25. Tennessee Titans: DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
The Titans are interested in getting a linebacker or edge rusher, and they want to get a player who should be a sure-fire success. Sam Hubbard may not seem like that option on the surface, but he has a lot of talent and could be a great NFL player.
Hubbard is a very good athlete who had some moments of brilliance at Ohio State. He never was able to put everything together, and he should have to improve his motor for the next level. Still, he would be a good fit as a rotational edge rusher for the Titans in 2018 and then could take over as a starter after Brian Orakpo hits free agency. At this point, he seems like the team’s top option. Unless a better player becomes available, expect Hubbard to be the pick.
26. Seattle Seahawks (via ATL): DL Maurice Hurst, Michigan
The Seahawks trade down and still get a stellar defensive lineman. Hurst is a bit undersized, but he’s a great player and could have climbed into the top 20 had he not been diagnosed with a heart issue at the Combine. The medical rechecks seem to have gone well for Hurst, so he could sneak into the late first round.
The Seahawks need to star replacing Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril as they look to rebuild their defense. While Hurst is an interior rusher, he would still help and be an upgrade to the team’s current starting rotation at defensive tackle. So, that could make him a nice target, especially if the team elects to trade down as I have them doing in this mock.
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27. New Orleans Saints: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The Saints are a team with few needs, so they can take the best player available. And Calvin Ridley would be a great fit in their offense.
Last season, the team missed Brandin Cooks’ ability to draw attention away from Michael Thomas, who had a couple of mediocre performances after a consistently good rookie year. Ridley is a great route runner who should be a natural No. 2 receiver to start his NFL career. He may have trouble gaining separation via his speed alone, but his route running combined with his athleticism should make him a candidate to have a break-out year with Drew Brees at the helm.
The Saints could also opt to trade up for Lamar Jackson or they could take a tight end too. Ridley is still the best option here though, so he would be the most sensible pick.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
This is quite a tumble for Josh Jackson, who I had mocked at No. 14 earlier this week. It just seems that the corner position is getting devalued a bit, solely because of some of the other talented players available, so Jackson could end up falling a bit further than expected.
The Steelers will jump to get Jackson is he’s on the board. They could use a ballhawk to pair across from Artie Burns after Joe Haden eventually retires. Jackson has receiver skills and can anticipate routes with the best of them. So, he could be a big playmaker for the Steelers defense and they will be happy to add that at this point in the draft.