|NFL Mock Draft – 2/12/2018|
|1. Cleveland Browns
QB – Sam Darnold: U.S.C.
There will be tons of debate leading up to the draft as to which quarterback the Browns will inevitably take with the first pick in 2018, but several sources that I speak with continue to relay that the one passer that best fits what both John Dorsey and Hue Jackson will be looking for is Sam Darnold.
|2. New York Giants
QB – Josh Rosen: U.C.L.A.
Now that Pat Shurmur has been hired as the new Giants head coach, he will inevitably want to add a passer in this draft to take over once Eli retires. New regimes typically mean new signal callers.
|3. Indianapolis Colts
EDGE – Bradley Chubb: N.C. State
Sitting at #3, the Colts could go a lot of different directions with this pick (the health questions on Luck may actually have Indy looking at a passer here) but taking the best non-passer in this draft may be the safest route. Bradley Chubb is quickly solidifying his position at the top of our list for non-throwing position players.
|4. Cleveland Browns
RB – Saquon Barkley: Penn State
If the Browns were to come away with a potential franchise quarterback and running back the fan base would begin to feel some optimism again after watching one of the worst on field products Cleveland has offered on their long journey back to relevance. Barkley is a 3 down workhorse with game changing potential both on the ground and through the air.
|5. Oakland Raiders (via DEN)
DB – Minkah Fitzpatrick: Alabama
In the first simulated trade of this mock, the Raiders trade with San Francisco to move up to the #5 spot and select a Swiss army knife for the defensive backfield. Minkah Fitzpatrick has loads of potential at both corner and safety giving new head coach Jon Gruden a flexible weapon to shore up a leaky secondary.
|6. New York Jets
QB – Josh Allen: Wyoming
The Jets will find themselves outside of striking distance when it comes to what many analysts consider the top two options available in this draft at quarterback, but Josh Allen makes for an interesting option at #6. I have some reservations about Allen making a smooth transition to the NFL, but there is no denying his elite skill set and he will likely be over-drafted.
|7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
EDGE – Marcus Davenport: U.T.S.A.
The Bucs need to add some teeth to the front of their defense and Marcus Davenport’s upside may only be eclipsed by Bradley Chubb’s. Davenport has tremendous potential to be a terror as a professional and this feels like a really good fit for player and team.
|8. Chicago Bears
WR – Calvin Ridley: Alabama
Chicago may be gun shy about taking a pass catcher after watching Kevin White struggle to find his footing as a professional, but Mitchell Trubisky needs weapons in order to grow. Ridley has an extremely high ceiling with a floor that has him still producing at a number two wideout’s level.
|9. Denver Broncos (via OAK)
LB – Tremaine Edmunds: Virginia Tech
The Broncos will be looking at a quarterback if they can’t get a deal done in free agency, but right now I believe they are still the front runner for the services of Kirk Cousins. With that in mind, offensive line makes a lot of sense but passing up on the athletic dynamo that is Tremaine Edmunds may be too difficult to do. Edmunds profiles as an impact player that needs some refinement, but should make his presence immediately felt.
|10. Washington Redskins (via SF)
LB – Roquan Smith: Georgia
Washington made the move to get a franchise quarterback by trading for Alex Smith. It’s a pretty savvy deal to cut after coming to the realization that Kirk Cousins wasn’t the player they wanted to pay big money to at passer. Now, getting the quarterback on the other side of the line of scrimmage should be a priority and Roquan Smith has all the intangibles you look for as a decades long spine for the middle of defense.
|11. Miami Dolphins
S – Derwin James: Florida State
This pick was surprisingly interesting to mock as the Dolphins are sitting in a spot that could see them going in several different directions. I ultimately settled on Derwin to remain in the state of Florida and provide a much needed dynamic element for the Miami defense.
|12. Cincinnati Bengals
OT – Connor Williams: Texas
The Bengals need to better protect the passer and look to get back to their supreme rushing ways. Adding a strong tackle to the offensive line would be the first step in the right direction.
|13. San Francisco 49ers (via WAS)
WR – Courtland Sutton: S.M.U.
After moving down several spots and adding more ammunition for later in the draft, the 49ers find themselves with the ability to still add a potential star wide receiver to pair with their new franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Sutton has high level intangibles that will see him creating immediate mismatches as a pro, but I am placing him a bit higher in the draft than what I am currently comfortable with. I’m looking for the combine to confirm or change my skepticism.
|14. Buffalo Bills (via GB)
QB – Baker Mayfield: Oklahoma
Buffalo makes the trade up with Green Bay so they can go after what they hope can be their answer at quarterback, Baker Mayfield. I know it’s the Bills, but don’t make the Flutie comparison. If you want a more accurate comp to Baker, think Colt McCoy.
|15. Arizona Cardinals
QB – Mason Rudolph: Oklahoma State
A lot of people will be surprised to see Mason Rudolph this high in the draft, but his stock is probably the most upward mobile of the projected second round passers. The need is definitely there as Arizona will undoubtedly be looking for an arm in this draft. Right now, Mason Rudolph sits at the top of our rankings for passers in 2018.
|16. Baltimore Ravens
WR – Christian Kirk: Texas A&M
The Ravens still have a glaring problem at wide receiver that they will probably have to address earlier than what they would like. Christian Kirk has the ability to be a game changer at the position and could become a man coverage nightmare as a professional.
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|17. Los Angeles Chargers
OG – Quenton Nelson: Notre Dame
A lot of analysts believe Quenton Nelson could go in the top 10 and it’s easy to see why. He’s basically a ‘manimal’ at the position and projects as a decade long starter right out of the draft. In this mock, it’s circumstances and not talent that sees Nelson falling down to 17.
|18. Seattle Seahawks
OT – Orlando Brown: Oklahoma
Seattle still needs to beef up the line to protect their main money earner, Russell Wilson. Orlando Brown is a bit of a freak at tackle and may become the impact player they have been searching for to protect their franchise passer.
|19. Dallas Cowboys
DT – Da’Ron Payne: Alabama
The Cowboys will likely look to fill a spot in the middle of the defense early on day 1. Payne is an absolute monster up front and would be a solid get if he falls to #19.
|20. Detroit Lions
RB – Derius Guice: L.S.U.
The Lions still have not answered their questions at running back. Guice makes for an intriguing projection to the next level but the situation in Detroit would appear very favorable for Derius to make an instant impact as a rookie.
|21. Green Bay Packers (via BUF)
CB – Joshua Jackson: Iowa
After moving down in a trade with the Bills, the Packers find themselves the luck recipients of a player that probably will be off the board a little sooner than what I am projecting in this mock. Jackson has the ability to become a solid corner 1 at the next level with the ability to go up against the oppositions best receiver. I’m not ready to say I see a shutdown corner just yet, but I am very interested to see what his combine numbers look like.
|22. Buffalo Bills
DL – Vita Vea: Washington
The Bills will add to the defensive front and with a player like Vita Vea being available at #22 it could be an easy decision for them. Vea is athletic enough to play multiple roles on the front, but plugging the middle and taking on multiple blockers may be his strong suit as a professional.
|23. Los Angeles Rams
CB – Denzel Ward: Ohio State
The Rams are going to look to add a player to the secondary at an early point in this draft. Ward has the correct make-up to be a long time starter in the league, but he profiles more as the second corner so far in our scoring.
|24. Carolina Panthers
WR – James Washington: Oklahoma State
For the Panthers, getting a receiver that can lift the top off the defense with multiple routes would be a good get to open up the underneath for some of their newly acquired weapons. Washington profiles as a burner, but I’m very interested to see what his 10 and 20 yard splits show on his 40 time.
|25. Philadelphia Eagles (via TEN)
OT – Mike McGlinchey: Notre Dame
Philadelphia finds a way to trade up and go after McGlinchey, a solid tackle prospect that likely sees his name called higher on the first night of the draft. The Eagles need to address the potential of having an immediate issue with added rush pressure on a quarterback that will be coming off of a serious injury to start 2018.
|26. Atlanta Falcons
S – Justin Reid: Stanford
This is the biggest reach that I have for the first round, but Justin Reid is currently scoring very high in our scouting system and I believe his stock has a chance to be extremely upward mobile after spending some time in Indy getting tested. Considering his brother’s lofty draft pick, Justin should also get the benefit of the doubt with certain GMs.
|27. New Orleans Saints
WR – Deontay Burnett: U.S.C.
This might be a surprising pick to some, but my source in New Orleans has relayed to me on two different occasions that the Saints have put a lot of time into scouting wide receivers and running backs. Burnett needs to weigh in a bit heavier than what he has been projected in order for me to be comfortable with a first round selection, but there is no concern from me on whether or not his game will translate well to the pro level.
|28. Pittsburgh Steelers
LB – Jerome Baker: Ohio State
Pittsburgh has a need at interior linebacker and Jerome Baker could be a solid fix. Baker doesn’t possess the shear athleticism of Ryan Shazier, but he projects as a multi role player and potential long term starter.
|29. Jacksonville Jaguars
OG – Will Hernandez: U.T.E.P.
Jacksonville should look early to fill a hole in the interior of the offensive line. Will Hernandez has begun to boost his stock this off-season and with better than advertised movement, the big fella may see his name drafted in round 1. This is a nice player/team fit.
|30. Cincinnati Bengals (via MIN)
QB – Lamar Jackson: Louisville
Cincinnati makes the move back into the first to snag Lamar Jackson and look to groom him to be their franchise passer. The move up makes sense for both teams in that Minnesota will likely have the opportunity to add multiple picks and get several role players while the Bengals get the extra year on Jackson’s rookie contract.
|31. New England Patriots
DE – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo: Oklahoma
The Patriots will have several different options to consider at the bottom of the first round, but getting an athletic impact player on the defensive line that can also play multiple roles as a rusher in sub-package football is the type of selection that Bill Belichick would like to make.
|32. Tennessee Titans (via PHI)
EDGE – Dorance Armstrong: Kansas
The Titans need to get some more explosion on the outside. After Kevin Dodd lived down to the score we gave him prior to the 2016 draft, it’s time for Tennessee to move on. Armstrong will likely be a riser coming out of the combine and he profiles as an impact edge rusher at the professional level.