2018 NFL Mock Draft: New-look Browns take Barkley with No. 1 pick; Giants select Chubb
The Browns take a QB, but not with their first pick
With the 2018 combine complete the world has a clearer picture of what NFL teams will likely be doing during the 2018 NFL Draft. Not because the combine itself is a deciding factor, but because with the new league year starting next week, we're getting a look at what teams are trying to accomplish this offseason.
And from what I've seen happen since the beginning of the combine I've become even more convinced that the Cleveland Browns won't be taking a quarterback with the No. 1 pick. Not because they traded for Tyrod Taylor on Friday, but because they'll still be able to get their future quarterback with the No. 4 pick.
On Wednesday the New York Giants shipped a fourth-round and a sixth-round pick in the draft to the Los Angeles Rams for Alec Ogletree and a 2019 seventh-round pick. This is not the kind of move a franchise makes if it's looking begin the transition to a post-Eli Manning existence. No, this is what a team does when it's trying to wring out the last bit of ability in its aging QB for one last run at a Super Bowl. While the Giants may end up taking a QB in this draft, it won't be at No. 2. They'll be looking to take a player that can help them win in 2018.
With the Colts at No. 3, odds are they won't be taking a QB either, though there's a chance they could trade the pick to a team looking to jump up and grab the first one on the board. I think that's a risk the Browns will be willing to take unless there's a quarterback they love more than the star of the combine, Saquon Barkley.
1. Cleveland Browns
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: The Browns need a lot of things, and one of the things they could use is an all-world running back. Barkley's presence on the offense would make things easier on the QB ... whomever he might be in 2018.
2. New York Giants
Bradley Chubb, DE, New York Giants: The Ogletree addition helps, but the Giants still only had 27 sacks last season and bolster their pass rush with Chubb.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: There's a good chance the Colts trade this pick if the first two picks play out this way. If they don't, with Barkley and Chubb gone they'll take the best player available -- regardless of his position -- to help protect the franchise, Andrew Luck.
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans)
Sam Darnold, QB, USC: And look who still gets their QB? I'm not of the opinion this QB class is nearly as good as many want to believe it is, but of the available options, I do believe Sam Darnold is the most likely to be a successful NFL QB. Whether or not he's the one to lead the Browns to glory, I've no idea.
5. Denver Broncos
6. New York Jets
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa: The Bears need WRs, but are more likely to address that in free agency. They just transition tagged Kyle Fuller, but they still reside in a division that features Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford, and could soon be adding Kirk Cousins. They need corners badly. Jackson fits the mold of what Vic Fangio looks for at the spot.
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
11. Miami Dolphins
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: With no obvious choice here given their needs the Dolphins take Ridley. His presence will help Ryan Tannehill and the offense, and it will also make losing Jarvis Landry easier to deal with. Whether this offseason or next.
12. Cincinnati Bengals
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: The Packers certainly need help on defense, and Edmunds is a prospect with an incredibly high ceiling. They just don't make many linebackers with this combination of size and speed.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The Cardinals need a QB to replace Carson Palmer, and even though I'm not entirely convinced they take one here, Mayfield's the most interesting prospect left on the board.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: This pick makes too much sense for the Ravens. The could address their WR situation in free agency before this, but Sutton provides a significant upgrade in talent at the position.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Seattle Seahawks
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: Who knows who's even left on this team by the time the draft comes around? Whatever happens, Seattle will need help in the secondary. Ward's a very good start at this point in the first round.
19. Dallas Cowboys
Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama: Payne himself won't be much of a pass-rusher at the DT spot, but his presence and run-stuffing ability will make it easier for others on the Cowboys defense to wreak havoc in the backfield.
20. Detroit Lions
21. Buffalo Bills
22. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: The Bills could package these two picks to move up and take a QB earlier, but if they don't do that they'll gladly take Rudolph here. Doesn't have the hype of other QBs in this class, but could prove to be the best NFL player.
23. Los Angeles Rams
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma: He's not the most pressing need for the Rams, and he had an awful combine, but Brown shouldn't be judged for his measurables alone. He was a stud at Oklahoma, and he'll provide the Rams with some insurance on the line this season. Particularly if Andrew Whitworth declines, as he's not getting any younger.
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville: The Steelers could go LB or CB here, and I obviously have them taking Alexander. He performed well at the combine, which helps after dealing with a knee injury in 2017.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: Gesicki was a monster at the combine, and would give the Jaguars an immediate option in the passing game. He's not much of a run-blocker, which could scare the Jags away, but he isn't a lost cause there, either.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Connor Williams, OT, Texas: Whether the Vikings sign Kirk Cousins or go another route for their QB, they need somebody to protect him, and Williams provides excellent value this late in the first round.
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles
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