2018 NFL Mock Draft: Bears move up for O-lineman, Dolphins steal Baker Mayfield from Broncos
Chicago grabs Quenton Nelson while Miami makes a huge trade up into the top five to land a franchise quarterback
It's been a full 12-days since I last did a mock draft and I've basically been crawling around my house, scratching my skin, begging my family for a "hit of mock." It's an ugly scene, man.
What stands out more than anything about taking that much time between a mock is just how wild this first round is going to be. We've already had multiple trades of first-round picks -- not including the ones lasting from 2017 -- with the Jets/Colts and Bills/Bengals all making their moves.
Everyone is playing chess in terms of lining up to find a quarterback, except for John Dorsey and the Browns, who have to sit back and do the easy thing: figure out who the best one is. No telling if that guy is Sam Darnold or Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield or whoever.
What I do know is that when the Browns come on the clock with No. 4 overall, they will already have a quarterback. And there will also be at least one more top-shelf quarterback sitting out there, with the Broncos itching to grab him. Some QB-desperate team is going to make a bold play up the board and try beat the Broncos for the next guy on the board.
Cleveland is in the catbird's seat from that regard. And in this particular instance, the team that is making the move is the Miami Dolphins, with Adam Gase and Mike Tannenbaum interested in finding another non-Ryan Tannehill option while also extending their shelf life in Miami should things go south next season.
Adding a young quarterback with a first-round pick always buys you time. Plus, in this particular instance, it would be awesome to watch Gase design an offense around Baker Mayfield. There's potential for fireworks and potential for fun.
Much to the chagrin of my editors, I also added another trade in the first round, with the Bears sitting there at eight, seeing how the QB economics played out and moving up two spots to grab a player they covet. The Colts could use Quenton Nelson, but they signed guards this offseason and could really use additional draft picks, so it's a beneficial move.
For these trades, I'm assuming the Dolphins surrender (at least) a future first, while the Bears likely gave up something like a third-round pick to move up those few spots. It's not going to be cheap to be flying around the draft board this year.
1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold, QB, USC: The Browns have to go quarterback at the top of the draft and Darnold's done a nice job of cementing himself as the top available option.
2. New York Giants
Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State: Chubb played primarily as a 4-3 defensive end in college, but he can rush the passer from anywhere on the field, and would fit nicely as a replacement to Jason Pierre-Paul in the Giants new 3-4 defense.
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: The Jets grabbing Josh Allen, with his status as a raw but talented prospect, might make some fans cringe with Christian Hackenberg still on the roster. They can afford to play Josh McCown/Teddy Bridgewater while letting Allen get ready for the long haul.
4. Miami Dolphins (via MOCK trade with Browns (from Houston))
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The Dolphins already have a Big 12 quarterback on the roster, but Ryan Tannehill has been there for five years now and hasn't proven to necessarily be the answer. Mayfield would inject serious life into Adam Gase's offense, and drafting a quarterback would buy the current Miami regime a little time.
5. Denver Broncos
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: A stunned John Elway doesn't know what to do when the Dolphins make their move, so he's got to pull the trigger on the next best option, landing Rosen to pair with Case Keenum in a very awkward quarterback situation.
6. Chicago Bears (via MOCK trade with Colts (from New York Jets))
Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame: Dream scenario for Bears fans here. With free agency serving as an opportunity to secure Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel, GM Ryan Pace again pays a big price (a third-round pick?) to move up a small way and get the guy he wants. He's giving Mitchell Trubisky everything he needs at this point.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: A precipitous drop given where people expect Barkley to land in this draft, but the reality of the quarterback situation this year is we're going to see multiple stars fall further than they should. This is a prime landing spot for Barkley, with Doug Martin cut this offseason and Jameis Winston needing a playmaker in the backfield.
8. Indianapolis Colts (via MOCK trade with Bears)
Derwin James, DB, Florida State: What a haul for the Colts here. Trade down twice and still come away with one of the five best players in the draft. James is a versatile monster and a modern-day defensive weapon. His freshman tape is ridiculous and he might be underrated in this draft.
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia: Jon Gruden wants to throw it back to 1998 so why not get a fast and punishing linebacker. Smith flying around the field in the silver and black would be a beautiful thing.
11. Cleveland Browns (via MOCK trade with Dolphins)
12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: The quarterback economics are going to be NUTS this year and if the Bills want to guarantee they get a franchise quarterback, which Jackson has the potential to become, they are going to need to use their first pick -- not their second -- on one.
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College: The Packers need to keep piling up weapons to give Mike Pettine's defense a fighting chance at turning things around in 2018 and actually generating some pressure.
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: The Chargers have long been a team that could target OL help in this draft but they've really beefed up their unit at this point. Getting some more defensive help should be a priority, especially with a talent like Edmunds at linebacker.
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
Da'Ron Payne, DL, Alabama: Matt Patricia can kickstart his new defense in Detroit by adding an anchor who can soak up plenty of blockers.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: It feels more and more likely that the Bengals could end up moving on from Vontaze Burfict in the long haul, which means they'll be in the business of trying to find a replacement quarterback.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: The Bills get to pair their new starting quarterback with a new starting wide receiver, which feels like it might be even more of a necessity after Zay Jones' bizarre incident. Bonus: AJ McCarron and Ridley can yell "Roll Tide" after each touchdown. Bonus 2.0: this run on Alabama players means that the tide is ............. rolling.
23. Los Angeles Rams
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA: The Titans are quietly putting together a really nice little defense in Tennessee, but it would probably behoove them to secure some more guys who can generate pressure on the passer.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF: The Falcons just have a knack for drafting upside-filled defensive players who probably shouldn't have slipped to them in the draft and they're trying to do so here too.
27. New Orleans Saints
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: For whatever reason one of the Saints' weaknesses happens to be the weapons available to Drew Brees. After missing on Jimmy Graham, they can get younger and better at the tight end position.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Connor Williams, OL, Texas: The Jaguars can invest in the offensive line now hoping it will pay dividends down the road, with them having some flexibility not to toss Williams into the fire right away.
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State: After losing Trey Burton in free agency, the Eagles can go into the first round of the draft and start planning for the long haul with another tight end to pair with Zach Ertz.
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