2018 NFL Mock Draft

Here’s my one round 2018 mock based on what I think will happen. A few trades are projected and I will provide a brief explanation detailing why each team chooses each player.

1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Browns kick off the draft by making what I believe is the correct decision. Darnold is the best QB in the draft and is still only 21 years old. While he still has work to do with decision making and turnover issues, the Browns should have finally fixed their never ending QB issue.
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, HB, Penn State
While Saquon is a great talent and should be a solid HB, I fall short of thinking he is a generational talent. When looking at the salary they’ll be paying Saquon by taking him at 2, costing them north of 10 million by time he hits his 5th year option. This combined with the low positional value of taking a HB, the Giants should go with their own QB or better boost the running game by taking Quenton Nelson.
3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets gave a lot to move up from 6 to 3, but they land a fantastic talent in Baker Mayfield at 3. There are questions about his fit in Jeremy Bates’ offense, but Baker should be able to quickly establish himself as the starter in the big apple and be a franchise QB of the future.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
Another great pick in Bradley Chubb by Cleveland. In a relatively thin EDGE class, premium talents will go earlier than normal, and the Browns get the best of the bunch. Him combined with Garrett, Ogbah, and Ogunjobi form a formidable, scary pass rush contingent and solidify an already good front seven.
5. Buffalo Bills (From DEN) – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Here is the biggest mistake of the draft. Josh Allen is a Logan Thomas caliber talent that for some reason teams covet on the same level as the rest of this great QB class. Trading up for him is baffling, as in no point in his career did he ever have a 60% completion percentage, and he struggles with just about everything once moving beyond the physical aspect of the game.
6. Indianapolis Colts – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
By taking Roquan Smith, the Colts were able to acquire 3 2nd round picks and still get a premier talent, an incredible value. Roquan is a “new-era” linebacker with sideline to sideline speed and the instincts to always be in the right position. With no glaring weakness and a lot of potential, Roquan Smith should lead the Colts defense before long.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S, Florida St.
A slam dunk for Tampa. Derwin James is the best secondary player available and will be a difference maker from day 1. An aggressive, athletic safety from Florida St., the Bucs now have an intriguing defense that still has great talents such as Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy.
8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Bears continue to strengthen their offense. Mitechell Trubisky now has been given weapons (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel Trey Burton), and now Jordan Howard is gifted with what some call the best guard prospect ever. With comparisons to Steve Huchinson, Nelson has the look of a future All-Pro.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Easily the best cornerback in the class, Denzel Ward appears to be a no. 1 option for a 49ers team on the rise. While it was tempting to put Tremaine Edmunds in light of the Rueben Foster situation, Ward is way too talented of a player to pass up an opportunity on in a division that has now added Brandin Cooks.
10. Oakland Raiders – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
To go along with a growing list of Jon Gruden’s questionable decisions, the Raiders select Mike McGlinchey. Taking the best OT available in a not so great class over players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick or the other available LBs doesn’t make much sense on the surface. The Raiders have a good, but aging, o-line, so replacing one of tackles positions isn’t terrible.
11. Miami Dolphins – Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
Adam Gase has always stood by Ryan Tannehill, and he follows suit here. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a solid bargain at 11 with position versatility to play wherever Miami’s secondary needs him to. He should be able to step in at FS and form a dynamic duo with Reshad Jones, giving the Dolphins a much brighter future on the back side of their defense.
12. Denver Broncos (From BUF) – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
John Elway is able to move down with Buffalo and still end up with the superior QB. While its questionable if Rosen’s ceiling is as higher as other options in this draft, he should be a solid starter before long and improve a position currently featuring Case Keenum. That combined with picks added from the trade down makes it more than worthwhile for Denver.
13. Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
This one has been rumored for a long time, with the Redskins adding a 350 lb run stopper in Vita Vea. A disruptive force and space eater, Vea has a great chance to be among the league’s elites in run stopping along with Damon Harrison and Linval Joseph. Also, if you haven’t seen his full, name go look it up.
14. Green Bay Packers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
A team not used to picking this high, the Packers are in dire need of a defensive re-tool. Taking a player who is only 19 when he gets drafed is a great way to start. Edmunds looks like he was built in a lab at 6’5″, 250 lbs, drawing comparisons to Anthony Barr. Even though I’m not convinced this is best pick, there’s no denying the sky is limit with Edmunds’ potential.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Larry Fitzgerald won’t be able to play forever, so the Cardinals have to look for alternatives at some point. However, this is a weak WR class, and Ridley’s is already 24 with questions about his ability to play on the outside. For a team with a lackluster receiver corps, getting an exciting rookie like Ridley is far from the worst case scenario.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
In Ozzie Newsome’s last draft, he sets up the Ravens well for the future. Lamar Jackson is the best QB for the draft position in the draft, and he instantly changes how opponents scheme to play against him. Jackson still has a way to go as a passer, but all the talent is there for him to become a star.
17. San Diego Chargers – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Chargers miss out on all the high-profile prospects, and have to settle for Da’Ron Payne, a player who looked unstoppable throughout the College Football Playoff. One of the most inconsistent players I scouted, if Payne can play at his best all the time he could turn into a force in the interior for San Diego.
18. Indianapolis Colts (From SEA) – Isaiah Wynn, OT/G, Georgia
Chris Ballard gets aggressive in trying to get Andrew Luck help to keep him healthy. Isaiah Wynn is a versatile offensive lineman out of Georgia who can fill in wherever he’s needed. With the hole currently at the RT position, I would bet Wynn starts his career there and anchors the right side of the line for a long time.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
With Dez Bryant gone, Dallas has a gaping hole to find an outside receiver. Sutton at 6’4″ fills what they are looking for, gaining endorsements from legends such as Jerry Rice. The near consensus no. 1 WR heading into this draft process, the Cowboys gain a much needed target for Dak Prescott.
20. Detroit Lions – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
A former walk-on, Leighton Vander Esch tested fantastically at the combine, with some thinking he belongs right up there with Smith and Edmunds. A bit of a one year wonder, LVE is a future cornerstone of a defense and give the Lions the MLB they haven’t had since Stephen Tulloch.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
The Bengals have been connected to an offensive lineman for months. With a desperate need up front to rebuild what was lost after losing Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, etc, Frank Ragnow is a late riser who will be a day one starter at center, and hopefully help Joe Mixon realize his potential after an underwhelming first year.
22. Denver Broncos (From BUF) – Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Will Hernandez is a strong, mean guard who is a people mover on every play. By adding him and Josh Rosen, the Broncos offense can maybe start to recapture some of the magic lost after the retirement of Peyton Manning and the loss of touchdown machine Julius Thomas. Hernandez is one of the safest picks in the 1st and will start day 1.
23. New England Patriots – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
New England takes a shot on a super athletic tackle in Kolton Miller. After having success with former college TE Nate Solder, the Patriots select a guy who broad jumped 10’8″ at the combine. Dante Scarnecchia is one of the best o-line coaches in the league who will get the most out of Kolton Miller.
24. Carolina Panthers – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Panthers just had to cut Daryl Worley, making CB across from James Bradberry a gaping hole. While they may also be in the market for an interior o-lineman such as James Daniels, Josh Jackson is too much of a value at pick 24 who could go as high as 14 to the Packers. With this pick, Carolina hopefully adds something they haven’t had since Josh Norman.
25. Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
A probable top 20 player in the draft, Harold Landry is a fantastic EDGE prospect with amazing combine numbers and impressive tape to boot. With the aging of Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, Landry will be the next to take over in a pretty solid lineage of Tennessee Titans pass rushers.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
A team with not many holes, the Atlanta Falcons get another athletic interior player to pair next to Grady Jarrett. Taven Bryan fits the Falcon mold that Dan Quinn has looked for since coming over from Seattle, but I have concerns about how often Bryan get pushed around and eventually ends up on the ground on many plays.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dallas Goedert, TE, SDSU
After missing out on Jimmy Graham by losing him to the Packers, the Saints take an intriguing pass catcher from a small school in Dallas Goedert. This pick could very well be a different TE such as Mike Gesicki or Hayden Hurst, but I like the potential of Goedert to become a vertical force at the TE position to replicate what they used to have in Graham.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Its been reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been high on Justin Reid for a while. A similar player to his brother Eric, Justin is an athletic safety with versatility to do almost anything asked of a safety. However, I have concerns about his lack of a dominant trait and football instincts, but the Steelers deserve the benefit of the doubt for their ability to develop defensive players.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Because they inexplicably let Allen Robinson walk but chose to pay Blake Bortles, the Jags take the exciting D.J. Moore out of Maryland. A threat to break any play with his incredible athletic ability, Moore provides a threat on screen passes to make defenses play him close to the line, and open up the offense.
30. Minnesota Vikings – James Daniels, C, Iowa
The Vikings get a great value with James Daniels at pick 30. A player who could easily be the best center when its all set and done, the Vikings only add to an offense with one of the best supporting casts in the league. Daniels will come in and hold down the position formerly held by John Sullivan and Joe Berger.
31. New England Patriots – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The injury to Dont’a Hightower last year revealed the lack of depth the Patriots have at the linebacker position. Players like Elandon Roberts and Marquis Flowers couldn’t perform at a high enough level. Rashaan Evans is a LB that can do just about everything, whether it be cover, stop the run, or rush the passer.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Derrius Guice, HB, LSU
An absolute bulldozer, Guice runs like he is upset at anyone who attempts to tackle him. In my humble opinion, he’s the best running back in the class and only continues to stack the loaded Eagles. Although inexperienced catching the ball, Guice is a surefire elite HB in the NFL who will lead the NFL in yards after contact for many years.