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2018 NFL Mock Draft -- Ender's 1st-Round (5.0)

Air Date:
March 21, 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 (5.0)

1. Cleveland Browns-QB Baker Mayfield 

Well that didn't last long. Most everyone that thought Barkley would go #1 because of Tyrod Taylor is backing off after the signing of Carlos Hyde and more importantly the trade up by the Jets. Nothing fundamentally changed in reality though. The Bills, Jets, Broncos, and possibly Cardinals and Dolphins were all plotting massive trades up this entire time. We knew this was going to happen. I'm still hearing Darnold and Allen on nearly every other mock, but I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, until I hear otherwise I believe this will be Mayfield. He is the best fit what the Cleveland brass wants. Darnold would be option #2.


2. New York Giants-RB Saquon Barkley 

Now the chatter is starting here that the Giants must either take a QB or trade it, but that is assuming the Giants value things the same way. Gettleman clearly isn't interested in a rebuild from the ground up. He thinks he can build this team into a contender in a year or so before Eli is done. He wants an impact player, not more draft picks or a guy that will sit on the bench. Barkley stays put for now.


3. New York Jets-QB Sam Darnold 

So much for my feeling that the Jets could pass on a QB. But, as everyone expected, the Colts traded out. I'm still surprised it happened before the draft though because now the Jets are at the mercy of the Browns and Giants. If two QB's go then the Jets might not even get the guy they really want, and they gave up a ton to do so. The people that defend this trade only do so because they assume that drafting QB's is a crapshoot and you have to go for the consensus best available. Who the Jets want and who will be available is hard to tell. I've heard Allen mentioned because Mccagnan likes strong armed guys which would point to Josh Allen, but maybe he goes the other direction and brings in a soft-tossing accuracy guy like Darnold.


4. Cleveland Browns-EDGE Bradley Chubb 

As I proposed last mock Cleveland hoped for a trade by another team for a QB to help them land Chubb at 4. They would love even more if there was another trade up by, say, the Bills or Broncos, which would allow them to snag Barkley and that option is now a real possibility. Right now I think Gettleman will be happy to stay put, but we'll see. Or they may trade down themselves with the Bills or even one spot with the Broncos, still get their guy, and pick up an extra selection. Here they take Chubb who gives Cleveland a scary duo of pass rushers. Big Ben might retire after the draft if this happens.


5. Denver Broncos-QB Josh Rosen 

Cousins did indeed sign with the Vikings and to save face John Elway had to try to claim that he was never interested in Kirk at all. Ok John, we believe you. Many now think that by signing Case Keenum the Broncos won't take a QB. To those people I say “Tyrod Taylor.” Perhaps perhaps they take one in the 2nd round instead, but Elway knows this is his chance. He's missed on too many QB's to wait around while everyone else makes deals. He's trying hard, and I would not be shocked if he gave the Giants even more than the Jets to move up to #2. Word is Denver likes Rosen.


6. Buffalo Bills-QB Josh Allen 

I'm projecting a trade here, but I've got reasons for it. The media is appalled by the Colts lack of activity in free agency. They shouldn't be. Ballard (despite his scouting deficiencies: see Ebron) is trying to build his team properly. Through the draft. Much better to take cheap, young talent than overpay for average free agents that you'll cut two years later. This roster has a lot of holes, so they need as many picks as they can acquire. The Bills want to move up no matter how hard Beane denies it. There's even been reports that Josh Allen is their guy, so this works out well if the Jets don't snatch him up.


7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-S Derwin James 

The Bucs have some very obvious needs and coincidentally there are several players available that fit those exact spots. Davenport would fill the EDGE need, but he would be a reach here. Nelson is a popular pick to solidify the line, but as I've pointed out guards rarely go this high even if they are considered elite. Nelson could be one to break the mold though. The Bucs also could use a corner, but the top one available is Ward and he's short. Derwin James is my new pick here because he can fill the strong safety spot next to Justin Evans, he can roll down into the slot, cover athletic tight ends, blitz off the edge, or even play linebacker if needed. His versatility, size, and athleticism make him an ideal pick at #7.


8. Chicago Bears-LB Tremaine Edmunds 

Edge rusher just became arguably the highest priority for Chicago with the releases of Willie Young and Pernell McPhee. Last week I had Davenport here, but I'm not sure if he's being graded high enough to warrant being picked here. Edmunds will for sure, and he possess the flexibility to play inside or outside on the edge. 


9. San Francisco 49'ers-WR Courtland Sutton 

The 49'ers badly need linebackers, but who do you take if Edmunds is off the board? I've heard that Sutton really impressed the decision makers in San Francisco, and he could come be their big Julio-type receiver. Other options might be James Derwin or Edmunds if they are available.


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 slot in Roquan Smith, 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-G Quinton Nelson 

Nelson is a conundrum this year. He is widely regarded as one of the best two or three players in the entire draft, but his position isn't valued very highly. I've seen him mocked as high as #2 to the Giants, but there's just no way that's happening. Even if he falls it shouldn't be too far, and here the Dolphins are able to pick up a good player that would help solve a big problem for them.


12. Indianapolis Colts-CB Denzel Ward 

I already discussed the Colts quite a bit in their old spot at 6 so I won't rehash that here. Needless to say they need multiple new players at nearly every spot on their roster. They may be the least talented team top to bottom in the entire league. After trading down to this spot they have their choice of talented players that make sense. Davenport would be a sensible choice, but I'm going with a new #1 corner after they lost Rashaan Melvin to the Raiders. Quincy Wilson can protest all he wants.


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, but with all the QB's going so fast that doesn't seem as likely now.  


14. Green Bay Packers-EDGE Marcus Davenport 

I see lots of corners and safeties being mocked to the Packers and for good reason. Their secondary was atrocious again last year. However they have lots of young guys that they hope to see develop in year two, and I heard even before the release of Jordy Nelson that they were interested in receiver and linebacker help. Sutton or Ridley could be in play here, but I've got Sutton gone and Ridley isn't worth it. Davenport would fill the edge need as a rotational player and eventual replacement for the declining Clay Matthews.


15. Arizona Cardinals-CB Jaire Alexander 

As I expected the Cardinals signed a veteran QB because they couldn't count on getting one early in the draft. The Jets trade up made that even more clear. I thought it might be McCarron, but somehow Sam Bradford managed to swindle another team. The team has signed a few offensive linemen during free agency so those positions are no longer in shambles. That leaves the vacant corner spot across from Patrick Peterson has the most glaring area of need. Luckily for the Cardinals there are a plethora of talented CB's available and they can choose their flavor from Alexander, Jackson, and Hughes.


16. Baltimore Ravens-OT Mike McGlinchey 

Massive reason, thy name is Michael Crabtree and John Brown. The Ravens are a dumpster fire at this point. Enjoy your top 3 pick in the draft next year. The Ravens just cannot solve their receiver problem, but I guess the positive is that they avoided Ridley. Instead they can pair McGlinchey with his old teammate Ronnie Stanley to form an impressive bookend for their offensive line.


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 

Well that didn't take long to get rid of Sherman. This team is in full on rebuild mode now. Russell Wilson will keep them in games, but the talent has really degraded in recent years. I fully expect this pick to be traded away so Seattle can grab extra picks in later rounds. They might trade down several times actually. Look for someone jumping early for Rudolph here. If they stay then I expect an offensive lineman if they like one more than the rest of the league, or possibly a corner. Here I have them taking a Sherman clone in Joshua Jackson.


19. Dallas Cowboys-WR Calvin Ridley 

Dallas really, really needs new receivers. I'm shocked they haven't done something about it in free agency. Come on McClay! Unfortunately this need might induce them into taking an overrated player like Ridley. I'd love to see Sutton here, but I think he's impressed some teams higher up that are looking for playmakers. I could also see Dallas going with Taven Bryan to help out with the interior pass rush.


20. Detroit Lions-DT Taven Bryan 

The Lions need to improve their defense. Linebacker could be an option here, but I suspect Matt Patricia will be more inclined to go with bigger linebackers from his time in New England, so Roquan Smith wouldn't fit. Vander Esch could be in play. Another area that could be upgraded is the interior defensive line as it hasn't been the same since Suh left for Miami.


21. Cincinnati Bengals-C James Daniels 

The Bengals greatly helped their offensive line by trading for Cordy Glenn, but they still need a handful of new starters to make some actual lanes for Joe Mixon. After letting Russell Bodine walk in free agency the Bengals will have to draft a new center. Billy Price could be an option in round 2 because of his injury, but the Bengals could just grab Daniels here. He's the latest in a long line of solid linemen from Iowa and is an excellent athlete to climb to the second level in Bill Lazor's offense.


22. Indianapolis Colts-Leighton Vander Esch 

The Bills surrender this pick to the Colts by trading up for their QB. Indy could take any position they want and improve their team here. RB, WR, OG, ILB, or EDGE all make sense. They also have three second round picks though, so WR, RB, and OG can all be better addressed there. There aren't any good value 4-3 ends available here, so I'll give them Vander Esch who would fill in quite capably in the middle of their defense.


23. Los Angeles Rams-OLB Harold Landry 

EDGE is by far the most pressing need for the Rams now that they've got an absolutely ferocious secondary. This team is starting to resemble the Superbowl Broncos teams that Wade Phillips was a part of. They just need their Von Miller role now. After Chubb and Davenport there isn't any consensus on which pass rushers go next. Arden Key has been a huge disappointment, so it's likely between Landry, Lorenzo Carter, Sam Hubbard and Josh Sweat. We'll see if a general order crystallizes as the draft gets closer.


24. Carolina Panthers-CB Mike Hughes 

The Panthers have two big needs, WR and secondary. The secondary class is much better though, so I suspect the Panthers go for either Mike Hughes at corner or one of the safeties like Justin Reid, Ronnie Harrison or Terrell Edmunds. There are still several very good safeties available in free agency though, so perhaps they will sign one to replace Kurt Coleman and draft a corner.


25. Tennessee Titans-OG Will Hernandez 

Well Tennessee signed Malcolm Butler so that position is solid. NT is a glaring need with the departure of Sylvester Williams, but they could grab someone like Trenton Thompson in the second round. Solidifying their guard play could help get the run game going better, and Hernandez could help do that. He's been a dominant force at every event, showing off his skills at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine.


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. A cornerback might get a look here.


27. New Orleans Saints-QB Mason Rudolph 

The Saints have filled most of their needs in free agency and they didn't have a whole lot to begin with. A number two receiver, a depth pass rusher, or guard perhaps. They can afford to go best player available. Or they can grab a QB to develop behind Brees for a year or two. We've expected it for years. The problem for the Saints is everyone else will expect it too. Wouldn't be shocked in the least to see someone trade with the Titans to grab Rudolph ahead of New Orleans.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers-S Justin Reid 

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. Reid on the other hand is seen as an athletic, hard-hitting safety just like his brother Eric. Terrell Edmunds could be in play too due to his off the charts athleticism, but his grades are apparently closer to the second round for most teams.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars-LB Roquan Smith 

Jacksonville signed Andrew Norwell to solidify the interior offensive line. They could still use a tackle, but there aren't any of value at this point. They should trade up for Rudolph, but you can bet the front office won't after they have foolishly supported Bortles all this time. They will sink for it. Posluszny retired so maybe they get another linebacker for depth? This pick could be just about anything including a trade up or down. Sam Hubbard would make sense to replace Fowler in a year or two.


30. Minnesota Vikings-CB Isaiah Oliver 

Minnesota has two real areas they need to address, guard and corner. The best guards are gone here though, so I'm slotting in the fifth corner of round one. Oliver isn't considered one of the best three corners, but he's in the next tier discussion and should be an early second round pick if he doesn't quite make it to the first.


31. New England Patriots-OT Kolton Miller 

Belichick is back so we have a decent idea how this could go. A trade is quite likely, either up or down, and any Ohio State and Alabama players will get preferential treatment. The Patriots could go up for Rudolph, or maybe even take Lamar Jackson here. Petrino has similar terminology to the Patriots, and Josh McDaniels once drafted Tim Tebow so I won't rule it out. If not a QB then offensive tackle and linebacker are the next biggest needs. Rashaan Evans is an Alabama guy so he'll get a good hard look, but Kolton Miller is a Nate Solder clone and the Pats really need to replace him after he left for the Giants. Miller has been getting more attention recently though, and due to the lack of tackles he may get pushed higher up the board. 


32. Philadelphia Eagles-Derrius Guice 

Philly can go with whatever they like here. The biggest need is a left tackle to replace Jason Peters soon, but again the lack of tackle depth could make that difficult to find value. With LeGarrette Blount gone to Detroit maybe the Eagles pick up a tough power back to replace him. Jay Ajayi is not the answer. Guice is often compared to Barkley by scouts, only lacking Barkley's long speed.

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 >>