With the NFL Draft set to kickoff tonight, below is my final 2018 NFL Mock Draft. Since I released my last mock draft, we’ve seen many changes have taken place that have altered the first round.

The New England Patriots trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams probably means that Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve. 

Richie Incognito’s sudden retirement means that the Buffalo Bills will have to address their offensive line woes at some point in the draft, while we’ll just have to wait and see what the New York Giants do with the second overall pick.

As I’ve predicted before, don’t be surprised with a run on quarterbacks. However, don’t also be surprised if linebackers and cornerbacks dominate the first-round as well. All three positions are relatively deep and there are a plethora of teams that have a need at the position.

This year’s first-round will be very intriguing. One trade has the potential to shake up the first-round, which could possibly make other teams desperate to trade up. Teams like the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals will have the opportunity to trade up to land a player they believe is “their guy”.

All I can say is this: Let the mock drafting begin.

1) Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold, USC

The Browns need a franchise quarterback and Darnold fits everything they are looking for.

2) New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

The Giants need a running back and Barkley fits everything they’re looking for. He’s drawn comparisons to Cardinals running back David Johnson with his do-it-all playing style. Although there have been reports of the Giants wanting to trade back to accumulate extra picks, an offensive core consisting of Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and other solid contributors such as Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram allows for the Giants to have an offensive core that will produce in 2018 and well beyond.

3) New York Jets (From Indianapolis): QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

The Jets didn’t trade up three spots to select someone like Quenton Nelson or Bradley Chubb. Mike Maccagnan and co. moved up to select a quarterback. Although they worked out Josh Rosen, the Jets brass doesn’t seem like they are very high on Rosen. Unless they are completely enamored with Josh Allen, Mayfield seems to be the consensus pick here. His competitive nature, willingness to win right now and personality is exactly what this Jets team needs.

4) Cleveland Browns (From Houston): DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State

The Browns drafted Myles Garrett last year and now should look to add to their defense by bringing in another pass rusher. Chubb is literally everything a rebuilding defense like the Browns needs.

5) Buffalo Bills (From Denver): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

Broncos get: 2018 first-round picks (12th and 22nd overall), 2018 third-round pick (65th overall)

Bills get: 2018 first-round pick (Fifth overall)

While there have been reports of Josh Rosen slipping, Bills GM Brandon Beane has been very aggressive in trying to trade up and draft a quarterback. Broncos GM John Elway has stated the team is open to trading down. With two first-round picks and six picks in the first three rounds, the Bills would make an ideal trading partner for the Broncos as Beane would make them an offer they can’t refuse.

6) Indianapolis Colts (From New York Jets): OG Quenton Nelson

Another team that could possibly move down to accumulate more picks, Nelson has been labeled as this years “can’t miss” prospect. Andrew Luck needs to be protected and by drafting Nelson, the Colts are getting a future All-pro offensive lineman.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Buccaneers need to figure out their secondary situation. The team has actively overhauled its pass rush this offseason by trading for Jason Pierre-Paul and signing Vinny Curry. Now, the priority should be adding a defensive back. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a smart, instinctive player who can play three positions in the secondary. Brent Grimes is approaching the twilight years of his career and drafting Fitzpatrick allows for the Buccaneers to have someone play opposite Vernon Hargreaves III.

8) Arizona Cardinals (From Chicago Bears): QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Bears get: 2018 first round pick (15th overall), 2018 third-round picks (79th and 97th overall)

Cardinals get: 2018 first-round pick (7th overall), 2019 fourth round-pick

Arizona has looked very hard at all the quarterbacks and in the scenario, they see that a run on quarterbacks is taking place, which prompts them to trade up and draft a quarterback. Allen needs a year to develop and with Sam Bradford as the unquestioned starter in 2018, drafting Allen makes perfect sense.

9) San Francisco 49ers: S Derwin James, Florida State

James has drawn comparisons to Kam Chancellor. And with Eric Reid not coming back in 2018, drafting a Safety makes all the sense in the world here. Linebacker could also be an option, but James is big and physical and can play multiple positions.

10) Oakland Raiders: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

The Raiders lost Sean Smith and David Amerson this offseason. If Ward is still available at number ten, he makes perfect sense for a team that is looking for a true number one corner.

11) Miami Dolphins: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

The Dolphins need more bodies on defense and taking a player with tons of upside like Edmunds makes sense. He’s also just nineteen years old meaning he has the potential to develop into the next leader of this Dolphins defense.

12) Denver Broncos (From Buffalo via Cincinnati): LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

Broncos get: 2018 first-round picks (12th and 22nd overall), 2018 third-round pick (65th overall)

Bills get: 2018 first-round pick (Fifth overall)

Smith is the most complete linebacker in this draft. He can play inside or outside and fits in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. While linebacker isn’t necessarily a huge need for the Broncos, Shane Ray’s future is uncertain, having a guy like Smith could help the Broncos have one of the best linebacking trios in the league.

13) Washington Redskins: DE Harold Landry, Boston College

The Redskins added Jonathan Allen a year ago and should look to do address the pass rush again. The team has weapons on offense, but the defense needs some more pieces to help them take the next step.

14) Green Bay Packers: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA

Even after signing Muhammad Wilkerson to a one-year deal, Green Bay needs to add to a defensive line that’s been devastated due to injuries over the last few years. While Davenport is a little raw, under the tutelage of Mike Pettine, he could develop into one of the more dangerous pass rushers in a few years.

15) Chicago Bears (From Arizona Cardinals): CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

Bears get: 2018 first round pick (15th overall), 2018 third-round picks (79th and 97th overall)

Cardinals get: 2018 first-round pick (7th overall), 2019 fourth round-pick

While this may seem too high for Oliver, Bears defensive coordinator loves tall, long cornerbacks. Oliver possesses both those attributes. Play him opposite Kyle Fuller and you’ve got an emerging cornerback duo. 

16) Baltimore Ravens: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU

Baltimore adds a big, redzone threat in Sutton to a wide receiving core that needs all the help it can get for Joe Flacco.

17) Los Angeles Chargers: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville

The best man cover corner in this draft, Alexander also adds value as a returner in special teams. He could team up with Casey Hayward and the two could become one of the best cornerback duos in the league.

18) Seattle Seahawks: DT Vita Vea, Washington

The Seahawks lost Sheldon Richardson to the Vikings this offseason. A run-stuffer like Vea can be his replacement.

19) Dallas Cowboys: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

The Cowboys find Dez Bryant’s replacement as Ridley’s speed would be a perfect compliment to a big guy like Allen Hurns.

20) Detroit Lions: CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa

Detroit goes after the best ball-hawking defensive back in the nation. Although it was only one-year, Jackson had twenty-seven passes defended last season. He could team up with Darius Slay giving the Lions a dangerous cornerback tandem.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (From Buffalo): DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Over the years, the Bengals have always prioritized having a deep defensive line. Last year, the Bengals focused on offense, this year, the focus should be restocking what is an aging defense with young talent. Payne can start off as a rotational player, before taking over as a full-time starter in 2019.

22) Denver Broncos (From Buffalo Bills via Kansas City): OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

Denver adds to an offense that needs to be restocked badly. Wynn can play either Center or Guard, so he offers some versatility.

23) New England Patriots (From Los Angeles Rams): QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Jackson has been linked to the Patriots. Having him learn under Tom Brady for a year would go a long way towards his development.

24) Carolina Panthers: RB Derrius Guice, LSU

A power runner like Guice can be the perfect complement to the versatile Christian McCaffrey

25) Tennessee Titans: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

The Titans spent big money on the secondary this offseason and should now look to add to the front seven. Brian Orakpo’s contract expires in 2018, so adding a speedy linebacker such as Evans would instantly benefit the team.

26) Atlanta Falcons: DT Taven Bryan, Florida

Drafting a wide receiver here could be an option considering the loss of Taylor Gabriel, but one thing that Dan Quinn has always had at his disposal has been a deep defensive line. The Falcons also lost Dontari Poe this offseason and Taven Bryan would make a fine replacement. He may not be ready to start from day one, but he’d serve as a good rotational player before eventually taking over as a full-time starter.

27) New Orleans Saints: OT Connor Williams, Texas

Zach Strief retired this past offseason, so offensive tackle is a need for the Saints. Williams is a great run blocker and should look to improve as a pass protector at the next level.

 

28) Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Ryan Shazier was literally the key to the Steelers defense. With his status being uncertain for 2018, the Steelers have to go with a linebacker in the first-round. Vander Esch is a player who has been gaining attention over the last few months. He seems to move smoothly around the field and change direction with ease when flying from sideline-to-sideline.

29) Jacksonville Jaguars: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland

Jacksonville lost Allen Robinson to free agency and released Allen Hurns. Although they added Donte Moncrief, adding another player to what is a somewhat unproven wide receiver group is needed. Moore’s perfect blend of size and speed make him an ideal fit for this team.

30) Minnesota Vikings: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA

While the Vikings have one of the most complete teams in the NFL, adding a big guy like Miller to the offense makes sense. The Vikings could choose to move on from either Riley Reiff or Mike Remmers during the 2019 offseason, so adding a guy like Miller makes sense.

31) New England Patriots: DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

Hubbard is a typical Bill Belichick type player. While his game won’t jump off the screen, he does a lot of little things right. A player who is a solid, but underrated contributor.

32) Philadelphia Eagles: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

At some point, the Eagles will have to move on from Jason Peters and Mike McGlinchey makes perfect sense as his replacement.

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