I wrote a blog about my 2018 NFL Mock Draft Round 1 Picks 1 through 16. This blog is about the rest of Round 1. After the first 16 picks, there’s plenty to discuss. The most interesting thing to discuss is what the New England Patriots do with both of their Round 1 picks.
The Patriots have two Round 1 picks. It should also be interesting to see how the Pittsburgh Steelers handle their Round 1 pick. Does Pittsburgh hope to find Le’Veon Bell’s replacement at the running back position? Or, will Pitt go a different route?
Check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft Round 1 Picks 17 through 32!
2018 Mock Draft Round 1 Picks 17-32
17. L.A. Chargers – DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
The Chargers must find a defensive tackle that can stuff the run and get to the quarterback. For too long, the Bolts have had trouble getting to the QB. Payne should help Los Angeles’ D do that. What’s great about drafting a DT like Da’Ron Payne is that he’s already got great technique and he’s only 20-years-old. He’ll find a way for the Chargers to protect their secondary by stopping the run.
18. Seattle Seahawks – CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
There’s a rumor Seattle drafts out of this position. I don’t know. It makes sense if they do. The Seahawks have needs across the board now that Richard Sherman is gone. Seattle hasn’t yet solidified the offensive line. However, because they’ve got one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL at evading the rush, it makes more sense for the Hawks to go for a corner to help their pass defense than to draft an OT.
19. Dallas Cowboys – WR Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist
Sutton might be the most talented wide receiver on the board. He’s not as polished as a guy like Calvin Ridley. When have the Boys ever drafted the most polished player available? Sutton should fill in nicely for the recently cut Dez Bryant. Sutton might not become a Dez clone. That won’t be an issue for the Cowboys. They won’t need Sutton to be as good as Dez. They’ll just need him to spread the field so that they can get RB Ezekiel Elliott going.
20. Detroit Lions – OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Because Orlando Brown had such a horrible, ridiculously bad, NFL Combine, Mike McGlinchey has become the highest-rated offensive tackle on the board. There’s a rumor that the Patriots are excited about drafting McGlinchey. I’m not sure Detroit can pass on McGlinchey if he’s available at pick 20. The Lions could use a solid tackle to help them bolster their rushing attack. Not only that, but Matthew Stafford needs as much protection as he can get. When the man has time, he’s proven to be one of the absolute best quarterbacks in the NFL.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Connor Williams, Texas
If one of the top 6 quarterbacks drops to 21, don’t be surprised if the Bengals go that way. They’ve had enough of Andy Dalton, I think. If the top 6 QBs end up being drafted where I believe they will, the Bengals will go with a talented offensive lineman. That talented offensive lineman should be Texas’ Connor Williams. Williams could solidify the offensive lineman in anticipation of the Bengals rebuilding elsewhere. It’s always a good idea to start a rebuilding process on both offensive and defensive lines.
22. Buffalo Bills – OLB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise St.
Vander Esch has flown up draft boards. Boise State hasn’t as been solid of an NFL player producing college football program as it has been in the past. Maybe, that’s a good thing. The Bills must find a linebacker to help their porous defense. Coach Sean McDermott’s defensive system revolves around a linebacker that can call the shots. Although Vander Esch was an OLB in college, he could play some ILB in the NFL.
23. New England Patriots – ILB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
I believe Evans could turn into the best defensive player of this draft. The Patriots aren’t sure if D’Onta Hightower comes back from the injury that kept on the sidelines for most of last season. Hightower’s one of the main reasons the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017. Also, let’s not forget that New England head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban are good friends.
24. Carolina Panthers – OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
The 6′ 9″, 310 lbs. Miller, is perfect for what the Carolina Panthers wish to accomplish in the rushing attack. Miller’s only real weakness is versus smaller defenders. That might not matter at Carolina because their backfield, RB Christian McCaffrey and QB Cam Newton, is as skilled as any in the NFL. By the time a smaller defender gets around Miller, McCaffrey and Newton will already be on their way to accomplishing what they wish to accomplish. Miller to the Panthers could be one of those perfect fits.
25. Tennessee Titans – OG Willie Hernandez, University of Texas-El Paso
I rank Hernandez the best OG in this year’s draft. Some have Isaiah Wynn ranked ahead of Hernandez. I don’t. Hernandez could protect QB Marcus Mariota from the up the middle rush. Almost as important this season, Hernandez could help open holes for bruiser Derrick Henry and lightning RB Dion Lewis. Lewis is a good between the tackles running back for his position.
26. Atlanta Falcons – DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Atlanta’s defense is coming together. The thing to remember is that head coach Dan Quinn prefers to play zone defense. That means he must pressure the quarterback on passing downs. Getting a decent push up the middle is what’s en vogue in today’s NFL. Bryan should help the Falcons get that decent push up the middle.
27. New Orleans Saints – DE Josh Sweat, Florida State
The Saints have one of the very best defensive ends in football with Cam Jordan. On the other side, Alex Okafor played exceptionally well until he got hurt. If Okafor comes back 100%, great. The Saints should still think about drafting Sweat to give Okafor and Jordan a breather once in a while. If Okafor doesn’t come back from his injury 100%, Sweat’s there to start for one of the top young defenses in the NFL.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – RB Derrius Guice, Louisiana State
The Steelers haven’t decided if they’re done with Le’Veon Bell. I believe they are. Pittsburgh could do worse than to draft a running back with the 28th pick in Round 1. Guice, by the way, has all the tools to be as effective as Bell. For all the talk about Bell, he’s had only 1 season where he dominated. He’s been injury-prone throughout his career, and he’s never played a full season due to numerous suspensions.
If Guice just shows up and puts in an honest day of work, he might be an upgrade because the Steelers offense has gone away from Bell the past 3 seasons. They didn’t want to. They had to.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
Jacksonville lost both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. I believe the Jags got a couple of great young wide receivers. Although that’s true, Jacksonville should bolster the WR position by drafting a guy like D.J. Moore. Moore’s got nice hands. He’s 6’0″ and 210 lbs. He’s not a huge wide receiver, but he’s quick. He can get separation and then take the ball up field. That will open things up for Jacksonville’s other wide outs.
30. Minnesota Vikings – OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
I’m most likely wrong that Wynn lasts until Round 1, Pick 30. Wynn, 6′ 3″ and 310 lbs., is one of the reasons the Georgia rushing attack was so effective last season. Without Wynn, the Bulldogs probably wouldn’t have made it all the way to the College Football Playoff. If Wynn does last until Pick 30, the Vikings will be beside themselves. The top rushing team in the NFL last season, Minnesota’s rush will only get better if Wynn manages to land in their laps.
31. New England Patriots – OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Brown’s Combine was terrible. That’s true. However, the Patriots are about production on the field. Did Tom Brady have a great combine? What about Julian Edelman? How about any player on New England’s football team?
Brown is a good offensive tackle. The Patriots need a good offensive tackle. They’ll draft Orlando if he falls this far.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – OT Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
The Eagles had a fantastic rushing attack last season. It could get better with an offensive tackle like Chukwuma Okorafor. At this point in Round 1, the 32nd pick, teams are looking for a decent player, not one that they feel will dominate. Okorafor won’t dominate. He’s definitely a decent player, though.