Aaron Brumley’s Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft

2018 NFL Mock Draft

(Photos courtesy: John Hefti – USA TODAY Sports, Jae C. Hong – Associated Press

 

When I first started this project, I planned on making a multi-round mock draft, preferably four rounds at a minimum. Then, I realized just how tough it is trying to predict the actions of 32 separate NFL franchises over the course of one round, let alone multiple. I finally came to the conclusion that my aspirations were set too lofty and that I’d rather produce a very solid one-round mock draft, than try to crank out a poorly constructed mock over one hundred plus picks. What follows below are my best predictions of how tonight will transpire, not how I would be selecting if I were in charge of each NFL franchise. To find my views on the top players in this class, check out either my defensive positional columns that came out earlier throughout the week or on Twitter, where I have my Top 100 Big Board now published. Without further ado, the Cleveland Browns are now on the clock.

 

1: Cleveland Browns

QB, Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Rumors are swirling, a haze has descended upon AT&T stadium just outside Dallas, TX. The Browns are in control of the 2018 NFL Draft and who the hell knows what they’ll do. The John Dorsey era has begun, the pick is in, and he’s got swagger.

2: Buffalo Bills (Via NYG)

QB, Sam Darnold, USC

(Bills send Picks 12, 22, 65, and 2019 1st; Giants send Pick 2)

The Giants aren’t really going to take a running back at two, are they? Really?? As much as this has been reported over the last month, I just believe in my bones that Dave Gettleman has us all fooled and he’s either going to take the QB of the future or trade out. The Bills are the beneficiaries of the Giants trust in Eli and make the big jump ahead of their divisional rival New York Jets.

 

3: New York Jets

QB, Josh Rosen, UCLA

“Well, would you look at what we have here, a QB1 seems to have fallen into our lap.”

– NYJ Front Office (presumably)

According to all reports, the Jets have had their eyes on Baker Mayfield for a while now, but they’ll just have to “settle” with UCLA’s Josh Rosen instead.

 

4: Cleveland Browns

DE, Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

If the Browns stay at pick four and don’t trade down, the pick boils down to either defensive end Bradley Chubb, or Penn State’s running back Saquon Barkley, if he is still on the board. Minkah Fitzpatrick could be a darkhorse candidate here, as he would solve a lot of the Browns secondary issues, but let’s not assume the Browns front office is that smart.

 

5: Miami Dolphins (Via DEN)

QB, Josh Allen, Wyoming

(Dolphins send Picks 11, 42, 131, and 2019 2nd; Broncos send Picks 5 and 160)

With quarterbacks flying off the board at 1, 2, and 3, teams start to panic. The Broncos start fielding phone calls from multiple teams but it’s the Dolphins that manage to pull off the trade-up for a quarterback they’ll merely be disappointed they overpaid for within a few years’ time, landing them back inside the top-five picks once again.

 

6: Indianapolis Colts

RB, Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Perhaps sitting in the best position of the entire draft is Indianapolis, who after trading down from pick three and collecting an additional three second-round picks, will see a top tier player fall to them at the sixth overall pick. Barkley is here in this draft, and the Colts are quick to pick him up to give Andrew Luck much needed offensive help.

 

7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

G, Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

The best player in the entire draft slides all the way down to the Buccaneers at seventh overall, just because of positional value. Nelson is a future All-Pro and a steal here for Tampa Bay.

 

8: Chicago Bears

LB, Roquan Smith, Georgia

The Bears would’ve loved to see Quenton Nelson slide just one more spot down to eighth for them, but will take a solid consolation prize in Roquan Smith of Georgia, the linebacker that Chicago needs to bring their defense back to Monsters of the Midway status.

 

9: San Francisco 49ers

FS, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Teams in the back-end of the top ten picks are drooling over all of the talent being pushed down the board as four quarterbacks are selected in the first five picks. San Francisco would love Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and the versatility that he brings to a defensive backfield. He would become an immediate leader in the defense on a team with a playoff-worthy roster this season.

 

2018 NFL Mock Draft

(Andy Lyons – Getty Images)

10: Arizona Cardinals (Via OAK)

QB, Lamar Jackson, Louisville

(Cardinals send Picks 15, 79, 182 and 2019 3rd; Raiders send Pick 10)

The Cardinals trade up here for the perfect receiver to compliment Larry Fitzgerald for new HC Steve Wilks.

 

Lamar Jackson will prove he is a quarterback and that he is worthy of a top 10 pick in this loaded draft class. The Cardinals get nervous that another team may trade up and pick Jackson before their selection at pick 15, so they make the move with Oakland to secure the Heisman Trophy winner.

 

11: Denver Broncos (Via MIA)

NT, Vita Vea, Washington

(Dolphins send Picks 11, 42, 131, and 2019 4th; Broncos send Picks 5 and 160)

While this isn’t the largest need for the Broncos in the first round, John Elway selects a player that he can see becoming a cornerstone of the franchise for a decade to come. Domata Peko is the current NT for Denver but the 2018 season is his last under contract and Vea will fit perfectly in the Broncos’ defense.

 

12: New York Giants (Via BUF)

OT, Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

(Bills send Picks 12, 22, 65, and 2019 1st; Giants send Pick 2)

So the Giants trade down from second overall, trusting Eli Manning with the next two years of their franchise. They bolster up the offensive line here with Notre Dame’s second most talented offensive lineman of this class, but the haul that Buffalo was willing to trade for the second overall pick will give New York the depth they need to at least contend as long as Eli isn’t a turnover machine.

 

13: Washington Redskins

CB, Denzel Ward, Ohio State

The first cornerback of a very talented class finally comes off the board at thirteen with Washington, who just traded away slot corner Kendall Fuller this offseason, looking for help in their defensive secondary. Ward will line up opposite Josh Norman for the Redskins in what they hope will be a lockdown tandem at the corner position.

 

14: Green Bay Packers

OLB, Harold Landry, Boston College

This pick to me makes more sense than just about any other pick in the entire first round. If Harold Landry is still on the board after pick fourteen, then the Packers made the wrong selection, no matter who else they take. Mike Pettine will love Landry’s athleticism in Green Bay, a defense that desperately needs pass rushers from the edge.

 

15: Oakland Raiders (Via ARI)

LB, Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

(Cardinals send Picks 15, 79, 182 and 2019 3rd; Raiders send Pick 10)

After trading down from their draft position in the top ten, the Raiders collect an extra three draft picks for only moving down five spots, and select a player they would have considered heavily at tenth overall anyway. Tremaine Edmunds may have as high of an upside as just about anyone in this class, and the talented nineteen year old will have the chance to be a day-one starter in silver and black.

 

16: New England Patriots (Via BAL)

LB, Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

(Patriots send Picks 23, 95, 198, and 2019 3rd; Ravens send Picks 16 and 154)

Do you really think that the Patriots are going to sit still at picks 23 and 31 with all the draft capital that they have? I doubt it. They find a trade partner here in the Ravens and jump in front of both the Chargers and Cowboys for the explosive Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State.

 

17: Los Angeles Chargers

SS, Derwin James, Florida State

The safety position isn’t always that highly valued in the NFL Draft, and that’s why you might see Florida State’s Derwin James take a slide down the board into the late ‘teens. James is a perfect fit here in San Diego Los Angeles, where the Chargers will love his versatility and use him as a starter from day one.

 

18: Seattle Seahawks

G/T, Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

The Seahawks have a lot of holes on their roster, but on that absolutely cannot be ignored is their offensive line. Tom Cable is finally out of town and it’s time to bring in some draft picks to protect Russell Wilson. Isaiah Wynn may be the second-most talented offensive lineman in the class behind Quenton Nelson and I would start him primarily at tackle in rookie camps to see if he can play the position at the professional level.

 

19: Dallas Cowboys

WR, Calvin Ridley, Alabama

After cutting Dez Bryant loose, the Cowboys wide receiver depth chart is looking thin. The Cowboys take the first wide receiver of the draft here at nineteen to help Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense recoup some of the losses that Dez Bryant’s void will leave.

 

20: Detroit Lions

DT, Taven Bryan, Florida

The Lions take Taven Bryan here at 20, hoping they can unlock the Florida products potential that lies behind his incredible athleticism. Bryan may not be the best defensive lineman in this class in 2018 or 2019, but he has arguably the highest ceiling of them all and will need to be developed into an All-Pro player.

 

21: Cincinnati Bengals

C/G, Frank Ragnow, Arkansas

After watching Joe Mixon suffer behind the tragedy of an offensive line that Cincinnati decided to begrudgingly trudge out on the field every week in the 2017 season, it only makes sense that they’ll take a blocker with their first selection in the draft. They go interior here, with Frank Ragnow, who has the versatility and athleticism to slide into multiple line positions and be a starter from day one.

 

22: New York Giants (Via BUF)

CB, Jaire Alexander, Lousiville

(Bills send Picks 12, 22, 65, and 2019 1st; Giants send Pick 2)

After selecting Eli Apple tenth overall just two short years ago, Giants fans probably weren’t expecting to be taking a cornerback in the first round so shortly thereafter. Jaire Alexander of Louisville provides the type of corner that will thrive in James Bettcher’s defense and be the type of playmaker the Giants need at the cornerback position. Alexander did struggle with injuries during his 2017 season, but at 100% health, he deserves a pick much higher than here at 22.

 

23: Baltimore Ravens (Via NE)

LB, Rashaan Evans, Alabama

(Patriots send Picks 23, 95, 198, and 2019 3rd; Ravens send Picks 16 and 154)

Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens are giggling like schoolgirls to themselves after they get to trade down seven spots in the first round, pick up additional draft stock later on days two and three, and as a cherry on top, they even get to draft a player they were heavily considering while sitting at pick 16. The Ravens dip back into the Alabama talent pool here and take Rashaan Evans, who will play alongside his former college teammate C.J. Mosley in Baltimore.

 

2018 NFL Mock Draft

(Icon Sportwire)

24: Cleveland Browns (Via CAR)

RB, Derrius Guice, LSU

(Browns send Picks 33, 114, 188, and 2019 3rd; Panthers send Picks 24 and 234)

John Dorsey has stated that he wants playmakers on this Cleveland Browns roster. I don’t expect the Browns to stay put where they are in the second round, and Carolina gives them the perfect opportunity to trade up here for a running back with game-changing abilities. The Browns do already have Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson on their roster, but as the Philadelphia Eagles proved this past season, it’s hard to have too many running backs when they can all contribute in different ways.

 

25: Tennessee Titans

DT, Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

The Titans decide to stay put at 25 amidst all the trades being made around them, where they select Da’Ron Payne. The former Alabama lineman will thrive best early in his career in a situation where he is surrounded by a great deal of talent alongside him, and that’s exactly what he gets here in Tennessee where he can play next to Jurrell Casey in the trenches.

 

26: Atlanta Falcons

C/G, James Daniels, Iowa

The Falcons take James Daniels here at 26th overall, the natural center from Iowa who would fit great as a guard in the Falcons offense and contribute as a starter from day one of camp. Guard is one of Atlanta’s largest needs at the moment and this draft class is a perfect time to upgrade at the position with so much talent available.

 

27: New Orleans Saints

DE, Marcus Davenport, UTSA

The Saints are the type of team who can afford to take on a project player like Marcus Davenport, the Texas-San Antonio alum who will have an impact in his rookie season, but most likely not as a starter. Davenport is a very raw prospect, but learning from a pass rusher like Cameron Jordan is the perfect way to bring out the most in his NFL career.

 

28: Indianapolis Colts (Via PIT)

WR, D.J. Moore, Maryland

(Colts send Picks 37, 104, 178, and 2019 6th; Steelers send Pick 28)

The Colts are yet another team sitting towards the top of the second round with a bevy of draft stock in their pockets and their not going to sit there and wait for the players to fall to them. The Colts continue to bolster their offense with weapons to surround Andrew Luck with, as they hope to have an almost entirely new team around the QB by the time he is fully healthy and ready to return to action in 2022 (maybe).

29: Jacksonville Jaguars

G, Will Hernandez, UTEP

The Jaguars have had their eyes on Will Hernandez of UTEP as he slips and slips further down the board. More names are called off in front of Jacksonville until they finally have their man who will clear the path for Leonard Fournette for the foreseeable future. With so little immediate needs on Jacksonville’s roster, it feels like they hit the jackpot here draft this mauler of a lineman.

 

30: Minnesota Vikings

CB, Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

If there’s one thing you can never have too much of in today’s throw-heavy NFL, it would be defenders who are capable of being shut down corners. Pairing Xavier Rhodes with Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver would give the Vikings perhaps the best cornerback tandem in the entire league, and a defense that would intimidate the living hell out of any quarterback slated to throw against it.

 

31: New England Patriots

OT, Kolton Miller, UCLA

The Patriots use their second first-round draft pick on a project tackle who was a standout at the NFL Combine. While I don’t believe Miller is worthy of being drafted this high, the athleticism that he displayed in Indianapolis will almost certainly get him drafted in the top 50 selections of the NFL Draft. Miller will need time to adjust to the NFL, but with plenty of help from New England’s coaches, could have a decent future.

 

32: Philadelphia Eagles

CB, Mike Hughes, Central Florida

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a luxury position here at thirty-second overall, as there really are no glaring holes on their roster at the moment. They could certainly use a tight end or additional offensive line depth, but getting a cornerback in Mike Hughes who can contribute out of the gate at the backend of round one is a pick they can’t pass up given the other options available to them.

 

That just about wraps up how I think the first round of the NFL draft will unfold. My guess is just as bad as anyone else’s, but one thing we can agree on is that it’ll be exciting no matter what. It’s been a fun lead up to the draft, I can’t believe it’s finally here.

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