2018 NFL Draft: First Round Mock – Final Version

It’s finally here. The 2018 NFL Draft is FINALLY HERE. So let’s predict how the first round of the NFL Draft will play itself. Without further ado, let’s get started.

  1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB , USC: Quarterback is in play here as the franchise looks to finally grab a passer that can be in place for the next 10 years at least. Darnold has the necessary traits to be the face of a franchise. For Hue Jackson’s sake, let’s hope he is the guy.
  2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB , Penn State: General manager Dave Gettleman has a small dilemma. Does he take his next franchise quarterback after Eli Manning is ready to hand over the mantle? Or does he finally stabilize the running back position with arguably the best player in the entire draft class? Barkley is special and Gettleman sees it.
  3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB , Oklahoma: Mayfield has the makeup that fits the Big Apple and the Jets are in a phase where they need someone to build around immediately. His competitive nature will fit right with fellow New Yorkers.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE , North Carolina State: This probably was not the case a couple of months ago but the Browns have a chance to add the best pass rusher in the draft two drafts in a row. The combination of Chubb and Myles Garrett will stabilize a young and developing defense.
  5. Buffalo Bills (Bills send #12 overall, #22, #65, and 2019 1st rounder to Denver for #5 overall and 2019 3rd rounder) – Josh Rosen, QB , UCLA: Buffalo will likely look for their franchise quarterback but it depends on where will they land their guy. Rosen has the pocket poise, the accuracy, and the intangibles to be a great quarterback in the long term for Buffalo.
  6. Indianapolis Colts – Roquan Smith, LB , Georgia: Take a look at the Colts roster and you will see a need for a difference maker at middle linebacker and luckily for them, Smith fits that bill. A true thumper with All-Pro potential.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S , Florida State: While the Bucs look to defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry, they still need help in the secondary, at the safety position particularly. The presence of James fixes that issue thanks to his versatility and elite playmaking ability.
  8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson, G , Notre Dame: The Bears get lucky with Nelson landing here at 8th overall with the team in need of interior offensive line help. Nelson is viewed as the best offensive linemen in the draft and the best guard prospect in years.
  9. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB , Alabama: Fitzpatrick is a Swiss Army knife for a defensive back and adds flexibility to the secondary. With Fitzpatrick along with Richard Sherman, Jimmie Ward, and Jaquiski Tartt, the Niners will have a very solid secondary. Keep an eye on a linebacker here with starter Rueben Foster having a cloudy future.
  10. Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals send #15, #79, and 2019 2nd rounder to Oakland for #10 overall) – Josh Allen, QB , Wyoming: The big armed quarterback goes to the desert as the Cardinals make a move to hop ahead the Dolphins and Broncos who may have their eye on the passer. Allen has interested several teams thanks to his rocket arm including Arizona.
  11. Miami Dolphins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB , Virginia Tech: The versatility of Edmunds is too good to pass up for the Dolphins as he can play some of all three linebacking spots. Edmunds is freakish prospect at 6’5 253 lbs and 34 1/2″ arms.
  12. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Buffalo Bills) – Denzel Ward, CB , Ohio State: The departure of Aqib Talib leaves a slight void at cornerback which means they will probably look to add to Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby. Ward has dangerous speed with superior athleticism.
  13. Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT , Washington: The Redskins were 32nd in rushing yards and 29th in rushing yards allowed per attempt. Vea is a 346-lb brick wall that will immediately improve the Redskins rushing defense. Especially since they face Zeke Elliott and the versatile Eagles run offense four times a season.
  14. Green Bay Packers – Marcus Davenport, Edge , UTSA: Outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are a solid duo but the team should wisely invest in the position to strengthen it as well as build for the future. Davenport is raw but has plenty of intrigue and could eventually take over from Matthews.
  15. Oakland Raiders – Josh Jackson, CB , Iowa: The Raiders were dead last in the NFL last season in interceptions with just five. So it would make sense for the Raiders to show interest in a corner who led college football in interceptions with eight last season.
  16. Tennessee Titans (Titans send #25, #89, and #162 to Baltimore for #16 overall) – Harold Landry, Edge , Boston College: The Titans are in the market for a difference maker at outside linebacker for their 3-4 scheme. Landry could be the exact remedy and gives the Titans a dangerous rusher.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne, DT , Alabama: Another team that was awful against the run last season gets a powerful run stuffer who has the potential to rush the passer as well. Payne may not have the numbers while at Alabama but he does have a great ceiling and answers what the Chargers truly need.
  18. Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wynn, G , Georgia: Unless the Seahawks receive a nice package in the mold of a trade offer, it would be wise to stay put and select the best remaining offensive lineman on the board. Wynn is an athletic prospect that immediately improves the Seahawks run game.
  19. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Ridley, WR , Alabama: The releasing of Dez Bryant was a seismic move by the ‘Boys and leaves the team with no true leading receiver. Ridley may not be a great deep threat but his ability to separate with his razor sharp route running and playmaking ability sets him apart from other receiver prospects in this draft.
  20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice, RB , LSU: A true need? Not necessarily but it does provide an elite talent at a position that has been mediocre for quite some time. A 3-down back such as Guice immediately takes the pressure off the shoulders of quarterback Matthew Stafford.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – Rashaan Evans, LB , Alabama: The Bengals need athleticism at linebacker, which so happens to be the best attribute that Evans possesses. Evans is more than capable of being an anchor for the Bengals defense.
  22. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Buffalo) – Billy Price, G , Ohio State: A favorable report from his surgical doctor may have opened the doors once again for Price to land in the first round. The Broncos have two first rounders in this mock thanks with a trade with Buffalo and can afford to roll the dice on a prospect such as Price.
  23. New England Patriots – Mike McGlinchey, OT , Notre Dame: The departure of Nate Solder leaves a major void at left tackle for the Patriots and with the first of two 1st rounders, the Patriots look upon the former Irish lineman to help protect their franchise quarterback.
  24. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Oliver, CB , Colorado: Departed from Daryl Worley and missed out on Bashaud Breeland means the Panthers have a huge hole at cornerback. Oliver is a big, rangy corner with surprising speed that can bring more to the table than Worley did.
  25. Baltimore Ravens (projected trade with Tennessee) – Hayden Hurst, TE , South Carolina: I was tempted to slot a quarterback here *looks at Lamar Jackson* but instead I gave quarterback Joe Flacco another weapon after the team added Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead to the receiver position this offseason.
  26. Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan, DT , Florida: Head coach Dan Quinn loves his defensive linemen and Bryan is 6’5 291-lbs of strength and versatility. Bryan next to defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is an excellent combination.
  27. New Orleans Saints – Mike Gesicki, TE , Penn State: The Saints flirted with bringing back Jimmy Graham this offseason however, Gesicki is eerily similar to Graham and allows the team to upgrade over current starter Coby Fleener.
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Lamar Jackson, QB , Louisville: Yes. The former Heisman trophy winner lands in an ideal situation for his growth and the team’s long-term outlook on the future. Jackson has what it takes to be a quarterback in this league. He just needs time and patience.
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Courtland Sutton, WR , SMU: Confusingly, the Jaguars watched both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns depart via free agency. There really isn’t many holes for the surprising Jaguars but a big playmaker such as Sutton will be a matchup issue with teams focusing on shutting down running back Leonard Fournette.
  30. Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez, G , UTEP: A huge investment was made in the form of Kirk Cousins so a huge investment must also be made in form of a rugged guard to help protect Cousins and open run lanes for the returning Dalvin Cook.
  31. New England Patriots – Jaire Alexander, CB , Louisville: They waived goodbye to Malcolm Butler this offseason and with Alexander in hand, the Patriots will get a ballhawking corner with 4.3 speed that may spark flashbacks of Asante Samuel to the New England faithful.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles – DJ Moore, WR , Maryland: The defending Super Bowl champions are in a position to in all likelihood trade out and wait until later. If not, they could also walk away with what some may call the best receiver in the entire draft. Quarterback Carson Wentz would be happy.

Click here for version 2.0 and here for Eric’s original mock for the 2018 NFL Draft. The first round begins tonight at 8 p.m.