2018 NFL Mock Draft: The Big Lead Staff Edition


Here is the Big Lead’s 10-person staff mock draft, including the possibility of trades (provided that the trade was between two different individuals and fit into the standards of past trade value for similar picks). A mock draft without trades, though, is bound to be wrong because there is virtually no chance we get through the first 12 picks this year with everyone standing pat.

The participants in our mock draft were:

Ryan Phillips: Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bobby Burack: New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons
Jason McIntyre: New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles
Tully Corcoran: Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans
Kyle Koster: Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions
Michael Shamburger: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints
Vik Chokshi: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals
Henry McKenna: San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals
Ryan Glasspiegel: Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jason Lisk: Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings

On to the chaos …

1. Cleveland Browns (Ryan P.) — Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Darnold is the best quarterback in this draft, so the Browns don’t overthink things and take him with the first pick.

2. New York Giants (Bobby) — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The Giants will have to deal with Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz for a decade, and Eli Manning cannot offset that. Josh Rosen is the most pro-ready QB in draft and can bolster the offense with Odell Beckham Jr.

3. New York Jets (Jason M.) — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Worst case scenario for the Jets, as the two best QBs are off the board. Josh Allen is too much of a project and the Jets don’t have the infrastructure to make him a star; Baker Mayfield needs a stable franchise to draft him. So even though the Jets traded up, they should take the best player on the board, and that’s Barkley.

4. Miami Dolphins (Jason L.) — (via trade w Cleveland Browns)* – Baker Mayfield, QB, OU

With Barkley off the board, the Browns look to trade down and maximize value.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins are one of several times likely to trade up to picks 4 through 6 to move on a quarterback, and the way this top 3 shook out makes it more likely. Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen? I’m guessing the Dolphins go Mayfield if they have a choice.

5. Denver Broncos (Tully) — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

While it would have been nice to get a franchise quarterback with this pick, a potential replacement for Aqib Talib isn’t a bad consolation prize. Ward will probably start out as a nickel corner for Denver, but his incredible athleticism should get him outside eventually.

6. Indianapolis Colts (Kyle) — Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

The Colts allowed a league-high 56 sacks last season. If Andrew Luck is ever to return and be Andrew Luck again, keeping him upright and healthy will be of utmost importance. Nelson is also a beast in the running game, yet another area Indy needs to address immediately. Rare is the offensive lineman that turns in exciting tape for the everyman, but Nelson’s athletic and bold blocking qualifies.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Michael)  — Derwin James, DB, FSU

8. Chicago Bears (Vik) — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Tough choice between Chubb and Smith, but in Smith the Bears get a perennial pro-bowler at the position for the next 10 years. Smith is fast, physical, and has great instincts. His big plays against Clemson and Alabama proved just how valuable he can be to a defense.

9. San Francisco 49ers (Henry) — Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Easy pick. The 49ers land Chubb, who is considered by many to be the best defensive player in the draft. Chubb has some parallels with Solomon Thomas, the 49ers’ top pick in 2017. But that’s a good thing. They both should be excellent, well-round NFL defensive ends.

10. Oakland Raiders (Ryan G.) — Marcus Davenport, DE, USTA

Davenport and Khalil Mack would form a very formidable pass rush duo, and be very hard to gameplan for.

11. Arizona Cardinals (Henry M.) (via trade w/Cleveland Browns after earlier trade with Miami)** — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Again, with plenty of value on the board, Cleveland looks to move down and add picks to add depth to an improving roster.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, can jump past the quarterback-needy Bills to ensure they land Allen, who should get ample time to develop behind Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Cardinals coach Steven Wilks get the player whose future will be tied with his.

12. Buffalo Bills (Kyle) — Mason Rudolph, QB, OK State

The run on quarterbacks put the Bills in a tight spot here. And against all odds, Josh Allen looked to be available before the Cardinals swooped in. This left Rudolph as the best available arm out there. There was no way I was leaving the first round with the fate of my franchise in Lamar Jackson’s hands.

13. Washington Redskins (Jason M.) — Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

The Redskins lost Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade, and added Orlando Scandrick in free agency. To start his career, Fitzpatrick could contribute inside or outside or at safety.

14. Green Bay Packers (Ryan G.) — Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Va Tech

Edwards had over 100 tackles as a junior at Virginia Tech and also had 5.5 sacks. The Packers could use him as a complement and perhaps eventual replacement for Clay Matthews.

15. Cleveland Browns (Ryan P.)** — Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Browns moved down twice and still addressed their biggest need by getting McGlinchey here. He’s likely not a left tackle right now, but he’s a plug-and-play guy on the right side and could develop into an elite pass protector in time. With Darnold in tow now, Cleveland has to dedicate resources to surrounding him with talent and protecting him.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Bobby) — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Joe Flacco is a problem, and in a division with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and a Big Ben passed his prime the Ravens can claim the division for years to come if they have their guy. If Lamar Jackson can get the time and development he needs, this could be the steal of the draft.

17. Los Angeles Chargers (Jason L.) — Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The Chargers’ run defense was a weakness, and so they add another star to the defensive line to play inside Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, as he falls to being a great value here at #17.

18. Seattle Seahawks (Ryan P.) — Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

You never truly know what Pete Carroll and co. will do in the draft, but this time they do the sensible thing and take one of the most athletic players in the class. Miller has everything you’d want in a blind side protector and is still improving. Seattle has done an awful job protecting Russell Wilson over the past few years and it’s long past time to address that.

19. Dallas Cowboys (Jason M.) — Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Why Sutton over Ridley? Sutton is a Texas kid who starred at SMU, and at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, is a bigger possession receiver than Ridley (6-foot, 189 pounds). Sutton has a Michael Irvin frame, and a 35.5 vertical makes him a major weapon in the red zone.

20. Detroit Lions (Kyle) — Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

Matt Patricia needs a new weapon to tinker with and Landry’s production speaks for itself. He may not have the highest ceiling but his versatility to play either defensive end or roam around as a linebacker is very attractive

21. Cincinnati Bengals (Vik) — Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley is the best player available in this spot, and the best WR in this class. He’s an experienced 3-year starter that excelled vs. terrific competition. With his precise route running abilities, Ridley will be the perfect compliment to A.J. Green, and fill the WR2 void the Bengals have desperately been searching for.

22. Buffalo Bills (Kyle) — Tavan Bryan, DT, Florida

Bryan may be a bit of a project. The Bills have time to work with him, meaning his improvement could dovetail with the team’s.

23. New England Patriots (Henry) — Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Do the Patriots need another cornerback? No. But Bill Belichick made it clear he doesn’t draft for need. And Jackson is, by far, the best player on the board. Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans are tempting, considering how badly the Patriots need an athletic linebacker. But Jackson can help the defense, too.

24. Carolina Panthers (Jason L.) — Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

The Panthers have a need at guard after losing Andrew Norwell, and Wynn is the kind of player that can move right into the starting lineup on Day 1.

25. Tennessee Titans (Tully) — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch may not be ready for a full-time role as a rookie, but his fluid athleticism and instincts will make him an every down player as he adds more muscle to his basketball player’s body.

26. Atlanta Falcons (Bobby) — Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Atlanta needs help on the defensive line, Da’Ron Payne comes with solid value on the 26th pick. Just ask Georgia.

27. New Orleans Saints (Michael) — Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ryan P.) — Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

With all the top linebackers gone, the Steelers get some Le’Veon Bell insurance by snagging the second-best running back in the draft. Guice can do it all out of the backfield and makes catering to Bell’s contract whims slightly less important.

29. Cleveland Browns (via trade w/Jacksonville Jaguars)*** — Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Having traded down twice, the Browns now jump up a few spots from No. 33 to ensure they fill one of their biggest needs: a shutdown cornerback. Alexander is a ball-hawking DB who had seven interceptions during his three years at Louisville and ran a 4.38 at the combine.

30. Minnesota Vikings (Jason L.) — Connor Williams, OT/OG, Texas

The Vikings don’t have many pressing needs, but upgrading at guard and getting depth at cornerback are two possibilities. A trade-down is possible here as there are many quality targets at those two spots, but I’ll say they grab Williams, who can start his career at guard with the ability to move to tackle later on, or in case of injury to Riley Reiff or Mike Remmers.

31. New England Patriots (Henry) — Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

He’s Dont’a Hightower 2.0. Evans is the type of versatile linebacker Belichick loves molding. At Alabama, Evans rushed the passer, defended the run and covered tight ends and running backs. Belichick will make sure he keeps doing all of that at the pro level.

32. Philadelphia Eagles (Jason M.) — Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. 

Could be in play for the Panthers or the Patriots, so Belichick gets a gift in the 24-year old former minor league baseball pitcher. The Eagles lost two tight ends in the offseason (Brent Celek, Trey Burton), and need depth behind Zach Ertz.


  • *Cleveland sends No. 4 to Miami Dolphins in exchange for No. 11, No. 42 (2nd round) and its 2019 2nd round pick
  • **Cleveland sends No. 11 to Arizona Cardinals for No. 15, No. 79 (3rd round) and its 2019 6th round pick
  • ***Jacksonville sends No. 29 to Cleveland for No. 33 (2nd round) and No. 114 (4th round)