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The Definitive 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1st Round

The Definitive 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1st Round

This is it. After weeks and weeks of sleepless research and examining endless possibilities, I’ve crafted the perfect mock draft. I’ve seen the future and this is what it will happen on Thursday night.

Okay, so this will probably be off the rails after the first five picks, but who cares? The draft is upon us, and the future of 32 NFL teams is about to be determined. I’m including what I believe each team needs out of this draft and other possibilities for that specific pick as well. I’m also not bothering calling any trades in this mock either, although there is bound to be at least a couple.

1. Cleveland Browns

Needs:

Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Wide Receiver

Pick: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

For months the debate has raged on. Will it be Darnold or Allen off the board first? The Browns desperately need a franchise quarterback, and Darnold will probably be their best bet. No quarterback in this draft is a guaranteed slam dunk, but Darnold will probably be the safest choice for the Browns. Since they’ve got the 4th pick as well, there’s a small possibility they take Saquon Barkley first overall, then take the best quarterback available with the later pick. Here’s hoping they don’t somehow screw this pick up.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Allen, Saquon Barkley

2. New York Giants

Needs:

Running back, Quarterback, Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker

Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Running backs have been picked in the top five in the last two drafts, and Barkley is sure to be the third in a row. The Giants haven’t had a bell-cow running back in years. With the recent signing of Jonathan Stewart, Barkley would have the perfect mentor for his transition to the NFL, while also having plenty of playing time. The alternative here is a quarterback to replace the aging Eli Manning, which also makes sense. What would not make sense is going defensive here, unless they trade down.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Allen, Trade down

3. New York Jets

Needs:

Quarterback, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Offensive Line

Pick: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The hype train for Baker Mayfield is currently plummeting down the side of a mountain, so it’s very likely he goes top 5. The Jets will have a bonafide quarterback competition once the season starts with the extension of Josh McCown and the signing of Teddy Bridgewater. Now that the Jets have traded up to the 3rd pick, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll take a quarterback.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Allen

4. Cleveland Browns

Needs:

Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Wide Receiver

Pick: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Look for the Browns to shop this pick around a little bit to other teams. Considering most of the defensive backs they would go after would likely be available later on in the draft, it only makes sense. If they dont, Chubb makes sense. Having Chubb and Myles Garrett line up opposite each other would be both marketable for the Browns and formidable for opposing teams. If Barkley is still available, this is a no-brainer, but in this situation, he is not.

Other Possibilities:

Trade down for a defensive back, Saquon Barkley

5. Denver Broncos

Needs:

Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Quarterback, Wide Receiver

Pick: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

This is where things start to get a little tricky. The Broncos could go any number of ways with this pick. If any of the above quarterbacks are still available, they could go that direction. In this case, though, the safest pick is the best lineman available, and that’s Quenton Nelson in this draft.

Other Possibilities:

Best available quarterback, Bradley Chubb

6. Indianapolis Colts

Needs:

Offensive Line, Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Running Back

Pick: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

If Nelson or Chubb are still available, the Colts would probably pick one of them. Otherwise, rumors are circulating they’ll go with the best linebacker available in Roquan Smith, although it might be a bit of a reach.

Other Possibilities:

Trade down, Nelson or Chubb if they’re still on the board

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Needs:

Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Running back, Defensive Back

Pick: Derwin James, S, Florida State

If Nelson is somehow still on the board, Tampa could use a top notch offensive lineman. Otherwise, their secondary was woeful last year, and James could add a much needed element at safety.

Other Possibilities:

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Quenton Nelson

8. Chicago Bears

Needs:

Offensive Line, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Linebacker

Pick: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Seeing as how Davenport would likely be available later on in the draft, the Bears might trade down from this pick as well. If Smith and Chubb are gone at this point, which seems likely, Marcus Davenport has a high upside at quite possibly their biggest need.

Other Possibilities:

Trade down, Denzel Ward

9. San Francisco 49ers

Needs:

Offensive Guard, Linebacker, Cornerback, Wide Receiver

Pick: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

With all of the issues going on with Reuben Foster, the 49ers need an answer at linebacker.

Other Possibilities:

Mike McGlinchey, Minkah Fitzpatrick

10. Oakland Raiders

Needs:

Cornerback, Linebacker, Running Back, Defensive Tackle

Pick: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The Raiders made a hard run at Ndamukong Suh, so they’re obviously going to be serious about the defensive tackle position. Denzel Ward could also go here.

Other Possibilities:

Denzel Ward, Mike McGlinchey

11. Miami Dolphins

Needs:

Cornerback, Linebacker, Quarterback, Defensive Tackle

Pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Dolphins might have to trade up to get Allen, but in this scenario, everyone else passed on him and fell to them anyway, which is a real possibility.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Rosen, Trade Up

 

12. Buffalo Bills

Needs:

Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Offensive Lineman

Pick: Josh Rosen QB, UCLA,

Similar to the Dolphins, the Bills might trade up to get a quarterback that they want more.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Allen, Trade Up

13. Washington Redskins

Needs:

Linebacker, Cornerback, Defensive Linemen, Offensive Guard

Pick: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Redskins defense is pretty terrible top to bottom, so taking the best defensive player available in Ward is the best option for them.

Other Possibilities:

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne

14. Green Bay Packers

Needs:

Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Offensive Tackle

Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cornerback/Safety, Alabama

If Fitzpatrick falls all the way to the Packers, they should count themselves lucky. He might be one of the best defensive backs in the league one day.

Other Possibilities:

Josh Jackson, Harold Landry

15. Arizona Cardinals

Needs:

Quarterback, Offensive Linemen, Wide Receiver, Defensive Back

Pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

If the Cardinals don’t trade up to get one of the top four quarterbacks, then they should go with McGlinchey, one of the best offensive linemen in the draft.

Other Possibilities:

Trade up, Lamar Jackson

16. Baltimore Ravens

Needs:

Wide Receiver, Tight End, Linebacker, Offensive Tackle

Pick: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

The Ravens have a need for a decent tight end, and Hurst could provide that at pretty good value at this draft position. They could also possibly trade down a few spots and still get Hurst, so that’s a possibility as well.

Other Possibilities:

Trade down, Lamar Jackson

17. LA Chargers

Needs:

Offensive Tackle, Center, Inside Linebacker, Safety

Pick: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Miller could be headed right down the street if the Chargers pick him. He would be a good fit at a position of need, although it might be a bit of a reach taking him at 17.

Other Possibilities:

Trade down, Da’Ron Payne

18. Seattle Seahawks

Needs:

Offensive Linemen, Running Back, Safety, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker

Pick: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

The Seahawks offensive line was atrocious last season, so they’ll have to address that later, but for now, Landry is a potentially great pass rusher.

Other Possibilities:

Kolton Miller, Maurice Hurst

19. Dallas Cowboys

Needs:

Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Linebacker, Defensive Tackle

Pick: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State

There’s also a possibility the Cowboys go with a wide receiver to replace the departed Dez Bryant, but Vander Esch is a versatile linebacker that fits well in the Cowboys defensive scheme.

Other Possibilities:

DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley

20. Detroit Lions

Needs:

Running Back, Defensive Tackle, Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Inside Linebacker

Pick: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

If Landry is still available, the Lions will take him due to their new defensive coordinator having some background with him. Otherwise, they’ll probably take the best defensive lineman on the board in Payne.

Other Possibilities:

Taven Bryan, Harold Landry

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Needs:

Offensive Linemen, Linebacker, Tight End, Cornerback

Pick: James Daniel, C, Iowa

Daniel is a bear of a man that can help anchor and lead the Bengals offensive line for potentially a long time.

Other Possibilities:

Frank Ragnow, Jaire Alexander

22. Buffalo Bills

Needs:

Offensive Linemen, Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Linebacker

Pick: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland

Assuming they didn’t have to trade up and give away this pick and they landed a quarterback earlier in the draft, DJ Moore would be a good addition for Buffalo and said new quarterback.

Other Possibilities:

Calvin Ridley, Lamar Jackson

23. New England Patriots

Needs:

Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Linebacker, Defensive End

Pick: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

This is a great fit. With a veteran and former Bammer Dant’a Hightower leading the defense, Evans could potentially shine in New England.

Other Possibilities:

Calvin Ridley, Jaire Alexander

24. Carolina Panthers

Needs:

Offensive Linemen, Cornerback, Safety, Defensive End

Pick: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Another member in a line of excellent corners to come out of Iowa lately, Josh Jackson is a safe pick for the Panthers. It’s also likely he’ll be available at 24 for great value. They could also go with an offensive linemen here.

Other Possibilities:

Will Hernandez, Frank Ragnow

25. Tennessee Titans

Needs:

Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Inside Linebacker, Offensive Guard

Pick: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

There’s too many connections going on here for me to not believe the Titans will pick Hubbard, chief of which being Mike Vrabel’s connection with Ohio State. Don’t be surprised if they opt for an offensive lineman, though.

Other Possibilities:

Frank Ragnow, Will Hernandez

26. Atlanta Falcons

Needs:

Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Offensive Guard, Defensive End

Pick: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

The Falcons need interior defensive line help, and they need it bad. If Bryan is not available, they’ll have to choose between Da’Ron Payne if he still hasn’t been picked and Maurice Hurst.

Other Possibilities:

Da’Ron Payne, Maurice Hurst

27. New Orleans Saints

Needs:

Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Quarterback, Tight End

Pick: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Even if you don’t like Alabama, you have to admit the idea of Ridley playing in the ever-explosive Saints offense would be quite the sight.

Other Possibilities:

Lamar Jackson, Dallas Goedert

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Needs:

Inside Linebacker, Safety, Quarterback, Running Back

Pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

If Jackson is still available at this point, the Steelers might be willing to take a chance with him. With Ben Roethlisberger on the wrong side of 30, creating an offense around either Joshua Dobbs or Lamar Jackson might now be too bad for Tomlin and company in the next few years.

Other Possibilities:

Justin Reid, Derrius Guice

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Needs:

Nickelback, Cornerback, Tight End, Offensive Tackle

Pick: Will Hernandez, Offensive Guard, UTEP

Hernandez played a little bit of offensive tackle in his time at UTEP, so he should be fairly versatile in where he ends up playing. It also wouldn’t be too crazy to see them pick a defensive back here, as there should still be a few good ones available.

Other Possibilities:

Jaire Alexander, Frank Ragnow

30. Minnesota Vikings

Needs:

Defensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Offensive Guard

Pick: Frank Ragnow, C/OG, Arkansas

Ragnow would be a versatile addition to any offense, and any help they can get protecting Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook would only make this offense even more dangerous.

Other Possibilities:

Jaire Alexander, Isaiah Wynn

31. New England Patriots

Needs:

Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Defensive End, Linebacker

Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB Louisville

Alexander was going as high as 15 in some mock drafts. Alexander’s value with the 31st pick might be too valuable for Belichick to pass up.

Other Possibilities:

Justin Reid, Mike Hughes

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Needs:

Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Running Back, Tight End, Outside Linebacker

Pick: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Guice was exceptional coming out of Leonard Fournette’s shadow at LSU. Here’s thinking he does pretty great in the NFL too.

Other Possibilities:

Dallas Goedert, Sony Michel

 

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