The 2017 NFL Draft isn’t even over yet at the time that I am writing this... and Bleacher Report has already released their 2018 “way too early” first round NFL mock draft.
It was published before Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft began, after the first through third rounds had already been completed.
First off, I’m assuming the author, Tim Daniels, just randomly placed teams in draft slots based on what he believes team’s record will be next year, as he gave the Jaguars the sixth overall pick.
He has the first five picks going as so:
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
4. Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
5. Chicago Bears: Arden Key, DE, LSU
I’m not going to pretend as if I know if those picks are smart or not, as I don’t know how those five teams will perform in 2018 and what their needs will be, except I’d question Cleveland’s pick being Darnold, as they drafted Deshone Kizer in the second round of this year’s draft.
However, I do know that the player Daniels’ mocked to the Jaguars is, although a great player, perhaps the most ridiculous pick they could make:
Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State University.
I’m a fan of Barkley’s. In 2016, Barkley rushed for 1496 yards on 272 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns, as well as adding 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns in the passing game.
If the Jaguars hadn’t drafted Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, I would’ve been on board with Barkley in the first round come next year. But that’s just the thing: The Jaguars used the fourth overall pick on Leonard Fournette on Thursday night. They have their “franchise running back”, per se, so why on God’s Earth would the Jaguars use a first round pick on another running back next year?
For giggles, I did some calculations as to how much the Jaguars would pay Fournette and Barkley in guarantees on their rookie contracts, if the Jaguars were to draft Barkley next year in the first round. Per Spotrac.com, Fournette is projected to be guaranteed around $26.5 million on his rookie deal. Jamal Adams, the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is projected to be guaranteed $21.8 million on his rookie deal, and considering rookie deals go up in value every year, the Jaguars would be handing over $48 million in guarantees to Fournette and Barkley if they drafted Barkley with the sixth pick in 2018.
The bottom line is, there is no logical reasoning as to why the Jaguars should draft Barkley, or any running back, in the first round next year (unless Fournette somehow goes down with a career ending injury [knock on wood]). As I said before, this mock draft was published after the Jaguars selected Fournette, so either Daniels’ wasn’t watching the NFL Draft on Thursday and missed the Fournette pick, or this mock was pre-written and never looked over for editing.
Either way, yuck.