2018 NFL Mock Draft by ScottyCyclone2 - 3.4
Published at 3/4/2018 4:43:41 PM
One more pre-combine mock. Things will no doubt change after things in Indianapolis come to a close, and especially after big free agency moves happen. But as things stand now, here's what I'm thinking... With trades!!
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A lot hinges on Cleveland's first pick overall as it will unravel the rest of the draft completely. The hot debate is whether the Browns will select one of the highly-touted quarterbacks or star runningback Saquon Barkley who might be regarded as the best overall talent in this class. With this pick I went with UCLA's Josh Rosen. While picking Barkley would be practical, the Browns have been haunted in far too many recent drafts where they passed on eventual studs at the QB position. Rosen looks like the most ready signal-caller in this year's draft, and while you could make your case that Sam Darnold and Josh Allen could be selected here instead, I think that there isn't nearly as much risk in him as there is in his peers. Rosen goes #1.
TRADE ALERT: NY Giants trade #2 overall for NY Jets' 2018 first and third round picks, and 2019 first, fourth, and fifth round picks.
I have a hard time believing that the Giants know what they want with the second overall pick. Of course the quarterbacks and Barkley will be on their radar, but they'll be listening to incoming offers too as teams will be swarming for the draft's best talents. Enter the Giants' housemate: the Jets. After a failed attempt to haul in Kirk Cousins, it'll be clear that Gang Green will need address their quarterback needs in the draft. Originally owning the sixth overall pick, they'll be aware that their favorite pick may not fall into their laps like Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams did in recent drafts... meaning they'll need to trade up a few spots. Personally, I've always loved the thought of Sam Darnold dressing up in Jets green. It's entirely possible, but only if NY and NY strike a deal.
It's been established that Frank Gore will not be returning to Indianapolis next year. Even if he was, and even if they add a top free agent like Carlos Hyde or Dion Lewis, the Colts need to get younger at runningback. Saquon Barkley is simply too good to pass up on, and if the next step is boosting the offensive line then the Colts could be back into playoff contention with this revamped offense.
I'm a huge advocate for Minkah Fitzpatrick getting selected fourth overall by the Browns. With their first selection belonging to an offensive player, Cleveland would be smart to pick a defender- the first defender off the board. Fitzpatrick is an aggressive, versatile safety who is fully capable of playing cornerback as well. His presence would be a monstrous addition to any lucky secondary.
The Broncos hiccuped more than anyone could have imagined in 2017. They went from well-rounded to pure disaster in a flash, and there's a lot of areas that they can improve on via free agency and the draft. My prediction is that Denver wins the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes thus eliminating their need to draft a quarterback. Thus, they'll go with the best available player in feared defensive end from NC State: Bradley Chubb. It's time for the Super Bowl winning defense to wake up.
The Giants are really going to benefit from their trade with the Jets for a number of reasons. To state the obvious, they'll have a ton more picks. Going a bit deeper, sixth overall is probably the earliest spot to take the first offensive lineman off the board. Quenton Nelson was a fantastic interior blocker for Notre Dame, and protection is really all New York needs at this point to get their mojo back. Especially if Justin Pugh leaves in free agency.
The Bucs will likely see Brent Grimes leave in free agency opening up an already decently-wide hole at the cornerback. Drafting a defensive back high to start alongside Vernon Hargreaves would be great for Tampa Bay's defense. Denzel Ward would be a great addition to that squad.
The Bears are going to be a tremendous work in progress. From the players to the coaches, they're a very young group of guys. When it comes to establishing priorities, a tight QB/WR chemistry can't be argued with... I can guarantee that Mitch Trubisky won't be finding chemistry in either of Chicago's two current wide receivers on their roster (Markus Wheaton and Kevin White). Here the Bears should select Alabama's Calvin Ridley (and hope that he doesn't become as disappointing as Kevin White).
Before Jimmy Garappolo became the man of San Fran, the 49ers had a 99% chance of landing a top 5 selection in this draft. Five unprecedented wins later, this franchise couldn't be happier to be selecting before the top 10. As quarterback is no longer a need for this team, they'll look to improve their cornerbacks. Joshua Jackson was a breakout star at Iowa and he could become an instant starter in California.
For the first time in a decade, Jon Gruden will be on the clock for a draft pick. Coming back to head coaching, you can bet that he's going to make a splash with his selection. In an effort to make the Raiders rougher and tougher like in their glory days, this selection will be linebacker Roquan Smith who is capable of playing either inside or outside, and might be the best linebacker in this year's class.
TRADE ALERT: MIA Dolphins trade #11 overall for MIN Vikings' 2018 first and third round picks, and 2019 first round pick.
This could be a really sneaky trade. While Minnesota is one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL, trading up for a dynamic player like Tremaine Edmunds would make their defense even better. He was a tackling machine at Virginia Tech, and being paired with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr would be nasty. The cost would be high to jump from 30th pick overall to 11th, but it could be worth it having one of the best middle-defenses.
I'll lose all hope for the Bengals if they don't establish their offensive tackle needs this offseason. The market for tackles will be pretty bland this year, so they should target one in the draft. If Mike McGlinchey is still here at twelve, Cincinnati HAS to take him.
Su'a Cravens was supposed to be Washington's solution at safety/hybrid, but now it seems that he's being shopped. The Redskins would be lucky if Derwin James fell to them with this pick.
TRADE ALERT: GB Packers trade #14 overall for BUF Bills' 2018 first round picks (21 and 22) and fourth round pick.
Feeling the heat of the Arizona Cardinals and their ginormous need of a quarterback, the Bills opt to let go of both of their first round picks as well as a fourth rounder to select their new franchise quarterback: Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. With all signs pointing to Tyrod Taylor (strangely) leaving Buffalo, there will be a new need for a starter, and Mayfield fits the bill (haaaa get it?). His fiery personality mixes well with Bills Mafia and I think his stock will rise after an impressive combine. He's got his flaws- namely his height and character concerns- but if there had to be one *flawless* candidate remaining in this spot, it's Mayfield over guys like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Buckle up, Buffalo.
I love the thought of Lamar Jackson landing in Arizona just so he can go from Louisville Cardinal to Arizona Cardinal, but it would be stunning if he was selected ahead of Josh Allen. When you think about it, Allen would be a great fit in Arizona as he would replace that rocket arm that Carson Palmer prided himself with.
Two incredibly important needs for Baltimore include wide receiver and offensive line. I'll put money on the Ravens' front office making a run for a big name receiver like Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and possibly trading for Jarvis Landry. This makes their first draft pick very apparent for an offensive lineman like Orlando Brown.