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
Martin’s Take: Since the new century, the Cleveland Browns situation at quarterback has been like a revolving door of busts. With that, USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the obvious pick here. In addition, with Tyrod Taylor listed as the starting quarterback, Darnold does not have to play right away. This could prove to be a smart investment for the future.
#2 New York Giants Select: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Hunter’s Take: Some might say that the Giants should go quarterback with this pick, but the fact is that New York can wait another year and should bet on running back Saquon Barkley. The last time the Giants had a productive run game was over five years ago with Ahmad Bradshaw. In addition, the last Pro Bowl running back for the Giants was Tiki Barber back in 2006.
#3 New York Jets Select: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Luke’s Take: The New York Jets need to take the best quarterback of the draft, and with Sam Darnold going first, the team will need to grab the next best available option. While they have Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown, Rosen does not have to be thrown straight into the firing line. Rosen should be considered the future of the Jets organization, and this will ensure that New York can build a team around him.
#4 Cleveland Browns Select: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Martin’s Take: With the future at quarterback settled, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has the chance to emerge as the leader of the defense. Likely the most well-rounded defensive player in this draft, Fitzpatrick could be a franchise player. Even though Nelson is on the board, and Joe Thomas is now retired, passing up on a prospect such as Fitzpatrick is too difficult.
#5 Denver Broncos Select: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Devon’s Take: In my rankings, Nelson is best available player on the board. The Denver offensive line struggled to keep their quarterbacks safe last season, and with a prospect such as Nelson to rely on, the Broncos could get back to competing within the division.
#6 Indianapolis Colts Select: DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
Martin’s Take: Last season, one big problem for the Indianapolis Colts was getting to the quarterback, as they managed to reel in only 25 sacks. With the sixth pick in the NFL Draft, the Colts should turn to Bradley Chubb as a defensive leader. With the talent he contains, Chubb is certainly capable of totaling double-digit sacks in 2018.
#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select: CB Denzel Ward, OSU
Luke’s Take: It is as simple as taking the best player on the board, and Denzel Ward would fit right in at Tampa Bay. The defense needs assistance in the secondary, and Ward will ensure that everything goes according to plan.
#8 Chicago Bears Select: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Martin’s Take: With a core that involves players like Danny Trevathan and Leonard Floyd, adding the best linebacker in the draft in Tremaine Edmunds would add another element to an already-talented Bears defense for years to come.
#9: San Francisco 49ers Select: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Luke’s Take: San Francisco has seemingly taken care of a majority of their offensive needs through the free agency period, with the exception of another wide receiver. With their first round pick, the 49ers need to look at their linebacker situation, as Roquan Smith would fit nicely into the 49ers defensive scheme.
#10 Oakland Raiders Select: DT Vita Vea, Washington State
Luke’s Take: Oakland could go a few ways here, as they need another option out wide for Derek Carr, but also need help on the defensive front, as well as the secondary. With some talented prospects already off the board, Vita Vea can still prove to be a force in Oakland.
#11 Miami Dolphins Select: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Elsio’s Take: The Dolphins could use a lot of help, particularly on offense. The arm of Allen could be the answer if Tannehill doesn’t seem to be the franchise player Miami has been hoping for.
#12 Buffalo Bills Select: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Tristin’s Take: This seems like an obvious choice and a bit of a steal at this point in the draft. Plenty of mocks have the Oklahoma quarterback within the top three, so Buffalo would be gracious to get a franchise player such as Baker Mayfield.
#13 Washington Redskins Select: S Derwin James, Florida State
Elsio’s Take: The Redskins defense could use reinforcements, as Josh Norman and DJ Swearinger are some of the few standout pieces in the Washington secondary. Drafting a talent such as Derwin James could go a long way.
#14 Green Bay Packers Select: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Hunter’s Take: When it comes to the Green Bay Packers, selecting Marcus Davenport, who is considered one of the best edge rusher in the draft, could add some depth for veterans such as Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
#15 Arizona Cardinals Select: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Kaleb’s Take: With all of the Arizona Cardinals top quarterback options off the board, they could very well look for an additional wide receiver after John Brown this offseason. Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley could very well be a viable weapon for Sam Bradford in 2018.
#16 Baltimore Ravens Select: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Kaleb’s Take: Joe Flacco hasn’t proven that he is worth the extension that he was signed to in 2012 after winning Super Bowl XLVII. The quarterback spot needs to eventually change, and a former Heisman winner in Lamar Jackson could bring some passion to this offense.
#17 Los Angeles Chargers Select: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Elsio’s Take: The Los Angeles Chargers have had one of two constants for the past three years: A poor offensive line, and a tendency to choke when it counts. With McGlinchey, he is a strong tackle who could plug some of the holes when need be.
#18 Seattle Seahawks Select: CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida
Hunter’s Take: I think it’s a no-brainer that the Seattle Seahawks should be going with secondary player with this pick, especially after losing Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and Deshawn Shead. The best choice for this pick would be Mike Hughes, who could be a great starting corner in that Seahawks defense.
#19 Dallas Cowboys Select: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Devon’s Take: While Allen Hurns should prove to be a reliable option for the Dallas Cowboys, I’m not sure that Jerry Jones and company are done investing in wide receivers. After the departure of Dez Bryant, Dallas may go with a flashy pick, as they are the hosts of the upcoming draft.
#20 Detroit Lions Select: Edge Harold Landry, Boston College
Tristan’s Take: I don’t see why Detroit would go with anyone else when they have a defensive coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni, who knows Landry better than anyone in the league right now. This has to be the pick if he’s on the board.
#21 Cincinnati Bengals Select: C/G Will Hernandez, UTSA
Devon’s Take: The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of needs heading into draft night, but Will Hernandez could prove to be a versatile option on the fronts for Andy Dalton. If Hernandez isn’t the selection, look for a prospect such as Isaiah Wynn or Billy Price to be the answer.
#22 Buffalo Bills Select: G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Tristin’s Take: The Buffalo Bills need interior line help, and Isaiah Wynn is a prospect that can give them that solution. He is currently viewed as one of the best run-blockers in the draft, so this should be the easy route.
#23 New England Patriots Select: LB Rashaan Evans, Georgia
Kaleb’s Take: This New England Patriots team has a lot of needs, but have enough early picks to address those needs. It seems like Rashaan Evans is a perfect fit in New England for what Bill Belichick wants to do.
#24 Carolina Panthers Select: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Elsio’s Take: The Carolina Panthers would like to address their need on the offensive line here, and it’s agreed that it would make the most sense. On the other hand, the lineman pool is depleted at this stage, and the Panthers would need to turn to their second-most pressing need: Wide receiver.
#25 Tennessee Titans Select: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Kaleb’s Take: This Tennessee Titans team is only a few pieces away from a deep playoff run, and I think a strong inside linebacker is one of those needs. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch out of Boise State had a phenomenal combine and proved to be what I think is a first round talent in this draft.
#26 Atlanta Falcons Select: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Hunter’s Take: The Atlanta Falcons need to go defensive tackle with this pick, especially after losing Dontari Poe, who signed with the Carolina Panthers. Selecting Taven Bryan would be considered a steal by some, and a gamble to others.
#27 New Orleans Saints Select: G Billy Price, Ohio State
Kaleb’s Take: The center position is a pressing need for this New Orleans offensive line, and Billy Price could prove to be the solution. Unfortunately, Price suffered an injury at the combine, but I don’t think New Orleans passes him up at this stage.
#28 Pittsburgh Steelers Select: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Elsio’s Take: I believe that Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander could provide assistance in the Pittsburgh secondary. In fact, back in college, Alexander didn’t allow a single pass over 20+ yards in 2017.
#29 Jacksonville Jaguars Select: WR DJ Moore, Maryland
Devon’s Take: While the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive stands among the elite, adding another receiver such as Moore could prove to be valuable. If Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both departed, the Maryland rookie could easily see starting reps early in the season.
#30 Minnesota Vikings Select: OT Connor Williams, Texas
Martin’s Take: Even though the Vikings offensive line was one of the best in the league last season, getting younger and more flexible up front is never a bad thing. Connor Willams out of Texas will be an impact player on that offensive line for years to come, protecting Kirk Cousins and whoever the quarterback is after him.
#31 New England Patriots Select: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Kaleb’s Take: With the departure of Malcolm Butler, the New England Patriots are in a tough spot at the cornerback position. The team has acquired Jason McCourty from the Cleveland Browns via trade, but they will need a younger option, and Jackson could bring some youth to this defense.
#32 Philadelphia Eagles Select: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Tristin’s Take: Considering LeGarrette Blount is off to the Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles could use another running back. Selecting an option in the backfield at a later round isn’t a poor option, but Guice is the best player available player at this point.