The 2018 NFL Draft takes place in about 12 days. In this blog, I go over the top 16 picks in Round 1. I’m a bit different than most other NFL draft watchers because I don’t believe the Browns pull the trigger on Sam Darnold with the first pick.
Who do I like the Browns grabbing with the first pick? Keep reading to find out!
2018 Mock Draft Round 1 Picks 1-16
1. Cleveland Browns – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Yes, the Browns signed RB Carlos Hyde. Hyde is great. He has a history of getting hurt. Not only that, but Cleveland employed (sort of!) a two-back set last year with Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell. Hyde and Barkley could co-exist in the same backfield.
I envision Cleveland leaning heavily on their rushing attack this season. That means drafting RB Saquon Barkley.
2. New York Giants – DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
The Giants are salivating over Barkley. If I’m right and the Browns draft Barkley first, there’s a good chance they end up going for DE Bradley Chubb. The Giants could win right now after signing left tackle Nate Solder in free agency. The G-Men aren’t a bad team. A DE to replace Jason Pierre-Paul could really help the Giants get back to the playoffs. Not only that, but Chubb is considered by most NFL draft analysts to be the only sure lock in the 2018 NFL Draft.
3. New York Jets – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
The Jets could go with Sam Darnold here. I’m not sure they do. The reason is because Rosen can start right away while Darnold is more of a project QB. Not only that, but Rosen can handle the glitz and glamor of being a team that plays in New York. Rosen’s got all the tools to be a top flight quarterback. I rate him higher than Darnold. I think the Jets draft the more sure thing.
4. Cleveland Browns – QB Sam Darnold, USC
In my scenario, the Browns can draft the player they really want, RB Saquon Barkley, and still get the quarterback they want in Sam Darnold. Darnold should be a perfect fit. He can’t ask for a better situation than learning the QB position from Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson. If the Browns do draft Barkley and Darnold’s around, they’ll scoop up Darnold.
If Darnold isn’t around after they draft Barkley, they can always draft Josh Allen. At this point, nobody knows for sure which QB will prove best: Rosen, Darnold, or Allen.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Denver can’t pass on Josh Allen if he’s available with the 5th pick. Allen, like Rosen and Darnold, has the attributes to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. If Allen isn’t around, if for some reason there’s a run on the top 3 quarterbacks in the Top 5 picks, GM John Elway will most likely draft QB Baker Mayfield. Rumor has it that Denver loves Mayfield.
6. Indianapolis Colts – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
I believe Fitzpatrick, like Chubb, is a home run player on the defensive side of the ball. Minkah can play any defensive position. His leadership skills are also unmatched. The Colts need players like Minkah Fitzpatrick on their defense. There’s a chance they go with guard Quenton Nelson as well.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Nelson is one of those players that immediately upgrades an entire offense. Just by plugging Nelson into one of the guard positions, Tampa can not only rush up the middle again, but they can also protect QB Jameis Winston. No quarterback, even one with Jameis’ talents, will be effective with a hand in their face on every passing play.
Tampa could decide to go with defense here. If they do, it should only be because some other team has already drafted Nelson. It’s time for the Bucs to protect their franchise quarterback much better than they have.
8. Chicago Bears – CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Denzel Ward has all the tools to be a starting cornerback in the NFL on Day 1. Chicago has a decent group of linebackers. They need a corner that can shut down an opposing teams best wide receiver. Ward won’t shut down every team’s wide receiver. No cornerback can do that. Ward will be able to go one-on-one with most of the best WRs in the league, though. To me, that makes him a great pick for the Chicago Bears who reside in a division with quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford.
9. San Francisco 49’ers – LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The San Francisco 49’ers decided to draft Rueben Foster, Alabama’s former stud linebacker, last year. Just 3 days ago, Foster was indicted on 3 felonies, including a serious domestic violence felony. Foster almost certainly will serve some time in jail. He could serve up to 11 years in jail.
The San Francisco 49’ers must draft either LB Roquan Smith, or LB Tremaine Edmunds. If they don’t draft Smith, they’ll draft Edmunds. Either is an upgrade over Foster. The man obviously has issues outside of playing on Sundays, that’s for sure.
10. Oakland Raiders – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
I just read an article on ESPN about the Raiders not discriminating against Tremaine Edmunds due to his age. Edmunds is only 19-years-old. Often, 19 is just too young to draft the player. The NFL is tough. You can’t even drink, but you’re required to sack quarterbacks? Yep.
The thing is, Edmunds might be the best overall defensive talent in this year’s draft. If Edmunds runs the straight and narrow, he could have a 10-year All Pro career in the National Football League before he turns 30.
11. Miami Dolphins – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Miami head coach Adam Gase really likes Baker Mayfield. If the Dolphins do draft Mayfield, I’d applaud them. There comes a point where potential is no longer potential. What has that potential become? It’s become a burden on your football team.
It’s too late to say that Ryan Tannehill has potential. He went through yet another lost season due to a debilitating knee injury. It’s time for Tannehill to retire. It’s time for the Fins to move on. If Mayfield’s available with pick 11, they had better scoop him up.
12. Buffalo Bills – QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Buffalo’s hope is that one of the Top 4 quarterbacks is around by the time they draft 12th. Jackson is somewhat of a drop off from Mayfield, Allen, Rosen, and Darnold. However, he’s the best athlete of the bunch. He can also throw the ball around 60 yards without breaking a sweat.
The Bills shouldn’t pressure Lamar if they do draft him. Buffalo must take time to teach Jackson the nuances of playing QB in the NFL. While at Louisville, he did whatever he wanted versus college defenders. He won’t have the luxury of doing whatever he wants versus NFL defenders.
13. Washington Redskins – DT Vita Vea, Washington
Washington’s got some holes to fill, that’s for sure. It starts with the defensive line. If D.C. can get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they should manage to at least slightly protect their secondary. Vita Vea comes from an excellent football program. His coach, Chris Petersen, is fantastic at getting players ready for the NFL. Vea won’t disappoint Washington’s fans.
14. Green Bay Packers – S Derwin James, Florida State
James can be as good as he wants to be. That’s the truth about his skill set. The Green Bay Packers need more than just Derwin James. It might be a good idea to grab a cornerback at this spot. However, James can stop the rush, play against oppsing tight-ends, and blitz the quarterback. He also has some decent coverage skills.
Some believe he’s the next Jalen Ramsey. If you’re Green Bay, do you pass on the next Jalen Ramsey? I don’t think so.
15. Arizona Cardinals – QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Some draft analysts believe that Arizona won’t draft Mason Rudolph in Round 1 because they’re not sure he’s worth a Round 1 pick. The thing is, Arizona must eventually draft a QB. I believe Rudolph is the best quarterback left on the board.
16. Baltimore Ravens – WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley played in a great offensive system. Baltimore has no wide receivers. They haven’t for a while. Althnough they could use a running back as well, Ridley makes too much sense. He’s the best skill player from a National Championship winning team. He can play slot or wide-out and he’s got amazing hands.
The Ravens could do worse than to draft Calvin Ridley. I think this could be a home run for both Baltimore and Ridley. Calvin immediately goes from a great college football program to a well-run NFL organization.