2018 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Post-Super Bowl Edition

With Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, the 2017-18 NFL Season is officially over, and the 2018 NFL Draft order is set. The Cleveland Browns are again on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick, while the Philadelphia Eagles will wrap up the first round with the No. 32 overall selection. So of course, it’s time for another 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

(All Offensive, Defensive and line rankings come via Football Outsiders DVOA)

  1. Cleveland BrownsSam Darnold, QB, USC. John Dorsey and co.’s first priority this offseason is to finally find Cleveland’s franchise QB. DeShone Kizer certainly isn’t it, and even if the Browns sign a veteran quarterback this offseason, odds are the Browns will also use the No. 1 pick on a QB. They’ll be a lot of talk about whether this pick will be Darnold, Josh Rosen or even Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen leading up to April, but at the moment, Darnold looks like the frontrunner.
  2. New York GiantsSaquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. Should the Giants take a QB here? Probably. But everything Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman have said so far implies that they’ll be sticking with Eli Manning for another year or two. If so, New York could pass on a QB and instead draft the draft’s most dynamic playmaker in this year’s draft, improving a rushing attack that ranked No. 29 in the NFL this past season; one that hasn’t had a 1000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012.
  3. Indianapolis ColtsBradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Colts haven’t ranked in the top half of the NFL in Defensive DVOA since 2015 and finished No. 32 against the pass this season. Indianapolis desperately needs to improve their pass rush this offseason, one that finished with just 25.0 sacks, second-fewest in the NFL. Chubb, who tallied 10.0 sacks and 25.0 tackles for a loss this past season, is exactly the type of pass rusher that the Colts need.
  4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston)Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS, Alabama. The Browns pass defense ranked No. 27 in the NFL last season, allowing opposing quarterbacks to average 7.4 yards per attempt with a 102.2 rating. Cleveland needs to shore up their pass defense, and there’s no better place to start than over the top. Fitzpatrick will give the Browns a terrific centerfielder in the middle of their defense.
  5. Denver BroncosJosh Rosen, QB, UCLA. It’s time for John Elway to admit Paxton Lynch is a bust, move on from Trevor Siemian, and find the Broncos next franchise QB. While the Broncos might be more likely to sign a QB in free agency, if not, Elway has to look to the draft. The Broncos had the worst offense in football this past season and desperately need a new signal caller to begin to shore things up.
  6. New York JetsBaker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Todd Bowles has the Jets moving in the right direction, but to take the next step, New York needs to find its franchise QB. That may come via free agency, but if not, the Jets will likely select a QB here. Mayfield might not have the ideal size or stature of an NFL quarterback, but he profiles as a terrific playmaker, more than capable of becoming a franchise QB.
  7. Tampa Bay BuccaneersDerwin James, SS, Florida State. Due to a lackluster pass rush and poor secondary play, the Buccaneers pass defense ranked No. 31 in the NFL this past season. Neither of the Bucs two safeties, T.J. Ward and Chris Conte, played all that well this season, and as a free agent, Ward is unlikely to be re-signed. James would provide an upgrade in the middle of the Buccaneers defense.
  8. Chicago BearsCalvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. If Mitch Trubisky is going to prove to be the Bears’ quarterback of the future, Ryan Pace must find him some better targets. Only one Bears wide receiver, Kendall Wright, had more than 400 yards on the season. While Ridley’s stats don’t jump off the page, he has all the physical tools and should improve coming to the NFL from Alabama’s run-heavy offense.
  9. San Francisco 49ersDenzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. John Lynch and co. could go in a number of different directions with this pick. Carlos Hyde is a free agent, and Lynch could find his replacement. Or, he could improve the protection in front of Jimmy Garoppolo. But with the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, the 49ers need to address their secondary. Ward may not have the ideal height for a corner, his traits and production on the field say otherwise.
  10. Oakland RaidersRoquan Smith, ILB, Georgia. If Smith is available when the Raiders are on the clock, you can almost pencil him in as Oakland’s selection. The Raiders’ defense ranked No. 20 in the NFL last season, 30th against the pass and 16th against the run, and is in need of upgrades at all three linebacker positions. Smith made plays all over the field for the Bulldogs, tallying 137 tackles, 14.0 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks, and would help Oakland against both the run and the pass.
  11. Miami DolphinsQuenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame. Don’t rule out Miami taking a quarterback, especially with a potential out in Ryan Tannehill’s contract after 2018. If not though, the Dolphins must improve an offensive line that ranked 30th in run blocking and 11th in pass blocking. Nelson is a Top 5 prospect in this year’s draft class, but because of his position, he’s still available with the Dolphins on the clock.
  12. Cincinnati BengalsConnor Williams, OT, Texas. The Bengals must upgrade their offensive line this offseason. Eric Winston is 34, Clint Boling is more suited to play guard, and Jake Fisher & Cedric Ogbuehi, Cincinnati’s first two picks in 2015, are sure looking like busts. After ranking in the bottom third of the NFL in both run and pass block, the Bengals can solidify one tackle position with their selection here.
  13. Washington: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. Injuries ravaged both sides of the ball in Washington, and the defense suffered especially against the run, where they ranked No. 29 in the NFL against the run. Washington must get stouter up front on their defensive line, and adding the 6’2” 308 lb. Payne will do just that.
  14. Green Bay PackersTremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech. Three of the past four years, the Packers have selected a defensive back with their first-round pick. Yet, Green Bay’s pass defense ranked No. 26 in the NFL last season. While a corner should be in play with this pick, the Packers could also improve their mediocre pass rush, and select Edmunds, whose athleticism and versatility has him shooting up draft boards.
  15. Arizona CardinalsJosh Allen, QB, Wyoming. With Carson Palmer’s retirement, the Cardinals currently have zero quarterbacks on their roster. Blaine Gabbert, Drew Stanton and Matt Barkley are all free agents, and even if Arizona re-signs one or more of them, none of the three is the quarterback of the future. Maybe the most divisive quarterback in this years’ draft class, Allen certainly could be.
  16. Baltimore RavensCourtland Sutton, WR, SMU. If the Ravens are going to get back atop the AFC North, they’re going to have to improve their offense. While Baltimore was able to make do with the likes of Alex Collins at running back, Joe Flacco desperately needs more weapons in the passing game. Sutton and his deep-ball ability, the junior caught 69 passes for 1,087 yards and 13 TDs this past season at SMU, will certainly help improve the Ravens’ 26th-ranked pass offense.
  17. Los Angeles ChargersVita Vea, DT, Washington. Though the Chargers had a Top 10 pass defense this season, their run defense ranked No. 27 in the NFL against the run, allowing an average of 131.4 rushing yards per game. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are terrific talents on the outside, but inside, Los Angeles needs an upgrade.
  18. Seattle SeahawksMike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. To say the Seahawks’ biggest priority this offseason is improving Russell Wilson’s protection might be an understatement. Seattle must improve an offensive line that consistently ranks at the bottom of the NFL, and has Wilson constantly running for his life. Solidifying the tackle positions with Duane Brown and McGlinchey would be a good start.
  19. Dallas CowboysRashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. When Sean Lee saw the field, the Cowboys were 8-3 last season, but when Lee was hurt, the Cowboys went just 1-4. Not only has Lee missed 13 games over the past four years, but Dallas’ defense struggled this season, finishing No. 18 against the pass and No. 21 against the run. Dallas can’t continue to count on Lee and needs to add some depth and talent at LB.
  20. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. The Lions must improve a defensive line that ranked No. 25 against the run and No. 22 against the pass. Detroit can wait to address the RB position in a deep and talented running back class and can instead turn their attention to their defensive line. Hurst, though a bit undersized at 6’2” 280 lbs., has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald and should do the trick.
  21. Buffalo BillsHarrison Phillips, DT, Stanford. Buffalo traded Marcell Dareus and his $90+ million contract to Jacksonville at the trade deadline, and their run defense suffered. Buffalo needs to improve up front on defense that finished No. 31 in the NFL and allowed an average of 124.1 rushing yards per game. Phillips tallied 7.5 sacks and 17.0 tackles for a loss this past season at Stanford and was one of the more impressive run defenders in all of college football.
  22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City)Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State. The Bills’ offensive line was among the worst in football this season, and that was before an injury forced Eric Wood into an early retirement. Buffalo needs to shore up an offensive line that ranked No. 31 in the NFL in pass blocking and No. 27 in run blocking, and that starts with finding Wood’s replacement.
  23. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. Trumaine Johnson is a free agent, and there’s not much behind him in the Rams’ secondary. Los Angeles could let Johnson walk and select his replacement in Jackson. A terrific season, eight interceptions and 18 passes defended, has vaulted the 6’1” 192 lb. Jackson into first-round conversations as he has the size, speed and athleticism NFL teams covet in corners.
  24. Carolina PanthersOrlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma. The Panthers haven’t drafted an offensive lineman since Trai Turner in 2014, but they’ll need to this offseason if they want to improve Cam Newton’s protection. Carolina’s offensive line has consistently ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in both run and pass blocking, and signing Matt Kalil, a first-round bust, certainly didn’t change anything. Drafting the 6’8” 360 lb. Brown though, certainly could.
  25. Tennessee TitansHarold Landry, DE, Boston College. No Titan finished with more than 8.0 sacks on a Tennessee defense that ranked No. 18 in the NFL, and No. 24 against the pass. After upgrading their secondary with the additions of Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson last offseason, the Titans can further improve their pass defense, and find their replacement-in-waiting for Brian Orakpo, who’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season, with the selection of Landry.
  26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. Dontari Poe is a free agent, but even with Poe, Atlanta’s defense ranked 20th in the NFL against the run. Grady Jarrett’s been terrific alongside, but Atlanta needs another interior lineman if/when Poe leaves for via free agency. While Bryan’s his stats don’t jump off the page – 4.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for a loss – his athleticism has scouts throwing out J.J. Watt comparisons.
  27. New Orleans SaintsMarcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. With Alex Okafor coming off an ACL injury and headed to free agency, the Saints could the Saints use a pass rusher not only to complement Cameron Jordan, but also to move DT Sheldon Rankings back inside. Davenport lit up the stat sheet at UTSA, racking up 17.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks, and then jumped into first-round conversations with his Senior Bowl performance.
  28. Pittsburgh SteelersMalik Jefferson, LB, Texas. With Ryan Shazier’s status up in the air, linebacker becomes an ever more pressing need for the Steelers, whose run defense ranked No. 18 in the NFL this season. Though there are some concerns with Jefferson in pass coverage, his potential and athleticism are just too much to ignore.
  29. Jacksonville JaguarsWill Hernandez, OG, UTEP. As it looks the Jaguars are sticking with Blake Bortles for at least another season, Jacksonville must improve the offense around him. And with Allen Robinson expected to get the franchise tag, the Jaguars can turn their attention to their offensive lineman, which could use an upgrade at guard – where A.J. Cann and Patrick Omameh both struggled in 2017.
  30. Minnesota VikingsIsaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado. Terence Newman and Marcus Sherels are free agents, and unless the Vikings are comfortable with Trae Waynes consistently getting beat, as he did in the NFC Championship game, Minnesota will add some talent to their secondary this offseason. With a 6’1” 195 lb. frame and 12 passes defended this past season, Oliver has played his way into the first-round.
  31. New England Patriots: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn. Nick Foles shredded the Malcolm Butler-less Patriots’ defense in the Super Bowl, and with Matt Patricia headed to Detroit, and Butler expected to leave via free agency, the Patriots’ defense, which ranked No. 22 in the NFL isn’t going to suddenly get any better. Finding Butler’s replacement has to be the Patriots’ biggest priority this offseason.
  32. Philadelphia EaglesKolton Miller, OT, UCLA. Jason Peters is 36-years-old and coming off an ACL tear, and the Eagles can’t count on him for much longer. Lane Johnson has the right side of Philadelphia’s offensive line locked down along with Brandon Brooks, but the Eagles would be smart to draft Peters’ future replacement.

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