In this 2018 NFL Mock Draft, the Cleveland Browns draft their next future franchise quarterback, the New York Jets take a huge risk on another quarterback, and a familiar team trades up into the top five.
It’s that time of year, fellow football fans! The 2018 NFL Draft is finally upon us and with that, months of analysis, speculation, and mock drafts will all come down to what transpires tonight.
In this mock draft, quarterbacks indeed start flying off the boards within the first few picks. It gets a bit hectic as one team even trades up into the top five in order to land one of the Big 4 at quarterback.
As far as the New York Jets are concerned, they do end up having to make a tough decision with two popular quarterbacks still available for the taking when they’re on the clock. This decision will have a huge impact on the organization that will either turn them into contenders in the future or has them continue being pretenders for years to come.
Here’s my full 2018 NFL mock draft as it will be one heck of a rollercoaster ride!
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold
The Browns stick with their original plan with the number one pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Darnold has been their pick since January and he will remain the pick on draft night. Is it a possibility that they really do draft Josh Allen? Yes, it is a very big possibility.
But, John Dorsey has kept leaks out of the building, and all these Allen rumors could be completely false. Darnold is the consensus QB1 on most teams’ draft boards. He brings accuracy, good ability inside and outside of the pocket, and toughness. He also provides a fairly strong arm.
The USC quarterback posted 4,143 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions during his 2017 sophomore campaign.
Next: 2. New York Giants
2. New York Giants – RB Saquon Barkley
The Giants may trade out of this pick. However, in this mock, they stay at two and take the best player in this draft class.
Saquon Barkley was a monster at Penn State. He posted nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his 2017 campaign. He racked up 5,000 yards from scrimmage and 51 touchdowns during his three-year career.
Barkley’s game speaks for itself. He is considered a better prospect than guys like Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, and Leonard Fournette. The Giants can’t pass on his talent with the No. 2 overall pick.
Next: 3. New York Jets
3. New York Jets – QB Baker Mayfield
Word around the league is that Mayfield to the Jets is nearly a “done deal”. He is loved around the building, whether it’s the front office or the players. 2017 first round pick Jamal Adams even had praise for him.
Mayfield gives the Jets something they haven’t had in a young quarterback in ages. Accuracy. He is the most accurate quarterback in this year’s draft, and he has a very strong arm to go with it as well.
Mayfield was the best player in college football in 2017, earning him the Heisman Trophy. He dropped 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Broadway Baker becomes a reality in this mock.
Next: 4. Cleveland Browns
4. Cleveland Browns – DE Bradley Chubb
Chubb is without question the best pass rusher in this year’s draft, and one can even make a case for him to be the best player in the entire class.
Chubb is a monster who is bound to tear up the league. He posted 10 sacks in 2017, along with an insane 23 tackles for loss. He dominated his competition game after game. Chubb is one of the safest prospects in this draft.
His combination of speed, size and explosiveness are scary. His technique is unlike any other in this draft class. Pairing Chubb with Myles Garrett is unreal.
Two young premier pass rushers lining up side by side is a scary sight as an offensive line. These two could be a force for years to come.
Next: 5. Buffalo Bills (via Denver Broncos)
5. Buffalo Bills (via Denver Broncos) – QB Josh Allen
The Bills package picks 12, 22, their 2018 second rounder, and a 2019 second rounder to move up in this mock to select Josh Allen. The Broncos happily take the extra picks and move back.
Josh Allen has the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft. The Wyoming product has a rocket arm unlike any other.
Allen is also the tallest and fastest quarterback in this class. He has the tools needed to stay around in the pros, but his accuracy is concerning.
His career completion percentage of 56.2 percent is more than concerning. He will have to improve his accuracy in the NFL. The Bills go high-risk, high-reward with this pick. They give a king’s ransom to move up and take the guy who could be the next Cam Newton. Or the next Christian Hackenberg.
Next: 6. Indianapolis Colts
6. Indianapolis Colts – LB Tremaine Edmunds
Edmunds is the Josh Allen of non-quarterbacks. In other words, this guy’s ceiling is higher than anyone else in this entire draft class.
He is only 19 years old, which is mindblowing. He is tall, lengthy, athletic and quick. He is a very raw prospect, but his upside is sky high.
Edmunds posted 213 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 10 sacks through 3 seasons at Virginia Tech. His stats may be underwhelming. But the game tape speaks for itself. This guy is a beast. He’ll become a dominant edge rusher for a weak Colts defense in no time.
Next: 7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Derwin James
Derwin James was a beast at Florida State. When healthy, he boosted the defense in a gigantic way. He is a gamechanger in the secondary and could provide the Bucs the X-Factor they need.
James brings a great mentality to the table, something the Bucs need desperately. He joins a talented defense in need of leadership, and he provides just that.
During two healthy seasons at Florida State, James posted 186 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and 15 passes defended. The low interception count can be deceiving, but these are very good numbers.
Next: 8. Chicago Bears
8. Chicago Bears – OL Quenton Nelson
Quenton Nelson can be considered the best player in this entire draft class. He is light years ahead of the other offensive linemen in this draft.
Some refer to him as the next Larry Allen. Nelson is an elite offensive guard who brings everything to the table. His combination of size, power, and strength make him a force in the trenches. He was known for his intimidating power at Notre Dame.
Anyone coming across Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey normally had a long day. Nelson shut down anyone in his path, no matter who it was. His strength is something not to be overlooked.
This man is about to dominate in the NFL. The Bears offensive line needs work, especially at left guard. The Bears fill a huge need and pick up Nelson with the 8th pick, pairing him with Kyle Long as their two offensive guards.
Next: 9. San Francisco 49ers
9. San Francisco 49ers – CB Denzel Ward
Denzel Ward is the top cornerback prospect in this year’s draft class. He broke out during his 2017 season, racking up 37 tackles, two interceptions, and 15 passes defended.
His impressive performance earned him a spot on the Consensus All-American team. Ward’s underwhelming size could be concerning, but it shouldn’t. Ward’s incredible talent makes up for anything else about his game.
He ran a 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. His combination of speed and talent makes him a force wherever he plays. The 49ers just added Richard Sherman to their roster recently, and pairing him with Ward is a dream come true. Ward makes this defense unstoppable. If Reuben Foster remains on the roster, this defense could be among the best in the league.
Next: 10. Oakland Raiders
10. Oakland Raiders – CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is one of the most versatile players in this draft. Some analysts still don’t know what position he’ll play in the NFL. He can be a free safety, strong safety, or a slot cornerback.
The Raiders will likely make him a slot cornerback when he gets to the pros. Their safeties are solid, for now at least. Reggie Nelson is aging, so perhaps he moves back to safety in the future.
Fitzpatrick was considered a top-five pick at one point in the offseason. However, his positional value caused him to slip. He is still among the most talented players in this draft class.
During three years at Alabama, he posted 171 tackle, nine interceptions, and 24 passes defended. Fitzpatrick brings his playmaking ability to a defense that desperately needs one. The Raiders had a league-worst five interceptions in 2017. Fitzpatrick provides a spark to a weak defense in 2018.
Next: 11. Miami Dolphins
11. Miami Dolphins – QB Josh Rosen
Rosen slips all the way down to No. 11 in this mock draft. Unless a team trades up, Rosen may slip come April 26th. The Dolphins steal him at 11.
Rosen is considered the best pocket passer in this draft class. His footwork and fundamentals are superior to anyone in this draft class. He also played in a pro-style offense at UCLA. However, there are negatives to him as a prospect.
Injury concerns are probably the biggest question mark on Rosen’s game. He struggled to stay healthy at UCLA, causing his stock to drop. Scouts also question his arrogance, and whether he really loves football or not. He was not even a captain during the 2017 season.
The Dolphins give up on Ryan Tannehill and try to take the extra step they need to be contenders. Rosen could give them a few playoff appearances, but his supporting cast will need to improve.
Next: 12. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo Bills)
12. Denver Broncos (via Buffalo Bills) – CB Josh Jackson
Josh Jackson is a close second to Denzel Ward as the number one corner in this draft class. His abilities are impressive, and he stands taller than Ward at 6’1.
His stats are far superior to Ward’s as well. 2017 was Jackson’s first year as a starter, and he balled. Jackson posted 48 tackles, eight interceptions, and 18 passes defended, earning him a spot on the Consensus All-American team.
He led the FBS in interceptions and pick sixes. With Aqib Talib gone, Jackson fills his role right away. He will be the ball hawk that Talib once was, lining up on the outside. Bradley Roby, Chris Harris Jr., and Jackson will be an elite secondary in 2018.
Next: 13. Washington Redskins
13. Washington Redskins – DT Vita Vea
Vita Vea is the consensus top defensive tackle in this draft class. He has been compared to Haloti Ngata because of his play. His combination of size and quick feet are rare for defensive tackles.
In 2017, Vea posted 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. His stats are underwhelming, but his abilities speak for itself. He was awarded Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Vea is a very raw prospect whose size and ability makes him a great prospect. He has unlimited potential, and the Redskins hope to unlock this potential and create a Pro-Bowl caliber player in Vea.
Next: 14. Green Bay Packers
14. Green Bay Packers – DE Marcus Davenport
Marcus Davenport was not talked about much until the Senior Bowl when his stock flew. He’s now a round-one lock and probably a top 20 pick in the draft.
He had an impressive Senior Bowl and 2018 NFL Combine appearance. Davenport went off during his time at UTSA. During his four year career, Davenport put up 185 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss, and 21.5 sacks through three years of starting.
However, teams are concerned by his lack of competition in a weak conference. Davenport is a project who can evolve into a great edge rusher. His ceiling is sky high, and the Packers can’t pass on him at 14. He fills a glaring need for a subpar Packers defense.
Next: 15. Arizona Cardinals
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Lamar Jackson
Let’s be real. Sam Bradford will get hurt at some point in the season. It’s basically inevitable at this point. He is not in their future plans at all, and they look to Lamar Jackson to be their franchise quarterback for the coming years.
Jackson is the most intriguing player in this class. He is so talented and a freakish athlete, but he does not fit in an NFL offense. The Cardinals will have to adapt to his play style if they want to succeed with him.
Jackson is one of the most accomplished players in college football history. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner posted 9,043 passing yards, 69 passing touchdowns, and 27 interceptions during his three-year career at Louisville. He also posted 4,132 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns.
Jackson’s talents may not translate to the NFL. It is a risky pick, but why not take the risk when you could have the next Michael Vick on your hands? The Cardinals gamble with their luck at pick 15.
Next: 16. Baltimore Ravens
16. Baltimore Ravens – RB Derrius Guice
The Ravens surprise the draft world with this pick. Many predict them to go with a receiver, but the Ravens go with a running back instead.
Guice may be the best player available at this point in the draft. Guice has fallen into the shadows of Saquon Barkley, but he is a very good back. During three years at LSU, Guice dropped 3,324 total yards and 32 total touchdowns.
He averaged 6.5 yards per carry as well. Guice has speed and elusiveness, but his main source of yards is through power. His toughness and strength allow him to run through defenders and fight for yards after contact.
Guice has drawn comparisons to Marshawn Lynch at times. Guice will boost a Ravens offense that hasn’t seen running back production since Ray Rice. The Ravens have signed three quality receivers and adding a running back makes them that much better.
Next: 17. Los Angeles Chargers
17. Los Angeles Chargers – LB Leighton Vander Esch
Boise State does not see many products turn out to be NFL stars, but Leighton Vander Esch is just that. Vander Esch only has one year of starting experience, but he balled.
He posted 141 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and two interceptions in 2017. Vander Esch plays with a tracking device on the football. His intelligence and awareness on the football field are far superior to anyone else’s in this class.
Vander Esch needs to improve his strength and ability to shed blocks, but if he does, he will wreak havoc. The Chargers defense is legit. With an elite secondary and the best pass rush combo in the league, a leader in the middle of the field could put them over the top. Vander Esch could make the Chargers defense a serious issue for other teams.
Next: 18. Seattle Seahawks
18. Seattle Seahawks – OL Mike McGlinchey
Mike McGlinchey was dominant alongside Quenton Nelson at Notre Dame. Anyone lining up across from McGlinchey was in for a rough day. He shut down defensive linemen day in and day out.
McGlinchey can play either left tackle or right tackle, something the Seahawks need. Russell Wilson played behind one of the worst lines in football last season and thrived. Imagine him with good blockers?
The Seahawks are in desperate need of blockers. They have no run game and no pass protection whatsoever. McGlinchey gives a huge boost to a very, very weak offensive line. He will likely play right tackle, while Duane Brown plays left tackle.
Next: 19. Dallas Cowboys
19. Dallas Cowboys – WR Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley is one of, if not the best wide receiver in this draft class. He can become the X-factor of an offense instantly. He joins a talented offense in Dallas in this mock.
Ridley has top-end speed and elite route running abilities. He is among the best route runners scouts have seen in a long time. His ability to separate from corners gives him the potential to be dangerous in the league.
Ridley joins a weak receiving group in Dallas, being companied by Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. He will walk right into the facility as the number one target for Dak Prescott. Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Ridley will be a dangerous trio in the future.
Next: 20. Detroit Lions
20. Detroit Lions – OG Will Hernandez
Will Hernandez was not a big name heading into the NFL offseason. However, his stellar performance in the Senior Bowl and the 2018 NFL Combine put his name into many conversations by scouts.
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He’s put himself in a position where he is a lock for Round 1. Hernandez started four seasons at UTEP, and he had such a dominant career. He is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in UTEP’s history.
Hernandez is an athletic blocker whose strength is superior to everyone in this class. His 37 reps on the bench press led offensive lineman at this year’s combine. The Lions are in desperate need of a guard.
Their offensive line is improving, and Hernandez could be the long-term anchor of the unit for the Lions. He will replace Kenny Wiggins, who does not respond in a starting lineup.
Next: 21. Cincinnati Bengals
21. Cincinnati Bengals – LB Rashaan Evans
Rashaan Evans was one of the best linebacker prospects in the draft at one point. His stock has fallen since, and he falls to No. 21 in this mock.
Evans was a leader at Alabama. In limited years of starting, he developed his game and was a key piece in Alabama’s championship defense. In 2017, he posted 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and six sacks.
The Bengals need linebacker help. Vontaze Burfict has a new suspension every day, and other than him their linebacking core is very weak. Evans fills a big hole in a Bengals defense that is desperate for improvement.
Next: 22. Denver Broncos (Buffalo Bills)
22. Denver Broncos (Buffalo Bills) – TE Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst is considered the best tight end in this draft class. The USC product has a combination of athleticism and talent that nobody else in this class has. Through two years of starting, Hurst posted 100 catches, 1,281 yards, and three touchdowns.
His numbers are solid, but he will need to develop into more of a red zone threat. Hurst’s height will hurt him in the pros. He stands at 6’3, very small for a tight end. He is decently athletic and a respectable blocker.
When you put it together, Hurst is a solid all-around tight end who can do everything for your team. The Broncos look to boost their offense even further with a tight end late in the first round.
Next: 23. New England Patriots
23. New England Patriots – QB Mason Rudolph
Let’s be real. A team will panic, become greedy, and take Rudolph in Round 1. Whether you like it or not, he is a first-round pick. The Oklahoma State signal-caller quietly dominated during college.
Through four years, he posted 13,618 yards, 92 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He won the Johnny Unitas award for most outstanding senior quarterback in 2017.
Rudolph is a solid pocket passer and will execute more in downfield and play-action schemes. He will not thrive on arm strength or precision as a quarterback. The Patriots traded up for a reason. He needs a year on the bench to learn and develop as a player. No better player to learn behind than the greatest guy to ever play your position.
Next: 24. Carolina Panthers
24. Carolina Panthers – WR D.J. Moore
Christian McCaffrey was the Panthers leader in receptions in 2017. He was second in receiving yards as well. Allow me to remind you, McCaffrey is a running back. D.J. Moore is one of the best playmakers in this draft.
Despite standing at 5’11, Moore has blazing top-end speed to burn defenders. He showcased his abilities at Maryland, posting 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had an impressive 12.2 yards per catch.
Calvin Ridley’s sluggish combine performance allowed Moore to rise on draft boards, and some consider him this year’s No. 1 receiver. The Panthers grab an elite receiver at pick No. 24. He joins an extremely weak group and can easily develop into Newton’s top target.
Next: 25. Tennessee Titans
25. Tennessee Titans – OL Isaiah Wynn
The former Georgia offensive guard Isaiah Wynn is a beast. He is athletic, versatile, and a great blocker. He can even play left tackle if a team wanted him too.
Offensive line isn’t the biggest need for the Titans, but Wynn is a can’t miss talent. He will boost any offensive line he plays on.
Wynn is the best player available at this point in the draft. He falls to the Titans at No. 25. A big steal for the Titans at this point in the draft.
Next: 26. Atlanta Falcons
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan
Taven Bryan is one of the best defensive linemen in his class. His athleticism is something owners will not look past. Teams will not pass on him in round one.
Bryan’s listed as a defensive tackle, but he has the size and athleticism to play outside as well. Standing at 6’5 and weighing 291 pounds, he can fit well as a defensive end. Through two starting seasons, Bryan posted 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 62 tackles.
His stats are underwhelming compared to his talent. He is still developing as a player. The Falcons do have Dontari Poe, but Bryan will fit with their defense. The Falcons continue to build a young, dominant defense here in Round 1.
Next: 27. New Orleans Saints
27. New Orleans Saints – TE Dallas Goedert
Dallas Goedert is one of the best tight ends in this class. His receiving abilities are phenomenal, and he stands tall at 6’5. He has become a very smooth catcher and a solid route runner.
Goedert carried the South Dakota offense on his back. Through the past two years, Goedert has put up 2,404 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. Allow me to remind you, he is a tight end.
The Saints haven’t had a pass-catching tight end since Jimmy Graham, and he dominated in Sean Payton’s offense. The Saints look to Goedert to refill his role in the offense and cut Michael Thomas some slack.
Next: 28. Pittsburgh Steelers
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Jaire Alexander
Jaire Alexander’s name has been rising since February. He was at first a seemingly lock for Day 2, but now his name has risen into first round conversation. Rightfully so.
Alexander was a monster at Louisville. In 2016, he intercepted five passes and defended nine more. Unfortunately, his 2017 season was cut short due to injury.
That won’t stop teams from drafting him though. The Steelers added Joe Haden at the beginning of last season, but there is still room for improvement. Alexander would fit perfectly into their defense. He’ll likely develop into a slot corner for the Steel Curtain.
Next: 29. Jacksonville Jaguars
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Courtland Sutton
Courtland Sutton is considered by some as the most underrated receiver in this draft class. He is a big target at 6’3 and has the ability to go up and grab any ball thrown to him.
Sutton’s stats at SMU were incredible. Through three starting seasons, Sutton posted 3,220 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also put up 16.5 yards per catch during that period.
The Jaguars lost Allen Robinson to free agency and released Allen Hurns as well. Despite the addition of Donte Moncrief, a receiver is still a necessity. They find a player very similar to Robinson with Sutton.
Next: 30. Minnesota Vikings
30. Minnesota Vikings – OL James Daniels
Another great offensive lineman falls deep into round one. James Daniels should walk right onto an NFL roster and start. He is a Pro Bowl caliber talent and deserves more credit.
Daniels is one of the smoothest blockers in the class. His quickness is incredible at the center position. He needs to develop his strength more, but he is still a good blocker on both the run and the pass.
The Vikings are legit contenders in 2018. With Kirk Cousins coming in as the new signal caller, protecting him will be key. The Vikings fill a big need for the Vikings at pick No. 30.
Next: 31. New England Patriots
31. New England Patriots – RB Sony Michel
Alright, I know every Patriots fan will disagree, but Tom Brady is eventually going to need a running back to rely on. 40-year-old quarterbacks don’t last forever, not even Brady. Sony Michel is a beast. In 2017, Michel posted 1,227 yards, 16 touchdowns, and nearly eight yards per carry.
He was a huge help in Georgia’s national championship run. Michel runs with toughness and physicality. He is a dominant north-south runner who will power through defenders and fight for yarders.
We saw LeGarrette Blount score 18 touchdowns with New England, so why not Michel? The Patriots finally had productivity in a running back in 2017, and that guy left for Tennessee. Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill are both injury prone average backs. It’s time Brady gets a sustainable back.
Next: 32. Philadelphia Eagles
32. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Mike Hughes
The Eagles played a risky game trading for cornerback Daryl Worley, and it backfired. Worley has already been released due to trouble with the law.
The Eagles defense is already insane as it carried them to a Super Bowl ring, and they are going to make it even better. There are not many holes on their roster, so why not go for a slot corner?
Mike Hughes is probably the truest slot corner in this class. Josh Jackson and Denzel Ward both belong on the outside. Hughes will play inside, filling in for Patrick Robinson, who left for the Saints in free agency.