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2018 NFL Mock Draft -- Ender's 1st-Round (4.0)

Author:
END
Air Date:
March 8, 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 (4.0)

1. Cleveland Browns-QB Baker Mayfield 

Chatter is starting that the Browns might pull a very Brownsian move and draft Barkley #1 and wait on their QB at 4. Doing so is incredibly risky, however, as taking Barkley at 1 increases the risk that two QB's are chosen before the Browns pick again. Can they really risk their guy getting snatched up? And no, they won't just settle for any QB at that spot. Teams typically like 1 maybe 2 guys. I still think they can't try to get cute, but who knows. Word is that the Browns are also consulting Bill Parcells on the QB's. Parcells is notorious for his rules of drafting QB's, one being that they must have started 30 games in college. Mayfield started 48. Lamar Jackson 38. Rosen 30. Darnold and Allen 27 each.

 

2. New York Giants-RB Saquon Barkley 

Jordan Ranaan has confirmed that the Giants are not thinking QB with this pick. They believe Eli has a few more years left, and they aren't overly impressed with the crop of QB's anyway. If Barkley goes #1 this pick becomes more interesting. Maybe the Giants trade out to a QB hungry team. Maybe they snatch up Chubb as an eventual replacement for Pierre-Paul or Vernon.

 

3. Indianapolis Colts-EDGE Bradley Chubb 

Most people expect the Colts to trade out of this pick to a team desperate for a QB. That seems very likely, but I'll wait to guess at trades until after free agency. For now Chubb is a near lock to the Colts if they stay at 3.

 

4. Cleveland Browns-LB Tremaine Edmunds 

The dream scenario for the Browns is to grab Barkley at 1 and Mayfield at 4, but their second best option, and by far more realistic, is to grab Mayfield at 1 and hope someone trades up for a QB at 3, leaving Chubb for them at 4. I'm not projecting trades yet though, so assuming the Colts take Chubb who is left for Cleveland here? Edmunds is a freak linebacker and could fill the role that Jamie Collins was supposed to.

 

5. Denver Broncos-QB Josh Rosen 

As I previously predicted, Cousins is very likely headed for Minnesota, leaving Denver to pick up former Shanahan backup Keenum as their interim QB until whatever rookie they draft is ready to go. Word on the street is Elway covets Rosen and has even talked to Cleveland about moving up to #1.

 

6. New York Jets-QB Josh Allen 

I'm starting to get the feeling Mccagnan might wait on a QB, especially if 3 go in the top 5. He won't reach for a guy he doesn't like, and my gut tells me Josh Allen is his favorite. If not a QB the Jets could take pretty much anything here. An edge rusher, a corner, a guard, a tackle, a linebacker, anything but a safety. The Jets have tipped their hand regularly the last few years, so we'll see what nuggets pop up in the coming weeks.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-OG Quenton Nelson 

The Bucs have three very obvious needs and there are three players that could potentially fit those needs available here. Denzel Ward, Marcus Davenport, and Quenton Nelson all fit huge holes in this team. I'll put Nelson here for now as he will have the highest grade among the three, but guards historically don't go this highly, so I wouldn't be surprised to see another player selected.

 

8. Chicago Bears-EDGE Marcus Davenport 

Edge rusher just became arguably the highest priority for Chicago with the releases of Willie Young and Pernell McPhee. Tremaine Edmunds could possibly fit this role if available even though he didn't rush much in college. The other likely pick is Davenport who possesses the freak attributes that GM Ryan Pace looks for in 1st round selections.

 

9. San Francisco 49'ers-S Derwin James 

I was badly mistaken about Derwin James dropping. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the safety that will drop. Another overhyped Alabama prospect with average athleticism. Derwin James is a true freak, a rangy, hard-hitting, versatile safety with few weaknesses. Safety isn't a huge need for the 49'ers, certainly not compared to their desperation for linebackers, but James can drop down in the box as a quasi LB in sub packages, and most teams play nickel as their base defense these days anyways. James will appeal to former star safety and current GM John Lynch.

 

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. They would love to see Edmunds here, but I highly doubt he gets past both Chicago and San Francisco. Many people have Roquan Smith here, but small linebackers rarely go this high. I think the two DT's make far more sense. Some teams actually prefer Payne to Vea, but Vea is an absolute mammoth of a human being and a freak athlete at that size. He will command double teams to free up superstar pass rusher Kalil Mack.

 

11. Miami Dolphins-QB Sam Darnold 

The national media hasn't picked up on it yet, but there are tons of rumors coming out of Miami that the Dolphins want a QB. If they truly want to draft one this year, they will likely need to move up into the top 5 or so. Word on the street is they like Mayfield and Allen, but here I have Darnold available, so I'm going to put him here for the moment.

 

12. Cincinnati Bengals-LB Leighton Vander Esch 

Yes, the Bengals need linemen. They also need linebackers and are notorious for picking players that the media disagrees with. Vander Esch is getting some serious love recently. He's been linked to teams as high up as the Packers, so why not two spots earlier? This still seems too high for Roquan Smith to me, and while McGlinchey is a natural fit, many teams seem to have middle-late 1st round grades on him.

 

13. Washington Redskins-NT Da'Ron Payne 

NT is the most obvious position to mock to the Redskins, whether its Payne or Vea. I've also heard talk that they would like to trade down, so if a QB starts falling I could see the Bills jumping up here. Washington would love to get their hands on one of the linebackers too, but here they aren't available.

 

14. Green Bay Packers-CB Denzel Ward 

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. Ward is often mocked in the top 10, but he's so small I'm not sure teams that high will want to take him over other more prototypical players. Rumors are flying that the Packers could be looking at linebackers and receivers so Ridley, Sutton, Moore, Vander Esch, Smith, and Davenport could all be in play here depending on who's available.

 

15. Arizona Cardinals-OT Mike McGlinchey 

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. There are reports the Browns want him, but McCarron has already said he wants to be a franchise guy and not a bridge for a rookie. That could make Arizona the more attractive landing place because they can theoretically compete right away with solid QB play. If the QB spot is filled then offensive line is the next priority. McGlinchey would be a no-brainer to start at right tackle and eventually move to left to replace Veldheer.

 

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. Ridley has poor metrics, but that won't stop Ozzie from taking yet another Alabama player.

 

17. Los Angeles Chargers-S Minkah Fitzpatrick 

Every year a few players fall out of the top 10 to many people's surprise. I'm hearing Fitzpatrick could be that guy this year. Alabama players are routinely overrated by the media, and many teams feel he just isn't an explosive enough athlete to justify a top 10 pick. The Chargers would be thrilled to land him at 17 though, as they are looking for either a DT or S. Both top DT's are gone here, so safety it is.

 

18. Seattle Seahawks-CB Joshua Jackson 

Seattle needs an entirely new offensive line, but there just aren't any tackles worth it, and guards you can find later on in a deep class. Jackson is in the same mold as Richard Sherman and could provide a replacement for him in the next couple years. Sherman is coming off an injury anyways and the secondary hasn't been its previously dominant self. Jackson's ball skills could help bring back the ferocious pass denfense that made Seattle so hard to play in years past.

 

19. Dallas Cowboys-WR Courtland Sutton 

Dallas really, really needs new receivers and this time I actually have Sutton available. There was talk that Sutton needed to run well at the combine to stay in the 1st round, and while his 40 time wasn't great, it wasn't bad either and his agility times were excellent. Dallas could also go with Roquan Smith or Taven Bryan here and I wouldn't be surprised.

 

20. Detroit Lions-C James Daniels 

Detroit is losing Travis Swanson to free agency, so they could use a replacement. Daniels looked athletic and very smooth at the combine and with the injury to Billy Price, he is now the center most likely to go off the board first.

 

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 Dolphins for now, so that leaves Rudolph and Lamar Jackson as the next options. I've heard some teams actually like Lamar as the 2nd best QB in the mold of Deshaun Watson, but until I hear more I'm going to assume that's smoke. 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-DT Taven Bryan 

The Bills managed a surprisingly effective coverage unit last year, which is consistent with McDermott's time in Carolina. The weakness on defense was stopping the run, and here I have them taking baby JJ Watt. Bryan is a good athlete, although not anywhere near JJ's level, but he should provide a good, solid defender similar to Derek Wolfe.

 

23. Los Angeles Rams-OLB Lorenzo Carter 

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 as that is the most pressing need with the trade of Robert Quinn. Carter blew up the combine but got mostly ignored by the media because of Shaquem Griffin. He is an athletic freak and would play the Von Miller role in Wade Phillips's defense.

 

24. Carolina Panthers-S Justin Reid 

The Panthers need receivers badly, but I suspect they may trade for Jarvis Landry. They need pass rushers but there may not be a great value available. Justin Reid would fill the safety position left vacant with the departure of Kurt Coleman.

 

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 DJ Moore 

Taven Bryan is settling in as the pick of choice for most people here, and I totally get that. The Falcons have already expressed interest in the defensive tackle class. But if Bryan is gone, and I suspect he will be, do they reach for Harrison Phillips? Why not take the crazy explosive athlete in DJ Moore and pair him with Julio Jones to reignite the failed offense of 2017? Seems like a very Dimitroff thing to do.

 

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 a pass rusher across from Cam Jordan. Arden Key has a ton of issues at the moment and didn't really help himself at the combine from what I heard. He could easily fall to the 2nd round, but maybe the local Saints pick him up as a gamble on his perceived talent.

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers-S Terrell Edmunds 

The Steelers are looking for two things in the 1st round if possible. They want a speedy linebacker that can drop into coverage, and they want a highly athletic safety that can cover Rob Gronkowski. Here Roquan Smith is available due to his small size, but he's also known to have issues covering RB's in man coverage. That won't help at all in a rematch with the Patriots. Edmunds on the other hand is very much a freak athlete just like his more acclaimed brother and would provide a big body that can run and jump with Gronk.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars-OG Will Hernandez 

The Jaguars want to run 100% of the time and Hernandez can help Fournette do just that. He very well might not be available at this juncture though as he has been a standout all throughout the draft process, dominating both the Senior Bowl and the combine.

 

30. Minnesota Vikings-OG Isaiah Wynn 

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. I had Price as the pick last week, but his combine injury could drop him to the 2nd round. Wynn has been getting lots of love as a versatile interior lineman and could easily be available at 30.

 

31. New England Patriots-EDGE Sam Hubbard 

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 if the Bills don't take him at 22. Hubbard is getting snubbed as an edge rusher because of his perceived lack of athleticism, but he had a quietly good combine with an excellent 3-cone score. He's a solid, well-rounded player and went to Ohio St. so he's a perfect fit for Belichick.

 

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 >>