2018 NFL Mock Draft
Outside of the start of the season and the bowl games, NFL Draft season is the best part of college football. While many look at it as an NFL activity, I do not. I look at it as the final step a player takes in college. I love seeing where my favorite collegiate athletes end up. I also like working like a general manager in doing my NFL mock draft.
When I do my mock drafts, I do my best to do them based off of both the need of the team and what I think the head office will actually do.
I do not want to take too much time with preamble, so lets get to the mock draft!
Pick #1 – Cleveland Browns select Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State University
Incidently, this is the biggest question mark in my opinion, though it really should not be. Reports indicate that John Dorsey is fixated on Wyoming’s Josh Allen, who Dorsey believes to be Carson Wentz reincarnate. Wentz is still alive, for what it is worth.
Personal opinions about this year’s quarterbacks aside, there is a much thinner separation between all of them than between Barkley and the next back. He is a generational talent in what he brings to the game. He is a true three down back, and he profiles out to be better than both Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott, the darlings at the position over the last two drafts.
Cleveland is likely to still be able to get a quarterback at pick #4, so I do not think they will pass on Barkley here.
Pick #2 – New York Giants select Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Even though the Giants took Davis Webb in the 2017 draft, he was not an early pick. The new regime will stay in the state of California for their next quarterback pick in Rosen.
It would be hard to believe Rosen going at the top barring a trade based on John Dorsey’s feelings on him. That leaves it open to the Giants to bring him in to be the heir to Eli Manning. Over the last few seasons, Manning looks like a man who has very little left in the tank.
Rosen would likely get one season with Eli to learn from. It would do him well. Rosen has been identified as someone who does not care what he says, and some question his actual passion about the game. He shows enough talent on the field to give him the nod as the #2 pick this year.
Pick #3 – Indianapolis Colts select Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
If there is any pick that is likely to be traded come draft time, I would imagine this would be it. It is likely, at least, to be the highest traded pick. This could be a year where teams value the quarterbacks similar to the 2011 draft where an insane number were taken in the top 15. The reason is that the draft the year before was so underwhelming ( 2010 – Bradford/Tebow; 2017 – Trubisky/Watson/Mahomes).
If the Colts do keep this pick, it is highly likely that they go defense. A lot of this does depend on the health of Andrew Luck. There are reports out there that his health might be worse than it is being led on. If he is not going to be healthy and the team does not believe in Brissett, that shakes up the draft.
Otherwise, Chubb, who I believe is the top defensive prospect in this draft, should go here. He is highly athletic, and will give the Colts the first defensive playmaker on the defensive side of the ball since I do not remember when.
Pick #4 – Cleveland Browns select Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I have bounced around like crazy at this pick, and quite frankly, this could end up being their top overall pick. I think they are smart enough to know that Barkley will not be there at 4, but Allen (or someone similar) will likely be there.
Allen really showed his stuff at the Senior Bowl and the practices leading up to them. This does make me believe that we will see him move in to the top ten moving forward.
The big question is if teams view him above Rosen or Mayfield. It seems highly likely that one of those two will be available for the Browns, so I guess it just depends on what their higher management thinks.
Pick #5 – Denver Broncos select Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Broncos, in my opinion, are just going to end up taking the best quarterback available here. I am not totally sold that they view one as being that much better than the other.
You could certainly argue, though, that Darnold might have the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft. He would be going to a good system with one of the best in John Elway in the head office.
The team could certainly go different directions here, but I think quarterback is going to be the route they go.
Pick #6 – New York Jets select Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Jets are really the one team here that I am having a hard time putting my finger on. I think they could go a number of different ways, including going with a quarterback. Baker Mayfield could fit in with some of the pieces of this offense.
At the end of the day, I think the Jets will probably go with a different need, specifically with their offensive line. This could really help Elijah McGuire and whoever else is in the backfield next year.
I do think the team will take a shot on a quarterback in the later rounds, but I do not think they will draft one in the first round.
Pick #7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
I think the Bucs would be very excited if this fell in to their lap. Fitzpatrick is one of the top 2-5 players in this draft from a pure talent standpoint. It just so happens that quarterbacks are more highly valued.
He fits a huge need on a team that honestly has quite a few of them. Things like this happen all the time in the draft, and it would not shock me to see him go here.
Pick #8 – Chicago Bears select Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Crimson Tide get back-to-back selections here with Ridley as the first receiver off the board. While I think Courtland Sutton might be a better overall prospect, I will not argue with Ridley’s upside.
He has been one of the cogs of a dominant Alabama team over the last three years, including a National Championship.
This pick does not really need defended, as the Bears receiving unit is likely the worst in all of the NFL. They were without their number one receiver in Cameron Meredith this year, but he has not shown a history of dominance by any stretch. Ridley could come in and immediately give Mitch Trubisky a reliable option to throw to.
Pick #9 – San Francisco 49ers select Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Niners actually have quite a few holes they could fill here. I liked dropping Quenton Nelson here, but he is off the board. I do not think I see them taking McGlinchey here, so I think they go another direction.
The direction I see them going is to help on the defensive side of the ball. While I do think another receiver would be helpful and they could take Courtland Sutton here, I think a cornerback makes a ton of sense. The Niners will not a great defense again so this is an instant upgrade situation for them.
Pick #10 – Oakland Raiders select Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
One time, we thought that Raiders defense was good. By the end of 2017, though, that notion is long gone. They looked bad in every facet of the game.
I would expect that the Raiders will spend a pick on the best defensive talent that is on the board. That is where they are at defensively. They need help basically everywhere, so whoever falls to them is where they go.
Payne is absolutely dominant, and I believe as things progress in the draft process, he might contest Bradley Chubb as the top defensive player. I would say that he could make a day one impact for this defense.
Here is something interesting: there is a chance, a slim one, that Jon Gruden could opt to convince management to move on from Derek Carr. Rumors are that he is not a big fan, and Gruden is a disruptor to get his way.
Pick #11 – Miami Dolphins select Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Dolphins were awful defensively and were an easy attack for opposing passing offenses. They will look to correct that early in the draft.
Ward has become a valued prospect and many believe he has the talent to be a top cornerback for years to come.
I think that we could see him go here.
Pick #12 – Cincinnati Bengals select Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Bengals offensive line was awful in 2017. What do you expect when you move on from both Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, otherwise known as the left side of your line. It stunted the running game, which took about 13 weeks to do anything at all.
McGlinchey is the top tackle prospect in this year’s draft, and I think Cincinnati will realize that Andy Dalton is only tolerable when he has a strong offensive line. This would also go a long way to help Joe Mixon, who they selected in the 2017 edition of the draft.
Pick #13 – Washington Redskins select Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Over the past few weeks, I have Vita Ve going here, but the rumors are that the Redskins do not have interest in Vea.
I will stick with the theme of defense and send Smith to them. We saw so much out of Smith this year, and I think he is an instant upgrade to the Washington defense.
There is a chance they could go quarterback here, so do not be shocked if this changes in the coming weeks.
Pick #14 – Green Bay Packers select Arden Key, DE/DT, LSU
I think that Smith fits what the Packers need a little more than Key, but that whole defense is pretty poor. I could see them pivoting to another lineman.
Key has the talent to be a top ten player, but injuries and a down year might shift the opinion of evaluators and scouts out there, pushing him down.
He is the type of value pick that I think a team like the Packers would be excited to get.
Pick #15 – Arizona Cardinals select Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
There is a pretty clear need for a quarterback here. I think they will pull the trigger with whoever is available.
Right now, Mayfield is the quarterback I have available and highest talent. He could come into a system with good weapons and one of the best receivers in history who really has not lost much of a step.
The new coach just came out and said the running game was going to be a focus, so that would be a great way to break a QB into the system.
Pick #16 – Baltimore Ravens select Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Mike Wallace has been nice for the Ravens, but he is a situational receiver, a deep threat, and not someone who can be a possession receiver.
Sutton can. In my opinion, Sutton is the best receiver in the draft. He was outshined a bit by Trey Quinn this year, but he was still the top dog on the team.
It is tough to know what to make of Joe Flacco with the Ravens moving forward, but giving him the help of Sutton should make some kind of a difference.
Pick #17 – Los Angeles Chargers select Vita Vea, NT, Washington
I just had Vea going several picks higher, but the Redskins do not appear to be interested. I also had an offensive lineman scheduled to go to the Chargers, but things have changed there as well.
There were some reports from the Senior Bowl that the Chargers are highly likely to use their first round pick on defense. Vea could be a guy they go with and could be a great player on a team that really just does not have a ton of immediate needs.
Pick #18 – Seattle Seahawks select Kolton Miller, OL, UCLA
I am sure there are some here that believe that the Seahawks will go a different route, but we should be real: the offensive line has been a problem for a few years now.
If the Seahawks plan on keeping Russell Wilson healthy and have any hope at a running game, they need to go with an offensive lineman. They need to do it as early as possible.
Miller is a solid hand who should be able to make a difference immediately.
Pick #19 – Dallas Cowboys select Derwin James, S, Florida State
I think it is safe to say that most people do not have James this low or going to the Cowboys. I am not sure it is the highest need, but I do not see Jerry & company passing on the potential that James has.
Dallas has solid safeties, but they are not spectacular. I would go as far to say that James is an upgrade on both. As a result, I do not think this is as much of a stretch.
Dallas still needs help defensively to get to the next level in the playoffs, and I think this is a good start.
Pick #20 – Detroit Lions select Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
The Lions pass rush is awful. It has been a weakness for a while now, and they need to work hard at getting it situated if they expect this team to move into the playoffs.
Hubbard is a guy who I could see going in the top 15 of this draft pending a strong off-season program. This draft has lost 4 potential first round talents in the last ten days, so that surely opens up the door some high talented players to move up.
There is a lot to like with Hubbard. He has a strong base, good hands and knows how to get to the ball. He really impressed me down the stretch and looked amazing in the bowl game against USC. He would fit in really well with the Lions and he could end up being what gets them to the playoffs next year or not.
Pick #21 – Buffalo Bills select Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Jackson could end up being the top dog of this draft. Have I said that about a quarterback in the draft yet? That is because I really believe the margin in talent is so thin.
The Bills do not seem to really believe in Tyrod Taylor. Nathan Peterman was a disaster on the field.
Jackson has a better arm and better legs than Taylor, forcing me to believe that this team will look to him in the draft early in 2018.
Pick #22 – Buffalo Bills select Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Buffalo will need some help in the offseason to improve a poor defensive backfield. We saw them get picked on quite a bit over the course of the year, so I expect them to try to fix that in the draft.
Oliver is a solid prospect that could end up being a value being chosen where they would be taking him.
Pick #23 – Los Angeles Rams select Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Interestingly, this team had just about everything, so I would be about building more reserves for that defense.
I think their cornerback room could use another talent in it. They were exposed at times throughout the year, so adding another high talent could go a long way in making this team a Super Bowl contender in 2018.
Pick #24 – Carolina Panthers select Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
I know that the Panthers could use some defensive line help, but it is hard to not look at their wild-card round loss and say they do not need another receiver. They got rid of Kelvin Benjamin and decided Devin Funchess was a #1. That is a stretch. Curtis Samuel never got healthy and Kaelin Clay is limited in what he can do.
Kirk is a playmaker that will open things up for the rest of the offense. With he and Christian McCaffrey on the field, Cam will have two high-level playmakers, to go along with Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess in a better role.
I think he is being slept on right now and he is easily one of my favorites in the draft.
Pick #25 – Tennessee Titans select Billy Price, C, Ohio State
I expect huge things from Derrick Henry next year, and a lot of it is because I do think that the Titans will work to improve the interior of their offensive line.
Price, who went to high school less than 5 minutes from where I live, makes a ton of sense from a salary cap perspective. He should be able to both allow the Titans to move on from overpaid assets and give them an improved talent at the position.
Pick #26 – Atlanta Falcons select Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College
The Falcons are actually a team that is pretty well put together, but if nothing else, the team will look to add some more versatile depth to their linebacking room.
Over the course of the year, the Falcons were susceptible to pass catching backs. While Landry will do best coming off the edge, I do think he will be able to drop into coverage and should help the team improve in this area.
Pick #27 – Pittsburgh Steelers select Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Right now, there is a huge disconnect between LeVeon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It seems unlikely that the pair remains together after the season.
If that is the case, the Steelers have a huge hole to fill. Yes, they have James Conner, but he is not a dynamic player like Sony Michel. This is a player who could be a monster moving forward with his skill set.
While he will not be Bell day one, he could still make the transition a lot less noticable.
Pick #28 – New Orleans Saints select Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Both Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor have been awesome this year for the Saints. Unfortunately, Okafor is slated to be a free agent in the offseason. If they could not keep him around, I think that is where they will go in the draft.
This may be a situation where the pro day and combine performances may move him up significantly. Otherwise, Davenport would be a great fit in the Saints organization.
Pick #29 – Jacksonville Jaguars select Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
I really want to put a quarterback to the Jaguars here, but I will not. The Jaguars could use a little more depth in the defensive backfield.
Jalen Ramsey is awesome, and A.J. Bouye is very good as well.
Outside of that, they need to have more to bring in.
This team is very close to being a very, very, very scary team, and this is one of those moves that gets them closer.
Pick #30 –Minnesota Vikings select Maurice Hurst, DE/DT, Michigan
The Vikings are tough to read. They could use some cornerback help, mainly outside of Xavier Rhodes. I really could see them going best player available, but otherwise, I like the upside of Hurst.
Linval Joseph was the only highly impressive interior threat for this team, so I think this makes the Vikings an even more dangerous team.
I will be updating this on a weekly basis. I will probably add round two next week and so on and so forth.
Pick #31 – Philadelphia Eagles select Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
I wanted to draft a running back for the Eagles, because that is what they always do. Just when you think they have their back of the future, they draft (or trade for) another one.
There is a real concern to be had by the Eagles that Lane Johnson will never be back at 100%, if he is back at all. They need to do something in case that happens.
Pick #32 – New England Patriots select Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma
Bryce Love goes back to Stanford, so I will give the Patriots some defensive help here. They need it. Even though this defense came on as the year progressed, there were still some pretty clear holes that will need fixed.
Okoronkwo is a bad dude who could really cause some damage in the right system. That is the big question here. We are in one of the most uncertain times of the year, so it is tough to say if Matt Patricia will be back in Foxboro next year. If he is, I think that bodes well for his usefulness.