2018 NFL Mock Draft by IkeC. - 2.24
Published at 2/25/2018 5:17:35 PM
No Trades. No Predictions. Descriptions are made by NFL Network Analyst Lance Zierlien.
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At the end of the day, Darnold has NFL size, arm strength, accuracy, pocket mobility, poise and field reading capability. His windup is an eyesore for sure, but he has the velocity to mitigate the additional release time. While Darnold has the mental toughness and talent to start tomorrow, early sideline seasoning could help him better process coverages in an attempt to eliminate future interceptions. Darnold has the tools to thrive in any system and doesn't have to have perfect protection to succeed. His floor is solid starter, but he has the ceiling to be one of the top tier quarterbacks in the game as he gains more experience.
Josh Rosen's footwork and mechanics make him as pretty a quarterback as you will find in this year's draft. The biggest concern with Rosen is that his on-field success requires many elements to stay on schedule. He lacks plus arm strength, so identifying coverage (pre- and post-snap) and throwing with anticipation takes on added importance. Rosen has the pocket poise, accuracy and intelligence to become a good NFL starter, but he needs to be willing to take what defenses give him more frequently. Rosen will need to quell concerns surrounding leadership and coachability early on in order to establish a strong first impression and get his career off on the right foot.
Elite guard prospect with outstanding size, rare power and a block finisher who can make tape room sessions uncomfortable for most opponents. Nelson is technically sound and is unlikely to face a long adjustment period once he gets into the league. Nelson may need to make sure and keep his play speed high and prevent against taking his eyes off of his target when coming off the ball. Nelson has the traits and talent to become an All-Pro guard for years to come.
Every-down running back with the ability to alter the course of an offense and become a face of the franchise-type player. Barkley has the rare ability to create additional yardage through elusiveness, speed, vision and feel for space in the open field. While he has been tasked with carrying a heavy load at Penn State, their decision to limit his carries somewhat this season could help Barkley headed into his rookie season. Barkley is a buffet runner who thrives with the more plates you give him and he has a chance to become an early All-Pro no matter which team takes him.
Spread quarterbacks have had limited success as have small quarterbacks. Mayfield falls into both categories and has to prove he can transcend those perceived deficiencies on the next level. Having complete command of the Oklahoma offense isn't an automatic precursor for NFL success, but Mayfield's ability to process, extend plays and throw with accuracy give him a good shot. He'll be somewhat scheme-dependent so whoever takes him will need to be willing to build their offense around his strengths.
Likely be the biggest boom-or-bust quarterback prospect in the draft. Allen's size and arm talent are prototypical for early first-round picks, but it's rare to find a quarterback with such a low college completion rate become a successful pro. Allen's receivers struggled to separate, but there were plenty of times where his lack of anticipation and post-snap plan did him in. Allen can make some truly special throws, but his ability to improve the mental part of his game will determine whether he's a good NFL starter or just another big, strong-armed guy.
Chubb possesses high-end physical traits, years of production and the ability to play in a variety of positions in both odd and even fronts. Chubb returned to school last year and turned areas of improvement into areas of strength. His motor and athletic ability cause him to jump off the tape snap after snap and his play attributes and production should translate quickly as a pro. Chubb should be an early pick, early starter and multi-time Pro Bowler.
Ridley has game-changing talent complete with blazing speed and rare route-running ability for a college prospect. He ran the full route tree at Alabama, has experience working in a pro-style attack and is a plug-and-play starter on day one. He must improve his ability to defeat press corners off the snap or he'll become a feast or famine target. Ridley's elite speed and separation talent gives him the potential to become one of the more productive and dangerous receivers in the league.
Fitzpatrick turns up the intensity level as high as it will go and and rips off the knob until the game is over. Fitzpatrick has experience as a slot cornerback, but will likely be targeted as a "do-everything" safety who can be deployed as a sub-package linebacker, a blitzer or in the slot against big receivers and move tight ends. Fitzpatrick has consistently shined since his freshman season on Alabama defenses that have been loaded with NFL talent. His versatility, football character and desire to succeed give him Pro Bowl potential and should make him an early starter.
Ward has the experience and talent to handle duties on the outside, but his lack of play strength combined with his elite footwork might be the deciding factor for a move inside. Ward is outstanding as a mirror-and-match cornerback with great route feel who is able to maintain tight coverage around the field with good technique and pattern recognition. He should become an early starter at nickel cornerback with the talent to make an immediate impact for a defense that faces a pass-happy division foe twice per year.
Williams has been a personal favorite since studying his freshman season, but his 2017 tape didn't match his previous body of work. Williams seemed to lose some lateral quickness and had troubles holding up at a high level in protection. A move to guard or center is a possibility depending on how his arm length measures out. Williams is a plus run blocker with plug-and-play technique across the board. If he regains his 2016 form, he will be a good NFL starter. If not, he'll be an average NFL starter.
Possesses the desired physical traits and mental makeup of an All-Pro safety who has the ability to not only set a tone but change the course of games. Although James is extremely athletic and talented, he still has room for improvement as a run defender and in coverage. James' talent is best utilized in an active, attacking capacity in a robber role or near the line of scrimmage where he can support the run, blitz and handle physical coverage responsibilities.
Edmunds combines elite size, speed and explosiveness into a productive, versatile linebacker package that will have evaluators salivating. Edmunds has posted high-impact production over the last two seasons and he still has room to get bigger and better. He will make mental mistakes and his instincts are subpar, but he has an ability to mitigate those issues with his athletic ability. Edmunds can play in any alignment at any linebacker spot and has All-Pro potential no matter where he lands.
Smith is an ascending linebacker prospect with elite athletic ability, plus intelligence and an ability to be an effective cover linebacker on passing downs. While he's a little undersized, he does have the quickness and speed to keep himself from being mauled. He was good in 2016, but great in 2017 and projects as a player who hasn't tapped his full potential. Smith has Pro Bowl traits and talent and will come off the board in the first round.
Had mind-blowing ball-hawking season with 27 passes defensed including eight interceptions. Tall with long arms. Allowed 41.3 percent completion rate. Made a play on 25.7 percent of his targets. Makes his own fortune. Instincts are top-notch. Plays the ball and not the man. Flashed supreme ball skills. High-point winner with ability to pull down the one-hand grab. Put together monster performances in big games. Finished with three interceptions in upset win over Ohio State and two pick-sixes against Wisconsin. Anticipates routes. Allowed no touchdowns after Week 4. Spotlight player. Lauded for positive attitude and strong work ethic.
Sutton is a possession receiver who has the size and toughness to handle a heavier target load if necessary, but he will need to improve as a route runner because his play speed and separation is nothing special. Sutton's ability to win in contested catch situations could get him early playing time as a second or third receiver, but he may not have the explosiveness to ever become a top-flight WR1.