After months of buildup, it is finally the week of the 2018 NFL draft.
At this point, most teams have gone quiet as they make any final adjustments to their draft board. And believe it or not, teams are building their own mock drafts. You’ll never see those, so mine will have to do. Here’s this week’s mock draft:
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
I moved Allen to the first pick last week, and in this mock draft he’s staying there. There will be one final mock before the draft. It’s unknown whether or not Allen will still be here. The uncertainty is simply because of Browns General Manager John Dorsey keeping tight-lipped about what he’s doing with the top choice. Maybe in a couple days there will be clarity.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
If Dorsey is the most secretive GM in the NFL, New York’s Dave Gettleman isn’t far behind. Maybe it was a bunch of nonsense, but in his pre-draft press conference, Gettleman downplayed the need for a quarterback. If that is to be believed, the Giants should be down to picking between Barkley and defensive end Bradley Chubb.
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis Colts): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
This pick seems suspiciously locked in for the Jets, even if Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold are on the board.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
If Barkley is gone, this should be a pretty easy choice for the Browns. In fact, taking Chubb is smarter than trying to get some extra picks in a trade down scenario. The trio of Chubb, Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah should be effective against AFC North quarterbacks who are older (Ben Roethlisberger), immobile (Joe Flacco) and average (Andy Dalton).
5. Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
This should be the absolute latest that Darnold comes off the board. Whether it’s Darnold, Allen or Josh Rosen the Broncos may be able to find their quarterback of the future with the fifth pick. Things change if the Giants take a quarterback with the second pick.
6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Colts spent all of last season hoping that Andrew Luck could eventually return healthy. So when weighing Nelson versus a linebacker like Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith, Luck’s future has to be considered. Nelson is one of the locks of this draft, and should immediately elevate the Colts’ offensive line.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
It may be a surprise to see James taken before Minkah Fitzpatrick or Denzel Ward, but sometimes the draft is just about talent and potential. James has the skills to be a superstar. In Tampa Bay he could pair with Justin Evans and give the Buccaneers an excellent you pair for years to come.
8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
For as much has been made about locking Tremaine Edmunds into this pick, Smith rates higher and arguably fills a bigger need. The Bears need a player who can line up next to Danny Trevathan. That can be Smith, who also provides more as a pass rusher than you may think.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers have put in a lot of work on the draft’s top linebackers in the final weeks before the draft. The preference would be Smith, but the potential and athleticism of Edmunds is too high to pass up.
10. Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
There’s a lot of talk about Vita Vea being the choice for the Raiders. But Ward fits arguably a bigger need and is frankly a higher-rated player. He and Gareon Conley can give the Raiders a shut down pair of cornerbacks, and would give the defense some flexibility.
11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
The Dolphins may have two safeties in Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald, but they’re both box safeties who are lacking in coverage. Fitzpatrick should be able to play single high safety roaming in space.
12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati Bengals): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Theres’ been a lot swirling about Rosen, and the Bills could be the beneficiary if he slides a little bit. The Bills may still have to move up to get him, but maybe not inside the top five. That means the glut of picks Bills General Manger Brandon Beane can be used to shape the roster.
13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
It’s hard to get off this pick for Washington. It’s a value and need choice. After Vea, the quality in draft prospects really levels off. He would be a nice pairing with Jonathan Allen. Don’t discount LSU running back Derrius Guice here.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
If Ward or Fitzpatrick were available, they’d be the choice for the Packers. If they’re gone, Green Bay could find an edge rusher at No. 14, whether it’s Landry or Marcus Davenport of UTSA.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Until he doesn’t go in the first round, I’ll continue to hold out thinking that Jackson is one of the first 32 picks on Thursday. Even if you discount his talent as a quarterback, so many teams in the first round need one. That includes Arizona, which cannot go into the season relying on Sam Bradford.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Baltimore has signed three free agent wide receivers, so drafting D.J. Moore or Calvin Ridley in the first round may be overkill. If that’s the mentality for the Ravens, they could turn to McGlinchey.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Chargers were terrible against the run last season, and the best days appear to be behind nose tackle Brandon Mebane. Add on to that a four-game suspension for three-technique Corey Liuget, and a defensive lineman is an obvious for Los Angeles.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA
Seattle could go a number of directions, and the most likely one is trading down. If they hold at No. 18, the long and athletic Davenport fits the need at edge rusher.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
With Dez Bryant gone, the Cowboys need a new lead wide receiver. Ridley is the best one in the draft and would give Dak Prescott a reliable target who moves the ball up the field.
20. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
If Landry or Davenport were available either would be the pick for the Lions. Other than Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit doesn’t have much pass rush. Add to that the fact that this could be Ansah’s last year in Detroit and the Lions have to find a pass rush in this draft. Hurst can provide that from the interior.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo Bills): James Daniels, C, Iowa
Daniels can start for the Bengals from the get go. Having Daniels and offseason acquisition Cordy Glenn will go a long way in fixing Cincinnati’s offensive line.
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
After quarterback, an inside linebacker is Buffalo’s biggest need. Although the trade talk with the Bills centers around a quarterback, it will be worth watching to see if the team makes a small move up if needed to get a linebacker. In this scenario it wasn’t necessary.
23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
With the departure of Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman coming off injury and turning 32 in May, the Patriots could target a wide receiver early in the draft. Moore could be a star in New England thanks to his athleticism and solid hands.
24. Carolina Panthers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Panthers would love to see a safety take a big tumble, but that may not happen. If not, Carolina needs to find a starting cornerback opposite James Bradberry. Jackson provides a lot of size and playmaking ability at cornerback.
25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, Edge, Ohio State
New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was involved in the recruiting of Hubbard at Ohio State and he could see a little bit of himself in the versatile Ohio State defender. Hubbard can be the edge player Tennessee needs, and he would give them a player who can line up at multiple positions.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The connection of a defensive tackle to Atlanta has basically happened every week in mock drafts since December. Bryan is a little bit of a risky pick because he only had one season of production at Florida, but he flashes natural playmaking ability that can’t be coached.
27. New Orleans Saints: Josh Sweat, Edge, Florida State
New Orleans needs to find an edge player to take some of the pressure off Cameron Jordan. Although Sweat has battled injuries throughout his career, his size and athleticism at the position are often too hard to pass up.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Steelers would probably love to see Vander Esch available at No. 28, but Evans isn’t a bad fall back option. At Alabama Evans played both outside and inside and gives the Steelers someone who can stop the run and occasionally get after the quarterback.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
The en vogue choice of the back half of the first round, Hernandez is a perfect fit in Jacksonville. He could take over the right guard spot and give Jacksonville one of the league’s best interior offensive lines.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
If Wynn slips, the Vikings shouldn’t hesitate to pick him up at No. 30. Wynn can help protect the investment in Kirk Cousins and could play guard or tackle in the NFL.
31. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
At this time last year, people were starting to project Williams as a top 10 pick in the 2018 draft. Williams had an off season, but if one team can get him figured out it’s the Patriots. If he can revert to his old form, Williams could end up being the best offensive tackle from this year’s draft.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles are in an interesting spot at No. 32. With no picks on the second day of the draft, chances are high the team will move down. If not, they could go after a running back in the first round.