Welcome to GiveMeSport's first mock draft of 2018. It's been a long time coming, but with the NFL Combine now behind us and the Draft barely eight short weeks away - we felt that it was time to dust off the cobwebs and get down to business.
A couple of things to note. This Draft is based on Kirk Cousins making the right choice if he wants to win and signing with the Minnesota Vikings, Allen Robinson deciding he wants to leave the Jaguars and no trades being made.
So here it is, the first mock of the year. Please go easy on us.
1) Cleveland Browns - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Josh Rosen isn't the best player in the draft class. He doesn't have the most powerful arm, he hasn't statistically been the most accurate and has a personality to him that some will find grating. But he's the best overall quarterback and that is what the Browns need. Some believe that the Browns should take Saquon Barkley at 1 and just roll with whoever falls to them at 4 but I'm not in that school of thought. You have to grab your guy and the Browns need to nail it with their first pick with the guy at the top of their draft board.
2) New York Giants - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The best player in the draft comes off the board. There are calls for the Giants to take a QB here, but Dave Gettleman is a believer in Eli Manning and I think believes Eli has at least 2-3 years left in him as a starter.
3) Indianapolis Colts - Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Andrew Luck is still hurt, maybe, but the Colts have a solid backup in Jacoby Brissett so QB is definitely off the board. There are needs on the offensive and defensive line, but with no elite tackle prospect in this class - the edge has to go to Bradley Chubb, the pass rusher that has drawn comparisons to Myles Garrett from some corners of the media. The Colts D gets a much-needed boost.
4) Cleveland Browns - Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The best secondary player comes off the board and Jabrill Peppers praises the lord for he probably won't have to play 20 yards off the line of scrimmage anymore. There are questions about Fitzpatrick's best position, but free safety seems the best bet.
5) Denver Broncos - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The power arm with accuracy problems. Still, he's an upgrade on Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian (we think). John Elway seems to like the gunslinger. Let's hope that pays off, for Demaryius Thomas' sake at the very least.
6) New York Jets - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Six picks in and three QBs are off the board. Darnold's 2016 season as a Trojan was incredible and spawned a rabid fanbase over on Reddit. He regressed quite a bit last year but has a ceiling that might be higher than every other quarterback.
7) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Vernon Hargreaves is best as a slot corner so the Bucs need someone to do work out on the boundary. At 6'1, Jackson is the best man to fit that job in 2018.
8) CHICAGO BEARS - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Another team with a lot of holes that need fixing. With some names off the board we are going to the best cover man that the Draft has to offer in Denzel Ward, then former Buckeye. At 5'10 he's a bit on the short side, but he can cover like hell.
9) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The player most likely to make it to an All-Pro team as a rookie, Nelson is a monster in both the pass and rush game. He's dominant and should be incredible straight out of the gate. The Niners just paid Jimmy Garoppolo $137.5 million, they should be looking to protect him and will count their lucky stars if Nelson falls this far on draft day.
10) OAKLAND RAIDERS - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Navorro Bowman, unfortunately, isn't what he used to be after two horrible injuries. So here the Raiders pick up a clone of the great linebacker. Smith is a sideline-to-sideline backer and will fit beautifully into their defense. Jon Gruden gets one of college footballs best players.
11) MIAMI DOLPHINS - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Heisman winner is finally off the board and it might come as a shock to some. But Ryan Tannehill is coming off a big injury and on a big contract. Mayfield gives the Dolphins security and a potentially game-changing quarterback in years to come.
12) CINCINNATI BENGALS - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
The Bengals O-Line is straight garbage. Why they got rid of Andrew Whitworth I don't know. It is in desperate need of an upgrade so let's give them the best offensive tackle on many people's boards. Miller starred at the Combine with a 4.9 40-yard dash, not bad for a 6"9, 309lb behemoth.
13) WASHINGTON REDSKINS - Derwin James, S, FSU
Running back and wide receiver are both big needs, but there is value to be found in later rounds. James is a freak athlete that measured in at just a shade under 6’2″ and 215 pounds. He was a star at Florida State and should be very good as a pro.
14) GREEN BAY PACKERS - Marcus Davenport, LB, UTSA
Yay, the Packers finally get a decent pass rusher on their roster. Davenport is raw technically but he put up a combine that rivaled Jadeveon Clowney as an edge prospect. That's too good to pass up on for Green Bay.
15) ARIZONA CARDINALS - Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
A chaos pick. Expect the Cardinals to be a prime trade-up candidate to try and nab one of the higher tier QB prospects, but for the sake of this no-trade mock, let's give them the former Heisman winner who lit up Louisville on Saturdays.
16) BALTIMORE RAVENS - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is just 16 months younger than Allen Robinson. Who knows, maybe they will end up as teammates in Baltimore? Joe Flacco's arm doesn't have long left so he needs help. Getting the best route runner in college football helps.
17) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, VA Tech
The prototype. Edmunds is what you'd get if you could sculpt a linebacker in a laboratory. He can play as a pass-rusher or a total three-down backer. The sky is the limit.
18) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Conor Williams, OT, Texas
Another abysmal offensive line gets a big upgrade. Williams had an injury that wiped out much of his 2017, but he's shown that he can be a talented left tackle and a potential franchise one at most.
19) DALLAS COWBOYS - Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Cowboys' old, slow receiving corps needs a boost but we have to go BPA at number 19. DeMarcus Lawrence won't say no to some help on the defensive line and that's what he gets here in the big, gap-filling Californian.
20) DETROIT LIONS - Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Defensive tackles go in back-to-back picks. The Lions need a lot of improvement on defense and we gave them a beast to help that. While his pass rush skills need work, a 4.91 40-yard dash suggests he has the physical tools to learn and develop some in Detroit.
21) BUFFALO BILLS - DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
The first of the Bills' picks, if Buffalo don't try to trade up and get a usurper to Tyrod Taylor's starting QB spot they have a wealth of options. Firstly, we are taking DJ Moore, the flyer from Maryland who has rocketed up draft boards all over the country. The six-foot, 210-pound receiver ran a 4.42 40 which is very tasty.
22) BUFFALO BILLS - James Daniels, C, Iowa
The Center spot is open in Buffalo after the shock retirement of Eric Wood and in my opinion, the former Hawkeye James Daniels is the man best suited to filling those big boots left behind.
23) LOS ANGELES RAMS - Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
Landry has been a popular pick for a Rams team that needs to get Aaron Donald some help badly. He can't do it all on his own. Landry is a dynamic edge rusher who led the country with 16.5 sacks in 2016. His production fell off in 2017 but he can still go and be a very nice piece for Wade Phillips' defense.
24) CAROLINA PANTHERS - Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
Panthers fans may not like it but Andrew Norwell is heading out in free agency and he is leaving a big gap on the line that is tasked with protecting Cam Newton and making holes for Christian McCaffrey. A lot of analysts absolutely love Wynn and picking him here feels like a match made in heaven.
25) TENNESSEE TITANS - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
A late-riser on draft boards, Vander Esch is a 6'4", 256-pounder with 4.65 speed and he looks like a Thad Castle clone - shout out to Blue Mountain State. Mike Vrabel is new in town in Tennessee and would love to get his hands on this shiny new toy for his linebacking corps.
26) ATLANTA FALCONS - Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State
Price got hurt during the combine and it drops him below James Daniels here. He can play all three interior O-line spots and the former Buckeye will make one head coach very happy when he gets out on the field.
27) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Arden Key, DE, LSU
With Marcus Lattimore, Alvin Kamara and Ryan Ramczyk all being huge hits in the 2017 class, the Saints can afford to take a risk on a boom or bust pass rusher in key out of LSU.
28) PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Replacing Ryan Shazier is pretty much impossible. It's hard to find anyone on his level. But in the former Crimson Tide defensive captain, the Steelers get someone who can go a long way to plugging the gap in the middle of the defense.
29) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - James Washington, WR, OK State
We told you at the top, in this Draft we are planning for Allen Robinson to leave the Jags. Jacksonville needs a replacement and they get one in James Washington, an extremely productive receiver out of Oklahoma State that could well be the best of the bunch when things are all said and done.
30) MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Vikings picked up Cousins in this fantasy, so what's the first thing they need to do? Help him as much as possible. McGlinchey was solid at Notre Dame, and will likely spend his career at RT, but he will improve the Vikes line.
31) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
The Patriots need an EDGE guy more than Rob Gronkowski needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Hubbard is a Belichick dream, big and with surprising agility, and could be the man to get to the quarterback in New England.
32) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Super Bowl champs don't really have any pressing needs, unless Nigel Bradham decides to skip town in free agency. Getting some insurance for him, in the form of Texas big man Malik Jefferson is a nice way to counter any worries. In his final season as a Longhorn, he racked up 110 tackles, 10 TFLs and four sacks.
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