2018 NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers pick Chubb, Cardinals gamble on Lamar Jackson
The Cardinals have the future in mind at quarterback with the dynamic Louisville quarterback prospect
Bradley Chubb might be the "safest" prospect in this class, and to some, Lamar Jackson might carry the most risk. I think there's a good chance they'll both "ace" the pre-draft process, which will lead to them being picked somewhat early in Round 1 after illustrious collegiate careers.
The Buccaneers would be an outstanding fit for Chubb, and he'd be the team's best pass-rusher right away. The Cardinals are one of the teams outside of the top 10 in need of a quarterback, which means Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold likely won't be available when they go on the clock.
Jackson won't come without some questioning, but he could transcend the quarterback position due to his electric combination of run and pass capability.
Below is the current draft order, which is nearly set.
1. Cleveland Browns
2. New York Giants
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. A similar situation here in New York, with Eli grooming Rosen for a full-time starting role in 2019. And if Manning struggles, expect the call for Rosen to be deafening. In an ideal world, Rosen takes time to learn the ropes in the pros, but he's talented enough to learn on the field as a rookie.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. With Fitzpatrick and safety Malik Hooker, the Colts would have two young, lengthy super athletes in the secondary. Fitzpatrick can lock up the outside at corner or shift to strong safety on occasion.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. GM John Dorsey would be tempted to pick an offensive tackle here, but Barkley's game-breaking ability is too tantalizing to pass up. With Cleveland's underrated offensive line, Barkley can be a foundational piece of the offense right away.
5. Denver Broncos
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. I'm jumping aboard the "the Broncos are coaching Mayfield at the Senior Bowl so they'll draft him" train for the time being. Mayfield's passion and, more importantly, ability as a passer will be very enticing to John Elway and Co.
6. New York Jets
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. The Jets could move into the top five to grab a quarterback. If they don't, they'd be fine with Williams at No. 6, a refined pass-blocker who has his best football in front of him.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Dream come true for the Buccaneers, who are in dire need of pass rush and must get better against the pass. Chubb is a Ryan Kerrigan-type prospect who is ready to be a three-down producer and doesn't lack consistency in any phase.
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. Another selection stays the same from a week ago. Nelson is the best overall linemen in this draft class and will fortify the protection up the middle for Jimmy Garoppolo.
10. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. Smith is a linebacker who can transform a defense with his play-recognition skills, speed to the football, and coverage ability. That's precisely the type of player the Raiders need.
11. Miami Dolphins
Derwin James, S, Florida State. Another defense in need of a dynamic playmaker outside the front four, the Dolphins could take a big step on that side of the ball with the multi-dimensional James in Round 1.
12. Cincinnati Bengals
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. The Bengals let Andrew Whitworth walk in free agency, and the Rams offense took off after he signed in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Cincinnati struggled running the football and keeping Andy Dalton clean in the pocket. Brown has franchise left tackle ability.
13. Washington Redskins
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. I can't buy the Redskins transition-tagging Cousins at nearly $29 million or franchise-tagging him at $34 million in 2018. Just can't see either happening. Therefore, quarterback is the clear-cut question mark for next season. Allen will need to take better care of the football in the NFL than he did in 2017 and lean on the run game and defense as a rookie.
14. Green Bay Packers
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The Packers have been good at planning ahead at the receiver spot, and with Jordy Nelson nearing the end of his career in Green Bay and Randall Cobb getting more expensive, Ridley would be exquisite reinforcement in the pass game.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. A bit of a wild-card here, but the Cardinals are in need of a quarterback and we don't know who their next head coach will be. I do trust GM Steve Keim's team-building philosophies and believe he could be ready to get progressive on offense. Jackson, like the other young quarterbacks in this class, needs some schooling to succeed in the NFL ranks but made huge strides as a passer in college.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. The Ravens like what Alex Collins brings to the field, and with Guice, Baltimore would have a powerful duo in its backfield. Wide receiver could be considered as well, but Guice is too talented to pass on here.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Vita Vea, DT, Washington. With Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Vea, the Chargers would have the makings of the best defensive line in the NFL. Vea has the size and strength of a massive nose tackle and the athleticism of someone much smaller.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Davenport is a prime candidate to be a "riser" over the next few months due to his length and polished pass-rushing ability. He played at University of Texas-San Antonio, which started its football program in 2011.
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. Haloti Ngata might be done in Detroit, and the Lions need to add more pass rush on their defensive line regardless of where it comes from. Hurst is the most effective interior backfield disruptor in the class.
21. Buffalo Bills
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. The Bills need a signal caller and Rudolph is a big pocket quarterback who will need time to mature a bit but is an experienced passer. He'll be fun in Brian Daboll's offense that'll feature some collegiate run-pass option wrinkles.
22. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. Phillips is more effective against the run than he is getting after the quarterback, but his low center of gravity and excellent hand use will help him generate pressure up the middle for the Bills defense.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa. The Rams may be in need of cornerback reinforcement this offseason if Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman aren't retained. Jackson is an impressive cover man who wins with plus agility, ball skills, and technique.
24. Carolina Panthers
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. The Steve Smith comparison for Miller are too obvious to ignore. Both are small wideouts whose toughness, quickness, and contested-catch capabilities allow him to thrive on the outside.
25. Tennessee Titans
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. The Titans play a lot of different fronts on defense, and Bryan may be the most versatile top-flight defensive line prospect in this class. He can be a successful player at every position.
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. Edmunds can play off the ball at linebacker on first and second down then shift to the edge on third down. He's a big, superb athlete at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. With coaching, he can be one of the premier linebackers in the league in a few years.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas. Jefferson, like Edmunds, is a springy athlete already with NFL size for the linebacker spot. If he learns how to shed blocks more efficiently, he can be a tackling monster for the Steelers.
29. Jackonsville Jaguars
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Marcedes Lewis has given the Jaguars fantastic return on their 2006 investment, but at this point, he's a quasi-offensive lineman. Andrews is a true field-stretcher with the size to create major matchup issues for opposing defenses.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. The Eagles roster looks good heading into 2018. On defense, they're super stout up front and could really load up its secondary with Ward, a shorter but technically sound corner.
31. New England Patriots
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. Okoronkwo is a multi-dimensional outside rusher who plays with outstanding leverage when setting the edge and flourishes with speed and bend as a pass-rusher.
32. Minnesota Vikings
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. Okorafor can bolster Minnesota's offensive line that was better this season but is still in need of work. He has all the size, athleticism, and balance to become a franchise left tackle for the Vikings.
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