Way-too-early 2018 NFL Mock Draft: It's all about the franchise quarterbacks
Unlike 2017, the 2018 NFL Draft will be about QB-needy teams finally getting their guy
If there's one thing we've learned from covering the NFL is that there truly is no offseason. Put another way: It's never too early for a mock draft, even if the previous year's draft concluded weeks ago and we still have training camp, the regular season, the playoffs and another Super Bowl -- never mind the combine and all the predraft workouts -- before the 2018 NFL Draft officially arrives.
With that in mind, let's get to it.
Oh, one more thing -- and perhaps most importantly for those of you who are angry because of where your team is in the draft order, please know: We're just using SportsLine's projected win totals for the 2017 season to set the draft order.
1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold , QB, Southern California Trojans : It's taken nearly 20 years but the Browns finally get their franchise quarterback. They were smart to not force the issue in 2017, when they ended up with pass rusher Myles Garrett , safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku in the first round.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Josh Rosen , QB, UCLA Bruins : Like the Browns, the 49ers were patient during the 2017 NFL Draft and now they're rewarded with a legit franchise quarterback -- assuming, of course, Kyle Shanahan doesn't find a way to get Kirk Cousins to San Francisco.
3. New York Jets
Josh Allen , QB, Wyoming Cowboys : Seeing a trend here? In a league where the most important position is also incredibly difficult to fill, the Jets aren't waiting around. Allen is the Day 1 starter because, well, why not?
4. Los Angeles Rams
Derwin James , S, Florida St: Think Jalen Ramsey in that he hits like a linebacker and covers like a cornerback.
5. Chicago Bears
Arden Key, DE, LSU Tigers : A difference-maker on the edge, the Bears continue to rebuild their defense. Quarterback isn't an option here because the team traded up for Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
6. Los Angeles San Diego Chargers
Mike McGlinchey , OT, Notre Dame Fighting Irish : It's not a sexy pick, but the Chargers have long needed to overhaul the offensive line and McGlinchey fits an obvious need.
7. Miami Dolphins
Tarvarus McFadden , CB, Florida State Seminoles : The Dolphins remain on the search for a No. 1 cornerback and McFadden can be just that. He had eight interceptions last season and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he has the size and athleticism to dominate.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Harold Landry , DE, Boston College Eagles : He led the ACC with 16.5 sacks last season after registering 3.5 sacks in 2015.
9. Detroit Lions
Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State: He had 10 sacks last season and has the versatility to be a three-down player, kicking inside in nickel packages.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: As a redshirt sophomore, Sutton had 76 catches for 1,246 yards and 10 scores. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he's a difference-maker anywhere on the field.
11. Buffalo Bills
James Washington , WR, Oklahoma State Cowboys : The Bills didn't pick up Sammy Watkins ' fifth-year option and Washington Huskies is a bona fide deep threat; he has 124 catches of at least 20 yards during his last two college seasons.
12. Indianapolis Colts
Minkah Fitzpatrick , CB, Alabama Crimson Tide : Fitzpatrick is part of the youth movement in the Colts' secondary; the team used a first-round pick on safety Malik Hooker in 2017.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
Derrius Guice , RB, LSU: The Eagles were in the market for a running back early in the 2016 NFL Draft, but the board didn't fall their way. They get that running back this time around.
14. New Orleans Saints
Malik Jefferson , LB, Texas Longhorns : At 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, Jefferson has drawn comparisons to Houston Texans 2017 second-round pick Zach Cunningham .
15. Denver Broncos
Christian Wilkins , DL, Clemson Tigers : Wilkins is a wrecking ball in the middle of a defense and he'll fit in nicely with the Broncos' already top-rated unit.
16. Washington Redskins
Mason Rudolph , QB, Oklahoma State: Is Kick Cousins staying? Is he going? The Redskins cover their bases by drafting Rudolph, who has 55 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in college.
17. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley , RB, Penn State Nittany Lions : Barkley averaged 5.7 yards per carry and he'll be another weapon for Eli Manning , joining Odell Beckham and 2017 first-rounder Evan Engram .
18. Tennessee Titans
Vita Vea , DT, Washington: The Titans could have needs along the defensive line and Vea is a massive human being with surprising quickness who registered five sacks last season.
Derrick Nnadi , DT, Florida State: He had six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a junior, and is just as strong against the run.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Luke Falk , QB, Washington State Cougars : There was some speculation that the Cardinals might address the quarterback position in 2017. It didn't happen, but with Carson Palmer 's career winding down, Falk makes a lot of sense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Connor Williams , OT, Texas: An All-American last season as a sophomore, Williams has a chance to be the best lineman in the draft with another strong showing.
22. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans)
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson: New franchise quarterback Sam Darnold gets a new downfield weapon. Cain enters his junior season with 74 catches for 1,306 yards and 14 touchdowns.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Martinas Rankin , OL, Mississippi State Bulldogs : After a slow start to his junior year, Rankin dominated down the stretch, and the expectation is that he will continue that trend in 2017.
24. Carolina Panthers
Mitch Hyatt , OT, Clemson: He was a huge part of Clemson's national title game victory over Alabama and should be among the draft's top offensive linemen in a year's time.
25. Green Bay Packers
Jerome Baker , LB, Ohio State Buckeyes : With speed to burn, Baker can make plays anywhere on the field.
26. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs )
Marcus Allen , S, Penn State: A playmaker in the Nittany Lions' secondary last season, Allen would add youth and athleticism to a Bills defensive backfield.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Tyquan Lewis, DE/OLB, Ohio State: You can never have too many pass rushers, so even after taking Taco Charlton in the first round in 2017, the Cowboys are back at it in '18.
28. Atlanta Falcons
Josh Sweat , DE/OLB, Florida State: Just like the Cowboys above, the Falcons are happy to take another pass rusher, even though they drafted Takk McKinley in the first round last month.
29. Baltimore Ravens
Calvin Ridley , WR, Alabama: Breshad Perriman might be preparing for a breakout season, but the reality is that the Ravens have never had two 1,000-yard receivers in a season.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jordan Whitehead , S, Pittsburgh Panthers : Mike Mitchell has two years left on his contract and Whitehead could be the player the Steelers were hoping to get if Jabrill Peppers had still been on the board in 2017.
31. Seattle Seahawks
Orlando Brown , OT, Oklahoma Sooners : The Seahawks have to protect Russell Wilson and get back to running the ball effectively. Brown helps in both cases.
32. New England Patriots
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: As long as Tom Brady keeps playing, the Patriots should keep giving him weapons. At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Kirk could be the eventual replacement for Julian Edelman and/or Danny Amendola .
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