NFL Mock Draft 2018: Post-Free Agency edition

The majority of the big moves in free agency are complete, and a key trade has been agreed. Here's the latest RealSport mock draft!

1. Cleveland Browns – Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA

The Cleveland Browns just signed Carlos Hyde and are working on a new contract for Duke Johnson. That’s going to be lots money tied up in running backs, and most likely rules out Saquon Barkley as the number 1 pick, but not completely.

That’s not a bad thing; a running back is terrible value at number 1. Cleveland needs to take this chance to pick the best quarterback in the draft, and that’s Josh Rosen. 

2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State

If the Browns pass on Barkley, you know the New York Giants won’t. 

In fact, to suggest the Bronx-born Barkley doesn’t belong next to Eli Manning and Odell Beckham at MetLife Stadium is heresy. The former Nittany Lion dreamed of it as a young man, only it was for the green team. Close enough.

3. New York Jets – Josh Allen, quarterback, Wyoming

The New York Jets already have two new quarterbacks this offseason, so why not add a third to complete the timeline? 

By taking big-armed Josh Allen from Wyoming, New York now boast a veteran quarterback still capable of moving the chains, a high-upside passer coming cheap with an in injury history, and a young quarterback looking to learn the trade.

4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, defensive end, NC State

Coming away with a quarterback and a second excellent pass-rusher from the top four picks is a brilliant and logical return for Cleveland, who are slowly starting to build a rather enviable team for next year.

5. Denver Broncos – Sam Darnold, quarterback, Southern California

The Denver Broncos may have just signed Case Keenum, but as many have pointed out, this far from rules them out of drafting a quarterback at the top of the draft.

Some may be surprised to see Sam Darnold fall to pick five, given some think he’s the best QB since Andrew Luck, but there’s enough evidence out there to believe it’ll happen. If he does, there’s even less chance Denver passes on him.

6. Indianapolis Colts – Denzel Ward, cornerback, Ohio State

Flying up draft boards of late, Denzel Ward can help fill out the Indianapolis Colts’ secondary, after it was ravaged by free agency.

Let me take the time to mention how much I love this trade down from Indianapolis. There was nothing for them at that particularly high end of the board, where here they still get a brilliant player, plus a stash of picks to go with it.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, Alabama

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ crop of deep men is aging; TJ. Ward is 31 and Keith Tandy is 29. Minkah Fitzpatrick immediately makes this group younger and gives him two savvy veterans to learn from.

8. Chicago Bears – Marcus Davenport, defensive end, UTSA

To replace the departing Mitch Unrein, and add some youth to the Chicago Bears’ defense, I see them looking at Marcus Davenport from UTSA. Chubb will almost certainly be gone by the 8th overall pick, and there is little reason to trade up.

9. San Francisco 49ers – Quenton Nelson, guard, Notre Dame

The San Francisco 49ers have two needs in one – a replacement for Brandon Fusco, and to protect their new $137.5 million man. Quenton Nelson is great value this far down the top 10 if he makes it here.

10. Oakland Raiders – Derwin James, safety, Florida State

Although Reggie Nelson has recently enjoyed some of his most productive seasons, he’ll be 35 years old around the time of the start of the season. It wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Oakland Raiders to take a replacement in Derwin James.

11. Miami Dolphins – Derrius Guice, running back, LSU

The Miami Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles in the middle of the season, and they wouldn’t be wrong to draft a running back in the first round, especially one as talented as Derrius Guice.

12. Buffalo Bills – Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech

The Buffalo Bills traded up to the 12th pick, and many assume they will draft a qb, but there is better value they can get at this pick – for example, Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech. They also lost Preston Brown, arguably their most talented linebacker.

13. Washington Redskins – Mike McGlinchey, offensive tackle, Notre Dame

Another great value pick, some mock drafts have Mike McGlinchey going in the top five or top 10, but Washington would be stupid to pass on him here, especially as their offensive line ages over the next few years. It’s the perfect scenario.

14. Green Bay Packers – Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma

Pick you jaws up off the ground.

I could write an entire article on this itself (and just may), but out of every team in the NFL, Baker Mayfield arguably has the largest chance of success at the Green Bay Packers, in short, for every reason Johnny Manziel did not with the Browns.

15. Arizona Cardinals – Roquan Smith, linebacker, Georgia

No-one is quite certain where Roquan Smith will fall in this year’s draft, but the Arizona Cardinals would be foolish not to shore up their defense, especially after releasing Tyrann Mathieu.

16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Alabama

The Baltimore Ravens have been looking to put together an effective wide receiver group for a while now, and to go with new signing Michael Crabtree, Calvin Ridley of Alabama would be a great addition.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Vita Vea, defensive lineman, Washington

The Los Angeles Chargers’ defensive line including Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is already extremely impressive, and would get better with the addition of Vita Vea from Washington. 

18. Seattle Seahawks – Harold Landry, defensive end, Boston College

The Legion of Boom is now over, and the new dynasty of boom begins. You know if he’s there, the Seattle Seahawks are extremely likely to pick a pass-rusher like Harold Landry to begin to rebuild the all-conquering identity they once held.

19. Dallas Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, wide receiver, Southern Methodist

Who knows where Dez Bryant will (or won’t) be playing his football next year, but with a wide receiver group that’s aging, picking Courtland Sutton is a no-brainer. The narrative gets better given he is a Texas native who played his football at SMU.

20. Detroit Lions – Joshua Jackson, cornerback, Iowa

Joshua Jackson could be gone long before the Detroit Lions are picking, but if he’s not, pairing him in the defensive backfield with Darius Slay is the go-to move for the Detroit Lions with pick 20.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville

While the Cincinnati Bengals don’t “need” a quarterback, this is the perfect time to strike for one, and Lamar Jackson may be the perfect guy to strike for.

Arguably the highest upside guy in the draft, if Jackson fails at QB, he can always move to wide receiver. He may not have run the 40 at the Combine, but you better believe if he’s faced with this decision to stay in the show, he’ll take it.

22. Buffalo Bills – Brian O’Neill, offensive tackle, Pittsburgh

With the investment they’ve made in A.J. McCarron this offseason, the logic move to make is to go out and get protection for the guy. 

Even if the 27-year-old Alabama native doesn’t work out, an offensive tackle is still not the worst position to have prioritized.

23. Los Angeles Rams – Kolton Miller, offensive tackle, UCLA

One of the men tasked with protecting Josh Rosen this season can surely be left with the care of an equally important asset such as Jared Goff.

Even if he doesn’t play right away, it’s never a bad idea to make long-term investments in such important positions such as the offensive line.

24. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Oliver, cornerback, Colorado

Not only is the Carolina Panthers talent at this position lacking, its age profile isn’t great either. Isaiah Oliver changes both those things at once. 

25. Tennessee Titans – Taven Bryan, defensive line, Florida

The Tennessee Titans are putting together a mean secondary, with the additions of Malcolm Butler this year and Jonathan Cyprien the last. Now it’s time to focus on the front line.

26. Atlanta Falcons – Arden Key, defensive end, LSU

Some people see Arden Key as a top 10 defensive talent, which would be an absolute steal for the Atlanta Falcons this far down the draft.

Having just lost Adrian Clayborn and Dontari Poe from their front line, Atlanta could afford to be this way inclined at this stage of the draft, especially if Key is still on the board.

27. New Orleans Saints – Ronnie Harrison, safety, Alabama

I definitely didn’t want to make any jokes about the New Orleans Saints’ secondary, but hey, they could certainly use Alabama’s influence at this position right about now. 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Nick Chubb, running back, Georgia

Some see Sony Michel being the higher Georgia running back picked, but I think Nick Chubb may surprise and sneak a few selections higher.

While this wouldn’t conclusively be a definitive “power play” form the Pittsburgh Steelers, picking a running back while picking fights with Le’Veon Bell over the franchise tag, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have Chubb around.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Uchenna Nwosu, linebacker, Southern California

Given long-time Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny just retired, this would be far from a bad pick for Dave Caldwell, however you may be able to expect a pick on the other side of the ball given the team’s past few days in free agency.

30. Minnesota Vikings – Mike Hughes, cornerback, Central Florida

As good as the Minnesota Vikings’ defense is, they could do with getting a little younger in the corners, especially given Terence Newman is 39 and is no certainty to play on.

31. New England Patriots – Isaiah Wynn, offensive tackle, Georgia

This is the prototypical New England Patriots first round selection – a meat and vegetables position of need, who Bill Belichick will be hoping he can plug in and play in Week 1. I guess we can also expect to see Isaiah Wynn in the Pro Bowl soon.

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Billy Price, center, Ohio State

There’s certainly nothing wrong with Jason Kelce, despite being a little long in the tooth, but as he gets older, it’s never a bad thing to have someone young at the position prepping themselves. 

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