*** 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT updated March 30. This mock draft will be updated occasionally. Follow @walterfootball for NFL Draft updates. ***
San Francisco 49ers: Sam Darnold, QB, USC 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Solomon Thomas, DE
I once gave the 49ers a franchise quarterback in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft. That's not the case anymore, as I've slotted Solomon Thomas to them. This is predicated on them trading for Kirk Cousins at some point. It seems like that will inevitably happen, but it's not a guarantee. If the Cousins plan is removed from the equation, the 49ers will target a signal-caller atop the 2018 NFL Draft.
Sam Darnold has taken the Pac-12 by storm, as he's been incredible ever since taking over as the starter, which was capped off by his amazing Pac-12 performance. A big quarterback with a nice arm, terrific accuracy and decent mobility, Darnold is the favorite to become the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Los Angeles Rams: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): None
Taking a quarterback is a realistic scenario, but the Rams have given up so much for Jared Goof that they can't quit on him yet. Perhaps that'll change once the 2019 NFL Draft rolls around, but I don't think they'll abandon him after two years. Besides, they can just chalk it up to not having enough weapons for Goof.
Arden Key was unstoppable in 2016 and happens to be the sort of monstrous pass-rusher who could take the Rams' defense to the next level. An edge rusher is needed in the wake of the William Hayes trade. Connor Barwin was signed, but he's just a short-term solution across from Robert Quinn.
Cleveland Browns: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Myles Garrett, DE and Mitchell Trubisky, QB
I currently have the Browns taking a quarterback in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, so they'll have to pass on one of the superior signal-callers in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Christian Kirk, projected as the top receiver in a stacked 2018 draft class, is a very explosive play-maker on both offense and special teams, and his maturity and attention to detail are years beyond his age. He would be the perfect replacement (and upgrade) for Terrelle Pryor in Cleveland.
New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): O.J. Howard, TE
If the Jets appear to be tanking for one of the elite quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft, then they are geniuses. They'll have three to choose from, and perhaps they'll opt for UCLA's Josh Rosen.
Rosen was once the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but he's been passed by Sam Darnold. It also must be noted that NFL coaches and owners are wary of the sort of things Rosen has discussed to the media. However, he's young and could improve his thinking.
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Mike Williams, WR
Here's the third elite signal-caller. The Bills could be in the market for one. They decided to keep Tyrod Taylor, but they can pretty much cut ties with him following one season. They'll likely opt to do so if they're selecting this early in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Josh Allen projects as a potential first-round signal-caller. He has a big arm and can scramble pretty well, but he needs to work on his accuracy next year.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Leonard Fournette, RB
Blake Bortles has been an utter failure thus far, but something the Jaguars can point to is poor pass protection. They signed Kelvin Beachum last offseason, but he was recently released because he struggled coming off an ACL tear. Branden Albert was acquired, but he won't be able to stay healthy in all likelihood.
Mike McGlinchey would probably be the top tackle chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft if he were to declare, but he announced that he would be returning to school.
Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Reuben Foster, LB
Chuck Pagano talked about adding a young running back to the team this offseason, but if the Colts fail to do so in the 2017 NFL Draft, they'll definitely be in the market for someone like Saquon Barkley.
Barkley is a stud, and barring injury is almost certain to be a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He'll be a perfect complement to Andrew Luck.
I'm sure Andy Dalton would love someone like Calvin Ridley to throw to opposite A.J. Green. The Bengals lost Marvin Jones last offseason, and time will tell if Tyler Boyd can be an appropriate replacement. It didn't look good in the wake of Green's injury, as Cincinnati became completely stagnant.
Chicago Bears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Jonathan Allen, DE/DT
The Bears have a couple of promising, young cornerbacks, but they could use a No. 1 player at the position if Prince Amukamara isn't re-signed after his 1-year deal is up. General manager Ryan Pace talked about adding some talent to the secondary this offseason, but failed to do so outside of Amukamara. Fortunately for him, Minkah Fitzpatrick is very much worth the No. 9 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.
New Orleans Saints: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Taco Charlton, DE
The Saints have numerous issues on defense at every level. This includes their linebacking corps, thanks to their foolish decision to sign James Laurinaitis last offseason. They can make amends for that by drafting the ultra-talented Malik Jefferson.
Miami Dolphins: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Jabrill Peppers, S/LB
The Dolphins acquired William Hayes from the Rams this offseason, but he'll be a free agent prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Cameron Wake, meanwhile, could regress this season. Defensive end might be a big need for Miami at this juncture.
Sam Hubbard saw his sack total drop from 6.5 in his freshman year to 3.5 in 2016, but he's a freak athlete poised to have a breakout junior campaign.
Denver Broncos: Derwin James, S, Florida State 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): David Njoku, TE
The Broncos have a terrific secondary right now, but T.J. Ward will be a free agent prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Denver could shuffle some players around to compensate, or John Elway might opt to select a stud safety to replace Ward.
Derwin James has missed some time in 2016 with a knee injury, but he's a monstrous safety (6-3, 211) who happens to be a terrific athlete. He's still projected to be a top-10 pick.
New York Giants: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Garett Bolles, OT
The Giants have a couple of offensive linemen - Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg - set to hit free agency just prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. Retaining both could be difficult, and New York is apparently aware of this because the front office has tried to court some guards in free agency - even after signing D.J. Fluker.
Baltimore Ravens: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Cam Robinson, OT
The Ravens cut Elvis Dumervil this offseason, and Terrell Suggs won't be too far behind him. The Ravens desperately need multiple edge rushers to bring their defense back to the power level it once held.
Carolina Panthers: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C.State 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): Marshon Lattimore, CB
The Panthers traded Kony Ealy and plan to go with the duo of Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers next year. The problem is both are on the wrong side of 30 and won't be on the team much longer. Carolina will have to use an early-round selection on a defensive end sometime in the near future.
Minnesota Vikings: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 3/30): None
The Vikings are disappointed with Sharrif Floyd, so if he doesn't get his act together, he won't be on the team much longer. Christian Wilkins could be targeted as a replacement for Floyd in the 2018 NFL Draft.