Since our last mock draft almost a month ago, a lot has happened around the NFL. Big name players have been cut, traded and signed as teams look to fill holes before the draft. Teams have started maneuvering their way up – and down – the draft board to get into position to get players they want/need, and have created holes through trades and cuts that now need to be addressed.
We’ve also seen college players helping and hurting their draft stock with their post-combine pro days. Perhaps the biggest pro day buzz came from USC, where Sam Darnold threw darts in the rain in front of a collection of scouts. He had dinner with the Browns and worked out for the Giants, owners of the first two picks in the upcoming draft.
The mock draft below has a lot of changes from our previous edition. There have been a lot of trades already consummated, and there will undoubtedly be more to come. We didn’t come up with any theoretical trades below; this only reflects moves that have already been made. But you’ll see that teams like Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis and Denver have a stockpile of picks to work with when the draft arrives.
Here we go…
1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Would I take Darnold at one? Probably not. The Browns traded a third round pick for Tyrod Taylor who, lest we forget so quickly, took Buffalo to the playoffs last year. But Darnold appears to be the odds-on favorite for the top pick and should be their franchise quarterback for the next decade.
2. New York Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
This is the pick that will undoubtedly change a lot in the first round. If the Giants take an heir to Eli, the Jets then have to take the third quarterback in the class. If they want to win in the twilight of Eli’s career, they could go one of two directions: fix the defense, or take Saquon Barkley. When they traded Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa it made me believe they’re going to take Chubb, an elite pass rusher, at two.
3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
This is why the Jets paid a king’s ransom to the Colts to get up to number three. They want a young quarterback and Rosen might be the best in this draft class. How soon he gets on the field, and how they build around him without their second round picks, will be interesting.
4. Cleveland (from Houston): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
This makes the entire draft a home run for the Browns, who could get a generational talent at running back and solve their long-term quarterback issue before the fifth name is called. They have a ton of picks this year and have already been aggressive in trades and free agency. This gets their offense on track for 2018 and beyond.
5. Denver: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Denver coached Josh Allen at the Senior Bowl and Mel Kiper loves the Wyoming quarterback. But Mayfield’s swagger is undeniable and I believe his ability and confidence will ultimately make him the guy for John Elway.
6. Indianapolis (from NY Jets): Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
The Colts have plenty of issues, the biggest of which continues to be protecting Andrew Luck. They traded back three spots and added a couple picks in the second round, where they can/will address other issues. Taking an elite offensive lineman here makes too much sense for the Colts, who likely would have been happy to take Nelson at three.
7. Tampa Bay: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Tampa needs to fix their defense, which had been their strength for years. They traded for JPP already this offseason, and adding an elite linebacker here in Edmunds is a tremendous addition. They have other needs, but taking a potential Pro Bowl linebacker should make this an easy decision – especially with Chicago also needing a linebacker and coming up next.
8. Chicago: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
I’ve said on a number of occasions that I believe there are a small number of generational players in the 2018 draft class – and Fitzpatrick is one of them. The Bears added a couple wide receivers and a tight end in free agency and need help on the offensive line, but can deal with that later. If Kyle Fuller plays at the level he did last year moving forward, adding Fitzpatrick to the secondary with Eddie Jackson makes that a strength for Chicago.
9. San Francisco: Derwin James, S, Florida State
The Niners need to protect Jimmy G badly, but their GM is a Hall of Fame safety. James is elite and would bring a new dimension to their defense.
10. Oakland: Roquon Smith, LB, Georgia
Jon Gruden will love this kid, who has great cover skills and is a strong inside linebacker. Their defense needs work and they also need help all over their offense, but taking a leader for the defense makes too much sense here.
11. Miami: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Dolphins are going through a significant culture change this offseason, unloading their best receiver and All-Pro defensive tackle. There are a number of tempting options for them here, including Calvin Ridley and Vita Vea. But Ward has the makings of an elite corner and would help them immediately in a division that’s going to throw the ball – a lot.
12. Buffalo (from Cincinnati): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Buffalo might try to move further up to get a quarterback, but the teams between 12 and Denver don’t figure to take a quarterback. They signed AJ McCarron, but that shouldn’t stop them from being thrilled to get Allen here. They come back later in the first round and also have a lot of picks coming off a playoff season.
13. Washington: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Washington spent a lot of money on a quarterback already this offseason, so protecting him should be a priority. Williams is arguably the best tackle in this class.
14. Green Bay: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
How do you replace Jordy Nelson? With a young, controlled receiver early in the draft. Aaron Rodgers will live adding Ridley to his receiver corps but the Packers still have a lot of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball.
15. Arizona: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Carson Palmer is retired and Arizona needs a future under center. This might feel a bit high for Rudolph, but he’s as ready for the NFL as any quarterback in this class. This could be a spot where teams target a defensive player and the Cardinals move back and still get Rudolph later in the first round.
16. Baltimore: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
The Ravens need to reclaim their defensive identity and the middle of their defensive line is a good place to start. Vea is an absolute beast who reminds me of Warren Sapp.
17. LA Chargers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson might be the best corner in this draft (assuming Fitzpatrick is a safety at the next level). The Chargers would love to draft an heir to Phillip Rivers – a reason for Arizona to stay in front of the Chargers to take Rudolph – but helping their secondary with an elite talent here is a good call.
18. Seattle: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
The Seahawks are in transition. They need a corner – and would love Jackson to fall – but also need to fix their defensive line as well. Davenport is one of the hot names in this draft class and would be a dynamic replacement for Micheal Bennett at end.
19. Dallas: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
The Cowboys have two more significant needs on defense: safety and linebacker. But Bryan is an athletic freak who could be a steal at 19. Dallas is also looking to upgrade at receiver and might consider Courtland Sutton here.
20. Detroit: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
The annual issue of the tight end position for the Lions might finally be solved this year. Gesicki is, in my opinion, the most NFL-ready tight end in this year’s class who is a dynamic weapon for Matthew Stafford to use immediately.
21. Cincinnati (from Buffalo): Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
The Bengals traded down and have needs at linebacker and corner, meaning they could go either direction here. Hughes is a solid prospect who would provide a young asset to their secondary.
22. Buffalo (from Kansas City): Billy Price, C, Ohio State
When Eric Wood retired, the interior of the Bills’ offensive line became an area of need. Thankfully they have a second pick in the first round and can grab a blue chip center to replace him here. Price is a dominant blocker who would be a perfect replacement.
23. LA Rams: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Rams have won the offseason already, but now need to replace Sammie Watkins. Sutton would be a great fit here for a team that is clearly targeting a championship run in 2018.
24. Carolina: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The Panthers need new ownership before they worry about the on-field product, but the sequence of events might not make that possible by the end of April. The team isn’t very far away from returning to the Super Bowl, and could look at a number of spots here. Alexander would be an immediate starter in their secondary, making him a good pick.
25. Tennessee: Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Titans made the playoffs last year but have a few gaps to fill. One of those primary needs is an edge rusher, and Landry is a good talent who can perform in a variety of roles.
26. Atlanta: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Falcons aren’t far away from returning to the Super Bowl, but free agency gives every team holes to fill. Payne was dominant at Alabama and would be a terrific interior defensive lineman for them in 2018 and beyond.
27. New Orleans: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
The Saints tried to bring back Jimmy Graham but settled for the runner-up in the bidding (to Green Bay). Goedert is a hot prospect with good size who would help Drew Brees. They’re a blown tackle away from possibly being a Super Bowl team.
28. Pittsburgh: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
The Ryan Shazier injury changes their needs a bit, and finding a solid linebacker late in the first round would help with that. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting younger and they might ultimately need to deal with the running back position, but this is s smart play here.
29. Jacksonville: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Paul Posluszny retired, making linebacker a need for the Jags. Their defense is stacked and they now need help at receiver as well but can address that later in the draft.
30. Minnesota: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Vikings aren’t far away and just gave a mammoth contract to Kirk Cousins to theoretically fix their quarterback position. Protecting him is a need, and getting a Day One starter at tackle here is a great fit for Minnesota.
31. New England: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
Want to finally replace Vince Wilfork? Phillips is a physically imposing defensive lineman who would make a difference for the entire defense in New England. The Patriots need to address their defense early and often in this year’s draft, and Phillips would be a great start.
32. Philadelphia: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
What do you give the team that doesn’t need anything? The Eagles won the Super Bowl and have since added Michael Bennett to their defensive line. They’re set at most positions already, but adding a dynamic running back is a luxury pick they’ll use to stay on top of the NFC East.
33. Cleveland: Mo Hurst, DT, Michigan
34. NY Giants: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
35. Cleveland (from HOU): Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
36. Indianapolis: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
37. Indianapolis (from NYJ): Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
38. Tampa Bay: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
39. Chicago: Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
40. Denver: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
41. Oakland: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
42. Miami: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
43. New England (from SF): Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
44. Washington: MJ Stewart, CB, North Carolina
45. Green Bay: Rasheem Green, DE, USC
46. Cincinnati: Uchenna Nwoso, LB, USC
47. Arizona: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
48. LA Chargers: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
49. Indianapolis (from SEA): DJ Chark, WR, LSU
50. Dallas: Obo Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma
51. Detroit: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
52. Baltimore: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
53. Buffalo: Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
54. Kansas City: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
55. Carolina: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
56. Buffalo (from LAR): Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
57. Tennessee: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
58. Atlanta: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
59. San Francisco (from NO): James Daniels, OL, Iowa
60. Pittsburgh: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
61. Jacksonville: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
62. Minnesota: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
63. New England: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
64. Cleveland (from PHI): Porter Gustin, LB, USC
65. Buffalo (from CLE): Nuck Chubb, RB, Georgia
66. NY Giants: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
67. Indianapolis: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
68. Houston: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
69. Tampa Bay: Martinas Rankin, OL, Mississippi State
70. San Francisco (from CHI): Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
71. Denver: Frank Ragnow, OC, Arkansas
72. NY Jets: Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
73. Miami: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
74. San Francisco: Ben Banogu, DE, TCU
75. Oakland: Scott Quessenberry, OL, UCLA
76. Green Bay: Cameron Smith, LB, USC
77. Cincinnati: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
78. Kansas City (from WSH): Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
79. Arizona: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
80. Houston (from SEA): Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
81. Dallas: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
82. Detroit: Braden Smith, OL, Auburn
83. Baltimore: Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern
84. LA Chargers: Will Clapp, OL, LSU
85. Carolina (from BUF): Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
86. Kansas City: Mason Cole, OL, Michigan
87. LA Rams: Azeem Victor, LB, Washington
88. Carolina: Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
89. Tennessee: Tony Brown, CB, Alabama
90. Atlanta: Dorance Armstrong, Jr, EDGE, Kansas
91. New Orleans: Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
92. Pittsburgh: Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
93. Jacksonville: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
94. Minnesota: Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State
95. New England: Matthew Thomas, LB, Florida State
96. Buffalo (from PHI): Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
97. Arizona (supp): Cody O’Connell, OL, Washington State
98. Houston (supp): Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
99. Denver (supp): Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
100. Cincinnati (supp): Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama
101. Green Bay (from CLE): Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
102. Tampa Bay (from NYG): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
103. Houston: Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah
104. Indianapolis: Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
105. Chicago: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
106. Denver: Chad Thomas, DE, Miami
107. NY Jets: Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
108. NY Giants (from TB): Mark Walton, RB, Miami
109. Oakland: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
110. Denver (from SF): Keishawn Berria, LB, Washington
111. LA Rams (from MIA): David Bright, OL, Stanford
112. Cincinnati: Iman Marshall, CB, USC
113. Washington: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
114. Cleveland (from GB): Ken Tolliver II, CB, LSU
115. Chicago (from ARI): Simmie Cobbs, Jr, WR, Indiana
116. Dallas: Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma State
117. Detroit: Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State
118. Baltimore: Jalen Davis, CB, Utah State
119. LA Chargers: Jeremy Irwin, OL, Colorado
120. Seattle: Jeff Holland, EDGE, Auburn
121. Buffalo: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
122. Kansas City: Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
123. Miami (from CAR): Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
124. Kansas City (from LAR): Herculues Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
125. Tennessee: Dalton Schultz, TE, Florida State
126. Atlanta: Austin Corbett, OL, Nevada
127. New Orleans: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State
128. San Francisco (from PIT): BJ Hill, DL, North Carolina State
129. Jacksonville: J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri
130. Philadelphia (from MIN): Timon Parris, OT, Stony Brook
131. Miami (from NE): Trevon Young, DE, Louisville
132. Philadelphia: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama
133. Green Bay (supp): Skyler Phillips, OL, Idaho State
134. Arizona (supp): Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
135. LA Rams (supp from NYG): Ade Aruna, DE, Tulane
136. New England (supp): Skai Moore, S, South Carolina
137. Dallas (supp): Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
138. Green Bay (from CLE): Chris Campbell, CB, Penn State
139. NY Giants: Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis
140. Indianapolis: Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
141. Seattle (from HOU): Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan
142. Denver: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
143. San Francisco (from NYJ): Zachary Crabtree, OT, Oklahoma State
144. Tampa Bay: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
145. Chicago: Will Geary, DL, Kansas State
146. Seattle (from OAK): Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt
147. New Orleans (from MIA): Deadrin Senat, DL, South Florida
148. Pittsburgh (from SF): Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
149. Washington: Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern
150. Cleveland (from GB): Jaquan Johnson, DB, Miami
151. Cincinnati: Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
152. Arizona: Sean Welsh, OL, Iowa
153. Detroit: Darren Carrington, WR, Utah
154. Baltimore: Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
155. LA Chargers: Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama
156. Seattle: Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
157. NY Jets (from DAL): Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
158. Cincinnati (from BUF): Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
159. New England (from KC): James Hearns, DE, Louisville
160. Denver (from LAR): TJ Edwards, LB, Wisconsin
161. Carolina: Brandon Mahon, OL, Penn State
162. Tennessee: Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
163. Denver (from ATL): DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
164. New Orleans: Martez Ivy, OL, Florida
165. Pittsburgh: Jester Weah, WR, Pittsburgh
166. Buffalo (from JAX): Quinton Flowers, QB, South Florida
167. Minnesota: Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
168. Seattle (from NE): Brian Allen, OL, Michigan State
169. Philadelphia: Sutton Smith, EDGE, Northern Illinois
170. Cincinnati (supp): Ken Webster, CB, Mississippi
171. Dallas (supp): Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
172. Green Bay (supp): Tyrone Crowder, OL, Clemson
173. Oakland (supp from DAL): Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
174. Green Bay (supp): Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue