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Front Row Sports first 2018 NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy.
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Allen has issues with being accurate consistently, but there’s no denying his upside. He has great arm strength and mobility. At 6-5, 237, Allen has all the intangibles to develop into a Franchise QB that the Browns desperately need. Allen flashed some greatness at the Senior Bowl, throwing for two touchdowns and 158 yards on 9-13 passing. The way he played in the Senior Bowl against higher competition was impressive. I think new Browns GM John Dorsey will pull the trigger here and hope they can develop Allen into a franchise QB. It’s a risk for sure, but one that could yield a great reward.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Eli Manning is now 37. Manning is still a starting QB, but he doesn’t have much longer. Pat Shurmur was brought in as head coach most likely due to his previous success in developing and coaching his QBs (Case Keenum 2017, Sam Bradford 2016, Nick Foles 2014). Rosen is the best pro-ready QB right now to me, and he has tremendous arm talent and size as a pocket passer. Rosen will get to learn behind a two time Super Bowl MVP for a year or two, and then hopefully step in as the Giants next franchise QB.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
The Colts are the one team in the top 6 picks not in the market for a QB currently. They could possibly trade down, but I don’t think the Colts will over complicate their pick. Chubb has been a problem for opposing teams off the edge; he has more than 40 tackles for loss and 18 sacks over the past two seasons. At 6-4, 275, Chubb has a great combination of size and speed, and will make an impact right away for the Colts.
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Barkley may be the best player in this draft class. He can do it all, and should be a feature RB right away. Having Barkley would help whoever the QB is greatly in Cleveland; the Browns would be able to lean Barkley to generate offense. I think that Barkley runs a 40 yard dash time in the 4.3 range to solidify his spot as a top 5 pick in the draft. He can do it all; he is an explosive runner and a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. If the Browns walk away with Barkley and a potential franchise QB, they have a lot to be excited about.
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson stands alone as the by far the best offensive lineman in this draft. Nelson has been a tremendous for Notre Dame, and shows all the tools to be an starter in the NFL right away. The Broncos need a QB, but GM John Elway has ironically had issues drafting a good one. So with that said, look for Elway to lure Kirk Cousins away from Washington in free agency, and eliminate his need to draft a QB. Adding Nelson here through the draft will be a great move if Elway can sign Cousins. With or without Cousins, there’s a chance Nelson may even be higher on the Broncos board than the QBs available at this point. Nelson gives them a lineman to build around for the next decade.
6. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The Jets would be in a great spot here at pick #6. Both Darnold and Mayfield available at their biggest need… once again a Quarterback. Darnold being from USC may bring back bad draft memories, but he is a great QB prospect with size and mobility to be a franchise QB at the next level. Let’s hope Darnold pans out. Especially for a team that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback since… Chad Pennington? Mark Sanchez?
If the Jets can land Kirk Cousins in Free Agency, which I think is something that really could happen, this pick will be revisited. For now, Darnold is the pick. For now…
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is the best player available here, and it makes sense for the Bucs to draft him. Highly regarded as a top five talent, Fitzpatrick has been a standout playmaker for the National Champion Crimson Tide defense. Fitzpatrick has had 9 career interceptions at Alabama, and provides the versatility to play Cornerback and Safety. He will immediately help a growing Tampa Bay team.
8. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Mitchell Trubisky looks like the answer at QB for the Bears. Now he needs someone reliable to throw to. 2015 First Rounder Kevin White has been dreadful to be honest, only playing in five games in his first three seasons. The other Bears leftover receivers from last season include Deonte Thompson, Kendall Wright, Josh Bellamy, and Markus Wheaton. Fair to say they could be upgraded; Ridley would be a great fit and provide Trubisky with a reliable pass catching option.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Niners have a big needs at CB, so a top Corner prospect makes sense here. Denzel Ward is a little undersized, but he makes up for it with excellent ball skills and quickness. Ward will come in and be an impact starter, upgrading the Niners Secondary greatly.
10. Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
At 6-4, 250, Edmunds has the physical tools to be a dominant sideline to sideline Linebacker in the NFL. He has great speed and athleticism, and will be an impact starter for the Raiders at one of the Linebacker spots. I believe Edmunds’ stock will rise similarly to Hassan Reddick’s last year, through the combine.
11. Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Roquan Smith had an outstanding year for the Georgia Bulldogs. Smith won the 2017 Butkus Award, given to the Nations’ best Linebacker. He made plays against the run and pass all season long. The Dolphins could really use a playmaking linebacker to solidify the second level of their defense. Smith would be an impact player for the Dolphins as WLB, or even MLB.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Losing OT Andrew Whitworth to the Rams in last years Free Agency was a huge blow to the Bengals. They need help running the ball, as well as protecting Andy Dalton. Unanimous All-American OT Orlando Brown, at 6-8, 345, would come in be a huge help. Brown has tremendous size and strength and would be a great fit with the Bengals.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Washington drafted a DL last year in the first round (Jonathan Allen), and I think they will look to bolster their defensive line even more. Vita Vea is a massive defensive tackle prospect with the ability to rush the passer and stuff the run. And Vea has great mobility and quickness for a 340 pound defender. I see Vea running a sub-5 second 40 yard dash to prove my point. Vea paired with Allen and some of the other pieces in Washingtons’ front would be nasty.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
The Packers have other needs than a defensive lineman, but edge rusher Marcus Davenport is a great value pick here for the Packers at 14. Clay Matthews’ best days are long behind him, and the Packers could really use a player to get after to QB off the edge. The Packers hope the small school star will look as unblockable and disruptive as he did during the final stretch of Senior Bowl week.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Lots of Changes in Arizona. QB Carson Palmer has retired. Head Coach Bruce Arians has retired. Future Hall of Fame WR Larry Fitzgerald could be heading out. With all the change, Baker Mayfield could help stready the ship for a Cardinals team searching for an identity. Mayfield landing in Arizona, with the QB job wide open, and having David Johnson by his side, gives Mayfield an opportunity to succeed right away.
16. Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
James Washington took advantage of his opportunity during Senior Bowl week. He showed off that he can be a downfield threat and a quality receiver at the next level. Joe Flacco desperately needs a playmaker to throw to, and Washington can be his guy.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Rashaan Evans fills the Chargers need for a playmaking Linebacker. Evans plays well against the run, and can stay with RBs and TEs in coverage. Evans also has great versatility and range, and adds to the Chargers a quality player that can contribute right away. For a team that just missed out on the playoffs in 2017, and adding Evans and a few more pieces could put the Chargers in a position to make a deep playoff run in 2018.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Derwin James, S, Florida State
This would be a dream come true for the Seattle Seahawks; Derwin James is a perfect fit. The Legion of Boom is not what it used to be, and it could be getting worse soon. With Kam Chancellor’s injury troubles, along with Earl Thomas’s contract disputes, its leaves the Seahawks with issues at safety. James is still viewed by many as a top ten talent in this draft, and if he falls to Seattle with the 18th pick, it would be great for the Seahawks.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Josh Jackson the length, size, and ball skills to become a lockdown cornerback. Jackson emerged as a ball hawk after a breakout season in 2017, recording 8 interceptions.Jackson improved his stock greatly this year, and is one that could even rise higher. The big question with him is does he have elite speed? Jackson can silence that with a 40 yard dash in the 4.4 range at the combine. Either way, Dallas needs an elite corner, and Jackson can fill that role.
20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
The Lions need some help at Defensive End. Pro Bowl Ezekiel Ansah is their best DE, but he is a pendingfree agent. And plus, besides Ansah the Lions need another edge rusher anyway. Sam Hubbard is an ideal fit in the Lions 4-3 defense. He has great size at 6-5, 265, and has been a very productive pass rusher for the Buckeyes with 30 sacks in his career.
21. Buffalo Bills: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Buffalo Bills traded two-time Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars midway through the 2017 season. They still need to find his replacement, and Maurice Hurst can be that guy. Hurst is disruptive against the run, and is a great interior pass rusher. Hurst can make an impact in Buffalo right away, and can easily make the Bills forget all about their loss of Darius.
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Who really knows where Lamar Jackson will land. Tyrod Taylor has been serviceable for the Bills, but his arbitrary mid-season benching for rookie Nathan Peterman shows he is not likely viewed as the long term solution. The Bills desire for QB talent, and the current situation with Tyrod, makes Jackson an intriguing fit with Buffalo. Taylor would still be able to start for a few more years while Jackson develops. And this is okay, Jackson still needs to polish his passing ability. But his elite playmaking is something special, and may be enough to persuade the Bills to take him.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Rams best cornerback Trumaine Johnson is set to be a Free Agent again; he has played under the Franchise Tag the past two seasons. The Rams are unlikely to tag him again, so look for them to try to another CB if they cannot sign him long term. At 6-1, 190, Oliver is a long and physical corner. Oliver plays aggressive against the run, and is at his best he playing press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Olivier would be a great selection for the Rams, who can decide to have him replace or even play next to Trumaine Johnson.
24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
With the departure of Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers still could use some help at the WR position. Christian Kirk is a smooth route runner with reliable hands, and can give Cam Newton a go to target underneath. With Devin Funchess already in place as the big red-zone target, Cam needs someone to help him move the sticks on 3rd down. Christian Kirk can be that guy for the Panthers.
25. Tennessee Titans: Arden Key, LB, LSU
Key is a huge question mark. He is the “Josh Allen” of the EDGE rushers. Key has undeniable potential and talent. The problem is Key only shows off that talent sometimes with his up and down play. The Titans could use some help getting after the QB, and need a rusher. Makes sense for them to roll the dice on Key if he is there.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Dontari Poe is coming off a one year “prove-it” deal with the Falcons, and may end up getting paid elsewhere. Christian Wilkins is an impact player at DT, and would create a strong DT duo beside Grady Jarrett. He is regarded by some as the most pro-ready DT in this draft class.
27. New Orleans Saints: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Sutton is a big, physical target who can give Drew Brees another go to WR. Ted Ginn fills “deep threat” the role nicely, but besides Michael Thomas, there isn’t a reliable target at WR for the Saints. Sutton can come in and be a threat in the red-zone, as well as make plays as a possession receiver.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrius Guice, HB, LSU
How’s that for leverage on Le’Veon Bell? The Steelers inability to get a long-term deal done with Bell is concerning. If Bell goes, Guice can fill in as an explosive back. And if Bell stays, Guice can take some of the load off of Bell and his 406 touches last year. Guice’s talent should have him find a home somewhere in the First Round
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
The Jaguars have a need at TE. Dallas Goedert has been productive in his college career, and has the skillset to do it all at Tight End. Goedert is a reliable receiver, willing blocker, and has great hands. He is a great addition to a growing Jaguars offense, and will help be an option for 2018 MVP candidate Blake Bortles.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The stout defense in Minnesota gets richer. Pairing Ronnie Harrison to play alongside All-Pro Harrison Smith would be quite the combination. Harrison excels in the box, playing against the run, and would complement Smith well. The Vikings would add to a great defensive unit with the addition of Ronnie Harrison.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Jason Peters has had a tremendous career in the NFL, but his age is starting to catch up with him. Connor Williams is regarded by some as the top Offensive Tackle prospect in the draft, and he is a great value pick for the Eagles at the end of Round 1. Williams is ready to start right away at Left Tackle, and if it weren’t for a injury filled 2017 campaign, Williams could easily be a top-10 selection. Williams may not fall this far, but if he does it would be a perfect fit for the Eagles.
32. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
The Malcolm Butler situation in New England is something to keep an eye on. He may not be a part of the Pats long term plans. With or without Butler there in 2018, Mike Hughes would be a wise pickup for the Patriots to add. Hughes is a great athlete and an outstanding cover corner. Hughes can bolster the Patriots secondary greatly and play right away.
If you made it this far, nice job. Thanks for reading. #FrontRowSports
Sources: sports-reference.com, nfl.com, espn.com, bleacherreport.com
Founder and writer for Front Row Football (2018-present).
Writer for Armed Rodgery (2016-2017).