2018 NFL Draft: Eric Galko's Final Mock Draft
It’s Draft Day! After months of speculation, the 2018 NFL Draft is upon us, and it’s surely not going to disappoint.
Five quarterbacks are likely to go in round one, at least one top-10 trade is expected (and maybe as many as four), and there’s great uncertainty starting with the first overall pick.
Here’s my final projection on how round one will go.
1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
After all the discussion about Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, I think the Browns take the draft’s best quarterback in Sam Darnold. The question then will be: how long will it be until they thrust Sam Darnold into the starting role?
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Giants have passed on multiple trade offers before the draft, and maybe they’ll be swayed on draft day. If not, Barkley fits what GM Dave Gettleman covets, but I wouldn’t rule out a quarterback, especially Josh Allen.
3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets moved up to the third pick in the draft to take a quarterback, and it’s expected to be Baker Mayfield. Josh Rosen may be considered as well, but Mayfield can offer immediate and creative value as a passer.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
If Chubb is on the board, the Browns may pass on any and all trade offers. They value him as highly as the previous regime valued Myles Garrett, and it’ll take more than two first round picks to get him.
5. TRADE: Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Buffalo Bills can’t leave the first round without their new franchise quarterback, and they’ll have to include both 12 and 22 (and potentially a little more) to secure Josh Allen with the fifth overall pick. The Broncos would take Baker Mayfield if he’s here.
6. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Colts could take Quenton Nelson or Roquan Smith with this pick assuming they stay put. Nelson makes more immediate sense to help protect Andrew Luck. They are looking to actively trade back, and a team looking to land Roquan Smith or Minkah Fitzpatrick may look here to get him.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, SAF, Florida State
Most around the league expect this pick to be either Denzel Ward or Derwin James. James makes more sense for their current personnel, and could be a plug and play impact safety.
8. Chicago Bears – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Bears are likely to take whichever Notre Dame offensive lineman is left on the board, with Nelson being the obviously preferred choice. Tremaine Edmunds is also very much in play.
9. San Francisco 49ers - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The 49ers would love if a top offensive lineman like Quenton Nelson was available, and they’ll be actively considering moving down. If they stay put, Denzel Ward and Roquan Smith will be considered. Ward offers higher upside for the 49ers defense.
10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
The Raiders are looking closely at offensive linemen, especially Kolton Miller, but if Roquan Smith was available here, they’d gladly take him.
11. Miami Dolphins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Miami would love to trade up for Saquon Barkley or Baker Mayfield, but they don’t want to give up their second rounder to do it. Instead, they’ll likely pass on a quarterback and get a top linebacker like Edmunds.
12. TRADE: Denver Broncos – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Denver uses their first of two first-rounders on the Boise State athletic linebacker. If they trade down to 12 and Minkah Fitzpatrick is still on the board, they might flip spots with the Packers or Cardinals to get another mid-round pick.
13. Washington Redskins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Redskins covet both Minkah Fitzpatrick and Vita Vea. I’d expect some team moves up for Minkah Fitzpatrick if he falls past 11, and the Redskins would be happy with either of the two.
14. Green Bay Packers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Packers are looking to move up in the draft, and it’s likely for either Denzel Ward or Minkah Fitzpatrick. They may not have to move up too far to secure the Alabama standout.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Josh Jackson, CB, Arizona
Arizona could certainly consider a quarterback in Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson, and they like both as passers. But the question is whether they want to build for the now (and take a top cornerback to complete their defense) or for the future. I believe Lamar Jackson is their more likely quarterback choice over Josh Rosen.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Frank Ragnow, OC, Arkansas
This is the absolute highest Frank Ragnow will go, but with Derwin James off the board, the Ravens may look to address their biggest need in round one at center, and look to build their receiver and safety depth later. Kolton Miller is an option as well.
17. Los Angeles Chargers – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
A dream landing spot for Josh Rosen, he can develop behind Phillip Rivers for two seasons before being taking over and staying in Los Angeles. The Chargers could move up just a few spots to 10 or 12 to get him.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Kolton Miller could go as high as 10thoverall, but it’s more likely he lands at 16, 18 or 23. The Seahawks need offensive line depth badly, and he can help continue to help the offensive line.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
I’ve long linked Sutton and the Cowboys with Dez Bryant likely on the chopping block, and Sutton makes more sense than ever. Sutton needs much refinement as a receiver, but has number one receiver potential.
20. Detroit Lions – Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
Landry is in play for multiple teams in the top half of the first, but the Lions may be his floor. They’ll likely end up with he or Da’Ron Payne on draft day.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – James Daniels, OC, Iowa
The Bengals like both Frank Ragnow and James Daniels quite a bit, and may be happy with either of them. There’s a great chance both are available, but if Ragnow is gone, they likely won’t hesitate to draft Daniels.
22. TRADE: Denver Broncos – Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Part of Denver’s excitement to trade down is their belief in Will Hernandez. He’s the guard they covet, and he can help complete their offensive line.
23. New England Patriots (via LAR) – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Patriots are looking to move up the draft board, and it may be for linebacker Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds. If they stay put at 23 and 31, they’ll likely look for linebacker and offensive line help.
24. Carolina Panthers – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
25. Tennessee Titans – Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
I full expect the Titans to trade down if at all possible on draft day. Tennessee would love if Harold Landry slipped in the draft, and may even look to move up to get him. Davenport could be a nice replacement. If Leighton Vander Esch slipped to here, they’d take him. Sleeper pick (and likely pick if they move down): Florida State’s Josh Sweat.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Without many pressing needs, the Falcons should look to take advantage of a deep defensive tackle and offensive line class. Coaches speak glowingly about Payne’s maturity and consistent improvement over his time at Alabama, and his ceiling is far from reached.
27. New Orleans Saints – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Saints are one of the more likely team to draft Lamar Jackson, and they’ve had substantial interest in drafting him since the middle of this past season. With Drew Brees on his way out and the offense drastically changing, adding Lamar Jackson now can give him a full redshirt season before working with Alvin Kamara to take the league by storm.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Steelers rarely drafted cornerbacks early throughout the last two decades, but Alexander fits their defensive scheme so well, and they need to find added help for Artie Burns (their other recent first-round cornerback) if they hope to reach the Super Bowl again. Alexander could go as high as 14th.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia.
They Jaguars don’t believe a top guard will be here, and if there’s not, they’ll consider receiver DJ Moore, receiver Christian Kirk, and tight end Hayden Hurst. Lucky for them, Isaiah Wynn is here, and they can get a top guard prospect at 29.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Billy Price, OC, Ohio State
Billy Price is the draft’s best center if not for injury concerns, and will be a steal for the Vikings at 30thoverall. He can play alongside his former teammate Pat Elfien on the interior of the offensive line.
31. New England Patriots – Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Patriots need to find an offensive tackle of the future to replace Nate Solder, and they may land the highest upside blocker in the draft in Connor Williams.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles are planning to trade out of the first round, and I’d say it’s less than 25% that they stay here. If they do, or if they trade back, running back is likely the target, with Derrius Guice and Sony Michel both being considered. Offensive tackle may also be an option.