With the 2018 NFL Draft set to begin April 26th and the NFL Combine now complete, it’s time for a post-combine 2018 NFL Mock Draft. It's misinformation season, with plenty of rumors and plenty of debate about which players will go in the first round and where.
I have several changes this week, including a few that might not be very popular. But remember, I'm trying to project what I think teams will do and forecast where players will be taken. There are no trades projected (at least not yet - looking at you Bills). Of course, there will be a ton of changes with pro days and free agency still coming up.
Some shameless bragging as well here, but I was tied for 12th in Mock Draft Accuracy last year. And, of course, please follow me on Twitter. There's a brief write-up for each pick as well. With that in mind, let's get to my latest 2018 NFL mock draft.
Mock Draft Projections (1st Round):
1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Browns hold two top four picks and they have to spend one of them on a QB. While a large part of me still thinks the Browns will take QB Sam Darnold at #1, perhaps they sign AJ McCarron and then they wait until #4 to add a QB. If so, Barkley is the selection. He lit up the Combine, not that it was a surprise, and he's a Top 5 lock.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
I'm a big fan of Rosen and think he's an ideal fit for the Giants. While there are rumblings the Giants could pass on a QB at #2, that's a poor decision. Why pass on a franchise QB when it might be the last time for a few years you can select one? I think the Giants take Rosen (or another QB) and let him learn behind Eli Manning. With Barkley off the board, that makes the most sense.
Chosen Rosen: Josh Rosen's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
For the Colts, two players make sense: Chubb and Quenton Nelson. While the Colts will try to trade down (I would not be surprised if they make a move down), Chubb is a perfect fit for their new 4-3 defense. Nelson is a great pick as well, but the positional value gives the slight edge to Chubb.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
In what ends up being essentially a swap for Deshaun Watson, the Browns get their QB. Darnold isn't ready to be a starter yet (he's still raw), but I think he's firmly in the mix for the Browns' pick at #1 overall. He can sit a year (or part of a year) behind another QB, just like the Bears did with Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky.
Must-Read: Sam Darnold's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield, aka Swaggy B, is my top QB in this year's draft. I don't think he'll be the first pick off the board, but the Broncos got an up-close look at him at the Senior Bowl. Mayfield's size is a concern, but his accuracy and body of work outweigh those concerns. Watch for Denver to add a veteran as well, perhaps someone like Case Keenum. If it's Kirk Cousins, I like Quenton Nelson as the selection.
6. New York Jets: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Jets liked Christian Hackenberg, so of course they'll like Josh Allen. The upside is there with Allen. However, as a prospect right now, he's a Day 3 guy, not top 10. But NFL teams have fallen in love with his upside, despite massive accuracy problems. He'll go in the Top 10 and a team like the Bills could try to jump into the Top 5 to steal him. Allen is not ready to be a starter, so the Jets could elect to re-sign Josh McCown for another year. If the Jets/Broncos miss on Kirk Cousins, I think they'll go QB in round one.
Overrated: Josh Allen's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The Bucs would love an edge rusher, but Harold Landry might not be quite worthy of the #7 pick for them. OG Quenton Nelson is also an option here, but the Bucs also need secondary help. Justin Evans is one keeper for the Bucs, but getting a versatile chess piece like Fitzpatrick would be great for Tampa. If the Bucs sign someone like Josh Sitton in free agency, they won't pick Nelson.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
I actually view Nelson as the best player in this year's draft, even though he's a guard. He's a plug-and-play Pro Bowl-level guard who should make multiple All-Pro teams. The positional value of Nelson could cause him to drop, but the Bears need more offensive line help, especially after cutting Josh Sitton. The Bears will also look at wide receivers and front-7 help on defense.
NOW READ: 2018 NFL Draft Big Board
9. San Francisco 49ers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
With so much cap space, the 49ers' draft plans will gain some clarity after free agency. They could take both players I've got the Bucs and Bears taking, but wide receiver remains a big need for the 49ers and Ridley makes sense if he's on the board. While Ridley is not an elite athlete, he's an incredible route-runner and I still think he's the top WR in the draft. Maybe he slides a bit further if the 49ers get someone like Allen Robinson, but I like the fit.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Will the Raiders change course and value LBs more? If so, Smith is a perfect fit. The Raiders need linebacker help badly, even if they keep NaVorro Bowman. Smith is a bit undersized, but he's a great weakside linebacker and has a long NFL career ahead of him. If the Raiders don't go LB, a cornerback like Josh Jackson or Denzel Ward makes sense.
11. Miami Dolphins: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Dolphins need linebacker help, with Lawrence Timmons on the decline and Kiko Alonso always hurt. Edmunds is a freak athlete and should be a good pairing with Raekwon McMillan as a long-term duo at LB. Edmunds remind me of Anthony Barr and that's the type of player the Dolphins can use. I like Connor Williams here as well.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Derwin James, DB, FSU
The Bengals badly need offensive line help, but that doesn't mean they'll take one here. They also want an impact safety (if they can get one) and James fits that build. A freak athlete, James is best right now as a SS. The Bengals can plug him as a starter, even if that means less snaps for George Iloka or Shawn Williams.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Redskins added Jonathan Allen last year, but they aren't done upgrading their front. Vita Vea is the rare 3-down nose guard and that's something the Redskins really need. The Redskins allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL last year and Vea will help prevent that. He's a perfect fit for the Redskins' scheme.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, EDGE, BC
Landry didn't put up the best numbers last year, but he missed time with injury. Landry put up incredible agility numbers and I'd rather have him than Marcus Davenport. I suspect the Packers feel the same way. If Landry gets beyond this selection, something isn't right. That said, corner is an option here as well.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
I hope Lamar Jackson is an option and the Cardinals certainly need a QB. But NFL teams aren't as high on Jackson as I am and I'm not sure he goes in round one. Instead, the Cardinals can get perhaps the best guy left on the board in Denzel Ward. He can play outside CB and that sets up well for Arizona, which needs at least one new CB.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Ravens badly need a WR and Sutton is perhaps the top one on the board. While his 40-yard dash wasn't anything to write home about, his agility drill numbers were elite. Sutton has great upside, although he's still raw. As a bigger WR, he fits what Baltimore needs. If Calvin Ridley is on the board, he makes a lot of sense as well.
Click here for picks 17-32 of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft!Back to the NFL Newsfeed