NFL Mock Draft 2018: Post-Pro Day edition

There's only around a month to go, the bulk of free agency is done, QB pro days are out the way, and it's another week, another mock draft!


1. Cleveland Browns – Josh Allen, quarterback, Wyoming

I don’t agree with this pick, but this seems to be the way Cleveland are leaning. Allen looks like the perfect quarterback with his tall frame and cannon of a right arm.

Despite his struggles with accuracy and consistency in college and the better play from some others, he is going early on Draft day, and the small-town guy on his way up fits well with the Cleveland mentality.

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

I have frequently stated my dislike for drafting a running back high, but it seems that no matter how often mid-round running backs explode and are proven to be better value teams will always fall in love with a back and draft him high.

The giants have added a lot of offensive line talent in Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh, so adding a back would finish off the attempt to build a running game at long last. Barkley does pop on film and can help in the passing game as well. 

3. New York Jets – Sam Darnold, quarterback, USC

The Jets will be delighted to see Darnold still available. A year ago he was the defacto #1 pick for this draft and really, little has changed.

He has all the tools needed to succeed, and the Jets are in a position with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to bring him along slowly. As a redshirt sophomore there are still some rough edges to Darnold’s game and it may take him some time to truly “arrive” in the NFL, but he is a future star if handled correctly. 

4. *TRADE* Buffalo Bills – Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA

Buffalo send #12, #22, and #56 to Cleveland to take their quarterback. They have a ton of draft capital and no real options at quarterback, making this move the obvious one.

Rosen’s mentality and manner is raising a few red flags, but his talent is undeniable and he has all the physical tools you could want.

5. Denver Broncos – Bradley Chubb, edge, NC State

With the top three quarterbacks gone and Case Keenum signed, the Broncos add another pass rusher to their arsenal. Von Miller has one side locked down, but Shane Ray has struggled to be consistent on the other edge and adding Chubb returns a monstrous pass rush to the Broncos defense.

6. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, guard, Notre Dame

Nelson is my favorite player in this draft, and the Colts are in the fortunate situation to take him. They’d have loved to take Chubb, but with him off the board and having missed out on Andrew Norwell, adding Nelson makes too much sense.

He is a brute in the running game and truly remarkable in pass protection. He is exactly what the Colts need.

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

Another team that would have loved to see Bradley Chubb but has to go with Plan B. Of course, Minkah Fitzpatrick is a pretty good Plan B. Capable of playing almost anywhere in the secondary and being productive as a blitzer, against the run, and in coverage, Fitzpatrick is one of most well-rounded prospects in this draft class.

He is perhaps best suited to a free safety role in the NFL, and has the potential to be as productive as Earl Thomas.

8. Chicago Bears – Denzel Ward, cornerback, Ohio State

The Bears may have re-signed Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller this offseason, but they lack a real difference maker at corner, which is where Denzel Ward comes in.

He lacks ideal length, but his athleticism and sheer stickiness is rare. Ohio State is fast becoming DB University for the NFL, and Ward is just the latest in a line of elite prospects. He would add impact immediately to the Bears defense.

9. San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith, linebacker, Georgia

The 49ers have been plowing draft picks into the defensive line and have built a unit that is a youthful monster. They also added Richard Sherman to improve their secondary this offseason, but the linebackers have been somewhat neglected. It is time to end that.

Roquan Smith is the prototypical modern linebacker, with relentless speed and athleticism and the ability to cover every blade of grass on the field. He can fix a big hole in the 49ers defense.

10. Oakland Raiders – Trumaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech

Like the 49ers, Oakland have lacked linebacker talent for a while now. Like Smith, Edmunds can run for days and track receivers in coverage. He is not as consistent a player as Smith, but he brings an ability to play in the backfield and rush off the edge as well. Something the Raiders would be very keen on adding.

11. Miami Dolphins – Derwin James, safety, Florida State

This doesn’t fill a huge need for the Dolphins, but James’ talent is too good to turn down at this point.

A versatile playmaker, James may be something of a ‘tweener in the NFL, but with the emphasis on individual matchups that offenses have now, James’ talents are an equalizer for any defense. He can match up with receivers in the slot, cover backs, and make plays in the box. He’s an ideal weapon against that divisional rival Miami will have to beat one day.

12. Cleveland Browns – Vita Vea, defensive tackle, Washington

The Browns are back on the clock and happy to take the best player available, and that is Vita Vea.

At a mammoth 6’4” and 347 pounds, Vea is a dominant run stuffer, but he is also far more athletic and capable as a pass rusher than anyone his size has any right to be. He can eat up space at nose or under tackle, and dominate one-on-ones anywhere else.

13. Washington Redskins – Josh Jackson, cornerback, Iowa

With Kendall Fuller departing in the Alex Smith trade and Bashaud Breeland a free agent, the Redskins need playmakers at cornerback.

Jackson has ideal build at 6’1” and impressive athleticism. His ball skills play up at every opportunity, but his run support can be somewhat lacking. Still, if he is plucking an interception every other game that is more than ok.

14. Green Bay Packers – Harold Landry, edge, Boston College

The Packers would probably have liked to see Jackson still on the board, but if you can’t improve your coverage, then improving your pass rush is the logical thing to do.

Change is coming on defense with Mike Pettine taking the reins, but one thing the Packers need is an improved edge presence to match their strong interior play. Landry is a terrific prospect who nailed the Combine and flashed the same kind of explosiveness as the Watt brothers and outperformed the likes of Vic Beasley and Yannick Ngakoue.

15. Arizona Cardinals – Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma

The Cardinals may have signed Sam Bradford in free agency, but all that does is allow them to sit a rookie this year rather than force him onto the field.

What they are happy to find waiting for them is Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. An out-and-out playmaker at quarterback whose style and attitude has drawn unflattering, and unfair, comparisons to Johnny Manziel. Mayfield is better than that though. A darling of Pro Football Focus’ grading system and arguably the best quarterback in the class, Mayfield’s red flags are Arizona’s gain.

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

Ozzie Newsome has a method when it comes to drafting. Trade down, take players at premium positions, keep the defense strong. Since their 2012 triumph though that hasn’t done the Ravens too well.

It may be time to improve the offense and actually give Joe Flacco someone to throw the ball to. Ridley lacks ideal size, but he has all the athletic talent and polish to excel in the NFL and should be capable of playing both inside and outside.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne, defensive tackle, Alabama

The Chargers may have the best edge combo in the NFL, but on the inside they are struggling. A massive 4.9 yards per carry against shows the need for new blood in the middle of the defense, and Payne can provide that.

He isn’t going to provide much in the way of pass rush, but he can disrupt and occupy space in the middle and create easier opportunities for his teammates.

18. Seattle Seahawks – Will Hernandez, guard, Texas-El Paso

The Seahawks have lost a lot of talent on the defense, and while the temptation might be to try and replace Richard Sherman or Michael Bennett immediately, they should focus on better protecting Russell Wilson.

The star quarterback has been under siege in recent years, and with Ndamukong Suh now a Ram, the Seahawks need better interior blocking; Hernandez can provide that.

19. Dallas Cowboys – Marcus Davenport, edge, Texas-San Antonio

The Cowboys lack talent on defense, and with star end DeMarcus Lawrence playing under the franchise tag in 2018 they could use an insurance policy on their edge rush.

Davenport is far from the finished article, but he possesses the rare physical traits that teams love and he has been able to succeed on that for most of his career to date.

20. Detroit Lions – Rashaan Evans, linebacker, Alabama

In New England, Matt Patricia knew the benefit of having a smart middle linebacker that can do a bit of everything. Bringing that to Detroit is likely a high priority.

Evans is still learning the off-linebacker role but he brings a third-down pass rush ability as well as outstanding movement around the field and a non-stop motor. Pairing him with Jarrad Davis could quickly make the Lions defense a force.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Dallas Goedert, tight end, South Dakota State

Moving down landed the Bengals Cordy Glenn, which fixes their left tackle issue for now, but it has also lost them a shot at the linebacker talent they needed. So instead, the Bengals turn their attention to finding a difference-maker on offense in the shape of a pass-catching tight end.

There are some reservations about Goedert’s ability to compete at the highest level after he dominated a low-level of competition in college but he has all the traits to be a threat across the field for the Bengals.

22. Cleveland Browns – Mike McGlinchey, offensive tackle, Notre Dame

The retirement of Joe Thomas leaves a gaping hole at left tackle that will be almost impossible to replace.

Still, they have the best option available to them here with Mike McGlinchey still on the board. He is the best left tackle prospect in the draft and possesses terrific physicality and a good frame.

23. Los Angeles Rams – Jaire Alexander, cornerback, Louisville

The Rams may have added Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters this offseason but they may well end up just being rentals at the position rather than long-term solutions.

Alexander may struggle to play from day one, but he shouldn’t have to with the Rams. He can struggle early in routes and will need some polishing, but he has the athleticism and recovery speed to play inside or outside and has good ball skills.

24. Carolina Panthers – Billy Price, center/guard, Ohio State

With Andrew Norwell lost in free agency and Ryan Kalil stating this will be his final season, the Panthers need help on the inside.

Price brings experience at both interior positions and is as well-balanced an interior prospect at center as you are going to see. The only issue is a pectoral tear suffered during the Combine. It was reportedly minor and he should be ok for training camps.

25. Tennessee Titans – Maurice Hurst, defensive tackle, Michigan

The Titans are pretty set at most positions, but they could use someone to play inside next to Jurrell Casey after failing to tempt Ndamukong Suh over.

Hurst can fill that spot. He is a little undersized at 6’2”, 282 lbs, but he uses that to his advantage with tremendous first-step quickness and explosiveness. The success of Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald before him has remodeled the opinion of undersized defensive tackles, and while his Combine medical revealed a heart condition it is not meant to be serious and comparable to those that both Nick Fairley and Star Lotulelei, both first round picks, had.

26. Atlanta Falcons – Harrison Phillips, defensive tackle, Stanford

The Falcons tried to create a run defense last year by bringing in Dontari Poe to protect their undersized linebackers and it didn’t work. Phillips should do the job though.

At 6’4”, 307 lbs, he is a dominant run-stopper who plays with ferocity and power. Good hands and elite strength make him exactly the kind of player Atlanta needs, and he can add some pass rush as well.

27. New Orleans Saints – Sam Hubbard, edge, Ohio State

The Saints created a defensive renaissance last season, but all their pass rush came from Cameron Jordan. Adding a second pass rusher would make a lot of sense.

Hubbard has terrific movement and athleticism but is still raw with his technique. He also possesses some coverage skills, that would allow the Saints to play with their blitzes more.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Isaiah Oliver, cornerback, Colorado

No matter how great the Steelers offensive firepower is, their season tends to come down to having to stop opposing quarterbacks, and while they have the pass rush up front to make a difference, their secondary has been struggling.

Oliver brings elite speed and athleticism but lacks technical polish. His potential is off the charts, though, and that could well be enough for Pittsburgh.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville

It makes too much sense. Blake Bortles’ new contract is effectively a one-year deal with two team options tacked on the end, and his play is inconsistent enough for Jacksonville to be more than tempted by a quarterback of Jackson’s talent were he to be available.

30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, center/guard, Georgia

The Vikings are one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL, but their interior offensive line can stand some improvement, especially in pass protection.

Wynn was at left tackle for the Bulldogs last year, but his lack of length for the NFL will see him kick inside, where his outside experience and light feet should play well in the passing game. He is strong as a run blocker too, and while moving inside doesn’t guarantee success, Wynn should be more than just a backup for Minnesota immediately.

31. New England Patriots – Derrius Guice, running back, LSU

After losing Dion Lewis, the Patriots need a new back. They don’t really do “feature” backs, but they do need someone who can run the ball between the tackles and still threaten as a pass catcher, Guice can do that.

He’s a powerful runner who relishes contact and has terrific positional IQ, his pass protection is shaky, but that can be improved.

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Boise State

The defending champs aren’t really thin anywhere, so it comes down to fits and talent. Vander Esch has a nose for the football and can contribute in multiple phases as a pass rusher, in the box tackler, and in coverage. He’s a three-down ‘backer that can quickly compete with Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks for snaps.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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