Mock Draft 2.0: The final predictions for the 2018 NFL draft

Trio of QBs highlight top 5 picks of the last mock

Tommy Call
April 26, 2018 - 11:38 am

Happy draft day, folks.

This has to be one of the most intriguing drafts in recent memory for a number of reasons, but mainly because of all the buzz surrounding the quarterback position. Any draft where five, maybe even six quarterbacks could go in the first round is going to generate interest.

With rumors flying around daily and speculation at every position, the weeks leading up to the draft have been a wild ride without one player coming off the board. Not to mention no one has any clue what will happen with the first pick and we’re almost ready for the Browns to hit the clock.

All the anticipation is coming to a close and the wait is almost over, but before the smoke settles and Roger Goodell heads to the podium let’s look at one last mock draft.

1. Cleveland Browns — Baker Mayfield — QB — Oklahoma

With so much smoke surrounding the first pick no one seems to know what John Dorsey will do, which is a good sign for Cleveland, maybe a sign they’re finally figuring out the draft.

If they are figuring it out they take the best quarterback in the draft, Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma. Mayfields fiery competitive moxy fits both Dorsey and Hugh Jackson’s vision. But regardless of what you think about his attitude there is no doubt he can make all the throws. He has a rifle for an arm paired with a lightning quick release. He has the mobility you want in a modern day quarterback with the ability to extend plays with his vision and legs. We haven’t even mentioned his pinpoint accuracy.

One flaw Mayfield needs to work on is being able to make the easy throw. Mayfield would tend to seek the big play instead of the smart play, he would run around and hold the ball to long instead of hitting the checkdown. Mayfield reminds me of a combination of three all-pro quarterbacks; Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, that mixture is something you simply don’t pass on. Whatever Cleveland I’d just like to imagine Dorsey walking around the Browns facility all day with a note in his pocket saying “Mayfield no matter what.”

 

2. New York Giants — Saquon Barkley — RB —Penn State

The Giants have serious belief Eli Manning has a couple more solid years left, so instead of pursuing a new QB they will get the best prospect in this draft with potential a potential Hall of Famer in Saquon Barkley.

If the Giants are correct about Manning, a skill position group featuring Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram could create fireworks in New York. If Darnold is on the board here the Giants will have to think about taking him, but instead they take a guy with Hall of Fame potential at two. The Giants could be the first trade back candidate with Buffalo trying to jump in front of New York to secure Rosen, Allen or Darnold.

 

3. New York Jets — Sam Darnold — QB — USC

The Jets have made it very clear they want a quarterback and in this mock they get what many think to be the best quarterback.

Darnold is a leader, who has the ability to make every throw you could want. He has great poise in the pocket that helps him see every route. For a young player he is very good at going through his progressions and doesn’t seem to rush anything, something that speaks to his maturity. He does need to work on his throwing motion that could cause some turnovers right now. But with Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown in the quarterback room in New York Darnold will have time to make adjustments.

 

4. Cleveland Browns — Bradley Chubb — DE — NC State

The Browns cash in with two picks in the top five landing the best edge rusher in back-to-back classes. A tandem of Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb could wreak havoc on the AFC North for years to come. If the Browns miss out on a quarterback…again, at least they have a fearsome pass rush for the future.

 

5. Buffalo Bills — Josh Allen — QB  — Wyoming (TRADE WITH BRONCOS)

One of the worst kept secrets is the Bills wanting a quarterback and they trade up with The Broncos to get their guy in Josh Allen.

Allen’s big arm and confident personality make him a great fit in the Bills Mafia. Allen has a rare of combination of size, mobility and the aforementioned big arm, now he just has to figure out passing inside the hashes to put it all together. With AJ McCarron in Buffalo Allen won’t be forced into starting right away, which could benefit his future.

I could see the Broncos wanting to draft QB here as well making them want to hold onto this pick, but gaining two first rounders and potential mid round pick for one will be hard to pass up for Elway.

 

6. Indianapolis Colts — Quenton Nelson — OG —Notre Dame

When the Colts traded back with the Jets they had hopes of landing Bradley Chubb at six, with him being gone they could trade back again for a team interested in Josh Rosen or Lamar Jackson.

Last season, Indianapolis used its first three picks on defense, this year they get their battered quarterback a protector in Quenton Nelson. You need only one word to describe Nelson: beast. Offensive guard isn’t a very exciting position to watch, but Nelson makes it fun with his ability to manhandle defensive lineman with his combination of flawless technique and pure strength-- exactly what the Colts need to protect Andrew Luck. Adding Nelson to a interior corp that has Ryan Kelly should give Luck some confidence when he is finally healthy.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Minkah Fitzpatrick — CB — Alabama

The do-it-all Alabama safety provides an immediate upgrade to a passing defense ranked 32nd last season, allowing 261 yards passing per game.

Do I need to say anything else? Okay, I will because Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite players in this class. Fitzpatrick can play multiple positions well, but his football IQ in diagnosing plays makes him special. Add him to a defense that has Gerald McCoy and you might have one of the smartest defenses in the NFL.

 

8. Chicago Bears — Denzel Ward — CB — Ohio State

Quenton Nelson makes all the sense in the world for Chicago here, but he is gone now; so Ryan Pace turns his attention to the defensive side of the football.

Pace could look at Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds, but instead he grabs the best corner in the draft Denzel Ward. Was has some of the best footwork you will see from a player heading into his rookie season, his footwork is so good that it will even make our own Greg Papa smitten.

Along with quick feet Ward has great athleticism and a feisty attitude. Ward has the ability to step in day one and be a shutdown slot corner. With a pair like Kyle Fuller and Ward in the secondary the Bears have a fierce tandem for the future.

 

9. Baltimore Ravens — Lamar Jackson — QB —Louisville (TRADE WITH 49ERS)

The Cardinals also seem like a logical team to trade up for Jackson, but the 49ers won’t trade with a division rival so, Ozzie Newsome sets off fireworks in the first round by trading up to grab the most polarizing player in the 2018 class, Lamar Jackson.

Newsome has built contenders for years and even won a super bowl, but his time is running out in Baltimore and so is Joe Flacco’s making it easy for Baltimore to jump up and make a splash that could potentially save Newsomes job. Jackson is the most dynamic athlete in the draft with a cannon for an arm, His throwing motion is so easy its hard to watch how the ball seems to accelerate off his fingertips.  But what’s most impressive is his football IQ. Jackson ran one of the most complex offenses last season under Bobby Petrino that was full of pre-snap reads and he didn’t only run it he thrived in it.

With his experience, he should have a seamless transition to a pro style offense. I’m not even going to mention anything about his mobility or athleticism because if you turned on SportsCenter once during the college football season you know all about that.

 

10. Oakland Raiders — Mike McGlinchey — OT — Notre Dame

The Raiders consistently manage to surprise everyone on draft day and this year is no different with Jon Gruden at the helm.

At number 10 overall the Raiders select offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey out of Notre Dame. I can feel Raider Nation getting frustrated as I type this, but just because his name isn’t Roquan Smith or Denzel Ward doesn’t mean he’s a bad prospect. McGlinchey provides an immediate upgrade over Breno Giacomini or Vadal Alexander. McGlinchey could step in and compete for the starting right tackle job while he waits for Donald Penn’s career to wind down.

Offensive tackle is a key position for a team that is paying Derek Carr a lot of money while being in the same division as Von Miller, Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston and Joey Bosa. McGlinchey has shown ability to match up well with athletic pass rushers. He’ll need to bulk up at the next level, something that shouldn’t be a problem on an NFL workout regimen. Lastly, don’t forget Gruden is an offensive minded coach-- would it really surprise you if he drafted a blue chip offensive prospect with his first pick since 2008? Plus have you seen his facemask? You should want him in silver and black on that thing alone.

Another option on the offensive side of the ball as a complete wildcard that wouldn’t shock me for Oakland is Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

 

11. Miami Dolphins — Roquan Smith — LB —Georgia

It would be a shocker is somehow Roquan Smith fell to 11, he could easily go in the top-six, but somehow he falls to the Dolphins. The Dolphins haven’t had a consistent middle linebacker since Zach Thomas.

They’ve consistently overspent on guys in the middle, but that ends tonight when they select one of the best defensive players in the draft in Smith. Smith is a speedy next generation linebacker that would  be an instant starter in Miami’s defense. Smith’s ability to track and accelerate to the football is what makes him special. He has burst you rarely see from a linebacker. Smith is a little small for the middle and does struggle shedding blocks from bigger offensive linemen, and that will only get harder at the pro level. But with that being said

According to Pro Football Focus Smith didn’t have one missed tackle in the entire 2017 season for the Bulldogs, plus he showed out on colleges football’s biggest stage, the national championship with 13.5 tackles vs Alabama. Smith would be a huge get for a team that is trying to restructure their identity.

 

12. Denver Broncos — Jaire Alexander — CB —Louisville (TRADE WITH BILLS)

The Broncos trade back and begin to retool their defense that was one of the best in the league not too long ago. Alexander is a feisty playmaker with a knack for finding the football. He tends to bait opposing quarterbacks to throwing it his way playing back on receivers. The Broncos lost Aqib Talib, but get younger and better at the position with Alexander.

 

13. Washington Redskins — Derwin James — DB — Florida State

After losing Su’a Cravens, Brashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason the Redskins need to upgrade their secondary in the draft.

They land Derwin James at 13, who I could imagine is on top of their draft board. In a draft with limited quarterbacks James would be a top-10, maybe even top-five pick, so the fact that Washington is landing him this late is a steal.

 

14. Green Bay Packers — Tremaine Edmunds — LB — Virginia Tech

Edmunds has boom or bust potential at 15. He has every skill you want in a linebacker, plus size we’ve really never seen before at the position.

When looking into Edmunds, something you’ll hear over and over again is potential, potential, potential because for now at only 19 years old that’s what he has. When watching him sometimes he looks like the next defensive player of the year, then other times he looks like he has no idea what’s going on. Landing in Green Bay at 14 Edmunds is put in the right situation to develop with one of the best franchises in the NFL.

 

15. Arizona Cardinals — Josh Rosen — QB —UCLA

The Cardinals miss on Rosen, but land the best natural passer in this class. Rosen can make every NFL throw with easy and man, does it look pretty.

Rosen weirdly has character concerns due to his “millennial attitude” that is having an effect on his draft stock. Its bad for Rosen, but great for the Cardinals. The Cardinals quarterback situation might be one of the worst in the NFL with Sam Bradford and MIke Glennon on the roster. Rosen steps in and immediately pushes Bradford for the starting job. If Rosen does land in the desert the NFC West could be stacked with franchise quarterbacks making it one of the most exciting divisions in football.

 

16. San Francisco 49ers — Harold Landry — DE — Boston College (TRADE WITH RAVENS)

With Reuben Foster’s legal trouble becoming less and less murky The 49ers get enough flexibility to trade back with a team itching for a new signal caller. John Lynch has proven he likes to make moves on draft day- see last season. They move back only seven picks but gain potentially a 2nd and/or 3rd round pick, but what makes it even sweeter is that they still land one of the best edge rushers in the entire draft. Another thing Lynch hasn’t kept secret on how much he covets a pass rusher. All throughout the draft process Lynch has made comments that reflect his longing for an edge rusher.

Landry has probably been the most underrated prospect on the defensive side of the ball, in any other class he would be a top-10 pick, but with the Quarterback’s flying off the board fast he is pushed down to 16. He has an elite first step locked in with underrated power. My favorite part of Landry’s game is his ability to bend low to blow by bigger offensive tackles is eye popping. It is reminiscent of Von Miller. Landry is a bit small, but his long arms and relentless motor make up for it. If Foster can come back, Landry could be the missing link to the 49ers defense.

 

17. LA Chargers —  Vita Vea — DL — Washington

Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Vita Vea- Derek Carr might tear up reading this. The Charger already have a great secondary and one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, add the drafts best big man to the middle and they might have one of the scariest defenses in the league.

Vea has been criticized recently for his lack of pass rush up the middle, but his stats speak otherwise with 8.5 sacks over his last two seasons, not including pressures.

 

18. Seattle Seahawks — Isaiah Wynn — OT — Georgia

I feel like Iowa corner  Josh Jackson has been the most commonly mocked player to the Seahawks, and I understand that many people want to replace Richard Sherman, but I strongly disagree.

The Legion of Boom is dead and the Seahawks need to change their identity by building around the franchise quarterback. They start by protecting him with one of the most versatile offensive lineman in the draft. Wynn is my favorite linemen in the draft because his skillset extends all over the field. He’s athletic enough to pull with ease and has the great footwork in pass protection.

 

19. Dallas Cowboys — Leighton Vander Esch — LB — Boise State

I haven’t changed this pick all draft season, but Vander Esch’s name seems to be trending upwards especially with an expected early run on linebackers.

But, one of my favorite players in the draft lands with America’s team at 19. With Sean Lee nearing the end of his career and Anthony Hitchens leaving in free agency, the Cowboys need a young linebacker to pair along with Jaylon Smith. If Lee can help with his instincts in the run game, Vander Esch could be just as good as Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds.

 

20. Detroit Lions — Derrius Guice — RB — LSU

I secretly want Derrius Guice to land in Miami just so we can make the nickname “Miami Guice” a thing, but for now we will stick with “Baby Beast Mode.” If you have a nickname like that do I need to explain more?

New head coach Matt Patricia wants to build a run game, something Detroit hasn’t had in years. They signed Legarrette Blount in offseason but adding a powerful workhorse like Guice can push their offense that’s already filled with talent to a whole new level.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals — James Daniels — OL — Iowa

The Bengals should be in complete rebuild mode, but instead they acquired a veteran and moved back in the draft outside the top-20. Are we really surprised with a team that has stuck by Marvin Lewis so long? Now to James Daniels-- The Bengals have multiple glaring needs, but the one that shines brightest is their interior offensive line and they fill that with Daniels at 21.

 

22. Denver Broncos — Will Hernandez — OL — UTEP (TRADE WITH BILLS)

After trading back the Broncos leave the first round with Will Hernandez and Jaire Alexander. Two of the nastiest prospects in the entire class. Hernandez is the kind of player that can define an offense.

He’s just mean.

He did come from a small school, which made watching his film even more fun. He would try and embarrass other players with his raw power. Plus, he wore a neckroll. One thing to keep in mind is the Broncos are still looking for their QB of the future and with now two picks in the first round it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Denver selected Mason Rudolph here at 22.

I’m sure Broncos fans will be upset if they trade out of the top five and don't lock up a QB, but once they see Alexander and Hernandez, I’m sure their minds will change quickly.

 

23. New England Patriots — Josh Jackson — CB — Iowa

The buzz surrounding the Patriots and the quarterback position makes me believe  they have little actual interest in any quarterback in the first round. How often do you  really have any idea what Bill Belichick and company are doing?

If a QB falls into their lap than so be it, but it seems highly doubtful Belichick will trade up to get a young signal caller for Josh McDaniels. With Malcolm Butler leaving in free agency, the Pats have some holes in their secondary. Enter Josh Jackson. Jackson has the rare ability to be in both the wrong and right place at the same time.

At one moment he will look out of position or even lost, then the next moment he will be taking an interception the opposite way. He is one of those guys who has a knack for the football, pair that with his size and the Patriots coaching staff and Revis Island 2.0 could be back in Foxborough.

 

24. Carolina Panthers — DJ Moore — WR Maryland

The Panthers added Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel in last years draft. This year they add DJ Moore from Maryland to give Cam Newton one of the best skill groups he’s had in his career. Moore is fast, has size and can catch the ball, but what’s most impressive is his ability to break tackles. It seemed like he couldn’t be brought down last year in Maryland. Moore’s numbers are a little jaded from having awful quarterback play, but I think that will change quickly having a former MVP under center.

 

25. Tennessee Titans — Marcus Davenport — DE — UTSA

The Titans have shown potential as a young up and coming team over the past two seasons. Over the offseason the Titans have made some of my favorite moves in free agency to give their team a chance to take the next step.

As good as they’ve done this offseason a young pass rusher in the draft would really put a bow on a solid offseason. Davenport has long arms and speed you want in a edge rusher, but he does need some fine tuning. Luckily for Davenport new head coach Mike Vrabel knows a thing or two about playing defensive end.

 

26. Atlanta Falcons — Taven Bryan — DL — Florida

The Falcons continue their trend of drafting defensive players in the first round by selecting Taven Bryan out of Florida at 26.

We all know about the high-powered offense, but their defense helped them make a run at the Super Bowl. Bryan is definition of limited sample size. He is untouched talent that continues to fly up draft boards. He is a prime example of the new age nimble defensive tackle that can rush the passer from the interior line. With Atlanta losing Dontari Poe, they need someone upfront manning the middle to free up Deion Jones behind him and that guy is Bryan.

 

27. New Orleans Saints — Calvin Ridley — WR — Alabama

Some may think this is way to low for Ridley, but I’m struggling finding spots for receivers in the first round. There are are many quality receivers that will be available in the mid-rounds. But when you’re a team like New Orleans with studs lined up all across the field you can afford to take a skill player who has fallen this late. It’s still crazy to think New Orleans drafted both the offensive and defensive rookies of the year in the same draft. Can they keep their hot streak going in 2018?

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Rashaan Evans- LB - Alabama

The Steelers are another team with potential to trade up and draft either a quarterback or linebacker, but their in luck with Rashaan Evans falling to them at 28.

Evans is another one of my favorites. He can diagnose a play, run sideline to sideline, but what makes him special is his ability to blitz and rush out on the edge. Evans is a versatile playmaker all over the field. Unfortunately the Steelers need a linebacker due to Ryan Shazier’s injury. Evans should be able to cover the middle while Shazier recovers.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars — Connor Williams — OL — Texas

The Jaguars have one of the most exciting defenses in the NFL, but their offense has some issues.

Most of the issues surround the passing game, that’s why the Jags decide to take Williams at 29 to help build up their offensive line.  When the NFL is modernizing in every way, the Jaguars will remind with a power offense and strong defense. Williams can play guard or tackle and has a steady mentor in Andrew Norwell at guard.

 

30. Minnesota Vikings — Frank Ragnow — OL — Arkansas

Ragnow is another guy that keeps flying up the board’s. His combination of physicality and versatility make him an interesting pick for Minnesota.

They need to protect their investment in Kirk Cousins and Ragnow is a guy who can do it.

 

31. New England Patriots — Kolton Miller — OT — UCLA

The Pats get Nate Solder’s replacement with a Solder look alike. Miller just seems like a New England Patriot.

A developmental tackle that is versatile and athletic. Miller has experience protecting a premier passer from college when he blocked for Josh Rosen, now Miller is tasked with blocking Tom Brady.

 

32. Indianapolis Colts — Sony Michel — RB — Georgia (TRADE WITH EAGLES)

The Colts have a bounty of picks and many, many needs. With Frank Gore gone and not much else available in the backfield the Colts move back into the first round to take a player with a ton of buzz — Sony Michel.

Michel is a three down running back who can downhill and be dynamic in the passing game. His tape reminded me of Alvin Kamara at Tennessee and we know how that worked out for New Orleans.

 

Check back to 957TheGame.com for more draft content over the weekend with pick by pick grades, live reactions and mid-round mocks. Follow me on twitter @tommy_iii for questions and more draft content.  

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