We here at Sports Al Dente are releasing our second 2018 NFL Mock Draft. Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, and Saquon Barkley have all officially declared for the draft so let the speculation and debating can really begin. The Cleveland Browns are now on the clock.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen – QB – UCLA
Cleveland needs to find their quarterback and Rosen is the most NFL ready quarterback in the class. Rosen can come in and compete for the starting job from day one and if handled right, can be a great asset to the Browns for the next decade.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold – QB – USC
There is a new GM in New York and soon there will be a new head coach. The new regime finds the heir apparent for Eli Manning who proved this year how unselfish he is. Darnold can learn a whole lot from Manning.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Connor Williams – OT – Texas
It will be really tough for the Colts to pass up the best running back in the draft but it doesn’t matter how good of a running back, or quarterback for that matter, they have if their offensive line doesn’t improve. Williams is a big, nasty, and mean tackle who likes to assert his dominance. He can play on the right side and form a nice tackle combination with Anthony Costanzo.
4. Cleveland Browns (From Houston): Saquon Barkley – RB – Penn State
Cleveland gets their hopeful savior with the first overall pick and gets arguably the best player in the draft with the fourth overall pick. Barkley can do great things behind Cleveland’s line and take a lot of the pressure off of Rosen.
5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield – QB – Oklahoma
The Heisman winner is probably the most intriguing prospect in this entire class. His size is the biggest knock on his resume but there’s no denying his drive and the kid just knows how to win. He needs to prove he can improve his deep ball as he tends to take too much off of deep throws and hang them up in the air which will be disastrous in the NFL.
6. New York Jets: Bradley Chubb – EDGE – North Carolina State
The Jets need a quarterback but the top three are gone by the time they pick at number 6. It’s a possibility they will trade back but we have them taking Chubb. He can start right away for Todd Bowles defense as a devastating 3-4 pass rusher.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick – DB – Alabama
The Buccaneers may have been the most disappointing team this year but getting a pure playmaker like Fitzpatrick can drastically help that defense. He can play either safety spot or corner. His versatility is unmatched in this class and the Bucs get a game-changing defender.
8. Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton – WR – SMU
Chicago took their quarterback of the future last year in Mitchell Trubisky and now it is time to build around him. Their running game is in great shape with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen but their receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired. Sutton is a big receiver who could provide the missing piece to a young and talented offense.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson – G – Notre Dame
The 49ers may just have been the hottest team at the end of 2017. With Jimmy Garoppolo leading San Fran to five straight wins, the last three against playoff teams, as the starter has gotten fans eager for 2018. The offensive line needs help and they get the best guard in the draft. Nelson can come in and start right away and if Josh Garnett can stay healthy those two can form a great duo on the interior line.
10. Oakland Raiders: James Washington – WR – Oklahoma State
Well, Jon Gruden to Oakland is finalized and if they are really planning on getting rid of Michael Crabtree, which is a good move, Gruden and Reggie McKenzie need to find a new running mate for Amari Cooper. Cooper and Washington can give Derek Carr nice options in the passing game as Oakland looks to regain their 2016 form.
11. Miami Dolphins: Malik Jefferson – LB – Texas
The Dolphins linebacking corps should be their biggest priority this offseason. They can get one heck of a player in Jefferson and pair him with Raekwon McMillan who will return from injury. If Stephone Anthony can get back on track the Dolphins could easily have the best group of linebackers in the league in just a few years.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey – OT – Notre Dame
The second offensive lineman from the Fighting Irish goes in the first round to the Bengals. McGlinchey will be a welcomed addition to a Cincy team who will apparently “start from scratch”. Well getting a franchise offensive tackle is a good start.
13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James – S – Florida State
If the Redskins can land a player like James at #13 there will be a lot of hugging and high fiving in the D.C. war room. The former Seminole is ultra talented and will give the Redskin defense a leader and athletic freak in the secondary. He is a versatile player who has speed and instincts that will make him a star.
14. Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry – EDGE -Boston College
Green Bay is making a lot of changes this offseason and one of the bigger headlines is longtime defensive coordinator Dom Capers getting axed. Whoever is brought in to replace him should be thrilled to get Landry. Clay Matthews is obviously not the elite player he was so bringing in Landry to bolster the pass rush will give that defense a much-needed boost.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Mason Rudolph – QB – Oklahoma State
The Cardinals are in rebuild mode after their head coach and starting quarterback retired. Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer both chose to walk away from the game of football so Arizona needs to find their new quarterback. The 6’5 signal-caller has some work to do but with the right coaching he can develop into a franchise quarterback. If Arizona brings in a veteran like Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith plus with a running game led by David Johnson and a veteran receiver like Larry Fitzgerald, Rudolph can be eased into the offense instead of being relied upon as the key playmaker.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Arden Key – EDGE – LSU
The Ravens could easily take a wide receiver here but Baltimore has always been built on defense and getting after the quarterback. Arden Key can be the next great Ravens defender and can benefit from playing with Terrell Suggs for a year or two.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Wilkins – DT -Clemson
The Chargers were so close to getting into the playoffs this year after their 0-4 start but the mountain could not be climbed. The Chargers could be dangerous next year with Keenan Allen seemingly getting over the injury bug. Melvin Gordon achieved his first 1,000-yard season in his young career. Plus, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram could form the next great pass rush duo in the league. Adding Wilkins to the mix to replace the aging Brandon Mebane in the middle of the defense will be a great move.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Brian O’Neil – OT – Pittsburgh
O’Neill is going to be a name that a lot of people get to know during the draft process. He is a very good pass blocker and is capable of becoming an elite tackle in the NFL. He is a great athlete and can anchor the Seattle line for years. It is painfully clear that the Seahawks need help protecting Russell Wilson. Seattle has Duane Brown under contract for at least one more year so O’Neill can start on the right side until his time comes.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans – LB – Alabama
Another draft and another first-round linebacker coming out of Alabama. Evans is a speedy linebacker that packs a pretty big punch. He can be trusted in coverage as well. I expect Evans to replace Sean Lee who just can’t stay be relied on to stay on the field. Hopefully, Jaylon Smith will breakout next year and give the Cowboys a foundation to build a championship defense.
20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard – EDGE – Ohio State
The Detroit Lions need to find an end to play opposite of Ezekiel Ansah and they need to find him sooner rather than later. Detroit needs to sign Ansah to a long-term deal but if they don’t, the Lions will need to find a replacement. Either way, drafting Sam Hubbard out of Ohio State is a great idea. Hubbard is a solid pass rusher but he is also good against the run.
21. Buffalo Bills: Denzel Ward – CB – Ohio State
The Bills have a great young talented cornerback in Tre’Davious White and they draft Ward to take over the opposite side of the field. Ward may be a tad undersized but you couldn’t tell from his playing style. He is a physical kid with great ball skills. He and White could form a shutdown tandem.
22. Buffalo Bills (From Kansas City): Tremaine Edmunds – OLB – Virginia Tech
Buffalo adds another defender with their second consecutive first-round selection. Edmunds is an athletic linebacker who can drop in coverage but also make tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. He can string plays out and he uses the sideline as a 12th defender. He can be another piece of the Bills defense under head coach Sean McDermott.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Joshua Jackson – CB – Iowa
The Rams are perhaps the best story in the NFL. Going from 4-12 to 11-5 in a single season is remarkable but doing it with a first-year head coach who was the youngest in history is even more remarkable. The Rams need to add a cornerback and Joshua Jackson is a ball hawk who is shooting up boards. The Rams could land a steal with this pick.
24. Carolina Panthers: Mark Andrews – TE – Oklahoma
Greg Olsen is getting close to the end of his career and with all of his injuries this year, Carolina needs to find his eventual replacement. Andrews is an athletic tight end who can make people miss after the catch and has great hands. Andrews playing style is very similar to Olsen and the two could form a scary duo until Olsen leaves the Panthers or retires.
25. Tennessee Titans: Dorance Armstrong – EDGE – Kansas
Tennesee’s season did not go the way it was supposed to. The Titans still made the playoffs but they clearly have work to do. They may need a coaching change but for now, Mike Mularkey is safe. Drafting a pass rusher with the skill set that Armstrong has will definitely help. His burst allows him to get off the line quickly and is something you just can’t teach.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Calvin Ridley – WR – Alabama
The Jaguars could have some turnover when it comes to their receiving corps. Allen Robinson should be the top priority to retain and drafting Ridley can aid them if Marqise Lee is not re-signed and if Allen Hurns winds up being a cap casualty. Dede Westbrook flashed this season but bringing a receiver with the route running ability of Ridley will improve the Jaguars offense.
27. Minnesota Vikings: Ronnie Harrison – S – Alabama
Minnesota has a championship caliber defense but they can be even better if they bring in Harrison to add the final piece. Putting the former Crimson Tide safety next to Harrison Smith makes the Vikings secondary the best in the league.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Jamarco Jones – OT – Ohio State
Carson Wentz must be protected at all costs. Jason Peters may only have another year or two of solid production left in him so adding Jones to be the future left tackle is a smart move any way you look at it. As long as Wentz is healthy and on the field, the Eagles are contenders.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst – DT – Michigan
The Falcons still need to shore up the middle of their defense and a player the caliber of Hurst can do just that. He is a great fit for the 4-3 defense in Atlanta and adding him to a front seven that already has Vic Beasley, Takkarist McKinley, Dontari Poe, and Deion Jones should help slow down the NFC South offenses.
30. New England Patriots: Josh Allen – QB – Wyoming
Apparently, the Patriots have some serious issues behind closed doors that are starting to become exposed. I am not sold on the story personally but regardless, the Patriots need to find a quarterback who will eventually replace Tom Brady. Allen is very raw and needs a lot of coaching before being thrust into a starting job. Where else is a better place to learn than Foxborough? If Josh McDaniels comes back he can groom the Wyoming product.
31. New Orleans Saints: Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL. They have a great running game with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and the improvement that the defense has made from Week 1 to now is miraculous. They have the luxury of focusing on the future with their first round pick and they take the former Heisman winner out of Louisville. Sitting for a few years behind Drew Brees is a great opportunity.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Roquan Smith – LB – Georgia
Unfortunately, Ryan Shazier suffered a serious injury this season that resulted in damage to his spine. He recently regained feeling in his legs which is marvelous news but the reality of it is the Steelers need to find someone to fill the huge void left by Shazier. Roquan Smith can be that replacement. He displayed his talents in front of the world during the Rose Bowl game and will get a shot again during the National Championship game. He may be the hardest hitter in the draft and can be a perfect fit for the Steelers defense.