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2018 NFL Mock Draft -- Ender's 1st-Round (3.0)

Air Date:
February 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 (3.0)


1. Cleveland Browns-QB Baker Mayfield 

The media still isn't on board with this pick, but there's been lots of talk about the McCloughan hiring and his reported love affair with Mayfield. I still think it's going to happen. Most mock drafters either aren't willing to go out on a limb projecting him this highly yet or else they can't get away from the idea that short QB's don't go 1st round, much less #1.


2. New York Giants-RB Saquon Barkley 

Still think this is Barkley. Gettleman is too in love with the idea of “best available player” to not take him. Chubb is a possible option, but Barkley seems to be more often viewed as a superstar while Chubb is merely “very good.” There's been speculation of trades to here, but I think it would take a lot to knock Gettleman off a premium pick.  


3. Indianapolis Colts-EDGE Bradley Chubb 

Chubb is nearly 100% mocked to Indy at this point and for good reason. He's a stud pass rusher, and they could very much use a stud pass rusher. If a trade happens at #2 then this pick is tough between Barkley and Chubb. A trade could very well happen here too.


4. Cleveland Browns-CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick 

This is a tricky pick because there's no real obvious position the Browns need that is usually addressed this highly. One possible scenario though would be a team trading up to 2 or 3 for a QB and Barkley as the other pick leaving Chubb for the Browns at 4. That's where I would put my money right this second, but I'm not projecting trades yet. Still far too early. Dorsey has taken safeties highly before, and Fitzpatrick works here because he can kick Peppers back to his more natural strong safety spot. Fitz also can play some spot duty corner which the Browns can definitely make use of.


5. Denver Broncos-QB Josh Rosen 

Everyone knows this pick lives and dies on what happens with the free agent market. John Elway will go hard after Cousins, but will he land his man? I think it comes down to the Broncos, Vikings, and Jaguars and both those two teams actually went to their respective championship games and also possess better offensive lines. If not Cousins then Keenum could possibly end up in Denver through the Kubiak connection and Rosen would wait for the inevitable Keenum failure. I previously thought Rosen might fall due to a comparison of his flaws to the other top QB's, but the recent whispers of interest seem to show that Rosen's flaws aren't seen as damning due to his near flawless mechanics.  


6. New York Jets-QB Josh Allen 

The Jets need a QB plain and simple. They didn't seem interested in McCarron last season and Cousins wants to go to a playoff caliber team, so it looks like the other New York team will have to attempt drafting a new one again. That usually goes well. McCagnan loves his big, strong-armed QB's (which has worked out well so far) and he gets another here.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-EDGE Marcus Davenport 

The Bucs desperately need pass rushing help after finishing dead last in sacks for the 38th year in a row. Davenport is raw but everyone is enamored with his athleticism and in a class desperate for a spark of excitement, Davenport may supply a much needed jolt. It's well documented that the Bucs also need a guard and a corner, but the market for free agent corners is pretty deep and guards, no matter how highly rated, rarely go top 10. Still no one would be surprised to see Josh Jackson or Quenton Nelson here.


8. Chicago Bears-WR Courtland Sutton 

I'm keeping Sutton here until Ridley proves me wrong. Bama prospects constantly start out as everyone's #1 at their position by default and then crater come draft time. Smaller receivers do go this high sometimes, but they are either blazing fast (John Ross, Tavon Austin) or massively productive (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree). Ridley is neither of those things. Sutton is a big bodied receiver in the mold of an Alshon Jeffrey or Mike Williams and would be a good compliment to the silky smooth Cameron Meredith.


9. San Francisco 49'ers-CB Joshua Jackson 

Many people mock receivers or Quenton Nelson here and I understand the need, but Kyle Shanahan thinks he can out-scheme opponents. This pick then likely comes down to the best available linebacker or corner. Edmunds would make a ton of sense here as the 49'ers already needed linebackers before the news broke about Reuben Foster, but corner is just as dire as the cupboard is absolutely bare. You can't run a Seattle-style defense without long, athletic corners and Jackson is the prototype for what they are looking for.


10. Oakland Raiders-LB Tremaine Edmunds 

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, and in this scenario I have him still available after a run on QB''s. 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-OG Quenton Nelson 

The Dolphins need guards like Reuben Foster needs rehab and a therapist, but in previous mocks I had Nelson off the board. He is widely considered one of the best 2-3 players in this draft, one of the only “elites,” but despite there being precedent for it, guards rarely go top 10. Scherff could also play tackle, and Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper were part of an extraordinarily weak draft class. Here Nelson is scooped up by a team desperate to acquire his services.


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, and although he isn't rated that highly, he will quite likely get pushed up the board because the other available tackles are awful. 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-NT Da'Ron Payne 

I spoke in my last mock about how I thought Washington would replace Cousins with a veteran (I guessed the wrong one) and, lo and behold, Alex Smith is a Redskin. Now that the QB position is settled we can all get back to picking which of the two nose tackles the Skins pick up. There are reports that they would like to reunite Payne with Johnathan Allen and that's what I have here. Vea is an option too, particularly if he runs a sub 5.0 40 yard dash. Guys like that typically go in this range.


14. Green Bay Packers-CB Carlton Davis 

Well the Packers secondary was atrocious again despite all the picks spent to strengthen it, so it's very possible we see the Pack address it once again. Corners are always in demand and go higher through the teens and early twenties than the media thinks. I know some people like Ward as the second corner after Jackson, but he's so small I think he could fall a bit. Davis might be the sneaky best corner in the draft and could see his draft stock soar after he shows off his size and athleticism at the combine.


15. Arizona Cardinals-QB Sam Darnold 

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. My bet is they sign McCarron but Cousins could be a surprise pickup for everyone except RC. They could always still draft a rookie, but perhaps not if they feel the new starter can carry the team. In that case their biggest weakness is offensive line, but the tackles in this class are weak and nobody values guards that highly unless they are amazing. For now I will slot a QB here as the top 4 guys don't look like they will last long. Somebody is bound to trade up at the very least.


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-S Derwin James 

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 fits beautifully here as the starting strong safety and an in the box run defender, and even though I have him available here it's quite likely he won't be come draft night. If either of the two top nose tackles is available the Chargers could easily go that direction.


18. Seattle Seahawks-RB Derrius Guice 

Seattle needs a whole new O-line and has for years, but does anyone expect them to address it early, especially with such a poor class this year? I think they're far more likely to go the RB route and try to fix their issues with that old argument. Guice's bullish running style seems like a good fit for what Pete Carroll likes to see.


19. Dallas Cowboys-DT Taven Bryan 

Dallas really, really needs new receivers but here the top guys are long gone. Assuming they address that position elsewhere, Dallas could look to several spots on defense, particularly tackle. Taven Bryan is getting some quiet, non-believing whispers of “JJ Watt,” but we'll see what happens with him at the combine. Watt's stock was in the 20's for most mock drafters that year, but he ended up at 11 after a ridiculous performance at the combine. Bryan could make a similar leap or be passed over by lesser teams. Will McCray will not leave JJ Watt-lite on the board.


20. Detroit Lions-EDGE Arden Key 

The Lions need another edge rusher even if they lose Ansah to free agency. They have almost no shot at Davenport I suspect, but Key might possibly be available depending how things go in the next month. If his head was on straight he's a top 5 pick all day and might still be but there's lots of work to do.


21. Buffalo Bills-QB Mason Rudolph 

I hypothesized in my last mock that one of the Big 4 QB's could fall all the way to the Bills, but while I still think it's possible, I'm starting to doubt that scenario very much. There's simply too much smoke about how high these guys are going. That said I think one of them could fall a little way, perhaps as far as just outside the top 10. There's already been reports that the Bills are calling around looking to trade up. I previously thought Rosen could be the one to fall, but it seems like he just looks too good throwing a football to be that guy. He has polish. Darnold could be the odd man out then. He looks “safe” to lots of people, but how do you sell “safe” as a franchise QB? I put Darnold in to the Cardinals for now, so that leaves Rudolph as the next most liked guy. Nobody will be surprised if 5 or even 6 QB's go in the 1st this year. The Bills and Patriots are trade up candidates, and several other teams could be looking for future starters sooner rather than later.


22. Buffalo Bills-NT Vita Vea 

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 taking the mammoth NT Vea. Vita is only a two down player at best, but while he's out there he provides a massive body to try and move which could free up the Bills LB's to make plays.


23. Los Angeles Rams-OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 

By trading for Marcus Peters the Rams patched the whole that would have been left with Trumaine Johnson's departure. They could still take a cornerback or pretty much any position they want on defense, but for now I'm going to slot them another pass rusher to rotate with Barwin as he's a shell of his former self. Wade Phillips can always use more pass rushers.


24. Carolina Panthers-EDGE Dorance Armstrong 

The Panthers need receivers badly, but I suspect they may trade for Jarvis Landry in the next week or two. Edge is another big need as Charles Johnson is likely gone, Peppers is old, and the rest of the rushers don't exactly inspire awe. Armstrong isn't getting any 1st round talk right now, mostly because he played on an awful Kansas team, but I've heard talk he could rise after the combine. There are always surprise linemen on both sides of the ball in this part of the draft.


25. Tennessee Titans-CB Mike Hughes 

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. Hughes would start outside, and his size would prove beneficial in matching up with bigger receivers that Jackson can sometimes struggle with.


26. Atlanta Falcons-WR Christian Kirk 

I see many mockers slotting defense here, and while that makes a lot of sense, especially at DT, I suspect the Falcons may actually go for a speedy WR. The defense was pretty good in 2017 and got better as the year went on. The offense however, fell off a cliff. The offense as a whole was boring and seemed to lack any sort of big plays, even from Julio. It seems like Dimitroff tries to fix the perception of his team as much actually fixing it, so I would not be shocked at all to see Kirk drafted here. The idea is that he is an ultra fast, big time playmaker and will wreak havoc as teams struggle to contain Julio. Reality likely won't happen that way.


27. New Orleans Saints-S Ronnie Harrison 

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. With so many off the board here though the value just isn't there. Instead the Saints can grab Harrison to replace Kenny Vaccaro. Harrison isn't getting a ton of 1st round love, but he is quietly liked as a third option behind Fitzpatrick and James.


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 Orlando Brown 

As I said in my last mock draft, nothing will change with Bortles. It's sad when a team is so godawful at their jobs that you just know they are going to make the stupidest possible decision at the most critical position when they are so close to having an elite team. Hope you enjoy another top 10 pick next year Jacksonville. The defense is obviously fantastic, so the only real weakness outside QB is the offensive line. The media still thinks Connor Williams is going much higher, but the reality is he will be lucky to go in the 1st at all unless he shows out at the combine. Besides, Jacksonville wants to run the ball. What better way to run than behind a mammoth right tackle like Brown?


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-LB Roquan Smith 

Philly also is in good position to go with whatever position they feel like. If Mychal Kendricks is gone, perhaps they grab Smith to replace him on the outside. Many in the media have Smith as a top 10 pick to the Raiders, but his weakness covering RB's will drop him into the 20's at best. Here the Eagles can pick him up thinking they got a steal.

See more of our football work at College Football Metrics – dedicated to the NFL Draft and Dynasty Rookie Draft scouting and valuations all preseason. Celebrating our 7th season covering all things draft. Go to (link): College Football Metrics

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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 >>