2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Josh Rosen, QB and Derwin James, S
The Browns grab an interior disruptor to finish off their defensive front.
Lawrence has 33 tackles with 2.5 sacks in 2017. While his numbers are down year over year, he helps create a lot of sacks for those around him.
The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder was a tremendous freshman to help Clemson win the 2016 season's National Championship. NFL sources have were already raving about Lawrence in the preseason as he was impossible to ignore in 2016. Lawrence was an All-Freshman selection all over the nation, plus was named the ACC Rookie of the Year. He totaled 63 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and a pass batted for 2016. One national scout for a NFC team told me that they thought Lawrence was among the two most disruptive defensive linemen that season - along with Alabama's Jonathan Allen.
The Cardinals grab their quarterback of the future.
Bryant has flashed serious potential at times as Clemson's replacement for Deshaun Watson. Like the current Texan, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bryant has a good skill set that lets him hurt defenses with his arm or his legs. He has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,678 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017, plus has picked up 11 touchdowns on the ground. Bryant has a ton of upside to improve as he gains experience.
The Jets traded away Sheldon Richardson, so they could take a lineman to team with Leonard Williams and Muhammed Wilkerson.
In 2017, Oliver has 69 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-1, 290-pounder dominated at the point of attack in 2016, starting from his debut game against Oklahoma. All season, the freshman overwhelmed offensive linemen with his quickness, athletic ability, and physicality. He totaled 66 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and nine passes batted on the year.
Oliver is going to see a ton of double teams for the rest of his college career, but he is good enough to produce even with the extra attention. Like Dexter Lawrence, Oliver looks like a future top prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Previous Mock Selections: 11/18-Dexter Lawrence, DT
10/28-Nick Bosa, DE
9/30-Clelin Ferrell, DE
8/31-Rashan Gary, DT
4.Chicago Bears:Trey Adams, OT, Washington
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Bradley Chubb, DE
The Bears made a huge commitment and investment of resources in Mitch Trubisky. While they paid Charles Leno in a contract extension, they could upgrade their line by taking a left tackle and moving Leno inside to guard or to right tackle.
Adams' 2017 season ended early with a torn ACL. Sources stated they don't think that the torn ACL will keep Adams from being a first-round pick if he comes out in the same year, similar to Cedric Ogbuehi in the 2015 NFL Draft. However, Adams said he intends to return for his senior year.
Adams is a smooth mover with length; it is tough to get by him. He plays with nice body lean and leverage that he uses to help sustain blocks. Adams has quick feet and is athletic on the edge. He could stand to add more power to knock defenders off the ball in the NFL. Adams would be a good fit in a zone-blocking system.
Adams was one of the top left tackles in the Pac-12 during 2016. The Huskies fielded a potent passing offense, and Adams did a nice job of keeping Jake Browning protected. The 6-foot-7, 302-pound Adams has length and size on the edge to go along with good quickness and athleticism. Sources have raved about Adams being one of the top talents for the 2018 NFL Draft class with franchise left tackle potential. They were impressed with his 2016 tape, including how well he did in one-on-ones with Alabama's edge rushers in the Huskies' playoff game.
Previous Mock Selections: 11/18-A.J. Brown, WR
5.New York Giants:Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Sam Darnold, QB
The Giants grab an interior disruptor for their defensive line.
In 2017, Gary has 59 tackles with five sacks, one forced fumble and 11 tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-5, 287-pounder is a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender. Scouting sources say Gary has high first-round potential if he puts everything together. That could definitely happen during his junior season.
6.Los Angeles Chargers:Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Christian Wilkins, DT
The Chargers are going to have to start thinking of their replacement for Philip Rivers. If Cardale Jones doesn't prove to be up to the job, they could look for their future quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Even though some other draft analysts reported Thorson was likely to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, WalterFootball.com was first to report that Thorson was planning on returning to Northwestern for 2018, which he made official prior to his bowl game against Kentucky.
Scouts who were through Northwestern told me that they were impressed with what they saw from Thorson (6-4, 225) on tape and in practice. Thorson has shown that he has pro potential in terms of his skill set. He can throw the deep out with a fastball that can be fit into tight windows. Thorson has quality mechanics with a quick delivery. Scouts say that he has a very strong arm, is smart, athletic, and has improved as a junior. He makes some mistakes from trying to do too much, but that is understandable because Thorson's supporting cast is abysmal with an offensive line that is weak and wide receivers who can't separate either via speed or explosiveness.
Some team sources say that they gave Thorson a second-round grade, and one general manager told me they gave Thorson a late second-round/early third-round grade. But they all think he could rise in the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft. The reason for that is he a good leader who gets along well with all of his teammates. While he is a devout Christian, he knows how to be one of the guys and get along with the different groups in the locker room. Thorson is super smart and will impress teams with his intelligence along with his character. They think that evaluators could fall in love with him during the interview process, driving him into being a first-round pick.
In 2017, Thorson has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,809 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has four rushing touchdowns, too. As a sophomore, Thorson completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,182 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
7.Buffalo Bills:Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Courtland Sutton, WR and Baker Mayfield, QB
The Bills could use multiple additions at wide receiver to improve their passing attack.
Tate was very impressive in the 2017 season opener against Alabama even though Florida State didn't give him a lot of opportunities. He has 35 receptions for 464 yards and seven touchdowns on the year, but the Seminoles have been playing with a freshman backup at quarterback. Scouting sources have told me that Tate looks like he has the potential to be a special player. In 2016 as a sophomore, Tate totaled 25 receptions for 409 yards with six touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder could be poised for a big future with Florida State.
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Billy Price, C/G
The Jaguars might give Blake Bortles the 2018 season considering they are likely to make the playoffs in 2017. However, I think Jacksonville could be a flash in the pan that falls back next year, in large part because of Bortles. Before too long, the Jaguars should look for an upgrade over Bortles.
Patterson has transferred to Michigan, where his game could really improve playing for Jim Harbaugh. 2017 was a tumultuous year for Ole Miss, but Patterson completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,259 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions before a season-ending knee injury. Patterson (6-2, 203) completed 55 percent of his passes for 880 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions in his three games of 2016.
Scouting sources have told me that they think Patterson could be a stronger version of Johnny Manziel without all the off-the-field problems. He has a good skill set and the talent around him to produce well as a junior.
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Arden Key, DE
The 49ers need a No. 1 receiver Jimmy Garoppolo.
In 2017, Brown totaled 75 receptions for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was injured in the game against California on his first target and missed the rest of the game.
Brown had a strong debut in 2016 with 29 receptions for 412 yards with two touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound freshman showed some play-making potential, and it wouldn't be surprising if he puts together a big season with quarterback Shea Patterson in 2018.
The Colts clearly still need more talent in their front seven.
Bosa has 32 tackles, seven sacks and one forced fumble so far in 2017. He's been the Buckeyes' best defensive end even though he rotates with Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis. Bosa could explode as a junior after that duo leaves for the NFL, plus he plays every down. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder played well for Ohio State in 2016, recording 29 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and five sacks.
The Vikings got nothing out of Laquon Treadwell as a rookie. This year, they've continued to be led by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Minnesota could use a few more receiving talents.
Johnson has flashed in 2017 with 51 receptions for 725 yards and two touchdowns. He was very impressive against USC and its talented cornerback Iman Marshall. The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Johnson had 28 catches for 315 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman, but team sources think Johnson could explode as a junior as he has mismatch size that could let him dominate the Big XII's weak defenses.
Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace aren't long-term starters at this point. Thus, Baltimore could target more receiving talent in the years to come.
A hamstring injury has limited Richards to just seven games in 2017, and he has 24 catches for 439 yards and three touchdown over those appearances. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder was a play-maker and very impressive in 2016. The freshman totaled 49 receptions for 934 yards and three touchdowns. His speed was illustrated by his average of 19.1 yards per receptions. Richards easily could have produced more in 2016 if Brad Kaaya had played more consistently.
Previous Mock Selections: 11/18-Collin Johnson, WR
13.Cincinnati Bengals:Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Quenton Nelson, G
The Bengals will have to replace Adam Jones before long, and they prioritize drafting cornerbacks early. Here's a corner who could be a nice fit as a nickelback next to Dre Kirkpatrick.
Taylor has 17 tackles with three passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. Sources have told me that Taylor has been an impressive player in their practice and tape study of Florida State as a cover corner. They think he could fit as a talented NFL nickelback with ball skills. Taylor (5-9, 170) needs to get bigger, but he has a few years to do that.
14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Joe Jackson, DE, Miami
2018 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/22): Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
The Buccaneers could use multiple upgrades at defensive end. If they draft two base ends, they could rotate them with Noah Spence to give the defense a shot at a more steady pass rush. That is assuming Spence starts producing in 2018.
Jackson is a dangerous edge defender for Miami with a nose for the quarterback. He has excellent speed off the edge to go along with length and size. At 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, Jackson could grow into a solid base end in a 4-3 defense. In 2017, he has 55 tackles with 11.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two passes batted, and one forced fumble. He was impressive in his play against Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey, a future first-round pick and starting tackle in the NFL. As a freshman, Jackson made 8.5 sacks.
The Saints get their eventual replacement for Drew Brees.
I had Stidham in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, but given his lack of experience, he could easily decided to return to Auburn for 2018. Stidham has completed 67 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,827 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Team sources have said that Stidham (6-3, 210) has a lot of ability and that they are eager to see him develop. They think Stidham has the upside to be a special player. He has shown improvement in his accuracy and decision-making over the course of the 2017 season.
Stidham flashed as a freshman at Baylor, completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. His freshman season was ended early because of injury, but he flashed serious ability with arm strength, athleticism and accuracy. After the scandal that claimed the job of Art Briles, Stidham eventually landed at Auburn following a stint attending community college for a year.
16.Miami Dolphins:Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech
The Dolphins grab a replacement for Lawrence Timmons.
In 2017, Edmunds has 102 tackles with three forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and two passes batted. When watching the Hokies in 2016, Edmunds (6-5, 236) was impossible to ignore as he was all over the field for them. He recorded 106 tackles with 18.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception in 2016. Edmunds is a quick, instinctive linebacker with good length.