Here’s a fun disclaimer that should make you put a whole lot of faith in this mock draft: by the fifth or sixth pick of the 2018 NFL Draft tonight, my final mock draft (below) will likely be rendered totally worthless.
Why? Because the first round of tonight’s draft has the potential to be something of a wild ride. On average, we usually see somewhere between four and eight trades in the first round of a given draft, and if we don’t see at least three trades among the top 15 picks (especially among those teams jockeying to move up and get a quarterback), i’d be rather surprised.
In this mock, I don’t predict trades, because that’s an even stupider idea than putting together a mock draft itself. But for the purposes of entertainment and sure-fire clickbait, here’s my final mock draft for 2018 (thank God).
As a reminder, this is my prediction of what I think WILL happen tonight, as opposed to what should happen:
1. Cleveland — Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Despite all the the chatter you’re hearing about Baker Mayfield being the pick here, or those remaining few “truthers” who think this pick could be Josh Allen, rest assured: “It’s Darnold.”
2. New York Giants — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Since it’s “unlikely” that the Giants will trade this pick, if the report is true about the ownership of the New York Giants wanting Saquon Barkley, then this is a done deal. At the end of the day, remember who cuts and signs the paycheck for EVERYONE in the building.
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis) — Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Per Manish Mehta, the Jets’ beat writer for the NY Daily News: “I’m starting to believe that Broadway Baker will become a reality… I’m not guaranteeing anything right now. The rumblings, however, seem to be leading me to the Heisman Trophy winner if he’s on the board.” That being said, there’s still some Josh Rosen chatter for this pick.
4. Cleveland (via Houston) — Bradley Chub, DE, NC State
A binary scenario. If Bradley Chubb is still here, the Browns will very likely take him. If he’s somehow taken in the top three, the Browns will very likely trade down from this pick (probably with Buffalo, Miami, or Arizona).
5. Denver — Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame
if Denver keeps this pick, it sounds like Quenton Nelson is their guy. But if the top four stay static (meaning there are no trades), look for Denver to try and trade this pick. One note to keep in mind: Denver really likes OL Will Hernandez from UTEP, and recently hired Sean Kugler as their offensive line coach… who just happened to hold that position at UTEP last season (meaning he directly coached Hernandez).
6. Indianapolis — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Again, another team that would prefer to trade back from this pick. But if they had to stay here, Roquan Smith is the name that keeps popping up here, unless Quenton Nelson is still available.
7. Tampa Bay — Derwin James, DB, Florida State
This is the player that’s been associated with this pick the most with Tampa’s first round pick. But I could also see this pick being Denzel Ward or Minkah Fitzpatrick (or Quenton Nelson, if Denver trades out from #5 and/or Indianapolis trades out from #6, leaving Nelson still available here).
8. Chicago — Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
It sounds like the Bears would prefer if Quenton Nelson or Roquan Smith would fall to this pick. But with them being gone, Minkah Fitzpatrick might be next on their list of preferences.
9. San Francisco — Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
While there’s a legitimate chance Tremaine Edmunds falls out of the top 10, the 49ers have made it clear that they’ll move on from Reuben Foster if the current allegations against him are proven true. If he falls here, Roquan Smith sounds like he’s atop their board. But if not, Edmunds sounds like he would be next on their board.
10. Oakland — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
I think the Raiders are hoping that Minkah Fitzpatrick falls to this pick. Assuming he doesn’t, I think Oakland will debate whether to take Denzel Ward and Vita Vea with this pick. Since they’ve been shopping for defensive backs all offseason, and since Ward is ranked higher in most people’s eyes than Vea, I believe he’d get the nod. Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame is another player to keep watch here.
11. Miami — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Even if a bunch of trades shake up the top 10 picks (which sounds almost inevitable), there’s a very legitimate chance Josh Rosen falls this far. If that happened, he’s going to Miami. I could also see Miami moving up a few spots (perhaps to #6 or #8) to ensure they grab him.
12. Buffalo (via Cincinnati) — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Let me be exceedingly clear: THERE IS LESS THAN A 0.001% CHANCE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN REALITY. It’s more likely that Buffalo — or someone else (like Arizona) — trades up to get Josh Allen. Keep an eye out for a deal between Denver and Buffalo, with the Bills trying to move up to #5.
13. Washington — Vita Vea, DT, Washington
From everything i’ve heard & read, the Redskins board for this pick goes: 1) Minkah Fitzpatrick, 2) Vita Vea, 3) Da’Ron Payne. With Fitzpatrick gone, and the Redskins interest in Vita Vea being “the worst kept secret in the league,” Vea goes here. If Vea is gone (Oakland and Miami are strong possibilities), then it’ll be Payne (the Derrius Guice pick here seems to be a red herring).
14. Green Bay — Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
The Packers’ primary needs are cornerback and edge rusher. So, if Denzel Ward or Minkah Fitzpatrick (or Derwin James) falls to this pick, they’ll take any one of those guys (likely in that order). But I think all three will be gone, in which case, I do think Harold Landry would be their next choice.
15. Arizona — Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
While Lamar Jackson is gaining steam at this pick, it sounds like Arizona will opt to address a bigger need at wide receiver here.
16. Baltimore — Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Ravens sound like they want to invest heavily on offense in this year’s draft, starting with the offensive line. Mike McGlinchey’s name keeps coming up here, as he could come in and play right tackle for them right away. One other darkhorse pick: Da’Ron Payne from Alabama.
17. LA Chargers — Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
In a nod to NFL insider (and friend of HTTD) Benjamin Allbright, this is my prediction for the Chargers’ pick. As crazy as it might sound, the Chargers are indeed look at quarterbacks in this draft. However, Da’Ron Payne and Rashaan Evans from Alabama are two names that keep coming up here as well.
18. Seattle — Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
Seattle wants to address the interior of their OL (specifically at right guard), with the goal of getting someone to improve their running game. Will Hernandez would be the most obvious fit for that. Of course, it’s more likely Seattle trades down from this pick.
19. Dallas — Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
While the Cowboys want to address the linebacker and wide receiver spots in the draft, but if Da’Ron Payne fell to them, I think they’d take him and address a bigger need at the defensive tackle spot. There’s also a very good chance that Dallas could/would pick linebacker Leighton Vander Esch here.
20. Detroit — Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Marcus Davenport is high on the Lions short list, and he would address their need for a pass rusher opposite Ziggy Ansah. But don’t be surprised if General Manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia trade back from this pick.
21. Cincinnati — Billy Price, OL, Ohio State
Center remains a position the Bengals are trying to upgrade, and it sounds like Billy Price might be atop their list of interior offensive linemen.
22. Buffalo (via Kansas City) — Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
The Bills have a mess along the offensive line, so Isaiah Wynn could come in and fit in at multiple spots, after they get done shuffling all the bodies they have collected there.
23. New England (from Los Angeles Rams) — Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Patriots have a huge need at both tackle spots, and value athletic prospects at the position. Connor Williams has been so devalued that he’s underrated at this point, and he fits the mold of what New England likes in its linemen.
24. Carolina — Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
After never really finding a solution to replace Josh Norman, Carolina’s biggest need is at the cornerback position. Josh Jackson is the best one available here, and he brings the length that they prefer at this position. Safety Justin Reid from Stanford is a strong possibility here as well.
25. Tennessee — Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Rashaan Evans has been a popular name associated with this pick, especially since head coach Mike Vrabel — a former linebacker himself — wants defensive players with “front multiplicity/versatility.” Keep an eye out for defensive end Sam Hubbard from Ohio State (Mike Vrabel’s alma mater) here also, but I could just as well see the Titans moving back from this pick.
26. Atlanta — Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
The Falcons interest in Taven Bryan has been reported throughout the draft process, and that remains the case even as of this week. If he happens to fall this far (which is becoming less of a certainty), it sounds like he’ll be the pick.
27. New Orleans — Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
New Orleans clearly wanted a pass-catching tight end this offseason, as they tried (and failed) to bring back Jimmy Graham. Mike Gesicki has the potential to be an Evan Engram-type player in the Saints offense, and is another fast-rising prospect.
28. Pittsburgh — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
If Leighton Vander Esch does fall here (there are some teams who are concerned with his medicals), then the Steelers will take him as their replacement for Ryan Shazier.
29. Jacksonville — Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
The Jaguars have been linked to selecting a tight end throughout this draft process, so i’ll stick with this idea. Dallas Goedert has been getting some late buzz as someone who’ll go in the first round.
30. Minnesota — Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Even with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes on the roster, this fit is gaining some traction in the Vikings’ blogosphere.
31. New England — Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
You know the drill: they’ll need someone to replace Tom Brady, at some point. It’s very possible they could use one of their two first round picks on Mason Rudolph.
32. Philadelphia — Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Eagles could very well try and get ahead of the run on running backs that will take place in the second round of the draft, and take Derrius Guice here.
33. Cleveland — Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
34. NY Giants — Frank Ragnow, OL, Arkansas
35. Cleveland (from Houston) — Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
36. Indianapolis — Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
37. Indianapolis (From NY Jets) — D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
38. Tampa Bay — Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
39. Chicago — James Daniels, OL, Iowa
40. Denver — Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
41. Oakland — Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
42. Miami — Justin Reid, Safety, Stanford
43. New England (from San Francisco) — Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia
44. Washington — Ronald Jones, RB, USC
45. Green Bay — Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
46. Cincinnati — Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
47. Arizona — Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
48. LA Chargers — Ronnie Harrison, Safety, Alabama
49. Indianapolis (from Seattle) — Jessie Bates, Safety, Wake Forest
50. Dallas — Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
51. Detroit — Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
52. Baltimore — Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
53. Buffalo — Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
54. Kansas City — Arden Key, Edge, LSU
55. Carolina — James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
56. Buffalo (from LA Rams) — Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
57. Tennessee — Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
58. Atlanta — Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
59. San Francisco (from New Orleans) — D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
60. Pittsburgh — Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge, Oklahoma
61. Jacksonville — Austin Corbett, OL, Nevada
62. Minnesota — Rasheem Green, DT, USC
63. New England — Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
64. Cleveland (from Philadelphia) — Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Final NFL Draft Big Board
|1||Quenton Nelson||OL||Notre Dame|
|2||Bradley Chubb||DE||North Carolina State|
|4||Derwin James||Safety||Florida State|
|5||Denzel Ward||CB||Ohio State|
|7||Saquon Barkley||RB||Penn State|
|9||Harold Landry||DE||Boston College|
|12||Tremaine Edmunds||OLB||Virginia Tech|
|15||Leighton Vander Esch||LB||Boise State|
|17||Mike McGlinchey||OT||Notre Dame|
|18||Marcus Davenport||DE||UT San Antonio|
|30||Mike Hughes||CB||Central Florida|
|31||Ronald Jones II||RB||USC|
|32||Billy Price||OL||Ohio State|
|35||Dallas Goedert||TE||South Dakota State|
|39||Mike Gesicki||TE||Penn State|
|44||Christian Kirk||WR||Texas A&M|
|49||Sam Hubbard||DE||Ohio State|
|53||Jessie Bates||Safety||Wake Forest|
|54||James Washington||WR||Oklahoma State|
|56||Josh Sweat||DE||Florida State|
|57||Hayden Hurst||TE||South Carolina|
|59||Nathan Shepherd||DT||Fort Hayes State|
|61||Mason Rudolph||QB||Oklahoma State|
|63||Jerome Baker||LB||Ohio State|
|65||Rashaad Penny||RB||San Diego State|
|69||Duke Ejiofor||DE||Wake Forest|
|73||Armani Watts||Safety||Texas A&M|
|74||Equanimeous St. Brown||WR||Notre Dame|
|79||Tim Settle||DT||Virginia Tech|
|81||MJ Stewart||CB||North Carolina|
|83||Martinas Rankin||OT||Mississippi State|
|84||Darius Leonard||LB||South Carolina State|
|85||Chukwuma Okorafor||OT||Western Michigan|
|87||Jamarco Jones||OT||Ohio State|
|94||Kyzir White||Safety||West Virginia|
|98||Isaac Yiadom||CB||Boston College|
|100||B.J. Hill||DT||North Carolina State|
|102||Marcus Allen||Safety||Penn State|
|103||Derrick Nnadi||DT||Florida State|
|104||Tarvarius Moore||Safety||Southern Miss|
|105||Tyquan Lewis||DE||Ohio State|
|106||Deadrin Senat||DT||South Florida|
|108||Skai Moore||LB||South Carolina|
|111||DaeSean Hamilton||WR||Penn State|
|112||Terrell Edmunds||Safety||Virginia Tech|
|116||Desmond Harrison||OT||West Georgia|
|121||Marcel Ateman||WR||Oklahoma State|
|124||Tarvarus McFadden||CB||Florida State|
|126||Hercules Mata'afa||DT||Washington State|
|127||Will Richardson||OT||NC State|
|128||Nyheim Hines||RB||NC State|
|129||Tre'quan Smith||WR||Central Florida|
|130||Jaylen Samuels||FB||North Carolina State|
|131||Mike White||QB||Western Kentucky|
|132||Shaquem Griffin||Safety||Central Florida|
|135||Cedrick Wilson||WR||Boise State|
|136||Brandon Parker||OT||North Carolina A&T|
|137||Wyatt Teller||OL||Virginia Tech|
|138||Kentavius Street||DE||North Carolina State|
|139||Alex Cappa||OL||Humboldt State|
|143||Luke Falk||QB||Washington State|
|144||Simmie Cobbs Jr.||WR||Indiana|
|147||Keke Coutee||WR||Texas Tech|
|150||Darius Phillips||CB||Western Michigan|
|153||Christian Campbell||CB||Penn State|
|155||Breeland Speaks||DT||Ole Miss|
|156||Jordan Akins||TE||Central Florida|
|157||Tracey Walker||Safety||Louisiana - Lafayette|
|162||Daurice Fountain||WR||Northern Iowa|
|163||Kalen Ballage||RB||Arizona State|
|164||Auden Tate||WR||Florida State|
|166||Durham Smythe||TE||Notre Dame|
|170||Christian Sam||LB||Arizona State|
|171||Marquis Haynes||LB||Ole Miss|
|172||P.J. Hall||DT||Sam Houston State|
|173||Damon Webb||Safety||Ohio State|
|175||Colby Gosseett||OL||Appalachian State|