The 2018 NFL Draft is now less than a day away, so it’s time to present to you our yearly first-round mock draft. Last year, we mocked six players to their correct teams (not quite as good as 2016 where we matched 10 players). We’ve also correctly guessed the Detroit Lions’ first round pick two years in a row now, so let’s try and make it a three-peat.
1. Cleveland Browns - Sam Darnold - QB
There is a decent chance that the Browns screw this pick up and go with the tall drink of glass out of Wyoming, but I’ve felt for some time now that Darnold will be the pick. Darnold has his issues and isn’t my favorite QB in this year’s class, but he’s been linked here the most and is the safer pick than Allen. And no, Saquon Barkley will not go first overall.
2. New York Giants - Josh Rosen - QB
Eli Manning, blah blah blah. We know the situation in New York, and we know that the Giants could take Bradley Chubb or Barkley here to address a more immediate need while Eli mans the ship for another year, but in this league, you need a QB and I don’t think the Giants will be able to get their guy for the future if they sit back and wait until their second round pick.
3. New York Jets - Josh Allen - QB
If the Jets were smart, they’d go with either Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield here, but my guess is they won’t because they’re the Jets. I know they’ve cancelled all meetings with non-QB prospects and traded picks to get here, but I wouldn’t even be surprised if Bowles took the reins and decided to go with Chubb here either. These are the Jets.
4. Cleveland Browns - Bradley Chubb - EDGE
With Barkley on the board still, that should be the popular pick, but I think getting an edge rusher here provides so much more value, and the Browns could look to dominate the trenches with Chubb and Myles Garrett.
5. Denver Broncos - Saquon Barkley - RB
The Broncos desperately need to help their QB (or draft one) and right now, that’s Case Keenum. They could either go Quenton Nelson here or a skill player like Barkley. The Broncos need help in the passing game, moreso at wide receiver, but luckily, Barkley is the most dangerous weapon in the passing game in this year’s draft.
6. Indianapolis Colts - Tremaine Edmunds - LB
The Colts need all the help they can get on defense with their transition to a 4-3 scheme. Unfortunately for them, there aren’t many top-tier pass rushers to choose from, so they’ll have to settle for an athletic stud of an inside linebacker. I know, sucks for them.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Minkah Fitzpatrick - S
Take your pick between Fitzpatrick and Derwin James. Having Fitzpatrick as the deep safety and moving Evans over into the box with Conte leaving would be an ideal situation for the Bucs. I was not a big fan of Evans, but he had a decent year as a rookie. He won’t have to worry about giving up the deep ball anymore with Fitzpatrick in town.
8. Chicago Bears - Quenton Nelson - OG
Damnit, no. This just sucks.
9. San Francisco 49ers - Harold Landry - EDGE
The 49ers need pass rushing help in the worst way, and Landry fits the bill as one of the top pass rushers in the draft. I could also see Roquan Smith being a nice option here with everything that’s going on with Reuben Foster.
10. Oakland Raiders - Roquan Smith - LB
If he’s here, then it’s a no-brainer. This seems to be the most popular pick for the Raiders and it makes plenty of sense. Another option would be to address their need at cornerback and select Ward out of Ohio State.
11. Miami Dolphins - Baker Mayfield - QB
Ryan Tannehill’s days are numbered and I really like the idea of the Dolphins taking either Mayfield or Lamar Jackson here. It was between them or Vita Vea, who could help soften the blow after Ndamukong Suh’s departure.
12. Buffalo Bills - Lamar Jackson - QB
QBs galore! Lions fans are licking their chops with five QBs now off the board and a ton of talent left. Jackson is a ton of fun to watch and has what it takes to be a starting QB in the NFL. Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise.
13. Washington Redskins - Denzel Ward - CB
I like Fabian Moreau, but with the loss of Kendall Fuller and the unlikely return of Bashaud Breeland, the Redskins get a very good player in Ward who could start right away and become a difference maker on defense.
14. Green Bay Packers - Josh Jackson - CB
Kevin King is still developing, and wasn’t the greatest option for the Packers as early as they took him. Jackson is a much better prospect and has the opportunity to see the field right away as King continues to develop. The Packers ranked 26th in pass defense efficiency last year.
15. Arizona Cardinals - Calvin Ridley - WR
There aren’t many great options for the Cardinals for what their needs are, so a trade-up or trade-down scenario is a good possibility. I could have reached for a QB like Kyle Lauletta or Mason Rudolph, but I think they could probably wait until the second round to get their guy at this point. Ridley gives them a nice long-term piece at receiver as Larry Fitzgerald’s career is reaching its end point.
16. Baltimore Ravens - Mike McGlinchey - OT
The Ravens have a spot open at right tackle for McGlinchey who is considered the top offensive tackle prospect by most. Joe Flacco isn’t a guy that can carry a team on his back (at least not anymore) and he needs all the help he can get in front of him.
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Derwin James - S
This would be an absolute coup for the Chargers, who have a big need at safety, and James is one of the top players in the draft that happens to fit one of their biggest needs.
18. Seattle Seahawks - Marcus Davenport - EDGE/DE
The Seahawks really need a cornerback after they decided to part ways with Richard Sherman, but I think they’ll wait at least until the second round. Instead, I could see them going after a raw, but talented pass rushing threat like Davenport, especially with the void that Michael Bennett left on the outside.
19. Dallas Cowboys - Vita Vea - DT
The Cowboys need some help on the defensive interior and Vea gives them the most size and strength with some pass-rushing talent to boot. I really like Taven Bryan or a WR as an option here as well.
20. Detroit Lions - Leighton Vander Esch - LB
Just a reminder, this mock is always going to be what I think is going to happen, not what I would do. However, I still like this pick a lot. I don’t think the Lions are done adding linebackers and I think Vander Esch could be a perfect fit to beat out Christian Jones for the WILL spot, but he also has the versatility to move inside, should they need him to. Vander Esch is an elite, rangy athlete with great instincts.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Isaiah Wynn - OG
The Bengals’ offensive line is absolutely brutal. Pro Football Focus gave out one positive grade in the blocking department out of the 11 linemen that played for the Bengals last year. Wynn is my favorite guard not named Quenton Nelson and proved that he can hang with the best during Senior Bowl practices, despite playing with a torn labrum.
22. Buffalo Bills - Courtland Sutton - WR
Sutton is not one of my favorites at WR, but has gotten plenty of first-round love, regardless. The Bills already got their QB, so why not get him a new toy? Sutton is a tall possession receiver. Those types of players don’t tend to live up to a first round pick, but I feel that Sutton will go early, regardless.
23. New England Patriots - Kolton Miller - OT
I really like the idea of the Patriots grabbing a cornerback like Jaire Alexander here, but I just can’t see them doing anything other than drafting someone to protect Tom Brady. I don’t think Brady will live to see another day if they can’t figure out how to keep him upright for another year.
24. Carolina Panthers - Jaire Alexander - CB
Since the Patriots couldn’t afford to take him, the Panthers get a steal at 24. There is a good chance Alexander could end up being the best corner in this draft when all is said and done.
25. Tennessee Titans - Rashaan Evans - LB
The Titans get good value here as they’re in need of an inside backer and Evans has the versatility to play inside and as a weak-side backer.
26. Atlanta Falcons - Taven Bryan - DT
With Adrian Clayborn leaving for New England, Bryan would be a nice pick here to fill his old role, as he can play both inside and out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bryan went much higher than this (possibly the Cowboys or Lions?) due to his athleticism and versatility.
27. New Orleans Saints - Hayden Hurst - TE
Hurst has been the hot name as of late despite the fact that he’ll be turning 25 years old at the start of training camp. He’s very quick for his size and gives the Saints a nice receiving threat over the middle for Drew Brees.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Justin Reid - S
Reid is the type of player that more and more teams are looking for. There is a growing demand for tall, athletic defenders than can play all over the defense, and can also go one-on-one with a tight end if need be. Reid would be a great addition for the Steelers.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars - D.J. Chark - WR
Teams tend to put a ton of value on speed, and Chark is the latest receiver to see his stock rise all the way up into the first round. Chark can be a nice deep threat option for Bortles and can potentially develop into a No. 1 receiver for them.
30. Minnesota Vikings - Will Hernandez - OL
The NFC North just keeps getting stronger and the Vikings get even scarier, adding one of the strongest O-linemen in the draft. Minnesota’s biggest needs come in the offensive trenches and they manage to have Hernandez fall right into their laps.
31. New England Patriots - Billy Price - OC
The Patriots already have their offensive tackle and now they decide to continue to beef up their O-line by selecting arguably the best center in the draft. Price is coming off of a torn pectoral injury, but should be available to start practicing at the beginning of training camp, per reports.
32. Philadelphia Eagles - Derrius Guice - RB
The rich get richer.
Jay Ajayi had his moments with the Eagles, but I think it’s hard to pass up on Guice, who could give the Eagles a two-headed monster at running back and would make the Eagles’ offense even more terrifying than it already is.