For fans of teams outside the playoff race, the final day of the season has little to do with the playoff picture, and everything to do with finally finding out what draft pick your team has earned. The final 2018 NFL Draft order will not be determined until after the late afternoon Week 17 games have been completed, and Heavy will update our mock draft once the order is set.
The topic of conversation for the 2018 NFL Draft has been the quarterbacks, and fans can expect this to continue through April. This was a highly anticipated group of quarterbacks led by Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, but the prospects often failed to live up to expectations for much of the college football season.
Despite their shortcomings, we could still see as many as five quarterbacks selected in the first round. The Browns are locked into the top spot, and there are already rumblings the top quarterbacks are not thrilled with the idea of playing in Cleveland.
“I’d rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher at the wrong team,” Rosen told ESPN.
Rosen and Darnold will likely battle through the pre-draft process to be the top pick in the 2018 draft. The “loser” could end up being the winner as Cleveland has been the place where quarterbacks go for their careers to die. Browns fans hope this can be the draft that changes things with the amount of draft capital Cleveland has, including potentially two top-five picks.
Here’s a look at my latest NFL mock draft with the order courtesy of Tankathon. The order is based on the standings heading into Week 17, and will be updated once the draft order is finalized.
NFL Mock Draft 2018: Top 10 Picks
No. 1 Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold, USC
The Browns have secured the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Cleveland has a plethora of 2018 picks, and this draft has the potential to be a franchise changer if the new front office can get off to a good start. It has become a funny meme to mention how many quarterbacks the Browns have had in the last decade. There’s a good chance the Browns get two top-five picks, and the franchise would be crazy not to look at a quarterback with one of these first two picks.
New GM John Dorsey was blunt when addressing the current state of the Browns roster in an WKNR 850 radio interview (via Sports Illustrated).
You know what? You’ve got to get a guy like that [are Hue Jackson] players. And you know what? I’ll come straight out with it. The guys who were here before, that system, they didn’t get real players.
No. 2 New York Giants: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
After briefly losing the starting gig, Eli Manning is back to being the Giants QB1, but don’t think this means the Giants won’t take a long look at quarterback next spring. Most franchises only get a pick at the top of the draft every so often, and the quarterbacks in this draft class have plenty of upside, even after you consider their warts.
Is it possible to help your draft stock in a two minute bowl interview clip? It’s hard to say, but Rosen definitely sounded polished in this interview that went viral as Rosen explained why he wanted to play in the bowl game.
Ultimately, Rosen was held out after warm ups, but one of the questions about the UCLA quarterback is his maturity. If Rosen is able to carry himself like this in his meetings with teams, it could go a long way in giving an organization the confidence needed to pull the trigger on Rosen with a high draft pick.
No. 3 Indianapolis Colts: OT Connor Williams, Texas
The saga of Andrew Luck has been one of the biggest mysteries this NFL season. Let’s assume Luck is ready to go next season, and one of the biggest ways the Colts can set him up for a comeback is providing an improved offensive line. The Colts could have their pick from this offensive line class including Texas’ Connor Williams and Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey.
No. 4 Cleveland Browns (via Texans): RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Thanks to their trade with the Texans in last year’s draft, the Browns have the opportunity to grab a quarterback and an explosive playmaker. Barkley is the perfect running back in the current NFL as he can function as a traditional running back, but also is lethal in the passing game. He’s going to crush almost every drill at the NFL Combine thanks to his elite-level speed and freakish strength.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller describes a conversation he had with new Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, who was Penn State’s offensive coordinator, about Barkley’s unique talent.
Barkley is rare. As Moorhead told me, ‘He’s a five-tool guy. He can do it all. He has speed, power, can run through you or hurdle over you. You can put him in the slot. He can return kicks. And he’s worked hard to become a great pass protector.’
No. 5 Denver Broncos: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Denver could look at a quarterback here, but it makes more sense for them to see what they have with Paxton Lynch before moving on to another rookie quarterback. Offense makes the most sense for the Broncos, given how bad the unit performed this season. Both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are good receivers, but the Broncos need an elite WR1.
I still have Sutton ranked as my top wide receiver. At 6’4″, Sutton is the perfect prototypical NFL wide receiver who will eventually demand double teams at the next level. Look for Sutton to move up draft boards in the months leading up to the draft. Sutton has an invite to the Senior Bowl, and could help his draft stock with a strong performance in Mobile if he accepts the invitation.
No. 6 New York Jets: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Josh Allen will continue to be a hot debate in the final months leading up to the draft. The Wyoming quarterback entered the season with a chance to be the top draft pick, but a disappointing 2017 season likely ended that dream. Allen is still the favorite to be the next quarterback off the board after Darnold and Rosen.
Allen’s performance in Wyoming’s bowl game provided a solid ending to Allen’s college career. Allen’s numbers look average, but he managed to throw three touchdowns without an interception in adverse weather conditions as Wyoming routed Central Michigan.
No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
I had an opportunity to speak with Bradley Chubb at a recent awards media night. Chubb is as impressive in-person as he is disrupting opposing offensive lines. Chubb had 10 sacks this season for N.C. State including three games with two or more sacks.
The Bucs are a puzzling franchise, with many expecting Tampa Bay to make a playoff run this season. Maybe we all got sucked into the Hard Knocks hype, but this team has a lot of work to do to live up to the talent level on the roster. It starts with Jameis Winston taking the next steps in his progression both on the field and in leading his team.
No. 8 Chicago Bears: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The Bears could look for a wide receiver, but I am not sure this draft class is strong enough for three receivers to go inside the top 10. With it being too early to grab a receiver, we have Chicago taking the best available offensive lineman to help protect quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
No. 9 San Francisco 49ers: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
San Francisco’s winning streak may be good for morale, but it’s not great for their draft position. Niners fans are likely to take it as it appears they found their quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo thanks to a trade the Patriots likely wish they had back. Even with Garoppolo, San Francisco still has plenty of holes, and Garoppolo could use more weapons to throw to.
Ridley has not been heavily utilized at Alabama, but it is not a knock on his talent. Similar to O.J. Howard last year, look for Ridley to command a first round pick, despite putting up modest numbers in Tuscaloosa.
No. 10 Oakland Raiders: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The Raiders under-performed this season, and have enough talent they could go best available player. Roquan Smith gives the Raiders arguably the best linebacker in this draft. Smith notched 113 total tackles this season for the Bulldogs, and is a big reason Georgia is in the College Football Playoff.
NFL Mock Draft 2018: Picks 11-32
|11. Miami Dolphins||QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma|
|12. Cincinnati Bengals||DE/LB Harold Landry, Boston College|
|13. Washington Redskins||S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama|
|14. Green Bay Packers||OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma|
|15. Arizona Cardinals||CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State|
|16. Baltimore Ravens||WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M|
|17. L.A. Chargers||LB Malik Jefferson, Texas|
|18. Seattle Seahawks||RB Derrius Guice, LSU|
|19. Dallas Cowboys||DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson|
|20. Detroit Lions||DE Arden Key, LSU|
|21. Tennessee Titans||DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State|
|22. Buffalo Bills||QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville|
|23. Atlanta Falcons||S Derwin James, FSU|
|24. New Orleans Saints||LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama|
|25. Jacksonville Jaguars||G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame|
|26. Buffalo Bills (via Chiefs)||LB/DE Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech|
|27. L.A. Rams||CB Josh Jackson, Iowa|
|28. Carolina Panthers||DE/LB Ben Banogu, TCU|
|29. Pittsburgh Steelers||S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama|
|30. Philadelphia Eagles||OT Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State|
|31. New England Patriots||CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado|
|32. Minnesota Vikings||DT Vita Vea, Washington|