The 2018 NFL Draft will take place in Chat Sports backyard at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, April 26-28. With the NFL Draft only a few months away it's time for NFL mock draft season and ESPN's NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr. just released his first mock draft. You can see Kiper's entire mock draft here, but you do need ESPN Insider. Without further ado, here are the first 32 picks in Kiper's new mock draft:
1. Cleveland Browns - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
He's got all the physical tools (size, arm, athleticism), but they're very raw. He's had issues this year, but some team will fall in love with his upside and Kiper is guessing that's the Browns. The Browns, who surely may regret passing on Carson Wentz or Jared Goff in the 2016 NFL Draft, won't let another quarterback slip by.
2. New York Giants - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Even though he was surrounded by lesser talent and bad coaching throughout his UCLA career, Rosen has continued to show the arm strength, accuracy, and pocket awareness to solidify him as a top pick. He does make some questionable throws under pressure, but for a quarterback-needy team like the Giants, Rosen's positive traits will far outweigh any concerns. With Manning turning 37 he is obviously on the decline and the Giants need to draft their next franchise quarterback.
3. Indianapolis Colts - Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Chubb returned for his senior season in Raleigh and was an absolute monster, picking up 72 tackles - 23 for a loss - and 10 sacks. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds with incredible quickness, he can play anywhere along the defensive line. The Colts need major upgrades on that side of the ball, making Chubb an excellent fit.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans) - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Barkley is the top running back. The most complete running back to enter the draft in the last 10 years. He has the speed, agility, balance, vision, and power that leaves the NFL scouts drooling. The NFL comparison I see when watching Barkley is LaDainian Tomlinson or for a more recent comparison, I see David Johnson. Barkley is truly that special.
5. Denver Broncos - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Darnold entered the season as the No. 1 pick and could still go there thanks to his arm strength, accuracy, and mobility. However, turnovers and decision-making have become major question marks with him this year. But, since the Broncos are looking for a quarterback in this draft, it's logical to see him go to Denver
6. New York Jets - Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
The most dynamic defensive player in college football this past year was Minkah Fitzpatrick. He is a safety, but can play multiple positions on the field. He is a swiss army knife at Alabama giving offensive coordinators nightmares. He truly is the total package with his size, speed, football IQ, and athletic ability. He will be a cornerstone of a defense in the NFL for many years.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Buccaneers will look to upgrade their offensive line and Nelson is clearly the best guard in this year's draft. Protecting quarterback Jameis Winston will be important, but maybe even more important is find a guard who can run block. Finding a running game to take some pressure off Winston may be the recipe for success moving forward in Tampa Bay.
8. Chicago Bears - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, there is a name that seems to be frequent one when talking about the best wide receiver in college football - and that name is Alabama junior Calvin Ridley. He is 6'1" and 190 pounds with freakish athletic ability. This season for the Crimson Tide he had 63 receptions, 967 yards, and five touchdowns. A great NFL comparison for Ridley is Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
9. San Francisco 49ers - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The 49ers need to upgrade their defense, especially at the cornerback position. Ward is regarded as the best cover corner in this years draft class who can also come up and make a tackle. The 49ers finished the season strong with a five-game winning streak and in a division with Russell Wilson and Jared Goff upgrading the secondary is important.
10. Oakland Raiders - Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
Smith is a little undersized in terms of a typical NFL linebacker, but makes up for it with his speed and quickness. New head coach of the Raiders Jon Gruden will fall in love with the toughness that Smith will bring to Oakland. Smith joining Khalil Mack will be a nightmare for any offense for years to come.
Below is the rest of Kiper's Mock Draft 1.0, picks 11-32:
11. Miami Dolphins - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
12. Cincinnati Bengals - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
13. Washington Redskins - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
14. Green Bay Packers - Marcus Davenport, DE, UT San Antonio
15. Arizona Cardinals - Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
16. Baltimore Ravens - Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
18. Seattle Seahawks - Derwin James, S, Florida State
19. Dallas Cowboys - Vita Vea, DT, Washington
20. Detroit Lions - Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
21. Buffalo Bills - Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
23. Los Angeles Rams - Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
24. Carolina Panthers - Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State
25. Tennessee Titans - Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College
26. Atlanta Falcons - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
27. New Orleans Saints - Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
30. Philadelphia Eagles - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
31. Minnesota Vikings - Connor Williams, OT, Texas
32. New England Patriots - Rasheem Green, DE, USCBack to the NFL Newsfeed