Images.

Forgiving us our lack of a last-minute QB switch at the top, probably our biggest mistake was at the second pick. I don't feel bad about missing that Calvin Ridley would be available for the Falcons at #26, but it wasn't too hard to foresee that the Giants would take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. He's special and they've been looking for a ground game for years. We correctly predicted the Giants would stay out of the QB hunt, but then overthought it from there, going with Chubb because we thought that, in any draft, the best pass-rusher was the top asset after the best quarterbacks. That may in fact be true, but Barkley changed the equation this year.

While we take our lumps here, we should also point out that this wasn't a good year for mock drafters in general. The complete mystery surrounding the eventual destinations of the top four quarterbacks had most mocks in disarray right from the start. As we noted, Kiper correctly believed the Mayfield rumors and made some last-minute adjustments, but many other analysts did not.

For instance, NFL Network's Mike Mayock, who only does one mock draft every year, in the days before the real thing, is deservedly one of the most respected draft analysts. He stuck with Darnold-to-the-Browns and paid the price in his mock, as well. Mayock didn't fall into the same trap as we did at #2 and correctly predicted Barkley to the Giants. After that, he got exactly one other pick in the right spot to the right team: the Bears took linebacker Roquan Smith eighth.

Now, that's no knock on Mayock. He is better at this than we are, by a long shot, and he had some other nice predictions in his mock. He got three other player-team matchups right (Jaire Alexander to Green Bay; Josh Rosen to Arizona; Rashaan Evans to Tennessee) just not in their original spots. That's impressive. I'm just reiterating that this is nearly an impossible task, even for an expert like Mayock.

For instance, another very fine NFL analyst, Bucky Brooks, had his final mock draft on the same page as Mayock's on NFL.com. Brooks fell into the same Chubb trap as us at #2 and didn't switch his quarterbacks at the last minute either. He got zero of his 32 picks right. Not a one. He did, however, correctly match up Josh Allen with the Bills and Lamar Jackson with the Ravens, just at different spots after trades. Given all the QB uncertainty, that's probably more impressive than picking Barkley over Chubb.

And now I'm making excuses again. Sorry. Let's take some more lumps. Here were our five worst predictions:

  1. Chubb instead of Barkley at #2.
  1. Maurice Hurst to Atlanta at #26. The heart concerns unearthed at the Combine led to a drop all the way to the fifth round.
  1. Miami trading up for a quarterback.
  1. Denzel Ward lasting all the way to Green Bay at #14. The top corner almost always go higher than that.
  1. Harold Landry at #12! Huge miss.

Alright, consider Carmen and I properly flagellated. We'll be back next year to try it again!

Team

Mock

Actual

Comments

1

CLE

J. Allen, QB

B. Mayfield, QB

Should have adjusted to late rumors

2

NYG

B. Chubb, DE

S. Barkley, RB

Thought best DE was top priority after QB

3

NYJ

B. Mayfield, QB

S. Darnold, QB

Again, needed Thursday adjustment

4

CLE

S. Barkley, RB

D. Ward, CB

No one saw this coming

5

DEN

(BUF) S. Darnold, QB

B. Chubb, DE

Easy on-the-clock prediction

6

IND

Q. Nelson, G

Q. Nelson, G

We got one right!

7

TB

(MIA) J. Rosen, QB

(BUF) J. Allen, QB

We were right about trading down

8

CHI

T. Edmunds, LB

R. Smith, LB

Six of one, half dozen of the other

9

SF

V. Vea, DT

M. McGlinchey, T

McGlinchey was a late riser

10

OAK

R. Smith, LB

(AZ) J. Rosen, QB

Trades start to blow this totally apart

11

MIA

(TB) M. Fitzpatrick, DB

M. Fitzpatrick, DB

We got one sort of right!

12

BUF

(DEN) Landry, DE

(TB) V. Vea, DT

Should've given Vea more thought

13

WAS

D. James, S

D. Payne, DT

We did give WAS a DT in one mock

14

GB

D. Ward, CB

(NO) M. Davenport, DE

Impossible to foresee a trade this big

15

AZ

C. Ridley, WR

(OAK) K. Miller, T

Even after trade, would've predicted Edmunds

16

BAL

M. McGlinchey, T

(BUF) T. Edmunds, LB

Again, trades change it all, as usual

17

LAC

D. Payne, DT

D. James, S

No DT? Really? Guess James was too tempting

18

SEA

J. Jackson, CB

(GB) J. Alexander, CB

We consistently matched GB with a CB

19

DAL

C. Sutton, WR

L. Vander Esch, DE

WR to Dez-less Boys was too simple

20

DET

M. Davenport, DE

F. Ragnow, C

Ragnow never showed up in any of our mocks

21

CIN

W. Hernandez, G

B. Price, C

We gave CIN a tackle or guard every time

22

BUF

(DEN) C. Williams, T

(TEN) R. Evans, LB

We also had TEN taking a LB

23

NE

K. Miller, T

I. Wynn, T

So, now Wynn IS a tackle, not a guard?

24

CAR

J. Alexander, CB

D. Moore, WR

Moore went 29th in our last mock

25

TEN

L. Vander Esch, LB

(BAL) H. Hurst, TE

BAL traded twice, no chance with this one

26

ATL

M. Hurst, DT

C. Ridley, WR

Hurst fell into the fifth round

27

NO

H. Hurst, TE

(SEA) R. Penny, RB

Widely considered a surprise here

28

PIT

R. Evans, LB

T. Edmunds, S

See above

29

JAX

D. Moore, WR

T. Bryan, DT

NEVER expected JAX to go defense, again!

30

MIN

I. Wynn, G

M. Hughes, CB

MIN needs more corners? Huh

31

NE

M. Hughes, CB

S. Michel, RB

Why even try to predict a NE pick?

32

PHI

D. Guice, RB

(BAL) L. Jackson, QB

Tried hard to find a spot for Jackson in last 1

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