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
Devon’s Take: After what was a nightmare season for Cleveland, fully expect the front office to continue their experiment with drafting quarterbacks in the first round. In my eyes, the Browns have had Darnold near the top of their board for awhile now, and he seems to be one of the safer picks within this class.
#2 New York Giants Select: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Tristin’s Take: If there’s any QB in the draft that I’d have to say will be the best professional quarterback, it’s Josh Rosen. I say the Giants get their Eli manning replacement with this selection.
#3 Indianapolis Colts Select: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Luke’s Take: Frank Gore can only do so much by himself, and with not a whole lot of support on the depth chart, this is a perfect time to capitalize on the high pick. It won’t only give the legendary running back some much needed help if he decides to come back, but it also gives time for Barkley to gel. Add on the impending return of Andrew Luck, and this offense should develop rapidly through 2018.
#4 Cleveland Browns Select: CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Devon’s Take: After previously selecting Darnold, the Browns will be forced to take the best positional player on the board. With that said, the choices would essentially be narrowed down to Fitzpatrick and Bradley Chubb. At this point in time, I believe Fitzpatrick has a bit more potential than Chubb heading into 2018.
#5 Denver Broncos Select: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Judge’s Take: Josh Allen is a nice addition to the rebuild in Denver, as he’s young and contains a strong arm. I think he’ll click well with the likes of Emmanuel Sanders because of his speed. All in all, if Allen winds up in Denver, he could be poised for an elite rookie campaign.
#6 New York Jets Select: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Luke’s Take: The Jets need a quarterback to build the franchise around, and with Rosen/Darnold both going in the top two picks, you have to say that Mayfield will be that guy. The 2017 Heisman winner was outstanding during his tenure at Oklahoma and should fit well with the Jets. It is a risk, but the potential reward far outweighs this gamble. He can also learn off the journeyman, Josh McCown, who could be pivotal to his success in the league.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select: DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
Judge’s Take: Chubb would be a great addition to the Bucs, as the defense has a few holes they need to fill all around their roster. By adding Chubb, Tampa Bay will be betting on one of safer selections in this draft, as the sky is essentially his ceiling of potential.
#8 Chicago Bears Select: DE Arden Key, LSU
Luke’s Take: Bradley Chubb was the name I had written down here, but Arden Key will fit the bill perfectly. The Bears need a legitimate threat in their pass-rush game, and the 6’6″ Arden Key will do just that. He may have been injured for parts of his senior year, but the Bears need to shore up their defense if they want a chance at playoffs.
#9 San Francisco 49ers Select: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Kaleb’s Take: With former New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo being acquired by trade and leading the Niners to six victories by the end of the year, protecting the 26-year old is going to be a top priority. I believe Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson will be a perfect addition to that interior line and will be a huge piece to the offense moving forward.
#10 Oakland Raiders Select: DB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Martin’s Take: One big problem last season for the Raiders that caused them to miss the playoffs was their secondary, which was ranked 26th in the league, allowing 241.1 passing yards per game. It’s obvious that this team needs help, and that’s where Denzel Ward comes in. Ward is a lock-down corner who can improve the Raiders secondary drastically.
#11 Miami Dolphins Select: LB Raquon Smith, Georgia
Luke’s Take: In my eyes, Raquon Smith is the best linebacker in the 2018 draft. Miami needs a young linebacker to build upon, and he has the potential to be a dominant force in the league. With 37 tackles in his last three games, as well as the Dick Butkus award in 2017, this should be Miami’s guy.
#12 Cincinnati Bengals Select: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Elsio’s Take: The Bengals biggest need currently is at the offensive line, so I see them dedicating the first two rounds to address this. Offensive tackle Orlando Brown fills that need, and while many would expect Connor Williams here, I feel Brown is slightly better. He looked solid against a dangerous Georgia defense, while Williams has had some problems to add to the fact that he had an injury to shorten his season in 2017.
#13 Washington Redskins Select: OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
Devon’s Take: A fair amount of the Redskins linebackers will see their contracts end after the 2018-19 season, so the addition of Okoronkwo would simply be viewed as an insurance policy. The Redskins have done an efficient job in terms of limiting their spending on defensive players, so expect the front office to continue to utilize the draft as a method of improvement.
#14 Green Bay Packers Select: CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa
Hunter’s Take: The reason for selecting Jackson was because his production would be perfect within Green Bay’s defensive system. His ability to go man-to-man effectively, and not leave receivers wide open, would help this defense in a massive way.
#15 Arizona Cardinals Select: QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Kaleb’s Take: After the retirement of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals are in need of a QB, and Oklahoma State’s QB Mason Rudolph could very well be that solution. He would be brought into an already-solid offense led by Larry Fitzgerald (assuming no retirement) and David Johnson. Rudolph could see instant success with the weapons of Arizona.
#16 Baltimore Ravens Select: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Tristin’s Take: Calvin Ridley is the best wide receiver in this draft, and it’s not really a close race. Admittedly, he likely won’t fall this far, but if he does, Baltimore should sprint to the commissioner with their pick.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers Select: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Kaleb’s Take: The Chargers offense for the most part has seemed to have found a working formula, so my main priority was to build a core defense. Starting with LB, Edmunds is a highly-touted prospect with tons of potential. He could be the key piece this Chargers defense needs to get over the hump and into the postseason.
#18 Seattle Seahawks Select: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Elsio’s Take: Seattle needs to bolster their pass rush, and I feel Davenport can improve that to an extreme degree. He has long arms, deep athletic ability, and an array of pass rushing moves. In terms of productivity among 3-4 defensive ends, Davenport statistically only sits behind Bradley Chubb and Nick Bosa in terms of efficiency scores.
#19 Dallas Cowboys Select: DT Maurice Hurst Jr, Michigan
Devon’s Take: It seems as though Taco Charlton was an underwhelming pick for Cowboys Nation this past season, but the defense should continue to seek improvement. I have Hurst Jr. as the #1 defensive tackle in this particular draft class, and hopefully he can make an immediate impact for Dallas in 2018.
#20 Detroit Lions Select: DT Vita Vea, Washington
Tristin’s Take: If Hurst hadn’t have been taken the pick before, I would’ve considered him, but with the Lions hiring Matt Patricia as head coach, they could switch to a 3-4 defense. In that, you need a pure nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, and Vea also happens to be one of the elite interior linemen in this draft.
#21 Buffalo Bills Select: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Martin’s Take: With Tyrod Taylor more than likely out of the door in the near future, and with Mason Randolph and Josh Allen off the board, this is the next best bet. It will take him some time to reach his full potential, but when he does, it will be all worth it.
#22 Buffalo Bills Select: CB Carton Davis, Auburn
Martin’s Take: With the pass defense ranking 20th in the NFL in the regular season, this was a Bills roster that allowed 230.5 passing yards per game last year. The addition of Carton Davis is a much-needed upgrade at corner. In the later stage of the first round, this is an absolute steal in my eyes.
#23 Los Angeles Rams Select: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Hunter’s Take: I chose Evans because I believe he would be a solid asset for the Rams defense. With him playing along side Mark Barron, who will be due to carry a big cap number next season, Evans now has the opportunity to develop into the starting role.
#24 Carolina Panthers Select: OT Connor Williams, Texas
Devon’s Take: Carolina has a strong defense, and finished in the middle of the pack when it came to sacks allowed during the regular season. I’m not quite too sure how Williams fell this low, but this would be an ideal selection for a roster seeking new ownership.
#25 Tennessee Titans Select: C/OG Billy Price, Ohio State
Elsio’s Take: Some might see Price as too early of a selection here, but it’s a case of need. The offensive lineman is excellent at both center and offensive guard, which are both current needs for the Titans. He would be an instant upgrade in the interior line for Marcus Mariota.
#26 Atlanta Falcons Select: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Hunter’s Take: Selecting Da’Ron Payne would be a great choice for Atlanta, because if they don’t resign Dontari Poi, he would be that next man up. Payne is a very talented player, and the big takeaway of this selection involves the raw skills that the defensive tackle contains.
#27 New Orleans Saints Select: LB Malik Jefferson, Texas
Judge’s Take: Jefferson would be a perfect fit to have behind Cam Jordan. Adding him to the already stacked New Orleans defense could very well be the key to a true Super Bowl run.
#28 Pittsburgh Steelers Select: S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
Elsio’s Take: Pittsburgh has bolstered their pass rush, but the secondary has yet to match. Ronnie Harrison is a tall and hard-hitting safety who can stuff the run, and also hold his own in coverage situations. Him replacing Mike Mitchell would go a long way for the Steelers.
#29 Jacksonville Jaguars Select: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Kaleb’s Take: Blake Bortles really showcased what he could do this year when he has weapons to throw to, and with Mercedes Lewis aging, Hayden Hurst being seemed to make perfect sense for this selection. With an already young defense, as well as a proven offense, Hurst could really cause some damage in 2018.
#30 Minnesota Vikings Select: QB Luke Falk, Washington State
Tristin’s Take: If I draft a player at any other position, the QB is still the glaring hole. I believe the Vikings sign Keenum, but whether Bradford or Bridgewater return is up in the air for a few reasons. With Falk, you can mold your own QB without giving out major money. This also gives the new offensive coordinator a chance to show how well he can develop a QB.
#31 New England Patriots Select: CB Donte Jackson, LSU
Martin’s Take: With Malcolm Butler heading towards free agency this offseason, the Patriots need to draft his replacement. If Donte Jackson is still on the board, it would be smart of the front office to take advantage and draft the LSU cornerback. As long as Jackson can develop the ability to earn fewer penalties in the NFL, he will have a promising career.
#32 Philadelphia Eagles: OT Chukwuma Okafor, Western Michigan
Martin’s Take: With Jason Peters another year older, the Eagles need to start planning for the future. Okafor has proven that he can play both the right and left tackle position, so the versatility that he brings to the offensive line will prepare the franchise for years to come.
Want more? Subscribe to The Athletes Hub YouTube page for a variety of sports debate.