It’s that time of year again, folks.
With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, I’m going to take a stab at my first mock draft of 2018. Let’s jump right into it.
#1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
There has been a lot of differentiating on who is going to wind up going #1 overall in this years NFL Draft. Cleveland, who has two top 5 picks, will definitely wind up using one those on a quarterback. For me, it was a toss-up between Darnold and Josh Allen, but I went with Darnold. From what I’ve read, Cleveland loves the kid. And I also like Darnold more than Allen as a prospect in general, so I feel like this would be the right choice between the two. But only time will tell if Darnold can wind up being Cleveland’s saving grace at QB.
#2. New York Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
I think the Giants would be stupid to not go with a quarterback at 2, but I can’t see that happening if Darnold goes #1. There are also rumors that they might trade this pick to Buffalo, so who knows what they’re going to end up doing. If they do wind up keeping this pick and Darnold is off the board, I think they have to go with Chubb. They just traded Jason Pierre-Paul, so the need for a DE is there. And next to Saquon Barkley, Chubb might be the best overall talent still on the board here.
#3. New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
I love how stupid the Jets are. They gave up so much draft capital just to move up three spots to get a guy they could have probably wound up grabbing at #6. It’s so Jets it hurts. But anyway, back to the pick. Josh Rosen just looks and sounds like a Jets quarterback to me. I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t see this kid landing anywhere else besides New York.
#4. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Barkley and Sam Darnold would be a dream scenario for the Cleveland Browns. Barkley is far and away the best prospect in this draft. Pairing up him and Darnold up with Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Duke Johnson could create a deadly offense in Cleveland. Browns fans might finally be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
#5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The Broncos just signed Case Keenum, but there’s no way he’s their long-term solution at QB. Allen is going to need a year or two on the bench before you can just throw him into the fire, so I think this is the best situation for him. When he’s ready, Denver should have no problem taking the reigns away from Keenum.
#6. Indianapolis Colts: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Colts need help on defense. Derwin James, who has drawn comparisons to Kam Chancellor, would be the perfect candidate to continue building their defense around. Pair him up with second year safety Malik Hooker and you could potentially have a young group of safeties similar to those guys in Seattle.
#7. Tampa Bay Buccanears: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
I think the Colts pick really determines who Tampa winds up going with here. If Derwin James is still on the board, he’s going here. But since he isn’t in my world, I still see Tampa going with a defensive back here. Fitzpatrick’s versatility has him highly regarded among others at his position, and I think Tampa could use a guy like that in their defensive backfield.
#8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Bears have spent this off-season surrounding Mitchell Trubisky with weapons on offense, so I can’t see them going to that side of the ball with this pick. And although their defense wasn’t all that bad last year, it could still use some help. With not many linebackers currently on the roster, Edmunds feels like the most logical pick at #8. The kid is an absolute freak and would be a perfect piece to add to their already talented young core.
#9. San Fransisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward is the best true corner in this years draft in my eyes. The 49ers just signed Richard Sherman, but they still need help at that position, which was easily the weakest point on their roster last season. Bringing in Ward to put opposite of Sherman could create for a lock-down defensive backfield in the Bay.
#10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Oakland has to go defense with this pick. Roquan Smith would help fill a void at linebacker that the Raiders have had for what seems like forever. These two really just seems like a match made in heaven.
#11. Miami Dolphins: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
#12. Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
#13. Washington Redskins: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
#14. Green Bay Packers: Maurice Hurst, DL, Michigan
#15. Arizona Cardinals: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
#16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
#17. Los Angeles Chargers: Mike McGlinchey, OL, Notre Dame
#18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
#19. Dallas Cowboys: Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georiga
#20. Detroit Lions: Arden Key, DB, LSU
#21. Cincinatti Bengals: James Daniels, OL, Iowa
#22. Buffalo Bills: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
#23. New England Patriots: Harold Landry, DE, BC
#24. Carolina Panthers: Cortland Sutton, WR, SMU
#25. Tennessee Titans: Connor Williams, OL, Texas
#26. Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
#27. New Orleans Saints: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
#28. Pittsburgh Steelrs: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
#29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
#30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OL, UCLA
#31. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
#32. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)