Russell Brown | 2018 NFL Mock Draft – Final Edition

04/25/2018
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We’re officially one day away from the 2018 NFL Draft. I’ll be honest, it’s a bittersweet moment for me. I love the process of the draft and I’m bummed that the process closer to being over than starting up again. But then again, I’m incredibly excited to see who goes first overall. I can’t wait for the trades that take place and who slides down draft boards. It’s going to be one hell of a night.

With the draft being so close, we are going to hear a ton of different stories, from Baker Mayfield being the first overall pick to teams coveting this apple compared to this orange. I mean that’s really all this is, at this point. Apples to oranges. But it’s still a ton of fun.

Now is the time to find out who is going where and which teams are moving up. Yes, this mock draft will have trades. Realistically, trades will happen, so we’re going to consider them in this FINAL edition of the 2018 NFL Mock Draft series!

Mock Draft Trades: 

Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills make a trade!

  • Chicago Bears trade 2018 First Round Pick (8th overall)
  • Buffalo Bills trade 2018 First Round Pick (12th overall), 2018 Second Round Pick (53rd overall) and 2018 Third Round Pick (96th overall)

Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles make a trade!

  • Philadelphia Eagles trade 2018 First Round Pick (32nd overall)
  • Kansas City Chiefs trade 2018 Second Round Pick (54th overall) and 2018 Third Round Pick (78th overall)

More than likely, these trades will be wrong. There’s a chance that Denver trades out of their pick. New England will consider trading up. Only time will tell on what exactly happens, but for now, enjoy this mock draft and give me your thoughts on Twitter @RussNFLDraft!

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2018 NFL Mock Draft 

1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB from USC   

It wouldn’t be shocking if the Browns drafted Josh Allen, but the far safer pick when talking upside is Sam Darnold. The Browns certainly have a plan in place with Tyrod Taylor, and now they grab Darnold for the future. Despite the dark cloud hanging over Cleveland, the future looks bright with a 20-year-old quarterback waiting in the wings.

 

2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB from Penn State

He was seen in a barbershop with a Giants hoodie on. They could still go with quarterbacks Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield (insert link). Also, don’t rule out Bradley Chubb, who makes a ton of sense. However, Barkley is one of the best players in this draft. His ability to create with his elite physical profile should give the Giants the running back they’ve needed.

3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis) – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma 

There’s been a ton of talk about how Baker doesn’t slide past the Jets. He’s a perfect fit for this west coast offense that will incorporate a perfect vertical passing scheme with plenty of quick passes to fit Baker’s skill-set. He’s a natural-born leader and will guarantee himself a championship. Just like Joe Namath, he’ll get it done.

 

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston) – Bradley Chubb, EDGE from NC State 

Could working out a deal to trade down be in the mix? Absolutely, but one of the top 3 players in this class is Bradley Chubb. Placing him across from Myles Garrett will make this pass rush lethal, and it makes Emmanuel Ogbah expendable for the right price. This would be a home run for Cleveland.

 

5. Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, OG from Notre Dame 

You have your quarterback with Case Keenum, and John Elway has struck out on plenty of the ones they’ve drafted. Playing it safe and drafting the safest player in the draft is the way to go. Nelson is an aggressive player who’s frightening in the open field. I’ve often compared him to Joe Thomas, and the Broncos will be fortunate if Nelson can have that same longevity.

 

6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets) – Roquan Smith, LB from Georgia

The last few days, the Colts have been rumored to be a landing spot for Smith. It makes sense when you really think about it. Connor Williams would be worth considering (6th best player on my board), but realistically, the Colts will consider Smith a much safer pick. With Chubb, Nelson and Barkley off the board, Roquan is the safest pick for the Colts. He’s an instinctive player with incredible range, coverage ability, and sure tackling. He’ll start from day one for the Colts.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S from Florida State 

Unless, Barkley or Nelson fall, this pick will be used on defense. The Bucs have a desperate need for secondary help, especially at safety. The safer pick would be Minkah Fitzpatrick, but there’s a lot to like with Derwin James. He tested incredibly well at the Combine for being 6’3″ and 215 pounds. He can play in the box or over the top, but with his athletic ability, don’t be surprised when he’s matched with tight ends in man coverage. Despite this pick having some risk with James having limited ball skills, it could lead to high reward.

 

8. Buffalo Bills (Mock Trade with Chicago) – Josh Allen, QB from Wyoming 

I’ve pretty much convinced myself that the Bills are going to do the opposite of what I want them to do, especially at the quarterback position. Trading to the 4th overall pick might make more sense. However, this could work too, especially if their quarterback is on the board. They got to see Allen up close and personal at the Senior Bowl, and I think they really like him. It’s not the Browns or the Giants, it’s the Bills. They’ll move up four spots and give up a pick this year and next year to nab their quarterback of the future. If his flaws can be fixed, his cannon for an arm could lead this team to the playoffs once again.

 

9. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S from Alabama

One of the better players in this draft is going to fall for some odd reason. That won’t stop John Lynch from taking him. If, everything checks out with Reuben Foster, bringing a former teammate in to help him could do wonders. Minkah is a natural-born leader who can play in an “overhang” safety role where he covers tight ends and slot receivers. He’ll do just fine taking receivers vertically, and he’s a tremendous tackler. The 49ers are given a gift with Minkah on the board at 9.

 

10. Oakland Raiders – Vita Vea, DT from Washington 

This has been one of my locked picks for a few weeks now. I’ve often said that Vea looks like a Gruden guy. He plays like one, and he’s an incredible athlete. The Raiders are looking to add beef to the middle of their defensive line, which would help Khalil Mack enormously. This pick just makes too much sense for the Raiders to consider anything else.

 

11. Miami Dolphins – Josh Rosen, QB from UCLA

What are the odds of the Dolphins staying put and getting their quarterback? Could be slim, but Rosen falls to this spot, and I can’t believe it either. He’s my top quarterback, so it feels wrong putting him here. However, I don’t see the Cardinals, Chargers or Patriots moving up to get a quarterback. That leaves the Dolphins with Rosen and a quarterback controversy. They have Tannehill, but he can’t stay healthy. Rosen has a good arm and is excellent with his pre-snap reads. Despite his cockiness, he’s smart and a gifted passer. Go with Rosen and don’t look back.

 

12. Chicago Bears (Mock Trade with Buffalo) – Denzel Ward, CB from Ohio State

There’s always rumors and, of course, there’s one that the Bears love Denzel Ward. The other is that they want some Notre Dame offensive lineman. That would leave this pick down to Ward and Mike McGlinchey. I am quite the fan of McGlinchey, but I’m going to stay that Ward is their pick. The Bears move down, gather some extra picks for this year and next year, and then take their cornerback of the future. Ward is as explosive and athletic as you can be. Despite being undersized, he’ll match-up well against the NFC North’s wide receiver duos.

 

13. Washington Redskins – Derrius Guice, RB from LSU

There’s certainly some other players on the board for the Redskins to consider, from Harold Landry to Taven Bryan. However, they’ve shown interest in a running back, and if that’s the case, they’re going to take one. I think they’re getting one of the best players in this class with their pick. Derrius Guice apparently has “maturity issues”, but the NFL doesn’t properly ask questions at the Scouting Combine. Believe what you want, but when you watch the tape, it’s clear to me that Guice is one of the ten best players in this class.

 

14. Green Bay Packers – Harold Landry, EDGE from Boston College 
There have been some rumors floating around that Landry is going to fall in this draft, but I sincerely question those rumors’ legitimacy. He’s a top-10 player in this class, and with the Packers having some interest in bolstering their pass rush, this pick makes a ton of sense. Landry is a poor man’s Derek Barnett, but they’ll both go 14th overall in the NFL Draft. With his explosiveness and bend, he’ll be too hard to pass up.

 

15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB from Louisville  

If you told me that Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon were my quarterbacks, I probably wouldn’t have signed any contract to be in the organization. However, the Cardinals will fix that by drafting one of the most dynamic players in this class, Lamar Jackson. It’s funny how big time media played him out as a receiver and then realized how stupid they sounded. Now they’ve changed their tune and he’s a quarterback. He’s always been a quarterback on my board, and at one point, was the highest-ranked. He fell to the fourth quarterback spot here, but I still believe he’s better than Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph. He’s not a run-first quarterback, but you can certainly design runs for him. He’s got a strong arm and needs better control on certain throws, but he’s a playmaker. He’s trying to make plays. In Arizona, he’ll make plenty of them. This is a great pick for the Cardinals.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens – Tremaine Edmunds, LB from Virginia Tech

It wouldn’t shock me if Edmunds falls to this range of the draft. He’s still incredibly raw and needs some refinement. There are times that he avoids blocks rather than using the proper technique to get through the block. However, he’s explosive and a versatile playmaker. He can rush off the edge or play in the middle, and only being 19-years old, he can be molded into a great player. This will be a home run for the Ravens.

 

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, OT from Notre Dame

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Chargers moved up and took a quarterback. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if they took a safety or defensive tackle. However, you cannot rely on Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale at offensive tackle. They’re viable options, but you need some more promise up front. McGlinchey will provide the Chargers with that because he has the ability to play left tackle or right tackle. I think he’s a better fit at right tackle, but having him play left tackle isn’t a bad thing. He can do it and is the safer pick at offensive tackle. Despite being almost 6’8″, he operates in space very well and has nice angle to his kick-step. There’s a lot to like with this pick.

 

18. Seattle Seahawks – Marcus Davenport, EDGE from UTSA

One of the biggest needs to the Seahawks is to get protection for Russell Wilson. Don’t worry, they’ll do the opposite of that. Getting an edge rusher is a need for this team, but protecting a quarterback should be the top priority. However, they grab a raw pass rusher who’s athletically gifted. He’s not the most premier edge rusher, but there’s some serious upside to Davenport. Playing depth and hand usage will be key areas for him to work on, but he’s got a nice burst, bend, and punch to create separation. Once he figures everything out, he can be a very productive edge rusher.

 

19. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Ridley, WR from Alabama

Nothing against Courtland Sutton, but if the Cowboys pass on Calvin Ridley, then cue the Game of Thrones “Shame” GIF. Ridley hasn’t been a superstar, but at times people play him off as if he is one. Nevertheless, only one receiver received a first round grade in my book, and that was Ridley. He’s the most polished route runner in this class. Certainly, he’s not flashy,  but you don’t need to be. He can run any route on the field and can post big numbers. Drops have been somewhat of a concern, but he can fix that on Sundays.

 

20. Detroit Lions – Isaiah Wynn, OG from Georgia 

I’ll be speaking as a Lions fan for this pick. I don’t see how an edge rusher or running back falls to the Lions. They’re far too talented, and yes, that list includes Derrius Guice. With that being said, the Lions will play this safe and take an offensive guard. Not going to make a ton of fans happy, but Wynn is a top-15 player in this class. He’s a versatile player with great lateral agility. From operating in space and being super aggressive downhill to having proper hand placement in pass protection, Wynn will be a day one starter for an offensive line that desperately needs help establishing its running game.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) – Rashaan Evans, LB from Alabama 

How many chances is Vontaze Burfict going to get? He’s one of the league’s dirtiest players on the field and off of it. I say off the field because he’s suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This pick makes a ton of sense for that reason. Evans is explosive and does a really good job of filling the gap and scraping over the top. He will hit you hard and plays with an edge. He’s limited in coverage, but you draft him to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. He’ll provide that for the Bengals, and for their sake, let’s hope he plays more than every other week.

 

22. Buffalo Bills – Leighton Vander Esch, LB from Boise State 

There’s a chance that LVE isn’t on the board. However, if he’s there, the Bills will strongly consider taking him. They missed on Reggie Ragland, but I’m sure that Sean McDermott won’t let this pick go bad. LVE is a great tackler and has the athletic ability to display his range all over the field. He needs to do better with reading blocks and overcoming them, but overall, he can play from day one.

 

23. New England Patriots – Kolton Miller, OT from UCLA 

Someone is drafting Kolton Miller in the first round, but who is it going to be? I’ve compared Miller to Nate Solder, so this works out perfectly for the Patriots. They lost Solder to free agency and are replacing him with a player with similar athletic ability and traits. Miller has a very weird kick-step that leads him to false step a ton. His hand placement can become sporadic, and at this point, I think he’s the Josh Allen of the offensive tackle group.

 

24. Carolina Panthers – Josh Jackson, CB from Iowa 

Passing on a receiver will be tough for the Panthers to do, but they need to make sure that their defense is secured. Jackson has tremendous ball skills, but only one year of production will push him down boards. He’s not the plus athlete compared to other cornerbacks, but there’s a ton of upside to his game. The Panthers will take him in hopes that he can grow into a quality starting cornerback.

 

25. Tennessee Titans – Josh Sweat, EDGE from Florida State

Teams have a tendency to pick who they have top-30 visits with. Josh Sweat has been highly regarded as a favorite for the Titans. Without a linebacker on the board, he makes a ton of sense because this team needs help rushing the passer. Sweat provides you that and some. He needs to stay healthy, but he’s also got the bend and ability to stop the run. He translates speed to power pretty well and should.

 

26. Atlanta Falcons – Taven Bryan, DT from Florida 

Plenty to love with Taven Bryan, and he’s being linked to a ton of teams. However, he’s still raw as a pass rusher and needs to refine some of his tools. He comes in out of control far too often, and with other players on the board, he falls perfectly into the Falcons’ lap. They’ll take him to fill Dontari Poe’s position, and they’ll hope he becomes like the J.J. Watt comparison that’s been tossed around.

 

27. New Orleans Saints – Jaire Alexander, CB from Louisville 

The last few years, the Saints have made a ton of smart draft choices. Why should this year be any different? There isn’t a tight end worthy of the first round, and I don’t believe that any team will do that. With Alexander still on the board, they’ll take him and solidify their secondary. Pairing him up with Marshon Lattimore gives the Saints one of the most dangerous secondaries in the NFL. If Alexander can stay healthy, he’ll be a candidate for defensive rookie of the year. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Reid, S from Stanford 

It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw Justin Reid as a top-20 pick. He’s an A+ player when it comes to character, and he’s got the versatility you want out of a defensive back. He didn’t receive first round grade on my grading scale, but I think he’ll go in the first round. With that being said, the Steelers have a serious need at linebacker and defensive back. Without a linebacker available, they’ll take the next best option. Reid will play in the slot as a free safety or even a strong safety. They did sign Morgan Burnett, but that doesn’t take them out of the market for a safety, especially with one of the same caliber as Reid.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – D.J. Moore, WR from Maryland

Losing the Allens can’t make Blake Bortles feel great. They need to make sure to keep providing Bortles weapons in this offense, and there won’t be a better fit than D.J. Moore. He can fit a quick passing game and does a nice job with comeback routes. Overall, he’s a solid receiver with a second round grade, but he’s going to sneak into the first round.

 

30. Minnesota Vikings – Connor Williams, OT from Texas 

One of my highest-graded players in this draft is still on the board. Realistically, it sounds like he’s going to fall down some rankings. I’d be shocked if he fell to the second day of the draft, but I do believe that he can play as a left tackle. The Vikings will utilize his versatility and plug him into their starting offensive line immediately. With his aggressive ability to get to seal the second level and move in space, he’s going to be coveted, especially by a team like the Vikings. He needs to improve the angle of his kick step while in pass protection, but he should manage just fine at the next level.

 

31. New England Patriots – Maurice Hurst, DT from Michigan 

There are reports all over the board of where Mo Hurst will and will not get drafted. People are saying he’ll go anywhere from the first round to day three, and it’s due to a heart issue. Apparently, some teams have written him off the board, which I find hard to believe. Hurst is a top-10 caliber player in this class, and I’d be surprised if he falls to the second day. His father played cornerback for the Patriots from 1989 to 1995, and Hurst is from Westwood, Massachusetts. On the surface, this pick doesn’t make sense because the Patriots already have Danny Shelton and Malcolm Brown. Fun fact: both players have an option for next year, and the odds of the Patriots picking up both players’ options is slim to none. This pick provides depth in year one and incredible upside for the future. It’s a home run pick for the Patriots.

 

32. Kansas City Chiefs (Mock Trade with Philadelphia) – Isaiah Oliver, CB from Colorado 

Recent reports are indicating that the Eagles could be looking to trade back. If that’s the case, the team most likely to move up is the Kansas City Chiefs. They traded away their best cornerback in Marcus Peters and need to find his replacement. There isn’t one better than Isaiah Oliver. He’s got the ability to switch in and out of man/zone coverages while mirroring the receiver. He’s got the long speed to get vertical up the field. Improving his ability as a tackler will be important for him on the outside, but in coverage, he can come in and start from day one. If Philadelphia keeps this pick, I fully expect them to take Sony Michel from Georgia.

 

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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