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2018 NFL Mock Draft -- Ender's 1st-Round (2.0)

Air Date:
January 26, 2018

'Ender' is a long time friend of FFM and CFM, and a student of the NFL and Mock Draft process. I've invited him to share his insight's on the NFL Draft this season with Mock Drafts and any other draft intel. here's his first Mock Draft of 2018 and for FFM/CFM...

2018 Mock Draft 1st-round (2.0)


1. Cleveland Browns-QB Baker Mayfield 

I'm going to be way ahead of the media on this one, but I suspect Mayfield is about to enter the conversation for the #1 pick. Once he enters the debate and the narrative gets going at the combine I think he vaults to the top of the list. Everyone hates Rosen's intangibles. Allen has no production. Darnold is seen as “ok” but not special. But Mayfield you can craft a story around. Mayfield is fiery and a leader. He's intelligent and works hard to overcome his lack of physical abilities. All he needs to do is check in at 6'0”+ and let his personality take over.


2. New York Giants-RB Saquon Barkley 

Still think this is Barkley. Gettleman will take the perceived best player available. That would be Barkley, a 230lb back with speed and hands. The narrative will be that Barkley will reinvigorate the running game the Giants have lacked for years a la Gurley, Fournette, and Zeke and help protect Eli Manning during his last years as well as transition a young QB down the road. No offensive lineman is worth this pick, but I could see Chubb being selected as a replacement for one of Vernon or Pierre-Paul.  


3. Indianapolis Colts-LB Tremaine Edmunds 

Tremaine Edmunds hasn't been talked about or seen much in the media but he will soon. He's extremely young, possesses prototype size, and flashes enough playmaking ability to become this draft's darling. The Colts have holes all over, so it's somewhat silly to discuss “need.” They need everything other than left tackle and QB. Edmunds gives them size, speed, playmaking ability, and versatility in a defense lacking an identity.


4. Cleveland Browns-CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick 

I'm changing this pick to Fitzpatrick over James for a couple of reasons. First, I expect Jabrill Peppers to get a push this year no matter how bad he is, and his natural spot is strong safety. James shares a similar style to Peppers as a strong safety/linebacker hybrid. This would relegate Derrick Kindred to a backup and open up the free safety spot which could be filled by Minkah. Fitzpatrick is also versatile and could play spot duty corner in a pinch which the Browns could certainly make use of. And secondly James had a bit of a down year on a weak Florida State team and wasn't in the spotlight as much as Fitzpatrick. Minkah is a safe media pick because they have no idea who is good and who isn't.


5. Denver Broncos-G Quenton Nelson 

This pick depends a lot on how the QB free agent market shakes out. Elway thinks this team is still championship worthy and will chase Kirk Cousins hard instead of trying to quickly develop an unpolished rookie. The defense fell off a little last year but is still considered very good/elite by most. The offense is weak and everyone knows the line is a big reason why. Paradis isn't bad and Ronald Leary is decent when healthy, but Garcia and fellow guard McGovern are poor. Nelson is considered elite in a class with few elites, and so despite playing a generally undervalued position I think he could go this high. There is precedent with Jonathan Cooper and Brandon Scherff.


6. New York Jets-QB Sam Darnold 

The Jets must pick a QB plain and simple. If the draft plays out this way you are deciding between three maybe four flawed prospects. So who does Mike Maccagnan go for? He's drafted Hackenberg and Petty so maybe he likes size and mobility? That would potentially point to Darnold or Allen. Darnold is far more polished in the media's eyes, and Josh Rosen's temperament rumors look like they might really hurt him. This pick is very difficult at this juncture until we get more information, so for now I'll slot Darnold here as the media seems to prefer him over Rosen.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-EDGE Bradley Chubb 

The Bucs desperately need pass rushing help (like they have for years) opposite Robert Ayers who isn't a long term solution himself. Noah Spence will be given another year, but he's battled injuries and ineffectiveness. Tampa Bay simply cannot continue to trot out the single worst pass rush in the league year after year. They wanted Leonard Floyd a couple years ago but missed out. Perhaps this year they will luck into Chubb falling into their laps due to the QB drama.


8. Chicago Bears-WR Courtland Sutton 

No change here from last week. Everyone knows the Bears have to bring in new receivers. Many slot Ridley here by default, but I suspect Sutton rises up as a Mike Williams-like prospect. Last weak I said AJ Green but that's the wrong comparison. Sutton is thicker and slower than Green. If Corey Davis and Mike Williams can go top 10 then so can Sutton. A corner like Joshua Jackson would also be in play to replace the possibly departing Amukamara and Fuller.


9. San Francisco 49'ers-CB Joshua Jackson 

No change here either. Many mocks have a receiver to the Niners, but Shanahan thinks he can out-scheme opponents. A long, athletic cornerback for their Pete Carroll-style defense makes a ton of sense. Dontae Johnson was spectacularly bad at corner in 2017. Derwin James would also make sense as a hard hitting, rangy strong safety in the Kam Chancellor mold to replace Reid and Tartt.


10. Oakland Raiders-NT Vita Vea 

The Raiders could use basically any position on the defense as they were awful last year. They spent several picks in the secondary though, so I have to imagine this year will be focused on the front seven. Tremaine Edmunds is a long, athletic, prototype sized linebacker that reminds people of Anthony Barr, but I think he'll be long gone by pick 10. Roquon Smith is talented no doubt, but I simply don't see a smaller linebacker going this highly. The other pick that makes a ton of sense is the mammoth nose tackle Vita Vea to plug up the run defense as none of the other tackles currently rostered fits the profile. Edwards and Hester are both on the smaller side.


11. Miami Dolphins-RB Derrius Guice 

No change here. Nobody else has Guice earlier than Detroit at 21, but I'm seeing that scouts think he's just as good (and better in some areas) as Barkley only without the long speed. The Dolphins are very weak at guard with Larsen and Davis, but unless Nelson falls it's too early for that. They don't seem to believe in Kenyan Drake unfortunately, so I think the early RB craze strikes again and we see a team try to improve their ground game with a back instead of blockers.


12. Cincinnati Bengals-OT Mike McGlinchey 

Anybody that watched the Bengals last year had to see how terrible their offensive line was. I won't even mention names as it's just quicker to say they were all bad. As always with the Bengals, defensive linemen and cornerbacks are in play, but they know Mixon is the future of this team and he needs help to find some kind of creases to run through. McGlinchey is generally considered the safest tackle available. Connor Williams is seen as better by many people, but I've heard reports that teams might not be as high on him as the media.


13. Washington Redskins-S Derwin James

 We all assume Kirk Cousins is leaving, and personally I think Bradford is a likely candidate to replace him temporarily. It's very likely Washington could go QB here, but I don't think Rosen or Allen is a great fit. Gruden wants a rhythm passer which would fit Rosen fine, but by all accounts Rosen has some personality troubles and the Redskins may not want to revisit that after RG3. Safety certainly isn't their top need, but James could be seen as excellent value here as many people think he's elite. He fits the team well as an in the box, strong run defender that can come off the edge and could even bulk up and move to linebacker if necessary.


14. Green Bay Packers-EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 

This one is challenging as Ted Thompson is out at GM and there's no history for his replacement Gutekunst. Yes the secondary was bad, but they are all young players and Clay Matthews is getting older and less effective every year. He's good friends with Rodgers and stars in commercials but could be a cap casualty this offseason. Okoronkwo is a very similar player and could transition easily to Matthews's spot.


15. Arizona Cardinals-QB Josh Allen 

The Cardinals are so far back in the draft that you have to assume they bring in a veteran QB of some kind. They simply cannot go to the draft with the gaping hole they currently have at QB and expect to walk away with a franchise signal caller. That being said I don't expect any decent option to land here and wouldn't be surprised if they used Tyrod Taylor as a stopgap. Reports last year had the Cardinals enamored with Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen shares some similar traits except for the fact that he's a terrible QB. Allen is the media's darling tall, big armed guy this year, so I have no doubts he'll probably go higher than this, but projecting trades is beyond ridiculous right now.


16. Baltimore Ravens-WR Calvin Ridley 

I refuse to change this pick unless I see a massive reason to. The Ravens aerial “attack” has been arguably the single worst unit in all of football for several years now. Perriman has been ineffective even when not battling injuries. Mike Wallace is likely gone this year, and Maclin is just another guy at this point. To top it all off Ozzie loves him some overrated Alabama players. This is just too obvious to get cute with.


17. Los Angeles Chargers-NT Da'Ron Payne 

This team's glaring weakness is run defense. They might not be so bad if they would stop pulling Jatavis Brown, but for whatever reason they seem hell bent on it. Derwin James would fit beautifully here as the starting strong safety and an in the box run defender, but here he's already off the board, as is monster nose tackle Vita Vea. Enter Payne, considered by many to be among the most athletic big men available. I haven't seen him make many plays alone, but at the very least he's a solid gap filler for a team in desperate need of one.


18. Seattle Seahawks-OT Chukwuma Okorafor 

As always the Seahawks need offensive linemen. They often neglect to address the position, but with so many solid tackles available at this juncture and their line so thin I think they finally take one. Williams, Brown, or Okorafor all make sense here depending on your preference, but Seattle tends to like athletes so Williams and Okorafor make the most sense. Williams is smooth but Okorafor is stronger and stouter, better built for the run game. He can start at RT and transition to left when Duane Brown is gone.


19. Dallas Cowboys-WR James Washington 

Dallas simply must have a tremendous amount of change at the receiver position. Dez Bryant is an absolute waste of money and playing time. Terrance Williams should be a #3 at best and Cole Beasley can be easily replaced by the better Ryan Switzer. Washington isn't the biggest receiver, but scouts seem to be falling in love with his wingspan and ability to run routes and separate from coverage. This smells like an Odell Beckham situation where the receiver doesn't look like a #1 but put up good numbers and simply wins as a technician. If Washington puts up good numbers at the combine his stock could soar close to the top 10 by draft day.


20. Detroit Lions-EDGE Marcus Davenport  

Davenport is quickly flying up draft boards and may not even be here at this juncture. If he is however then the Lions would be getting a possible Ansah clone in the athletic, small school product. Detroit has struggled for years to generate pressure outside of Ansah, so Davenport would be a welcome addition to help combat division rivals Rodgers and Trubisky.


21. Buffalo Bills-QB Josh Rosen 

Yes I do think Rosen could fall this far. It happened to Rodgers. There are simply too many concerns that are easy for scouts to pick on here. Leadership, attitude, entitlement, skinny frame, injuries, how he fares under pressure, his winning record, etc. When you put Rosen beside the excellent production and fiery competitiveness of Mayfield, the huge body and athleticism of Allen, and the squeaky clean USC product Darnold, you can see how he could start to be seen as a weaker option. What's the story you sell your fans? He's polished and pro ready? Fans want excitement and upside. That said can the Bills really go into the draft with only Nathan Peterman rostered? Is Taylor still here? Do the Bills package their two first rounders to move up? There are lots of questions to be answered here, but we will have a better idea after free agency.


22. Buffalo Bills-LB Roquan Smith 

The Bills managed a surprisingly effective coverage unit last year, which is consistent with McDermott's time in Carolina. The weakness on defense was run defense, and here I have them grabbing the athletic, playmaking captain to run McDermott's defense like Kuechly does for the Panthers. Smith doesn't have Kuechly's size, but seems to be a good football player otherwise, and could certainly be drafted around this range.

23. Los Angeles Rams-CB Mike Hughes 

The Rams corners are already rather thin, and if Trumaine Johnson leaves it's downright barren. The cornerback order in drafts always surprises people. This year there seems to be 5-6 legit possible 1st rounders. I could see any one of them in this spot, so it's just a matter of what style the Rams prefer if they take one.


24. Carolina Panthers-WR Christian Kirk 

It's obvious that Funchess isn't a #1 WR. Ateman could be another target, but maybe the team goes with a smaller, faster type to compliment Funchess instead of recreating the twin towers approach they had with Benjamin. Curtis Samuel didn't make much of an impact last year, mostly due to injury to misuse.


25. Tennessee Titans-CB Carlton Davis 

Tennessee could go a number of directions and they did just spend a 1st round pick on Adoree Jackson last year, but their coverage was beaten too much, and Adoree might be best off being moved to the slot. Davis would start outside, and his size would prove beneficial in matching up with bigger receivers that Jackson can sometimes struggle with.


26. Atlanta Falcons-TE Dallas Goedert 

This may be too early for Goedert, but he is drawing significant interest and has a highlight reel to drool over. The Falcons know the biggest thing holding them back this past year was the massive drop off in points scored. They need more weapons, and since the best receivers are off the board already the Falcons decide to upgrade on Austin Hooper. Goedert is essentially an oversized WR and would be a matchup nightmare across from Julio Jones (on days when he isn't asleep).


27. New Orleans Saints-EDGE Arden Key 

Would not be shocked to see Jimmy Graham return here to fill the hole at receiving playmaker. The only other glaring hole is pass rusher. Arden Key is considered as talented as anyone in this class, but off field issues could hold him back from being selected as high as he could. Here the Saints grab the local kid to team up with Cam Jordan for a ferocious pass rush.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers-OG Will Hernandez 

The Steelers do not have many flaw and can simply go with whatever they prefer here. Another pass rusher to replace Bud Dupree would be a good choice, but there aren't any standout rushers left this late. Instead they grab a bulldozer inside lineman to replace Ramon Foster, the only weak link on the line. This line would then have Cowboys potential, and Le'Veon Bell becomes even scarier if that's possible.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars-OT Connor Williams 

Blake Bortles should be history. He should have been history last preseason. But as we've all come to see, nothing is going to change. They will ride out the Bortles train one last time before the fans mutiny. The defense is obviously fantastic, so the only real weakness outside QB is the offensive line. Williams could go much higher than this, but I've seen reports that he isn't graded as highly behind the scenes as he is by the media. Orlando Brown could also be an option, but the athletic Williams would allow Cam Robinson to kick over to right tackle and hopefully be more effective.


30. Minnesota Vikings-C/G Billy Price 

Elflein was a disaster as a rookie, but like all early rookie picks will likely get a second shot in 2018. Regardless, the rest of the Vikings interior line was a mess too, with Berger being the only average player among them and he is getting long in the tooth. Price is an instant upgrade wherever the Vikings choose to start him.


31. New England Patriots-CB Denzel Ward 

Assuming Belichick is back we all know how this could go. Trades are likely, as are taking Ohio St., Alabama, and Arkansas players. A backup QB is very much in play, and I could easily see this being Mason Rudolph, but they have several second round picks so maybe they'll grab him there. Ward is another Urban Meyer player for Belichick, and he only dropped here due to size concerns. Everybody agrees he's a pretty good player. If Malcolm Butler leaves cornerback could be a high priority this offseason.


32. Philadelphia Eagles-OT Kolton Miller 

Philly also is in good position to go best available player. They have no obvious weaknesses other than linebacker, but I don't see a good fit here. WR could be in play, but instead I've gone with an offensive tackle in case Jason Peters is done. Even if Peters comes back healthy he is getting quite old, and the Eagles could use depth behind him and Lane Johnson.


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>