With the NFL regular season over, 20 teams will now be focused fully on the 2018 NFL draft.
That starts with the Cleveland Browns, who managed to finish 0-16 and hold two top-five picks. Of course, there could be some drama at the top.
Here’s this week’s mock draft:
1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen reportedly doesn’t want to get picked by the Browns. If that really is true, the Browns would probably try to trade out of the first overall pick. If they happened to stick at No. 1, they should just take the best quarterback after Rosen. For me, that’s Mayfield, who gets unfairly viewed through a Johnny Manziel lens. He’s not the same player. He’s a little bigger than Manziel, isn’t as prone to run, and is more accurate all over the field.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen is pulling his own Eli Manning, and the Giants again could be the benefactor. Rosen would give the Giants a seamless transition from Eli Manning, and he compares favorably to the Super Bowl winner.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
With star quarterback Andrew Luck in Europe getting experimental work done on his throwing shoulder, the Colts offense has been one of the league’s worst. They would be smart to go after a player like Barkley in case Luck isn’t the player he was in the past. At worst, the Penn State running back can be the focal point of the offense. If Luck can come back healthy, the Colts would have an excellent backfield pairing.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
I’ve wanted to switch the second Cleveland pick from Fitzpatrick, but he’s too good of a fit for the Browns. He can be used as a deep coverage safety and work in man coverage. That would allow Jabrill Peppers to play closer to the line and disrupt the run game.
5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
Broncos general manager John Elway may have been closely monitoring Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in the Potato Bowl, but Darnold is much, much higher rated as a prospect. Darnold finished the season strong, locking himself in the top 10 of the draft.
6. New York Jets: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
There have been reports of late that some in the NFL see Jackson as a wide receiver. That seems absurd, considering how much Jackson improved as a pocket passer this season. He can be a player the Jets could build their offense around.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
Tampa’s pass rush has been non-existent this season, and the team has a league-low 20 sacks. The Jaguars, conversely, have 52. At North Carolina State this season, Chubb had 10 sacks, along with 26 tackles for loss. He’s an excellent end in a four-man front and can beat offensive tackles with power and quickness.
8. Chicago Bears: Arden Key, OLB, LSU
I like the idea of the Bears going after a pass rusher like Key in the first round and then stacking up skill position players in the second round. Key can come in straight away to pair with Leonard Floyd as Chicago’s edge-rushers.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
A team picking in the top 10 of the draft usually isn’t the hottest team in the NFL at the end of the season, but that’s San Francisco. In this range, the 49ers have some interesting options. With Barkley, Fitzpatrick and Chubb gone, Nelson is arguably the best player available and he fits a need.
10. Oakland Raiders: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Clemson can use Wilkins everywhere along the defensive line, and that type of versatility could be attractive for the Raiders. They obviously need to get more talent in the middle of the defense, but Wilkins is capable of playing end in odd-man fronts.
Why The First Ever Draft Pick Said No To The NFL
11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Adding Smith would give the Dolphins a playmaking presence at linebacker. Smith excels at chasing down run plays, but he’s athletic enough to drop into coverage. He’s not the biggest threat rushing the passer, but he has few flaws otherwise.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Bengals actually have a fair amount of talent on offense, but it’s going to waste due to an ineffective offensive line. Brown had an excellent season for Oklahoma and should be able to plug in multiple spots on the offensive line.
13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
If Washington continues to run primarily a 3-4 defense — which is no certainty if changes are made on the coaching staff — getting a true nose tackle is a must. Vea is a powerful run stuffer, similar in many ways to former Huskies teammate Danny Shelton.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, OLB/DE, Boston College
Landry battled injuries throughout the season, but he’s still one of the draft’s most intriguing 3-4 pass rushers. He’s a smooth athlete who knows how to get around the corner, and he would give the Packers the legitimate pass rusher they’ve lacked.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Seeing four quarterbacks picked before they’re on the board would be the worst scenario for the Cardinals. If that’s the case, the team will either go with Josh Allen of Wyoming, hope that Carson Palmer has one last season, or go into full tank mode in 2018 to draft a quarterback high in 2019. If the latter is the case, the team could look to build out its offensive line. Both McGlinchey and Connor Williams of Texas are available in this scenario. McGlinchey provides a little more punch and can run block better.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
This choice speaks much more to the Ravens needing a wide receiver than lead personnel man Ozzie Newsome loving Alabama players. Ridley is the draft’s best wide receiver because of his route running and good hands.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Philip Rivers is probably going to be back for another season with the Chargers, but a quarterback of the future is sorely needed. Allen is loaded with potential, but he had some trouble with accuracy and decision making throughout his college career. In Los Angeles he could sit and learn for at least a season behind Rivers.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Williams is a little bit raw as a pass-blocker and clearly looked better in 2016 than 2017. But there are traits of being a quality NFL offensive tackle there, and they just needed to be coached into him. Whether Tom Cable is the right man for that, we’ll see.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Ferrell is only a redshirt sophomore, but his length and athleticism is exactly what teams want in an edge-rusher. While DeMarcus Lawrence has been a star for the Cowboys, he is a free agent. At the least, it’s nice to have a surplus of players who can get after the quarterback.
20. Detroit Lions: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Make no mistake, the Lions need to get a real lead running back this offseason. But that can come in the second or third round with players like Rashaad Penny of San Diego State or Josh Adams of Notre Dame providing intrigue. Payne can be the answer the Lions need on the defensive line. He’s capable of occupying multiple blockers, but he also can get into the backfield to disrupt the pocket.
Don’t worry about the order of picks 21-31. They’ll work themselves out as the playoffs progress. This is solely based on record for one more week.
21. Tennessee Titans: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Although the Titans just took Adoree’ Jackson in the 2017 draft, they still need help in the secondary. Adding Ward would allow the Titans to move Logan Ryan to the slot, where he’s much better. Having Jackson and Ward on the outside would give Tennessee an excellent pair to shut down the pass.
22. Buffalo Bills: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
The Bills somehow managed to start a rebuild by acquiring draft capital and still made the playoffs this season. If they want to become a postseason regular, they’ll have to get better against the run. Phillips could be the man who can do that in Buffalo. He often played over the nose for Stanford this season and still managed to have more than 100 tackles.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
The Jaguars don’t involve tight ends a lot in their offense, but that might just be because their tight ends aren’t very good. It’s easy to compare Andrews to Jason Witten of the Cowboys because he’s a big tight end with soft hands. He could be a factor for the Jaguars. Offensive linemen like Billy Price of Ohio State or Will Hernandez of UTEP could be first-round options as well.
24. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
Jefferson is officially declared for the draft, and with his athleticism he should be a star of the offseason process. As a junior he finally realized his blue-chip potential to the tune of 110 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
25. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
With his quick feet and gap shooting ability, Hurst was practically built for Dan Quinn’s defense in Atlanta. The fifth-year senior is coming off an All-American season (his first as a starter), and he has 59 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss.
26. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Depending on what happens after the season, the Rams could be in the market for a cornerback. Jackson had a breakout season in 2017, and many consider him to be one of the 20 best players in the draft.
27. New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Surprised? Don’t be. Goedert may play for South Dakota State, but he’s got NFL size and athleticism for a tight end. Imagine adding an excellent pass-catching tight end to an offense that has Michael Thomas on the outside and is loaded at running back.
28. Carolina Panthers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The opinion on James this season lowered some while Florida State struggled through a bad season, and James didn’t make a ton of splash plays. But that’s more of a product of being moved all around the defense. In the NFL, James could settle in at safety where he can come up and stop the run and drop into coverage. He has top-five athleticism but didn’t fully put it together in college.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Steelers could look at cornerbacks or an inside linebacker here, but in reality they should prioritize adding a safety. Harrison excels at coming up near the line of scrimmage and making plays.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles have some solid running backs in LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, but they need a true No. 1 back. That could be Guice, the LSU running back who finds a hole and hits it in a hurry. Guice runs with good balance and can be slippery.
31. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Hubbard is another underclassmen who skipped out on his last college season, and he should find himself in the first-round mix. The Patriots will love his ability to play all over the field and get after the passer.
32. Minnesota Vikings: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
Another interior defensive lineman comes off the board to close out the first round. The Vikings will be keen to get a three-technique this offseason because Sharrif Floyd’s future is unknown. Bryan is a quick interior lineman who had 40 tackles and four sacks this season. He can be a little inconsistent, but a coach like Mike Zimmer will know how to get the most out of him.