2018 NFL Mock Draft: Giants take a QB, Cardinals trade up to land Josh Rosen
Six signal-callers are gone by No. 12 overall, with the first three picks all QBs
If you know exactly what's going to happen in tonight's NFL Draft, you might be the only one.
There are four quarterbacks that will likely go very early, but which teams like which ones? Will a running back go in the top five?
This mock draft represents by best educated guess for how Round 1 will play out. However, if I hit on, say, three-to-five of these picks, I'll be surprised. There's so much speculation, and so many purposeful falsehoods are put out there, it's downright impossible to predict what will happen on draft night.
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Note: This mock originally ran on April 23.
1. Cleveland Browns
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. Every mock draft this week will either feature Allen or Sam Darnold going No. 1 overall. That's kind of cool, as there's no real consensus for the first time in a while at the top spot. I'm all for widespread intrigue when the draft begins. Also, I'm staying with the consensus at the combine ... Allen to Cleveland.
2. New York Giants
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. Do I think Giants GM Dave Gettleman is a no-nonsense "old-school football guy?" Yes. But if anything, I think his experience lends itself to the acknowledgement of and participation in lying season. Gettleman has seemed to have no interest in a quarterback. However, he can't pass on Darnold here, even with an assortment of phone calls asking for a trade.
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. If there's a quarterback class that will have three-straight picks to open a draft for the first time since 1999, it makes sense for it to be this one. Mayfield and the Jets would be a fun match. If absolutely nothing else, his energy and passion for the game will resonate with the Gang Green faithful.
4. Cleveland Browns
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. Yes, Emmanuel Ogbah is there at defensive end with Myles Garrett. Obviously, the plan for Garrett is for him to be a cornerstone on that side of the ball. Is there any allegiance to Ogbah though? Not from this new front office. Chubb gives John Dorsey the Tamba Hali and Justin Houston-esque duo he had in Kansas City.
5. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade)
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The Bills absolutely could be making this ascension. And my guess is Rosen is the quarterback they'd be willing to move up to take. But, the Cardinals Steve Keim, who did a wonderful job building Arizona to an NFC power during his first few seasons running the show, has now watched his team miss the playoffs in consecutive years. No, I don't think he's in danger of losing his job, but I do think he'll be very willing to make an aggressive move to find his quarterback of the future after his club's recent struggles. Rosen, as a true pocket passer, has similarities to Carson Palmer.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. The Colts are the trendiest team to trade back, but they already did that and currently have four selections in the top 49, an ideal rebuilding scenario. Take a look at their linebacker depth chart. It's not pretty. Smith would be a game-changer in the middle.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. If this is where Barkley goes, the massive amount of hype he's received during this pre-draft process will lead to many labeling this as a "free fall." It's still a running back going squarely inside the top 10. The Buccaneers continue to build around Jameis Winston and get the premier offense skill-position player to balance their attack.
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. The 49ers clearly like their receiver group, yet I'd be surprised if Kyle Shanahan is totally content with Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson as his top three pass-catchers. Sutton is an alpha wideout for Jimmy Garoppolo.
10. Oakland Raiders
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. While Smith would've been the target had he had dropped to this spot, the Raiders are happy to get a versatile physical freak in Edmunds to play next to Tahir Whitehead.
11. Miami Dolphins
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. Adam Gase has a strong track record with quarterbacks, and I just think Jackson's overall talent and nuanced abilities that are trending in the right direction will lead to him taking the former Heisman winner here. Don't be surprised if Jackson gets on the field in some read-option packages early on, and he'd obviously be a threat to throw the football too.
12. Buffalo Bills
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. This isn't the first time I've mocked Rudolph to Buffalo. He checks so many of the team's boxes, and they wouldn't need to move up to get him. This would be lauded as a reach by many, but he's ready to run the college spread option concepts new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will install this season.
13. Washington Redskins
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa. This is about scheme fit more than anything else. Denzel Ward and Jackson are premier cornerback prospects, yet Jackson is Josh Norman-like in his ability to make huge plays in zone coverage.
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Denver Broncos (via mock trade)
Derwin James, S, Florida State. James ahead of Fitzpatrick? I think so. Mainly due to athleticism. The Broncos had a fine safety pairing when they won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, and the try to rebuild that position with the ultra-versatile former Florida State star. The Broncos get No. 47 (Round 2), and No. 97 (Round 3) in this deal, fair compensation by either the old or new draft trade chart.
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Carolina Panthers (via mock trade with Seahawks)
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP. The Seahawks move back to give themselves a few picks before their original second selection in this draft (No. 120 overall), and the Panthers get their left guard to fill the hole left by Andrew Norwell.
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Bo Davis is the new Lions defensive line coach. He also coached Davenport at UTSA. The Lions have Ziggy Ansah under the tag, but Davenport is a nice investment on the edge.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)
22. Buffalo Bills
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. The Bills need help at middle linebacker, and although he's not a tremendous block-shedder, he flies from sideline to sideline, and his length helps a lot in coverage.
23. New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama. If James is picked before Fitzpatrick, I can envision him falling the first round. The former Alabama star can be a multi-dimensional defensive back and successful blitzer for Bill Belichick.
24. Seattle Seahawks (via mock trade with Panthers)
Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College. Instead of looking at cornerback here, Landry will help to fortify Seattle's pass-rush. After all, Michael Bennett is gone and at 32 coming off a season-ending injury, Cliff Avril can be an high-level producer anymore. Seattle gets the first of two third-round picks (No. 85 overall) from Carolina by sliding back.
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. This hasn't been a popular mock pick, I just love the combo of Guice and Bell for (at least) one season in Pittsburgh.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Minnesota Vikings
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. Miller has a game reminiscent of Nate Solder and can be a high-end pass-protector once he adds some strength. This is a shrewd pick after the big signing of Kirk Cousins this offseason.
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. I've slotted Tyrell Crosby to the Eagles recently. Changing things up, I'm going with Williams. The two are similar, talented, nasty blockers. Williams' 2016 film -- which showed mastery-level pass-blocking -- is part of the reason he's picked here.
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