2018 NFL Mock Draft: Browns choose Sam Darnold, Giants pass on QB, take Saquon Barkley
Cleveland walks away with three first-round picks including Sam Darnold and Bradley Chubb
Here's the reality of the 2018 NFL Draft: no one is going to be remotely correct.
This draft is going to be Michael Keaton-level nuts, with a ton of trades, thanks to the quarterbacks out there. Remember last year's "bad" quarterback class that featured multiple teams trading future firsts to fly up the board and snag signal callers? This draft has two or three guys who could slip a little bit and cause a major seismic shift in terms of teams chasing talent.
So, this is it, my final mock draft of the year. Just like most stuff in life, I build up in my mind about how it will end, expecting some grand sense of finality, and then a deadline punches me in the mouth and I end up regretting not being able to nitpick every single pick.
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Most of these picks will probably end up being wrong, because mocks are often wrong. But I think the spirit of this mock is strong, in terms of feeling how the draft with go. With that in mind a few predictions before you dive in.
At the end of the day, the following things are going to happen:
The Giants will not take a quarterback.
Two teams will trade into the top 10.
The Browns will walk away HUGE winners in this draft.
The order of the quarterbacks taken will surprise some people.
Either Derwin James or Roquan Smith will go higher than people expect.
Two more teams will trade up for the second section of quarterbacks (Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph).
The Eagles will trade out of the first round.
More cornerbacks will go than wide receivers.
1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold, QB, USC: After talking to Dustin Fox on the latest Pick Six Podcast, I was tempted to go Baker Mayfield here. He might very well still be in play for the Browns -- no one knows what Cleveland is going to do outside of John Dorsey. At the end of the day, Darnold is the safest bet, but also a guy with a ton of upside.
2. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: Dave Gettleman didn't make any bones about taking Christian McCaffrey at the No. 8 pick and he won't make any bones about taking Barkley with the No. 2 pick if he thinks it can help his offense.
3. New York Jets
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: There's tons of Mayfield buzz here, almost too much. The Jets can't just broadcast their guy a week before the draft with everyone hearing Rosen could drop and us be expected to just buy hook, line and sinker.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans)
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State: This could easily be a trade-down spot, but I don't think so if Chubb is here. He's the best player in the draft and will be a terror lined up across from Myles Garrett. The Bills will be interested in moving up, but going down to No. 12 might be too far for Dorsey with all the picks he has on hand.
5. Miami Dolphins (DEN mock)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The Dolphins are acting like they don't want to move up in the draft, which probably means they want to move up. Arizona is another team to watch here, but Denver feels like it has a "For Sale" sign tacked outside the No. 5 pick.
6. Buffalo Bills (IND mock)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: If the Bills don't get involved with the No. 4 pick and they miss at No. 5 (a future Dolphins first-round pick is better than No. 22 this year), they're gonna be in a panic/overpay situation for this pick from the Colts.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: Not necessarily a position they're always connected with, but the Raiders just signed Daryl Worley, which should tell you how they feel about their cornerback depth chart.
11. Denver Broncos (MIA mock)
12. Indianapolis Colts (BUF mock)
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike McGlinchey, OL, Notre Dame: The Ravens are a team who can look for a quarterback too, but this team construction has a feel like they can make a run in Ozzie Newsome's final year as GM if everything clicks, and more protection would help.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: It's too easy to give them a wide receiver if one falls, but they do have a need there when you look at the depth chart.
20. Detroit Lions
Da'Ron Payne, DL, Alabama: Matt Patricia can secure a big body in the middle of his defensive line to kickstart his time in Detroit.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo)
22. Indianapolis Colts (BUF mock)
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA: The Colts moved down twice and walk away from the first round with a pair of higher-end defensive players. When you see how this plays out, it should be their move in real life.
23. New England Patriots (via Rams)
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: An easy pick for most of this process if it's still on the table, the Steelers need to improve the linebacking situation, although it wouldn't stun me to see them go running back.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: If you think about the biggest thing that doomed the Jimmy Garoppolo era in New England, it might have been not holding a fifth-year option on him. The Patriots ensure they have one for Rudolph.
32. Cleveland Browns (PHI mock)
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: The Eagles are trading out of this spot, it's just a question of with who, and after the Browns missed on Barkley up high, they can land Guice here with the bonus of picking up his fifth-year option, a crucial element in a running back contract in 2018.
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