2018 NFL Mock Draft – When You Are Lord of All You Survey…

Let’s be real—we do mock drafts because we want to be NFL GMs. In this mock, I am the GM of every team. So don’t tell me what to do.

  1. Browns – Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma
    • I promise I made this pick before “the Browns started to sour on Sam Darnold.” In a fair world, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson would be the first two players off the board. Instead they will likely be victims of archaic approaches to players and implicit biases. The biggest knocks on Mayfield have nothing to do with what he can do on the field—his height and his cockiness. Sure he needs polish but he has the two things a franchise quarterback must have: a quick mind and an accurate arm.
  2. Bills (from NYG) – Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville
    • The Bills can and will trade up, likely spending all their first and second-round picks as well as a pick next year. It’s really just a question of who bites and who goes with the second pick. While it’s unlikely to be Lamar Jackson, it should be. He’s not the most accurate passer coming out, but he doesn’t have to be because he can make plays everywhere on the field.
  3. Jets (from IND) – Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA
    • Josh Rosen should be the top quarterback in the draft but one thing holds him back. No, it’s not his political opinions and anyone who thinks so is just dumb. In fact, it’s his health. He missed a lot of time at UCLA with injuries, including concussions. You can’t be a great quarterback if you can’t stay on the field. Health aside, he should have the best career of all the QBs taken (but only because some team will misuse Lamar Jackson).
  4. Browns (from HOU) – Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State
    • The Browns don’t move from the fourth spot, because hopefully no team is dumb enough to trade up for Josh Allen (there will be). Barkley and Mayfield on the same turf would be near impossible to defend.
  5. Broncos – Sam Darnold, quarterback, USC
    • This could be the perfect scenario for John Elway. He has Case Keenum for two years, long enough to realize Keenum needs a quality offensive coordinator to be good and even then he has a distinct ceiling. Darnold could be very good, but he’s coming out about a year too early, a year needed to refine his sloppy mechanics.
  6. Colts – Bradley Chubb, defensive end, NC State
    • I’m sure the Colts would love to trade down again but in this reality, everyone recognizes that Josh Allen is a mirage. The Colts absolutely should not pass on Bradley Chubb, not that they would if he fell this far.
  7. Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson, guard, Notre Dame
    • There is some controversy whether a guard should be a top ten pick. When that pick nets Quenton Nelson, it’s really not that tough a call. He’s far and away the best offensive lineman in this year’s class. Incredibly, the Bucs manage to turn their offensive line in just one offseason.
  8. Bears – Roquan Smith, linebacker, Georgia
    • Yes, there may have been another Bucs District mock draft that had Tremaine Edmunds going here. However, these are my Legos we’re playing with here so I’ll build what I want. Smith isn’t the physical specimen Edmunds is, but he’s a better football player right now. Some would say take Edmunds because he’s 19 and has a higher ceiling. I say Roquan is the player you want Edmunds to become.
  9. Giants (from SF) – Harold Landry, linebacker, Boston College
    • The Giants trade back up to get the next best edge rusher in the draft. Landry should be able to transition into being a stand-up rush linebacker for New York’s new 3-4 scheme. Most importantly the Giants get Landry before Miami gets a chance.
  10. Raiders – Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive back, Alabama
    • The Raiders need a tone-setter behind Khalil Mack. Fitzpatrick can be that and much more for Oakland.
  11. Dolphins – Derwin James, safety, Florida State
    • If any team really needs Derwin James, it’s the Dolphins. They need an identity on defense. James is a renowned locker room presence and can make plays everywhere on the field. Miami won’t be good this year, but James will put them back on the right track.
  12. 49ers (from NYG via BUF) – Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech
    • The Niners trade back and fill an imminent need on defense. Reuben Foster may not be a 49er for much longer, much less a free man. Even if he beats the charges, Edmunds would give the Niners a tremendous 1-2 punch at linebacker.
  13. Packers (from WAS) -Denzel Ward, cornerback, Ohio St.
    • With the most picks of any team in the draft, the Packers move up to get the class’ best outside corner. Green Bay can’t seem to hold onto their best secondary players. Ward should quickly distinguish himself quickly.
  14. Ravens (from WAS via GB) – Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Alabama
    • Baltimore moves up two spots to grab the draft’s top receiver. He’s a little lanky, but he runs routes better than anyone else available. He may be a bit wasted on Baltimore’s elite passer. That shouldn’t stop Baltimore from giving Flacco more help.
  15. Cardinals – Mike McGlinchey, tackle, Notre Dame
    • With all the good quarterbacks off the board, the Cardinals address another major need: their offensive line. McGlinchey brings technique and consistency, both missing from Arizona’s tackle group last year.
  16. Patriots (from WAS via BAL) – Connor Williams, tackle, Texas
    • Williams and McGlinchey are 1A and 1B as the best tackles in the draft. The Patriots simply don’t have a left tackle. They leapfrog the Chargers to go get one.
  17. Falcons (via LAC) – Vita Vea, defensive tackle, Washington
    • Hoo boy the Falcons go get their guy here. Dontari Poe did nice things for Atlanta last season, and now they’re hooked on the big, powerful defensive lineman drug. Vea drops a bit, mostly because he’s not a twitchy pass rusher. He can still fortify the Falcons’ defensive line.
  18. Seahawks – Josh Jackson, cornerback, Iowa
    • That’s right, the Seahawks pass on multiple top offensive linemen again. While the Seahawks have not drafted well as late, Jackson is a good option to restock their secondary.
  19. Bengals (from DAL) – Billy Price, center, Ohio State
    • The Bengals paid for letting their best offensive linemen walk last year. Price is the… price they pay for their mistake (I’m sorry about that).
  20. Lions – Maurice Hurst, defensive tackle, Michigan
    • The Lions could go with a running back here, but their defensive line is a big question mark and they could use a disruptor in the middle. Hurst had some early health concerns in the draft process, but it should not keep him out of the first round.
  21. Cowboys (from CIN via BUF) – Courtland Sutton, wide receiver, SMU
    • Is this not destined? Sutton stay in Texas and replaces Dez Bryant for a much lower price.
  22. Giants (from BUF via KC) – Derrius Guice, running back, LSU
    • The Giants passed on Saquon Barkely and get the next best thing in Derrius Guice. New York may want to consider a guard or center here, but Eli Manning plays his best with a strong run game.
  23. Redskins (from NE via LAR) – Rashaan Evans, linebacker, Alabama
    • While the Redskins have a lot of good pieces in place on defense, they have no identity. Evans brings the Alabama linebacker pedigree to shape the Washington defense into a more disciplined unit.
  24. Panthers – Isaiah Oliver, cornerback, Colorado
    • Somehow the Carolina defense didn’t lose much of a step when Josh Norman was bounced by Dave Gettleman. Of all the corners in this year’s class, Oliver may have the profile best suited to be come a shutdown corner.
  25. Titans – Isaiah Wynn, guard, Georgia
    • Jon Robinson seems to have an eye for offensive linemen. It’s hard for anyone to see what Wynn could bring to a team. He’s big, mean and powerful.
  26. Chargers (via ATL) – Justin Reid, safety, Stanford
    • The Chargers missed Eric Weddle last year. Reid is similarly physical and smart. If Williams and McGlinchey are gone, LA could take Reid even without trading down.
  27. Saints – Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Boise State
    • The Saints have a lot of linebackers without having any that really matter. That makes the Vander Esch pick ideal. He’s a little green, but his ceiling is sky high.
  28. Steelers – Jaire Alexander, cornerback, Louisville
    • The Steelers don’t have many needs, but if you had to pick one it would be corner. Alexander is probably better than the 28th pick, but injury concerns should push him this far down.
  29. Jaguars – DJ Moore, wide receiver, Maryland
    • The Jaguars are pretty stacked so the default position is to help Blake Bortles. Moore is a speedster that can take the top off a defense. With their punishing run game, the Jaguars might actually be able to keep defenses honest with Moore even with Bortles under center.
  30. Vikings –  Will Hernandez, guard, UTEP
    • The Vikings still have issues on the offensive line despite their offensive success last year. They need a tackle more, but Hernandez is the best offensive lineman on the board.
  31. Colts (via NE) – Taven Bryan, defensive tackle, Florida
    • Would it be a draft if the Patriots didn’t trade down from a late first-round pick? The Colts are flush with second round picks and should trade up to get an interior linemen because they don’t really have any.
  32. Browns (via PHI) – Marcus Davenport, defensive end, UTSA
    • The Eagles also trade down to the second-round wealthy Browns. Cleveland gets the best pass rush left on the board, supplementing their stock of quality edge rushers.

2018 NFL Mock Draft – Future Imperfect

There is no such thing as a perfect mock draft. There’s always going to be something wrong. The wrong pick, the wrong trade, whatever. You’re not in the room with any team to know what they’re thinking. The key is to just go for the gusto, stick with your board and make each pick interesting. This time let’s see what happens when no draft day trades happen (which really won’t happen but I’ll be wrong about most of these anyways) while balancing what could happen with what should happen.

  1. Browns – Josh Allen, quarterback, Wyoming
    • Why? Because the Browns. Allen is a mirage, the embodiment of every cliche attached to a white quarterback draft prospect. He’s Blake Bortles without the successful college career.
    • Also possible: QB Sam Darnold
  2. Giants – Bradley Chubb, defensive end, NC State
    • When the Giants traded away Jason Pierre-Paul, they all but guaranteed Chubb would play in blue this year. This could be Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, but Dave Gettleman loves to build his defensive front seven.
    • Also possible: QB Sam Darnold, QB Josh Rosen, G Quenton Nelson
  3. Jets (from IND) – Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma
    • The Jets take the best quarterback left on the board and the one most likely to succeed. He’s not Johnny Manziel. He’s the quarterback room of the 2004 San Diego Chargers.
    • Also possible: QB Sam Darnold
  4. Browns (from HOU) – Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State
    • While Dorsey would probably rather address the left tackle spot, the best value is taking the biggest athletic freak in the draft. Barkley should help take some of the pressure off Tyrod Taylor and eventually Josh Allen.
    • Also possible: G Quenton Nelson, CB Denzel Ward
  5. Broncos – Sam Darnold, quarterback, USC
    • The Broncos fall in to Sam Darnold. It’s amazing they would be in this position, especially considering how often John Elway missed on quarterback prospects. He’ll be able to sit for a year behind Case Keenum. However, if the Browns do the smart thing and take Darnold with the first pick, Elway might end up reliving his disastrous Paxton Lynch pick.
    • Also possible: G Quenton Nelson, LB Roquan Smith
  6. Colts (from NYJ) – Quenton Nelson, guard, Notre Dame
    • Possibly the best player in this year’s draft, Nelson won’t get past the OL-needy Colts. They sorta have to keep Andrew Luck alive, somehow.
    • Also possible: LB Tremaine Edmunds, anyone with a pulse really
  7. Buccaneers – Denzel Ward, cornerback, Ohio St.
    • Ward should get the love Bucs CB Brent Grimes should have gotten on draft day. Ward and Grimes are similar in size, athleticism and ball skills. The Bucs
    • Also possible: S Derwin James, DT Vita Vea
  8. Bears – Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech
    • The Bears defense has lacked an identity since Brian Urlacher retired. Tremaine Edmunds is an athletic freak with speed and strength to spare. He’s not as instinctual as Urlacher, but Edmunds will be a force in the middle of the field all the same.
    • Also possible: LB Roquan Smith, S Derwin James
  9. 49ers – Roquan Smith, linebacker, Georgia
    • While it’s become clear the Niners can’t count on Reuben Foster to be on the field, Roquan Smith would be a good pick for John Lynch regardless. He’s rangy, a solid tackler and aggressive. If Foster can’t lock down the Niners’ defensive center, Smith will.
    • Also possible: RB Derrius Guice, WR Calvin Ridley
  10. Raiders – Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive back, Alabama
    • Fitzpatrick is hard to place. He’s not a pure outside corner. He’s not a exactly a safety. He’s not a linebacker. The Raiders could use all three. Fitzpatrick could be the defensive leader Jon Gruden needs to turn the Raiders’ defense around.
    • Also possible: S Derwin James, CB Josh Jackson
  11. Dolphins – Vita Vea, defensive tackle, Washington
    • The Ndamukong Suh experiment failed in Miami and the Dolphins are in need of a stud defensive lineman to replace him. Vea is a man-beast
    • Also possible: QB Josh Rosen, S Derwin James
  12. Bills (from CIN) – Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA
    • The only reason for Rosen to drop this far is if Buffalo (or Arizona) doesn’t trade up to get him. Also, concussions. And his general health. He’s better than Allen (and Darnold for that matter), but he get’s hurt a lot—not an ideal quality for a franchise quarterback. Just ask Andrew Luck.
    • Also possible: QB Lamar Jackson
  13. Redskins – Derwin James, safety, Florida State
    • The Redskins would love to see Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds here, but James will do as their new enforcer in the middle of the field.
    • Also possible: RB Derrius Guice, LB/DE Harold Landry
  14. Packers – Josh Jackson, cornerback, Iowa
    • Jackson had a monstrous 2017 season with 26 pass breakups and 8 interceptions. While he only started one year at Iowa, he’s the perimeter playmaker Green Bay has not had since Casey Hayward’s rookie season.
    • Also possible: LB Harold Landry,
  15. Cardinals – Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Alabama.
    • The Cardinals are in a poor position to take one of the top QBs without sacrificing several future picks to trade up (or do the smart thing and draft Lamar Alexander). We are still waiting for Larry Fitzgerald to see his portrait but Arizona could use a second starter.
    • Also possible: QB Lamar Jackson
  16. Ravens -Da’Ron Payne, defensive tackle, Alabama
    • The Ravens defense isn’t the force it once was, largely due to attrition on the defensive line. Payne would be a welcome addition and a big improvement to the Ravens’ run defense.
    • Also possible: WR DJ Moore, WR Courtland Sutton
  17. Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, tackle, Notre Dame
    • The offensive line struggles in San Diego are well documented. McGlinchey is the best OT in the draft and should buy Philip Rivers an extra year or two more in the NFL.
    • Also possible: S Justin Reid, DT Maurice Hurst
  18. Seahawks – Harold Landry, linebacker, Boston College.
    • The Seahawks began a rebuild this offseason, jettisoning Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman. They need to bolster their defensive line to stay competitive in the increasingly talented NFC West. Landry is not a direct replacement for Michael Bennett, but he will bolster Seattle’s pass rush.
    • Also possible: CB Isaiah Oliver, RB Derrius Guice
  19. Cowboys – Courtland Sutton, wide receiver, SMU
    • No Dez, no problem. Sutton doesn’t have Dez’s speed, but he does have his size, strength and catching acumen.
    • Also possible: WR DJ Moore, S Justin Reid
  20. Lions – Derrius Guice, running back, LSU
    • The Lions’ run game, or lack thereof, handicapped their entire offense for years. Guice isn’t the transcendent talent Saquon Barkley is, but he doesn’t need to be. He’s a more polished, reliable running back who may not wow his team as often, but he’ll probably disappoint them less.
    • Also possible: DT Maurice Hurst, DE Marcus Davenport
  21. Bengals (from BUF) – James Daniels, center, Iowa
    • The Bengals’ offensive line is not good. Daniels is a versatile lineman who could play any of the interior positions, giving Cincinnati some flexibility on how they want to remake their offensive line.
    • Also possible: OT Connor Williams, G Isaiah Wynn
  22. Bills (from KC) – Justin Reid, safety, Stanford
    • The Bills won’t likely keep this pick, but if they do its a good bet it will be used on a defensive player like Justin Reid.
    • Also possible: OT Connor Williams, G Isaiah Wynn
  23. Patriots (from LAR) – Connor Williams, tackle, Texas
    • Bill Belichick isn’t known to draft for need, but if he has any intention on extending Tom Brady’s career, he needs to find him some protection. Williams isn’t a prototypical tackle, but he gets the job done which is good enough for Belichick.
    • Also possible: DE Marcus Davenport, OT Kolton Miller
  24. Panthers – Marcus Davenport, defensive end, UTSA
    • The Panthers are currently relying on Julius Peppers to continue staving off Father Time. Marty Hurney is back as GM and he historically values the defensive end position. Davenport has the greatest upside of any remaining edge rusher, but unrealized as it is he falls to Carolina.
    • Also possible: G Isaiah Wynn, CB Isaiah Oliver
  25. Titans – Isaiah Wynn, guard, Georgia
    • With top edge rushers off the board, the Titans turn to address their offensive line. Tennessee gathered any guard out on the market they could find this offseason. Wynn would be the one legitimate answer.
    • Also possible: LB Rashaan Evans, DT Maurice Hurst
  26. Falcons – Maurice Hurst, defensive tackle, Michigan
    • Atlanta steals Maurice Hurst this late in the first round. With Dontari Poe gone, the Falcons could use a stud on the defensive line.
    • Also possible: G Will Hernandez, OT Kolton Miller
  27. Saints – Rashaan Evans, linebacker, Alabama
    • The Saints have an army of linebackers, but none of them are as good as Evans can be. He makes a fearsome New Orleans defense even better.
    • Also possible: LB Leighton Vander Esch, TE Dallas Goedert
  28. Steelers – Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Boise State
    • The Steelers could definitely use an upgrade in the middle of the defense. Vander Esch is the do-it-all sort of linebacker the Steelers like. He’s a steal here.
    • Also possible: TE Dallas Goedert, CB Jaire Alexander
  29. Jaguars – Dallas Goedert, tight end, South Dakota State
    • Blake Bortles is looking at an all new set of weapons this season. What’s one more? Goedert is the best receiving weapon left on the board. He’ll join a crowded tight end group but should become a safety blanket for Bortles.
    • Also possible: WR DJ Moore, OT Kolton Miller
  30. Vikings – Kolton Miller, tackle, UCLA
    • Mike Remmers is a placeholder right tackle. If the Vikings want to make their megadeal with Kirk Cousins worthwhile, they need Miller.
    • Also possible: OL Billy Price, G Will Hernandez
  31. Patriots – Billy Price, OL, Ohio State
    • A big reason why the Patriots lost the Super Bowl was how badly Philadelphia’s defensive line beat the New England offensive line. While the Patriots are more likely to use their two picks to trade up, they could very well use both their existing picks to upgrade the offensive line and buy Tom Brady more time in the show.
    • Also possible: G Will Hernandez, CB Jaire Alexander
  32. Eagles – Jaire Alexander, cornerback, Louisville
    • Daryl Worley didn’t do the Eagles any favors returning to his hometown. Alexander will be a depth player his first year, but he should make the defense better immediately.
    • Also possible: WR DJ Moore, OL Billy Price