2018 NFL Mock Draft: Christian Page's first mock draft

by Christian Page

1. Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold, QB, USC

DeShone Kizer isn’t a lost cause but moving forward with a potential all-star quarterback, Sam Darnold, is the right move for Cleveland. Cleveland may still bring in a quarterback through free agency (Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith), but that shouldn’t dictate whom it takes at No. 1.

2. New York Giants              

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Though Josh Rosen is the most pro-ready passer out of the group, it wouldn’t hurt to sit behind a potential hall of fame quarterback.

3. Indianapolis Colts                        

Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

The Colts need a spark on the defensive line as the team finished 31st in total sacks (25.0) in 2017. Drafting the best pass rusher in the class makes too much sense to turn down.

4. Cleveland Browns                        

Saquon Barkley, rb, penn state

Isaiah Crowell is a free agent but regardless of what returns on the running back depth chart, Saquon Barkley is instantly the best runner on the team. Piecing Barkley with receiving threats Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon should allow Cleveland to take the next step forward offensively.                       

5. Denver Broncos                

Baker Mayfield, qb, oklahoma 

The Trevor Siemian experience fell flat and Paxton Lynch is still struggling to become just an adequate quarterback. Baker Mayfield adds an infectious attitude and intensity to an offense that has lacked just that over the past couple seasons.           

6. New York Jets                   

Connor Williams, ot, texas

Assuming quarterback is in play for New York at some point during the offseason, a pass protector to keep the quarterback upright is not a bad approach with its first selection. If New York eyes a receiver that is worthy of the sixth overall pick, that would also be an ideal choice.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers   

Minkah Fitzpatrick, db, alabama

Tampa Bay ranked last in pass defense (260.6) and had obvious issues in the secondary. With a versatile playmaker like Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Bucs address a need, while also drafting the best player left on the board.

8. Chicago Bears                  

Calvin Ridley, wr, alabama

In three seasons, former first round pick Kevin White has caught only 21 passes. With its potential franchise quarterback attempting to take the next step, a WR1 is necessary for Chicago. Calvin Ridley is the most reliable wideout in the class and has experience playing versatile roles in a multiple offense. 

*9. San Francisco 49ers    

Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

San Francisco had inconsistencies in both pass protection and run blocking in 2017. Moving forward with the best offensive lineman in the class should instantly help an average front five.

*10. Oakland Raiders         

Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State     

Using back-to-back first round picks on Buckeye cornerbacks shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. If Gareon Conley can come back healthy, Oakland could have the boundaries locked down for a decade.

11. Miami Dolphins             

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Miami started the worst linebacker unit in football last season. Whether the selection is Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith, either player would instantly become the best linebacker on the roster.

12. Cincinnati Bengals       

Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Neither Jake Fisher nor Cedric Ogbuehi has the traits to be a consistent starter at left tackle. Though not a perfect prospect from a technique standpoint, Orlando Brown provides blindside protection for an underwhelming offensive line.

13. Washington Redskins    

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

He is by no means ready to take over a franchise, but Josh Allen has the traits that Jay Gruden would love to get his hands on. Colt McCoy is the only quarterback on the roster and could serve as the temporary starter until Allen is ready to take over the reigns. 

14. Green Bay Packers         

Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Kevin King underwhelmed last season before being placed on the IR and Green Bay is still desperately looking for a No. 1 cornerback. Mike Hughes has the ball skills, fluidity and physicality to project as just that.

15. Arizona Cardinals          

Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Chandler Jones is one of the top pass rushers in the league but outside of his 17-sack 2017 performance, the next highest sack total was 5.5 by Olsen Pierre. Marcus Davenport brings an instant upgrade to any team wanting to increase its pass rush. 

16. Baltimore Ravens           

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

One of the most productive players in college football history, James Washington looks to fill the hole of a No. 1 receiver in Baltimore. He doesn’t have the usual build of an alpha dog at wideout, but he continues to prove he’s fine tuned in every area of the field.

17. Los Angeles Chargers   

 Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Roquan Smith has the range and athleticism to play a versatile role for the Chargers. Los Angeles would see an instant upgrade Week 1 at inside linebacker.

18. Seattle Seahawks                       

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Seattle continues to whiff on offensive line talent and needs to sure up at least one side of the line. Mike McGlinchey has the mold of a right tackle but may have to sure arm the left side of the line before making the permanent adjustment to the right.

19. Dallas Cowboys              

Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Whether finding a cornerback or wide receiver, Dallas needs to welcome in someone who can make plays on the exterior. Josh Jackson provides plenty of ball skills and toughness to sure up one side of the field.

20. Detroit Lions                   

Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

First round pick Jarrad Davis struggled last season at the inside linebacker position but regardless of his success, Detroit needs to find him a partner on the outside. Rashaan Evans has the athleticism, intelligence and reliability to fill either outside linebacker position.

21. Buffalo Bills                    

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Buffalo desperately needs help on the interior defensive line. Maurice Hurst brings strong run support and pass rushing ability to a team that struggled to get to this passer last season.

22. Buffalo Bills                    

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Tyrod Taylor era most likely comes to an end and Buffalo needs to make the decision on whether Nathan Peterman is the next man up. There aren’t many late-round quarterbacks to settle for if Mason Rudolph is not the pick here (next in line: Lamar Jackson, Kyle Lauletta, Mike White).

23. Los Angeles Rams          

Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Los Angeles surrendered 54 passing plays over 20 yards last season. Finding a cornerback that can turn and run and can also play well against the run is vital in taking the next step forward. A healthy Jaire Alexander can provide that and then some.

24. Carolina Panthers          

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Carolina’s top wide receiver caught 63 passes in 2017. Its second highest finished the year with 17 receptions. Courtland Sutton possesses the build of a go-to third down and redzone threat, which has plenty of value to Cam Newton and the Panther offense.

25. Tennessee Titans                      

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma

Though the combination of Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo provides enough spark on an underrated front seven, it doesn’t hurt to add another pass rusher to a division that boasts a few solid passers.

26. Atlanta Falcons               

Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Grady Jarrett had a breakout year for the Falcons at defensive tackle. Adding another pass rushing interior presence would only provide that much more excitement for a young and potent defense.

27. New Orleans Saints       

Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

New Orleans isn’t lacking in playmakers but it needs to find a long-term second receiver behind Michael Thomas. Christian Kirk fits right into an already electric offense with more versatility than Ted Ginn Jr. 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers       

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

The relationship between Pittsburgh and Le’Veon Bell is strange, to say the least. Maybe a change at offensive coordinator keeps him in town for a little while longer but just in case things go sour, Steelers draft his replacement early.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars      

Derwin James, FS, Florida State

The best defense in football only gets richer. Current free safety Tashaun Gipson had an adequate year but is likely to be cut at the end of the season. The versatility of Derwin James is attractive and he can instantly fill a need at free safety if Jacksonville cuts ties with Gipson.

30. Minnesota Vikings         

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

He may not be a home run fit schematically, but Vita Vea has the athleticism to make every technique across the defensive line work. Vea can provide comfort and relief by not having the need to rush Sharrif Floyd back from injury.

*31. Philadelphia Eagles       

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Jason Peters continues to find himself on the IR and Philadelphia struggles to find a reliable replacement. Kolton Miller is an efficient pass blocker that has plenty of length to hold down the edge.

*32. New England Patriots    

Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

Malcolm Butler’s contract is up. After signing Stephon Gilmore to a large five-year deal, it’s uncertain whether Butler will be retained. Isaiah Oliver is an all-around cornerback with plus physicality that should fill Butler’s role if he is no longer with the team after the Super Bowl.

*not official selection spot at this point