Final First Round Mock Draft – 2018

The 2018 NFL Draft begins on Thursday with the first round. Many teams are gunning for quarterbacks, where other teams have needs at other positions. The final mock draft is here and is as follows:

  1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB – USC —– Cleveland ultimately does the right thing here, and drafts the most pro-ready passer to lead their team into the future.
  2. NY Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB – Penn State —- Reports out of NY say that John Mara is pressuring the current front office to stick with Eli Manning and draft Barkley. The question remains of who exactly is going to block for Barkley.
  3. NY Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB – Oklahoma —- Reports have been linking Mayfield to the Jets for the past few weeks. He’ll sell jerseys, and bring a spotlight back to a team that desperately needs it.
  4. Cleveland: Bradley Chubb, DE – NCST —- No brainer for Cleveland here. They get the perfect balance for Myles Garrett.
  5. Denver: Josh Allen, QB – Wyoming —- John Elway continues to value measurables over stats, and will fall in love with Allen’s size and strength.
  6. Indianapolis: Quenton Nelson, G – Notre Dame —- With health concerns about for Andrew Luck, the Colts will feel a renewed pressure to protect him. A potential “gold jacket player” in Nelson is a good step in that direction.
  7. Tampa Bay: Derwin James, S – FLST —- James is a heat-seeking missile on the field, and will bring some “juice” to a defense that desperately needs a spark. He gets to stay home in Florida, which is a nice bonus for him.
  8. Chicago: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S – Alabama —- Minkah has top-3 talent and really shouldn’t even fall this far. The character is off the charts, and the talent isn’t far behind. He’s a guy who can step in and start while leading the pack.
  9. San Francisco: Roquan Smith, LB – Georgia — With Reuben Foster‘s career appearing to be over, Smith can immediately step in and fill that void for the foreseeable future.
  10. Oakland: Tremaine Edmunds, LB – Virginia Tech —- Oakland needs talent, and Edmunds has it in droves. He can provide a stabilizing force in the middle of Oakland’s revamped defense under Jon Gruden.
  11. Miami: Calvin Ridley, WR – Alabama —- With the departure of Jarvis Landry, Miami needs help at WR. Ridley can start immediately and make an impact to help Ryan Tannehill.
  12. Buffalo: Josh Rosen, QB – UCLA —- This pick may need to occur earlier via trade, but I think it happens regardless. Rosen may have the highest ceiling of any QB in the draft, and Buffalo is a nice landing spot for him to step in and start.
  13. Washington: Da’Ron Payne, DT – Alabama —- Vita Vea has been talked about a lot, which leads me to believe he won’t be the pick. Plus, Payne’s effort is off the charts, and the Redskins have proven to value those sorts of things. Vea’s propensity to take plays off will give major pause to Washington, and make Payne the guy.
  14. Green Bay: Denzel Ward, CB – Ohio State —- Green Bay won’t pass up the opportunity to take the best player available, and Ward is that. Day one starter with very high upside.
  15. Arizona: Lamar Jackson, QB – Louisville —- The worst kept secret in the NFL is how much Arizona likes Jackson. Sam Bradford is penciled in as QB1, but his history shows that Jackson should get his chance sooner rather than later.
  16. Baltimore: DJ Moore, WR – Maryland —- The Ravens have been desperately searching for WR help. Moore may be the most talented receiver in the draft, and Ozzie & Co. won’t let the hometown hero slip past 16.
  17. LA Chargers: Vita Vea, DT – Washington —- LA has a glaring need at DT, with the aging Brandon Mebane on the decline. Vea gets to stay on the west coast, and only a few hours from home in central California.
  18. Seattle: Mike McGlinchey, OT – Notre Dame —- Seattle desperately needs to protect Russell Wilson. McGlinchey is the most talented OT in this draft, and should immediately start and give Wilson some breathing room.
  19. Dallas: Marcus Davenport, DE – UTSA —- With David Irving‘s future up in the air, Dallas will need to add to a group that may see Demarcus Lawrence depart for free agency next year.
  20. Detroit: Derrius Guice, RB – LSU —- Detroit needs playmakers in the backfield. Matthew Stafford cannot continue to throw the ball 50 times a game. Guice will give them the rushing attack they’ve needed for years.
  21. Cincinnati: Leighton Vander Esch, LB – Boise St. —- Vander Esch plays with an edge, and helps set the tone. With Burfict suspended, and a constant headache, Vander Esch can step in and be the future at the position.
  22. Buffalo: Connor Williams, OT – Texas —- Goodbye Cordy Glenn, hello Connor Williams. Williams will provide immediate protection to Josh Rosen as he slides into his role at QB1.
  23. New England: Christian Kirk, WR – Texas A&M —- The Patriots decided to move on from Brandin Cooks, and can now add a young, dynamic playmaker.
  24. Carolina: Courtland Sutton, WR – SMU —- The Kirk pick will scare Carolina into taking a receiver of their own. Sutton has incredible upside, and can help Cam & co. spread the ball around.
  25. Tennessee: Harold Landry, DE – Boston College —- With Vrabel in the fold, expect the Titans to look to move Landry to OLB in a 3-4 defense. The Titans need help, with the aging Brian Orakpo on the decline.
  26. Atlanta: Taven Bryan, DT – Florida —- Atlanta has holes up the middle of their defense, and Bryan can rotate in the help plug them.
  27. New Orleans: Billy Price, G/C – Ohio St. —- New Orleans needs protection for Brees’ last hoorah, and the new QB they draft to replace him down the road. Price has top-10 talent, and the freakish injury shouldn’t hold him back.
  28. Pittsburgh: Rashaan Evans, LB – Alabama —- Ryan Shazier‘s devastating injury can be smoothed out a bit with this smart addition. Evans can step in and become an impact starter in the middle of Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense.
  29. Jacksonville: Hayden Hurst, TE – South Carolina —- This pick makes too much sense, with Jacksonville needing more weapons for Blake Bortles, and Hurst being a hometown kid.
  30. Minnesota: Will Hernandez, G – UTEP —- With the addition of Kirk Cousins and his massive salary, Minnesota will need young and cheap talent to support him. Hernandez can help keep the pocket clean for Cousins, who needs a clean pocket to function at his best.
  31. New England: Mason Rudolph, QB – Oklahoma State —- There it is. The pick the Patriots were looking for. Rudolph has the raw skills that NE looks for, he can learn from Tom Brady, and ease into the NFL in an ideal situation.
  32. Philadelphia: Jaire Alexander, CB – Louisville —- The defending champs had some issues in pass coverage last year, and Alexander can help bolster that unit.

Follow Ben on Twitter @B_in_DC

(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

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