The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. Well, it's still a few hours away, but we're basically there. So, it's time for my final 2018 NFL Mock Draft. And for the first time since perhaps 2013, the #1 overall pick is in doubt. There are various rumors it's going to be Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold or Josh Allen. Either way, there will be plenty of drama.
Even though we're all just guessing here, I was tied for 12th in Mock Draft Accuracy last year. That's shameless bragging, but while I'm at it, please follow me on Twitter. While the video above and below has all the picks, there are also written explanations for each selection.
Mock Draft Projections (1st Round):
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
For the first time in several years, we don't know who the #1 pick is going to be. Eric Fisher to the Chiefs was the last time we were this close to the NFL Draft and it wasn't clear who was going to be the first selection. The Browns could take Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or even Baker Mayfield, as the more recent buzz has suggested. But I'm still putting my money on Darnold, who won't get out of the first two or three picks even if the Browns do pass on him. It's not just as big of a bet as recent years. And, for what it's worth, Darnold is the favorite in Vegas (as of Wednesday night).
Must-Read: Sam Darnold's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Giants should take a QB, like Josh Rosen, here. Or they should trade down. But I don't think they'll do either. Instead, I suspect this pick will be Saquon Barkley. He's a dynamic RB and would certainly help out the Giants' offense. It's not what I would do, but what I think will happen.
Chosen Rosen: Josh Rosen's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield has been the heavily telegraphed pick, almost too much so. So while Josh Rosen could be an option (especially if Baker Mayfield goes #1 overall), I think the Jets will take Baker. And as a big fan of Baker, I love the (potential) selection.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans): Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
The Browns could trade this selection, but I think it's more likely they keep it. If they do, it's either Barkley (if he's on the board) or Bradley Chubb. And I think it might be Chubb regardless. The Browns' defense is already a promising young one, so just imagine Chubb and Myles Garrett opposite each other.
5. Buffalo Bills (via Denver Broncos): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
TRADE ALERT. I believe the #5 pick will be a QB, but I'm not sure if it will actually be the Broncos who take one. If only Allen and Rosen are on the board, I think Denver deals down. The Bills are desperate for a QB and I'll be pretty stunned if they don't deal up for a QB at some point. Allen is the most likely option, even though I'm not a fan.
Overrated: Josh Allen's 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
There are a couple of options here. First is to trade down with a team like the Bills. The second is to stand pat and take Quenton Nelson, Roquan Smith or even Denzel Ward. Nelson is the best option and he's the pick if the Colts keep the selection and don't deal down. But if the Broncos take Nelson or I'm just wrong, watch out for Roquan Smith.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, FSU
They'd love Nelson or Barkley, but they also need a safety. I think they like Derwin James more than Minkah Fitzpatrick. So that's my pick and I'd look forward to seeing Derwin and Justin Evans manning the back end for years to come.
8. Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
An edge could be the surprise pick here. Harold Landry is better, but I think Bears might like Marcus Davenport more. Linebacker can't be ruled out and neither can Denzel Ward. A flipped back and forth a ton of this selection, because I'm not confident who the Bears take if they can't land Nelson (who won't fall past #8). In the end, I went with Fitzpatrick, who gives the Bears what they need: an impact player on defense. He can play safety or cornerback with the Bears.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers would like to trade down, but I think they have a soft spot for Tremaine Edmunds. The Niners could go LB, EDGE or DB, but Edmunds is a good fit for them. He can play LB and replace Reuben Foster as needed. But, if the Niners really want to try, they could turn him into a LEO-edge rusher.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
If Roquan is on the board, I think the Raiders sprint to the podium. But if Smith is off the board, they might trade down. Other options here include Denzel Ward, Edmunds or even a surprise OT pick.
11. Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
If there's a QB who falls, I think it's Rosen. He's talented, but there are some concerns about his medical stuff and intangibles. Miami could even see Rosen slide a few spots and make a leap up to snag him. The Bears could love that, because it might allow them to land Quenton Nelson. If the Dolphins don't go QB, watch for these three players: Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds and Vita Vea.
12. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo Bills): Denzel Ward, CB, OSU
I've got the Bills trading up for Josh Allen and the Broncos still land a player they like in Denzel Ward. He could be an option at #5 (along with Quenton Nelson) and this works out well for the Broncos. If Ward is off the board, I'm not all that sure who they would take.
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. I like this fit a lot.
14. Green Bay Packers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Yes, the Packers need an EDGE rusher and there are good ones. But the Green Bay scheme under Mike Pettine prefers talented CBs and that's what Jackson is. He's still a little raw, but has elite ball skills and great size. I think the Packers are high on Jackson, along with Minkah Fitzpatrick, if he manages to fall.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
I had Lamar Jackson here, but made a last-minute switch. The Cardinals, perhaps wrongly so, are trying to win right now and Ridley helps that. WR is a massive need for the Cardinals and Ridley can be their instant #2. I like the fit here, but I'm not confident. Watch out for the Cardinals trading up here as well.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
I'm not really sure what to do with Ravens. It's not going to be a WR after they signed Willie Snead, John Brown and Michael Crabtree. A LB could be an option here, but I think Mike McGlinchey makes a lot of sense. The Ravens need one more starter on the offensive line and McGlinchey can slot in instantly as their RT. It's too early for a TE as well.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Leighton Vander Esch or Rashaan Evans is a nice dark horse here. I think the Chargers could go OT or a DT here as well. Maurice Hurst or Da'Ron Payne makes sense. I'm still not sure I buy their interest, but Anthony Lynn has won with mobile QBs, so why not Lamar Jackson. I think this is the range in which he's drafted. The Chargers are a tough to team to mock for, because they don't let much slip out and what does is often wrong (see: Ronnie Stanley).
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Oh Seattle, what to do with you. For starters, because the Seahawks lack a 2nd and 3rd round pick, I really want to mock a trade down. But I don't know who would move up, so I'll give them a new young edge rusher. Davenport should go in the Top 20 and it would be classic Seattle for them to not take an offensive lineman.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise
The Cowboys LOVE Leighton Vander Esch. If he's on the board, I don't think the Cowboys will pass on him. Players like Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Harold Landry and several OL are also options. Dallas could trade down if LVE is gone, but if he's on the board, I have a tough time seeing Dallas passing on a player they think could be the next Brian Urlacher.
20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
If Landry gets to #20, the Lions have to snatch him up. Ziggy Ansah might be a Lion this time next year and Landry would be perfect for the Lions. I have Landry as a Top 15 player as well. If he's gone, watch for a DT and OL or even Derrius Guice.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
I think the Bengals go center and I was a bit torn on Ragnow vs. James Daniels. But in the end, I think the Bengals love Ragnow the most and if he's on the board, he'll be the selection. If they really want to stun everyone, watch out for a safety.
22. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo Bills from Kansas City Chiefs): Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
The Broncos could take Quenton Nelson at #5, so if they do trade down, snagging Hernandez makes a lot of sense. He's an instant starter for the Broncos up front.
23. New England Patriots: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
If Evans is on the board and the Patriots don't trade this pick, I feel good about him being the pick. He's a strong fit for the Patriots' defense and they are certainly in need of LB help.
24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
I was torn here between D.J. Moore and Jaire Alexander. I'm not sure Moore makes it this long, but if he does, he'd be a great pick for the Panthers. After all, they still need more help at WR. There are some that have Moore as the #1 WR this year and I won't be stunned if he's the first WR taken.
25. Tennessee Titans: Josh Sweat, EDGE, FSU
A LB would be perfect for the Titans and they're hoping Evans or Vander Esch falls to them. The problem is, I don't think they will. So that makes a trade (up or down) very possible. I won't mock a trade here and will instead give the Titans the man who I think will be the 4th EDGE taken: Josh Sweat. He's a freak athlete and it appears his knee issue won't be a problem for most NFL teams. While he didn't put up great numbers at FSU, the defense didn't use him right at all. He's boom or bust, but could be a great fit for Mike Vrabel.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The production isn't there for Bryan, but the upside and athletic gifts are. He strikes me as a classic Falcons selections and I think they're looking at one of two areas: DT or WR. With Moore gone, I'll go with Bryan over Mo Hurst and Da'Ron Payne.
27. New Orleans Saints: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Another DT off the board, but this one more of a run-stuffer: Da'Ron Payne. Payne can do more than that, but a severe lack of pass rushing production (despite the traits to do so), could see him slide just a bit. If so, the Saints get a great value pick. Also be on the lookout for a TE here.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
I don't really know what to do for Pittsburgh. LB is the top need, but no one worth taking here. They could take a true FS, making Justin Reid an option, but aren't Sean Davis and Morgan Burnett enough to not go S in round 1? The Steelers might have to wait for someone to fall and in this case, maybe that's Derrius Guice. I could see him going in the Top 20 (and have graded as such), but there's no guarantee. If that's the case, Guice could be an option. He'll go in the first round, so I'm hedging my bet a bit here. Maybe Jaire Alexander is an option as well.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
The Jags could go a few different ways, depending on how the board falls. Maybe it's a TE, maybe it's a WR, maybe a defensive player falls or maybe the Jags get a new OG. Will Hernandez might be a better fit, but Wynn isn't far behind (if at all) on many team's boards. He'd be an instant starter.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Mo Hurst, DT, Michigan
Wynn could be the pick at #30 for the Vikings, as could offensive lineman James Daniels. But I'll give them a talented 3-tech to replace Sheldon Richardson in a year. Hurst might slide because of a heart condition, but he was cleared after the initial red flag at the NFL Combine. I love the value here, but there's a chance Hurst is left out of the first round entirely.
31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
I'm giving the nod here to Kolton Miller instead of Connor Williams because I think many NFL teams like Miller more, including the Pats. I disagree, but I think Miller will go in Round 1 and could even go way before this. If he's on the board, be it here or at #23, I think the Patriots would gladly take him. He does remind me of Nate Solder after all.
Kolton Miller here
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
I'll be honest, much like with the Steelers pick, I'm not sure what the Eagles will do. So, I'm giving them a talented player who will go in Round 1 and hedge my bet a little bit. Alexander has Top 20 (at least) upside and if he were actually on the board, I don't think the Eagles trade down.