2018 NFL Draft: First Round Mock – Version 2.0

NFL writer Eric Robinson has released his second mock draft leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft is slowly approaching folks and we are now under a month until the Cleveland Browns are on the clock. Or maybe another team who so happens to trade up to the first overall pick. The way things have shaped out during free agency and the amount of interesting trades, we will have a very entertaining draft before us. Here is my latest mock of the first round of the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.

  1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB , USC: Not necessarily the pick that I would have made if I were the Browns, but it appears they have eyes on getting “their guy.” Darnold will be looked upon to stabilize a position that has seen 28 different starting quarterbacks since 1999.
  2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB , Penn State: The OBJ fiasco is gaining steam and regardless if the Giants part ways with their star receiver, a player like Barkley can provide an exciting spark to the team at the running back position.
  3. New York Jets – Josh Rosen, QB , UCLA: The signing of Teddy Bridgewater is only a one-year deal and veteran Josh McCown can’t hold down the fort forever. Rosen has a skill set that is NFL-ready, even if it means he has to elbow his way into a crowded Jets quarterback room.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE , North Carolina State: After grabbing Myles Garrett in last year’s draft, the Browns have a unique opportunity to take the best pass rusher for a second year in a row. Establishing Garrett and Chubb as defensive pillars can give the Browns a very exciting future going forward, on defense at least.
  5. Buffalo Bills (projected trade with Denver Broncos) – Josh Allen, QB , Wyoming: I’ll clearly state that I’m not necessarily sold on Allen. Some are, while some are not. The Bills, armed with two first rounders, send both to the Broncos to trade up and grab the rocket-armed quarterback.
  6. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, G , Notre Dame: The Colts ended up trading down with the Jets and probably hope that Chubb was able to fall into their laps. As you can tell, it did not happen that way. So the Colts decide to grab the best offensive linemen in the entire draft in which franchise quarterback Andrew Luck rejoices privately.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S , Florida State: For the second straight offseason, the Bucs have made key acquisitions in hopes of turning things around in the win column. The Bucs also acquire a versatile safety in James that has excellent athleticism even on an average day. James has All-Pro potential.
  8. Chicago Bears – Tremaine Edmunds, LB , Virginia Tech: Edmunds is quite young at 19 years of age, but the ability that he possess is downri scary. The Bears may take another important step forward with the presence of Edmunds along with Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, and Danny Trevathan.
  9. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB , Alabama: The Niners have a little flexibility in this draft thanks to their amount of picks and cap space. The drafting of Fitzpatrick gives the Niners flexibility in their secondary with his ability to play both safety spots as well as slot corner.
  10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB , Georgia: This appears to be a match made in heaven. With the re-hiring of Jon Gruden as head coach, he brings an attitude. The defense is in need of reinforcements to help out their elite pass rusher in Khalil Mack. Smith is a sideline-to-sideline defender that has the potential to be the best in the league during his career.
  11. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea, DT , Washington: As Ndamukong Suh departs for Hollywood, a void has now opened in the middle of the Dolphins defensive line. Vea is not your average one-technique defensive tackle and his athletic 346-lb skill set will be a much needed addition.
  12. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Buffalo Bills) – Denzel Ward, CB , Ohio State: It was not a necessary need a few weeks back, but the Broncos traded their No. 1 corner in Aqib Talib and now there is a hole opposite Chris Harris. Enter Ward, a 4.3 corner that has plenty of athleticism and has allowed just a 32 percent completion percentage in his last two seasons with OSU.
  13. Washington Redskins – Josh Jackson, CB , Iowa: Signing former Cowboy Orlando Scandrick was a significant move for the Redskins, but losing Kendall Fuller and Breshad Breeland at cornerback may need more attention. Jackson’s ballhawk skills were on display this past season and while he needs time to develop, his addition makes the Redskins secondary stronger.
  14. Green Bay Packers – Marcus Davenport, Edge , UTSA: The Packers had a different approach this offseason and were fairly active in free agency. What they did not address was the pass rushing, which can use a spark behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Davenport’s 6-foot-6 frame brings plenty of intrigue and potential.
  15. Arizona Cardinals – Baker Mayfield, QB , Oklahoma: The Cardinals probably did not anticipate Mayfield to fall into their laps, but luck is on their side here. Mayfield is tough and fiery, and can be the future for the Cardinals going forward. Even with Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon already on the roster.
  16. Baltimore Ravens – Christian Kirk, WR , Texas A&M: Offensive weapons are needed for a unit that was 27th overall and 29th in passing. Kirk is a dynamite athlete and a threat to score at any given time. The Ravens would have truly addressed a great need with the signings of Michael Crabtree, John Brown and the drafting of Kirk.
  17. Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne, DT , Alabama: Quietly, the Chargers have put together a fairly solid defense, but still have strides to be made. The rock solid Payne provides a stout run defender to a defense that was 31st against the run last season.
  18. Seattle Seahawks – Derrius Guice, RB , LSU: The Seahawks are seeing a clear shift in direction this offseason, on both sides of the ball. Even with the much needed help on the offensive line, the running back spot is not necessarily reliable now either. That changes with the selection of Guice.
  19. Dallas Cowboys – Taven Bryan, DT , Florida: Outside of DeMarcus Lawrence, there was not a ton of production from the defensive line this past season. Some help is needed on the interior and that may come in the form of a 6-foot-5-inch defensive tackle from the University of Florida with plenty of strength and upside.
  20. Detroit Lions – Harold Landry, DE , Boston College: New Lions head coach Matt Patricia inherits a team that has a quality pass rusher (Ziggy Ansah), but can truly use another. Landry’s explosiveness around the edge can provide the Lions a devastating 1-2 punch at defensive end.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – Isaiah Wynn, G , Georgia: Interior offensive line is the focus here for the Bengals as they attempt to improve the line even more after trading for left tackle Cordy Glenn earlier in the offseason.
  22. Denver Broncos (projected trade with Buffalo Bills) – Mike McGlinchey, OT , Notre Dame: Needed reinforcement arrives with the drafting of McGlinchey, who is versatile enough to play both left and right tackle. At worst, McGlinchey provides quality competition at the position along with veteran Jared Veldheer.
  23. New England Patriots – Rashaan Evans, LB , Alabama: After pulling a surprise trade with the Rams by sending away wide receiver Brandin Cooks, the Patriots find themselves strapped with two first rounders. Expect Belichick to address both sides of the ball in the 1st round and with Evans, the Pats inject scary speed and athleticism to a defense that could use some.
  24. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Oliver, CB , Colorado: After the departure of Daryl Worley and the free agency snafu of Breshaun Breeland, the void opposite James Bradberry at cornerback needs addressing. Oliver is a corner with size, length and speed that the Panthers can use.
  25. Tennessee Titans – Calvin Ridley, WR , Alabama: The Titans probably don’t expect Ridley to be here, but the opportunity to pair a technician at receiver such as Ridley along with last year’s first rounder Corey Davis is too good to pass up. Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota would be a happy camper.
  26. Atlanta Falcons – Maurice Hurst, DT , Michigan: Watching a number of defensive linemen depart this offseason has given the Falcons a clear draft strategy. The Falcons grab an undersized, but quick-twitch defensive tackle to line up next to Grady Jarrett and form a solid interior tandem.
  27. New Orleans Saints – Mike Gesicki, TE , Penn State: The Saints were interested in bringing back former Saint Jimmy Graham to upgrade the tight end position. While they missed that opportunity, they attempt to grab a similar prospect in Gesicki. The big, athletic target will be a red-zone monster for Drew Brees and the Saints.
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Leighton Vander Esch, LB , Boise State: The loss of Ryan Shazier last season was an impactful one and the team may look for his long-term replacement. The 260-pound Vander Esch is big and athletic, and has sideline-to-sideline ability.
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Courtland Sutton, WR , SMU: Another situation where an AFC South team finds a particular talent that they did not expect. Sutton is a big receiver that is fairly raw, but he does give the Jaguars a potential top target, especially after the departure of Allen Robinson to free agency.
  30. Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez, G , Texas-El Paso: The guard position for the Vikings currently is not ideal and needs to be upgraded as they usher in a new starting quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Hernandez is a powerful run guard with surprising athleticism, improving the run aspect for the Vikings immediately.
  31. New England Patriots – Connor Williams, T , Texas: Offensive tackle has been a growing concern for some time and that concern has increased after the team lost Nate Solder in free agency. Williams has solid technique and provides much needed skill for an average Patriots offensive line.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles – Hayden Hurst, TE , South Carolina: As Super Bowl champions, the Eagles have very little holes on their talented roster. Even with Zach Ertz in tow, the Eagles can afford to add another versatile tight end alongside him to added even more skill to the offense. Hurst fits that mold.

 

Eric’s first mock draft can be found here.