2018 NFL Mock Draft: Browns take Josh Rosen No. 1, Mason Rudolph to 49ers
Yes, the Browns start over at QB again with the draft's most polished QB prospect
Pettis has been one of college football's top returners for years now and has 19 catches for 251 yards with six receiving touchdowns in his last three games. The senior is hyper-twitchy and flies in the open field.
Smith has had a lot to do with the Bulldogs' ascension in the SEC East. He had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, and one sack against Notre Dame, and amassed 19 takedowns against Mississippi State and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks. He's a linebacker prospect you absolutely need to know.
Both have first-round potential. Keep in mind that I'm using SportsLine's latest win-total predictions for the current draft order.
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. Rosen is different from DeShone Kizer in that he's not in need of much development at the NFL level. After passing on the likes of Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz, the Browns unique regime finally picks a top quarterback in hopes of revitalizing the franchise. Rosen isn't a perfect prospect but has elite potential.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. Jason Verrett simply can't stay off the injured list. It's a shame because when he's healthy, he's one of the better, feistier cornerbacks in football. The Chargers need a true No. 1 cornerback. Fitzpatrick can man up against larger wideouts in the NFL on the perimeter and gets after it against the run.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Kyle Shanahan will be fond of Rudolph's experience and what he brings to the field in terms of pocket presence and downfield accuracy. The Oklahoma State quarterback will make a positive impact in the 49ers system right away, and yes, Shanahan will tap into Rudolph's athleticism on a variety of run-pass option plays.
4. New York Giants
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame. A guard at No. 4 overall? Yep. That's how badly the Giants need an offensive-line upgrade and how outstanding Nelson is. Playing in a division with with Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Tyrone Crawford, and Jonathan Allen, the importance of quality interior offensive line play cannot be stressed enough for the G-Men.
5. Chicago Bears
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson. This would be somewhat of a controversial pick with Cain going ahead of James Washington. The Bears view Cain as someone with similar downfield ability to Washington's and like that he spent his career playing in the ACC instead of the wide-open Big 12. Cain and Mitchell Trubisky will be a fun combo in the NFC North for many years.
6. Indianapolis Colts
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. Offensive line has been the trendy mock draft pick for the Colts for seemingly the entire Andrew Luck era. How about he gets another pass-catcher. Washington has T.Y. Hilton big-play ability in a frame comparable to Donte Moncrief.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. A no-brainer here for the Bengals. McGlinchey probably would've been picked in the late portion of the first round a year ago and has played sound football in 2017. For Cincinnati to thrive on offense, Andy Dalton needs to be protected. The 6-foot-7 McGlinchey is a sturdy pass-blocker.
8. Miami Dolphins
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Dolphins don't need to totally retool their defensive line. In fact, it's still one of their team strengths. They do need to prepare for life after Cameron Wake. Bradley Chubb plays with a Wake-esque ferocity and has the size, length, and point-of-attack power to star at defensive end.
9. Arizona Cardinals
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. Larry Fitzgerald is in the last year of his contract with the Cardinals and may retire after the 2017 season. While no one in Arizona will expect Sutton to replace a legend, he does have a similar body type as Fitzgerald and routinely wins in contested-catch situations.
10. New York Jets
Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson. When the Jets had one of the best defenses in the league, it featured studly linebackers like Bart Scott and David Harris. While those two were bulkier second-level defenders, Joseph is a fluid mover who'll load up on tackles playing behind Leonard Williams and Mo Wilkerson.
11. Oakland Raiders
Dorian O'Daniel, OLB, Clemson. The Raiders aren't going to win the playoffs if they can't trust their defense. In the 2017 draft, their first three picks were made on that side of the ball. But they go defense again here with O'Daniel, a versatile strongside linebacker who can do whatever you ask of him on the field.
12. Baltimore Ravens
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. Baltimore needs a new identity on offense with Joe Flacco in the waning stages of his pro career. Barkley is an ultra-talented runner, a silky smooth receiver, and...well, he's just electric.
13. Washington Redskins
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. As Georgia continues to climb in the rankings, Smith will receive more and more attention. The junior is listed at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds. He plays like 6-foot-1 and 250 with the amount of pop he routinely delivers. With the futures uncertain for Mason Foster and Zach Brown, Smith will fit right in at inside linebacker in Washington's 3-4 defense.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. Okorafor is the top overall prospect in the MAC and someone who'll go from relative unknown to household name rather quickly. He has long, strong arms, a sturdy anchor, and moves like an oversized tight end. Okorafor is precisely what Jacksonville needs.
15. Tennessee Titans
Derwin James, S, Florida State. In this hypothetical, the Titans are thrilled to land James this late in the first round. James is around 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds with unlimited athleticism. He can play anywhere you'd like from weakside linebacker to free safety and is a needed piece in Tennessee's secondary. The Titans' front seven is solid. Their defensive backfield could really use a playmaking safety.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Mitch Hyatt, OL, Clemson. Hyatt might not have the foot speed to play left tackle in the NFL, and that's OK given his situation landing in Minnesota. More than anything else, Minnesota just needs quality blockers. Hyatt is relatively young with upside due to his technique and natural strength.
17. New Orleans Saints
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. Sheldon Rankins has a bright future in New Orleans. He needs some help on the inside. Hurst is a similar player to Rankins ... quick off the snap, experienced, and he plays with a noticeably high football IQ. With two quality interior pass-rushers, the Saints will improve on defense.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC. Dallas is a team that needs a deep-threat wideout on its roster. Burnett has good long speed and impeccable ball skills. He can provide some of what the Cowboys get from Cole Beasley yet stretch opposing defenses for Dak Prescott.
19. Seattle Seahawks
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Yeah, yeah yeah, the Seahawks could go offensive line here. But here's my thinking ... Seattle has spent a fair amount of (somewhat) early picks on offensive line recently, and it's yielded brutal results. So in this scenario, John Schneider spends big in free agency to add quality veteran linemen. That means Seattle can add more firepower on offense. Jimmy Graham is in the last year of his deal and Andrews is a sensible replacement as a large, pass-catching tight end. He doesn't present the size mismatch Graham does but has special ability to accumulate yards-after-the-catch in the open field.
20. Cleveland Browns from Texans
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford. OK, so maybe the analytics don't scream "draft a running back in Round 1," but they will like Love's production, ability to make defenders miss, and athleticism. Isaiah Crowell is on his way to free agency, and Love gives Cleveland a fun feature back around which the ground game can be built.
21. New England Patriots
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. The most glaring weakness on New England's defense is its lack of outside pass-rush. The Patriots need more than Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise who are defensive end / defensive tackle hybrids. Okoronkwo is an edge-rushing outside linebacker who can also drop into coverage on zone blitzes. Bill Belichick will love utilizing him a variety of ways.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Arden Key, DE, LSU. The Buccaneers might have the best young linebacking corps in all of football with Lavonte David, Kendall Beckwith, and Kwon Alexander, and Gerald McCoy is a monster every season at defensive tackle. They need edge-rushing help in the worst way. Key hasn't appeared to be in the best of shape early this season. When conditioned and fully healthy, he's a devastating defensive end with 15-plus sack potential.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Tarvarus McFadden, CB, USC. Chances are that Trumaine Johnson will hit the free-agent market in 2018, meaning Los Angeles will have a gaping hole at their outside cornerback position. McFadden had eight picks in 2016, and while he probably won't hit that figure this year, he's a long, athletic cornerback with clearly impressive ball skills.
24. Buffalo Bills
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington. The Bills have a need for speed in their wideout room, and Pettis brings a whole lot of that. He has 21 receiving touchdowns -- and counting -- since the start of 2016 and is a four-year contributor for the Huskies. Sean McDermott will like that. Not to mention, he's the best return man to enter the NFL in a while.
25. Detroit Lions
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. The Lions love what they have in Haloti Ngata but likely realize he's in the twilight of his illustrious career. The ideal replacement for the former All-Pro is the wide and explosive Wilkins. He hasn't be tasked with much pass-rushing this season at Clemson. He can get after the quarterback though and dominates against the run.
26. Carolina Panthers
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. Ferrell is big, tall, and lanky defensive end prospect who's seemingly just scratching the surface of his ability as a pass-rusher. His motor never stops running either. Carolina will be happy to add such a inherently gifted defender to their front.
27. Denver Broncos
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. This is a best-player-available pick all the way. Denver isn't in dire need for a running back, but C.J Anderson doesn't have any guaranteed money left on his contract, and Devontae Booker has had trouble staying healthy thus far in his pro career. Guice can be the foundation of the Broncos offense in 2018 and beyond. He's that talented.
28. Atlanta Falcons
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M. Dan Quinn and Co. in Atlanta have proven to be enamored with smaller, speedier defenders. That's precisely what Watts is. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound safety is super bouncy and gets to the football quickly. He also has nine career interceptions. He can be a Tyrann Mathieu-type player in the Falcons defense.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi State. The Eagles, somewhat quietly, have one of the best offensive lines in football, but it's a group with some older pieces. Jason Peters is still ridiculous. He's 35 though, and center Jason Kelce is 30 in November. In short, Philadelphia would be smart to continue to invest in its offensive front during the early stages of the Carson Wentz era. Rankin is a sturdy, battle-tested-in-the-SEC left tackle prospect who'll enter the NFL with a lot of experience. His presence will ultimately keep Lane Johnson on the right side.
30. Green Bay Packers
Andrew Brown, DL, Virginia. Brown isn't a hot commodity... yet. If the Cavaliers keep winning, he'll garner more publicity. The former five-star recruit can play end in Green Bay's 3-4 and also get after the quarterback with his strength and underrated pass-rushing moves.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. This is assuming Darnold catches fire late in the season and indeed decides to enter the draft. He can sit behind Big Ben for a year then take over in 2018. The Steelers want a smooth transition from Roethlisberger to his heir apparent, and Darnold has a gigantic amount of upside. A year of schooling as a member of Pittsburgh's stable franchise will set up the USC signal-caller to star in the NFL for years to come.
32. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Billy Price, OG, Ohio State. Price has a good chance to be the most experienced offensive linemen in Ohio State history by the time he turns pro. He was a First-Team All-American in 2016 and is manning the ever-important center position this year. He'll ultimately replace Richie Incognito at left guard in Buffalo though. Price is a technically sound blocker with a mean streak.
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