2018 NFL Mock Draft: Rounds 1-2

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Rounds 1-2

NFL Draft

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Rounds 1-2

This is the final update in our NFL mock draft series. Trades were not be projected, although they certainly will play a role in the draft’s landscape.

Round 1

(Troy Babbitt, USA TODAY Sports)

1) Cleveland Browns

QB Josh Allen, Wyoming: No one will be surprised if Sam Darnold is indeed the pick, and he probably deserves to be over Allen. New general manager John Dorsey drafted a big-armed, athletic quarterback in Patrick Mahomes last year in KC, doing a good job of not tipping his hand along the way. Allen’s frame and arm give Cleveland its own version of a Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, and the rookie will have a year to learn behind consummate pro Tyrod Taylor. The signing of T-Mobile is the main reason why Allen over Darnold is mocked in this spot.

2) New York Giants

RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State: I’ve become convinced the Giants don’t place as high value on drafting a QB here as the mock drafting public. The best available player is Barkley, and he’s an immediate upgrade over anyone New York can field in 2018. This move gives Eli Manning a shield and allows him to play a more traditional game manager role.

Previous pick: Sam Darnold

3) New York Jets (from Indianapolis)

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma: It appears Mayfield is basically a done deal for the Jets. If so, starting Josh McCown over him won’t last long. Fans will be clamoring for the Jets to insert the brash youngster into the starting lineup.

Previous pick: Josh Rosen

4) Cleveland Browns (from Houston)

DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State: KC sported a ferocious pass rush, mostly built through the workings of Dorsey. Pairing Chubb with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett, gives the Browns a formidable pass rush for years to come.

Previous pick: Saquon Barkley

5) Denver Broncos

QB Sam Darnold, USC: John Elway jumps for joy. Going on the premise Cleveland takes Josh Allen, there’s no way Denver can pass on Darnold for Josh Rosen. In the event Darnold is gone No. 1, Denver then has to decide between Allen or Rosen. The No. 1 and fifth picks in this mock could be interchanged.

Previous pick: Quenton Nelson

Tracking free-agent movement

6) Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)

OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame: Protecting Andrew Luck has to be among the highest items on the draft list for Indy. Cornerback isn’t a crazy direction here, and there’s an off-chance a wideout is drafted this early. Nelson is the smartest choice of remaining players.

Previous pick: Bradley Chubb

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SS Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama: This one comes down to what the Bucs prefer out of their safeties. Tampa sees the success of safety versatility, notably in Atlanta and Arizona, making Fitzpatrick the lean. Derwin James easily could be the pick, and Washington’s Vita Vea would upgrade the defensive line rotation.

8) Chicago Bears

ILB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech: An athletic freak of nature, Edmunds could be a decade-long starter in the Windy City. Chicago has prided itself on a dominant defense centered on a Hall of Fame-caliber linebacker. Edmunds hasn’t yet earned that distinction, but every great must start somewhere. Roquon Smith is the obvious close second. GM Ryan Pace is no stranger to showing a preference for the upside pick.

9) San Francisco 49ers

S Derwin James, Florida State: James immediately improves the secondary and allows for creative defensive scheming in the middle of the field at the second and third levels. Don’t discredit the idea of a wide receiver this early.

10) Oakland Raiders

DT Vita Vea, Washington: Vea instantly upgrades the Raiders in a division boasting two of the best young running backs in football. The first version of Jon Gruden’s defense built a formidable wall along the front line to slow enemy backs — and it rewarded handsomely.

11) Miami Dolphins

LB Roquon Smith, Georgia: Think about how instrumental rangy, young linebackers have been to the game in recent years. Smith is arguably the best player available at this point, and Miami gets a defensive cornerstone in the front seven. Quarterback is always in play, and so is trading out of the pick. A quarterback could be the man here.

(Kelvin Kuo, USA TODAY Sports)

12) Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati)

QB Josh Rosen, UCLAAdmittedly, it will be surprising to see Rosen fall this far. However, it won’t be a complete surprise with all of the questions about his durability and attitude. I have to believe a team will trade up for him if he makes it to No. 6 or so. Is that team Buffalo? Quite possibly, given the ammo stockpiled to make a deal.

Previous pick: Baker Mayfield

13) Washington Redskins

CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State: Defensive line help is a must, but there is plenty available in this draft. Cornerback has to be addressed for the long haul. Josh Norman’s deal gives the team an out after 2018, and he’ll be 31 in the 2019 season. Orlando Scandrick has been an injury concern his entire career and is already 31.

Previous pick: Da’Ron Payne

14) Green Bay Packers

CB Josh Jackson, Iowa: Green Bay spent a second-round pick on cornerback Kevin King in 2017 and needs a counterpart in an NFC North division that has quickly improved its quarterbacking. This is even more imperative after trading Damarious Randall this offseason.

Previous pick: Denzel Ward

15) Arizona Cardinals

OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame: Trading Jared Veldheer opens the door for a new right tackle, which led to the signing of a 31-year-old Andre Smith. On the left side, DJ Humphries’ rookie pact is set to expire after this season. The Cardinals could go in several directions. For now, McGlinchey is penciled in as a forward-looking selection. Lamar Jackson could be in play.

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16) Baltimore Ravens

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: Ridley could represent the future of the position in what will be Ozzie Newsome’s last draft. The Ravens desperately need more weaponry and to inject talented youth into the mix.

17) Los Angeles Chargers

DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama: Brandon Mebane is getting long in the tooth and is playing on an expiring deal. The Chargers gave up the second most rushing yards per game last year and must improve with added upfront beef.

Previous pick: Josh Jackson

18) Seattle Seahawks

RB Derrius Guice, LSU: Seattle parted ways with Richard Sherman and needs to get length back into the secondary. Auburn corner Carlton Davis may be a slight reach here, and an edge rusher could be the ticket. Guice has to remind Pete Carroll of the Marshawn Lynch glory days, and this offense has struggled mightily without Beast Mode. The LSU powerback gets the nod, for now.

19) Dallas Cowboys

WR Courtland Sutton, SMU: The release of Dez Bryant flips the Dallas draft needs on its head. Sutton, standing 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, brings needed size and a native Texan to the Big D. Sutton is a “move the sticks” guy and not a dynamic weapon like a younger Dez. D.J. Moore could be the preference if increased speed is the desire. (Previously: Billy Price)

20) Detroit Lions

OG/C Isaiah Wynn, Georgia: Detroit’s running game must improve, but protecting Matthew Stafford is paramount. Speaking of him, the former Bulldog star successfully lobbies for Wynn. Left guard is an area of concern, as is center, so Detroit could go in a number of directions. Graham Glasgow can play center but is a better guard, which leaves me thinking Wynn could audition for either spot into training camp.

21) Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo)

DE Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio: Cincy has bigger needs, especially along the interior offensive line. Fingers will be crossed in the Bengals’ war room for Wynn or Price to fall. DEs Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are getting long in the tooth, and Cincinnati has virtually no depth on roster.

22) Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City)

WR D.J. Moore, Maryland: Buffalo must do something to address the position with Kelvin Benjamin entering a contract year and Zay Jones encountering off-the-field issues this spring. The Bills may lose this pick if the front office opts to trade up for a quarterback in the top 10 picks or so. Perhaps Courtland Sutton is the preferred choice.

(Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports)

23) New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Rams)

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State: New England needs more speed and a playmaker at linebacker. Offensive tackle or an edge rusher could be in play. It doesn’t seem very “Belichick” to draft a wideout at this point. Trading down is always a realistic option with the Pats.

24) Carolina Panthers

DE/OLB Arden Key, LSU: Key comes with off-the-field issues and needs to be properly vetted. He has reportedly told teams he is sober spanning more than a year. The Panthers are full of veteran leaders on defense, so this may be a wise chance to take, even if wide receiver is a higher priority.

25) Tennessee Titans

DE/OLB Harold Landry, Boston College: Tennessee has amassed a wealth of talent in the past few offseasons, and Landry’s edge ability could help put this team over the top in the AFC South.

26) Atlanta Falcons

DT Taven Bryan, Florida: Losing Dontari Poe to the Panthers creates a big hole that will be hard to fill. In Bryan, Atlanta gains a different type of interior lineman — but a massively disruptive one, nonetheless. Bryan also is more versatile and can creative unique mismatches.

Keeping track of free agency

27) New Orleans Saints

TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina: Sean Payton found his pass-catching running back, and unless he feels compelled to trade up for a quarterback, the veteran coach will be in a fine position to land an impact player at tight end. Penn State’s Mike Gesicki gets a look for being a Peyton type, even if Hurst is more complete. Trading down (no picks until No. 127) is in play.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers

ILB Rashaan Evans, Alabama: Inside linebacker is a big need for the Steelers, and most of the concerns are on defense. Could running back be the focus? Seems unlikely, although Le’Veon Bell not receiving a long-term deal yet is disconcerting for his future with the Steelers.

29) Jacksonville Jaguars

OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma: Middle linebacker is a bigger immediate need. While he played left tackle — and probably views himself that way in the NFL — Brown could replace Jermey Parnell in 2019 as the future at right tackle. Don’t rule out a field-stretching weapon at tight end or wide receiver.

30) Minnesota Vikings

OG Billy Price, Ohio State: Versatility is helpful in the NFL, and the Vikings could always use more offensive line talent, particularly after the retirement of guard/center Joe Berger. Protecting Kirk Cousins and paving lanes for Dalvin Cook should be top priorities. (Previously: Will Hernandez)

31) New England Patriots

OT Kolton Miller, UCLA: Improve the line or trading out seem most likely. A Nate Solder clone, Miller could slide into Solder’s vacant left tackle job if LaAdrian Waddle doesn’t pan out. The oft-injured Waddle is a free agent in 2018. The Pats need more defensive pressure, too, and having hoarded picks allows for Bill Belichick’s wheeling and dealing to continue. Don’t be terribly surprised if a running back is chosen here.

32) Philadelphia Eagles

CB Carlton Davis, Auburn: Ronald Darby is a free agent after the year, and there is no such thing as too many cornerbacks on a roster. When you’re the world champs, luxury drafting is in play. Philly could address the running back position, if the coaching staff isn’t convinced Jay Ajayi is worthy of an extension.

(Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)

Round 2

33) Cleveland Browns

CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida: Moving Damarious Randall to free safety means cornerback is still a high priority.

34) New York Giants

OLB Sam Hubbard, Ohio State: Converting to a 3-4, and in dire need of more pass rushers, NYG has the staff to get the most out of Hubbard.

35) Cleveland Browns (from Houston)

OG/OT Connor Williams, Texas: This pick could go a million directions. Right tackle is a concern. Is Williams able to play there in the NFL? Questionable. If not, he could be moved to guard and become a long-term option. Not entirely crazy to think Cleveland drafts another cornerback here.

36) Indianapolis Colts

LB Darius Leonard, South Carolina State: More athleticism on defense is a must, and the linebacker positions have glaring holes to be filled.

37) Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)

WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: Andrew Luck will need more help, and the do-all Kirk is a fine safety blanket. Additional defensive help or offensive line depth is realistic.

38) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RB Sony Michel, Georgia: Running back is a major need for the Bucs, and getting a versatile playmaker like Michel will put a grin on Dirk Koetter’s face (and perhaps save his job).

39) Chicago Bears

CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville: Likely a slot-only corner, Alexander adds plenty of punch to an improving back end. Three strong quarterbacks face this defense twice apiece, and Chicago must be prepared.

40) Denver Broncos

CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado: Bigger needs exist, and release of C.J. Anderson could turn this into a pick spent on the backfield. Oliver brings a local flavor and some size to the secondary.

41) Oakland Raiders

TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State: Oakland could go any number of directions, but a tight end who can stretch the seam is a must. Jared Cook is only slowing down and playing on an expiring deal.

42) Miami Dolphins

DT R.J. McIntosh, Miami (Fla.): Interior line help is one of the biggest needs this defense faces. McIntosh is well-known in this area and will bring added push to the field.

(Glenn Andrews, USA TODAY Sports)

43) New England Patriots (from San Francisco)

TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State: There has been plenty of talk about Gronk calling it a career sooner than later. Goedert can be groomed for the long run as the heir apparent.

44) Washington Redskins

CB Donte Jackson, LSU: Washington needs more depth in the secondary and could stand to look to the future, as well. Jackson offers crazy athleticism and plays a lot like division-rival Janoris Jenkins.

45) Green Bay Packers

WR D.J. Chark, LSU: S.P.E.E.D. Green Bay locked up Davante Adams and has a few intriguing youngsters vying for time. Randall Cobb’s deal is up after this season. None of them bring Chark’s downfield skills.

46) Cincinnati Bengals

OG Will Hernandez, UTEP: Truthfully, Hernandez probably doesn’t make it this far, but slotting him higher without a trade didn’t work out. The Bengals absolutely need to address the guards before things get even uglier in the Marvin Lewis tenure.

47) Arizona Cardinals

QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: Another player I’m not convinced makes it this far … Jackson probably will earn a first-round placement via trade. Arizona may be that team if it passes on him with its natural choice in the opening round.

48) Los Angeles Chargers

LB Uchenna Osowu, USC: LA attended his pro day and also happens to need help at linebacker — depth, if nothing else. This pick could go any number of ways, but quarterback doesn’t seem to be one of them. The Bolts have several years left in Philip Rivers.

Previous pick: Tim Settle

49) Indianapolis Colts (from Seattle > New York Jets)

CB J.C. Jackson, Maryland: A fine athlete, Jackson has first-round talent and seventh-round question marks. He was the subject of a pair of violent incidents in 2014 and ’15, ultimately leading to an expulsion from Florida.

50) Dallas Cowboys

LB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia: Strongside linebacker is a must, and Dallas has the talent to shift people around if Carter doesn’t work out there.

51) Detroit Lions

DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest: His recovery from a torn shoulder labrum has him in a murky situation. Medically, if all checks out fine, Detroit could use added depth and some insurance in case Ziggy Ansah bolts.

52) Baltimore Ravens

TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma: Offensive help with both of the first two Ravens picks isn’t unrealistic. Andrews gives the team someone to look forward to grooming at tight end.

53) Buffalo Bills

OG Braden Smith, Auburn: Richie Incognito’s recent drama leaves Buffalo in a lurch at guard. Smith could start right away and at least provides depth in Year 1.

54) Kansas City Chiefs

CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin: Expected to be ready for the preseason after having meniscus surgery. While Nelson isn’t a ball hawk like Marcus Peters, he offers solid play in the all-around game.

55) Carolina Panthers

S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama: Harrison may not make it this far. Carolina needs an upgrade and a long-term solution as the leader of the secondary.

56) Buffalo Bills (from Los Angeles Rams)

LB Malik Jefferson, Texas: Buffalo has several holes to plug, so going in a different direction is quite possible. Jefferson’s arrow is pointing north for the long run.

57) Tennessee Titans

NT Harrison Phillips, Stanford: Bennie Logan is not the future. Phillips is coming off of a masterful season and may yet have untapped potential.

(Matt Stamey, USA TODAY Sports)

58) Atlanta Falcons

WR Anthony Miller, Memphis: A polished third receiver who could contribute right away after Taylor Gabriel defected.

59) San Francisco 49ers (from New Orleans)

DE Rasheem Green, USC: Super athletic. An interior tackle at SC, Green is a 3-4 end in the NFL, and we haven’t seen the best of his game.

60) Pittsburgh Steelers

OLB Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas: Two linebackers in as many picks puts function over fashion for a team this close to the Super Bowl.

61) Jacksonville Jaguars

CB Duke Dawson, Florida: Probably never amounts to being an outside corner in the NFL, and the best defense in football just needs depth components.

62) Minnesota Vikings

DE Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss: Raw athleticism to be groomed behind of pair of quality pass rushers. Could prove to be the steal of the draft.

63) New England Patriots

DE Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama: Make no mistake, Bill Belichick’s good pal Nick Saban will influence this decision. Hand has unharnessed upside like few others at his position.

64) Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan: His heart condition is of concern, but so is Cleveland’s need for more beef up front.

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