The NFL regular season is now behind us, but the mock drafts are just starting up. Particular analysts from The Athletes Hub have worked together to compile a list of how the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft will play out. Here are the results:
#1 Cleveland Browns Select: QB Sam Darnold, USC
Elsio’s Take: Cleveland needs a quarterback, and assuming they don’t sign a free agent, Kizer isn’t the answer. Comments by head coach Hue Jackson shows he won’t roll with Kizer, and I feel Darnold is the safest quarterback pick.
#2 New York Giants Select: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Martin’s Take: With Eli Manning getting up there in age, this is the perfect opportunity to draft the replacement for the veteran. Outside of Sam Donald, Rosen is the most pure quarterback in the draft. Most second overall picks usually start at some point within their rookie season, but keeping Rosen on the bench will help him in the long run.
#3 Indianapolis Colts Select: DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
Devon’s Take: We didn’t see a whole lot of action from Marlon Mack in 2017, so even if Gore indeed retires, look out for Bradley Chubb as the #3 selection in this draft. The Colts ranked 31st in sacks per game in 2017, so Chubb would be the perfect addition to a rebuilding franchise.
#4 Cleveland Browns Select: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
Elsio’s Take: Fitzpatrick is a very solid defensive back, and can be the leader on the defensive side of the ball, either at corner or safety. One could say the Browns have holes at both positions, but he can fill both voids.
#5 Denver Broncos Select: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Luke’s Take: Mayfield is the Heisman Trophy winner after a standout season with Oklahoma. The Broncos need a quarterback, and with Siemian not performing up to par, this pick should be fairly obvious.
#6 New York Jets Select: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Martin’s Take: Heading into last season, a lot of critics had the New York Jets as the worst team in the league. Once the season started, the Jets surprised everyone and won more games than expected. Unless the team land Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen will be the pick here.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Luke’s Take: The Bucs have a quarterback in Winston who on his day, can emerge as a game changer. Ultimately, he needs support behind him, and the explosive running back from Penn State will be just that.
#8 Chicago Bears Select: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Elsio’s Take: The Bears need to hit the reset button at receiver, including cutting losses with some veterans, and bringing in new additions. This would cue Calvin Ridley, who is a lengthy receive who isn’t afraid of volume.
#9: San Francisco 49ers Select: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Kaleb’s Take: The 49ers are in a solid position heading into next season with the re-signing of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, as the offense finally contains a leader at a key position. I believe San Francisco should focus at the CB position, and Denzel Ward is the right tool to help the 49ers improve upon their secondary.
#10 Oakland Raiders Select: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Devon’s Take: I could see Edmunds taken as the first pure linebacker in this draft, as the Raiders are seeking depth at linebacker during the offseason. With some coaching and development, Edmunds could be a sneaky selection for Oakland.
#11 Miami Dolphins Select: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Judge’s Take: Quenton Nelson would be a great fit to Miami because the Dolphins are in dire need for linemen. By selecting the #1 ranked lineman in the draft, he could easily make his way to the Dolphins starting offense.
#12 Cincinnati Bengals Select: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Devon’s Take: Cincinnati happened to be one of fourteen NFL squads in 2017 to allow 40+ sacks during the regular season, and with the addition of Brown, that number can decrease drastically. I have Brown ranked as the #1 OT in the draft, and he could be taken earlier in some instances.
#13 Washington Redskins Select: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Devon’s Take: I would have taken Calvin Ridley here, but considering he is off the board, Sutton will do. The Redskins are transitioning into an era under Alex Smith, who needs weapons to thrive. By adding Sutton, Washington will have picked up one of the brightest talents at wide receiver in this draft class.
#14 Green Bay Packers Select: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Martin’s Take: Last year, the Green Bay Packers ranked 23rd in the league in passing yards allowed per game, allowing 236.8 passing yards per game. With that, the Packers need an upgrade at cornerback, and Joshua Jackson puts the franchise one step closer to a Super Bowl run.
#15 Arizona Cardinals Select: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Luke’s Take: In this prediction, the best linebacker of the draft this year goes to a team that is in desperate need for defensive reinforcements. While the Cardinals are in need a quarterback, they need more help on defense as well. Smith has a tendency to make big plays in the right moments, which is something the Cardinals will love.
#16 Baltimore Ravens Select: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Kaleb’s Take: The Ravens offense is in desperate need for more playmakers. Since the days of Ray Rice within his prime, Flacco has not had a reliable run game to support him. With Guice, he can be relied upon as a three-down back and will some balance to this pass-heavy Ravens offense.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers Select: S Derwin James, FSU
Kaleb’s Take: The Chargers are lacking in a SS, and that is one of the last improvements this defense needs to make in order to make a playoff push. James is the #2 rated safeties among draft boards, and I believe he will provide the “X-factor” that could catapult Los Angeles into the postseason.
#18 Seattle Seahawks Select: WR James Washington, Oklahoma State
Judge’s Take: James Washington is falling to Seattle because as the seasons pass, Russell Wilson’s targets will progress in age, and start to exit their prime. Seattle is in need of a wide receiver, and Washington would fit for the Seattle system.
#19 Dallas Cowboys Select: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Devon’s Take: I took Hurst last time, and I’m doubling down this time around. The Michigan defensive tackle fits the Cowboys scheme perfectly, so while it wouldn’t become the flashiest pick, it will suit both sides well in the end.
#20 Detroit Lions Select: DT Vita Vea, Washington State
Tristin’s Take: Nothing changes here. Considering Matt Patricia to Detroit is official, Vea is regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in this draft. If Patricia goes to a 3-4 scheme, which is possible, Vea would be an excellent fit
#21 Buffalo Bills Select: OL Billy Price, Ohio State
Tristin’s Take: Center Eric Woods retired due to injury, and I believe Price can fill that void for Buffalo. He also can play the interior guard positions, so his versatility is a huge asset for the Bills offensive line.
#22 Buffalo Bills Select: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Tristin’s Take: Bills need a defensive tackle in this upcoming draft, and Payne is the best available at his position on the board. He is viewed as a potent run stopper who can also get after the QB.
#23 Los Angeles Rams Select: CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
Elsio’s Take: Isaiah Oliver is an athletic corner who is a bit raw in coverage. Luckily, the Rams don’t need a day one starter here, but may need a long-term solution. Oliver would be an insurance investment, but the logic is there.
#24 Carolina Panthers Select: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Elsio’s Take: The Carolina Panthers need a talented offensive tackle, and McGlinchey can fill that hole right away. Putting him in front of Cam could be beneficial for the Panthers offense, so why not pull the trigger on him?
#25 Tennessee Titans Select: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Tristin’s Take: If you’re a GM in need of an edge rusher, and a guy with top 10-15 talent falls to you in the mid 20’s, take him immediately. Somehow Davenport fell in this scenario, leaving Tennessee with a bargain selection.
#26 Atlanta Falcons Select: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Tristin’s Take: It seems as though the Falcons could use a defensive tackle, and Brown can start right away. This would be the safest bet for Atlanta, who are seeking another deep postseason run.
#27 New Orleans Saints Select: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Judge’s Take: if Rashaan Evans falls this far in the draft, you know the Saints will take him. With an already outstanding defense, New Orleans Saints could produce a Super Bowl run in the future by adding Evans to the defense.
#28 Pittsburgh Steelers Select: CB Carton Davis, Auburn
Martin’s Take: Although the Steelers ranked 5th in total passing yards allowed per game, this may be the smartest move for them. With Joe Haden owed $8 million, his cap space will start to ware on Pittsburgh. In order to prepare for future investments, perhaps Davis is the go-to choice here.
#29 Jacksonville Jaguars Select: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Kaleb’s Take: I chose Hurst last time around, and nothing seems to be changing in my mind. The tight end out of South Carolina will turn Jacksonville into a serious Super Bowl contender, as Bortles will receive yet another weapon on the offensive front.
#30 Minnesota Vikings Select: OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Tristin’s Take: I decided against picking a QB this time and grabbed Isaiah Wynn. He is a versatile lineman who’s also an amazing run blocker. He holds his own in the passing game, and for whoever the QB is in 2018, Wynn would be a dynamic addition in the later stage of the round.
#31 New England Patriots Select: CB Donte Jackson, LSU
Kaleb’s Take: With Malcolm Butler likely out the door after Bill Belichick’s questionable decision to bench him in the Super Bowl, the Patriots are going to need an immediate replacement. I believe Donte Jackson could very well be that replacement, as he will fill the gaping need for help at the cornerback position.
#32 Philadelphia Eagles Select: CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida
Luke’s Take: Viewed as the sleeper in the draft, if the Eagles need some help, it’s at the cornerback position. The Central Florida alumni was a standout, and will slot straight in with an elite defensive unit. The biggest challenge here will be adapting to the physicality of the NFC conference.