The 2018 NFL Draft is tomorrow. This was our Super Early 2018 Mock Draft; we made a few changes in August. Our mid-season Mock Draft was in October. We also had an end-of-season Mock Draft in January. Henry McKenna wrote Mock Draft 5.0 before free agency. Mock Draft 6.0 was after free agency. Mock Draft 7.0 was in mid-April. Reminder: We can only brag about our 2017 Mock Draft accuracy for another day.
1. Cleveland – Sam Darnold, QB, USC. When I was early on the Dorsey/Allen romance, I felt confident about it. Then the draft world jumped on it, and I knew it was too good to be true. Good luck, Sam.
2. NY Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. No change. If they can’t deliver a playoff berth with two of the NFL’s most dynamic offensive players, adios, Eli.
3. NY Jets – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. Jets land the 2nd best QB in the draft, and if he can stay healthy, Rosen has a great chance to be the best QB in franchise history. He’s certainly one of the most talented as soon as he walks in the door.
4. Cleveland – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Going back to where we had him after free agency. The Browns offense and defense will keep them in the playoff mix, take the over for wins
5. Denver – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. I would not take him here. Does Elway love Allen more than Baker Mayfield? The Broncos are doing a swan-dive in the post-Peyton Manning years. They’ll be drafting high again in 2019.
6. Indianapolis – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. There are certainly defensive needs, but a healthy Andrew Luck can overcome them, just as he did his first three years. Nelson starts for 10+ years.
7. Tampa Bay – Derwin James, DB, FSU. No change. Denzel Ward is the best pure corner in the draft, but the guess here is James does more things in the secondary to help an anemic defense.
8. Chicago – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. They went offense-heavy last year and this offseason (Allen Robinson). There’s a need in the secondary, but the best linebacker in college football last year could work inside.
9. San Francisco – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. They don’t know when Richard Sherman will return from his Achilles. You’re in a division with Russell Wilson and Jared Goff.
10. Oakland – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. Offensive line? Front seven? This feels like a best-on-the-board pick, and Ward will be among the favorites for Defense Rookie of the Year.
11. Miami – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Maybe they trade up for him or he falls here. I loved Baker Mayfield as college QB. When I wrote this in September, I believed he’d have big value in the middle rounds where there’s no pressure. But the Top 10? That’s nuts.
12. Buffalo – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. I don’t believe the Bills will take the bait and trade up for a QB; I wouldn’t be stunned if Josh Allen fell here. But for a team that lost three offensive lineman this offseason, this pick makes the most sense.
14. Green Bay – Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College. Feels like a pass rusher or a cornerback. Marcus Davenport is considered to have more upside; I give a slight advantage to Landry.
15. Arizona – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. Teams picked on the cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson last year; Alexander could definitely change that.
16. Baltimore – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. He makes sense in Arizona and I believe he’d thrive in New Orleans or with the Chargers, but the Joe Flacco tenure appears near the end, as does that of John Harbaugh.
2018 NFL Mock Draft: The Big Lead Staff Edition
17. LA Chargers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. One of the players with the highest ceilings in the draft.
18. Seattle – Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA. Seahawks lost three starters on defense, and this is a nice building block for the future.
19. Dallas – DJ Moore, WR, Maryland. This feels irrational, like putting a LB on the 49ers because they are going to be missing Reuben Foster. Moore is good; Courtland Sutton is just as good. But you can find some valued WRs later. I’d wait for Allen Lazard, Deon Cain, Jordan Lasley (if they can stomach his non-football stuff) or even Equanimeous St. Brown.
20. Detroit – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. With the two best edge rushers off the board, the Lions bolster a meek run defense.
21. Cincinnati – James Daniels, C, Iowa. No change.
22. Buffalo – Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia. No change.
23. New England – Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. It’s the Patriots. The most impossible team to guess. A line improvement is a nice peace offering to Tom Brady.
25. Tennessee – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. Three LBs are free agents in 2019 (Orakpo, Morgan and Palmer). There’s no edge rusher left here; they take the best LB on the board.
26. Atlanta – Taven Bryan, DE, Florida. No change. Three straight mock drafts with Bryan here. Read into that what you will.
27. New Orleans – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. Three tight ends are free agents after this season; 37-year old Ben Watson was signed after Jimmy Graham departed.
28. Pittsburgh – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. Evans of Alabama would be the perfect pick if he fell here to replace the injured Ryan Shazier; Vander Esch is rapidly flying up boards and may not even last this long.
29. Jacksonville – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. There’s a need at WR (Christian Kirk?) and don’t rule out of safety (Ronnie Harrison?) but I’m rolling the dice with Guice. The Jags have a single point of failure on offense. Fournette had 10 games of 20+ carries as a rookie, including all three playoff games. Chris Ivory left, and both backups (Corey Grant and TJ Yeldon) are free agents in 2019.
30. Minnesota – Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas. Played center and guard in college; the Vikings had OL issues before the unit gelled. Also keep in mind three defensive stars are free agents in 2019 (DE, OLB).
31. New England – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. Have had him all over the mock draft board because opinions are so divided on him. And they’re extreme. He’s either too slow or he’s got the frame of Richard Sherman, which excites teams.
32. Philadelphia – Kolton Miller, OL, UCLA. Loaded Super Bowl champs prepare for life after Jason Peters (36 years old).
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