NFL Mock Draft 4.0
The 2018 NFL Draft is two weeks away and the staff here at Gridiron Experts have locked in our Mock Drafts (for now). 12 writers have created a Mock of the first round and added insight into who their picking and why. We have allowed for up to three trades to be made although many writers choose not too. Check out the Mock Drafts below and remember to please share the article on social media.
Mike Rigz’s NFL Mock Draft
Mike Rigz: I used to believe in the phrase “best player available” when it came to the NFL Draft, but now I think that’s just a cliche. Something that a Head Coach or General Manager says when talking to the media. In a win-now league, every team knows who they’re targeting at the NFL Draft, and the goal is to get that player in a position to contribute immediately. With money and contracts looming overhead constantly, I think players lost in free agency become top positions of need to be filled at a cheaper price. A perfect example the Packers drafting Ridley to replace Jordy Nelson, a productive player in the Packers offseason but too expensive on the books. Or the Cowboys drafting WR Courtland Sutton so they have leverage in contract negotiations with Dez Bryant. If he doesn’t restructure his deal it makes it easier to cut him.
I also feel there is no team right now that seems more aggressive to move up the board than the Buffalo Bills. As you can see with a lot of the Mock Drafts in this article, we feel the Bills could get right up to the top 5 to land a franchise quarterback. The Giants have multiple needs and seem like the best trade partner. In my Mock Draft, I have the Giants trading back and picking Guice and Hernandez, a two-for-one deal that helps their team improve drastically overnight. I almost added another trade for the Eagles moving back out of the first round, but wasn’t sure who would be the partner. I can almost guarantee the Eagles and possibly Jaguars and Vikings trade back. All three teams seem strong in every position and if they want to remain strong they should stockpile picks and add depth.
Zach Greubel’s Mock Draft
Zach Greubel: The f0llowing are some of my thoughts on my 2018 Mock Draft:
- The Cardinals are in somewhat of a rebuilding mode and can’t trust 30-year-old and oft-injured Sam Bradford. Arizona could very well be worried that Denver will take Mayfield at No. 5. A trade with the Cardinals would give the Browns Arizona’s No. 15 pick and Patrick Peterson could even be involved. McGlinchey would take the place of retired great Joe Thomas.
- If the top four quarterbacks are gone the Broncos could benefit from trading back from No. 5. John Elway has traded back before. A trade with Chicago would still give Denver a good chance at drafting Quenton Nelson at No. 8 and ideally give the Broncos the Bears’ No. 39 overall pick, if not more. For the Bears, they nab a much-needed pass rusher just ahead of the Colts, who would likely be targeting Chubb or Barkley.
- Don’t be surprised to see more trades. With how (over)hyped this quarterback class is and considering the top-tier talents, trades could be prominent. In fact, there have already been seven trades in the first round alone.
- The No. 1 pick is essentially a toss-up between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. If Darnold is the choice then the Giants take either Chubb or Barkley and the rest of the draft is thrown out of whack. Allen appears to better fit the mold of a John Dorsey quarterback, so I’ll give Allen the edge.
- The Bills have a plethora of needs, and while they are seemingly the likeliest candidate to trade up for a quarterback, it would behoove them to stay put and fill two big needs. Staying at 12 will likely keep them in play for Lamar Jackson, whose playing style mirrors that of Tyrod Taylor — the Bills’ former quarterback.
- The Patriots are another candidate to trade up for a quarterback, but keeping their two picks gives them the opportunity to remedy two big needs as well. They could take a chance on Rudolph at No. 23 if they think the Saints want him a few picks later.
- Mason Rudolph may very well be the sixth quarterback selected in the first round. The Chargers, Saints and Patriots are the most viable candidates later on.
Paul Alan’s NFL Mock Draft
Paul Alan: The difference between my overall player rankings and my projected draft selection order was eye-opening. There are guys that I have high second-round grades on, like Mason Rudolph, who I believe will go earlier than expected due to positional importance and demand. In that same sense, there are guys that I have ranked as top-10 overall players, like Maurice Hurst, that could fall to the mid-to-late first round. A few of my favorite team fits in this mock draft are Saquon Barkley to the Bucs, Calvin Ridley to the Panthers, and Justin Reid to the Steelers. Each of those players represents a huge value at where they are selected and fill an immense need for their respective teams. With just two running backs, one wide receiver, and zero tight ends going in the first round, there is going to be a tremendous amount of offensive weapons available heading into day two of the draft.
Anthony Cervino’s NFL Mock Draft
Anthony Cervino: While Saquon Barkley is viewed the flashy pick at No. 1 overall for the Browns, I believe they pass on the Penn State running back and target their quarterback of the future. And while Sam Darnold is viewed by many as the top signal caller in the 2018 class, I can see the Browns selecting Wyoming’s Josh Allen No. 1 overall. While draft experts say that Allen needs to sit a year while he gets acclimated to the NFL level — similar to Carson Wentz — the Browns are in the position to afford him that opportunity in the wake of the Tyrod Taylor acquisition just a few weeks ago. And since Allen is drawing Pat Mahomes comps — Brown’s general manager John Dorsey traded up to select Mahomes with the 10th overall pick of the Chiefs last year — it wouldn’t surprise me if he went to that well again in his first draft in Cleveland. However, Allen may not be the only surprise signal caller being selected in the first round.
In fact, I have five QBs going in the first round, none of which named Lamar Jackson. In the wake of his dreadful combine outing, he’ll fall to the second. Aside from Allen going No. 1, I have Sam Darnold falling to the Jets at No. 3 – they’ve gone the USC QB route years ago with Mark Sanchez and could very well do it again if he slips past the Giants at No. 2. I also have the Buffalo Bills trading up to Denver’s No. 5 spot to select Baker Mayfield — while the Broncos have a need at QB, they acquired Case Keenum who is the best they’ve had at the position since Payton Manning retired. The Broncos have ample needs and could use the picks they receive from the Bills to address them while taking a chance on a project signal caller like Lamar Jackson in the later rounds of the draft.
With Josh Rosen falling to the middle of the draft, I believe the Arizona Cardinals will swoop in and take him at 15. As I said before, I don’t see Jackson going in the first. I believe Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph will be the fifth QB taken by the New England Patriots in the 31st overall selection — since the Patriots moved on from Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett last season, there is a tremendous need at QB with only Brian Hoyer slated behind an aging Tom Brady. While there will be a run at QB, I don’t believe we will see a slew of running backs taken in the first. I only have two going here. The obvious on Saquon Barkey to the Buccaneers at seven and Derrius Guice slated to the Lions at 20. Recent history shows that productive RB1s can be had in the latter portion of the draft. I also feel the same way about wide receiver this year. First-round wideouts have been underwhelming, to say the least in recent memory and I cant see more than two going in the first — Calvin Ridley to Green Bay at 14. The new Packers regime will finally get Aaron Rodgers some help. They are going younger at the position since moving on from Jordy Nelson. And the Panthers will finally get Cam Newton a big upside weapon selecting James Washington at 24.
Mitchell Renz’s NFL Mock Draft
Mitchell Renz: From what I am hearing the Browns are going to draft Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Personally, I believe this is a huge mistake considering Allen is my 6th ranked quarterback in the draft. Once the Browns draft Allen, the Bills will trade up to the second overall pick and select Sam Darnold. Five quarterbacks will be drafted in the top 10 picks this year after the Arizona Cardinals trade up with the Raiders at pick 10 to snatch Lamar Jackson. Arizona will be forced to move up in front of the Dolphins and Giants who both need a quarterback. For fantasy football, the picks that will leave people talking are Saquon Barkley to the Buccaneers at 7, which would be a great fit for him and Tampa Bay, and Derrius Guice at 20th overall to the Lions. The three wide receivers drafted in the first round will have to prove that the last two seasons were just a fluke in terms of production from wide receivers drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. When it’s all said in done this will be one of the most exciting NFL Drafts we have ever seen and I wouldn’t expect anything less in Jerry World.
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Rich Pallarino’s NFL Mock Draft
Rich Pallarino: The 2018 NFL Draft is one of the hardest drafts to predict in recent years. With a handful of teams needing quarterbacks to become the new face of the franchise and other teams just having holes all-around, this year’s draft is already setting itself up to be one of the more talked about drafts in history. That doesn’t mean that this draft class is the most talented class, rather the needs of most teams can be met with the right pick in the first round of this draft.It seems obvious that the Cleveland Browns take Sam Darnold with the first overall pick; after that, it just gets confusing. The New York Giants have a ton of holes. Injuries factored into their terrible season and so did the lack of talent on both sides of the ball. There are many ways that the Giants could go with this pick. They are in the driver’s seat for the draft and cannot afford to mess it up. The best thing for them to do is to trade down, which only makes their selection easier when it’s their turn and draft for the future. They’ll move down and exchange with Denver, while the Broncos select Josh Rosen second overall.
Looking at the rest of the board just makes you lose your head even more. The Colts will move down again and stockpile picks for years to come, while the Bills move up to get Josh Allen out of Wyoming. Allen is more of a fit for Buffalo’s elements and system than Mayfield and Brandon Beane knows that.
There may be more trades on draft day, but for now, each team is waiting to see how the rest of the board plays out and will pounce when they feel the right opportunity presents itself.
Brad Castronovo’s Mock Draft
Brad Castronovo: Absolutely anything can happen in the 2018 NFL Draft. The combination of QB-needy teams, and relatively strong QB talent in the 2018 pool can lead to a lot of draft day excitement. Personally, I see 4 of the first 5 picks as QB, and at least one team (in my mind, the Bills) trading up to get “their guy.” With the desperate need for QBs, a lot of teams picking in the first half of the first round will find Top 5 player talent fall into their lap when they didn’t expect it. I see a few players slipping that could have easily gone Top 5. Quenton Nelson is a generational offensive line talent that won’t be picked within the Top 5—any other year? Maybe. But not in 2018. I see him going to the Colts at 6. I envision Bradley Chubb falling to the Buccaneers at 7, but wouldn’t be shocked if he went to the Colts at 6. Saquon Barkley is probably the best prospect in the draft, and I have him falling to Cleveland at #4, who will try and secure their franchise’s offensive future in two top 5 picks. A few other players that I think could slip well past where their talent should land them include Minkah Fitzpatrick (I have him #9 to San Francisco), and Denzel Ward (I have him at #12 to the Broncos (via trade with Buffalo)). I think the Patriots are likely to make another move on draft day if their ideal player isn’t available, so I have them swapping spots with Tennessee here, and then taking their next Franchise QB at #31 in Mason Rudolph.
Derek Wiley’s Mock Draft
Derek Wiley: The 2018 draft is nearing and it is the time of year that mock drafts come out. This one is simple; it’s the first round only. I am predicting the top 32 picks as well as 2 trades that make sense to me. Without any real surprises in the first 6 picks the Bills see the writing on the wall and trade up to get their franchise quarterback. They will deal their 12th and 22nd pick to the Buccaneers for the 7th overall selection. At pick 7 they will take Baker Mayfield. The next trade comes just 2 picks later. The Patriots use their 23rd, 43rd, and 63rd picks to trade to the 49ers for pick 9 and a later round selection. They take Edmunds to beef up the defense that let them down in the Super Bowl. With the first pick acquired in the trade, the Buccaneers replace Doug Martin with the 2nd best running back in the draft in Derrius Guice. With the second pick in the 1st round acquired in the trade, the Bucs get some pass defense help with Josh Jackson. The 49ers use the 23rd pick to get Jimmy Garoppolo some protection by taking Orlando Brown. A few of the remaining selections that may stand out to some is Kirk to the Falcons. They lost Taylor Gabriel this offseason and Kirk provides them with a top end slot receiver. D.J. Moore is drafted by the Jaguars to replace their losses in the receiving corps. The big surprise for most is probably the Patriots selection of Sony Michel with the 31st pick. They lost Dion Lewis this offseason and although Jeremy Hill was signed, Michel could come in and provide a spark out of the backfield similar to Alvin Kamara.
Rob Grimwood’s Mock Draft
Rob Grimwood: Okay, hear me out with the Barkley pick- to me it’s logical. I think it’s fair to assume Cleveland want Barkley to vastly improve their non-existent run game of late. Before you say it, Hyde isn’t the answer. Statistically, Hyde is only marginally better than former running back Isaiah Crowell proving the need for a generational back like Barkley. For that reason, if the Browns don’t take him with the 1st pick, the Giants will have a hard time passing on him considering the state of their backfield. Basically, if they don’t take Barkley 1.01, I think it’s unlikely he makes it back to the 4th pick. This logic will be quashed if New York trades away their 1.02 pick, but I think the opportunity to draft Eli Manning’s replacement won’t get better than this. The only trade I am currently predicting to happen in the first round is Buffalo trading with Indianapolis. This will secure their franchise QB and Indy could benefit massively from the two first rounders the Bills have and would likely be willing to trade away. With so many holes appearing in both the offense and defense corps, the Colts need as many solid picks in the first couple of rounds as they can get. Top WR prospect might get picked up by Green Bay as they search for Jordy Nelson’s replacement and Baltimore could seize an opportunity to find Flacco’s eventual successor in the shape of top college passer from 2017, Mason Rudolph.
Sam Mathews’s Mock Draft
Sam Mathews: With the Jets trading up from the sixth pick to the third pick, the pressure is on other teams with a gap at QB to make similarly ambitious moves. Drawing upon their ample draft capital, the Bills trade their two first-round picks and a 2019 second-round pick for the Giants’ second overall selection. With it, they select Josh Rosen, the most pro-ready QB in the draft.
New York looks to be entering a long rebuilding period, with Eli Manning set to retire soon and Jason Pierre-Paul being traded to Tampa Bay. The Giants could covet the return their number two pick can yield from Bills GM Brandon Beane, who is desperate to find his organization a franchise quarterback and has more than enough draft capital to get a deal done. With their two picks, the Giants bolster their offensive line across from Nate Solder (allowing them to move Ereck Flowers to Guard) and draft competition for Eli Apple in the form of Isaiah Oliver.
This opens the door for the New York Jets to draft Baker Mayfield. The Jets have been linked to the Sooner QB since before the combine. They’re also rumored to be moving on from Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. I like Mayfield’s chances to beat Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job.
John Elway loves pass-rushers, and pairing Bradley Chubb with Von Miller is too tempting of an opportunity to pass up (especially when Chubb is an ideal fit for the Broncos’ 4-3 defense). The Broncos are also thin at defensive end, with injury and suspension questions surrounding Derek Wolfe and Adam Gotsis.
The Dolphins, who have been obsessed with Josh Allen since the Senior Bowl, take the Wyoming QB with their twelfth overall pick. Allen can develop behind Ryan Tannehill and work with offensive guru Adam Gase for a year or two before moving into the starting role.
Brandon Sysak’s Mock Draft
Brandon Sysak: In this mock, the quarterback-needy teams fill their spot early, except for one. The Browns will start the quarterback barrage with Sam Darnold. He is a prospect that they have been connected to over the past few weeks, so this seems like an easy selection for both parties. While the Giants are a team that have been rumored to consider a quarterback at the second overall spot, they will opt to grab a potentially tremendous talent in Saquon Barkley. Barkley adds a playmaker to an offense that lacked one in 2017. From there, three quarterbacks go off the borad, one of whom is acquired via trade. I see the Browns moving out of their fourth overall selection and giving it to the highest bidder. In this case, that would be the Buffalo Bills. They move their 12th overall pick and some additional draft picks to have the ability to take Josh Rosen. From their, the draft board moves to a defensive focus. Nine of the next ten players selected will be on that side of the ball, including players such as Bradley Chubb going to Indy, Denzel Ward going 12th overall to Cleveland and Marcus Davenport going to Green Bay.
At the 15th spot, the Cardinals make a shocking move and select a controversial prospect in Lamar Jackson. Jackson, whose position/status have been questionable throughout the draft process, will get it together and impress the Arizona staff. Another pick that is sure to raise some interest in Calvin Ridley going to the Cowboys at 19th overall. With Dez Bryant and Dallas having a rocky relationship, it would be a good idea to grab a wide receiver. Ridley is a solid field-stretching speedster to add to what is already a potent offense. The first and only tight end will be taken off the board by New Orleans as they grab Dallas Goedert. Goedert is a great prospect who the Saints will look to use as a difference maker for a position the team has needed help with since the departure of Jimmy Graham in 2015. At the end of the draft, these teams will look to grab players that will help maintain their contender status.
For the last pick, I see a team moving up to grab a prospect that they have high on their board, but don’t see falling to them in the second round. In this scenario, I see the Indianapolis Colts making a move to select Derrius Guice. Guice will be in a tough spot in this draft, despite his first round level talent. There aren’t too many teams who have a stark need at that position. And even if teams want to address their depth at running back, there are lots of solid prospects that will be available later in the draft. With Seattle and Detroit (the only two teams that I could see drafting Guice in the first round) going with other needs, Guice will unfortunately fall. This will be great for both the Colts as a team needing a difference maker at that position. They will trade with the Eagles and make this pick to round out the first round. All in all, this will be a top heavy draft at the quarterback position with a lot of the other focus going to a large amount of the top tier defensive players available in this round.
Jake Hefner’s Mock Draft
Jake Hefner: What fun is a mock draft without a few trades?! Quarterbacks are the talk of the 2018 NFL Draft. This mock has two teams make aggressive moves up the board to grab their signal-caller of the future. Those trades cause an interesting chain-reaction for the remainder of the draft.
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold-QB-USC. Despite the temptation of Josh Allen’s rocket arm. The Browns can’t pass up the logical QB choice at number one overall.
- New York Giants: Bradley Chubb-DE-NC State. GM Dave Gettleman goes pass rusher over running back and makes Chubb the new face of the defense.
- New York Jets: Baker Mayfield-QB-Oklahoma. Statistically, the best QB in the draft. Regardless of his off-field issues, he’s been winning over coaches in the pre-draft process. Also, his attitude and personality are a perfect fit for the New York Market.
- Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley-RB-Penn State. Cleveland plays it right and lands arguably the best player in the draft.
- **Arizona Cardinals** (Via trade w/ Denver Broncos) Josh Rosen-QB-UCLA. Arizona is forced to move up the boards to take their future starter under center. Rosen and Sam Bradford could compete for starting duties early in the season.
- **Buffalo Bills** (Via trade w/ Indianapolis Colts): Josh Allen-QB-Wyoming. As quarterbacks start to fly off the board, the Bills hand is also forced here. GM Brandon Beane gets his strong arm QB.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James-SS-Florida State. The Florida State alum stays in Florida. The Bucs upgrade their secondary with a ball-hawking safety.
- Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson-OG-Notre Dame. Bears land a future pro-bowler and good protection for QB Mitchell Trubisky.
- San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward-CB-Ohio State. If it’s determined that a WR is too high to take at this point. I could see the Niners trading down and picking up a weapon for Jimmy G later in the first.
- Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith-LB-Georgia. The Raiders defense was extremely weak in the middle last season. Smith will shore up those issues.
- Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea-NT-Washington. The Dolphins fill a huge hole, left in the wake of Ndamukong Suh.
- **Indianapolis Colts** (Via trade w/ Buffalo Bills) Marcus Davenport-DE-UTSA. Colts acquire additional picks from Buffalo on top of selecting one of the drafts most highly productive pass rushers.
- Washington Redskins: Tremaine Edmunds-LB-Virginia Tech. After missing out on Vita Vea, The Redskins bolster their defense at the linebacker position.
- Green Bay Packers: Minkah Fitzpatrick-CB-Alabama. The Packers secondary was atrocious last season. They bring in a versatile DB to stop the bleeding.
- **Denver Broncos** (Via trade w/ Arizona Cardinals): Will Hernandez-OG-UTEP Denver gave up the second most pressures in the league last year. Hernandez will add protection for their new QB investment Case Keenum.
- Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson-QB-Lousiville. The Ravens draft the QB successor to Joe Flacco and the most explosive dual-threat signal caller in the draft.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Maurice Hurst-NT-Michigan. Chargers add a versatile nose tackle that would be a perfect compliment to Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the line.
- Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson-CB-Iowa. Seattle finds its replacement for Richard Sherman. Jackson fits the mold of bigger cornerbacks that Pete Carroll covets.
- Dallas Cowboys: Calvin Ridley-WR-Alabama. Dez Bryant has shown signs of decline the past few years and Jason Witten turns 36 in May. It’s time for Dallas to reload.
- Detroit Lions: Harold Landry-DE-Boston College. A compliment to Ezekiel Ansah as the Lions bolster their pass rush.
- Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels-C-Iowa. The Bengals continue the rebuild of their offensive line and shore up a huge need at center.
- Buffalo Bills: Da’Ron Payne-DT-Alabama. The Bills were hoping to replace retired center Eric Wood here, but Cincy scoped up James Daniels at 21. So Buffalo adds more defensive disruption next to free agent acquisition DT Star Lotulelei.
- New England Patriots: Mike McGlinchey-OT-Notre Dame. Patriots stay patient and find their replacement for LT Nate Solder
- Carolina Panthers: Mike Hughes-CB-UCF. Hughes would be a plug and play starter for Carolina to bookend fellow CB James Bradberry.
- Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch-LB-Boise State. Linebacker is an area of need for Tennessee after losing Avery Williamson in free agency.
- Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan-DT-Florida. Atlanta needs to replace Dontari Poe and Bryan would be a great option in Dan Quinn’s system.
- New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert-TE-South Dakota State. A future quarterback could be in play here. But after missing out on a Jimmy Graham reunion, New Orleans adds another weapon for Drew Brees.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans-LB-Alabama. With Ryan Shaziers future in doubt, The Steelers need to reload their linebacker core. Evans
- Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Moore-WR-Maryland. The Jags add another weapon for Bortles after losing Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson in free agency.
- Minnesota Vikings: Isaiah Wynn-OG-Georgia. Following the retirement of guard Joe Berger. The Vikings shore up a hole on the offensive line and provide added protection for Kirk Cousins.
- New England Patriots: Jaire Alexander-CB-Louisville. New England fills another need at corner following the departure of CB Malcolm Butler.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Kolton Miller-OT UCLA. The Eagles look to the future as they draft the heir apparent to Jason Peters.
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Big thanks to the writers involved in this Mock Draft: @PaulAlanNFL @ZachGreubel @MitchellRenz365 @bkc78 @therealNFLguru @rpallarino_ @FFBritBaller @BrandonSysak @JakeTHefner @dwiley1223 @mathews_sam and @MikeRigz
— Gridiron Experts (@GridironExperts) April 12, 2018
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