1. Cleveland Browns
QB) Sam Darnold (USC)
Darnold has been talked about as the likely number one pick since last year and reviews of his performance throughout the pre draft process seem to solidify that. The Browns have been in search of a franchise quarterback for what feels like a lifetime and have a golden opportunity to find one with either the first or fourth overall pick.
2. New York Giants
QB) Josh Rosen (UCLA)
Like his former college coach Jim Mora said, New York and Josh Rosen seem to be good fit. The former UCLA star would have an opportunity to learn behind Eli Manning before being thrust into a starting role. Saquon Barkley may be tempting, but with the depth that this running back class presents, I’d expect the Giants address that need in the Second or third round.
3. New York Jets
QB) Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
The Jets traded a king’s ransom to move up in the draft, obviously to look for their next franchise quarterback. Reports have emerged that the organization would prefer Mayfield over Rosen. Thus the pick will likely be a choice between the Heisman winner and Wyoming strong-arm Josh Allen; that is assuming that both are still on the board.
4. Cleveland Browns
RB) Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
The idea of pairing the best running back with the back quarterback in the draft may be too tempting to pass on for the Browns. By many accounts Barkley may be the best player in this draft regardless of position. Cleveland did sign Carlos Hyde in the offseason though. So if it’s not Barkley, look for the Browns to sure up their secondary with Minkah Fitzpatrick.
5. Denver Broncos
QB) Josh Allen (Wyoming)
John Elway and the Broncos have also been in search of their next franchise quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired. Unfortunately, as many as four of the top five quarterbacks in this draft may be gone by the time its the broncos turn. Josh Allen is a big strong athlete with incredible arm strength. But is he more Carson Wentz or Paxton Lynch. If not Allen, the Broncos will likely select the best available player, and that would be Bradley Chubb.
6. Indianapolis Colts
DE) Bradley Chubb (NC State)
If Chubb falls all the way to number 6, the Colts will have almost no choice but to take him. The Colts need edge rushers and Chubb just so happens to be the best of the bunch in this draft. The NC State product may even have a case to be the most valuable player in this draft. The Colts may have picked Chubb even if they had held onto the number two pick. So if he is still there at the six spot, expect Indianapolis to pull the trigger.
7. Tampa Bay
CB) Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
With Brent Grimes on his way out, the Buccaneers will likely be looking for another cornerback to pair with Vernon Hargreaves. Denzel Ward seems to be the consensus top corner in this draft. Ward is great in coverage and possesses blazing speed, as evidenced by his 4.32 forty time. Whoever the bucks go with, this pick should address the secondary. Versatile safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James will also be enticing if available.
8. Chicago Bears
OG) Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
The Bears need offensive line help and with Quenton Nelson, they would be getting it in the form of one of the top rated overall players in this draft. Nelson was an integral piece in a Notre Dame offensive line that was one of the best in the country last year. Defensive End, Wide Receiver, and Cornerback are also positions of need that the bears may look to address instead
9. San Francisco 49ers
S/CB) Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
Word is that that San Francisco will look to upgrade their secondary with this pick. Minkah Fitzpatrick may be just the man to help with that. Fitzpatrick was the best player on Alabama’s national championship team, and has lined up at both cornerback and safety throughout his tenure in Tuscaloosa. The 49er’s have already added Richard Sherman this offseason. Pairing him with one of the top overall prospects this class could go along way toward revamping this defensive unit.
10. Oakland Raiders
ILB) Roquan Smith (Georgia)
The SEC defensive player of the year may come off the board here as new head coach John Gruden looks to fill the Raiders’ void at linebacker. Smith’s heroics against Oklahoma made him a household name, but surely he’s been on teams’ radars for a while now as the best inside linebacker in the draft. Smith has unreal speed, and led vaunted Georgia defense in tackles last year. If for some reason the Raiders pass on smith, it will likely be in favor of Tremaine Edmunds or to address the secondary.
11. Miami Dolphins
OLB) Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech)
The younger Edmund’s brother will be the first to come off the board in the draft. Tremaine’s performance at the combine reinforced his status as a freak athlete. His performance on the field at Virginia Tech was just as impressive as his measurables. Edmunds was a finalist for the Butkus award in college and can play inside or outside. The Dolphins will already be looking for a linebacker and Edmunds is likely the best athlete on the board at this point anyway. But there is a chance the Fins may have their eyes on a quarterback, especially if someone like Baker Mayfield is still available.
12. Buffalo Bills
OT) Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)
Its likely that the Bills traded up in the first place to throw their hat in the ring for one of the draft’s top quarterbacks. Unfortunately in this mock, none of the top four available make it this far. One of the biggest boom or bust prospects in the draft, Lamar Jackson, will probably still be in play if Buffalo wants to go that route. But the Bills have two first round picks and Jackson may still be available at pick 22. Therefore i think the Bills will like address the O Line first and select the top offensive tackle in the draft, Mike McGlinchey.
13. Washington Redskins
DT) Vita Vea (Washington)
The Redskins need a lot of help on defense. A cornerback, defensive end, or linebacker could all be the move at pick number thirteen, but a defensive tackle makes the most sense. Most likely , we’ll see Vita Vea or Da’Ron Payne come off the board here. If the Redskins choose to address another position, Marcus Davenport, Derwin James, or a conerback could also be in play. But if Vea is still there, he seems the best fit.
14. Green Bay Packers
S) Derwin James (Florida State)
The Packers are another team that looked porous on defense last year. Without Aaron Rodger’s offense to mask this teams’ defensive deficiencies, it’s become clear this unit needs to be reupholstered. After trading away Demarious Randall, the secondary looks to be a particular area of weakness. If Derwin James is still on the board at this point, the Packers may have to pounce on him. James is comfortable lining up almost anywhere on the field and may very well be the best safety in this draft. If James isn’t available the Packers could go a number of ways. A defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver, and the offensive line will also be priorities for Mike McCarthy.
15. Arizona Cardinals
CB) Mike Hughes (Central Florida)
There have been some rumors that Arizona might be looking for a quarterback with this pick. That would certainly make sense as the aging Carson Palmer seems to be on the decline. Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson both may be options should the Cardinals choose to go that route. However, with Mayfield likely off the board by pick 15, I think we see Arizona invest in the secondary, rather than gamble on Jackson. Mike Hughes is rated one of the best corners in the draft and should be the pick. If Hughes is gone someone like Jaire Alexander or Isaiah Oliver could be in play.
WR) Calvin Ridley (Alabama)
Baltimore has been looking for a number one receiver for years now. Although they recently signed Michael Crabtree in the offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ravens jump on the consensus top receiver in the draft if he’s still available. That is where Calvin Ridley comes in. The Alabama product has established himself as the top rated Wide Receiver in this class. There have been lingering questions about whether he fits the mold of a true number one target in the NFL. But the Ravens desperately need playmakers and pass-catchers on offense, and Ridley fits that description. Tight End also is a need but taking any in this class at number 16 feels like a reach.
17. San Diego Chargers
DT) Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
The Chargers have a great opportunity to upgrade their interior offensive line by selecting former Alabama star Da’Ron Payne. Payne made his bones during the national semifinal game against Clemson. He possesses incredible athleticism for a guy his size, which he put on display both against Clemson and at the NFL Combine. Former teammate Rashaan Evans could also be option here should San Diego opt to fill the need at inside linebacker instead.
18. Seattle Seahawks
CB) Josh Jackson (Iowa)
The Seahawks parted with Richard Sherman rather acrimoniously this offseason. Losing him means losing a big corner with great ball skills. In Josh Jackson, they’d be getting a defensive back in the same mold as Sherman. Like Sherman, Jackson is also a former receiver. It’s not hard to gather when looking at his interception total from last season. However, a bit of an underwhelming performance at the combine may see Jackson slip in the draft. Moreover, Richard Sherman isn’t the only member of the Legion of Boom and Seattle’s generational defense to move on. With Michael Bennett also gone, the Seahawks may prioritize a defensive end like Marcus Davenport over Jackson.
19. Dallas Cowboys
DT) Taven Bryan (Florida)
Bryan was already regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in this draft, and that was before he put on a show at the combine. Bryan impressed so much that he’s even drawing comparisons to JJ Watt. The Florida product is exactly what the Cowboys are looking for. Apart from being a standout athlete, he also fills a positional need at defensive tackle. If Jerry Jones chooses not to go after Bryan, I would expect to hear a wide receiver or linebacker’s name called; with Christian Kirk or Leighton Vander Esch being the most likely candidates.
20. Detroit Lions
DE) Marcus Davenport (UTSA)
The Lions will be thanking their lucky stars if Marcus Davenport falls all the way to number 20. Davenport is generally regarded the second rated defensive end in this draft class behind only Bradley Chubb. Davenport’s tape shows him terrorizing quarterbacks in the Conference-USA. The only problem is exactly that – it was the Conference USA. Any concerns about whether Davenport is for real should be alleviated by his monster performance in the senior bowl and blazing speed at the combine. If Davenport is gone by then, Arden Key, or what’s left of the draft’s top running backs may well be options.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
ILB) Rashaan Evans (Alabama)
Evans may be gone by the time the Bengals are on the clock, but if not he’s the pick at number 21. Marvin Lewis will be looking for a linebacker, and the Alabama product is just the man for the job. But there is a chance that Cincinnati may prefer Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch to Evans. The Bengals also have other needs to address, offensive line being chief among them. Thus i wouldn’t be surprised to see OG Will Hernandez come off the board here either.
22. Buffalo Bills
QB) Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
The Bills traded up to 12 to find their new franchise quarterback. However, with the likely quarterback frenzy expected to take place over the top 5 or so picks, they may be better suited waiting until pick 22. At this point in the draft, it would make sense for a team like the Bills to take a chance on the electrifying Lamar Jackson. Jackson threw for over 3000 yards and ran for 1000 more in consecutive seasons. His selection would give the Bills a dynamic playmaker at the quarterback position. Though questions about his accuracy might scare teams off. If so a receiver or offensive lineman could be in the cards.
23. New England Patriots
OT) Kolton Miller (UCLA)
Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger and the Patriots needs someone to protect him. Kolton Miller gives them that. Miller’s athleticism was on full display at the NFL combine and he should still be available at the tail end of the first round. If Belichick doesn’t go for an offensive lineman, it could be a move in favor of addressing the secondary instead. After all there is a vacancy without Malcolm Butler. If that is the case Isaiah Oliver might be the best available cornerback at this point. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see them go after DE/LB Harold Landry.
24. Carolina Panthers
CB) Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
The Panthers need to update their secondary. They haven’t had a shutdown corner since Josh Norman’s departure and thus the position will be a priority in the early rounds. A player who they’ll likely jump on if available is Lousiville’s Jaire Alexander. Coming into the season, Alexander was highly rated before an injury cut his year in half. However, a sensational performance at the combine, in which he showed off incredible speed, vaulted him back into the first round conversation. Another area of need that Ron Rivera will tend to in the early going of this draft is the receiver position. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a look at DJ Moore or Christian Kirk either.
25. Tennessee Titans
OLB) Harold Landry (Boston College)
Some scouts aren’t quite sure whether Landry is better suited at defensive end or linebacker. What it fairly certain is that he grades out as a first rounder. Landry finished the 2016 leading the nation in sacks with 17. The only reason he won’t be going in the top ten of this draft is that he was unable to recapture that form in 2017. Some also worry that he’s a bit undersized for his position. Nevertheless, if he’s still there at number 25, he’s probably going home a Titan. If not new head coach Mike Vrabel could also make a play to upgrade the receiving corps.
26. Atlanta Falcons
DT) Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
Defensive line ought to be the Falcons priority in the first round. If that is the case Michigan’s Maurice Hurst might be their selection. Hurst is regarded as one of the best defensive tackles in the entire draft. However, concerns about a heart condition discovered at the combine could cause him to fall out of the first round. Doctors have fortunately cleared Hurst to play, but there’s no telling how that situation might impact his stock. But if the Falcon’s are willing to take the risk, this move could pay dividends. If not, receiver is another position they could look to bolster.
27. New Orleans Saints
TE) Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)
The Saints don’t seem to have many holes on offense. One position they could choose to upgrade would be the tight end. If they do choose to address the position in the first round, it will either be Dallas Goedert or Hayden Hurst. It’s hard to say who New Orleans might prefer out of the top two tight ends in this class. Hurst is a former South Carolina Gamecock who’s older and wasn’t the focal point of that offense. Goedert is a great athlete who stuffed the stat sheet for South Dakota State – an FCS program. Its anyone’s guess but its hard ignore tape from Goedert where he displays Odell Beckham like hands. Then again it may be a little early to take either tight end, and the Saints may look for a receiver or O-line help instead.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
ILB) Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)
Leighton Vander Esch has been a fast riser throughout the entire pre draft process. Prior to this season he was no one’s radar. The Boise State star who played only 8 man football in high school, began to fly up draft boards after a highly productive junior season for the Broncos. The linebacker’s allure increased even more following an impressive workout at the NFL combine. At this point, I wouldn’t even be surprised if he’s long gone by pick 28. As long as he’s still there, Vander Esch is probably the best fit for the Steelers who just so happen to be in the market for an inside linebacker. Another direction Mike Tomlin could go would be addressing the hole at safety.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
WR) Courtland Sutton (SMU)
The Jaguars are coming off of a shockingly awesome season in which they just barely missed out on going to the super bowl. Despite all of their success, this team will look a little different in 2018, particularly on offense. The Jaguars let both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns walk in free agency. Thus it would make a whole lot of sense to address the receiver position. Names like Cortland Sutton, Christian Kirk, DJ Chark, and DJ Moore will likely all be considered. However, my money is on Courtland Sutton. Sutton looks the part of a prototypical number one receiver at 6’4 and 218 lbs. He’s also coming off of back to back 1,000 yard seasons at SMU. The Jaguars also already have a speedy and shifty receiver like the other names mentions in Dede Westbrook. If receiver isn’t the move, who knows what could happen. Lamar Jackson would tempting as would a linebacker or an OT like Connor Williams.
30. Minnesota Vikings
OG) Will Hernandez (UTEP)
Will Hernandez is a steal and a no brainer if still available at pick number 30. Hernandez showed at the combine that he is suprisingly very athletic for a man of his size and build. Guard is a glaring need but multiple positions across the offensive line could use shoring up. If Hernandez is gone or the Vikings pass on him, coach Mike Zimmer might look to Iowa G/C James Daniels instead. But other than that its tough to find another area of need that Vikings would expend a first round pick on to fill.
31. New England Patriots
DE) Arden Key (LSU)
Key came into the year as the number one player on a lot of analysts’ big boards after recording the second highest sack total in the SEC as a sophomore. Key undoubtedly has superstar potential, but 2017 marked a period of regression for the former Tiger. Off the field issues have also marred his draft grade. Even though he is probably one of the most talented players in the draft, this may be a reach. But it could also be an incredible value. A more safe option would be a cornerback, like Isaiah Oliver who I talked about before. Whoever is picked here, it will no doubt be determined by who the Pats select with the 23rd pick they acquired from Los Angeles. The loss of Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola could also mean that the Pats will look to add a pass catcher in the first few rounds as well. Christian Kirk, DJ Moore, and DJ Chark are just a few of the names that may be on Bill Belichick’s mind.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
WR) DJ Moore (Maryland)
What do the defending Super Bowl champions need to repeat? That is a great question. It’s hard to say but word on the street is the Eagles are in the market for a pass catcher. Whether that means a wide receiver or a tight end, I do not know. The Eagles chose to trade Torrey Smith this offseason. As they move one from one Maryland Terrapin, it may be time to bring in a new one. DJ Moore would be my guess as to who the Eagles select. The former Terp is strong built, and incredibly shifty with ball in his hands. But Philly could just as easily go with a tight end (whoever’s left out of Hayden Hurst and Dallas Goedert) or even a running back. Sony Michel, Derrius Guice, or Ronald Jones would be the most likely out of this RB group. If they go defense, Sam Hubbard is another name I’d look out for.