The 2018 NFL Draft looks like it could be one of the most talented in years. This mock draft is a collaboration between three SFE writers. The order is based on MJ’s 2017 NFL season predictions. Let’s get right to it:
1. New York Jets – Daniel’s Pick: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
I have Sam Darnold as my QB2 in this class. Lamar Jackson is my QB1, but I have a feeling that he won’t be drafted as such. The Jets still get a good QB prospect in Darnold, similar to Jameis Winston with lots of great throws and a few really stupid ones. Darnold does have some mechanical issues but is still a really good prospect.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Harun’s Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Assuming Kirk Cousins will once again receive a franchise tag from the Washington Redskins, this is the pick. Former Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan takes control of this 49ers offense, a perfect fit for Rosen as it is a creative passing attack that has him get the ball out quickly. Rosen is as polished as it gets at the quarterback position with near flawless footwork, mechanics, and ability to go through progressions. Along with his superb arm talent and accuracy, this could make for a potent offense in the future as the 49ers pair Shanahan with “The Rosen One.”
3. Chicago Bears – Jon’s Pick: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Despite other more glaring needs for the Bears, they would be wise to select Derwin James based on his overall talent and potential. James is crazy athletic and is skilled in coverage and run stuffing. James honestly looks like a NFL player who is playing for Florida State. If he can stay healthy, the Bears should forget about the fit and take the future Pro-Bowler.
4. Buffalo Bills – Harun’s Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
It’s clear the Buffalo Bills are in full tank mode, with a lot of trades being made recently. After sacrificing so much for draft capital, they need to cash in with some young talent. The Bills are left weak at defensive back with Stephon Gilmore’s departure via free agency and Ronald Darby being shipped off to the Eagles. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the ideal safety in the NFL. He is a talented cover man with a combination of size, length, fluidity, and athleticism. Fitzpatrick can line up anywhere in the secondary, whether it be either of the safety spots, outside corner, or the nickel. He is a great defender against the run and can come down and make tackles, or drop back and defend passes with his elite instincts and ball skills. Fitzpatrick would be a great start to the Bills rebuild.
5. Cleveland Browns – Daniel’s Pick: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
The Browns have promising young players or established players in most positional groups, but their cornerback tandem needs some serious help, especially after cutting Joe Haden. Tarvarus McFadden has massive potential at the cornerback position and fills a big need for the Browns without compromising value. McFadden is also one of the best prospects available at this spot.
6. LA Rams – Jon’s Pick: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jon’s Pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Blake Bortles simply isn’t the franchise QB many thought he could be. Quite frankly, if the Jags are picking in the top 10 again this year, Bortles will be the reason why. Josh Allen shares some similarities to Bortles, but he is a far more natural passer. Scouts will drool over his athleticism and arm talent, and Jacksonville needs new blood in its quarterback room.
8. Miami Dolphins – Harun’s Pick: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Throughout his entire career in Miami, the Dolphins have failed to pair Ndamukong Suh with another defensive tackle. They can change that here by taking a guy who might be the best prospect in the draft. Clemson likes lining up Christian Wilkins at the 5-tech, but he should preferably play 3-tech in the NFL, where his size, strength, and lateral quickness make him a nightmare to defend. Wilkins is also a very polished player evidenced by good hand usage and low pad level. This pick would give defensive coordinators nightmares.
9. Indianapolis Colts – Daniel’s Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The Colts don’t have a lot of help for Andrew Luck on offense right now, and with Conor Williams gone, getting a stud running back is a great fit for the Colts. Barkley could be the best player in the draft and is a complete back with massive potential. Andrew Luck would be thrilled to see this pick come draft time.
10. New Orleans Saints – Daniel’s Pick: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Harold Landry is an absolute stud and is one of my top prospects in the draft right now. The Saints need massive help on the defensive side of the ball and Landry absolutely provides that. Arden Key was also available here, but I think that Landry fits more as a 4-3 end in the Saints system.
11. Detroit Lions – Jon’s Pick: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
This was an easy pick. Arden Key is a top-5 talent in this year’s class due to his explosive first step and his ability to get to the quarterback. The Lions would be lucky to get Arden Key on draft night.
12. Washington Redskins – Harun’s Pick: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
This has been a need of the Redskins for a while now. Da’Ron Payne is a freak athlete. He might be the strongest player I’ve ever seen. A man that’s 6’2″ and 320 pounds shouldn’t be capable of moving the way he does. Payne doesn’t receive much attention or rack up big numbers as he consistently faces double teams, but teams will notice his immense (pun intended) talent and potential.
13. Cincinnati Bengals – Daniel’s Pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
14. Arizona Cardinals – Harun’s Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
15. LA Chargers – Jon’s Pick: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
16. Minnesota Vikings – Harun’s Pick: Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
The Vikings are continuing to take steps to improve the offensive line. The draft selections of Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora as well as the release of Alex Boone are huge moves to bolster a very weak unit. Another huge stride would be made by taking a potential franchise Pro Bowl tackle in the 1st round.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Daniel’s Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Ravens have been in dire need of a stud receiver since Steve Smith declined. Christian Kirk looks like an Odell Beckham style player and he can provide the number 1 receiver for the Ravens. Kirk can provide a deep threat and a YAC option for the Ravens. Kirk is the playmaker that the Ravens desperately need.
18. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – Jon’s Pick: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
19. Philadelphia Eagles – Jon’s Pick: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
Even with the recent acquisition of Ronald Darby, the Eagles are thin at cornerback. Anthony Averett is a bit of a reach here, but ultimately he is what the Eagles were hoping to get from Byron Maxwell. Averett’s combination of size, speed, and skill should land him in the first round.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Harun’s Pick: Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama
21. Denver Broncos – Daniel’s Pick: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice is a beast of a running back and an absolute steal this late in the draft. The Broncos have been desperately asking for someone to step up and be their running back. They need help for their quarterback and Derrius Guice is great value at this position.
22. Atlanta Falcons – Daniel’s Pick: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
23. Oakland Raiders – Jon’s Pick: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
24. Seattle Seahawks – Harun’s Pick: Martez Ivey, G, Florida
25. New York Giants – Jon’s Pick: Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Ereck Flowers has proven so far to be a liability for the Giant’s offense. It’s time to move on, and Trey Adams should be a solid option at no. 25 overall. Adams is a huge tackle who still his the lateral speed to keep up with edge-rushers at the next level.
26. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City) – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
St. Brown would have been the best receiver in last year’s class by a solid margin. His game is very reminiscent of Bengals superstar A.J. Green. St. Brown is a rangy guy at 6’4″ with a long wingspan. He possesses strong hands and is a gifted athlete with a combination of speed, explosiveness, and lateral quickness. EQ is also a very polished route runner. He may have a very difficult time in 2017 with poor QB play, but he is a top-10 talent.
27. Carolina Panthers – Daniel’s Pick: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
The Panthers have some talent at receiver, but they need someone who can consistently get open. Deon Cain is a good route runner and also can be a deep threat. This is exactly what the Panthers need in a receiver. Deon Cain can be a consistent option for Cam Newton and be an outlet for Cam Newton’s famous deep throws.
28. Tennessee Titans – Harun’s Pick: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
29. Dallas Cowboys – Daniel’s Pick: Cam Serigne, TE, Wake Forest
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jon’s Pick: Dorance Armstrong Jr., EDGE, Kansas
31. Green Bay Packers – Jon’s Pick: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
32. New England Patriots – Harun’s Pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson