2018 NFL Mock Draft
1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
A couple weeks ago, I would have said with 100 percent certainty that this would be a quarterback. However, after acquiring Tyrod Taylor in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, the Browns will look to take the best player in the draft. Taylor will not be the future franchise signal caller, but he is enough of an insurance policy to make them feel comfortable taking a generational talent in Barkley with the first pick.
2. New York Giant: Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
If Barkley goes number one, the Giants will have plenty of options here, including trading out of the pick. However, they will instead take the best quarterback in the draft. Darnold will take a year or two to sit behind Eli Manning and be the next franchise quarterback in New York, similar to what Aaron Rodgers did with Brett Favre in Green Bay many years ago.
3. Cleveland Browns (PROJECTED TRADE WITH COLTS): Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming)
There will many teams looking to trade up for this pick. It isn’t implausible to believe that the Browns give up more than they should in order to make sure they move up one spot to take, hopefully, their franchise quarterback.
4. Indianapolis Colts (PROJECTED TRADE WITH BROWNS): Bradley Chubb (DE, N.C. State)
The Colts would have loved to get Barkley, but getting additional draft picks in a trade, only moving down one spot, and STILL getting the best pass rusher in the draft, which is arguably their biggest need would be a great scenario for them.
5. Denver Broncos: Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB, Alabama)
Before news broke that Case Keenum was signing with Denver, I would have said that this was a lock for them to take Josh Rosen. However, assuming they get their quarterback, it makes tons of sense here to instead get possibly the best defensive player in the draft, especially after shipping Pro-Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib to the Los Angeles Rams.
6. New York Jets: Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
The Jets get their franchise quarterback after her falls right into their laps. Rosen is the best pure pocket passer in the class and has an unbelievable football I.Q. for a young quarterback. He will fit right in with the Jets.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
The Buccaneers will need to address their running back situation later in the draft, but for now, they take the best player available. Edmunds will contribute immediately. Look for a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson (OG, Notre Dame)
Between Mitchell Trubisky, Jordan Howard, and new wide receiver Allen Robinson the Bears are all in on offense. They take the best lineman in the draft to ensure that Trubisky and Howard can flourish.
9. Buffalo Bills (PROJECTED TRADE WITH 49ERS): Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
Last week the Bills traded away LT Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati for the 12th overall pick. Here, I have them trading that same pick to the 49ers to take their franchise quarterback. The 49ers have lots of needs to fill, but none more pressing than the other, so look for John Lynch to trade this pick away. I believe Mayfield will play his rookie season but will sit the first couple weeks behind Nathan Peterman.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward (DB, Ohio State)
The Raiders just cut ties with David Amerson and Sean Smith. They will answer here by taking one of the top defensive backs. Ward paired with last year's first-round cornerback Gareon Conley, two former Buckeyes who will once again be playing beside each other in the black hole.
11. Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea, (DT, Washington)
The Dolphins very well could trade up or take a quarterback here. However, the Dolphins will more than likely be releasing Ndamukong Suh as soon as the new league year starts. It won’t take long for them to find their replacement. Vea is the best defensive tackle in the draft and will get his chance to be a key player right away. Ryan Tannehill gets one more year to prove he can be the franchise quarterback in Miami.
12. San Francisco 49ers (PROJECTED TRADE WITH BILLS): Derwin James (S, Florida State)
The 49ers just signed All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. Pair that with Eric Reid and now James? The 49ers could very well become the Legion of Boom 2.0
13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
Like many teams, the Redskins have many needs. First, they need to address the fact that they had the worst rushing defense in all of football last year. Drafting Smith here makes complete sense, as he will give them a defensive leader both on and off the field for years to come and a guy who might be the best defender against the run in the draft.
14. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
The Packers missed out on the Allen Robinson sweepstakes, but it will all be okay. They take the best wide receiver in the draft, and between Ridley, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams, this passing offense will be one of the best in football. Look out for Ridley being an early favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
The Cardinals are in rebuild mode after losing their head coach and Carson Palmer. They solve this issue in the first-round by taking their franchise QUARTERBACK. Jackson remains a Cardinal in a different city and will have the opportunity to ignite an exciting offense alongside David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Even though the Cardinals just signed Sam Bradford in free agency, he is probably not a longterm option, and Jackson could spend a year on the sideline to develop before being ready to go.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma)
The Ravens could easily go wide receiver here, but instead, I think they take Brown to keep adding to an already solid rushing attack. It helps that his dad played for them as well.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Marcus Davenport (LD/DE, UTSA)
The Chargers have a lot of options here. However, just imagine if they take Davenport and put him on the opposite end of Joey Bosa. In a couple of years that pairing could create one of the deadliest pass rushes in the league.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
The Seahawks have moved on from many pieces to their once all-time great defense this offseason, so they very well could look to rebuild starting here. They also will be looking to sign a free agent running back, like Demarco Murray. Assuming they don’t sign Murray, they will take Guice here to give Russell Wilson a dynamic runner alongside him in the backfield.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Mike Hughes (CB, UCF)
The Cowboys get a steal and take the best player available. Hughes is an explosive playmaker in the secondary who can also make a sizeable impact on special teams as well.
20. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
The Lions haven’t been able to find a replacement for Suh since he left a couple seasons ago. They will finally solve that problem without having to look very far.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State)
Both of the Bengals pass rushers in Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are set to hit free agency. Assuming they can’t re-sign both, they will look to fill that need here. Hubbard is a great scheme fit and one of the best pass rushers in the draft.
22. Buffalo Bills: Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
Assuming they get their quarterback earlier in the draft, they need to be thinking about adding more weapons on the perimeter. They very well could take an offensive tackle here, but they instead take a speedy wideout to complement Kelvin Benjamin.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
The Rams have made plenty of moves this offseason, including shipping their middle linebacker to the Giants. They get their replacement here.
24. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
The Panthers can either choose to add another weapon for Cam Newton or go best defensive player available. They should go Sutton to give Newton a big, physical wide receiver who will be an excellent downfield target.
25. Tennessee Titans: Billy Price (C/OG, Ohio State)
Despite tearing his pectoral at the combine, Price is still one of the most talented lineman in the entire draft. He is versatile enough to play both guard and center, meaning he is a great fit to help block for Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry for years to come.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Isiah Wynn (OG, Georgia)
The Falcons are best when their run game is as strong as their passing attack. Wynn will help to sure up their offensive line, and it doesn’t hurt that he played his college football only an hour away.
27. New Orleans Saints: Mike McGlinchey (OT, Notre Dame)
Mike Gesicki could be an option here, but the Saints are the front-runner to bring back Jimmy Graham from Seattle. Assuming they can bring him back, they will instead take an offensive tackle to replace the retired Zach Streif.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
The Steelers could shock the world and take Mason Rudolph here, but instead, they will draft one of the best linebackers in the draft in order to fill the void left by Ryan Shazier’s devastating injury.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)
The Jaguars have a defense that is ready win them a championship right now. They already have a franchise running back, meaning they will go either quarterback, wide receiver or tight end. For now, Blake Bortles is still their quarterback, so they will draft the 6’6 tight end from Penn State to give him a massive red zone target. If not Gesicki, look for the speedster from LSU DJ Chark.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Da’Ron Payne (DT, Alabama)
The Vikings will most likely just end up trading out of this pick, or taking best player available. Payne gives them an extra dimension to their already dangerous defensive line.
31. New England Patriots: Harold Landry (OLB, Boston College)
The Patriots desperately need another pass rusher. Landry will fill that spot nicely.
32. Eagles: Connor Williams (OT, Texas)
If Eagles fans are lucky, Jason Peters has one more season left in him. With the last pick in the first round they grab their future franchise tackle.
Jason Marcus is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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