The 2018 NFL Draft is almost here so it’s time to take a closer look at the latest NFL mock drafts. Look for first-round predictions, the draft’s top players, and the first-round draft order below.
This draft figures to be quarterback heavy, with potentially four signal callers going in the top 10. Of the non-quarterbacks, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick could be selected in the top 5.
NFL Mock Draft 2018: First-round projections, top players
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC: The Browns have to use the pick on a quarterback, and we think they’ll choose Darnold.
- New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: Barkley was a star at the NFL combine. If the Giants want to stick with Eli Manning, Barkley will help extend his career.
- New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: The Jets will continue toiling in mediocrity as long as they lack quality quarterback play. Rosen is an excellent consolation prize and seems capable of handling the New York spotlight.
- Cleveland Browns (via Houston): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama: The Browns selected a quarterback with their first pick. Next, they grab the best defensive prospect in the class. Fitzpatrick is a queen-on-the-chessboard-type of defensive back.
- Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: Offensive line could be the pick here. Drafting Allen is a risk, but the Denver quarterback situation might be the worst in the league. Allen did well in the Senior Bowl and followed it up with a strong NFL combine showing, showing why he’s such a tantalizing prospect.
- Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State: While Minkah Fitzpatrick is the better prospect, defensive end is the bigger need for the Colts. An offensive lineman, such as Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, also could be a target.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: Defensive end could be the pick here, but the Notre Dame guard might be the best player regardless of position.
- Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: The Bears need help at cornerback and wide receiver. With a lot of good but not great wide receivers available, the Bears pick the latest Ohio State star cornerback to come off the assembly line.
- San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: With Reuben Foster getting into trouble, linebacker suddenly becomes a position of need. Edmunds offers a little more versatility than Roquan Smith, and is very similar to Vikings star Anthony Barr.
- Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia: A defense featuring Khalil Mack shouldn’t be as bad as Oakland’s was in 2017. Smith may be the best off-ball linebacker prospect since Luke Kuechly.
- Miami Dolphins: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: The Dolphins appear to be enamored with the Oklahoma star, and if he falls to 11, there’s an excellent chance Miami and coach Adam Gase pounce on the Heisman Trophy winner.
- Buffalo Bills: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame: The Bills traded away Cordy Glenn, leaving a hole on the offensive line and they moved up in the process. Where they most need help is on the offensive line. McGlinchey, or Notre Dame teammate Nelson, could be options.
- Washington Redskins: Derwin James, DB, FSU: Washington has its quarterback of the near future with Alex Smith. Now, look for the Redskins to take a player such as James, who is 95 percent the player that Fitzpatrick is and could go even higher than this.
- Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa: Secondary is still a huge area of need for the Packers. If Ward or Jackson are available, the Packers’ poor secondary would get a nice boost.
- Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, T, Texas: Quarterback is Arizona’s biggest need. The Cardinals could reach for Mason Rudolph … or drastically improve their offensive line with the selection of Williams, who figures to play either guard or tackle.
- Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: The Ravens might have the worst group of pass catchers in the NFL. This makes too much sense.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama: The Chargers had the second-worst rush defense in the league last season. Payne will help them improve — look at the way he took over the College Football Playoff. Payne also was excellent at the NFL combine.
- Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA: While someone such as LSU running back Derrius Guice, could be a pick, the exodus of defensive talent for Seattle makes a defensive pick likely. While secondary may be a more pressing need, Davenport can help replace Michael Bennett’s pass rushing abilities.
- Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, SMU WR: Defensive line could be an option, but wide receiver is also a need for the Cowboys. Sutton had a very impressive combine, and given his size, he could be a matchup nightmare for teams.
- Detroit Lions: Derrius Guice, LSU: Running back is a big need for the Lions, as they need to take some of the pressure off Matt Stafford. Guice should do just that. Sony Michel also could be an option here.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State: Offensive line may no longer be an issue here for the Bengals with the addition of Glenn. Linebacker is the next biggest need, so look for them to target the athletic Vander Esch, who had a very strong NFL combine.
- Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City), Vita Vea, DT, Washington: The Bills traded Marcell Dareus last October. And they’ll look to Vea to fill his void.
- New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, T, UCLA: A front 7 defender could be the move, but with Nate Solder gone, left tackle is a need. Miller has been a steady riser throughout the draft process and played in a pro system at UCLA.
- Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Pass rusher and offensive tackle also could be picks, but with a talent such as Kirk on the board, he can really improve the Panthers’ weak wide receiver corps.
- Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, Boston College: The Titans selected a cornerback in the first round last year and could look to continue to improve their secondary this time around. But an outside pass rusher could help improve the defense under new coach Mike Vrabel.
- Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia: Wynn had a great senior season with Georgia and followed it up with a dominant Senior Bowl. Given the Falcons’ struggles on the interior of the offensive line, he’s a player who makes a lot of sense.
- New Orleans Saints: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU: Cam Jordan had a fantastic season for the Saints, but the defense still has holes in the front seven. Adding Key gives them another dynamic pass rusher, even if there are some off-field concerns.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: With the Ryan Shazier injury casting doubt on his NFL future, linebacker becomes a position of need. Evans isn’t the prospect that Shazier was, but he, like many other Alabama linebackers, can be very good.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville Blake Bortles isn’t the long-term answer for Jacksonville. But because of their financial commitment to him, they’re stuck with him. This would give Jackson a chance to develop and maybe in a year, become the Jaguars’ full-time starter.
- Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State: Quarterback could be in play here, but Price, like Pat Elflein did in 2017 for Minnesota, could be a Day 1 starter on the interior.
- New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State: Bill Belichick loves players who have ties to Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Plus, pass rusher is a huge need for New England.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Braden Smith, G, Auburn: Fresh off winning the Super Bowl, there aren’t a lot of holes here. Offensive line is one given that a number of key players there are aging. (Connor Riley)
2018 NFL Draft: First-round order
1. Cleveland Browns
2. New York Giants
3. New York Jets (via Indianapolis)
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston)
5. Denver Broncos
6. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Chicago Bears
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Oakland Raiders
11. Miami Dolphins
12. Buffalo Bills (via Cincinnati)
13. Washington Redskins
14. Green Bay Packers
15. Arizona Cardinals
16. Baltimore Ravens
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Dallas Cowboys
20. Detroit Lions
21. Cincinnati Bengals (via Buffalo)
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City)
23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams)
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Tennessee Titans
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. New Orleans Saints
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. New England Patriots
32. Philadelphia Eagles