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In 2015, College Football Metrics joined forces with preeminent draft forecaster Xavier Cromartie to produce mock drafts and top 100 prospect boards for entry into The Huddle Report’s exclusive, experts-only NFL Draft contests. Xavier starts to posts mocks and boards in January and continues up to the draft in April. Our three-year average score in the Mock Draft Contest is 40.7. Our three-year average score in the Top 100 Contest is 86.0.
In 2017, we won the Top 100 contest, and we smashed the all-time record of 88 points when we scored 91.
Mock Drafting can just be fun filler reading material by draft fans...but our Mock Drafts are not meant to be 'filler'. This is the start of a study process to be the most accurate Mock Draft source in the world. See the blurb below for more detail on our recent Mock Draft contest wins. Xavier has the best three-year average in the planet in the one place all the experts make their final predictions going into the NFL Draft...we also set the record for an all-time highest score in history last year with an amazing 91 of the first 100 picks identified correctly.
In 2015, College Football Metrics joined forces with preeminent draft forecaster Xavier Cromartie to produce mock drafts and top 100 prospect boards for entry into The Huddle Report’s exclusive, experts-only NFL Draft contests. Xavier starts to posts mocks and boards in January and continues up to the draft in April. Our three-year average score in the Mock Draft Contest is 40.67. Our three-year average score in the Top 100 Contest is 86.0. In 2017, we won the contest, and we smashed the all-time record of 88 points when we scored 91.
2018 Mock Draft 1st-Round (3.0)
1. Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold (Southern California) Last Mock: #1
Top needs: QB, RB, WR
The pick: To take a QB at #4, they would need to consider at least 3 QBs to be equally worthwhile. They might also want to trade out of #4.
Position details: One of the Browns' first two picks must be a franchise QB. They need 1-2 WRs, depending on what happens with Josh Gordon. RT Shon Coleman is the weak spot on the o-line. Isaiah Crowell should be gone, but Duke Johnson is good in the passing back role. Trevon Coley played too many snaps but otherwise the d-line is solid. Their two well-paid OLBs need to play better but there won't be any change. Jabrill Peppers is killing an otherwise solid secondary.
2. New York Giants: QB Josh Rosen (UCLA) 2
Top needs: LT, LB, RB
The pick: Expect the Northeast media to keep pushing hard for Rosen.
Position details: QB Eli Manning is old and needs a successor, but he wasn't the problem. The o-line, other than John Jerry, needs a purge. Evan Engram will play TE. Wayne Gallman is a solid #2 RB but they need a real workhorse. The d-line is still strong. The defense simply has the worst collection of LBs ever assembled. Fortunately, most of them are free agents. They need another CB and a better S than Darian Thompson.
3. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Bradley Chubb (North Carolina State) 3
Top needs: LB, CB, G
The pick: Trading down would be a good idea, but if stuck here then they have to go with Chubb as best positional value.
Position details: Assuming that Andrew Luck returns to full health, he needs WRs other than TY Hilton to throw to. The Colts might need another RB if Frank Gore doesn't return. The interior of the o-line continues to be absolutely dreadful, and so they will have to find better Gs. The Colts might have the most underrated d-line in the league, and the blame goes to the impossibly bad play of LB Antonio Morrison. Jabaal Sheard is a stud EDGE. Someone is going to pay CB Rashaan Melvin, and they need a slot CB. They're fine at S.
4. Cleveland Browns (via HOU): RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State) 4
Top needs: QB, RB, WR
The pick: Not all teams would take a RB this high, but it has worked for the Cowboys and Jags recently.
Position details: See #1.
5. Denver Broncos: G Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) (+) 7
Top needs: QB, RT, LB
The pick: Elway will go after a veteran QB. Then he can start off with the safest pick after drafting poorly for the last few years.
Position details: The Broncos are still in desperate need of a franchise QB after giving away Kyle Sloter. Carlos Henderson is an unknown behind their aging WRs, as is Jake Butt at TE. The o-line continues to kill the offense. RT Menelik Watson has to be cut and replaced, and they also need a G and C. CJ Anderson is underappreciated. Von Miller is the king, but Shane Ray is trash. The d-line is in decent shape, but LB has become a major weakness. The secondary remains elite but Aqib Talib is probably out.
6. New York Jets: QB Josh Allen (Wyoming) 6
Top needs: QB, LB, EDGE
The pick: The Jets don't look like they can land a free agent QB other than Josh McCown.
Position details: The Jets need a franchise QB above all else. There are greater problems than WR to worry about. The o-line needs a new C for sure and another G. They have no TE if ASJ doesn't return. Assume Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire at RB. Muhammad Wilkerson will not be back, opening up a DL spot. Darron Lee is the only LB, and he's terrible. They always need more EDGE players. They need a starting CB as well. They got their guys at S in the last draft.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S/CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) (-) 5
Top needs: CB, G, RB
The pick: Fitzpatrick's versatility would help a secondary with multiple weaknesses.
Position details: The Bucs have a pretty good passing attack. Their main offensive weakness is at G, which is contributing to poor play at RB. Doug Martin is unlikely to be back, but Peyton Barber is not good enough to be the main RB. The d-line has a collection of useless EDGE rushers after Robert Ayers. They should be satisfied with their LBs. The secondary has two decent young players, but they definitely need another CB.
8. Chicago Bears: WR Calvin Ridley (Alabama) (+) 16
Top needs: WR, CB, LB
The pick: There's no middle ground with WRs. If they're good they go in the top 10, otherwise they drop into the 20s.
Position details: The Bears need 3 WRs. The rest of the offense is ok. The d-line doesn't have any depth. They need at least a rotational EDGE. Jerell Freeman is an easy cut. Their top CBs are all free agents. No worries at S.
9. San Francisco 49ers: LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) (-) 8
Top needs: CB, C, RB
The pick: Edmunds would work as a MLB or SLB who plays all snaps... And that's assuming Reuben Foster is on the field.
Position details: Adding Jimmy G at QB gives the 49ers playoff potential. They have the most underrated WR group in the NFL. The o-line is solid, but definitely needs a C and probably another G. Assuming Carlos Hyde is out, Joe Williams cannot be the #1 RB. They're good with their TEs. The d-line needs more cheap bodies, particularly a run-stuffer. Reuben Foster is a great LB but needs help. They need another outside CB to replace Dontae Johnson. S is not a real concern.
10. Oakland Raiders: LB Roquan Smith (Georgia) (+) 22
Top needs: WR, DL, LB
The pick: He could be a WLB or undersized MLB since both positions are needed.
Position details: The Raiders need to give Derek Carr better options to throw to. After they dump Michael Crabtree, they need a whole new batch of WRs and TEs. The o-line was a big disappointment, but only RT will be replaced. Marshawn Lynch has another year as the RB. The d-line is severely lacking in depth. They need NaVorro Bowman to come back to get them through another year at LB. CB TJ Carrie and S Reggie Nelson also need to come back.
11. Miami Dolphins: CB Josh Jackson (Iowa) 11
Top needs: G, CB, LB
The pick: When you say that your CBs have a lot of room for growth, it means they did a bad job.
Position details: The Dolphins will have to decide what to do with WR Jarvis Landry, considering that so much money is tied up in useless Kenny Stills. Kenyan Drake is great at RB. He needs a backup, but he needs an o-line even more. They need to replace both Gs. They could dump TE Julius Thomas. The d-line is the least of their worries. The LB play was dreadful, but they're stuck with Kiko Alonso. Their young outside CBs played poorly but may get another year. S is not a priority.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: NT Vita Vea (Washington) (-) 10
Top needs: OT, LB, C
The pick: Although the o-line is a huge need, the OTs may not be worth taking this high. The Bengals had a terrible run defense, too.
Position details: It's safe to dump Brandon LaFell, even if John Ross isn't ready. Clint Boling is the only o-lineman who shouldn't be replaced. Tyler Kroft is a failure. Joe Mixon is phenomenal. The defense lacks a good run-stuffing NT. The LBs other than Vontaze Burfict are dreadful. CB depth is always a high priority here but only if they cut Dre Kirkpatrick or Pacman.
13. Washington Redskins: CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State) (-) 9
Top needs: LB, DL, CB
The pick: Although having a pair of Alabama d-linemen would be tempting, CB is the more valuable position and the loss of Kendall Fuller stings.
Position details: Alex Smith is their QB for now. They have no true #1 WR, and the offense can't run through TE Jordan Reed when he's always injured. RB is an even bigger problem, with Samaje Perine disappointing. They also need a G and C. The d-line is ok but nothing special. EDGE is not a major concern. They have only backup Mason Foster at LB. They're passable at S but the CB group suddenly looks weak without Kendall Fuller.
14. Green Bay Packers: S Derwin James (Florida State) 14
Top needs: SS, CB, G
The pick: Let someone overpay Morgan Burnett. Get the younger, cheaper version.
Position details: The Packers resigned Davante Adams, but Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will likely leave next year. They continue to lack TE talent. The o-line needs a G after resigning their C. They're three-deep at RB. The d-line and LBs are in great shape, but that's no surprise considering how much money they've spent there. The big problem is again in the secondary, since Kevin King and Josh Jones struggled as rookies. They may also need another S with Morgan Burnett's contract up.
15. Arizona Cardinals: QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) 15
Top needs: QB, CB, G
The pick: A likely scenario is that the Cards will sign a borderline startable QB like Sam Bradford but still draft a QB early.
Position details: The Cards need to find a new franchise QB. Without Larry Fitzgerald, they have only Chad Williams as a possible WR2. The entire o-line except LT could be replaced. Gresham will remain as a vastly overpaid TE. David Johnson and TJ Logan should return as the 2 RBs. The DL needs depth but is ok. There is a big need for a dedicated ILB to replace Karlos Dansby. There is a desperate need for a CB opposite Patrick Peterson. They are set at S.
16. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Marcus Davenport (Texas-San Antonio)
Top needs: WR, C, EDGE
The pick: Ozzie has better luck drafting defense early. EDGE is the only weak spot on defense.
Position details: Joe Flacco isn't going anywhere. The Ravens have a massive need for a WR to pair with and eventually replace Jeremy Maclin. A healthy o-line is solid except at C. Nick Boyle is uninspiring at TE. The RB position is jumbled but works for NFL purposes. The d-line is excellent. Terrell Suggs is still good but aging, and the other edge rushers are better as backups. CJ Mosley needs a partner at ILB. Brandon Carr is just average at CB.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: NT Da'Ron Payne (Alabama) (-) 13
Top needs: DL, FS, LB
The pick: The Chargers have to hope Payne lasts this long because there is no other good value for their needs.
Position details: The Chargers have some good players on offense. They need better WRs after Keenan Allen. The RBs are fine. Hunter Henry is very good. But they still haven't sorted out the o-line. They will give their young guards more time, but they really need a new C at least. The defense has tremendous talent to stop the pass. What's killing them is being gashed against the run by a lack of a run-stuffing interior DL and, more importantly, poor play by all of the LBs. A star LB could make this defense great. They also don't have a FS signed, but the rest of the secondary is phenomenal.
18. Seattle Seahawks: OT Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) 18
Top needs: G, TE, DL
The pick: He's a big guy.
Position details: The Seahawks have a mess on offense aside from QB Russell Wilson and WR Doug Baldwin. They need another WR. Chris Carson and Mike Davis can serve as backup RBs, but they need a new, healthy workhorse. They have no pass-catching TE. The o-line was embarrassing again and needs at least two Gs and an OT. The d-line has no depth. LB Bobby Wagner held the defense together. Shaquill Griffin is the only long-term answer at CB. S Kam Chancellor may not return.
19. Dallas Cowboys: EDGE Arden Key (Louisiana State) (+) 29
Top needs: DL, LB, EDGE
The pick: The Boys have taken plenty of risky picks before.
Position details: The Cowboys need a WR1 to bump Dez Bryant down to WR2 and Terrance Williams to backup, but it won't happen. The o-line has 3 studs but needs an LG. Jason Witten will probably be back again, but they can dump him at any time. RB is set. The interior of the d-line is a barren wasteland. Whenever Sean Lee is out, the other LBs are exposed. They need to find a cheap slot CB. No problems at S.
20. Detroit Lions: RB Derrius Guice (Louisiana State) (+) NR
Top needs: RB, C, SS
The pick: At some point you have to get tired of having no running game.
Position details: The Lions have two clear needs on offense: a workhorse RB to replace Ameer Abdullah and a C to replace Travis Swanson. Signings at WR, OT, and TE would be for depth. Rookie bust LB Jarrad Davis might have single-handedly kept them out of the playoffs. Despite the great performances of Darius Slay and Glover Quin in the secondary, they still definitely need to find a new CB and SS.
21. Buffalo Bills: QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville) 21
Top needs: DL, LB, CB
The pick: They seem eager to replace Tyrod.
Position details: Tyrod Taylor is a lot better than Nathan Peterman. There is no backup RB behind LeSean McCoy. Zay Jones disappointed as a rookie WR2. The o-line is ok and will probably remain as it is. The pathetic d-line interior needs 2-3 new bodies. The entire LB group needs to go. There are no CBs signed behind the excellent Tre'Davious White. The two safeties were stellar pickups.
22. Buffalo Bills (via KC): LB Rashaan Evans (Alabama) (+) 25
Top needs: DL, LB, CB
The pick: They don't have any LBs.
Position details: See #21.
23. Los Angeles Rams: CB Donte Jackson (Louisiana State) (+) NR
Top needs: CB, EDGE, FS
The pick: He'll be the fastest CB. There are some speedy WRs in the NFC West (Goodwin, Richardson, Nelson).
Position details: The Rams will probably bring back Sammy Watkins. Superstar RB Todd Gurley needs a backup. They have two young TEs but neither is good. They need a G to replace Jamon Brown and maybe a C if John Sullivan doesn't come back. On defense, players are either well-paid or their contract is up. They appear to be freeing up cash to pay DL Aaron Donald, and perhaps they want players who are a better fit for their defensive scheme. LB Mark Barron could be a surprise cut, but Alec Ogletree would create dead money. They need an EDGE rusher to replace Connor Barwin. Most importantly, 3/5 secondary players will be gone, and so they need a CB, SCB, and FS.
24. Carolina Panthers: CB Carlton Davis (Auburn) 24
Top needs: CB, FS, EDGE
The pick: This is the zone where CBs go because these types of teams get torched by good QBs in the playoffs.
Position details: The Panthers need an outside WR after trading Kelvin Benjamin. It's time to find a young power RB to replace Jonathan Stewart. The overpaid Kalil brothers are dragging down an otherwise very good o-line. They need interior d-line depth behind Kawann Short and Vernon Butler. Assuming Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson are gone, there's room for at least a rotational edge rusher. LBs are unlikely to change. Going cheap at CB is hurting them, with no legit starters. The future also looks bleak at S.
25. Tennessee Titans: G Will Hernandez (Texas-El Paso) (+) 30
Top needs: G, SS, LB
The pick: The roster looks very solid overall but has absolutely no Gs.
Position details: The Titans didn't get much from their rookie WRs, but they'll get another chance. Derrick Henry should take over the lead role at RB. TE Delanie Walker is still getting it done. The o-line is losing both starting Gs, who are mediocre anyway. The d-line must replace DaQuan Jones if he goes elsewhere. EDGE depth is reaching a critical point. Losing underrated LB Avery Williamson would have an impact. They should dump and replace S Johnathan Cyprien to solidify the secondary.
26. Atlanta Falcons: DL Taven Bryan (Florida) 26
Top needs: G, DL, FS
The pick: He's a 5-tech for sure, and that suits this scheme.
Position details: The Falcons need to upgrade on Justin Hardy as WR3. Wes Schweitzer at G is a serious weakness. Austin Hooper is a mediocre TE. More edge rushers never hurt. They need interior d-line depth, especially if Dontari Poe doesn't resign. They could use another safety, depending on how they feel about Damontae Kazee.
27. New Orleans Saints: C Billy Price (Ohio State) (-) 20
Top needs: LB, WR, SS
The pick: Price could take over for C Max Unger or G Andrus Peat sooner than you expect.
Position details: The Saints will likely resign Drew Brees. They're weak at WR after Michael Thomas. It's time to let TE Coby Fleener go. The o-line should upgrade on G Andrus Peat and look for a future starter at C. The RB duo carry the offense. They could use more EDGE depth opposite Cameron Jordan. The LB play is mediocre and Alex Anzalone will never be healthy. The secondary has elite young superstars in Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams. No one will miss Kenny Vaccaro, but they could replace S Vonn Bell.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: S Ronnie Harrison (Alabama) 28
Top needs: LB, SS, G
The pick: He's that hard-hitting Steelers type.
Position details: The Steelers will have to pay RB Le'Veon Bell. Always-injured TE Vance McDonald may not be worth it. An upgrade on G Ramon Foster should happen. The interior DL is great. Alvin Dupree hasn't really developed on the EDGE. Assuming Ryan Shazier misses the season, the need for LB increases further. They're fine at CB if Joe Haden stays with them. IDP star Sean Davis is the worst safety in the NFL.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Connor Williams (Texas) (-) 12
Top needs: G, LT, EDGE
The pick: He can play LT or LG and run block for Fournette. Overrated.
Position details: The Jaguars will probably give Blake Bortles another shot next season. WR is not an urgent need even if Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee both leave. Leonard Fournette will be the RB, but he needs a better backup. The problem is the o-line, but failed rookie Cam Robinson will likely play LT again. They definitely need at least one G, if not two. They've spent massively on the defensive side, and it has been worth it. The only real issue is that SCB Aaron Colvin may not return. They could also add another EDGE rusher and find LB depth.
30. Minnesota Vikings: C James Daniels (Iowa) (+) NR
Top needs: QB, G, C
The pick: This o-line needs a stabilizing force on the inside.
Position details: Kyle Sloter is currently the Vikings' starting QB... There is no WR who can fill-in when Stefon Diggs gets injured. Riley Reiff had a bad season but will be back. They have nothing at guard. Pat Elflein was, predictably, a disaster at C. They need a backup receiving RB for when Dalvin Cook goes down again. The d-line needs an interior player next to Linval Joseph. They should take a LB in the mid-rounds for depth. They may need a new slot CB. Harrison Smith is a beast at safety.
31. New England Patriots: RB Sony Michel (Georgia) (+) 32
Top needs: LB, EDGE, CB
The pick: Billy Boy should look to trade down so he can draft multiple defenders... But a ball-control RB can really help a defense as a whole too.
Position details: Tom Brady has another five years in him, but he could use an upgrade on Chris Hogan outside. The o-line might lose LT Nate Solder. Gronk is still Gronk. RB Dion Lewis might get paid elsewhere, leaving them with Mike Gillislee and James White in the backfield. Since Derek Rivers missed the season, they should look for another EDGE. Injuries and poor play at LB hurt them all season, starting week 1 against KC. They'll need a CB to replace Malcolm Butler, but the other starters in the secondary are good.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: G Isaiah Wynn (Georgia) (+) NR
Top needs: LB, G, WR
The pick: Wynn is versatile depth for a great o-line. Other than LB, they don't need much.
Position details: The Eagles have an elite offense that needs only additional depth. They may want another WR to compete with Mack Hollins. Another G would solidify the league's best o-line. The d-line is also in great shape. LB is the biggest weakness. If they cannot resign LB Nigel Bradham or SCB Patrick Robinson, then they will have to replace them in the draft.
Dropped out: DL Maurice Hurst (17), EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (23), WR Courtland Sutton (27), WR James Washington (31)