This is my first edition of the 2018 NFL Mock Draft. I did this going off my notes and with a combination of putting myself in the shoes of each franchise and what I think could actually happen. Now, it’s ridiculously early for me to even make an educated prediction of the draft so this really is kind of worthless, it’s just fun. It’s also a good way to learn and get to know a lot of these prospects; because there’s a chance the Dolphin’s next draft pick is on this list. Anyways, enjoy please feel free to comment or tell me how crazy I am for including certain prospects. Thanks for reading.
Cleveland (0-9) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
My top rated player comes off board number one overall. This is very, very early for mock drafts and really this is simply a fun exercise rather then a true prediction, so with that said a RB will go number one here and the Browns land a game changer that hopefully will give Cleveland fans something to hope for.
Barkley gets a ton of attention and rightfully so. He’s the definition of a playmaker, game-changer, he’s got devastating quickness and change of direction speed; he’s an exciting, fun to watch prospect.
San Francisco (1-9) Minkah Fitzptrick, CB/S, Alabama
Fitzpatrick has been a consistent force on the Alabama defense and one of the top prospects eligible for the 2018 draft. The 49ers have some key pieces on their defense but they still need help. Fitzpatrick would make a lot of sense, even at number two overall.
New York Giants (1-8) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
What a mess the Giants are this year. My guess is head coach Ben McAdoo will be fired and they will start a rebuilding process; which could mean quarterback Eli Manning may be in the out. Rosen is my top rated quarterback, a potential franchise player at the position. The Giants are banking on him becoming a just that.
Indianapolis (3-7) Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Nelson is my safest pick in the draft. I have him rated only behind Barkley and while most of these picks I make in this mock don’t mean too much in regards to the real NFL Draft, I firmly believe (baring God-forbid an injury) Nelson will be a top five pick; he’s that good. So unless the Dolphins lose the rest of the season I don’t think we will get a chance to grab him. The Colts are another franchise that is just a mess; they need to get a reliable, solid pick here and they go and grab the cleanest prospect in the draft.
Cincinnati (3-6) Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. St.
Chubb has been terrific this season. I had a rough, first round grade on him from last year’s tape but he’s improved. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him a top 10 pick in April. Meanwhile, the Bengals have disappointed this year so a sexy pick would be a QB here but I think Chubb is too good to pass on.
Denver (3-6) Sam Darnold, QB, USC
When you are starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback, you’ve got a problem. Darnold is only a Redshirt Sophomore so there’s a good chance he stays at USC but if he declares it will be very interesting to see where he will project. To be honest, right now I couldn’t give you a draft grade on him. I do like him and I think he’s got franchise quarterback tendencies but I need to do more film breakdown on him. The Broncos may not be sold on Paxton Lynch and could entertaining drafting a quarterback, so with Darnold here, the Broncos get the flashy USC quarterback.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins is an ultra-talented d-lineman that I have a top 10 grade on. He’s physical, quick and powerful. The Chargers get an immediate contributor and add toughness to the middle of their defense.
Cleveland - from Houston (3-5) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Don’t compare Johnny Manziel to Baker Mayfield. Mayfield, like Darnold doesn’t have a draft grade from me. I know the Browns are bad, I wasn’t a fan of the Kizer pick last season and now that they’ve added a dynamic running back that will add a dynamic quarterback. Mayfield is exciting to watch and could form a backfield in the mold of what the Dallas Cowboys have. I know Kizer was a second round pick and maybe they won’t give up on him; I don’t know, I just trying to put myself in each team’s shoes and have fun with this.
Chicago (3-6) Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
I feel bad for Kevin White, he can’t catch a break; injuries have pretty much not allowed him to play in the NFL. For the Bears, unfortunately they pretty much wasted a first round pick. However, that’s in the past and they look towards the future here with drafting Calvin Ridley. Ridley is such a smooth, quick and sudden runner that (not comparing him!) reminds me of Antonio Brown. He’s a solid top 10 talent.
Tampa Bay (3-6) Arden Key, DE, LSU
There are a ton of mixed reviews on Key. I wasn’t overly impressed with Key at the beginning of the season but I actually have seen some pretty impressive plays from him this year. I still have a couple games I want to watch him in, and this pick is a little high for my liking, but the Buccaneers need pass rushing help and could buy into Key’s potential.
New York Jets (4-6) Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
People will say this is too high for Love and I will respectfully disagree. I think Love has had a phenomenal year and could be a game-changer for the Jets. Matt Forte is getting up there and Powell and Mcguire are decent backs, but Love would come in and be the bell cow for the Jets. He’s very quick, and a very tough runner. Currently he’s got a first round grade from me.
Baltimore (4-5) Ronnie Anderson, S, Alabama
Ronnie Anderson is a super talented, hard-hitting safety for the Crimson Tide. I think the Ravens defense is already pretty good but Anderson could be too good to pass on here. His coverage skills need work but he’s a top level talent that comes from Baltimore’s favorite school to select from.
Arizona (4-5) Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
A quarterback here makes a lot of sense, and Rudolph would be my pick here if I had to go that direction, but I have Ward higher ranked on my board. Ward is a solid all-around cornerback and a potential immediate contribute. Plus you can never have too many good corners.
Oakland (4-5) Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Protecting Derek Carr needs to be a priority for the Raiders. Donald Penn is a fine tackle but he’s no spring chicken. Orlando Brown is a massive tackle prospect that has some basics to clean up on, but his potential is through the roof.
Washington (4-5) Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Washington double dips Alabama for defensive tackles. Jonathan Allen is already a fantastic pro but the injury concerns are legit for him. Defensive tackle is a definitely a need for this team (look at their depth right now) and Payne is great value here.
Miami (4-5) Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Offensive line is clearly one of the Dolphins biggest needs but I don’t want them to reach here in the first round. There are some quality interior linemen that I am a big fan of that I think will be available later in this draft. I would absolutely be fine with Miami taking a cornerback here; the secondary has not played well and Tony Lippett is coming off season ending injury. Alexander is a solid cover cornerback with tremendous ball skills. He’s got potential to be a play-maker. I still have a lot of film breakdown to do on him but so far he’s impressed.
Dallas (5-4) Derwin James, S, Florida St.
James is top talent; unfortunately, coming off his latest injury he simply hasn’t looked the same. Now, don’t get me wrong I still have a first round grade on him and I think, especially in Dallas he would be an immediate starter. That’s what the Cowboys will be thinking as they pick him here.
Detroit (5-4) Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Smith is one of the top linebackers in this draft. I actually have a higher grade on him and almost mocked him to the Dolphins. However, he falls here to the Lions. He’s a rangey type of linebacker that makes plays all over the field. The Lions could certainly use that.
Green Bay (5-4) Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Definitely not the biggest need for the Packers but Guice is certainly one of the top players available. He’s a tough runner that’s hard to bring down and will take a lot of pressure off Aaron Rodgers and allow the passing game to open up even more.
Atlanta (5-4) Ken Webster, CB, Ole Miss
Webster is one of the top players available and he fits a need for the Falcons. Webster has some minor off the field issues and a torn ACL in his past but has played very well this year and could end up being a first round pick.
Buffalo (5-4) Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma St.
The Bills have benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of Nathan Peterman. My guess is they are trying to see what they have in Peterman the rest of the season. If Peterman doesn’t perform well in his audition they could very well be picking a quarterback in this draft. I think Rudolph has had a pretty good season so far; kind of exactly what I would expect to see from him. At the moment I have a first round grade on him and if he continues his play I would have no reason to lower him at all.
Jacksonville (6-3) Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Jaguars defense has been very good this year and with the addition of Hurst they are about to get even better. Hurst has had a great season so far showing good hustle, penetrating the backfield consistently and making plays. In my mind his stock has definitely rose, and the Jaguars get a good young defensive tackle here for the already stellar defense.
Seattle (6-3) Ogbonnia Orkoronkwo, DE/LB, Oklahoma
Orkoronkwo has shown great pass rushing skills all season. He’s got terrific push, good hand use and a high motor. The Seahawks need pass rushing help so this pick makes a lot of sense.
Carolina (7-3) Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Carolina traded away Kelvin Benjamin at the trade deadline leaving a massive void at the wide receiver corps (so bad it had Cam Newton comparing his team to the Titanic). Sutton may not be the most polished receiver, but he brings size, decent speed and jumping ability to the table; which are Benjamin’s best traits. I think his best playing days are ahead of him too, so this pick fills a need and is good value.
Tennessee (6-3) Clellin Farrell, DE, Clemson
You can never have too many pass rushers and Farrell is good value here. He’s a tremendous athlete with good bend, good motor and great upside.
Buffalo - from KC (6-3) Isiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Oliver is a player that has been gaining a lot of hype since the season began. I personally need to get more film on him but from what I’ve watched he’s a good size cornerback that is physical and plays with decent coverage skills. I think he’s got a lot potential and with his athleticism he could become a pretty good corner.
Los Angeles Rams (7-2) James Washington, WR, Oklahoma St.
The Rams have exploded onto the scene here in 2017 having one of the best offenses in football. Goff looks to have taken a huge step forward and now their offense is about to get even better. Washington is a big play type prospect with good hands and fantastic field vision. I think he becomes an immediate weapon in one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.
Minnesota (7-2) Josh Sweat, DE, Florida St.
I like Sweat’s game film. It’s not spectacular but it’s crazy consistent. He’s a solid player that seems to always get pressure in the backfield, good hand use and does great at getting after the ball. I think he’s pretty sound in both the run and the pass which is why I felt that he deserved to be in the first round of this mock.
Pittsburgh (7-2) Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Another quarterback; ok so I am having fun with this. The Steelers here grab a future successor to Big Ben. Allen’s hype has died down but I believe he was overhyped to begin with. Not that I dislike him; he’s got a ton of traits that I am very impressed with. He’s a competitor that doesn’t ever give up. He’s very athletic and has an NFL arm. Sure he’s raw but he’s playing at Wyoming for goodness sakes. I like his potential and in this fake draft so do the Steelers.
New Orleans (7-2) Tavon Bryan, DE, Florida
Bryan is another very popular name in the scouting community, mainly because he’s had a great season so far. He’s been explosive, shown great strength, good play recognition and been flat out unstoppable at times. New Orleans had a great draft last year and they start strong here with the selection of Bryan.
New England (7-2) Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado St.
Not many people have a first round grade on Gallup; I do. I think he’s vastly underrated and I love his style of play. He’s not the fastest guy, not the best route runner but his hands are terrific, motor is elite and I see his love for the game in his play. He, to me, just seems like a New England type player.
Philadelphia (8-1) Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
You may be surprised McGlinchey is this low in my mock. I really didn’t plan it, kind of just happened but McGlinchey has disappointed me this season. He struggles with the speed rush; I see it time and time again; that bothers me. I have a high second-round grade on him still because I do think that can improve but I don’t see top ten pick. I was high on him this summer but I watched a lot of film on him (and the rest of the offensive line) and the speed rush is a weakness for him. However, the potential is there and the Eagles snatch him up here with the last pick in the draft.
Hope you guys enjoyed it and I will do my best to keep this updated throughout the year!