We are now 2 weeks away from the 2018 NFL Draft. As teams host prospects for their top-30 visits and begin to solidify their draft boards, there is a lot of speculation surrounding the QB controversy and what is expected to be an active first round, in terms of trades. Here are my latest projections for the first four rounds of the draft:
1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Sam Darnold is the best QB in the draft, but the size and potential of Josh Allen may be too much for Cleveland to pass up. With Tyrod Taylor at QB for now, there is no rush for Allen to start. If Cleveland can develop him properly, then this could be the best gamble in the draft.
2. New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
With Cleveland swinging for the fences with Allen, Darnold falls right into the Giants lap at pick 2. Though the Giants might have been considering Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley, or a trade down, they can’t pass up on Darnold if he’s still on the board.
3. New York Jets (from IND): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
It could be a smokescreen, but there is a lot of hype building for Baker Mayfield to the Jets. Mayfield is the most accurate and accomplished QB in the class. The former Heisman Trophy winner took the Sooners to the College Football Playoff twice in his career. Though height and attitude concerns have hindered Mayfield in the process, he’s a winner and a special talent.
4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Cleveland could very well move up to secure Barkley in case the Giants or Jets try to go best player available over a QB, but it’s more than likely that Barkley will be there at pick 4. The Browns get the QB they want and the player they originally wanted to take first overall.
5. Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen falls to pick 5 and instead of moving the pick, John Elway adds what may be the best QB in the draft. The Broncos aren’t afraid to look to the future and spend an early pick to do it. After signing Peyton Manning, the Broncos used a second round selection on former Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler. Keenum only has a two year deal, but with Rosen available Keenum could just become a one-year rental.
6. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ): Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
The Colts had an atrocious pass rush last season. Lucky for them, The Giants and Browns pass on Chubb, and the fall of Josh Rosen has sent Chubb free-falling to pick 6. I think the Colts would’ve taken him at 3 anyway. They still get their guy… and three second round picks.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
I still believe Minkah Fitzpatrick is the top DB in this class; however, I’m not an NFL GM and the familiarity and fit of Derwin James is the reason he winds up jumping Fitzpatrick. James is a playmaker and though it’s early in his career, Justin Evans isn’t looking like he was worth the second round choice he was one year ago.
8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Bears addressed the wide receiver position by adding Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, while also signing TE Trey Burton, surrounding Mitchell Trubisky with a fair amount of weapons. With the run on QB’s, Quenton Nelson is falling to 8. It’s now time to protect Trubisky so he can throw to his new targets. Nelson can come in immediately and replace Josh Sitton.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The 49ers were unable to trade for Aqib Talib, but they did land Richard Sherman in free agency. I still think the 49ers are in need of a shutdown corner, and Denzel Ward can be the true number one corner the Niners need. He and Sherman would be a great duo in San Francisco.
10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
There are some concerns with Smith’s health, but he is undoubtedly the best LB in the draft. He is a perfect fit for the Raiders and can compete to start at MLB right away.
11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
The Dolphins missed out on the top four QB’s, but the secondary is beyond mediocre and in desperate need of some help. Whether he is slotted at safety or corner, Fitzpatrick would make an instant impact and be the best player in the secondary.
12. Buffalo Bills (from CIN): Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
The Bills are another team that missed out on the top QBs, and they will likely roll with A.J. McCarron this season. Edmunds remains on the board, and his speed makes him versatile, meaning he can be slotted in at ILB or OLB and start for the Bills. It’s best-player-available here for Buffalo, who will attempt to build their assets before making a run at a franchise QB in the 2019 offseason.
13. Washington: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Washington is in need of an interior defensive lineman. They addressed the DE/LB position last draft by taking Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson in the first two rounds. Vea is the #1 DT in the class and fills a need.
14. Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE/LB, UTSA
The Packers added Mohammed Wilkerson via free agency, but still need an edge rusher. Davenport remains on the board and would be an ideal fit here for the Packers.
15. [TRADE] Dallas Cowboys (from ARI): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
In the first trade of this mock, the Dallas Cowboys move up to find Dez Bryant’s replacement. Bryant is expected to be released after the draft, and the signing of Allen Hurns adds depth, but doesn’t give them a number one wideout. Dallas may not want to wait until 19 to hope Ridley falls, so they jump the Ravens to get their guy.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Baltimore misses out on Ridley, but it’s not a lock that they were going to select him anyway. Payne fills a bigger need and the pick gives Baltimore an elite DT prospect.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Vander Esch is skying up boards. In my opinion, he has surpassed Rahsaan Evans and could be an immediate impact as an inside linebacker for LA.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Mike McGlinchney, OT, Notre Dame
The Seahawks offensive line is garbage. Russell Wilson can’t run for his life every game and save the team with come-from-behind miracles. McGlinchney is the best OT in this class and is a steal for Seattle at pick 18.
19. [TRADE] Arizona Cardinals (from DAL): Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Arizona is rumored to have interest in Isaiah Oliver; however, Alexander is the better player and if he is on the board it makes sense that they would stick with the same position. Arizona gets a nice upgrade opposite Patrick Peterson to help retool their secondary.
20. Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Ameer Abdullah has underwhelmed tremendously through his first few years in the league. Guice is overshadowed by Barkley and the rise of Sony Michel, but Guice, in his own right, is a powerful runner and a game changer on offense. He would give life to the Detroit backfield and take pressure off Detroit’s receivers.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF): Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Connor Williams is a solid prospect. He has the versatility to play either guard or tackle and Cincinnati is in desperate need of help among the offensive line.
22. Buffalo Bills (from KC): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Bills could take a chance on Lamar Jackson, but instead they continue to stockpile talent to build up their roster. Jackson is an aggressive corner and would create a lethal tandem if lined up opposite Tre’Davious White.
23. New England Patriots (from LAR): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
The Pats dealt Brandin Cooks to L.A. in order to re-gain draft capital and fill the holes from the players they lost in free agency. With this pick the Pats replace Nate Solder with UCLA’s Kolton Miller.
24. Carolina Panthers: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Similar to the Patriots situation with Solder, the Panthers need a replacement for Andrew Norwell. Hernandez is a massive human being that uses his size and strength to maul the opposition. He should fit nicely in Carolina.
25. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College
The Titans are in need of pass rush help. Some would say Landry has fallen, but I think this is the range he will hear his name called. Landry will most likely stand up as an OLB for the Titans, helping them fortify their pass rush in order to make a deep run this season.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DE/DT, Florida
The Falcons lost Dontari Poe to the Panthers in free agency this offseason and are in need of defensive line help to begin with. They traded up last season to add Takk McKinley as an edge rusher. Now, they find a replacement for Poe by grabbing Bryan. He has tremendous potential, but hasn’t been a consistent factor, which is the difference between him being a late first rounder and an early first rounder.
27. New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
New Orleans swung and missed on bringing back Jimmy Graham; however, they do have a great offense. Ingram and Kamara are a nice balance in the backfield, and Ted Ginn/Michael Thomas are a solid receiving duo. Adding a mismatch nightmare like Gesicki as a pass-catching TE could be the missing piece that puts the offense over the top.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Steelers need linebacker depth, especially with the injury to Ryan Shazier this past season. Evans could play ILB right away and fill a massive hole for Pittsburgh.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Jaguars saw the rise of deep-threat Keelan Cole and were able to retain Marqise Lee. They did lose Allen Robinson and though they added Donte Moncrief, there is still a need for a number one receiver. Sutton remains the best WR on the board and instantly becomes the number one option.
30. [TRADE]: Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Could Lamar Jackson to the Patriots be a smokescreen? No one knows, but Arizona needs to stop being passive and finally get a QB. They passed on Derek Carr in the 2014 draft, and signed Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon to rental deals. There have been several reports that Lamar Jackson will be a first round pick, and after watching him throw at the Louisville Pro Day, I agree that he’s worth a first round draft choice. Arizona can let Jackson sit and learn behind their two veterans, while grabbing who they hope to be the QB of the future.
31. New England Patriots: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Patriots lost Malcolm Butler, as expected, but still need to replace him as it’s evident that Eric Rowe is not a starting CB. The Pats replaced Solder with their first first rounder, this time they replace Butler.
32. [TRADE] Cleveland Browns: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
For the final pick in the first round, the Cleveland Browns move up one pick to take Orlando Brown. His stock began to trend down after an awful combine, but he saved himself with a bounce-back Pro Day. Brown is a first round talent, though he may not project as a left tackle and Joe Thomas’ replacement. The Eagles are in need of more draft capital, so they move back to acquire more picks and Cleveland moves up to beef up the offensive line.
33. [TRADE] Philadelphia Eagles: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Blount has departed for Detroit and Philly is in need of a go-to back. Ajayi and Clement are nice complements, but Michel gives the Eagles an Alvin Kamara-like-threat out of the backfield.
34. New York Giants: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
35. Cleveland Browns: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
36. Indianapolis Colts: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
37. Indianapolis Colts: Ronald Jones, RB, USC
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nick Chubb, RB Georgia
39. Chicago Bears: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
40. Denver Broncos: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
41. Oakland Raiders: Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
42. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
43. New England Patriots: Josh Sweat, DE/LB, Florida State
44. Washington: Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
45. Green Bay Packers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
46. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
47. [TRADE] Minnesota Vikings (from ARI): Arden Key, DE/LB, LSU
Minnesota doesn’t pick until the second round as they trade their pick to Arizona who took Lamar Jackson at pick 30. The Vikings have a need for a DE, especially an edge rusher. It’s not their top need, but Brian Robison is expected to retire following this season and Key is a first round talent.
48. Los Angeles Chargers: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
49. Indianapolis Colts: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
50. Dallas Cowboys: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
51. Detroit Lions: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
52. Baltimore Ravens: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
53. Buffalo Bills: James Daniels, OC, Iowa
54: Kansas City Chiefs: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
The Chiefs don’t have a first round pick this year due to their trade in last year’s draft where they moved up to take Pat Mahomes. After parting ways with Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, Kansas City needs starting talent at LB.
55. Carolina Panthers: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
56. Buffalo Bills: Mo Hurst, DE/DT, Michigan
57. Tennessee Titans: Lorenzo Carter, DE/LB, Georgia
58. Atlanta Falcons: Braden Smith, OG, Auburn
59. San Francisco 49ers: Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
60. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
61. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
62. Minnesota Vikings: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pitt
63. New England Patriots: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
64. Cleveland Browns: Duke Ejifor, DE/LB, Wake Forest
65. Buffalo Bills: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
66. New York Giants: Austin Corbett, OG, Nevada
67. Indianapolis Colts: Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
68. Houston Texans: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
69. New York Giants: Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
70. San Francisco 49ers: Dorrance Armstrong, DE/LB, Kansas
71. Denver Broncos: Ogbannia Okoronkwo, DE/LB, Oklahoma
72. New York Jets: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
73. Miami Dolphins: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
74. San Fransisco 49ers: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
75. Oakland Raiders: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
76. Green Bay Packers: DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
77. Cincinnati Bengals: Da’Shawn Hand, DT, Alabama
78. Kansas City Chiefs: Rasheem Green, DE, USC
79. Arizona Cardinals: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
80. Houston Texans: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
The Texans also moved up to grab their franchise QB in Deshaun Watson last season. As a result, they don’t pick until the third round. At the deadline last season, Houston sent Duane Brown to Seattle and are in need of a replacement. Louisville’s Geron Christian is the top OT on the board.
81. [TRADE] Minnesota Vikings (from ARI thru DAL): M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
82. Detroit Lions: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
83. Baltimore Ravens: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
84. Los Angeles Chargers: Uchenna Nwosu, DE, USC
85. Carolina Panthers: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
86. Kansas City Chiefs: Holton Hill, CB, Texas
87. Los Angeles Rams: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
88. Carolina Panthers: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
89. Tennessee Titans: Kevin Toliver II, CB, LSU
90. Atlanta Falcons: Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR, Indiana
91. New Orleans Saints: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
92. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, LB/S, Virginia Tech
93. Jacksonville Jaguars: Micah Kizer, LB, Virginia
94. Minnesota Vikings: Tony Brown, CB, Alabama
95. New England Patriots: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
96. Buffalo Bills: D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
97. Arizona Cardinals: DeShon Elliot, S, Texas
98. Houston Texans: Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
99. Denver Broncos: Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
100. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
101. Green Bay Packers: Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
102. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Frank Ragnow, OG/C, Arkansas
103. Houston Texans: Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
104. Indianapolis Colts: Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
105. Chicago Bears: Justin Jones, DT, N.C. State
106. Denver Broncos: Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
107. New York Jets: Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia
108. New York Giants: Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
109. Denver Broncos: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
110. Oakland Raiders: Dalton Shultz, TE, Stanford
111. Los Angeles Rams: B.J. Hill, DT, N.C. State
112. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
113. Washington: Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
114. Cleveland Browns: Sean Walsh, OG, Iowa
115. Chicago Bears: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
116. Dallas Cowboys: R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
117. Detroit Lions: J.C Jackson, CB, Maryland
118. Baltimore Ravens: Kurt Benkert, QB, Virginia
119. Los Angeles Chargers: Kemoko Turay, DE/LB, Rutgers
120. Seattle Seahawks: Will Clapp, OG, LSU
121. Buffalo Bills: Kameron Kelly, S, San Diego State
122. Kansas City Chiefs: D.J. Reed, CB, Kansas State
123. Miami Dolphins: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
124. Kansas City Chiefs: Bentley Spain, OT, North Carolina
125. Tennessee Titans: Christopher Herndon, TE, Miami
126. Atlanta Falcons: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
127. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Whitehead, S, Pitt
128. San Francisco 49ers: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
129. Jacksonville Jaguars: Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State
130. Philadelphia Eagles: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas A&M
131. Miami Dolphins: Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
132. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylen Samuels, TE, N.C. State
133. Green Bay Packers: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
134. Arizona Cardinals: Fred Warner, LB, BYU
135. Los Angeles Rams: Scott Quessenberry, OG, UCLA
136. Los Angeles Rams: Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
137. Dallas Cowboys: Chad Thomas, DE/LB, Miami