2018 NFL Mock Draft with trades 2.0
Published at 12/18/2017 6:10:23 PM
This is my updated mock draft following Week 14 in the NFL. This mock is based on what I believe teams will do during the 2018 NFL Draft, and will mostly be using the current NFL standings for 1-20, but will be taking liberties with teams that are tied with records where I think they'll end up, and also with the playoff teams.
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While Darnold was largely hyped as the number 1 pick, his recent struggles combined with the polished play of Rosen has propelled Rosen to the number 1 pick. When you also combine the fact Darnold has reportedly wanted to stay in school if the Browns get the top pick (I do think he could benefit from remaining in college another year), I doubt the Browns risk a possible Manning-Rivers situation. Anyway, the Browns finally take their QB of the future here,
Eli Manning has returned to the starting lineup, and immediately his season resumed where it left off. The Giants need to get a look at Davis Webb before the season is over, but with the mishandling of that situation the first time I doubt they will get that luxury. Because of this, they are forced (not really) to go with Sam Darnold. Now this is someone I think the Giants would be ecstatic to pick up. The CJ Beathard injury has benefitted the Giants more than the 49ers, ironically, as they now can get their QB of the future. (If Darnold remains in school, a tackle or Saquon Barkley are definitely in play)
This is one of the liberties I'm taking with this draft. The 49ers and Colts are currently tied at 3-10, but the 49ers have shown new life with Jimmy G as their new QB, and have a much easier looking schedule going forward. Now the had part with the Colts at this part is the fact that they are now very much in the thick of the Saquon Barkley sweepstakes. He is one of the best prospects in over a decade. He has the potential to immediately come in and be a Zeke like playmaker. We also have a recent precident with 1st
49ers Trade: 1.04
Broncos Trade: 1.06, 3.06, 2018 1st,
This is an interesting area of the draft, as I think the 9ers and Browns phones are ringing off the hook as the Broncos, Cards, Bills, and maybe Jets (more on them later) all try to move up to jump each other. Ultimately, I think the appeal of only moving back 2 picks with the knowledge at least 1 of 2 highly touted picks will be available, as well as a future first and an early 3rd is too great for the 9ers. Now as for the Broncos, with the recent rise of Baker Mayfield, I think they make the move up to try to find their next John Elway, and I think Elway will see something of his competitiveness in Mayfield, and won't be able to resist.
With the Broncos trading up to take Mayfield, the Bills and Cardinals decide they can hold tight, and the Jets (if they choose to go QB) feel safer thinking no one between this pick and them will take a QB, so the Browns decide to take one of the best DB prospects in the draft in Minkah Fitzpatrick, who can play any position on this Browns defense from in the box safety/linebacker combo, to deep safety or outside corner. That's all you need to know about this Browns defense.
49ers Trade: 1.04
Broncos Trade: 1.06, 3.06, 2018 1st,
While the Bills may offer more to move up and could win that sweepstakes, I think the fact that they believe either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Calvin Ridley will fall to them here is too good to pass up. In this mock they get their preference of the 2 in Ridley, to give new franchise QB Jimmy Garropolo a true number 1 WR with speed and size, who pairs favorably with breakout speedster Marquise Goodwin (who has a real shot at a 1,000 yard season after going through 3 QB changes). The Niners draft train keeps on chugging.
After a disappointing season, the Bucs are happy to get a talented edge rusher to plug in as a long term starter across from Spence. Chubb fits the system better than someone like Arden Key, and comes with less of a risk.
The Bears have a decision of whether or not to protect their franchise QB, or provide him with weapons. With Ridley off the board the Bears opt to take the best LT in the draft Mike McGlichey, looking at someone like Equanimous Saint Brown or Christian Kirk round 2. McGlinchey does great in pass pro and very well run blocking for a finesse tackle, which will also help their young RB stable of Howard and Cohen.
I've wrestled with this pick a lot, as the Bengals have a number of directions they can go. Marvin Lewis is likely gone after this disappointing season, which could trigger a large chain of effects. I like Derwin James as I think he'd be a great utility piece for them all over their secondary as their safeties underwhelm and the rest of their defense gets hurt. But after letting Whitworth and Zeitler walk last year this o line has been in shambles. McGlinchey just went the pick before, but now the Bengals get possibly the best o line prospect this draft in Quenton Nelson, who will help open holes for Joe Mixon and help provide some much needed protection for Dalton.
The Jets are weird. Earlier this week they were talking about how they all wanted McCown back for another season (understandably so, he's been very good in their system), which would support them possibly putting off an early QB and maybe looking elsewhere like last year. But then McCown breaks his hand and is out for the season, and who knows how a 38 year old QB will recover from that. I know I said the Jets are likely to think of QB, and I still think that wouldn't be a bad move, but if this is how the first round begins to play out, the Jets may decide to forgo a QB until early second or third (someone like Clayton Thorson, who's gotten a lot of buzz as of late). If they do, there are a few areas they need to address, but with the recent reports of the rift between Wilkerson and the team, and the reports he's out after this season after a benching against the Chiefs, Arden Key would be a logical replacement. He fits well as a 3-4 edge rusher with ability to drop back as a LB. His talent is undeniable as a top 10 pick, and he slots in very well with the Jets.
If the Jets were weird, the Redskins are that weird kid down the block you see eating paste in his underwear on the front porch at age 12. Is Kirk Cousins coming back? Cause if not a QB would also once again be the logical choice (Colt McCoy is not the answer, sorry Texas fans). But I think at least they tag him one more time (transition would be the most likely), and could choose one of my favorite players this draft in Derrius Guice. Now Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson have done very well, and Thompson was probably the NFL's best kept secret, but adding Guice to that stable behind that o line (if it's healthy) can help them start to match the backfields in Philly and Dallas, and give them another leg up on the Giants. If the Skins don't go Guice though, someone like Denzel Ward is readily available here, with rumors of Josh Norman wanting out of Washington if they don't get to some winning ways.
Dear god the Raiders back 7 is awful.Quite easily the worst in the league. Their LB corp needs serious work, but maybe Malik Jefferson or a personal favorite in Oren Burks (who has proven to be very effective in coverage, with 5 INTs and 17 pass breakups over his college career) can help in the earl-mid 2nd round. The Raiders will instead look to get Denzel Ward, who has stepped in very nicely for Marshon Lattimore in the Ohio State defense. He has the speed and athleticism Oakland is notoriously fond of, and has ball skills they so desperately need.
The Cards are in a tough spot here. They failed to move up for Rosen or Mayfield, and just saw Denzel Ward go right in front of them. I don't grade Allen or Rudolph (the other option here) as 1st round level players, especially this early, but over drafting at the most important position on the field is common, and the 1 QB I think could/should go this high doesn't fit this scheme very well at all.
The Dolphins could do a few things with this pick. Xavien Howard is coming off a great game as I type this where he sort of single handedly won an upset victory for the Dolphins over the Pats, shutting down Cooks all night and intercepting Tom Brady twice.They could address the o line, the aging d line, the weaker end of their LB corp, or their safeties rather than a CB. But I think Webster has been a very impressive corner this year, and think he's a good fit with nice size and speed in this Miami defense.
Oh man. These Chargers are not going to be at this pick by the end of the year, let me tell you that. But as of right now they are, and simultaneously address probably their biggest need in a loaded roster and go best player available. Now this pick and the Dolphins could flip flop easily. The Chargers secondary is great, but Verrett is injury prone, and their safeties are one of their weakest areas on defense. Here, they get a versatile play maker who can play CB or Safety for them, with the athleticism, aggression, and willingness to cover anyone, who also happens to be a top 10 talent, and managed to free fall in this mock draft.
The Cowboys are a talented roster with glaring holes in key positions. Sean Lee is the most important defensive player to any defense, not named Luke Keuchly. Since week 1 of 2016, Dallas is 19-2 the last 21 games Lee has played over 50 percent of the snaps, and outscoring opponents by over 10+ points during that time frame. The only other team outscoring opponents by double digits in that time frame? The Patriots. When he hasn't been on the field for 50 percent of the snaps, they're 1-7, and getting outscored by around 11 points. The only other team to be outscored by double digit points in that time frame? The Cleveland Browns. That's a 21 point swing. Then you realize he's going to be on the wrong side of 30 and injury prone, and Dallas needs a burst of youth and play making speed in their LB corp. Their secondary is showing vast improvement, as is their D line. The youth movement continues.