Welcome to another Mock Draft from Front Row Football. A new league year is officially upon us, and the first wave of free agency has passed. Teams needs have altered, and players that teams signed/missed during Free Agency effects the upcoming Draft. Here are our updated projections for the First Round; we added some trades to make it interesting!
*denotes projected trade
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Sam Darnold is the pick here for the Browns. Taking all factors into account, Darnold seems to be the safest choice. At 6-4, 220, Darnold has great size and all the intangibles to help him become the Franchise QB the Browns so desperately need. Darnold possesses an excellent combination of mobility and arm talent, which allows him to extend plays and create something out of nothing if needed. Darnold is the best choice for the Browns situation. Times have been tough in Cleveland, and in order for them to turn it around, they need to find the right QB for them. While he may not be viewed as the best Quarterback in the Draft by some, Sam Darnold is the guy Cleveland needs.
*2. Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA (via NYG)
The trade: BUF receives- Pick #2
NYG recieves- Pick #12, Pick #21, Pick #53, BUF 2019 Round 2, 2019 BUF Round 3
The trade would be a ridiculous addition in draft capital for the New York Giants, a trade that the Giants couldn’t resist turning down. Buffalo is desperate to trade up, and will have to likely give up a ridiculous amount to move up to #2. The Jets gave up so much to move to #3, and Bills GM Brandon Beane will be forced to do the same if he wants to land his future franchise QB. Josh Rosen is regarded by many as the top pocket passer in this entire class, and the Bills show their tremendous faith in him by sending away the entire farm to take him.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
I will almost guarantee that whoever is selected here will be the “guy the Jets always wanted”…. in this case, it would be Baker Mayfield. I think there’s a huge chance the Jets don’t even land the guy they really want with the Browns and Giants (in this case Bills) possibly taking QBs ahead of them. Anyways, the Jets will still land a top-QB, and will have a great chance to find their desperately-needed franchise QB. I love Baker Mayfield as a player and competitor, and I think he really can help establish a winning culture for the Jets.
4. Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Minkah Fitzpatrick is special. Whether he plays CB or S for the Browns can be decided later. Fitzpatrick has flashed greatness, and could he easily become an All-Pro caliber player. Fitzpatrick has great explosiveness, ball skills, footwork, and physicality that will help him become a star in the secondary. He also has great size (6-1, 202), and posses the ability to be a standout leader. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the full package, and could make an impact for the Browns Defense right away.
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Passing on a QB? Yes. I don’t think Josh Allen and Denver would be a good combination. Why? Look at the last Denver QB taken in the first round, which was also an unpolished passer with a lot of talent: Paxton Lynch. GM John Elway has Case Keenum for the foreseeable future, and can afford to pass on a QB in Round 1. Quenton Nelson is a home-run prospect, and adding him would be game-changing for the Broncos offense. Nelson will be an All-Pro caliber player, and is extremely worthy of being a top-5 selection.
6. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
What a trade for the Colts. They completely fleeced the Jets. The Colts get to move back, and will likely have almost all of the top Non-QBs available at #6. Bradley 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. This is probably the player the Colts were targeting with the third pick. Now, they still get Chubb (at #6), along with four additional high round picks. Well played Chris Ballard, well played.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
An early run on Quarterbacks leaves Saquon Barkley outside the top-6, but there is no chance he makes it past Tampa Bay; the Bucs have a gaping hole at RB. Barkley may be the best player in this draft class, and getting him here is a steal. Barkley can do it all, and should be a workhorse right away. Having Barkley would do wonders for the Buccaneers offense. Barkley is an explosive runner and a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield who will thrive playing with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. Landing the best-RB prospect since Adrian Peterson, at pick #7, would be a major win for the Buccaneers.
8. Chicago Bears: 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 Bears right away. Adding Edmunds to play alongside promising youngster Leonard Floyd would give the Bears a Linebacking duo to be excited about for years to come.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Denzel Ward and Richard Sherman? How’s that for a CB duo. The 49ers secondary could use some further improvement, and adding Denzel Ward would make this unit tremendously better. Ward is the best cornerback prospect in this draft. He excels in covering inside and outside, and is stout in run support. Ward would provide the 49ers a star playmaker to build their defense around for the next decade.
*10. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The trade: ARI receives- Pick #10
OAK recieves- Pick #15, Pick #79, ARI 2019 Round 2
Josh Allen landing with the Cardinals would be an ideal fit for both sides. A fit so great, the Cardinals feel the need to trade up, above Miami, to secure Allen’s services. With Sam Bradford in place, the Cardinals can really develop Allen and help him fix some of his accuracy issues. Giving Allen a year or two as a backup would be monumental in his development. Allen’s potential is extraordinary, and he could turn out to be the best QB in this class if he is in the right situation. Arizona very well could be that “right situation”.
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 can be that guy for the Dolphins, and would be an impact plug-and-play starter right away.
*12. New York Giants (via BUF): Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
The trade: BUF receives- Pick #2
NYG recieves- Pick #12, Pick #21, Pick #53, Pick #56, BUF 2019 Round 1, BUF 2019 Round 4
Well, Jason Pierre-Paul is now a Buccaneer. In this case, the Giants are really loading up on adding players through the Draft. Marcus Davenport falls right into the Giants laps here at Pick #12, and the hole left by JPP is instantly filled. If the Giants take a chance on this small-school star, they will not be disappointed. Davenport would thrive as a OLB in the new Giants 3-4 defense, and would form a forceful duo off the edge with Olivier Vernon.
13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Vita Vea makes the move from the University of Washington, to the Washington Redskins. Vita Vea is a massive defensive tackle prospect (6-5, 340), with the ability to rush the passer and stuff the run at an elite level. Vea has crazy-good mobility and quickness for a his size, and should be a dominant player in the NFL. Adding Vea would be a great move for the Redskins, and would give the team a dominant interior Defensive Lineman to build around.
14. Green Bay Packers: Derwin James, S, Flordia State
Morgan Burnett leaving via Free Agency is just another blow to a depleted Packers secondary. It hurts, but the Packers get a tremendous pick here to help slow the bleeding. Adding the hard-hitting, playmaking, Derwin James is exactly what the Packers D’ needs. James would instantly fill the hole left by Burnett, and would be an upgrade in the long-run. James had a bit of a down year in 2017 that may leave him outside the top-10, but he is surely a top-10 talent. If he is available for the Packers at #14, it would be hard for them to pass.
*15. Oakland Raiders: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The trade: ARI receives- Pick #10
OAK recieves- Pick #15, Pick #79, ARI 2019 Round 2
Raiders starting LT Donald Penn is will be 35 in April, and has suffered leg injuries the past two seasons. The Raiders would be wise to use a high selection to draft his eventual replacement. Connor Williams is the best OT in this class, and can be that replacement. Also, 2017 starting RT Marshall Newhouse is no longer with the team, so Williams could potentially still make an impact right away, and move over to LT when Penn is done. A seamless transition of Left Tackles doesn’t happen often, but in this case the Raiders could make it happen. Oh, and they would acquire some future picks by trading back. Talk about a successful First Round for the Raiders.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens offense needs some more playmakers. Joe Flacco is coming off perhaps his worst season, and part of the blame for that has to be the lack of talent around him. 2017 starters Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin are both gone, and new signings Michael Crabtree and John Brown are in. Adding Calvin Ridley to this group would really give the Raiders a solid group of pass catchers. Ridley brings a lot to the table, and is a polished route runner who could make an impact right away for a team desperate for help on offense.
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. With versatility and range, Evans would be be a quality addition to a talented Chargers defense. 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. Phillip Rivers window is closing, and the Chargers should make one final push with Rivers at the helm.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Longtime Seahawks superstar CB Richard Sherman is gone, and the team knows they need to add a piece to try to replace him. Josh Jackson could be their answer. Similarly to Sherman, Jackson has great length, size, and ball skills to help him develop into a lockdown cornerback in the NFL. Jackson emerged as a ball hawk after a breakout season in 2017, recording 8 interceptions. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Seahawks secondary, but adding Jackson would be a great move in rebuilding Seattle’s secondary.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Cowboys were apparently flirting with Free Agent DT Ndamukong Suh, so it would seem they have interest in adding a big-time Defensive Tackle. After not landing Suh, Da’Ron Payne can be that guy for the Cowboys. Payne is a very disruptive interior defender, and showed off his dominance during Alabama’s 2017 National Title run. He was honored as the Bama’s Defensive MVP in both the playoff game vs Clemson, and the National Championship against Georgia. Payne would be a stellar addition to a Dallas defense needing some reinforcements.
20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
Defensive guru Matt Patricia is at the helm for the Lions, and he could use some additions on D’. The Lions would really benefit from adding another edge rusher to play alongside Ezekiel Ansah, and . 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. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State
Cincinnati acquired a solid starting LT, when he’s healthy, in Cordy Glenn. They could go with an OT here, but a Center makes much more sense. The Bengals have a hole in the middle of their line, and Billy Price would be a great fit to fill that spot. Price’s toughness and grit would be a great addition to the Bengals offense. Price had a school-record 55 consecutive starts during his time at Ohio State, and he would provide the Bengals a lineman to build around for years.
*22. New York Giants (via BUF): Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
The trade: BUF receives- Pick #2
NYG recieves- Pick #12, Pick #22, Pick #53, Pick #56, BUF 2019 Round 1, BUF 2019 Round 4
New GM Dave Gettleman desires some “hog-mollies” to improve the Giants offensive line. Isaiah Wynn fits that mold, and could be a plug-and-play starter for the Giants at Guard. Wynn plays with sound technique that was impressive throughout his career at Georgia. By trading down, the Giants pass on a top QB and address needs along both lines. Could this happen? Yes. Will it happen? Not likely. Although, if the Giants are all in on Davis Webb & Eli, or not sold on one of the top QBs, they really should trade down.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Rams had the oldest offensive line in the entire NFL in 2017. They would be wise to add some younger pieces so in the future Jared Goff can be protected. Mike McGlinchey would be a tremendous add to the Rams O-line, and could take over for Andrew Whitworth in the future. McGlinchey is a talented Offensive Tackle, and he is at his best as a mauler in the run game.
24. Carolina Panthers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Panthers secondary could use some added talent, and the selection of Jaire Alexander would be a wise addition. Alexander has top-end speed (4.38s 40), and can cover inside and outside. He is a bit smaller (5-11, 192), but he makes up for it with extreme quickness and sound technique. Alexander could contribute right away for the Panthers as a nickel-CB.
25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Harold Landry is disruptive off the edge, and can rush the passer as a DE or OLB. In this case, Landry would likely play a similar role to OLB Brian Orakpo. The combination of Landry and Orakpo off the edge would be great, and them together really help the Titans ability to get after the QB.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
If not for the health scare, Maurice Hurst could have catapulted himself into the middle of the First Round through the Combine and at his Pro Day. Unfortunately, Hurst had to sit out of the Combine and get his health under control. Hurst is an impact player at DT, and would create a strong DT duo beside Grady Jarrett. Hurst would have the tough task of replacing Dontari Poe, but if he gets back to 100% I think he could easily be more productive than Poe.
27. New Orleans Saints: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Sutton is a big and physical target who makes a lot of tough catches by “posting-up” on smaller defenders. Sutton would do this nicely for the Saints, and he would give Drew Brees another go-to WR. If New Orleans is able to add a couple big-time weapons on Offense, they really would be in position to make a deep playoff run. Sutton can come in and be a big-time weapon for the Saints by being a threat in the red-zone and making 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 does eventually leave, Guice can take over as an explosive lead-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: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Who really knows where Lamar Jackson will land. Blake Bortles has been serviceable for the Jags, but he may not be viewed as the long term solution. This makes Jackson an intriguing fit with Jacksonville. Bortles has been showing signs of improvement, but if Jackson is there for them at the end of Round 1, the Jags may look long and hard. If he lands with them, Jackson could sit behind Bortles for some time, and this is okay; he still needs to polish some aspects of his passing ability. But, Jackson’s elite playmaking is something special, and may be enough to persuade to take a flyer on him in Round 1.
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. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
After losing Malcom Butler to the Titans and losing the Super Bowl to the Eagles, it is evident the Pats could use some help in the secondary. Mike Hughes would be a great add for the Patriots, and could start right away. Hughes is a great cover corner and also offers value on special teams as a return specialist. Hughes to New England would be a solid move for both sides.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Jason Peters has had a tremendous career in the NFL, but his age is starting to catch up with him. They should start to think about life after him. Kolton Miller wowed teams at the NFL Combine, and has done enough to enter the First Round conversation. Miller is a great athlete and has the size and ability to translate into a solid starter at the next level. Miller did a great job as Josh Rosen’s blindside protector, and in this case he finds a home for the defending Super Bowl Champs.
Thanks for Reading! Check us on on Twitter and Instagram @FrontRowNFL.
MORE NFL DRAFT:
2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 50 Prospects Post-Combine (w/ Gifs)
All 32 NFL Team’s biggest needs following the first wave of Free Agency
2018 NFL Draft Position Rankings: Post-Combine (w/ GIFS)
Stock up, Stock down following the NFL Combine (w/ Video & Analysis)
Winners & Losers following Day 1 of the NFL Combine (w/ Video & Analysis): RB, OL, ST
MORE NFL MOCK DRAFTS
Full 7-Round Colts 2018 NFL Mock Draft w/ Gifs and Analysis: Pre-Combine
Full 7-round Giants 2018 NFL Mock Draft, Post-Super Bowl Edition
2018 NFL Mock Draft
Full 7-Round Browns 2018 NFL Mock Draft w/ Gifs and Analysis: Pre-Combine
Sources: sports-reference.com, nfl.com, espn.com, bleacherreport.com, draftwire.com. Tweets from Front Row Football are mine, the other users/thoughts are not mine (rights reserved to them).
Founder and writer for Front Row Football (2018-present).
Writer for Armed Rodgery (2016-2017).