The countdown to the 2018 NFL Draft is on. Here is a complete first round mock draft with picks for all 32 teams, pre-Senior Bowl edition.
The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft will commence on April 26th in the first-time host city of Arlington, Texas. With only a handful of teams left fighting for the Super Bowl, most of the league has turned their attention to the draft. Unfortunately for Raider Nation, the Oakland Raiders are one of those teams.
Since we are still months away from draft day, there are many factors that will change where a player is projected to be picked — teams hiring new coaches, the combine, pro day, player interviews, free agency, and much more. But even though a lot will change, it is still worth getting familiar with the draft pool and understanding the current values of the draft class.
With that being said, here is a complete first round mock draft prior to the Senior Bowl. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Hue Jackson took over the Browns as head coach in 2016 and has gone 1-31 in two dreadful seasons. But Hue kept his job and the Browns instead decided to relieve Sashi Brown of his GM duties, replacing him with John Dorsey — who held this same role with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 to 2016.
With the first overall pick, they need to land a franchise quarterback. Deshone Kizer had a rollercoaster rookie season, and he by no means solidified himself as the quarterback of the future in Cleveland. My initial thoughts and rankings had Josh Rosen here, but because of his recent comments about not wanting to be a Brown, point this pick in another direction.
Darnold has great size for an NFL QB, standing at 6’4″ and weighing in at 220 pounds. With a successful career at USC, I believe he will be the next Browns quarterback as they look to turn this thing around. He would come in with Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman and David Njoku as his supporting cast, giving him a few weapons to work with in hopes of hitting the ground running.
2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The 2017 season for the Giants was a doozy in many ways. From going 11-5 in 2016 and making the playoffs to finishing a dreadful 3-13 in 2017, a lot of things needed changing. The team brought in former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman in an effort to get them back on the right track. As of now, the Giants do not have a head coach after firing Ben McAdoo, so this pick may be dependent on who that is and what system they will implement.
Eli Manning will be entering his age 37 campaign next year and doesn’t have much time left to be a starting QB in the NFL. Even though Manning’s future in the big apple is still in question, if he were to stick around, it would be great for Rosen to learn from an accomplished veteran. Either way, picking Rosen could help set this franchise up for the long-term.
3. Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
The Colts are another team making a change to their coaching staff, having fired Chuck Pagano following the season. Like the Giants, who the next head coach is will certainly have a major impact on this selection. But regardless, Indianapolis finished 4-12 this season and it happened for a number of reasons — Andrew Luck didn’t play a snap, they lost free safety Malik Hooker early in the year, and all in all, the talent on this roster is not where it needs to be.
The most glaring weakness for the Colts is that they finished the 2017 season with the 29th overall ranked defense. That leads me to this pick — Bradley Chubb. An absolute freak of an athlete, Chubb stands at 6’4″ and weighs 275 pounds. Through his four-year career at NC State, he finished with 54.5 tackles for loss, 25 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles.
Chubb would add a much-needed pass rush on this Colts team that desperately needs it. I was tempted to go Saquon Barkley here due to Frank Gore’s age, but I believe they will look to improve their defense as their first priority. Barkley is a special player, but when we see mid or late-round prospects like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara tearing up the NFL, it gives teams confidence that they may also be able to wait to address the position.
4. Cleveland Browns (From HOU) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
After potentially landing their franchise QB with their first pick, it’s time for the Browns to look towards the defensive side of the ball. Having two picks within the top five is insanely valuable, and I’d bet that they may even field offers for this pick to load up on a few more. They are in a great spot to nail this draft in the early rounds.
Regarding this selection, their secondary is already quite young but they simply were not good in 2017. Cornerbacks are viewed as a premium position, and Cleveland is in a position to get arguably the best one in this class. It could really help turn the defense around, and for their sake, hopefully get them a few wins next season. If they were able to land Darnold and Fitzpatrick in the first round, that will be a good start to 2018 for the Browns.
5. Denver Broncos – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Broncos were a complete and utter disaster in 2017, and a big reason for that was because of their poor QB play. With that being said, I don’t think John Elway is ready to pull the plug on Paxton Lynch quite yet. Part of the problem with the quarterback play was that their offensive line is hideous.
The Broncos signed former Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson in the offseason, who certainly was not the answer to their problems. Watson finished the season with a 38.9 rating, per Pro Football Focus. On the bright side for Denver, their first-round pick in the 2016 draft, Garret Bolles, finished with an admirable grade of 69.1 his rookie campaign.
That leads me to this pick. The Broncos need to beef up this offensive line and give them more talent to help limit the effect of pass rushers across the league, and especially in the AFC West. This may in turn help the development of Paxton Lynch and this offense as a whole. It may not be the sexiest pick, but it would go a long way in helping an OL that has badly struggled.
6. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets constant struggle to find a franchise caliber QB is something that they have dealt with for years. In 2017, they even went with veteran journeyman Josh McCown, and he surprisingly performed quite well. While there are certainly holes throughout the rest of the roster, they are in a position to potentially find a long-term solution to their quarterback problems.
The Heisman winner has been nothing but lights out at Oklahoma, throwing for 36+ touchdowns in each of his last three years. Scouts admire his accuracy and his fight to win games. But on the flip side of that, some are concerned with his maturity, or lack thereof. Mayfield was arrested in February of 2017 on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and fleeing arrest. He also made inappropriate gestures towards the Kansas sideline during a game, and there are general questions about his judgement.
Also, his height of 6’1″ is a popular topic of discussion, which may lead teams to go in another direction. But if they can look past some of his flaws, they may be getting a legit franchise QB in Mayfield. The Jets should take that risk.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I am surprised he made it this far. I initially had Barkely going in the top five, but for right now, this is where he falls. A lot can change from now until April though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go earlier. Saquon is a phenomenal athlete and some have even said he is the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson, so he’d be a coup for the Bucs at this spot if he were to be available.
A truly dynamic player, Barkley stands at 5’11” and weighs 230 pounds — great size for an NFL running back, especially one of his play style with his kind of athleticism. Over three years at Penn State, Barkley rushed for 3,843 yards (5.7 YPC) and 43 TDs, but he is also a reliable pass catcher. In his college career, he caught 102 passes for 1,195 yards and 8 touchdowns. With Doug Martin showing he’s no longer the answer, he may be on his way out of town or his playing time will at be diminished at the very least. Barkley would add another dynamic piece to this young offense.
8. Chicago Bears – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
After investing in first-round pick QB Mitchell Trubisky last season, the Bears need to surround him with weapons. Here were their WRs this year:
- Kendall Wright
- Josh Bellamy
- Markus Wheaton
- Dontrelle Inman
- Kevin White (IR)
- Cameron Meredith (IR)
Basically, they need to give this offense some help. Ridley may just be the guy for the job. He stands at 6’1″ and weighs 190 pounds, and he’s a top-notch route runner. Many scouts regard him as the top WR in this class, and the Bears needs to get Trubisky some help if they think he could be their franchise quarterback.
9. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The 9th and 10th picks will be determined via a coin flip with the San Francisco 49ers, but for argument’s sake, tails never fails and the Raiders won the pick in this mock draft.
Since Reggie McKenzie took over as GM, the Raiders have drafted a defensive player in four out of five years (Amari Cooper is the only offensive player). McKenzie has always waited on taking linebackers in his past drafts, but Roquan may be just too good to pass up. Linebackers certainly has been a weak point on this defense, and he could potentially lock up a cornerstone player here with Roquan.
The 2017 Butkus award winner, Smith has enjoyed a phenomenal career at Georgia. His senior season was his best from a statistical standpoint, recording 113 total tackles, 10.5 TFL, and 5.5 sacks. He is one of the better prospects in the entire draft.
The big question is if McKenzie shy away from his philosophy of taking LBs late to pick Roquan this early. Another thing to consider is the potential return of NaVorro Bowman, who could fill this position for another year or two, causing the Raiders to once again wait to make a sizable investment at the position. So if he were to go another direction, there is no shortage of alternate options at the 9th or 10th spot:
- Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
- Vita Vea, DT, Washington
- Derwin James, DB, Florida St.
- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Whatever happens, I expect them to lean towards the defensive side of the ball with this pick.
10. San Francisco 49ers – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Jimmy G has been lights out in his brief tenure with Kyle Shanahan, and this seems like a tandem that will be together for years to come. It is now time for the 49ers to make sure that their new franchise quarterback is protected. Another glaring hole is at the WR position, but I truly believe they go with the best player at this point in the draft that will help their young QB.
Nelson is regarded as the top guard prospect in this year’s class. Although many guards tend to go towards the back half of the first round, Nelson is good enough to be an exception. This would be a solid long-term pick for the Niners, who are ascending upwards. I’d bet they will target WRs both in free agency and also early in the draft, but Nelson is just too good to pass up at this spot.
11. Miami Dolphins – Arden Key, DE, LSU
Arden Key stands at 6’6″ and weighs 265 pounds, posing a commanding presence on the defensive line. His pass rush ability would help this Miami Dolphins team as they look to get back towards contention. At first, I was looking at Derrius Guice with this pick and I’m sure they might consider him, but with the ascension of Kenyan Drake, there might not be a need to.
Through three years at LSU (only 31 games), Key accumulated 20 sacks, 24.5 TFL, and 3 forced fumbles. Arden was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and was the sixth-ranked defensive end prospect in 2015. He absolutely has the size and tools to succeed, and has shown the playmaking ability to be drafted this high and to make a difference on an NFL roster. As long as his off the field issues are in check, this is a great pick.
12. Cincinnati Bengals – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Pro Football Focus posted an article ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines and the Bengals were pretty far towards the bottom. They came in at No. 30 in the league and this is mainly because they let LT Andrew Whitworth and G Kevin Zeitler walk in free agency. McGlinchey could fill a huge void on this team and help with the development of Joe Mixon.
McGlinchey stands at a massive 6’8″ and weighs 310 pounds, and he has the athletic ability to be a viable LT in the NFL. This is a huge area of need for the Bengals and one that must be addressed quickly either in the draft or free agency. Maybe even both.
13. Washington Redskins – Derwin James, DB, Florida State
Derwin James has been widely known since his high school days, as he was the No. 1 rated safety in the country and a five-star athlete. He played three years at Florida State, logging 15 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, 5.5 sacks and 186 total tackles. He only played in 26 games through three years.
The Redskins placed DB Su’a Cravens on the NFL’s reserve list early in the offseason because he had contemplated retiring. No one is sure if he will play in the 2018 season or not, but if he doesn’t, James could be a nice replacement. He’d help this team and this secondary in a big way. Another interesting note to watch is what the team will do with QB Kirk Cousins, because if they move on, this very well could be a QB taken here.
14. Green Bay Packers – Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
Landry was a dominating force at Boston College and he would bring a much-needed pass rush to the Packers. The 6’3″ 250 pound pass rusher enjoyed a decorated collegiate career and has now positioned himself to potentially be a Top 15 pick.
Through four years, Landry posted 158 total tackles, 48 tackles for loss, 25 sacks and a whopping 10 forced fumbles. Not to mention, he did this in only 38 career games.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
With both Arians and Carson Palmer retiring this season, this team now has to look towards a different direction. This pick will be largely dependent on who the next head coach is, but it’s more than likely going to be an attempt for a franchise QB. Allen would make sense if he even falls this far.
NFL scouts are infatuated with QB Josh Allen for several reasons — but mostly because he has the size and skill set to be an NFL QB. There are a handful of concerns with him and one of those is that he plays in the Mountain West Conference. People look at the talent level that Allen has to play against and that may be a knock towards his ability. However, Allen can thank Carson Wentz for possibly easing that sentiment. Allen may not make it this far, but he definitely would be a candidate for the Cardinals if he did.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The WR position has been a focus for the Ravens as they have struggled to get production from this spot for years, but none of their investments have worked out. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman has not lived up to expectations, so that leads to this pick. Sutton is 6’4″, and he has the physicality to match.
Through 40 games at SMU, Sutton totaled 195 catches for 3,220 yards and 31 touchdowns. He will be a name to watch during the combine and has a chance to rise up many boards because of his size and athleticism.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
The Chargers defense was surprisingly one of the brights spots towards their success in 2017 and it really comes down to their defensive backs, who make a tremendous difference. But with Tre Boston and Adrian Phillips set to be free agents, it may make sense for the Chargers to look towards Harrison here.
Through three seasons at Alabama, Harrison has been a bright spot. He totaled 174 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, and 17 pass deflections. He could be a force in an already impressive defensive backfield.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Seahawks recently fired OL coach Tom Cable, and it came as a surprise to many. Sure, the Seahawks offensive line has been disappointing to say the least in recent years, but the talent hasn’t been all that great. That’s what led me to this point. Russell Wilson has been running for his life and the Seahawks have had no run game to speak of since Marshawn Lynch left.
Orlando Brown is 6’8″ and 345 pounds, and he is as polished as any tackle in this class. Getting arguably the top tackle in the draft with the 18th pick would be a steal.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Cowboys are looking to build that defensive front and what better way to do it than by adding Vita Vea from Washington. Vea is definitely a candidate to rise up draft boards depending on his performance in the combine, and he could be a really good fit here in Dallas.
Through three seasons at the collegiate level, Vea has totaled 99 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The successor to former LSU great Leonard Fournette, Guice has filled some big shoes. He also makes perfect sense for the Lions here at No. 20. It’s a question if he even lasts this long on the board, but with such a deep RB class, it’s possible. The RB position has long been a problem for the Lions as they haven’t had a consistent run game in years, but Guice could fix that problem.
Through three seasons at LSU, Guice totaled 3,324 yards from scrimmage and scored a whopping 32 touchdowns. He is a great downfield runner and has the ability to transform offenses like we’ve seen with recent running backs selected in the draft.
21. Buffalo Bills – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
As the Bills will potentially move on from QB Tyrod Taylor, they could be in the market for a true franchise QB. After hiring a new GM in Brandon Beane and a new head coach Sean McDermott, this is their first full offseason to bring in their own guys.
Jackson had a decorated and highly successful career at Lousiville, and while many will argue that he may not be an NFL caliber QB, he has proved through his film that he can be. The former Heisman winner posted phenomenal numbers during his three seasons. Through the air, he threw for 9,043 yards for 69 touchdowns with only 27 interceptions. But he’s also a tremendous dual threat. On the ground, he rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. That is 119 total TD’s in only THREE years.
He may be the next great NFL franchise quarterback and the Bills would be a great fit for him.
22. Buffalo Bills (From KC) – Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
After going QB with the pick prior, what better way to turn around an offense than giving him a weapon to play with. The Bills were criticized for trading away their former first-round pick, Sammy Watkins, to the Rams, and now they have a void to fill as the WR group on the roster isn’t up to par.
Burnett is 6’0″ and weighs about 170 pounds, which is a decent size for a wideout in today’s NFL game. This last season, he busted out for 1,114 yards and 9 touchdowns. He will be a name to follow through the draft process as he may rise or fall depending on how he does at the combine.
23. Los Angeles Rams – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Rams may look to go cornerback heavy in this year’s draft because Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman are set to be unrestricted free agents in March. If they decide not to pay for either or both players, they may look to the draft to fill the void, and Ward would be a fantastic fit.
This past season at Ohio State, Ward had 37 total tackles, 2 interceptions, and 15 pass deflections. He would be a great option here for the Rams if they decide to let their guys go in free agency.
24. Carolina Panthers – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Davenport stands tall at 6’7″ and weighs 255 pounds, and would add a big presence to the Carolina Panthers defensive line. His athleticism, size and strength could provide them with an added pass rush to their defense. Through four seasons at UTSA, Davenport recorded 37.5 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks, 8 pass deflections and 6 forced fumbles.
He’s a name to follow throughout the draft process as he possesses tremendous upside.
25. Tennessee Titans – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
With aging veteran Wesley Woodyard entering his age 31 season and Avery Williamson headed towards free agency, it may be time for the Titans to try and get younger at this position. Alabama’s Rashaan Evans may just be that guy for them.
During his four-year career at Alabama, Evans posted 150 total tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and 2 pass deflections. He could be a long-term option for a relatively young defensive group.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
While the Falcons cornerbacks graded out fairly positive according to PFF (Desmond Trufant – 84.3, Robert Alford – 83.3, and Brian Poole – 73.3) the talent Jackson possess may just be too good to pass up. Cornerbacks are one of the most valuable positions in football and sometimes the talent can take a while to develop at the pro level. Jackson would be a smart investment here at pick no. 26.
While at Iowa, Jackson played his first full 13-game season in 2017, posting 48 tackles, 8 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. He has ideal size and length at 6’1″ and would be a smart selection for the Dirty Birds here.
27. New Orleans Saints – Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Drew Brees is coming off another strong performance in 2017, but one day he will have to hang up the cleats. While Brees is entering the offseason as a free agent, he has mentioned numerous times that he wants to remain a Saint and I’d expect a reunion in 2018.
This pick is for the future. A chance for Rudolph to learn behind one of the best QBs of all time and really develop his skills. It would be the perfect situation from an incoming rookie, especially with a star WR in Michael Thomas. This pick could be the right move for the Saints beyond the 2018 season.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Looking at the PFF grades for the Steelers CBs in 2017, they posted fairly decent numbers. Their #1 CB, Joe Haden, is signed through the 2019 season and had a pretty successful season grading out at 79.2. But with him getting older and the injury history is still a concern, it would be smart for the Steelers to add depth at the CB spot.
Oliver may be the perfect fit. In 2017, he played only 10 games but posted 26 total tackles, 2 interceptions, and 12 pass deflections. He is also a name that could potentially rise in value given a strong performance at the combine.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
With the Jaguars season taking off in 2017 with the addition of Leonard Fournette, it’s time to add another offensive playmaker. Goedert would add another dynamic piece to this young offensive core.
At South Dakota State, Goedert posted career totals of 198 catches, 2988 yards, and 21 touchdowns through four years. He would add a pass-catching threat to help take this offense to the next level.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – Chukwuma Okafar, OT, Western Michigan
With Jason Peters entering his age 36 season next year and coming off both a torn ACL and MCL, this might be a great pick to help protect the blind side for Carson Wentz. Peters has been one of the best in the business for a long time but now might be the time to let someone develop underneath him.
So Okafor would be a pick looking towards the future. It would be a smart direction for this young football team to solidify their left tackle position to protect their franchise quarterback for years to come.
31. Minnesota Vikings – Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
The Vikings have emerged as one of the league’s powerhouses, and that was without former second-round pick Dalvin Cook for the majority of the season. While this team is certainly known for their stout defense, a weakness they have is in the interior of that offensive line.
Billy Price was a standout center at Ohio State where he won this year Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the best center in the country. He would be a great addition to this Vikings offensive line.
32. New England Patriots – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Hurst may be the best player available for the Patriots as they continue to build on their dynasty. He would provide an athletic presence to the interior of their defensive line.
Over his four-year career at Michigan, Hurst totaled 130 tackles, 32 TFL, 13.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He would be a great help for the Pats in improving their pass rush.