With the season being totally over, teams are looking forward to improving their teams. Free agency starts on March 14 with the 2018 NFL Draft coming a month and a half later on April 26. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
A running back number one? If Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns it might happen. Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.
2. New York Giants- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Yes, Rosen has voiced his displeasure over playing for the Browns, so he may fall to pick number two. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season. The Giants may be without Eli Manning next year and even if he does stay, will need a quarterback of the future.
3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State
Josh McDaniels has decided to return to New England and the Colts countered with the hire of Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Reich will be looking forward to work with Andrew Luck. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.
4. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC
There are rumors surrounding the Browns and Baker Mayfield, but for now Darnold is the pick. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making needs to improve. The Browns have a new GM, who has no allegiances to anyone on the roster, which means DeShone Kizer is likely done as quarterback.
5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team.
6. New York Jets- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed.
8. Chicago Bears- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time for the Buckeyes. The Bears could use some help in their secondary and taking a weapon for Mitchell Trubisky would be a reach here.
9. San Francisco 49ers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them. The arrests of linebacker Reuben Foster are concerning, so keep an eye on that going forward, as it could change what they do with this pick.
10. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. With Jon Gruden taking over, he is going to need a Derrick Brooks-like linebacker.
11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.
12. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Bengals were able to go 7-9 with a terrible offensive line. They need help at just about every position and can start with tackles. They have taken tackles before in the first round, but they haven’t panned out. McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year and the Bengals can get good value and fill a need with this pick. If he doesn’t work out at left tackle, he has experience playing right tackle at Notre Dame.
13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.
14. Green Bay Packers- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. The Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.
15. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL.
16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
A player that went to Alabama that fills a need? Slot him to the Ravens. The Ravens won’t be getting rid of Joe Flacco, so they need to get him some better targets to throw to. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produced in college even without the best quarterback play.
17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, FSU
Derwin James has fallen down mocks after being thought of as a top ten prospect. He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position. The Chargers can use the help at safety and James would be a great addition to help make a good defense better.
18. Seattle Seahawks- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU
Reports have come out that it will be tough for Cliff Avril to play football again and Michael Bennett has said that he doesn’t think he’ll be back in Seattle. Key only played eight games this season and had four sacks, but has proven in the past to be a good speed rusher.
19. Dallas Cowboys- Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do.
20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State
Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.
21. Buffalo Bills- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
The Bills are thin at linebacker and this selection is an immediate upgrade. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. While he went to the same college as other linebackers that haven’t worked out for the Bills, Reggie Ragland, Evans is a completely different player.
22. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.
23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA
Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.
24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.
25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.
26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.
27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Their defense was much improved so they can afford to look to the future. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class. Sean Payton reportedly loves backup Taysom Hill, but he was more of a running quarterback in college than a thrower.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. Jacksonville really doesn’t have too many needs and have said they are sticking with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.
30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better. Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL.
31. New England Patriots- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Byan is a more agile and athletic defensive tackle than most and would help improve a below average defensive line. The Patriots need to improve their defense, as the offense wasn’t the reason they lost the Super Bowl.
32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas
They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.