2018 NFL Mock Draft- Updated: Sunday, April 15th (Round 4 added)
With the seemingly endless amount of possibilities including draft-day trades, projecting an NFL draft is virtually impossible even minutes before it begins, let alone almost two weeks ahead of time.
With that said, here is a look at how the 2018 NFL Draft could play out:
1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Even though another prospect tops our 2018 NFL Draft Big Board (and most big boards), this pick will almost certainly be a quarterback. While the Browns have two top-four selections, the only way they have their choice of quarterback is by using this pick to draft one. With the Jets missing out on Kirk Cousins in free agency and trading up to No. 3, at least one other QB will be selected in the top three. ESPN insider Adam Schefter described a potential QB-QB-QB start to the draft as "likely." Perhaps the Giants won't draft Eli Manning's eventual replacement at No. 2, but it wouldn't be shocking to see Buffalo (or Arizona or someone else) trade up in front of the Jets.
No position is more important in professional team sports than quarterback and Cleveland needs to get this pick right after passing on opportunities to draft Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in back-to-back drafts. By trading for Tyrod Taylor, who will be the team's 29th starting quarterback since 1999 (when pro football returned to Cleveland), the Browns are afforded the opportunity to sit whichever signal-caller they draft here and allow him to learn and develop before being thrown into the mix.
So, will the pick be Sam Darnold, who has a higher floor, or Josh Allen, who has a higher ceiling?
Not only has John Dorsey's "friend" suggested the Browns will take Allen, but you could also argue that Allen more closely fits the style of a Dorsey pick. As NFL Network's Bucky Brooks notes (via Cleveland.com): "John Dorsey spent a lot of his formative time in the league in Green Bay when Brett Favre was the quarterback, a big, strong-armed thrower, a guy who could really throw off platform, could make improvisational plays and really make up for a lot of things with his exceptional arm talent. And then when you go back and you look at (Dorsey's) draft history and some of the guys that he's taken, he has a long track record of going for projection and potential over production.''
2. New York Giants (Draft History): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
This is where the draft gets interesting.
Will the Giants stay put and draft the best player available (not a quarterback)? Will they take advantage of a rare opportunity of holding such a high pick to draft Eli Manning's successor? Or parlay this pick into a slew of additional picks by trading back to a QB-needy team like Buffalo?
Not only has Gettleman never traded out of a draft pick (either up or down in any round), reports suggest the Giants would only consider one quarterback at this spot -- and he's available here if the Browns go with Allen over Darnold at No. 1. Only 20 years old, the USC signal-caller will have an opportunity to sit and learn behind Eli Manning, but he possesses the prototypical size and arm strength with plus mobility to give the franchise back-to-back decade-plus starters once it's Darnold's turn.
3. (via IND) New York Jets (Draft History): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Using Day 2/3 picks on quarterbacks -- Bryce Petty (2015) and Christian Hackenberg (2016) -- in recent drafts hasn't put the Jets any closer to finding their franchise quarterback. By giving up three second-rounders including both this year, the Jets will undoubtedly draft a quarterback here.
The only concern is that the Jets could be stuck with their third choice if the draft plays out like this. It's possible that Rosen, the most pro-ready among the draft class, could be their first choice though, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Jets attempt to move up to No. 2 or even No. 1. Reports were that tried to move to No. 1 initially. By bringing back Josh McCown, the Jets have an ideal bridge quarterback and mentor for Rosen.
MORE: 2018 New York Jets Mock Draft Database
4. (via HOU) Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
An ideal scenario for Dorsey, the Browns get their franchise quarterback (Darnold) and the prospect widely-viewed as the best in this year's draft class with the fourth overall pick. Perhaps he goes with a prospect like Bradley Chubb, but Dorsey has his choice of quarterback and choice of non-quarterback under this scenario.
An athletic freak at 230 pounds, Barkley put on a display at the NFL Scouting Combine last month -- 4.40 forty, 29 bench press reps, 41-inch vertical, etc. -- and racked up 3,801 yards from scrimmage and 43 touchdowns in his past two seasons at Penn State. In addition, Barkley's presence would help take the pressure off Allen when he takes over for Taylor.
5. Denver Broncos (Draft History): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Broncos signed Case Keenum in free agency. And they used a first-round pick on Paxton Lynch two years ago. Is their long-term starter on the roster? Possibly not, and it wouldn't be a surprise if John Elway used this pick on someone like Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.
Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson would make sense here as well as would Bradley Chubb or Denzel Ward. Or perhaps they would trade down to a team interested in moving up for a quarterback. The deal they gave to Keenum, however, should not rule out the Broncos drafting Mayfield here. Extremely confident and playing with a chip on his shoulder, Mayfield was coached by the Broncos staff at the Senior Bowl so they got a unique look into what they would get with Mayfield.
6. (via NYJ) Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
Chubb could certainly go off the board as early as No. 2 and very possibly at No. 4 (over Saquon Barkley) or No. 5, but the Colts have to be thrilled with how this has played out. Instead of selecting Chubb with the third overall pick, an almost unanimous mock selection prior to their trade down three spots, they still get the prospect that makes the most sense for them and they acquire three additional second-round picks -- two this year and one next year. If one (or more) of the top-four quarterbacks aren't selected inside the top-five picks, the Colts could move this pick for another draft capital haul.
Not only is a premium placed on elite pass-rushers, but Chubb fills the team's biggest needs. Only the Buccaneers (22) recorded fewer sacks than the Colts (25) in 2017. With a non-stop motor and impressive measurables, Chubb had double-digit sacks and 20-plus tackles for loss in back-to-back seasons.
MORE: 2018 Indianapolis Colts Mock Draft Database
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Tampa ranked last in the NFL in pass defense (4,169 yards allowed) and sacks (22). Trading for Jason Pierre-Paul and signing Vinny Curry helps to rebuild their defensive line so I could see the Bucs addressing their secondary here.
Even though the Bucs re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes, who had a very productive season, the veteran corner turns 35 this summer. Meanwhile, former first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves has just one interception in his two seasons with the Bucs. Teams can never have too many corners, but the Bucs secondary has to face the trio of Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton (at least) six times per season.
8. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Quentin Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Adding Allen Robinson and others, the Bears gave second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky an upgrade to a receiving corps that was amongst the worst in the NFL last season. Investing in the offensive line is another way to help the young signal-caller. One of the best guard prospects in recent years, Nelson represents a nice value at this spot, would be reunited with his collegiate offensive line coach (Harry Hiestand) and he'd fill the void created by Chicago not exercising their option on Josh Sitton.
9. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is the son of Ferrell Edmunds, a two-time Pro Bowler, and brother of Terrell Edmunds, a safety prospect in this year's draft class. With a rare blend of size, length and athleticism and only 19 years old, Tremaine is just scratching the surface of his vast potential and he has the versatility to play both inside and outside.
MORE: 2018 San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft Database
10. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
This pick will likely be used on the defensive side of the ball. Smith became Georgia's first-ever winner of the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker. With sideline-to-sideline range, Smith is a three-down linebacker that led the Dawgs with 137 tackles including 14 for loss and 6.5 sacks this past season.
MORE: 2018 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft Database
- Continue to 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 11-20
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