The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. After publishing a mock draft on Monday, I needed to get just one more in. If you really have mock draft hysteria, check out Adam Stites’ mock draft here.
Here’s my final 2018 first-round mock draft. Don’t worry though, there will be a second-round mock draft after the first 32 picks are done.
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
Despite some late momentum on Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield at No. 1, Darnold is the choice for Cleveland. It’s crazy to think that Tim Couch was the only quarterback the Browns have taken in the top 20 since 1999.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
This pick will really shock some people if it ends up being a quarterback. New Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman wants to get a “gold jacket” player in this draft, and Barkley may be the best bet for the Hall of Fame.
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The flash and sizzle Mayfield possesses will be adored by Jets fans. The question may be whether or not he’s even available with the third pick.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
As the draft has approached, this choice got more and more likely. The pairing of Chubb with Myles Garrett while both are on rookie deals could give the Browns a special pass rush.
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
After striking out on quarterbacks, and generally having a questionable draft history, John Elway could go after one of the sure thing players in Nelson.
6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
As the Colts move to a Tampa-2 defense, they need their version of Derrick Brooks. If Barkley, Chubb and Nelson are gone, the Colts could their Brooks in Smith. The Colts will be taking a big risk if they trade down again. If so, the pick for the Colts could be a defensive back.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
At this point, even James expects this pick to happen. If it doesn’t, that means a team jumped Tampa Bay to get James, a potential star who can do a little bit of everything.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
If Nelson were available he’d be the pick for the Bears. But if he’s not, Edmunds would give Chicago a player they can build around on defense.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Smith and Edmunds being gone is bad news for the 49ers. If they’re both gone, GM John Lynch should be in contact with teams about coming up for a quarterback. At No. 9 though, Fitzpatrick provides good value and a player who is comfortable working the slot and dropping deep in coverage.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Raiders are another team that should be calling teams that want a quarterback. Ward would give the Raiders a nice duo of coverage corners with Ward and Gareon Conley.
11. Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
We’ll find out soon enough whether or not Rosen’s outspoken nature will lead to him dropping in the draft. If he’s available when Miami is on the clock, he should be the choice. Ryan Tannehill has become unreliable due to injury, and even while healthy he’s been average. If Rosen is gone, the Dolphins should take the best defensive player available.
12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I’m not so sure Allen is going to land in Buffalo with the 12th pick, but the Bills could trade up to get him. It will just be an added bonus if they wait and get him with the 12th pick.
13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
This has been a popular choice in mocks since draft season started in December. Vea is a strong, disruptive lineman who would give Washington someone next to Jonathan Allen to stuff the run.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
With the three top defensive backs off the board, the Packers could look to fill their need at pass rusher. It’s a coin flip choice between Landry and Marcus Davenport.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Cardinals could be one of the teams that comes up for a quarterback. If they fail, getting Jackson with the 15th pick could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Ravens need to upgrade their right tackle spot, and McGlinchey figures to move to that side in the NFL. If Joe Flacco can’t win with a revamped wide receiver group and two bookend tackles in Ronnie Stanley and McGlinchey, they should go into the 2019 draft looking for a quarterback.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Chargers have one of the NFL’s worst run defenses in the NFL, and Evans could help fix it. Evans a three-down linebacker who can play on the inside and outside.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
With so many players on Seattle’s vaunted defense being gone, a potential superstar can be landed in Davenport. He’s got some warts as a prospect, but his potential and athleticism is nearly unmatched in this class.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Dallas would love to see Vander Esch still on the board. You can argue for a wide receiver or guard for the Cowboys, but Vander Esch could make a big impact on defense.
20. Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
When draft discussion first began, everyone said the Lions need to get a defensive lineman to put next to A’Shawn Robinson. The Lions could go with either Bryan or Michigan’s Maurice Hurst. If there is any apprehension about Hurst’s health, Bryan could be the choice.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
Trust Bengals radio commentator Dave Lapham. If you don’t, either Ohio State’s Billy Price or Iowa’s James Daniels makes sense.
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
What better way to protect your franchise quarterback than an offensive lineman in Wynn who can star at guard and be effective as a tackle. The last time the Bills took a Georgia lineman like that they got six good years out of Cordy Glenn.
23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Patriots work the draft with two picks in the first round. Chances are they’ll move off at least one of them, regardless of whether they’re trading up or down. Regarding Miller, you know by now that he’s a prospect who mirrors former left tackle Nate Solder.
24. Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Don’t be surprised if this pick ends up being an interior offensive lineman or defensive back, but it would be hard to pass up on Ridley. The Panthers need a top-end wide receiver, and Ridley is arguably the best one in this draft.
25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, Edge, Ohio State
The Titans could be in a tough spot if the draft’s two best edge players and inside linebackers are gone. That could lead to Tennessee going with Hubbard, a player who can actually line up at both spots.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Like the Lions, everyone has said all along that the Falcons need to target a defensive tackle early in the draft. Going Payne over Hurst is simply because the Alabama lineman gives more contrasts next to Grady Jarrett.
27. New Orleans Saints: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Saints have a star in Marshon Lattimore, but could use another cornerback. Jackson has the size and playmaking skills NFL teams covet.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest
Some think this pick could be Stanford safety Justin Reid, and it would make sense. Bates does too. He’s more of a pure coverage safety, but he’s a good one.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
This is just a pick I’ve fallen in love with in the past few weeks. Hernandez is a scheme and value choice for the Jaguars, who need a right guard to finish off their offensive line.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Williams was one of Minnesota’s pre-draft visits and would give the Vikings a player who can start his career at guard and eventually move outside to tackle.
31. New England Patriots: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Moore is just too good of a player to keep out of the first round. He would give the Patriots a wide receiver of the future with Danny Amendola gone and Julian Edelman turning 32 in May.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Like Moore, Guice is another player who is too good to drop out of the first round. Maybe he’ll go to Philadelphia at 32, or to a team moving ahead of the Browns at No. 33 to get him.