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As mentioned before in previous attempts at this, any mock draft prior to the free agency period is foolhardy at best. That, of course, hasn't stopped me from putting one together, less than one week away from the start of free agency-frenzy.

Please consider that this mock is not necessarily a reflection of what I want to see happen or even what I think teams should do (that is a completely different exercise). Rather, it is based on what I believe teams will do. I also attempt to explain the reasons behind each selection, specifically predicting/projecting what I think teams will do as a result of the impending free agency period (key gains and losses being the determinant factor).

1) Cleveland Browns - Saquon Barkley, RB - Penn State

In this scenario, the Browns finally get to have their cake and eat it too by drafting the best player in the draft (Barkley) and a possible franchise quarterback a few picks later. The likely signing of veteran A.J. McCarron in free agency will give Cleveland the ability to forgo choosing Darnold with the first overall selection, as well as buy time for Allen to sit and learn for a year or two.

2) New York Giants - Sam Darnold, QB - USC

Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson will be tempting in this spot, but ultimately, the G-men settle on an heir apparent to Eli Manning.

3) Indianapolis Colts - Bradley Chubb, DE - North Carolina St.

This pick could be up for sale to the highest bidder, but if the Colts hold on to it, Chubb (the top edge rusher in the draft) is the obvious choice.

4) Cleveland Browns (via HOU) - Josh Allen, QB - Wyoming

After missing out on Carson Wentz and Jared Goff in 2015 and DeShaun Watson last year, Cleveland finally lands their quarterback of the future. Barkley and Allen should eventually develop into a dynamic offensive duo for years to come.

5) Denver Broncos - Josh Rosen, QB - UCLA

The hot rumor currently making its way around NFL circles has veteran free agent quarterbacks Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins both being in-play for Denver. I believe the Broncos will end up with Keenum, who is more of a short-term solution (monetarily and performance-wise) than is Cousins. They can then use this pick to draft and develop Rosen, the best pure passer in the draft.

6) New York Jets - Quenton Nelson, OG - Notre Dame

With over $90 million in cap space, the Jets seem as likely as any team to spend big on a free agent quarterback (Cousins, Sam Bradford, or even Teddy Bridgewater are all options). With the top 3 rookie QBs likely off the board at this point, they can focus on rebuilding the interior of their O-line. Nelson, who is easily considered the top offensive lineman in the draft would be a steal at No. 6-overall.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB - Alabama

The Bucs front office will collectively do backflips if Fitzpatrick falls to them at pick No. 7, as they could plug him in immediately to fill the shoes of the departing veteran safety, T.J. Ward.

8) Chicago Bears - Denzel Ward, CB - Ohio State

Ward is a day-one starter on Chicago's defense, with traits similar to that of his ex-Ohio State teammate, 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore of the Saints.

9) San Francisco 49ers - Marcus Davenport, EDGE - UTSA

The 49ers are likely to address one of their obvious needs by signing a veteran cornerback. However, with teams slapping the franchise tag on the big name free agent pass rushers, Davenport is the obvious choice to address their other glaring need.

10) Oakland Raiders - Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech

The 19-year old Edmunds has made a rapid climb up the draft boards since declaring himself draft eligible in January. He has a rare combination of size, speed, and abilities that can be utilized in different schemes in a variety of roles. With his movement and coverage skills, he could conceivably play all three positions in a base 4-3 and instantly become the top linebacker on the Raiders roster.

11) Miami Dolphins - Derwin James, DB - Florida State

James lit up the recent NFL Combine and would be an immediate upgrade at one of the safety spots over the veteran T.J. McDonald.

12) Cincinnati Bengals - Roquan Smith, LB - Georgia

With middle linebacker Kevin Minter set to leave in free agency, the Bengals choose the 2017 Butkus award winner as his successor.

13) Washington Redskins - Isaiah Oliver, CB - Colorado

With the impending loss of Bashaud Breeland in free agency and the trading away of Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs in the Alex Smith deal, Washington suddenly finds itself short on cornerbacks. However, Oliver has the physical traits that should enable him to start immediately opposite Josh Norman.

14) Green Bay Packers - Mike Hughes, CB - UCF

The Packers could go in any number of directions given the holes on their roster, but cornerback seems to be an ongoing need for the Pack.

15) Arizona Cardinals - Vita Vea, NT - Washington

Though many are projecting a quarterback to the Cardinals here, I think they'll address that need via free agency or trade (look for Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor to possibly be on the move sometime in the next few months), freeing Arizona up to draft the big nose tackle from Washington.

16) Baltimore Ravens - Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama

With starting center Ryan Jenson likely headed elsewhere next week, James Daniels and Billy Price are possibilities here, but the Ravens seldom reach to fill needs. Instead Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome grabs yet another Alabama player in the first round, giving Joe Flacco some much-needed firepower.

17) Los Angeles Chargers - Connor Williams, OT - Texas

The Chargers have done a fantastic job over the last few seasons of reshaping their roster, but they're still in need of reinforcements along their offensive lineman. Williams, who is athletic and skilled enough to play both inside and outside, would be the perfect swing-lineman for the Bolts.

18) Seattle Seahawks - Josh Jackson, CB - Iowa

With Richard Sherman on his way out of Seattle, the Seahawks nab his replacement. Jackson's ball skills are as good as any cornerback coming out of the draft since Marcus Peters and are an ideal scheme fit as Pete Carroll looks to build a new "Legion of Boom."

19) Dallas Cowboys - Will Hernandez, OG - UTEP

The rich get richer, as one of the league's best offensive lines gets bigger, better and tougher. The mauling guard from the University of Texas, El Paso should be able to step in and fill the shoes of the departing veteran, Jonathan Cooper.

20) Detroit Lions - Da'Ron Payne, DT - Alabama

Payne was one of the many Alabama prospects who lit up the combine and should fit in nicely along the defensive line for new head coach Matt Patricia.

21) Buffalo Bills - Baker Mayfield, QB - Oklahoma

With back-to-back 1st-round picks, the Bills elect to grab their QB of the future in the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner.

22) Buffalo Bills (via KC) - James Daniels, C - Iowa

On the heels of drafting their franchise QB, Buffalo addresses another glaring need on offense. Daniels should plug right into the hole left by Eric Wood who, due to a neck injury, was recently forced to retire.

23) Los Angeles Rams - Arden Key, EDGE - LSU

With the recent acquisitions of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, this pick will most definitely not be a cornerback. Instead, Key will be asked to fill some pretty big shoes in the form of the recently traded Robert Quinn.

24) Carolina Panthers - Isaiah Wynn, OG - Georgia

With free-agent-to-be Andrew Norwell (OG) already projected to sign elsewhere (the hot rumor is that he ends up with the New York Giants), Carolina finds his replacement in the highly athletic, former college offensive tackle.

25) Tennessee Titans - Rashaan Evans, LB - Alabama

Evans would be an ideal replacement at middle linebacker for Avery Williamson. Derrius Guice is also an option to replace the recently released veteran running back, DeMarco Murray, but in the end, the Titans elect to shore up their defense with this pick.

26) Atlanta Falcons - Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan

Assuming Hurst gets cleared in time for April's draft (he was flagged at the combine for a heart condition), he is the ideal 3-technique for head coach Dan Quinn's defense.

27) New Orleans Saints - Ronnie Harrison, S - Alabama

The Saints seem more than willing to let starting safety Kenny Vaccaro test free agency. If he does in fact move on, Harrison could step right in, adding size and physicality to the already vaunted Saints secondary.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers - Leighton Vander Esch, LB - Boise State

The Steelers have already announced that Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ryan Shazier will miss the upcoming season. The sad truth, however, is that it's unlikely that he will ever return to the NFL after suffering that devastating spinal injury last year, and Vander Esch can be plugged right in as a starter.

29) Jacksonville Jaguars - Lamar Jackson, QB - Louisville

Jacksonville seems like the ideal landing spot for the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner. With their loaded roster, the Jaguars can afford to invest in a 1st-round quarterback, and Blake Bortles' recent team-friendly contract extension would allow Jackson (who is from South Florida) a few years to develop before having to take an NFL snap.

30) Minnesota Vikings - Taven Bryan, DT - Florida

The prevailing wisdom has Kirk Cousins signing with the Vikings, freeing them up to address other areas. Drafting Ohio State center Billy Price and playing him at guard is a real option here, but I think they shore up their defensive front line with Bryan.

31) New England Patriots - Sam Hubbard, EDGE - Ohio State

I wouldn't be shocked if the Patriots went with a quarterback here, and though Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph makes a lot of sense as the eventual successor to Tom Brady, an even more pressing need for New England is finding an edge rusher. Hubbard offers the kind of size and flexibility at the defensive end position that has been a staple of Bill Belichick's defense for the last few decades, but more recently, has been missing.

32) Philadelphia Eagles - Mike McGlinchey, OT - Notre Dame

McGlinchey should be able to hold down the left tackle responsibilities until veteran Jason Peters returns from his knee injury, and could eventually be the long-term solution there for the Super Bowl champs.