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A 2018 NFL mock draft with nothing but original picks

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This mock draft is different from previous ones — no, really.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, you probably feel like you’re looking at the same mock drafts over and over. So we’re going to try something different. With this mock draft, we’re going to select players for teams that we have not mocked to them previously.

This includes teams with two first-round picks. So you can go ahead and count out Saquon Barkley to the Browns at No. 1, since he’s been a popular pick for them at No. 4.

Whether or not any of these picks actually land is a different story, but the NFL Draft is hard to predict. It’s even harder to guess any trades that will happen, which can cause a huge ripple effect depending on the move. So in that case, we’re not including two of Dan Kadar’s mock drafts — one from this week, one from February — that took a swing at predicting trades.

We are excluding a couple of other mock drafts, too. The second round of Kadar’s two-round mock and our “for funsies” college performance-based mock draft will be ruled out of the equation. All of the data has been taken from our mock drafts since Jan. 1, some of which came before the NFL Combine and free agency. Let’s see what we get.

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The Browns still need a franchise quarterback, and while the very first of this year’s mocks had them taking Baker Mayfield, most have settled on Sam Darnold as the top pick. In this mock, both of them are out the window, as is Saquon Barkley. We can’t endorse Josh Allen as the No. 1 pick, so we’re going with Josh Rosen, probably the best “consolation” pick out there.

Previously taken: QB Baker Mayfield, QB Sam Darnold, DE Bradley Chubb, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, RB Saquon Barkley

2. New York Giants: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

While much of the talk surrounding the No. 2 pick is about whether or not the Buffallo Bills will move into this spot, the Giants need some help in a lot of areas. Bradley Chubb is a tantalizing option that they are surely considering, but Mayfield is a great player to sit behind Eli Manning for a year or two.

Previously taken: QB Josh Rosen, QB Sam Darnold, RB Saquon Barkley

3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Oh how this works out so well for the Jets, who have already traded up and are nearly guaranteed to take a quarterback this year. Some like Rosen more, while others are partial to Mayfield. But there are more people who think Darnold is the best quarterback prospect, and the Jets would be pleased for him to fall in their laps.

Previously taken: QB Lamar Jackson, CB Denzel Ward, QB Baker Mayfield, QB Josh Rosen, QB Josh Allen

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

With a quarterback taken No. 1 and Chubb, Fitzpatrick, and Barkley unavailable to be drafted by the Browns in this mock, the easiest pick is Ward. I don’t think it’s a reach, either. Ward is such an explosive athlete with talent for days, and the Browns need to bolster their secondary. Fitzpatrick is the more popular pick, but Ward is worth the selection.

Previously taken: QB Baker Mayfield, QB Sam Darnold, DE Bradley Chubb, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, RB Saquon Barkley

5. Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

With three quarterbacks off the board and Allen already mocked to them in the past, the Broncos instead improve their offense with Barkley, the latest generational talent at the running back position. Many view Barkley as the top prospect in the draft overall, and he can do every single thing the Broncos want out of a running back.

Previously taken: QB Sam Darnold, QB Baker Mayfield, QB Josh Allen, QB Josh Rosen, G Quenton Nelson

6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

Our mocks haven’t varied much for the Colts. It’s been Barkley, Chubb, or Nelson every time, which means they can’t do that here. Cornerback is a need for the Colts, and even if you think Fitzpatrick is better as a safety, he’d be an asset to pretty much any secondary in the NFL. He’s also probably the best player available.

Previously taken: RB Saquon Barkley, DE Bradley Chubb, G Quenton Nelson

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The Buccaneers have been everywhere in our mocks, but seventh overall for a dominant presence like Vea isn’t a reach. He’s arguably the best nose tackle prospect in years, and stupidly athletic for his size. It’s not their biggest need, but like Fitzpatrick above, most teams would benefit from Vea’s inclusion in their defense.

Previously taken: DE Bradley Chubb, G Quenton Nelson, DE Marcus Davenport, RB Saquon Barkley, OT Orlando Brown, DE Harold Landry, S Derwin James, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

8. Chicago Bears: Bradley Chubb, OLB, NC State

It’s quite a fall for Chubb, who is ridiculously good. The Bears would be positively giddy to land Chubb and get him on the field as a pass rusher. Chicago signed Aaron Lynch this offseason, but Chubb is a day one starter with a ceiling so high we can’t even see it. If Chubb was off the board, the pick here would probably be somebody like Josh Jackson.

Previously taken: OLB Arden Key, LB Roquan Smith, WR Calvin Ridley, G Quenton Nelson, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB Denzel Ward, OLB Tremaine Edmunds

9. San Francisco 49ers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Evans, like many players at Alabama, played behind future NFL players for a few years in Tuscaloosa. But for many of the players who go through Alabama’s program, it was worth it. He earned second-team All-SEC honors for his team-high 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, and three pass breakups. The 49ers need pieces at the cornerback and linebacker positions, and you can almost never go wrong with a Nick Saban-coached talent.

Previously taken: G Quenton Nelson, WR Calvin Ridley, CB Denzel Ward, CB Josh Jackson, LB Tremaine Edmunds, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, DE Marcus Davenport, LB Roquan Smith

10. Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Raiders’ linebackers unit is in desperate need of change. They’ve already signed a couple of linebackers this offseason, but none of them are as good as Edmunds will be. Nelson is probably the best player available, but Edmunds runs a close second.

Previously taken: DL Christian Wilkins, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, LB Roquan Smith, DT Vita Vea, S Derwin James, CB Denzel Ward

11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The slide for Nelson ends here, where the Dolphins are certainly the luckiest team in our draft. Nelson is a can’t-miss prospect who just had to miss per the terms of this mock. The Dolphins signed Josh Sitton this offseason, but they need another guard, and Nelson is as NFL ready as any player in the draft.

Previously taken: LB Roquan Smith, S Derwin James, T Orlando Brown, LB Tremaine Edmunds, QB Lamar Jackson, QB Baker Mayfield

12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

With two first-round picks, the list of players the Bills cannot pick in this mock is very long. Fortunately, they aren’t reaching here by grabbing the best receiver in the draft to help ... AJ McCarron, it seems. Having Ridley and Kelvin Benjamin is a good way to give McCarron his best chance at succeeding.

Previously taken: DT Harrison Phillips, LB Malik Jefferson, CB Josh Jackson, OL Billy Price, QB Josh Allen, DL Da’Ron Payne, QB Lamar Jackson, S Derwin James, DT Maurice Hurst, CB Denzel Ward, LB Rashaan Evans, CB Mike Hughes, LB Tremaine Edmunds, WR D.J. Moore

13. Washington: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Orlando Scandrick is not going to boost the Washington defense enough to make a huge impact. Jackson is a difference-maker, though, and fits the system perfectly. It was a questionable decision to move on from Kendall Fuller, but landing Jackson would help that a lot.

Previously taken: DT Vita Vea, QB Josh Allen, S Derwin James, QB Lamar Jackson, DT Da’Ron Payne

14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

The Packers again need to address the secondary in the draft. Morgan Burnett left during free agency, and James is a perfect replacement for him. There are some other holes, like cornerback and guard, but James is better than the best players remaining at those positions. By a lot.

Previously taken: DE Harold Landry, OLB Arden Key, LB Tremaine Edmunds, DE Marcus Davenport, CB Denzel Ward, LB Roquan Smith, LB Leighton Vander Esch, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

15. Arizona Cardinals: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are the only first-round quarterbacks left, and since the Cardinals can’t take them per our rules, they might as well go wide receiver. Moore is the complete package, and has drawn parallels to another former Terp, Stefon Diggs. Sam Bradford could use another target, and who better to learn from than future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald?

Previously taken: T Mike McGlinchey, T Connor Williams, WR Courtland Sutton, WR Calvin Ridley, QB Josh Allen, CB Denzel Ward, QB Baker Mayfield, QB Lamar Jackson

16. Baltimore Ravens: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

A starting right tackle is the biggest need for the Ravens, and they get the best one in the draft sitting at No. 16 overall. This is considered one of the weaker classes at the position, but Williams would be a great fit in the Ravens offense.

Previously taken: WR Calvin Ridley, T Orlando Brown, OLB Arden Key, DE Marcus Davenport, T Mike McGlinchey, WR D.J. Moore

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Adding somebody like Smith with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram might not be fair. Smith is great at finding the football — his 137 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks as a junior speak for themselves.

Previously taken: QB Josh Allen, DT Vita Vea, QB Lamar Jackson, DT Da’Ron Payne, DT Maurice Hurst, DT Harrison Phillips, T Orlando Brown, T Mike McGlinchey

18. Seattle Seahawks: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Brown had a bad combine, but he can still become a good tackle in the NFL. The Seahawks will be confident in their ability to get Brown’s fitness under control. They desperately need a starting right tackle, and that’s a good spot for Brown, at least initially.

Previously taken: T Connor Williams, DE Clelin Ferrell, DE Marcus Davenport, T Mike McGlinchey, S Derwin James, G Isaiah Wynn, DE Harold Landry

19. Dallas Cowboys: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

The Cowboys used the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, and now they can pair him with Landry or, at the very least, have some security if Lawrence walks in the future.

Previously taken: DE Clelin Ferrell, DT Da’Ron Payne, DL Christian Wilkins, S Derwin James, DT Maurice Hurst, DT Harrison Phillips, LB Roquan Smith, DT Taven Bryan, G Isaiah Wynn

20. Detroit Lions: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Similar situation as the Cowboys — the Lions need to improve on the line and used the franchise tag on an edge player, Ziggy Ansah. Adding Davenport to the mix only helps them improve a struggling unit that will have three new linebackers in 2018.

Previously taken: DT Da’Ron Payne, DL Christian Wilkins, DT Vita Vea, DT Maurice Hurst, DT Taven Bryan, RB Derrius Guice, C James Daniels, DE Harold Landry

21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): James Daniels, C, Iowa

The Bengals need an entire offensive line makeover at this point, and they can get the best center in the draft sitting right where they are.

Previously taken: T Orlando Brown, T Mike McGlinchey, T Connor Williams, LB Roquan Smith, G Will Hernandez, LB Rashaan Evans, LB Leighton Vander Esch

22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

After getting the top receiver in the draft, the Bills land one of the more talented linebackers in the class. And like those other top linebackers, Vander Esch is NFL-ready.

Previously taken: DT Harrison Phillips, LB Malik Jefferson, CB Josh Jackson, OL Billy Price, QB Josh Allen, DL Da’Ron Payne, QB Lamar Jackson, S Derwin James, DT Maurice Hurst, CB Denzel Ward, LB Rashaan Evans, CB Mike Hughes, LB Tremaine Edmunds, WR D.J. Moore

23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Patriots need some help in the front seven, but Allen is an exciting prospect who might actually take over for Tom Brady one day, unlike the last guy who might actually take over for Tom Brady one day.

Previously taken: DE Sam Hubbard, CB Carlton Davis, CB Mike Hughes, CB Jaire Alexander, T Kolton Miller

24. Carolina Panthers: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Though the top two remaining receivers are on the board, they’re unavailable to the Panthers. Ross Cockrell should help their secondary, but Hughes fits the mold of what Ron Rivera wants in a cornerback. He’s extremely competitive, and Rivera will like that too.

Previously taken: S Derwin James, WR James Washington, T Connor Williams, WR Christian Kirk, WR Courtland Sutton, G Isaiah Wynn, WR D.J. Moore, CB Jaire Alexander, CB Josh Jackson, S Jessie Bates

25. Tennessee Titans: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

You may not have heard of Hernandez if you didn’t follow college football, or even just UTEP football closely. But he’s turned into a complete guard, and is an absolute beast. Derrick Henry would be elated over this pick.

Previously taken: CB Denzel Ward, DE Harold Landry, DE Sam Hubbard, DE Marcus Davenport, OLB Arden Key, LB Rashaan Evans, G Isaiah Wynn, DE Uchenna Nwosu

26. Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The Falcons lost both Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn to free agency this offseason, but they were always going to need to address depth on their defensive line. Payne was one of the next men up on the line for the Crimson Tide and showed out on the biggest stage in the national championship against Georgia. That game was played in the Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so maybe he can continue his dominance there at the pro level.

Previously taken: DT Maurice Hurst, OL Billy Price, G Isaiah Wynn, DT Taven Bryan, DT Harrison Phillips

27. New Orleans Saints: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Saints recently extended Drew Brees, who looks like he’ll be playing for at least a couple more years. Jackson landing in New Orleans would be a great fit — he could learn under Brees, and would have a top receiver (Michael Thomas) once he’s ready to take over starting duties.

Previously taken: TE Dallas Goedert, QB Mason Rudolph, TE Mark Andrews, OLB Arden Key, LB Rashaan Evans, WR Courtland Sutton

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Alexander is the kind of player who could fit in immediately with the Steelers. They need secondary help and Alexander is an instinctive player, which is a quality the Steelers look for on defense.

Previously taken: S Ronnie Harrison, LB Rashaan Evans, OLB Arden Key, S Jessie Bates III, CB Josh Jackson, LB Leighton Vander Esch

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

Signing Andrew Norwell gave the Jaguars a significant boost on the interior offensive line, but pairing him with Isaiah Wynn would make the Leonard Fournette-led rushing attack quite formidable. Jacksonville has seemed determined to win while hiding Blake Bortles’ deficiencies and replacing A.J. Cann with Wynn would help the team continue to do that.

Previously taken: TE Mark Andrews, TE Dallas Goedert, WR Courtland Sutton, G Will Hernandez, OL Billy Price, T Mike McGlinchey, T Orlando Brown, WR Christian Kirk, T Connor Williams

30. Minnesota Vikings: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Hurst had to sit out the NFL Combine drills because he was diagnosed with a heart condition, but he was later cleared and participated in Michigan’s pro day. Assuming his health checks out, this is a steal for the Vikings, who already had one of the NFL’s best defenses.

Previously taken: DL Taven Bryan, DT Harrison Phillips, CB Jaire Alexander, DL Rasheem Green, T Connor Williams, CB Mike Hughes, OL Billy Price, G Will Hernandez, G Isaiah Wynn

31. New England Patriots: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Patriots lost a few pieces in free agency, but the most significant departure was probably Nate Solder — Tom Brady’s 6’8 blindside protector. If the season began today, the starter at left tackle might be 2017 third-round pick Antonio Garcia, but the Patriots would feel better about Notre Dame’s 6’8 left tackle taking over for Solder instead.

Previously taken: DE Sam Hubbard, CB Carlton Davis, CB Mike Hughes, CB Jaire Alexander, T Kolton Miller

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Carson Wentz is coming back from a torn ACL, so bolstering the line to make sure he stays protected isn’t a bad investment at all. He helped Josh Rosen become one of the top prospects of the draft, so you’d imagine he’s good at what he does.

Previously taken: RB Derrius Guice, LB Malik Jefferson, T Martinas Rankin, T Mike McGlinchey, TE Mark Andrews, CB Mike Hughes, T Connor Williams, T Orlando Brown, CB Jaire Alexander


Here are the previous mock drafts we used to determine which players were off limits to each team:

For a more serious look at how the first round could unfold, be sure to check out Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft and our mock draft database.