Lolley’s mock draft 2.0: Run on O-line brings surprising pick

A run on offensive linemen in the middle of the first round leaves the Steelers with an interesting pick.

Lamar Jackson. - AP

I unveiled my first mock draft last week, which had the Steelers taking Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison with the 28th pick in the first round.

But mock drafts are like potato chips. You can’t do just one.

In this one, I found myself mocking a run of offensive linemen in the middle of the first round. It actually makes a lot of sense. In a league in which most teams don’t have three competent offensive linemen, let alone five, that position is often over-drafted. And with this draft lacking a lot of options at tackle — it’s deep on the interior — it just made that much more sense.

Offensive lineman picks aren’t sexy, but they are necessary.

As I wrote last week, I don’t mock any trades that haven’t yet happened. I might mention some trades I think might occur, but until they do, we’re staying true to the board here.

So without any further ado, here’s how the first round could go when it kicks off April 26. Remember, this is run No. 2. There will be others:

1. Cleveland, Sam Darnold, QB, USC — The Browns go with the safer pick of Darnold over a guy with perhaps more upside in Josh Allen.

2. N.Y. Giants, Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming — Allen will get some time to learn from Eli Manning.

3. N.Y. Jets, Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma — Does anyone think the pairing of Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater is anything more than a stopgap? Saquon Barkley would be tempting, though.

4. Cleveland, Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State — The Browns pass on running back, figuring they can get one at the top of the second round. They can’t get another Bradley Chubb there.

5. Denver, Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama — After signing Case Keenum in the offseason, the Broncos pass on a quarterback to replenish the defense. Will that be a mistake?

6. Indianapolis, Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame — Andrew Luck has a new best friend.

7. Tampa Bay, Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State — The Buccaneers would do cartwheels to the podium to make this pick after getting rid of Doug Martin.

8. Chicago, Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State — The Bears have a big need for a third corner, especially in their division. Ward has dynamic ability.

9. San Francisco, Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech — The 49ers need someone to get some pressure off the edge, and Edmunds has as much upside as anyone in this draft. They also have some off-field issues with Reuben Foster, so Edmunds’ playmaking ability could help.

10. Oakland, Derwin James, S, Florida State — Jon Gruden won’t have enough superlatives to describe James.

11. Miami, Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia — The Dolphins need help almost everywhere. Smith, if he passes his final medical exams, would be a nice fit.

12. Buffalo, Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA — The Bills will probably trade up for a QB. But they might not need to do so.

13. Washington, Vita Vea, DT, Washington — This pick just makes too much sense to change it. So Washington gets Vea again.

14. Green Bay, Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame — Offensive tackles and quarterbacks always go earlier than they should. But McGlinchey can play.

15. Arizona, Conner Williams, OT, Texas — See above.

16. Baltimore Ravens, Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama — Ozzie Newsome goes back to the Alabama well once again.

17. L.A. Chargers, Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA — The Chargers have Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale at tackle. Both are the definition of JAGs (Just Another Guys).

18. Seattle, Mike Hughes, CB, UCF — After losing Richard Sherman, the Seahawks go for a reinforcement.

19. Dallas, Will Hernandez, G, UTEP — The Cowboys get another butt-kicker for their offensive line.

20. Detroit, Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA — Davenport has drawn comparisons to Ziggy Ansah. Now, he’ll line up opposite him.

21. Cincinnati, Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama — The Bengals need some leadership other than Vontaze Burfict and get a potential leader in Evans.

22. Buffalo, James Daniels, C, Iowa — After losing longtime starter Eric Woods to a career-ending neck injury, and then seeing Richie Incognito retire, this is what the doctor ordered — no pun intended.

23. New England, Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State — With the run on offensive tackles early, the Patriots settle for replenishing their front seven.

24. Carolina, Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville — The Panthers need to improve their secondary and do so with Alexander.

25. Tennessee, Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College — Landry had an injury-plagued 2017, but had 16 sacks in 2016.

26. Atlanta, D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland — With Taylor Gabriel gone, the Falcons have a need for someone to take pressure off Julio Jones.

27. New Orleans, Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina — The former Pirates’ farmhand goes in the first round.

28. Pittsburgh, Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville — Some fans will hate this. Others will love it. Jackson has been the most dynamic playmaker in college football the past two seasons. And he’s more of a pocket passer than you might think. Some criticize him for his lower completion percentage, but he hit 59 percent last season as a downfield passer. There weren’t a lot of bubble screens to pump up that completion percentage. And more than 3,100 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground in the last two seasons are a nice plus. He can sit and learn until Ben Roethlisberger is ready to retire. And with the signings of Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic, the glaring needs aren’t there.

29. Jacksonville, Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M — The Jaguars need some help at receiver and Kirk was very productive for the Aggies.

30. Minnesota, Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa — The Vikings’ defense gets another effective cover corner.

31. New England, Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State — The Patriots replenish the position after trading away two young QBs last year.

32. Philadelphia, Derrius Guice, RB, LSU — Darren Sproles can apply for AARP and so can Jay Ajayi’s knees. LeGarrette Blount is gone. The Eagles add a lead back.

Fell out: Tayven Bryan (26. Atlanta); Ronnie Harrison (28. Steelers); Mike Gesicki (32. Philadelphia)