This year’s NFL Draft has the potential to be one of the top QB drafts in years. The draft will feature five or six QBs drafted in the first round alone, not including later round picks such as J.T. Barrett (OSU) and Kyle Lauletta (Richmond). This is also a very strong defensive draft, and there could be as many as three DBs taken as well. We have a pretty good idea of the teams who will be drafting a QB but the missing piece of the puzzle is which QB will go where. Other hot commodities include RB Saquan Barkley (Penn State) and DE Bradley Chubb (NC State). Many believe that whichever the NY Giants do not draft at the 2 slot will be picked up by the Browns at 4. So without further ado, I present my 2018 mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold (USC): With the first overall pick I see the Browns taking QB Sam Darnold. Even though rumors have surfaced around the league about interest in Baker Mayfield, I feel like even the Browns won’t mess this up. Not to say that Baker is untalented but he has no business being the #1 overall pick, especially in this stacked draft. Darnold has the highest ceiling of the QBs, and just needs some mechanical adjustments to help reach his potential as top level quarterback. Add an established running game and a couple top tier receivers Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry and you have a combination for success.
2. New York Giants- Bradley Chubb (NC State): This was a tough one to pick because the Giants are in need of a running game despite the addition of 31 year old Jonathan Stewart this off-season. Stewart’s struggles last season with the Panthers are a reason for concern but I don’t see it getting in the way of drafting Chubb. After dumping off long time star Jason Pierre-Paul for some draft picks the Giants are looking for that new stud to run their front seven and I see that in Chubb.
3. New York Jets- Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma): The Jets see Baker as the next Joe Namath. Though I have Mayfield ranked as the fourth best QB in the draft due to his lack of size and poor decision making off the field. He reminds me of Johnny Manziel and that scares me if I’m the Jets. Hopefully he is able to prove me wrong, but that’s all I have to say about ‘Broadway Baker’ at the moment.
4. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley (Penn State): Barkley is the top player in the draft in my opinion, and the Browns would be fools if they had the chance to take him and declined. With the offense that I mentioned earlier, add Barkley and that is a scary match-up for even the league’s top defenses. If these Browns picks fall the way I’m thinking they will, then I think that the Browns to the playoffs is a good possibility.
5. Buffalo Bills- Josh Allen (Wyoming): This is a trade that I see the Bills making. After trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns, the Bills are in desperate need of a QB (see Nathan Peterman vs. Chargers for further proof of this) and I think that they are willing to take a risk on Allen. Though Allen has the best arm in the draft, his accuracy often fails him which is why I have him as the 3rd QB gone.
6. Indianapolis Colts- Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame): Nelson has been called the surest pick in the draft, with many executives already expecting a Hall of Fame career. The fit with the Colts is simple, Andrew Luck has been out the last two seasons due to an injury caused by a poor O-Line. Nelson will be the building block of the new line, and if the rebuild goes well then we may even see the Colts in the post-season.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Derwin James (Florida State): James is the most NFL ready safety and has starting potential immediately for a Buccaneers team that ranked last in pass defense for the 2017 season. James will be key for a team that is looking to win as quickly as possible.
8. Chicago Bears- Roquan Smith (Georgia): Roquan Smith is one of the top two linebackers in this draft, and will be an immediate leader of the Bears defense. The Bears have been rebuilding their offense over the last few drafts, and they are in need of a player to lead their defense. Smith runs a 4.5 and will have a huge impact on the way this team plays.
9. San Fransisco 49ers- Denzel Ward (OSU): Ward is the best CB in the draft. Point blank. He runs a 4.32, unbelievable coverage skills, and one of the best football IQs in the nation. This is a no brainer for the 49ers who already have a top tier offense. Paired with Ruben Foster and Solomon Thomas will make the front seven a force to be reckoned with. This team is a sleeper to make the Super Bowl.
10. Oakland Raiders- Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech): Edmunds is in my opinion the second best backer in the draft, and he would be a great compliment to Khalil Mack. Tremendous athletic ability will propel him past any mental mistakes, and He looks like he could be a solid player in the Raiders scheme.
Other notable picks for me are as follows:
15. Arizona Cardinals- Josh Rosen (UCLA)
16. New England Patriots- Lamar Jackson (Louisville)