Three-Round 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Patriots find QB in Round 2, Giants land a RB in Round 3
Even without a trade, it's likely we see four QBs go in the top five of the 2018 NFL Draft
All of my mock drafts to date have included trades, because that's a key component of what goes down on draft day. Any mock draft without trades lacks the feel of the real draft.
So why am I giving you a trade-free draft in this space?
Two reasons: One, I'm going to have a full seven-round mock draft with a cornucopia of trades next week. Consider this a palette cleanser before then.
Secondly, I think it's instructive to start with a no-trade mock draft and then get the sense of where teams will need to move in order to chase a specific prospect. Before we engineer a Bills trade up for a top QB, we need to know whether they even need to make a move. Below I have four quarterbacks going in the top five, so it's clear (to me, at least) that they do.
Quenton Nelson would be a perfect fit for the 49ers, but I don't think there's any way he gets by the Bears. The Patriots have two first-round picks, and if they're interested in using one on a top-six QB, it'll likely take a trade up. If the Steelers want a linebacker, they need to move up as well.
So if you read this mock draft and you're unsatisfied with who your team ends up with, scan upward and figure out where they'll need to make a move.
1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold, QB, USC. I'm pivoting back to Darnold for the Browns. I think it's the right choice, and I expect the Browns to ultimately settle on him. It's still tough to pin down which quarterback they have at the top of their list, but CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora is , so I will as well.
2. New York Giants
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. With Darnold off the board, I think the Giants ultimately trade down. But if you force me to make a pick at No. 2, I still think it's a quarterback over Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb. With veteran Eli Manning close to the end of his career, I just can't see the Giants passing up the opportunity to lock in their succession plan at quarterback. The Giants have done extensive work on Rosen during the pre-draft process, including a meeting with co-owner Steve Tisch.
3. New York Jets (from IND)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. I think Allen has the biggest bust potential of all the big-six quarterbacks, but my opinion is worth as much as what you paid for this mock draft. It's clear multiple teams are in love with Allen's upside, and it's tough to see him falling past this point. Aside from Darnold being available at No. 3, any order on the top three quarterbacks wouldn't be surprising in the least.
4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU)
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. We're taking trades out of the equation, leaving the Browns to select their best non-QB available after going with Darnold at No. 1. While Saquon Barkley is clearly a game-changing talent, the value of a pass rusher is just so much higher than a running back. Just look at the RBs and DEs expected to be on the clock when the Browns pick early in the second round. If we're limiting their choices to one of each, I'd much rather have Chubb and Derris Guice or Sony Michel than Barkley and a Sam Hubbard or Rasheem Green.
5. Denver Broncos
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. The Broncos swung and missed on their succession plan for Peyton Manning, as Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch held back the upside of a team that recently won the Super Bowl. Keenum is locked in as the starter, but there's no reason to pass on a franchise QB at this pick if they feel one is available. Mayfield has a better-than-you-think chance to be the best quarterback in this draft.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The Colts will likely be hoping to take Chubb with this pick, and if he's gone they'll hope one of the top-four QBs is on the board to increase their asking price in a trade down. Considering his is a worst-case scenario for the team, landing Barkley has to feel pretty good. It'd be interesting to see if the Colts pull off a trade down anyway with a team like the Bucs or Raiders who might want a shot at a special RB talent.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derwin James, S, Florida State. The Buccaneers are in a perfect spot to help their secondary with this pick by selecting either cornerback Denzel Ward, slot corner/safety Minkah Fitzpatrick or James. I think the Florida State safety is the best option for the Bucs, as he'll be able to give them what T.J. Ward couldn't at the strong safety position. James could quickly develop into an All-Pro caliber player.
8. Chicago Bears
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. The board falls in what may be the best-case scenario for the Bears, with Nelson plugging one of the team's biggest needs. Chicago surprisingly declined Josh Sitton's option, making guard one of their key needs that has yet to be addressed this offseason. There's some speculation he could handle tackle as well, and the Bears could use an upgrade on the right side at that position. Worst case, they'll have a locked-in interior lineman with All-Pro upside.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. The 49ers still need help in the secondary after adding Richard Sherman, who is coming off a major injury himself. Enter Fitzpatrick, who could slide in at slot corner with Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon on the boundaries, or at free safety if San Francisco decides it wants to move Jimmie Ward to corner. Either way, the Alabama product is a talent you want on your defense.
10. Oakland Raiders
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. The Raiders are seeing massive turnover at the cornerback position with David Amerson, Sean Smith and T.J. Carrie out the door. Rashaan Melvin was a nice pickup, but Shareece Wright is nothing more than depth. Enter Ward, an elite cover corner who has everything but prototypical size. He'll be an excellent slot corner and should excel in Oakland, where Melvin and Gareon Conley can match up with bigger receivers.
11. Miami Dolphins
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. The Dolphins have been showing interest in Smith, one of the draft's top linebackers. He'd be the long-term stud the team needs next to Raekwon McMillan, and the Dolphins could make him the immediate starter at WILL and look to trade Kiko Alonso to another team where he'd be a better fit. They can also think about getting out from Alonso's deal next offseason if nothing else.
12. Buffalo Bills (from CIN)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. The Bills are stuck at No. 12 in my no-trades mock, and even though they have the firepower to jump into the top five for a quarterback, there's no guarantee the teams at the top will be looking to move down and pass on a franchise QB themselves. Jackson played in the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system at Lousville, and new OC Brian Daboll is also experienced with the system. This would be a fine fit if the Bills stay put.
13. Washington Redskins
Vita Vea, DT, Washington. The Redskins should be hoping Vea is available when they pick at No. 13. Ziggy Hood graded out poorly against the run last year, which is not what you want to see out of your nose tackle. Vea could replace him immediately, but he also has the skill to play defensive end in Washington's 3-4 scheme. Either way, he'd be a big addition to the team's defensive front.
14. Green Bay Packers
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Davenport rushed with his hand off the ground at UTSA, so playing outside linebacker in Green Bay's base set wouldn't be completely foreign to him. His best fit in the NFL might be as a down lineman rushing off the edge, but with NFL defenses playing nickel more than their base sets nowadays, he'd have ample opportunity to do just that even with a 3-4 team. His massive upside is well worth selecting him in the top half of the first round.
15. Arizona Cardinals
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. I think the Cardinals would roll with Lamar Jackson if he's available, but I'm not sure they'd make Mason Rudolph their franchise QB. So instead of addressing that need, I'll pencil them in to take a potential No. 1 receiver in Ridley. If the Cardinals don't address the position in this draft, they'll have no playmakers in the passing game once Larry Fitzgerald retires.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. The Ravens could be , according to La Canfora. The three-year extension Joe Flacco signed two years ago doesn't even begin until 2019, yet it appears the Ravens could choose to move on at that point and save about $10 million in cap space. Rudolph isn't spoken about in the same breath as the top four QBs and also sits behind Jackson in the minds of many, but at this point it looks like he's headed for the top 20 picks, whether someone trades up for him or not.
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virgnia Tech. I've been sending Da'Ron Payne to the Chargers, but if Edmunds is available it's hard not to love this match. His measurables jump off the page, and he has the chance to grow into one of the five best linebackers in the game. The Chargers have struggled to find impact players at the position, and Edmunds can be their three-down mainstay at the position.
18. Seattle Seahawks
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. I believe there's a great chance, but if we make them sit at No. 18, Jackson would be a great pickup. He's a ballhawk at the cornerback position, and though he doesn't have the speed you'd like, he did run an identical 40-yard dash to Richard Sherman (4.56 seconds). He'd fit the Seahawks defense just fine. If the team is looking to address cornerback early, they'd be wise to trade back and take advantage of the depth at the position.
19. Dallas Cowboys
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. The Cowboys appear to have addressed their receiver need by signing Allen Hurns, but there's been plenty of smoke that suggests the team could move on from Dez Bryant sooner rather than later. It'd be shocking to see the team go into next season with Hurns, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley atop the depth chart, so if the team is heading for a split with its star receiver, grabbing the talented Moore here makes sense. He's been trending up during draft season, so there's no reason to think this is too high for him at this point.
20. Detroit Lions
Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia. The Lions have a hole at left guard, and if the only guard off the board by this point is Nelson, there's a good chance the team could address the position with Wynn. Though he played tackle last year, he has plenty of experience inside, which is where he figures to slot in as a pro.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF)
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. The Bengals took a step toward addressing their offensive line woes by acquiring left tackle Cordy Glenn from the Bills and moving down to this pick. They should keep adding talent to the position with McGlinchey, who is a fit at either tackle spot. He'll slot in at right tackle initially but could move to the left side if Glenn can't stay healthy. Either way, drafting the Notre Dame standout puts the Bengals halfway to fixing their line issues.
22. Buffalo Bills (from KC)
Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State. The Bills were unable to trade up for a QB in this mock, so they still hold on to the No. 22 pick. It'd be a great spot for them to address the linebacker position, where the team lost Preston Brown this offseason. Vander Esch doesn't have a lot of starting experience at the collegiate level but has the tools to be a starter at the next level for a long time.
23. New England Patriots (from LAR)
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College. The Patriots miss out on a top QB here, so instead they pivot to addressing their pass rush with Landry. He's not a guy you want playing topping the depth chart as a rookie, but he'll be a pass-rush force in spurts immediately while Bill Belichick turns him into a more complete player. Between Landry, Adrian Clayborn and Trey Flowers, the Patriots would have a dangerous rotation in 2018.
24. Carolina Panthers
Justin Reid, FS, Stanford. The Panthers could use either a cornerback or safety here, and I like them to snap up Reid. He's smart and well-rounded at the safety position, and he'd give the team three solid safeties along with Mike Adams and Da'Norris Searcy, while serving as the long-term replacement for the former.
25. Tennessee Titans
Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama. The Titans have talent across the board, leaving them free to take the best available player here. I also think they could be a candidate to trade up for a guy like Tremaine Edmunds or Vita Vea or someone else that starts to get in range in the back half of the first round. If they stay put, Evans is a fine option to fill the role vacated by Avery Williamson, though it's possible the Titans slot the underrated Jayon Brown into the lineup and go elsewhere.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. This pick has been Taven Bryan more often than not, but here the Falcons luck out and have Payne fall into their laps. He's an excellent pass rusher for a man his size, and he be a better version of what the team got from Dontari Poe last year.
27. New Orleans Saints
Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State. The Saints are still looking to add help at defensive end even after bringing back Alex Okafor, and Sweat is a guy who's had a lot of interest during the predraft process. La Canfora recently named him as based on what he's hearing, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Saints are the landing spot.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. If the Steelers don't get Le'Veon Bell signed to a long-term deal soon, it's possible they pivot to selecting Guice, a player in whom in the run up to the draft. It would be fascinating to see if the Steelers could turn around and trade Bell after selecting Guice; could they get the Eagles to send over a Jordan Hicks or Mychal Kendricks plus a pick for the talented back? Could you even begin to imagine Bell on that offense?
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU. It's clear the Jaguars were looking for a bigger receiver for their offense this season, as they gave Donte Moncrief a big one-year deal. Sutton would be a great value here, and he'd give the team a second option for that type of receiver while preparing to play full-time in 2019.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. This might be a best-case scenario for the Vikings, as they land a value at No. 30 while bringing in a guy to address their offensive line issues who can start from Day 1. Hernandez could be a top-20 pick, but if teams pass him over to address other needs, I think this is the lowest he'd fall.
31. New England Patriots
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. There weren't many players that had a better combine than Miller, who set a record for offensive linemen with a 10-foot-1 broad jump while also running a 4.95 40 at 310 pounds. Coupled with the expected fall of Orlando Brown after his woeful showing, Miller could earn a ticket to the first round in the draft. With the Patriots unable to retain Nate Solder, Miller gives them a potential blindside blocker for Tom Brady.
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Connor Williams, OT, Texas. The Eagles need to start thinking about life after Jason Peters, and Williams gives them a talented player to develop into a starter at tackle. If he ultimately proves unable to handle the position, he'd be a fine long-term starter inside. Not a bad Plan B for a first-round pick.
33. Cleveland Browns
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. A front four of Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Chubb and Hurst would be lethal.
34. New York Giants
Arden Key, OLB, LSU. The Giants land an excellent pass-rush talent to replace Jason Pierre-Paul.
35. Cleveland Browns (from HOU)
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State. The Browns land themselves a left tackle with one of their early second-round picks.
36. Indianapolis Colts
37. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ)
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State. Price injured his pec at the combine and had surgery to repair it, but he should be fine for the start of the season. He should immediately plug into a guard slot for Indy.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. Alexander is a first-round talent who addresses a big position of need in Tampa Bay.
39. Chicago Bears
Taven Bryan, DE, Florida. The Bears add an excellent 3-4 end to their defensive line rotation.
40. Denver Broncos
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. The Broncos add another playmaker on offense with their second pick in Goedert, who will give Case Keenum a quality passing-game option at tight end from the jump.
41. Oakland Raiders
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. Brown's stock tanked after a woeful combine performance, but he improved his numbers at his pro day. The Raiders have a massive need at right tackle.
42. Miami Dolphins
43. New England Patriots (from SF)
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama. Safety isn't a major need for the Patriots, but Harrison's talent may be too much to pass up at this spot.
44. Washington Redskins
James Daniels, C, Iowa. Washington lands a plug-and-play center to replace Long, who didn't have the ceiling of the Iowa pivot anyway.
45. Green Bay Packers
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. The Packers should be looking to add talent at the cornerback position in the first few rounds of the draft.
46. Cincinnati Bengals
Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas. The Bengals keep attacking their offensive line issues by taking Ragnow, who could be long gone by this pick.
47. Arizona Cardinals
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn. The Cardinals need to find a capable No. 2 corner to play across from Patrick Peterson, and this is great value here.
48. Los Angeles Chargers
Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech. The Chargers should have a chance to address the defensive tackle position in the first round if they want, but if they find value elsewhere, Settle would be a great target here.
49. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ/SEA)
Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State. The Colts have a major need for linebackers who can play in the new 4-3 scheme, and I'd be shocked if they didn't use a second-round pick to get one. Pencil in Leonard at WILL.
50. Dallas Cowboys
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas. The Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens during the offseason and need to start thinking about a long-term replacement for Sean Lee.
51. Detroit Lions
52. Baltimore Ravens
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M. The Ravens still could use WR help even after adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown, and Kirk would be a great fit in the slot.
53. Buffalo Bills
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State. Defensive end isn't really a need for Buffalo, but Hubbard may be too good a value to pass up. He'd serve as Shaq Lawson insurance and could also allow the team to move on from Jerry Hughes next year.
54. Kansas City Chiefs
55. Carolina Panthers
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU. The Panthers go back-to-back defensive backs to give the secondary a boost.
56. Buffalo Bills (from LAR)
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State. The Bills add more talent at receiver with Kelvin Benjamin unsigned past 2018 and Zay Jones going through off-field issues.
57. Tennessee Titans
Rasheem Green, DE, USC. Finding another 3-4 DE isn't the biggest need for the Titans with DaQuan Jones re-signed, but Green is an excellent rotational option at the position who could dominate as an interior rusher on passing downs.
58. Atlanta Falcons
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson. The Falcons add more talent at the receiver position with a guy who could be the long-term No. 2 behind Julio Jones.
59. San Francisco 49ers (from NO)
60. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jessie Bates, FS, Wake Forest. The Steelers shouldn't hesitate to upgrade on Sean Davis if they can.
61. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State. The Jaguars are in the market for a third linebacker after Paul Posluszny retired.
62. Minnesota Vikings
Uchenna Nwosu, DE, USC. The Vikings add some pass-rush depth to the rotation with Brian Robison heading into his final year.
63. New England Patriots
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond. The Patriots missed out on QBs earlier but Lauletta is a fine consolation prize to develop and see if he's capable of starting down the road.
64. Cleveland Browns (from PHI)
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC. The Browns land an exciting complementary back to Carlos Hyde at a great value.
65. Buffalo Bills (from CLE)
Martinas Rankin, G/C, Mississippi State. The Bills get their long-term Eric Wood replacement.
66. New York Giants
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon. The Giants land help on the offensive line, and Crosby could wind up starting at right tackle.
67. Indianapolis Colts
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington. The Colts don't have much at receiver behind T.Y. Hilton.
68. Houston Texans
Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh. The Texans are on the board! O'Neill could compete to start at left tackle immediately, considering the Texans' options are lacking.
69. New York Giants (from TB)
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State. The Giants passed on Barkley earlier but still wind up with help at the position in the third round.
70. San Francisco 49ers (from CHI)
Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama. The 49ers bring in a guy who can play end or kick inside on passing downs.
71. Denver Broncos
Josey Jewell, ILB, Iowa. The Broncos get some needed help at inside linebacker.
72. New York Jets
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina. The Jets add talent at tight end after losing Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
73. Miami Dolphins
Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. The Dolphins add to their defensive tackle rotation after parting ways with Ndamukong Suh.
74. San Francisco 49ers
Fred Warner, LB, BYU. It's possible this is a reach, but the 49ers should target some linebacker help within the first three rounds.
75. Oakland Raiders
D.J. Chark, WR, LSU. Chark gives the Raiders needed depth at receiver while serving as insurance for Jordy Nelson's No. 2 role.
76. Green Bay Packers
Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama. Why stop at one cornerback? Tramon Williams is a short-term solution, so Averett can serve as part of a quality long-term trio with Kevin King and Carlton Davis.
77. Cincinnati Bengals
Daesean Hamilton, WR, Penn State. Even if John Ross develops into a starter, the Bengals are going to need more depth at the position.
78. Kansas City Chiefs (from WAS)
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina. The Chiefs have an excellent slot corner in Kendall Fuller but need help on the outside.
79. Arizona Cardinals
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan. The Cardinals need to get better at both tackle spots.
80. Houston Texans (from SEA)
Duke Dawson, CB, Florida. The Texans could still use help at cornerback, even after signing Aaron Colvin.
81. Dallas Cowboys
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. Andrews isn't going to be much of a blocker, but Evan Engram showed us last year that receiver-only tight ends are still in demand.
82. Detroit Lions
Nathan Shepard, DT, Fort Hays State. The Lions passed on this position of need early, but Shepard is a fine small-school find in the third round.
83. Baltimore Ravens
Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana. The Ravens keep adding to their mediocre offense with a complete tight end who should start on Day 1.
84. Los Angeles Chargers
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M. The Chargers let Tre Boston walk in free agency and have yet to replace him.
85. Carolina Panthers (from BUF)
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia. Chubb can step in and fill an early-down role for Carolina while allowing the team to keep moving Christian McCaffrey around the formation.
86. Kansas City Chiefs
Dorance Armstrong, OLB, Kansas. The Chiefs double down on linebackers thanks to the great value they're getting here. Dee Ford is a free agent next offseason and Justin Houston could wind up a cap casualty at that point as well.
87. Los Angeles Rams
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma. Look, it's the Rams! With their first pick, they take a pass-rusher to add to the rotation.
88. Carolina Panthers
Tony Adams, G, NC State. Guard is a position of issue for the Panthers after losing Andrew Norwell.
89. Tennessee Titans
Austin Corbett, G/C, Nevada. The Titans pick up depth inside and potential competition at center.
90. Atlanta Falcons
Kemoko Turay, DE, Rutgers. Turay gives the Falcons more depth at defensive end after losing Adrian Clayborn.
91. New Orleans Saints
Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana. The Saints should be looking to add talent at linebacker, and Scales could be developed into a starter on the strong side.
92. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeff Holland, OLB, Auburn. The value isn't there at inside linebacker, so the Steelers grab a pass-rusher to add to the rotation outside.
93. Jacksonville Jaguars
Will Richardson, OT, NC State. The Jaguars improve their depth at tackle.
94. Minnesota Vikings
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. The Vikings land a potential WR3 for the future with Kendall Wright on a one-year deal.
95. New England Patriots
Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF. The Patriots land the star of the combine as a special-teams ace and depth option at linebacker.
96. Buffalo Bills (from PHI)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn. The value is too good to pass up for the Bills, who could turn to Johnson as LeSean McCoy's eventual replacement.
97. Arizona Cardinals
Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU. The Cardinals kick off the compensation picks by adding help at tackle.
98. Houston Texans
Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State. This would be great value for Gallup, and the Texans lack in depth at receiver.
99. Denver Broncos
Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss. The Broncos add depth at outside linebacker with Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett potential free agents in 2019.
100. Cincinnati Bengals
Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane. The Bengals lost Adam Jones and could still use better depth at cornerback.
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