Arthur Arkush's NFL mock draft 3.0

Arthur's latest mock draft barely resembles 1.0 and 2.0, but Bills again make move for their QB1

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It's mock 3.0 time, when I shed some of my 1.0 and 2.0 skin and just let it all hang down. Consider it my YOLO mock, dedicated to the team picking first (and fourth) that doesn't care what you think about Josh Allen (spoiler).

I might've gotten carried away. There are only 2 (!) repeats from 2.0 (one if you count same player and draft slot) and four from my first mock of the year.

One constant: at least three quarterbacks in the top five picks, with the same passer landing with one squad in all three mocks.

I linked to quite a few of the fantastic stories our team has written this draft season. Spend a bit of time perusing and I'm quite confident you'll agree. As for this mock, well, I'm fairly confident you won't agree with a lot of it. But that's what makes this time of year so fun. And not doing the same mock every time. It's not just the prospects trying to show off their versatility after all.

And one more note before we begin: You'll find links at the bottom of every pick, directing you to our fancy new draft database, loaded with hundreds of Greg Gabriel's scouting reports. Greg spent hundreds of hours grinding on his evaluations this season, and for $5, you get unlimited access to every report for six months. Try it out. You're gonna get some satisfaction.

1. Cleveland Browns — Wyoming QB Josh Allen

Sashi Brown isn't coming back through that door. John Dorsey, despite Scot McCloughan and others likely telling him not to, goes all in on the riskiest prospect in the draft. It's almost too difficult to fathom, but after going with Sam Darnold in the first two mocks, I'm joining Dorsey in going against my better judgment here.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

2. New York Giants — USC QB Sam Darnold

About the only thing harder to grasp than Dorsey choosing Allen is Dave Gettleman punting altogether on this rare opportunity to find Eli Manning's heir apparent — and I'm in what seems to be the minority that thinks Manning can still get the job done if he's set up to succeed, unlike the past two seasons.

But when the one quarterback in Gettleman's sights is passed at No. 1, Big Blue makes its move, positioning Darnold beautifully to be the 2004 version of Eli Manning, while Manning serves as the '04 version of Kurt Warner.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

3. New York Jets — Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield

Outstanding fit and about as fortuitous a scenario as Mike Maccagnan and Co. can imagine after rolling the dice to move up just three spots in a draft with QB-needy teams still ahead of them at Nos. 1 and 2. Mayfield is picture perfect for the bright lights of the NFL's biggest media market and in new coordinator Jeremy Bates' version of the West Coast offense. Add in an oustanding mentor for Mayfield in Josh Mccown and the Jets finally fix their Achilles heel.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

4. Cleveland Browns — North Carolina State EDGE Bradley Chubb

It won't excuse the recklessness of Allen at No. 1, but at least Cleveland secures great value and a likely Day 1 difference maker with one of its top-five selections. Chubb and Myles Garrett should complement each other very well, giving Gregg Williams a bookend pairing that could soon rival Bosa-Ingram and Jones-Golden out west.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

5. Denver Broncos — Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson

Even after releasing C.J. Anderson, Nelson's the choice with John Elway continuing his cautious offseason approach to pick perhaps the safest player in the draft. Moreover, Nelson might be the missing piece to Elway's O-line overhaul, and Denver is well positioned on Days 2 and 3 to draft Anderson's replacement.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

6. Indianapolis Colts — Georgia LB Roquan Smith

Chris Ballard saw the effect Derrick Johnson and Brian Urlacher had manning the middle of playmaking defenses in his past two stops. He also saw how the Chiefs and Bears thrived with Day 2 and Day 3 running backs, which is why I think Nelson would've been the pick were he available, but Ballard favors Smith over Barkley. Perhaps the Colts' biggest weakness, the ILB post could be in good hands for the next 8-10 years.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

The Bucs are the ideal team to stop Barkley's fall. Dirk Koetter's future in Tampa depends on him steadying Jameis Winston, and the insertion of the electrifying and multi-talented Barkley is the perfect elixir. He brings balance to a one-dimensional offense and excitement to a fan base that saw Jon Gruden return to his other former team.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

8. Chicago Bears — Florida State S Derwin James

This is one of my few unchanged picks from 2.0. Ryan Pace and Vic Fangio could absolutely go back to the Alabama pipeline to pair Eddie Jackson with Minkah Fitzpatrick. And I surmised in 1.0 that UTSA edge rusher Marcus Davenport would be the guy. But I can't stop the feeling now that Pace is in love with James and has another pass-rush plan, perhaps Lorenzo Carter, Kemoko Turay or Sam Hubbard on Day 2. And James, even more than Davenport, fits Pace's top-10 prototype — special size, athleticism and upside — to a tee.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

9. Buffalo Bills (from 49ers) — UCLA QB Josh Rosen

After the Broncos pass on Rosen, the Bills, with more draft leverage than the rival 'Phins, opt to wait a few picks before leapfrogging Miami and getting their QB1 in this draft. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott manage to preserve pick No. 22 (which, as you'll soon find out, is used to beat another division rival to the punch), instead sending San Francisco one of their seconds (No. 65) and one of their thirds (96).

Rosen should quickly supplant AJ McCarron, this year's version of Mike Glennon, and bring Bills fans the true franchise QB potential that's been missing for a long time. And Rosen's outside-of-football interests will be somewhat limited in Buffalo, if you care about that sort of stuff.

10. Oakland Raiders — Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is a grinder, checking off a key box for Jon Gruden. He's also the best available player, at a definite area of need, which should provide Raiders fans some solace with so-so draft returns since Reggie McKenzie's Mack-Carr-Jackson trifecta four years ago.

11. Miami Dolphins — Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

This is pretty much plan C for Adam Gase and Mike Tannenbaum, with their coveted quarterbacks and Smith gone, but it's nothing to turn their noses up about. Ward lands in the same draft slot as former Buckeye teammate Marshon Lattimore a year ago — and that turned out decently. Although Miami quietly has assembled a young and talented CB corps, and bigger needs in the front seven exist, tough to argue with the value here.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

12. San Francisco 49ers — Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds

The Niners traded back because Smith was their target, but Edmunds might have an even higher ceiling while potentially solving two big issues for San Francisco: a potential replacement plan for troubled Reuben Foster and pass-rush help for one of the more pedestrian units in the league.

What is the full scouting report on Tremaine Edmunds?

13. Washington — Boston College EDGE Harold Landry

With Preston Smith entering a contract year and Trent Murphy now in Washington, Greg Manusky needs another dynamic closer off the flanks, and Landry, depending on which person you talk to, is the top remaining option.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

14. Green Bay Packers — USTA EDGE Marcus Davenport

The reason this fit would make so much sense is that Green Bay might be able to get by for a bit longer with Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, especially with Muhammad Wilkerson now added to the mix. But, when it comes to long-range upside, forget just pass rushers — Davenport's is perhaps as high as any prospect, period.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

15. Arizona Cardinals — Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey

McGlinchey would slide immediately in opposite of fellow first-rounder, LT D.J. Humphries, to form bookends for Mike Iupati and newcomer Justin Pugh. Betting on Sam Bradford is risky enough, but expecting him to repeat what he did two years ago in Minnesota with an awful O-line is foolish. Arizona could suddenly have the makings of a solid group up front.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

16. Baltimore Ravens — Alabama WR Calvin Ridley

It took me until my third mock to succumb to arguably the most obvious dot connecting in this draft. Sure, Hernandez and Lamar Jackson — my Ravens selections in 1.0 and 2.0, respectively — could also make sense. But in his final draft as general manager, Ozzie Newsome going back once more to his Alabama roots for a polished pass catcher to fill perhaps the most underdeveloped position on his roster, one he's so mightily struggled to solve in the draft? I couldn't resist.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

17. Los Angeles Chargers — Washington NT Vita Vea

Which is tougher to find in this draft: an early-down run-stuffing linebacker or an athletic marvel at nose guard who could occupy blockers that Chargers opponents desperately need to help stop Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram? I've went back and forth on this question, so after sending Rashaan Evans to the Bolts in 1.0 (and Josh Jackson as Casey Hayward insurance in 2.0), I settled on Vea.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

18. Seattle Seahawks — Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn

Pete Carroll is determined to reestablish the Seahawks offensive identity. If Seattle is poised for a step back defensively, finding a way to take pressure off a unit in transition, much less Russell Wilson, is even more vital.

Wynn is that dude who can spearhead the run game's revival. He also has the versatility Seattle prefers from its blockers, and isn't a huge project like a lot of past Seahawks blockers.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

19. Dallas Cowboys — UTEP OG Will Hernandez

Cowboys fans won't like this pick, not with Dez Bryant's release, finally, leaving a massive void in an underwhelming WR corps. But it's tough to argue that some of the franchise's best premium picks in recent years haven't come along the offensive line, where a once-mighty unit was hit hard by attrition and turnover last year. It's a new day, and the value of a great guard here is arguably better than a receiver.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

20. Detroit Lions — LSU RB Derrius Guice

The last time the Lions had a 100-yard rusher in a game, Thanksgiving in 2013, Guice was a junior at Catholic High in Baton Rouge. You can't make this stuff up, but Guice can make up for lost time with his brutalizing power and stamina. LeGarrette Blount has to slow down eventually, perhaps sooner than later after playing into February the past two years, and Guice is the kind of young back Matthew Stafford and a woeful short-yardage offense needs.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

21. Cincinnati Bengals — Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne

The Chargers, No. 31 in run 'D' last season, landed the draft's best run-stuffing lineman. Cincinnati, No. 30 in that department, will gladly take the second-best option. Payne, like Vea, is an uber athlete who could take advantage of his new environment, namely learning under one of the game's most proven interior disruptors in Geno Atkins.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

22. Buffalo Bills — Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch

Back to my 1.0 pick, which the Bills take even greater joy in making after the rival Patriots traded into the slot immediately behind them and would love nothing more than to add Vander Esch's speed, playmaking and versatility into their biggest trouble spot defensively.

Vander Esch might be a prototypical Patriots pick, but let's not ignore the success McDermott and Beane had in Carolina with a defense that spun off the game's premier middle linebacker, Luke Kuechly.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

23. New England Patriots — Louisville CB Jaire Alexander

Some people may be fixated on the possibility of Bill Belichick taking the other Louisville playmaker in this spot. I think Alexander's unexpected tumble ends here and New England, if needed, uses its extra second-rounder to put a package together for Kyle Lauletta or Mason Rudolph.

Alexander is an immediate nickel upgrade over Eric Rowe or Jonathan Jones, and his confidence and ball skills are a welcome replacement for Malcolm Butler's.

Gabriel's scouting report (subscibers only)

24. Carolina Panthers — Maryland WR D.J. Moore

When Marty Hurney traded Kelvin Benjamin last season, it was to open up the field, not elevate Devin Funchess as the long-term WR1. Benjamin made real strides in his third season, but he isn't a true coverage dictator who scares defenses everywhere he goes on the field. Moore might be that guy, and his arrival adds a nice element of insurance with Funchess entering a contract year.

D.J. Moore scouting report

25. Tennessee Titans — Alabama LB Rashaan Evans

Not sure why it took me until the third version of this exercise to match Evans with new coach Mike Vrabel's Titans. The need is certainly real with Avery Williamson's departure and Tennessee struggling mightily to cover backs through the air even at full strength last season. And Evans' versatility and rugged style should easily resonate with Vrabel, the former Patriots jack of all trades. Dean Pees also knows the importance of great LB play to his 'D,' from Ray Lewis to another Alabama standout, C.J. Mosley.

Rashaan Evans scouting report

26. Atlanta Falcons — Florida DT Taven Bryan

This is my other chalk pick, along with Ridley to Baltimore, though this one first appeared in 1.0. Sometimes they just write themselves, and that's the case here with speed enthusiasts Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff gravitating toward a straight-up freak athlete like Bryan, who just so happens to address their biggest need.

Bryan didn't have great college production, but neither did Grady Jarrett, and he's developed into one of the league's more underrated forces.

Taven Bryan scouting report

27. New Orleans Saints — Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

Perhaps I'm biased because of this truly awesome Mark Schofield piece detailing the best NFL matches for all the top QB prospects, including, yes, Jackson and Sean Payton. But coming off the richest draft haul by any NFL club in years, the Saints could feel emboldened to eschew immediate help here and swing for the fences in finding Drew Brees eventual replacement.

The Saints lost highly regarded backup Chase Daniel in free agency and currently have only Tom Savage and Taysom Hill backing up Brees. Jackson isn't pro ready, but in the event of a catastrophe — Brees getting injured in a Super Bowl or bust season — it'd be nice to have Jackson. It's also just fun imagining Jackson and Alvin Kamara sharing a backfield overseen by Payton.

Lamar Jackson scouting report

28. Pittsburgh Steelers — Iowa CB Josh Jackson

I've had a difficult time picking for the Steelers. It's obvious what they covet — a Ryan Shazier replacement or Morgan Burnett running mate — and in two of three exercises, it's been slim pickings. That's why I sent Mike McGlinchey to Pittsburgh in 1.0 (that went over well), and with Vander Esch and Evans once again off the board, here we are again.

Shazier and Sean Davis tied for the Steelers' lead in interceptions last season with 3 apiece. But with Shazier gone and Davis seemingly being pushed for playing time, more ballhawks capable of capitalizing on the NFL's top pass rush are needed. None in this draft are better than Jackson.

Josh Jackson scouting report

29. Jacksonville Jaguars — South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert

I think a nickel cornerback could also work here, but Jacksonville's biggest need is arguably at tight end, and Goedert has unique traits to prevent opponents from bringing a safety down to stop Leonard Fournette. Hayden Hurst, my pick in 2.0, shoudn't be discounted because of his blocking and toughness — two critical components Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone are seeking. But Goedert has a lot of room to grow as a blocker while he starts out initially as a mismatch receiving threat.

Dallas Goedert scouting report

30. Minnesota Vikings — Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver

Kirk Cousins' fully guaranteed deal, paired with each extension, the latest a whopper of a deal for Eric Kendricks, increases the likelihood of a talented homegrown youngster being the opportunity cost. And with Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs (in no order) likely next on Spielman's list, Trae Waynes could eventually be the odd man out.

Enter Oliver, who, from an athletic and physical standpoint, is a spitting image of Waynes, making him Mike Zimmer's ideal press-corner prototype. Zimmer can never have too many for his 'D,' and Oliver could be brought along slowly the way the Vikings prefer.

Greg Gabriel scouts Isaiah Oliver

31. New England Patriots — Texas OL Connor Williams

I also like Christian Kirk and, as mentioned earlier, a couple quarterbacks potentially in this spot. But unlike the Saints, the Patriots probably aren't feeling like they can afford to spend their first-rounders on guys who won't help them immediately with who knows how much longer for Tom Brady. Williams means the Patriots must be comfortable with his arm length. If they aren't, UCLA's Kolton Miller makes more sense as the potential replacement plan for Nate Solder, another giant.

Greg Gabriel's scouting report on Connor Williams

32. Philadelphia Eagles — Central Florida CB Mike Hughes

I had Ronald Jones in this spot initially but think Hughes might be more valuable, as Corey Clement was very good in the change-up role and Philadelphia doesn't have a clear nickel or returner. Hughes might step in Day One and thrive in both roles. And with Daryl Worley being released Monday, the Eagles' CB situation is far from settled.

Of course, in light of Worley's and Michael Bennett's arrests, Howie Roseman may have reservations about adding any more character risks this offseason. I don't know how Hughes is viewed by clubs after a checkered college career, but if he checks out, the fit is quite cozy.

Greg Gabriel's scouting report on Mike Hughes (subscribers only)

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