Don Porcaro’s FINAL 2018 First-Round NFL Mock Draft

Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming:

The one thing that there is no doubt about going into the draft is that the Browns need a quarterback. They get one with the first overall pick, and take a gamble of potential over security. Out of the expected top four quarterbacks of Allen, Darnold, Mayfield and Rosen, Allen may have the most potential. He also may be the most    raw.

2. New York Giants – Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State:

The Giants have two options here. Go back to their ground-and-pound roots and draft a game-changing running back, or go back to their recent routes and draft a top-tier pass rusher to bolster their defensive line. David Gettleman decides to go old school and take a running back here. 

3. New York Jets Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma:

I love Baker Mayfield. As a football fan, I would hate to see him go to the wrong franchise and become a failure. However, there is too much interest being shown by the Jets not to take Mayfield. The Jets get their QB.

4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State: 

This may go down as one of the best picks in the draft. If there wasn’t a desperate need at quarterback, Chubb could have easily been the first overall pick. Even though the Browns could have taken him at one, they wait and grab their guy at four.

5. Buffalo Bills (Predicted Trade via Denver Broncos) – Sam Darnold, QB, USC:

If Darnold drops down to five, he will go to the highest bidder who is willing to trade up. In this case, it is the Bills. However, the Cardinals are also a team to watch out for to trade here. The Broncos do not have any positions of desperate need, so they will try to get as much as possible for their fifth overall pick.

6. Indianapolis Colts – Quentin Nelson, OG, Notre Dame:

Refereed to by many as the top overall player in the draft, Nelson also fills a huge need by bolstering this Indianapolis O-line. With the hope that Luck comes back, the Colts will want to do everything possible to make sure he doesn’t miss any more time due to injury.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S, Florida State:

The Bucs need some secondary help desperately. Minkah Fitzpatrick could also be a good pick here, but ultimately Tampa Bay decides to go with the Florida State safety.

8. Chicago Bears – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State:

Once again, a player from the secondary is picked not named Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Bears need a cornerback who can go punch-for-punch with the receivers of the NFC North. Denzel Ward is their guy. 

9. San Francisco 49ers – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama:

Ridley at 9 may seem like a bit of a reach. However, after getting some defensive help in the first round of last year’s draft, San Francisco needs some firepower around Jimmy Garoppolo. They could always trade down if a team like the Cardinals pays a high enough price to get Josh Rosen, but helping your franchise quarterback seems to be the more realistic option.

10. Oakland Raiders – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama:

After last year’s miserable defensive season, the Raiders are desperate for secondary help. They get their help, and get one of the best safeties in the draft in Fitzpatrick. With the combo of Fitzpatrick and a healthy 2017 second round pick Obi Melifonwu, this Raiders secondary looks promising for the future.

11. Miami Dolphins- Roquan Smith, OLB, Georgia:

Although the Dolphins aren’t necessarily in desperate need for  pass rushers, the loss of Ndamukong Suh definitely hurts. Miami will make up for the loss of interior pass rush by bolstering their outside pass rush. 

12. Denver Broncos (Predicted trade Via Buffalo Bills)- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame:

The Broncos struggled all year with their offensive line. McGlinchey provides stability at their tackle position. Rosen could be drafted in this spot as well, but with Case Keenum now running the Broncos offense, Denver has at least another year before they need to draft a quarterback. 

13. Washington Redskins- Vita Vea, DT, Washington:

The Redskins ranked dead-last in the league in rushing defense last year with 134 rushing yards per game allowed. Vea will be able to fill that gap right away and bolster the defensive line. 

14. Green Bay Packers- Mike Hughes, CB, UCF:

Green Bay has never been known for their secondary, cornerbacks specifically. Hughes gives them an instant boost in their defense. As long as Rodgers stays healthy, their offense will be just fine. Pass rush may also be an option, so do not be surprised if Tremaine Edwards lands here.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA:

Rosen slips all the way to fifteen after being projected by some as the number one overall pick. Arizona gets their much needed quarterback and does not have to trade up to get him. If Rosen is taken before 15, expect the Cardinals to still go after a quarterback. Possibly Lamar Jackson.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech:

Edmunds drops all the way down to 16 and the Ravens are happy to scoop him up. The Ravens do not necessarily need an inside linebacker, especially with CJ Mosley, but they are happy to take Edmunds at 16. 

17.Los Angeles Chargers- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama:

This is the perfect pick for the Chargers to already build on their extremely loaded pass rush. Putting Payne in the middle of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will put the Chargers at the front of the most deadly pass-rushes in the league. 

18. Seattle Seahawks – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville:

After the departure of Richard Sherman, the Legion of Boom does not apply to anyone in the Seattle cornerback position. Alexander may not be the typical Legion of boom prototype, he is a ball-hawk who will help any secondary he gets put into.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU:

The Cowboys are another team drafting off of their needs to fill a hole of a departed star. With Dez Bryant gone, it seems almost guaranteed the Cowboys will go with a receiver to help Dak Prescott. Sutton is the top wide receiver left in this draft, so the Cowboys will take him at 19.

20. Detroit Lions- Derrius Guice, RB, LSU:

The Lions haven’t been particularly strong in the running back position since Barry Sanders. Combining Matt Stafford with a possible game-changing running back could expand this Lions offense to a whole new level. With Matt Patricia taking over the head coaching position, consider the Lions defense already improved.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Will Hernandez, OG, Texas El-Paso:

The Bengals need help multiple positions. The addition of Cordy Glenn substantially improved their tackle position. With Hernandez at the guard position, the Bengals will set themselves up for both the short term and long term on their offensive line.

22. Buffalo Bills- Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA:

With the loss of tackle Cordy Glenn, the Bills will fill that position through the draft. Especially with Sam Darnold as their new quarterback, the Bills will need someone to protect his blindside. With Miller considered a boom-or-bust player, the Bills will take the risk at 22.

23. New England Patriots:-Rashaan Evans, OLB, Alabama:

A popular pick here was Kolton Miller, however since he was taken just one pick before, New England adds much needed depth at linebacker with Rashaan Evans. New England has a long history of drafting Alabama players, specifically at linebacker. That list will continue to grow with Evans.

24. Carolina Panthers:- DJ Moore, WR, Maryland:

One of the biggest weaknesses for the Panthers last year was their lack of receiving depth. Moore changes that and instantly helps Cam Newton in the passing game. 

25. Tennessee Titans:-Billy Price, C, Ohio State:

With two pro-bowl caliber offensive tackles in Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan, Price is the perfect player to compliment the two on the inside pass protection. After addressing their needs at corner and running back in free agency, the Titans address their need of inside pass protection in the draft. Price could have easily went earlier in the draft, but the partially torn pectoral muscle he suffered at the combine drops him to the Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons- Tavon Bryan, DT, Florida:

With the loss of Adrian Clayborn and Dontari Poe, the Falcons will need help on the defensive line. They waste no time in the first round and grab Bryan out of Florida, who will help the depth of the line. 

27. New Orleans Saints- Hayden Hurst, TE, South Caronlina:

Even though the Saints were able to sign Ben Watson back, they still take a tight end for the future in this draft. Hurst ends up being the first tight end taken in the draft, and the Saints take advantage of him dropping down to 27. 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State:

After the brutal injury to Ryan Shazier, the Steelers must prepare to find another linebacker in case he will never be able to play again. Vander Esch is the guy the Steelers take to try and fill that hole. 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- DJ Chark, LSU, WR:

This may be a reach here, but the Jaguars get an explosive receiver at 29. With their defense set, the Jaguars chose to target weapons to help Blake Bortles, and Chark’s explosiveness will certainly help that. 

30. Minnesota Vikings- Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia:

The vikings are in win-now mode, so they don’t need to gamble here, Instead, they take win, who may not have the biggest up-side, but certainly is a consistent guard. 

31. New England Patriots- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa:

With the Patriots in need of future cornerback help, they take Jackson at 31. While he is drafted as more of a long-term project, he also has the ability to make an immediate impact. 

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Sony Michel, RB, Georgia:

With the Eagles addressing most of their off-season issues through free agency and trades, the one position needed to be filled is running back. They take Michel with the final pick of the first round. 

 

First round notes:

  • With the Patriots and Broncos deciding not to take a quarterback in the first round, Lamar Jackson falls to the second round.
  • With the prediction of Denver trading down, it is with the assumption they don’t need a quarterback in the first round. Even with Rosen falling to them at 12, they grab a tackle. If they really did like Rosen, they would’ve taken him at 5.
  • Hughes seems like a real hit-or-miss at 14 with the Packers. If Tremaine Edmunds is still available, look for a possible take there as well.
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