Three weeks from today, the 2018 NFL Draft will be complete and we’ll be contemplating the assortment of undrafted free agents the team will have already begun signing. But in the meantime, there are 2+ more weeks of mock drafts to sort through.
We’ll be taking a look at our NN mock draft database the next two Sundays, and then once more heading into draft day as mock drafts finalize. And right now, a pattern is developing. The past couple weeks, we’ve seen more and more mentions of Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the San Francisco 49ers.
This week, we’re up to ten Fitzpatrick picks. A week ago, Fitzpatrick showed up six times, and the week before that, he showed up three times. Fitzpatrick was regularly appearing around the fourth through sixth slots earlier in the draft process, but with a fourth quarterback potentially going in the first round and Denzel Ward moving up mock drafts, Fitzpatrick has taken a hit.
There is going to be one or two (or more) names that end up going earlier than currently projected in the draft, just as there will be names that end up going later. Most mock drafters have no idea what a given team values in a player. For example, we’ve started to see chatter about the New England Patriots being interested in Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph. But all it takes is one team higher being interested and Rudolph is suddenly gone earlier than expected.
All of this is to say, it is indeed guess-work at this point. Fitzpatrick seems a decent bet to slip to the 49ers at No. 9, but who knows. Maybe the Bears grab him, maybe the 49ers decide to trade down or prefer addressing edge rusher. A lot could happen, but more and more people are focusing in on Fitzpatrick.